No-code or codeless systems are becoming more and more common among game engines and they offer a few benefits. Using a visual programming language enables non-programmers to interact with the code in a more tactile way, while the code itself tends to be a bit more self documenting then most scripting or programming languages. Make no mistake, you are still programming, you just aren’t typing in lines of code in a text editor, instead you script logic by defining events and properties or by connecting nodes together in a graph.
In this article we are going to look at the majority of codeless options among modern game engines, both 2D and 3D.
CryEngine is a AAA calibre game engine with a visual programming language named Schematyc. It is designed to enable programmers to expose portions of their game logic to designers. Writing a full game in Schematyc is not really the purpose.
The Godot game engine has a Visual Scripting Language, with much of the same functionality of GDScript. You can mix and match between the two scripting styles in the same game. Honestly though, it’s not really that useful yet.
Unity doesn’t actually support Visual Scripting, although a Visual Scripting language is in the works for a 2019 release. In the meanwhile there are several addons adding a Visual programming language such as Bolt.
Unreal has perhaps the most robust visual programming language in the form of Blueprint, that can be used for everything C++ can, beyond changing the engine code itself. It is also perhaps the most complicated visual programming language on this list.
Stencyl is a game engine using a lego style brick approach to programming. There is a free version available and the visual programming language ultimately generates Haxe code, which you can also code with.
Pixel GameMaker MV is a complete commercial game making package from the same publisher as RPGMaker. It uses a visual programming system and property based programming model. It’s also pretty awful, IMHO.
If you are looking for a tool to quickly create complex shaders by mixing and matching existing shaders, ShaderFrog might be the perfect tool for you! Running entirely in your browser, ShaderFrog can be used to create WebGL shaders in two ways. First you can create a shader by connecting together existing shaders, to create a new composite shader. Shaders can even be imported from ShaderToy or the GLSL Sandbox.
In addition to the composition based approach, there is also a full blown GLSL text editor with automatic compilation/error reporting, syntax highlighting and more. Once you are happy with your created shader, you can save it, share it, or export it to iOS, Unity or Three.js.
Check out ShaderFrog in action in the video below.
Several weeks ago, Godot 3.1 finally shipped after a year of development. Since then, several details and hints about what are coming in the 3.1 release have become available. This post is gathering all of those details together in a single place.
There have been a few posts on the Godot website detailing 3.1 features:
In addition to these announced features, several more have been discussed on Twitter.
Now what’s not happening in Godot 3.2:
Godot 4.0 is a release much further down the road and will include the Vulkan renderer and other improvements. For details on the 4.0 release check out this previous post.
We just published a brand new 18 part text tutorial series over on DevGa.me, Getting Started with Godot Step by Step Tutorial Series. This tutorial walks you through the entire game creation process using Godot 3.1, from creating your initial project, to publishing your game with details step by step instructions and screen shots. Even better it’s got professional quality art assets from Game Developer Studios and is completely open source!
If you need more detailed information on any subject we cover, be sure to check our existing Godot 3 Tutorial series, that goes into much more technical detail. There will be a step by step video version available shortly. There is also a 70pg PDF version of this tutorial available for Patreons.
SKIP, previously known as Reflex, is a general purpose programming language developed as a research project at Facebook over the last 3 years. Facebook have finished development and authorized the language lead developer to release the project as open source. SKIP is available on Github under the MIT source license.
The leader developer made the following Tweet announcing the release today:
You can learn more about the language at http://skiplang.com/. The language can be downloaded as a Docker image, with full installation instructions available here. There is also a web based playground application for trying out SKIP on the website. SKIP is described as:
Skip is a general-purpose programming language that tracks side effects to provide caching with reactive invalidation, ergonomic and safe parallelism, and efficient garbage collection. Skip is statically typed and ahead-of-time compiled using LLVM to produce highly optimized executables.
C++ has had a long run as the primary programming language for games, after taking the crown from C and ASM well over a decade back. In recent years more and more developers are moving towards more productivity oriented languages such as C#. What about developers that want to have the fine level of control of memory and low level access C++ provides, but want to get away from the complexity and cruft C++ has accumulated over the last 30+ years? That is the niche the Rust programming language hopes to fill. Rust is a systems programming language originally sponsored by Mozilla for use on the Firefox browser. Game developers have long been interested in Rust, but last week one rather large game developer became the first to adopt the Rust programming language.
Last week, Ready at Dawn CTO Andrea Pessino released the following tweet:
Ready at Dawn is a well established game studio known for games such as The Order: 1886, Daxter and various God of War titles. This tweet launched a far bit of interest in Rust, so I decided to start doing some research into the Rust echo system, a look at game engines and libraries available then promptly stopped…
Because this site, AreWeGameYet already did an excellent job of exactly what I was setting out to accomplish! So there… if you are interested in checking out Rust for game development, be sure to start there. Additionally if you are interested in learning a bit more about the state of Rust game development, as well as a quick tutorial on getting a Rust development environment up and running on Windows using Visual Studio Code using the Piston game engine, be sure to check out this video!
There are a few more tutorial chapters in active development. The existing content should already be enough to get you up and running using the Cocos Creator game engine! There will also be at least one video tutorial covering basically everything covered by the text series.
If you’ve recently been to the GameFromScratch tutorial series page recently you may have noticed the addition of a new Armory game engine tutorial series. It’s not actually hosted on GameFromScratch, instead it’s on our newly launched sister site (watch out, the paints still wet!) DevGa.me. Don’t worry though, nothings changed, it’s just a newer, cleaner, mobile friendly home for tutorial series, I’ll explain more about this later. For now, just be aware there is a new text and video based tutorial series on the Armory game engine under development!
Armory (or Armory3D) is a newly free open source cross platform game engine that runs inside and tightly integrates with the Blender application. If you are interested in learning more about Armory and why I’m so excited about it, be sure to check out Introduction to Armory video. The series is still quite young but already there is a fair bit to get you started. Right now the series consists of:
DevGa.me is not a blog format and does not have any news, it’s just home to tutorials. I will however announce new tutorials here on GameFromScratch, so stay tuned! If you want to discuss the new series, there is a conversation over on the Armory discussion forums or leave a comment below or on YouTube.
If you are a pixel artist, one of the most challenging tasks you have to deal with is handling multiple resolutions and aspect ratios that your game might run at. Thankfully if you are using the newest (Unity 2018.2b3 or later) version of Unity there is now a new component that makes this job borderline trivial.
The 2D Pixel Perfect package contains the Pixel Perfect Camera component which ensures your pixel art remains crisp and clear at different resolutions, and stable in motion.
It is a single component that makes all the calculations needed to scale the viewport with resolution changes, removing the hassle from the user. The user can adjust the definition of the pixel art rendered within the camera viewport through the component settings, as well preview any changes immediately in Game view by using the Run in Edit Mode feature.
Using the camera is simple, once the package is installed, it’s simply added to a camera and configure:
Your game should now scale gracefully across resolutions and aspect ratios. To see the Pixel Perfect Camera in action be sure to watch this video, also embedded below.