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The Future Of The Godot Game Engine

With the recent release of Godot 3.1 beta, it’s a good time to look at the future.  That is exactly what Juan Linietsky, lead developer on the Godot engine has done.  On Twitter he laid out his current roadmap for development priorities in Godot 4.0/4.1.

In a pair of tweets, he first discussed general Godot improvements, mostly around the renderer:

Godot

Then in a second tweet, he discussed Physics improvements:

Physics

Keep in mind, although Juan is the lead and perhaps most important developer on the Godot team, he is by no means the only one.  This means even though you don’t see a feature on the two above lists doesn’t mean it wont happen, as there is a vibrant community of developers adding new features to Godot.

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SpatialOS For Unity Shut Down By ToS Change

Earlier today Improbable released the following statement regarding their cloud based networking service SpatialOS:

Today we must regretfully inform our community of the following developments.

  • Unity’s block of SpatialOS: The game engine provider Unity recently changed (Dec 5) and then clarified directly to us (9 Jan) their terms of service to specifically disallow services like Improbable’s to function with their engine. This was previously freely possible in their terms, as with other major engines.
  • What this means: Unity has clarified to us that this change effectively makes it a breach of terms to operate or create SpatialOS games using Unity, including in development and production games.
  • Ongoing negotiation: Worryingly, this change occurred during an open commercial negotiation with the company to find a way to do more together.
  • Revoked Unity license: In addition, Unity has revoked our ability to continue working with the engine for breaching the newly changed terms of service in an unspecified way.  This will affect our ability to support games.
  • Continuing service for all other engines: Users of all other engines remain completely unaffected and we are working with other engine providers to see if they can help support engine transitions for customers hit by this change.

The updated Terms of Service section 2.4 from Unity now reads:

2.4 Streaming and Cloud Gaming Restrictions.

You may not directly or indirectly distribute the Unity Software, including the runtime portion of the Unity Software (the “Unity Runtime”), or your Project Content (if it incorporates the Unity Runtime) by means of streaming or broadcasting so that any portion of the Unity Software is primarily executed on or simulated by the cloud or a remote server and transmitted over the Internet or other network to end user devices without a separate license or authorization from Unity. Without limiting the foregoing, you may not use a managed service running on cloud infrastructure (a “Managed Service”) or a specific integration of a binary add-on (for example, a plugin or SDK) or source code to be integrated in the Unity Software or Your Project Content incorporating the Unity Runtime (an “SDK Integration”) to install or execute the Unity Runtime on the cloud or a remote server, unless such use of the Managed Service or SDK Integration has been specifically authorized by Unity.  Additionally, you may not integrate the Unity Runtime with a Managed Service or  SDK Integration and offer that integration to third parties for the purpose of installing or using the Unity Runtime on the cloud or a remote server. For a list of Unity authorized streaming platforms, Managed Services and SDK Integrations, click here.This restriction does not prevent end users from remotely accessing your Project Content from an end user device that is running on another end user device.  You may not use a third party to directly or indirectly distribute or make available, stream, broadcast (through simulation or otherwise) any portion of the Unity Software unless that third party is authorized by Unity to provide such services.

In a nutshell, the new ToS seem to prevent running any portion of the Unity runtime on a cloud based install without prior licensing of the cloud hosting company and Unity directly.  The timing of this is quite interesting following on the heels of a partnership between Unity and Google to provide cloud based networking services.

In the meantime, developers that built their game around Unity and SpatialOS are going through a bit of a rollercoaster ride of emotions right now, such as Spilt Milk Studio:

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Followed by:

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Unity have not yet released a public content although their forums are quite… lively.

UPDATE: Tim Sweeney, founder and owner of Epic Games was quick to comment upon Unity’s gaff here and to reassure Unreal Engine developers that this wont happen to them:

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GitHub Free Tier Now Includes Unlimited Private Repositories

Back in June of 2018, Microsoft acquired GitHub for an eye watering 7.5 Billion dollars.  This transaction took several months to make it through regulatory approval, with Microsoft finally taking control near the end of 2018.  Yesterday, we saw the first official impact of the ownership change and for end users, it’s a pretty good change.  The free tier of GitHub now offers unlimited private code repos!  This was arguably the biggest reason for many small developers to actually pay for a premium account, so for these developers, they can downgrade to free and save their money.  Now the major limitation between Free and Pro accounts is the number of collaborators in a private repo, with the free tier have a limit of 3, while the pro tier has no such limit.

Details of the new changes from the Github blog:

  • GitHub Free now includes unlimited private repositories. For the first time, developers can use GitHub for their private projects with up to three collaborators per repository for free. Many developers want to use private repos to apply for a job, work on a side project, or try something out in private before releasing it publicly. Starting today, those scenarios, and many more, are possible on GitHub at no cost. Public repositories are still free (of course—no changes there) and include unlimited collaborators.

  • GitHub Enterprise is the new unified product for Enterprise Cloud (formerly GitHub Business Cloud) and Enterprise Server (formerly GitHub Enterprise). Organizations that want the flexibility to use GitHub in a cloud or self-hosted configuration can now access both at one per-seat price. And with GitHub Connect, these products can be securely linked, providing a hybrid option so developers can work seamlessly across both environments.

Pricing for individuals now breaks down as follows:

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Not a bad first move…

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Xenko 3.1 Beta Released

Xenko 3.1 beta has just been released.   This is the first major point release since the Xenko project went open source this summer.  The primary focus of this beta is reorganizing Xenko to make it play nicely with the NuGet distribution system, although this refactoring has some very cool side effects.  Now you are able to use individual components of Xenko on their own.  For example, if you wanted to use the Xenko graphics library on it’s own, you can, independent of the rest of the Xenko game engine.  This release also moves towards Xenko using .NET standard.

Details of the release from the Xenko blog:

Xenko was always a big proponent of NuGet: since first version, Xenko was distributed as a NuGet package.

However, due to limitations (hello packages.config and project.json!), we were leveraging NuGet more as a distribution medium than proper NuGet packages: Xenko 3.0 is still a monolithic single package and it would not work out of the box when referenced from Visual Studio without using Xenko Launcher and Game Studio.

Xenko 3.0 paved the way by making Xenko compatible with the new project system (game projects were referencing Xenko using a PackageReference).

Today, Xenko 3.1 brings Xenko as a set of smaller NuGet package, each containing one assembly, with proper dependencies:

GitHub

As a result, it is now possible to create a game project that references only the packages you want. Here are a few examples of “core” packages:

  • Xenko.Engine: allows you to use core engine runtime (including its dependencies)
  • Xenko.Core.Assets.CompilerApp: compile assets at build time
  • Xenko.Core.Mathematics or Xenko.Graphics: yes, if you want to make a custom project only using Xenko mathematics or graphics API without the full Xenko engine, you can!
  • Xenko.Core.Assets, Xenko.Presentation or Xenko.Quantum: all those piece of tech being used to build Xenko tooling are also available for reuse in other projects. Nothing prevents you from generating assets on the fly too!

Then, various parts of the engine are distributed as optional packages:

  • Xenko.Physics
  • Xenko.Particles
  • Xenko.UI
  • Xenko.SpriteStudio
  • Xenko.Video

If you don’t reference those packages, they won’t be packaged with your game either. In many situations, it results in a smaller packaged game and improved startup time.

In addition to the above changes, you can take a look at the commit log on GitHub for other aspects that made it into the 3.1 release.


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Black Friday Deals For Game Developers 2018

As has become a tradition here on GameFromScratch, every year we track down and present the best Black Friday deals of interest for game developers.  This year is no imageexception, so here they are!  Although it is becoming less and less of a thing, this page will also track applicable Cyber Monday deals as well.  If you know of a missing deal, let me know in the comments down below and I will do my best to add it.

3D Coat (Store Link)

3D Coat is a 3D sculpting, paintings and PBR texturing application that is currently $100 off during Black Friday, valid through Nov 26th.

Adobe (Store Link)

Adobe are offering 25% off their entire creative suite annual subscription service.  This includes seminal products such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Animate and more.

APress (Store Link)

Any aPress published ebook for $7.

Affinity Paint/Designer (Store Link)

All Serif products are currently 30% off for Black Friday, including Affinity Designer, Painter and Painter for iOS.  If you want to learn more about Affinity Designer, check out our recent video.

Allegorithmic (Substance) (Store Link)

Save 33% on annual subscriptions for their Substance Suite of PBR texturing tools (Painter, Designer, B2M).  For more information on Substance Painter, check out our recent hands on video.

Amazon

Amazon is always heavily involved in Black Friday and sell a wealth of software and hardware that’s useful for game developers.  I will be updating this category as deals come online.

Asus GX501 15” Ultra Portable GeForce 1070 Laptop $400 Off

Corel Draw 30% Off

Corel Painter 2019 33% Off

CyberPowerPC PC Towers – @20% Off

Dell XPS 15 Laptop with 1050 Geforce $200 Off

Gigabyte Aero 15x 1070 Thin Laptop $550 Off

Google PixelBook 19% Off

MacBook Pro 13” $100 Off

MSI GS63VR Stealth $350 Off

Microsoft Surface Go 10% Off

Logitech MX Master 50% Off

Oculus Rift $50 Off

Razer Blade Stealth $200 Off

Samsung Monitors @25% Off

Samsung Tablets 33-44% Off

Smith Micro Software (Anime Studio, MoHo, Poser, etc) – Moho 30% off

CGTrader (Store Link)

CG Trader are offering up to 50% discount on 3D models this Black Friday.

ClipPaint Studio (Store Link)

ClipPaint Studio (the successor to Manga Studio) is an anime style painting application that is currently 50% off for Black Friday.

The Foundry (Store Link)

The Foundry are offering 30% discounts to Modo subscriptions and 15% off maintenance.

Humble Bundle RPG Game Dev Bundle (Store Link)

Technically not a Black Friday sale, but the Humble RPG Game Dev Bundle is going on during the same period.  Now with an improved license, you can get a ton of RPG related graphics, music and icons for a low price while helping charity.  I got hands-on with the bundle in this video.

Marmoset (Store Link)

Save up to 50% on all Marmoset Software, such as Toolbag, Viewer and Hexels.  See Hexels in action in this video.

Microsoft Store (Store Link)

The Microsoft store is an ecceletic mix of software, computers and devices, with a variety of items on sale during Black Friday such as laptops, tablets and VR headsets.

PluralSight (Store Link)

Pluralsight offer online training and courses.  Their Black Friday sale includes 33% off on subscriptions.

Packt Books (Store Link)

All eBooks and videos from Packt Publishing are available for $10 during the sale.

Quixel (Store Link)

Quixel’s sale doesn’t actually start until Black Friday.  Generally its a discount of their texturing software as well as their texture resources.

Safari Books Online (Store Link)

Safari Books is O’Reilly Press’ online book repository, offering full access to thousands of computer related books.  This sale, good through Monday, is good for 50% off an annual subscriptions, a $200 value.

Steam Autumn Sale (Store Link)

Steam is also having their annual autumn sale with tons of game development software available at discounted pricing.

TurboSquid (Store Link)

TurboSquid is offering select 3D models from their catalog for up to 40% off.

Udemy (Store Link)

Udemy is offering most of their thousands of online courses for $10 each.

Unity Asset Store (Store Link)

There are sales across the entire Unity Asset Store for Black Friday, generally 50% off or better.  Pretty much all kinds of assets are currently on sale, models, plugins, tools, you name it.  They have also organized several discounted bundles specifically for Black Friday.

Unity Essentials Bundle – 55% Off

Unity World Building Bundle – 55% Off

Unity Ultimate Characters Bundle – 55% Off

Unity Quick Prototyping Bundle – 55% Off

Unreal Engine Marketplace (Store Link)

Unreal Engine aren’t having a Black Friday sale… they are having a “Fall Sale”.  Same thing, different label.  Save up to 90% off on 3,100 items in their online asset store.  The “totally not a Black Friday” sale ends on November 27th.

YoYo Games (Store Link)

YoYoGames are offering 20% off all licenses for all GameMaker products.

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Some of the above links contain affiliate codes, meaning if you make a purchase through a link on this site you help GameFromScratch.

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Substance Painter Fall Update

Substance Painter, the popular PBR based texturing application, just received a major update.  The fall update comes with a completely new rendering engine resulting in better performance with lower hardware demands by incorporating Sparse Virtual Textures, which simulate large textures using less memory.  The new engine also supports up to 300 UV Tiles at once enabling support for massive scenes.  There are also several new tools aimed at mobile users including a new 2D viewport exporter with the ability to bake into a single high resolution texture and more.

Complete details on new features from the release notes:

Added:

  • Summary: a huge boost in performance, viewport upgrades, proper 2D view export, new UI helpers, an enhanced symmetry tool and new content
  • [SVT][Engine] Sparse Virtual Textures (SVT)
  • [SVT][Preferences][UI] SVT hardware support acceleration option
  • [SVT][Log] Additional information for Sparse Virtual Texturing feature (e.g. size disk)
  • [SVT][UI] Message window at start if size on disk too low for the cache
  • [SVT][Preferences][UI] Substance Painter global cache location
  • [SVT] New environment variable to specify the path of the cache of Substance Painter
  • [SVT] New environment variable to activate the SVT hardware support acceleration
  • [SVT] Detect sparse support by hardware
  • [SVT][Hardware Sparse] Raise minimum driver version for Nvidia GPU
  • [SVT][Shader][[Viewport][UI] Warn user if artefacts present with Sparse Virtual Texturing at project opening
  • [Anti-aliasing][Viewport] New temporal anti-aliasing filtering for 3D viewport (via Display Settings)
  • [Export] Export the content of the 2D viewport as a single texture
  • [Export][Dithering] Expose dithering at export
  • [Layer stack] Colors on layers and folders
  • [Layer stack] Quick activation and deactivation of multiple layers and effects
  • [Layer stack] Easier navigation for blending modes with up down keys and mouse scroll
  • [Proj][UI] Additional rotation manipulator on all three axis for triplanar
  • [Proj][Shorcuts] – and + to change the UV projection manipulator size
  • [Shader] Control coated layer parameters with channels in the PBR-coated shader
  • [Substance] Expose new mesh-based texture inputs for filters and generators
  • [Symmetry][Viewport][UI] Control symmetry offset with manipulators
  • [Symmetry][Contextual toolbar][UI] New symmetry panel with options
  • [Symmetry] New symmetry line intersection mode
  • [Symmetry] New symmetry clone cursor
  • [Symmetry][Shortcuts] Q to hide and -, + to change size and shift to snap
  • [Log] Improve error messages when unable to export textures
  • [Scripting] Allow to change or update the resources in Display Settings
  • [Scripting] Allow to create or remove channels in Texture Sets
  • [Content][Shaders] Add support for anisotropy with a dedicated shader (pbr-metal-rough-anisotropy-angle)
  • [Content] Update of the preview sphere with anisotropy and modified angle
  • [Content] Updated matFx shutline
  • [Content] New Texturing.XYZ seamless face scan
  • [Content] New anisotropic procedurals
  • [Content] New filter: baked lighting stylized
  • [Content] New environment map: studio automotive neutral
  • [Content] New project template: PBR – metallic roughness Anisotropy angle (with anisotropy channels)
  • [Content] New project template: PBR – metallic roughness Coated

Fixed:

  • [Color Picker] Painting cursor appearing when trying to pick a color
  • Crash by Selecting or Unselecting layers in a specific order can lead to crash
  • Crash when pasting as an instance a layer with a mask
  • [User Channel][Regression] Crash when renaming user channel
  • [User Channel] Grayed brush preview
  • [Alembic] Only one texture set from several materials after import
  • [Engine] Exported texture differs from viewport for brush stamps
  • [Engine] Invert with a level effect does not fully affect a texture
  • [Material picker is applying a brush stroke while picking
  • Switching resolution to 128x128px leads to a crash
  • Mesh map links are not updated properly when rebaking or instancing layers
  • [Substance] UserData ColorSpace does not work on Baked Mesh Normal requested as input
  • MDL association mismatch when using multiple shaders instances
  • [Symmetry][Fill Layer] Symmetry plane and its manipulator active in Fill Layer
  • [Viewport] Pivot point for translation not always updated after clicking
  • [UI] Fixed icons and removal of placeholders for HDPI monitors

Known Issues:

  • Computation freeze on AMD VEGA GPUs
  • Huion tablet issue with shortcuts on Windows OS
  • Anti-aliasing and shadows when active together may give unexpected results

You can learn a great deal more about this release in this blog post.

Art GameDev News


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Delver Source Code Released

The source code to the indie game Delver was just released under the GPL2 license on Github.  The release includes full source code to the engine and editor, but does not contain the binary assets needed to run the game.  Delver itself is available on Steam and can be purchased here.  Delver is a 3D roguelike game, a bit of a mashup between Spelunky, Minecraft and Ultima Underworld.  The source code is written in Java and is configured to use  the IntelliJ IDEA IDE.

Delver is described as:

Delve into the shifting dungeons on your hunt for the Yithidian orb, but getting it might just be the easy part. Delver is a single player first-person action roguelike dungeon crawler, just like you wished they used to make.
Slay monsters, blast wands, hoard potions, and loot everything.

  • A silky smooth mix of 90s FPS combat with classic RPG mechanics.
  • In these dungeons once you’re dead you stay dead. Permadeath means that when you die, you begin each run into the dungeon anew.
  • Tough as nails gameplay will test your skills, no grinding will save you here.
  • A procedural dungeon that will keep you on your toes, no two runs will ever be the same.
  • Delicious chunky pixels!

If you are interested in checking out the Delver source code, be sure to watch the following video for instructions on how to install, navigate and run the source if you are new to Java or IntelliJ development.

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Humble RPG Game Dev Bundle

The folks over at Humble Bundle are running another bundle of interest to game developers, the Humble RPG Game Dev Bundle.  It’s a large collection of RPG Maker (don’t worry, they can be used outside of RPGMaker in your engine of choice) assets including sprites, tiles, sound fx, icons and more.  Humble Bundles are collections with different priced tiers, with a portion of the proceeds going to the content maker, a charity of choice (Child’s Play in this case) as well as to Humble Bundle themselves.  I normally full heartedly recommend Humble Bundles to people, but this time I must give a bit of a warning due to the attached license.

From the license:

4.1. A “Licence” means that the Seller grants to GDN (purely for the purpose of sub-licensing to the Purchaser) and GDN grants (by way of sub-licence thereof) to the Purchaser a non-exclusive perpetual licence to;

(a) use the Licensed Asset to create Derivative Works; and

(b) use the Licensed Asset and any Derivative Works as part of either one (1) Non-Monetized Media Product or one (1) Monetized Media Product which, in either case, is:

i) used for the Purchaser’s own personal use; and/or

ii) used for the Purchaser’s commercial use in which case it may be distributed, sold and supplied by the Purchaser for any fee that the Purchaser may determine.

That 4.1 b is going to be a huge deal breaker for many people.  If you are intending to use these assets for personal use, the license wont matter.  If you are looking to distribute your works however, do be sure to go over the license with a fine tooth comb, as that clause seems to limit you to a single product, commercial or otherwise!  There is a discussion of the bundle going on over on /r/gamedev if you are interested in learning more.

EDIT – An update on the licensing terms.  The publisher of the assets have reached out to me on Twitter to announce they’ve heard the complaints regarding the license and are updating it to be more developer friendly.  Additionally I signed up for the Humble Bundle partner program, meaning purchasing through the above link will help support the channel.

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Materialize Free Texture Map Generation Tool Released

Materialize was just released for free.  What exactly is Materialize?  In the creators own words:

Materialize is a stand alone tool for creating materials for use in games from images. You can create an entire material from a single image or import the textures you have and generate the textures you need.

Materialize is production tested, having been used to generate metallic, smoothness and occlusion textures for the Uncharted collection.  It is very similar in scope and functionality to Substance’s B2M or the free ModLab.

Essentially you start by feeding it a diffuse map, which you can then edit as you desire, then create a height map, normal map, edge map, smoothness map, AO map and metallic map automatically.

image

Each step of the way you have fine tune control over how each individual map is created.  For example, here are the controls governing the creation of the normal map.

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You also have the ability to provide your own maps from file if you have them, simply use Materialize to generate the maps that you are missing.  There are also features in place for creating tiled maps.  Of course to go along with all of it, there is a real-time preview of the map you are creating, including multiple skyboxes and control over the post processing effects show in the preview.

realtimePreview

When you are done you are able to export your generated maps to a variety of different texture formats.  Just an all around amazing application and one that should be added to every texture makers toolkit!  Watch the video below to learn more and see Materialize in action!  There are also some tutorials available here if you wish to learn more.

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