Unity Release Three New Gamekits

In addition to their already released 2D Gamekit  (and the more advanced 3D Gamekit), Unity have released three new Gamekits to their Unity Learn portal.  The new gamekits include:

Each Gamekit includes a complete project downloadable from the Unity Asset store as well as a full step by step tutorial that average around 1 hour in duration.  They are designed to introduce users to Unity without requiring art or programming ability.  Each Gamekit is designed to be extended or customized by the user.  Learn more about the new gamekits in the video below.

GameDev News


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


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.

GameDev News


post

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


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.

GameDev News


De-Lighter Free Texturing Tool By Agisoft

Today we are taking a look at a free, cross-platform (Mac, Windows & Linux) texturing tool from Agisoft called De-Lighter.  The purpose is all in the name, it’s for removing the effects of lighting from a texture.  This is useful in removing specular highlights or shadows from a texture captured via photography or 3D scans via photogrammetry such as using Meshroom.

The workflow is simple enough, you enter a 3D object in a variety of 3D formats with the original texture applied.  You then mark the areas that are influenced by light and the areas that are shadowed and De-Lighter takes care of the rest.  This leaves you with a texture that is then light neutral for use in your own lighting set up, be it a 3D renderer or a real-time game engine.  Thanks to 80.lv for the heads up on this release.

De-Lighter is available for download, completely free and no registration required, right here.  Watch the video below to see De-Lighter in action.

GameDev News Art


Quadplay Console Released Free And Open Sourced

Quadplay, a fantasy console by CasualEffects, was just released for free, open sourced under the LGPL3 license.  Fantasy consoles are virtual consoles, often with specifications similar to classic hardware such as NES or Gameboy, often with a easy to use programming language, and Quadplay is no exception.

The specifications of the virtual hardware is as follows:

  • 60 fps @ 384 x 224 pixels = 12:7 aspect ≈ 16:9.3
  • 4096 sRGB (4:4:4) colors
  • Hundreds of built-in sprites, sounds, and fonts
  • Program in PyxlScript, a friendly Python-like language
  • Order-independent 4-bit (16-level) alpha transparency
  • Native 2.5D graphics via z-order
  • 9.4 MB of total sprite memory
  • Up to 64 sprite and font sheets of up to 1024×1024
  • Four 10-button gamepads (D-pad + ⓐⓑⓒⓓ + ⓟⓠ)
  • Optional 192 x 112, 128 x 128, and 64 x 64 screen modes
  • Free and open source

The console and programming environment is remarkably well documented.  The source code for quadplay is available on GitHub.  The name CasualEffects may seem familiar, they are also responsible for the G3D Innovation Engine we covered earlier, as well as the simpler Nano Jammer virtual console, among other projects.

Check out quadplay in action in the video below.

GameDev News


GameMaker 2.2.3 Released

YoyoGames have just released GameMaker 2.2.3.  If you have the Mobile version of GMS, you can now target the tvOS platform.  The release also contains a number of new features including DND (drag and drop) programming support for comments, several fixes and more.

Summary of the 2.2.3 release:

2.2.3 introduces tvOS as a new export target if you have the Mobile licence, the ability to add comments to your DnD projects (and lots of other DnD fixes), the option to turn off the file system sandboxing on Desktop platform, support for exporting asset packages locally so you can share with your team more easily, and better communication of when your licences are to expire. Plus, this release has a whole bunch of major stability fixes to stop startup crashes and various other issues whilst using the Windows IDE, and issues with keychain certificate trust settings and building for Ubuntu on the Mac IDE.

We have also changed the way we handle startup crash messages on Windows, so that now (should you even see issues after all the fixes in this release…) it’s a one-click report submission tool which automatically gets all the info we require for us to fix your issue and sends it directly to us without you having to file a Helpdesk ticket.

Be sure to check the full release notes available here for in-depth details of this release.  If you want to learn more about GameMaker Studio 2, be sure to check out our Closer Look available here or watch the video available here and embedded below.

GameDev News


post

Did Unity Lie About Enlighten’s Removal?

Yesterday we reported the news that Unity was removing Enlighten from future version of the Unity game engine.  I mentioned multiple times in that story that the following statement made very little sense:

Due to Geomerics shutting down Enlighten as a product, Unity is required to remove Enlighten.

Geomerics hasn’t operated Enlighten since 2017 when it was sold to Silicon Studio.  Since posting that story, we received the following comment from a representative at Silicon Studio:

image

There was additionally the following conversation on the Unity blog post:

image

To clarify then, Enlighten as a product isn’t going away.  From my interpretation of events, it seems Unity’s license for Enlighten was expiring so they decided to develop an in-house replacement instead of renewing a license with Silicon Studio.  Simply stating that would have been a great deal less misleading than the approach they took,  an approach that could arguably harm the perceptions of Enlighten going forward.

GameDev News


Unity Removing Enlighten Support

In a Unity blog post today, Unity announced that Enlighten support was being removed from the Unity game engine.  Enlighten is the lightmapping and global illumination solution used in Unity since Unity 5 was released.  Enlighten was original developed by Geomerics, which was acquired by ARM technologies in 2013, then the technology was sold to Silicon Studio in 2017.

Details of the removal on the Unity blog:

Due to Geomerics shutting down Enlighten as a product, Unity is required to remove Enlighten.

Unity will continue support for Enlighten in the built-in renderer as it currently exists today (as-is, with no new platform support). The 2020 LTS will be the last version to contain Enlighten functionality for the built-in renderer, and it is fully removed in 2021.1.

Projects authored with HDRP Preview Enlighten functionality will continue to be supported as it currently exists today (as-is, with no new platform support) in 2019 LTS, with full removal of Enlighten functionality from HDRP in 2020.1.

They are working on a solution:

We are also fully committed to delivering a real-time GI replacement solution in 2021.1. The Unity team has a solid plan to solve this complex problem the right way, with great artists workflow and optimal runtime performance for 2021.1.

Additionally, in the linked forum discussion are some good details on the limitations of the current Enlighten solution that will be addressed in their new in-house solution:

Enlighten has had a good run for the money, some of the best looking titles have shipped using it. However, some of the underlying principles means that it is not a good fit moving forward.
Enlighten is largely surface based, requires a global pre-computation phase and is limited to diffuse transport with no real support for physically based non-opaque materials. Some of the drivers moving forward are:

  • Fast iteration: Time-to-first-pixel needs to be fast, cannot have a lengthy pre-compute step.
  • Easy authoring: We need to remove the dependency on authoring suitable UVs and other surface based authoring.
  • Dynamic worlds: In addition to dynamic materials and lighting setup, we have to support dynamic geometry (eg. for procedural games).
  • Unified lighting: The lighting container needs to be decoupled from surfaces. This allows all scene elements to use the same lighting including volumetrics and participating media.
  • Large worlds: Due to the sheer size of levels today we need an easy way to to do localized light transport where what is lit and what is affecting that lighting is decoupled.
  • Source access: We need to have full access to all source in-house. So that we can independently drive development forward, fix bugs and support future platforms. This is arguably the most important point.

For these reasons we have decided that the best course of action is to no longer pursue software we have limited control over and move on.
That said the feature set that is available now will be supported until 2023 (via 2020 LTS), and we are happy to support you in the transition.

I’m still not entirely certain what they mean by Geomerics shutting down however, as it’s resources were sold way back in 2017 and everything seems to be business as usual.

GameDev News