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Now Available on Steam Early Access – Killsquad, 20% off!

Killsquad is Now Available on Steam Early Access and is 20% off!*

Unleash hell on a coop A-RPG where bounty hunters raid planets for glory. Choose your quest on the Online Contract System. Unlock skills mid-mission to adapt. Wreak havoc with unique weapons. Scavenge materials to boost them. And, if you survive, spend your bounty on gear to live another day.

*Offer ends July 22 at 10AM Pacific Time

Epic Games Give Blender Foundation 1.2M

As part of the Unreal Megagrant Program launched to:

…support game developers, enterprise professionals, media and entertainment creators, students, educators, and tool developers doing amazing things with Unreal Engine or enhancing open-source capabilities for the 3D graphics community.

Of course “open source capabilities for the 3D graphics community” sounds like a very specific application doesn’t it?  Therefore today’s news should come as no surprise, the Blender Foundation is receiving $1.2M USD as part of the megagrant program.

Details from the Blender news page:

Epic Games, as part of the company’s $100 million Epic MegaGrants program, is awarding the Blender Foundation $1.2 million in cash to further the success of Blender, the free and open source 3D creation suite that supports the full range of tools empowering artists to create 3D graphics, animation, special effects or games.

The Epic MegaGrants initiative is designed to assist game developers, enterprise professionals, media and entertainment creators, students, educators, and tool developers doing outstanding work with Unreal Engine or enhancing open-source capabilities for the 3D graphics community.

The Epic MegaGrant will be delivered incrementally over the next three years and will contribute to Blender’s Professionalizing Blender Development Initiative.

“Having Epic Games on board is a major milestone for Blender,” said Blender Foundation founder and chairman Ton Roosendaal. “Thanks to the grant we will make a significant investment in our project organization to improve on-boarding, coordination and best practices for code quality. As a result, we expect more contributors from the industry to join our projects.”

“Open tools, libraries and platforms are critical to the future of the digital content ecosystem,” said Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic Games. “Blender is an enduring resource within the artistic community, and we aim to ensure its advancement to the benefit of all creators.”

This is actually the second time Epic Games funded Blender, with a much smaller donation back in 2014.

GameDev News


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Get a glimpse at Minecraft Earth in action, and then sign up for the beta

By Joe Robinson 15 Jul 2019

I’ll be honest, even though it’s been fun playing around with Wizard’s Unite with my wife, Minecraft Earth is the one I’ve been really looking forward to. I still am, as there are things about Harry Potter that could definitely be better and really, the IP doesn’t have a strong a pull to it in my eyes.

If you’re like me who’s also waiting for Microsoft’s answer to Pokemon GO, you’ll be pleased to know that not only can you now sign-up for the beta, you can also watch a short trailer with some gameplay in action:

Tappables? Really? Who names these things? Anyway…

That small slice shows off everything from what the main map will look like, to what resources you can collect, to how building and sharing works. There are few other things we know about that weren’t shown, like Dungeons, but I’m sure it won’t be long.

The Closed Beta will be iOS only for the moment, and it’ll be limited in terms of the locations and number of people that they will be bringing on board. You can sign up here, although you need to be over 18 to sign up, and need either a Microsoft or an Xbox Live account. 

You’ll need an iOS 10 or later device (and Android 7 or later when it rolls out there) and be warned as progress etc… is likely to reset as they make changes and improvements. Check out the FAQ for more details.

Can’t wait to plonk down the very first Fort PT.

C# Support On Android Coming To Godot 3.2

Although Godot gained C# support with the release of Godot 3.0, it was missing support for key platforms, specifically mobile and browsers.  News from the Godot website indicates that Godot will receive C# support on the Android platform starting with Godot 3.2, thanks in a large part to a funding grant by Microsoft.

From the news entry by Ignacio Roldán Etcheverry:

Today I’m glad to announce we’ve finally made it happen. Godot 3.2 will ship with support for exporting C# games to the Android platform.

The process of exporting a game for Android with C# is the same as it would be if you were using GDScript. Godot will make sure to add all the assemblies and dependencies to the exported APK. No extra steps are required from you.

It supports all target ABIs Godot does (armeabi-v7a, arm64-v8a, x86 and x86_64). Currently, we only use JITed code, with AOT support coming in the future.

If you want to try Android C# support with Godot you need to build it yourself until the 3.2 release occurs.  Details of building with Mono support are available here.

They also discuss the future plans:

The next step in the roadmap is integration with the MonoDevelop IDE. More details will come in the next devblog, in a bit less than a month. You can expect much awaited features like debugging as well as better experience for opening files with this IDE (currently we use the command line with bad results). Thanks to the editor re-write, this will be a much easier task.

If you’re wondering about support for WebAssembly and iOS or integration with Visual Studio and VS Code, don’t fear. Those are all on the roadmap. You can expect to hear more about them in the future.

Learn more in the video below.

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The Weekender: Santorini Edition

I’m technically not here as you read this, so this week’s updates is short and sweet again – sorry about that. I’ve been set on catching up on some overdue reviews this week, which is why so many have dropped this week. Not as many planned for next week but there’s still interesting games on the horizon worth exploring.

Next week it’s going to be a mixture of additional reviews, plus extra passes at Auto Chess and Harry Potter as those are still proving popular.

Meanwhile, in mobile gaming…

Out Now

Santorini Board Game (iOS & Android) – Full Review Coming Soon!

Despite its light-hearted aesthetic, Santorini offers a wonderfully pure form of strategic play where your moves are few, but the tactical depth is near endless. 2 -4 players are given workers to move around a grid-based board, where the only things you can do is move, and build. Your goal is to firstly build a tower up to three levels, and then get one of your workers on top of that tower. The thing is, you only get to do one move/build action per turn with one worker. Plus, you can ‘cap’ towers to stop your opponent getting to the top (and they can do the same to you).

It’s an excellent abstract strategy game that should fit really well on mobile. The Santorini app, by Roxley, features challenging AI, pass-and-play and online multiplayer, as well as tutorials, challenges and other goodies. If you own the physical game, it can also be used as a companion app and features the optional ‘God’ powers that spice up what is an otherwise simple game. We can’t wait to do the full review!

Updates

There’s actually quite a few updates worth highlight this week, so this section needs must be a bit breezier than usual.

  • Legends of Andor (Review) has received a small update that improves the UI and adds an ‘undo’ button, amongst other things.
  • Carrier Battles for Guadalcanal (Review) is one of the few decent iOS wargames our there right now, and it’s just received a new content drop. This update reworks all of the scenarios, looks at Fog of War and makes a lot of changes to the air game.
  • Mini Metro (Review) is another favourite of ours, and its latest update adds a new city, as well as smoothing out some kinks with our areas of the game.
  • Knights of the Card Table (Review) – this deck-building/roguelike now has a new challenge mode where each dungeon follows its own unique set of rules, allowing you to experiment with equipment load-outs.
  • Codito’s version of Le Havre has just received an update, despite the company closing down a few years ago. The Big Hamlet expansion is now available as an IAP, and there was also a free update adding some additional gameplay options.

There’s also been an update to the official Steam Link app, and of course Star Traders: Frontiers has received yet another content drop. Phew!

Sales

Not much to really shout out about this week, although Egypt: Old Kingdom is on sale for the first time since it launched, at nearly half price.

Seen anything else you liked? Played any of the above? Let us know in the comments!

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Blender 2.80 Release Candidate

Blender have just released the first, and hopefully only, release candidate for Blender 2.80.  Assuming no major show stopping bugs are found in the release candidate, Blender 2.80 final release should be just around the corner!  You can download the release candidate here.  Given the excitement around Blender 2.80 and the fact this isn’t their primary development server, except the download to be quite slow.  Note, even though the file says Beta, this is in fact the release candidate, just be sure to look for the July 11th or later release date when selecting the file to download.

Blender Download Image

Blender 2.80 has spent over 4 years in development and is absolutely packed with new features.  The star of the show is EEVEE, the new real-time viewport renderer, but other major features include massively improved 2D creation and animation tools, Cycles renderer improvements and of course a completely new UI.

To learn more about Blender 2.80 be sure to check out the Blender 2.80 launch page.  Much more in-depth details of the thousands of new features in Blender 2.80 are available in the extensive release notes.  Or you can simply watch the video below!

Stay tuned for more in-depth coverage when Blender 2.80 is finally released in the coming days!

Art GameDev News


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Graveyard Keeper Review

On paper, Graveyard Keeper sounds like a fun concept. It’s a management/simulation game of a medieval graveyard, with a sense of humor perfectly encapsulated in its wacky braying-donkey app icon. (I choose to believe this is intended to make fun of the endless screaming-angry-man icons found on Clash of Clans-clones.) Unfortunately, Graveyard Keeper will probably not win many new players to the genre thanks to its confusing tone and fixture on arcane busywork.

The first question for a mobile adaptation is: how are the controls? In menus, you get to tap and scroll through interface elements directly, but in the game world you use basic on-screen buttons and a static d-stick instead of swipe-anywhere controls. The d-stick is better than many, especially as it features an animated bounce back when released that visually reminds you to replace your thumb in the center.

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It’s fiddly, though, and perhaps a little too sensitive, and I often found myself stuck on scenery or walking around objects I just wanted to approach. It seems to me a system where movement were locked to a grid might work better. There also seem to be a few too many buttons. The ‘work’ and ‘select’ actions could be combined into one control, since work is always held down for several seconds and select is always merely tapped. With a swipe for the rarely-used attack command, the devs could reduce the on-screen controls to a mere menu button.

Unlike similar management games like Stardew Valley, Graveyard Keeper doesn’t have daily tasks to give rhythm to march of time. Certain events, like meeting important characters that only happen on particular days, are about as far as it goes. Compounding this problem, the game uses a weird alchemical-symbol system to track its six-day week, making it impossible to hold in your mind when things need to get done. Is the bishop free on male-symbol day or on sun-day?

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Instead, Graveyard Keeper‘s tasks are long multi-step processes that inevitably require a lot of time grinding for experience or materials and building one of seemingly dozens of crafting stations. I played for days and only buried one body, occupied as I was with making every part of every tool out of logs, rocks, and raw iron. Then there are tech trees for gardening, preaching, and writing books among others, three different kinds of skill points, and “faith” and “science” are resources in themselves. There’s a certain zen to it at times, but at other times it feels like a lot of busywork. That said, there’s a great deal of freedom and an awful lot to do, so if planning out long multi-stage tasks is your jam, you’ll love it.

Tonally, the game is strange. It wants to be both goofy and morbid and it works sometimes, especially when the game uses its medieval setting to satirize modern life. The funniest part to me was the unending bureaucracy of stamps and permissions required to get anything done in this supposedly-medieval town. A good joke, but also one that’s frustrating to deal with from a gameplay perspective. I can’t sell this bit of meat I took from a cadaver unless I bribe a thief for the right stamp? Are we just going to gloss over the cannibalism aspect of this situation first? Part of the problem is that NPCs don’t have strongly-defined personalities beyond one-note jokes. (The skull is a drunk. The donkey is a communist.)

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There’s clearly a bit of Monty Python and the Holy Grail influence here, but the Pythons had the good sense to satirize the ignorance and bloodlust of a witch trial but then cut away before the actual execution. Not so in Graveyard Keeper, where your protagonist watches a burning without comment and is then tasked with putting up flyers for the next one. It’s darkness for its own sake, and rather off-putting.

Graveyard Keeper is a full-featured, PC-quality indie game, which is enough of a rarity on mobile to make it worth a glance. Fans of crafting will probably find a lot to like in Graveyard Keeper‘s incredibly baroque skills tree and endless tasks. It would be a good game for zoning out and listening to podcasts on a long plane trip. Players who are not on board the crafting bandwagon should probably try something like Stardew Valley.

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Dota 2 Update – July 10th, 2019

Immortal Treasures:
– Added custom sound effects for Pugna, Timber, Lion, Warlock, Centaur and Lifestealer immortals.

Mo’rokai:
– Added a 100 point reward for losses.
– Increased the point reward for winning to 300 from 250 (the total for winning with a bonus token is unchanged).
– Jungle Map and Weather effects are no longer automatically applied
– Each team now has two guaranteed bans.
– Increased experience, gold and essence gain by 30%.
– Wagering and Tipping have been added.
– Updated the Mo’rokai Event page in the dashboard.
– Penalties are now being assessed for abandons, and games should now be correctly marked as safe to leave when appropriate.
– Fixed a bug that prevented wins from applying towards Jungle Expedition and Daily/Weekly Quest progress.
– Fixed a bug that allowed players to not be assigned a hero if they were disconnected during the hero pick phase.
– Fixed a bug that caused bonus tokens not awarding the correct number of additional points. Players are being granted 1000 points for each bonus token consumed, up to that users point cap for the week in which it was consumed.

Humble Unity Game Development Bundle–Featuring GameDev.Tv

There is a new Humble Bundle of interest to game developers, specifically Unity game developers.  This is the Humble Unity Game Development Bundle, and it consists of a collection of Udemy courses by GameDev.tv, mostly on the subject of Unity, although a few other topics such as Git and Blender are also covered.  As always the bundle is organized into tiers, where if you buy a more expensive tier, you get all of the content at the lower tiers. 

The tiers in this bundle consist of:

1$ Tier

  • How to Get A Job in the GameDev Industry
  • Finish It! Motivation and Processes for Game & App Development

20$ Tier

  • Locked content Blender Environment Artist
  • Git Smart: Learn Git The Fun Way With Unity Games

25$ Tier

  • Complete C# Unity Developer 3D
  • RPG Core Combat Creator
  • Complete C# Unity Developer 2D
  • Locked content Unity 3D Game Kit – Make Games Without Coding

All contents in the bundle consist of Udemy product keys, so you need to have a Udemy account and you have to redeem the keys within a year of purchasing.  As always you can decide how your money is allocated, between Humble, the publisher, charity and if you so choose (and thanks if you do!) to support GFS.  The bundle is available here, you can learn more by watching the video below.

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