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3. August 2015

 

It was becoming clear that Autodesk was entering the game market when they purchased BitSquid back in June of last year.  In addition to making the Magicka series of games, they also created the BitSquid game engine.  In March of 2015 Autodesk announced that Bitsquid was now the Stingray Game Engine and that it was coming soon.  Today more details emerged, including pricing and a release date.  Here is the official press release:

image

 

 

Autodesk Launches Stingray Game Engine at GDC Europe 2015


COLOGNE, Germany, August 3, 2015 --
At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) Europe 2015, Autodesk (NASDAQ: ADSK) announced that its new Stingray game engine will be available to game developers worldwide beginning August 19, 2015. Later this summer, Autodesk will also offer Autodesk Maya LT Desktop Subscription customers access to Autodesk Stingray as part of their subscription.


Built on the powerful, data-driven architecture of the Bitsquid engine, which Autodesk acquired in 2014, Stingray is a comprehensive new platform for making 3D games. The engine supports a host of industry-standard game development workflows and includes powerful connectivity to Autodesk 3D animation software that simplifies game development across a wide range of platforms.


"Between Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and the proliferation of mobile platforms, the games industry is undergoing a major transition, which poses new complexities for both AAA and indie game developers. Autodesk developed Stingray with these challenges in mind, and we're excited to share its debut with the game developer community," said Autodesk senior vice president, Media & Entertainment, Chris Bradshaw. "Stingray makes it easy and intuitive for artists with varying skill sets and programming expertise to create the next generation of 3D blockbuster games, entertainment and even architecture."

 


Stingray feature highlights include:


-- Seamless Art-to-Engine Workflow:
Import, create, iterate, test and review 3D assets and gameplay faster with a one-click workflow and live link between Stingray and Autodesk 3D animation software.


-- Modern Data-Driven Architecture: A lightweight code base gives game developers the freedom to make significant changes to the engine and renderer without requiring source code access.


-- Advanced Visuals and Rendering: Produce visually stunning games with a powerful rendering pipeline, physically-based shading, advanced particle effects, post processed visual effects, lightmap baking and a high-performance reflection system.


-- Proven Creative Toolset: Stingray includes proven solutions like Beast, HumanIK, Navigation, Scaleform Studio (UI technology built on Scaleform), FBX, Audiokinetic Wwise and NVIDIA PhysX.


-- Versatile Game Logic Creation: Stingray includes a wide range of development tools, making game creation more accessible for game makers with varying levels of experience - including visual node-based-scripting and Lua scripting. C++ source code will also be available as an additional purchase upon request.


-- Multiplatform Deployment and Testing: Quickly make and apply changes to gameplay and visuals across supported platforms: Apple iOS, Google Android, Microsoft Windows 7 and Windows 8, Oculus Rift DevKit 2, Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One.


Autodesk previewed Stingray at GDC 2015 earlier this year in San Francisco. Since then, game developers around the world have signed up for Autodesk's beta program, shipped games using this technology and provided feedback including:


"Stingray's data-driven architecture and flexibility have helped us build a broad portfolio of games, and quick iteration times for both code and content creators has boosted our productivity significantly. The engine has been a key success factor for us because we're able to produce high quality games in a shortened timeframe. We're excited to see how Autodesk will continue to evolve the engine," shared Martin Wahlund, CEO of Fatshark.


"We never know what kind of games we're going to create, and the engine is good for that. It really allows us to just make anything. We can make an FPS or an RTS, or a top-down shooter, or a role-playing game, or whatever. It's not tied to a specific genre," explained Johan Pilestedt, CEO, Arrowhead Game Studios.


The Stingray engine can also be used in design environments and is an informative next step to further understand design data before anything is physically built. The engine's real-time digital environment, on a powerful, data-driven architecture, is programmed to look and feel like the physical world. Through the high-end development tools and visual scripting system, customers can program objects, light effects, environmental elements, materials, and entourage elements to behave and react as they would in the physical world.


Connected to Autodesk 3ds Max, architecture, engineering and construction customers can import Autodesk Revit data into 3ds Max, add content to the 3ds Max scene and then place that scene in the Stingray engine to explore, animate, and interact in the designed space.


Pricing and Availability


Autodesk Stingray runs on Windows and will be available via Autodesk Subscription starting August 19, 2015 for $30 US MSRP per month. Later this summer, Autodesk plans to offer Maya LT Desktop Subscription customers access to the engine as part of Maya LT. For more details about Stingray, visit: www.autodesk.com/stingrayengine


About Autodesk


Autodesk helps people imagine, design and create a better world. Everyone--from design professionals, engineers and architects to digital artists, students and hobbyists--uses Autodesk software to unlock their creativity and solve important challenges. For more information visit autodesk.com or follow @autodesk.

 

So there you have it, it will be available for $30 a month starting later this month.  Interestingly it seems to also be available as part of the Maya LT subscription which is also $30 a month or $240 a year, so it’s effectively free to Maya LT users.  It’s certainly a boon for existing Maya LT users, but in a world full of free game engines, is a subscription based engine going to fly?

 

You can learn more about the StingrayEngine at http://stingrayengine.com/ or by watching the video below.

 

Introducing the Autodesk Stingray 3D game engine from Autodesk Media and Entertainment on Vimeo.

News


14. June 2015

 

As mentioned recently, I am in the process of compiling the Godot Game Engine Tutorial Series into an e-book format.  Today I just published the 10 chapter, 150 page first draft of the Godot Engine book.

 

BookCover

It can currently be downloaded by Patreon backers right here.

 

It is currently available in the following formats:

  • PDF
  • epub
  • mobi

 

Due to the large file size (@15mb) to install on a Kindle you will need to install via side-loading, the file is beyond the limits for emailing to Kindle.

 

Right now, this is mostly just a straight compilation of content available here on GameFromScratch.com.  I will need to do an editorial pass to make sure text makes sense in book format, as well as replacing now static animated gifs with more meaningful images.  If you prefer to read offline, wish to print or want to reader on an e-reader, this book should be perfect for you.

 

If you are interested in checking it out, Chapter 8: Using Tilemaps can be downloaded here. Of course, if you’ve already read the Godot tutorial series, this is going to be incredibly familiar.

Programming News


10. June 2015
Unreal Engine 4.8 Released!

 

Unreal just released version 4.8 of their popular Unreal Engine.  This is some very good timing as my recently released Tilemap tutorial depended on some key new features in the 4.8 preview release.

 

The timing of this announcement seems somewhat…  shocking, given that Unreal 5.1 was just released.  That said, this tit for tat between Unreal and Unity has nothing but advantages for us game developers.  The more they push each other, the better they get, the more we benefit.

 

The following are from the key features:

FEATURE HIGHLIGHTS

GRASS RENDERING AND PROCEDURAL FOLIAGE SYSTEMS

Grass Rendering and Procedural Foliage Systems

We've optimized our Grass Systems for use with large open worlds. Use it to produce huge amounts of grass and ground cover with temporal LOD cross-fading. We're also releasing an experimental preview of the procedural foliage system we used to paint foliage across our GDC 2015 Kite Demo.

PLUGINS AVAILABLE IN MARKETPLACE

Plugins Available in Marketplace

We've partnered with Allegorithmic to provide our first plugin available in Marketplace. Download the plugin today, and look for more plugins from select partners in the future!

POST PROCESSING ENHANCEMENTS AND TOOLS

Post Processing Enhancements and Tools

Major increase in accuracy of our Motion Blur, including morph target animations that can now generate motion blur. We've also updated our depth of field to be more physically-based, as well as added a new Tone Mapper to achieve more filmic look.

MULTIPLATFORM VR SUPPORT

Multiplatform VR Support

Support for all the latest VR hardware including Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, Steam VR and HTC Vive,Leap Motion, and Sony's Project Morpheus for PlayStation 4.

NETWORK REPLAYS

Network Replays

"Scrubbable" network replays with rewind support and live time scrubbing.

ASSET SIZE MAPPER

Asset Size Mapper

Visualize the memory footprint of game assets in an interactive tree map UI.

 

 

The full release notes are available here.  Some of the changed to Paper2D, the 2D game library built on Unreal Engine are game changers.  GameFromScratch.com has a complete set of Unreal Engine tutorials if you are interested in learning more.

News


1. June 2015

 

Mixamo, the creator of the online self serve animation service of the same name, as well as Mixamo Fuse character creation software, were just acquired by Adobe.

 

I just received the following email:

Adobe

Dear Mike,

We are proud to announce that as of today, our company has been acquired by Adobe. Incorporating Mixamo technology into Adobe’s world class software platform means greater ease of use and accessibility for Mixamo’s current and future users.

Over the coming months, Adobe and Mixamo will work on integrating Mixamo products and services into Adobe Creative Cloud.  For detailed answers to your questions read our handy FAQ. Or, visit the Mixamo blog for the full story.

How does this effect your Mixamo account?

  • Mixamo’s products and services will continue to operate normally and you will continue to have full access to any services that were available to your account prior to the transition, with the exception of a la carte purchases.
  • During the transition period, Mixamo will be unable to process payments including refunds, upgrades and a la carte purchases. We look forward to sharing our plans for the future in the coming months.
  • Current plan customers can continue to fully use the Mixamo service, including all its products, until their plan expires. All plans that expire before the end of the year will be automatically extended to December 31, 2015, at no cost.

  • All existing accounts will receive 10 free auto-rigs and 20 free animations in addition to any auto-rigs and animations currently remaining on the account.

There will be a lot of excitement (and questions) in the coming weeks and months, and we will do our best to keep you informed. Please post questions on our community forum or reach out to support.

Thank you for supporting Mixamo and helping us to become a premier provider of high quality characters, rigs and animations. Your artistry for storytelling has inspired us for over six years and all that passion will guide us through the new and even more ambitious challenges ahead.

We are looking forward to seeing what you will create with Mixamo and Adobe as we move forward into the next chapter!

Happy Animating,

Stefano Corazza
CEO

 

Interesting move.  The 20 free animations is nice.  I am not sure how the 10 free auto-rigs collides with the free auto-rigging they just announced with the release of Mixamo 2. 

 

To be honest, I always liked Mixamo’s business model and generally, I don’t like Adobe’s, so I doubt I am going to like the outcome of this transaction, but hopefully I will be proven wrong.

News Art


27. May 2015

 

So today I fired up Steam to finally pull the trigger on Pillars of Eternity and what do I see….

 

image

It seems that Degica games, the makers of the popular RPG Maker series of game building tools are having a sale today.  Their flagship product RPG Maker VX Ace ( … quite the name ) is currently on sale for 80% off.

 

On top of RPG Maker Vx Ace, RPG Maker XP and RPG Maker 2003 are all also discounted, 80% and 50% respectively.  What perhaps caught my eye most of all however wasn’t the RPG Maker line of products, but Spriter is also on sale for 75% off.   Spriter was a successfully kickstarted project made by BrashMonkey, I had no idea Degica was now the publisher.

 

About Each Program

 


RPG Maker

 

 

This is a program that has been around for a very long time, first released in 1988.  As the title suggests, it’s a game building tool for making RPG’s, generally of the classic jRPG format.

 

That said, this is a proper game building application, a number of commercially shipped games were created using the various iterations of RPG Maker.  RPG Maker was mentioned as an option in my guide to getting kids started in game development.  Bundled with a ton of premade assets, it is a good way to get your hands wet in game development.  In addition to world, character, dialog, etc… building tools, there is also a programmatic layer using the Ruby programming language. 

 


Spriter

 

Perhaps of most interest to GameFromScratch readers is Spriter.  Spriter is essentially a modular 2D animation system.  You basically cut your sprites up into multiple independent pieces which in turn can be animated.  You can also apply an IK chain ( inverse kinematics… think skeleton ) that controls the animation for you.  You can then export the resulting animation as a sprite sheet, sequence of images or as an animated gif.

 

Most likely though you will want to use the Spriter API, or one of the pre-existing plugins, and use the Spriter animations directly in your game engine, such as Construct, Unity or LibGDX.

 

Truth is, I did a pretty lousy job there describing Spriter, so I will just show their video instead…

 

 

Both are on sale until May the 29th. 

 

Oh, and as I finish typing this up, the Steam page for the sale now appears to be broken…

News


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