AppGameKit Studio Beta

The Game Creators are working on a successor to their game framework AppGameKit, previously reviewed here.  The new product AppGameKit Studio builds on the existing framework while building a complete all in one IDE for game development.  This adds a scene editor, integrated code editor, debugging, online help and more together into a single application.  Key features from the website are:

Drag & drop assets to visualise your scenes
Code with AppGameKit Script
Easily browse app media assets
Run live debugging sessions
Access online help

AppGameKit Studio is currently in beta, but is available for purchase for a discounted price.  You can learn more about AppGameKit Studio here.  See Studio in action in the video below.

GameDev News


post

Zombicide coming to mobile next week no big deal

So you may not be aware, but Asmodee Digital launched a newsletter last year. I can’t exactly remember when but it was early 2018 I believe. By and large, it’s not the most useful newsletter in the world – it’s infrequent, a lot of the stuff it talks about we already know or is repeated, and generally it’s a bit vague even at the best of times. We do appreciate getting it though.

Case and point, the most recent newsletter lists these games are being ‘In Development’:

AD In developmentI mean this is fine – the Gloomhaven icon has a link to the official page, but the others don’t have anything. Some of this we knew, some of this we didn’t, but without any information regarding platforms, price, time-table etc… it’s just a bunch of icons at this point. Again we appreciate it, but we can’t always do anything with what it contains.

Then, every so often, there will be some utter bombshells, dropped in ever so casually:

Zombicide MobileSo yeah, Zombicide. April 24th. Mark your calendars I guess… we knew this was coming, but there hasn’t really been a peep out of the studio on this since it was announced so to suddenly learn it’s release next week is a bit of a surprise. The “finally” comment throws me me a bit – I mean, it’s not even out on Steam, so it’s not like we’ve been waiting around watching our PC-based brethren play this while we clutch our mobile phones in frustration. Unlike with their legions of other PC-only digital board games.

All that aside, another milestone in board games is only a week away. It’s good that we’re seeing both iOS AND Android ports at the same time. We’ll try and have a review ready for when it drops.

Unity 2019.1 Released

Hot on the heels of their 2019 GDC presentation, Unity 2019.1 was released today.  The 2019.1 release saw several of the key pieces of technology announced back in 2018.1 finally come of age, losing their preview tag and now considered appropriate for use in production environments.  These technologies include:

  • Light Weight Render Pipeline (LWRP)
  • Burst Compiler
  • Shader Graph

Unfortunately the HDRP isn’t quite ready for production use, but it did receive several new features in this release as well.  Additionally there were several new or improved packaged in both experimental and preview formats including GPU lightmapping, new DOTS based rigging, DOTS based physics, DOTS based audio and much more.

Oh… and the Linux editor is now out of experimental and is now considered preview.

You can learn a great deal more about this release on the Unity Blog, or read the full release notes available here.  Or you can watch our hands-on video available below.  Unity 2019.1 is available for download right now via the Unity Hub.  The Linux preview is available for download here in AppImage format.

GameDev News


post

Review: This War of Mine: Stories – Father’s Promise

By Matt Skidmore 16 Apr 2019

I can still remember playing games such as Commando and Operation Wolf at my local arcade. Back then my only concern was that I had enough coins left for another go; It was a time when we blasted our way through waves of enemies without a second thought. This War of Mine was released on mobile devices back in 2015 (following a steam release the year before). It received pretty much universal acclaim for its brave attempt to shift the focus of war from frontline combat to the day-to-day struggle for survival of everyday citizens.

It draws on the experiences of normal people who were forced to question their values and morals in order to eke out a living in a war-ravaged city.  Twenty years before the game’s release the Bosnian War raged and the people of Sarajevo were in the midst of the longest capital city siege in modern warfare. It was this bloody siege that inspired Polish game developers 11 Bit Studios to make This War of Mine.

Fathers Promise 1

The original game is one of survival, in which the player leads a group of citizens in their struggle for existence. There are different scenarios, but in essence, gameplay involves savaging for food and supplies and crafting new workstations and equipment. All of this whilst avoiding the attention of soldiers and other hostile groups. The aim is to ensure that your people survive long enough to witness the announcement of the ceasefire so that they can rebuild both their city and their lives.

On some platforms, the Father’s Promise storyline was offered as additional DLC to the original game, but on mobile devices it is being sold as a standalone game. The game’s cheap price point, the short length and simplified options make it a great way to sample the This War of Mine experience without the need to invest in the full game. Father’s Promise takes a much more personal approach than the original game, focusing on the relationship between a father and his young daughter. It is a game where the story is all-important so I will have to tread lightly for fear of giving too much away.

Fathers Promise 2

Suffice to say, Adam has lost his wife and now his sole purpose is to care for his desperately sick daughter, Amelia. Recently widowed, tired and hungry, Adam’s situation is a desperate one. He cannot even trust his brother, who simply sees Amelia as a ticket to escape from the city. The brother’s plan is to make for a humanitarian checkpoint that has been established to allow the sick and the young to escape from the conflict. However, despite his brother’s protestations, Adam thinks that it is currently too dangerous for his sick daughter to make such a journey.

There is no disputing that the original game was bleak, but at least you had a group of like-minded people to rely on. Adam only has his traumatized and uncommunicative daughter for company and thus the feeling of solitude and desolation is brought to the fore. Adam has to split his time between gathering food and equipment and taking care of Amelia. She is in desperate need of medical help, but in a country devastated by war, drug supplies are not easy to get hold of, not even on the black market.

Fathers Promise 3

By day, Adam crafts equipment and gathers supplies, but he is forced to cast his net ever wider. He has to leave Amelia alone for longer and longer periods of time, putting her at greater risk. By night Adam ignores his growing exhaustion to stand guard over his daughter. He stoically ignores his own ever-growing hunger in order to ensure that Amelia is fed. As Adam staggers ever slower from place to place there is the looming feeling that sooner rather than later something has to give and that an event even more awful is about to happen.

The focus on the story means that the actual gameplay takes a back seat. With only a single character to worry about there is a lot less asked of the player. Controls couldn’t be simpler, with points of interest being depicted with icons. Tap one and Adam will make his way to the point and interact. This may result in him tuning a radio, removing rubble or cooking dinner. To make his life a bit easier Adam can build tools, a shovel, for instance, makes removing rubble a much easier task. When Adam is really tired he slows down, which can make getting around a tad frustrating. There are a few stealthy elements, but nothing too challenging; the developers have a narrative to tell and they want you to reach the end. The story itself is quite short but certainly doesn’t pull any punches, maybe it is a little too emotionally exploitative, but I guess that is just a matter of taste.

Fathers Promise 4

Despite having been initially released as DLC, Father’s Promise still works remarkably well as a standalone game. The music is haunting and dramatic, often accompanied by the background sounds of gunfire and explosions. The gloomy monochrome images of ruined apartments and debris-strewn streets set the bleakest of tones. Adam and the other characters are tiny, in stark contrast to looming landscapes that he has to explore. It really brings to light the enormity of the odds that are stacked against him.

It is extremely tough to take such an emotionally charged story and turn it into a game without trivialising the subject matter. This is especially true when that subject matter is based on events that are still so recent and raw. Shifting the focus from group survival to one man’s efforts to protect his daughter makes for an even more personal and harrowing experience. Father’s Promise highlights both the terrible and the inspiring sides of human nature. Initially, it seems that everyone that Adam meets has their price and is intent on looking after number one. However, despite the suffering and devastation Adam still fights selflessly for his daughter. It will not take you that long to reach the end, nor will it prove too taxing but it will certainly leave a lasting impression.

post

Warhammer Quest 2 Easter Sale Makes Starting the End Times Cheaper than Ever!

By Joe Robinson 15 Apr 2019

Granted, as much as we enjoyed 2013’s Warhammer Quest we weren’t quite as fond of the 2017 sequel Warhammer Quest 2. It’s not that it was a bad game, but at launch at least it lacked a lot of the tension and board game-like feels of the original entry.

Still, if there’s one thing we are fond of here at Pocket Tactics, it’s a sale. Developer Perchang are celebrating Easter this year by reducing the price of Warhammer Quest 2 right down to 1$, for an entire week starting today. This is on both iOS and Android.

That’s not a bad price to be fair, although the various IAPs, which are a mixture of class/race, weapons and two coin IAPs, remain the same price as before.

WHQ2 IAPsIf you’ve never played the game before and end up picking it up for the first time via this sale, let us know how you get on!

Unity Experimental Raytracing Release

Raytracing was one of the stars of GDC 2019 this year, with both Unreal and Unity announcing DXR support.  Unreal Engine support was available almost immediately with the release of Unreal Engine 4.22.   Unity users on the other hand have to wait quite a bit longer, with the first official release coming in Fall of 2019 or later.  Fortunately for the impatient Unity have released a highly experimental Unity build with raytracing support. 

You can download the experimental build from Github here with compiled zipped binaries available here.  To fully make use of this version you need to have Windows 10 version 1809 or higher installed as well as an RTX card (even with the updated drivers from NVIDIA, this install will not work on 10 series cards, unlike Unreal Engine). 

If you are interested in learning how Unity deals with real-time raytracing, you can download the PDF documentation right here.

GameDev News


Does Unreal Engine Real-Time Raytracing Work on Older GPUs

At GDC 2019, real-time raytracing was one of the marquee features.  Unreal was the first to market with DXR support added to Unreal Engine 4.22.  Unfortunately it also required you to have one of the newest generation video cards, an RTX 2060, 2070 or 2080.  Thankfully Nvidia also announced at GDC that they would be bringing DXR support to some older GeForce 10 series cards based on the Pascal architecture.   Does this mean you can now do real-time raytracing development on a older Nvidia GPU?  Let’s find out!

There are a few requirements before you can start:

  • an Nvidia 1060 6GB, 1070 or 1080 card (or of course a RTX 2060+ card)
  • Unreal Engine 4.22 or newer
  • Nvidia Drivers, 425.31 ore newer
  • Windows 10 Build 1809 or later

Be sure to launch Unreal Engine using the –dx12 flag, then enable raytracing in the project settings, the full process is documented here.  Watch the entire process and the mixed results in the video below.

So can you do raytracing in Unreal Engine using older cards?  Yes, yes you can… but the results aren’t perfect as of yet.  Once you have your raytraced project up and running, check here for documentation on how to configure raytracing in your project.

General


post

The Weekender: Simulator Edition

It’s been a bit of a slower week than I’d initially planned – I was away on Monday, but I was hoping to post up a review of Egypt: Old Kingdom yesterday. It released by accident when we mentioned it in a past Weekender update but we were expecting it to re-surface today – no joy though. Still as soon as it turns up we’ll have our review ready.

Hopefully you enjoyed reading out thoughts on Cultist Simulator & NecroDancer: Amplified. We’ve got plenty more reviews coming down the pipe now, and Nick’s even returning after a break for some feature work.

Meanwhile, in the world of mobile gaming…

Out Now

Solar Settles (iOS & Android) – Full review coming soon!

From the mind that also brought us Minos Strategos & Militia, Solar Settlers is essentially a worker placement game about space exploration and colonisation. It’s inspired by board game design, featuring a central grid and ‘cards’ that you can use to either gain resources or change a space on the board, provided you meet the placement requirements.

You only have a limited number of rounds to settle the required number of colonists, but colonists need oxygen to survive, which you have to harvest from nearby planets. You also need fuel hydrogen to move them around, and ores to play cards.

We actually meant to mention this last week, but it completely slipped my mind. I managed to take it for a quick spin last night, and it’s pretty interesting. A bit low budget, but the careful balancing act of moving your colonists around, getting the resources they need, but also ensuring you settle everyone in time (which you need to draw cards for) is pretty engaging. The game features challenges and a ranking system as well.

SFD ROGUE TRPG (iOS & Android) – Full Review Coming Soon!

The roguelike train keeps on rocking along, and we have a new one to offer up to the gods of permadeath this week. SFD seems to be a tactical RPG first, with roguelike elements, featuring randomly generated dungeons, turn-based combat, over 200 weapons, spells & other items as well as 7 adventures to try out.

There’s a free demo available for anyone who wants to give it a whirl first, which gives you access to a single dungeon floor. SFD stands for ‘Sigma Finite Dungeon’, apparently.

Construction Simulator 3 (iOS & Android)

Having spent my career covering PC games more than any other platform, I discovered the world of ‘Simulator’ games quite early. Like, the OG simulator games – Railway Simulator, Farming Simulator… it tickles me to learn that mobile is not immune to these pervasive, cumbersome games about drilling holes and driving around.

Construction Simulator 3 has been out since March, we think, but it recently got given a 1.1 update that brought it up to our radar. It’s mainly about driving around, building and/or repairing things, and this time it’s set in Europe. I mean, now it’s got the Liebherr LB28! That’s bound to have made someone’s day – apparently, it’s a drilling rig that lets you set better foundations for bridges. Yes mate. (Small caveat – there do appear to be IAPs for some kind of in-game currency.)

We’re also putting a shout-out for Aldarix the Battlemage, which is an android-only game that was described by the developer as “Kinda like Hoplie, but with spells”. I wasn’t able to give it a whirl in time for today’s tome, but if anyone does end up checking it out, let us know.

Updates

Reigns: Games of Thrones (iOS & Android) (Review)

Ahead of the imminent release of Season 8, The Game of Thrones Reigns spin-off has been given a free update with over 100 new cards which tie in with the upcoming show. We imagine there may be more than a few spoilers, so beware. There’s also a sale running on Android.

Marathon Trilogy (iOS Universal)

We our information to TouchArcade for this one – you should check out Jared’s write-up for the full story, but it seems that after six the free iOS ports of Bungie’s classic Marathon games are finally getting updates again. The first milestone dropped at the end of January that brought all three games up to speed and workable with iOS 12, and then different games have been getting additional patches in the months since.

I never played the Marathon games, but I’m a big fan of Halo, so I’m glad to see this part of Bungie’s history is still being cared for on mobile devices.

Ticket to Earth (iOS & Android) (Review)

Investing in Ticket to Earth is continuing to pay off. Episode 3 was finally released in December last year, and this week the game has received a new update that adds in new tutorials, as well as ‘rookie’ and ‘veteran’ difficulty modes that focus the player on either the story, or the tactical puzzles respectively. It’s also running a sale on iOS.

Sales

Going to do a quicker round-up than what we usually do this week, as it’s mainly iOS-only sales, sorry Android users!

Team 17 are running a sale on most of their iOS catalogue, and Overhaul have made Baldur’s Gate half price. It’s not the cheapest it’s been though, so you can probably afford to wait. Another PT favourite, Space Grunts, is going for a couple of dollars.

The only sale this week that’s on both iOS & Android is Age of Rivals, which is a great strategy boardgame.

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

Exporting Rigged Textured and Animated Models From Blender to Godot Tutorial

One of the most requested Godot tutorials I get is to cover how to export models from Blender to Godot and retain textures, animations and more.  Therefore I have created exactly that tutorial in both video and text formats, hosted on our sister site devga.me.  This tutorial is mostly in Blender, showing how to properly configure textures, an armature and create NLA strips so when exported “it just works” in Godot.  This example uses Blender 2.79 and Godot 3.1.

Don’t forget, if you want to learn Godot we have a complete Godot 3.x tutorial series available here, a step by step creating a full 2D game tutorial available here.  We also have Blender tutorials available in our tutorial section that should get you up to speed using the popular open source 3D application.

Art Design