Planet Gamedev

Gamasutra Feature Articles

How Samorost 3's stunning soundtrack came together

May 20, 2016 09:28 PM

Music and sound has always been central to Amanita Design's games. Get a great window into the process of creating the soundscape for the studio's latest, Samorost 3. ...

Indie distro platform Itch.io has a plan for the future

May 20, 2016 08:49 PM

Itch.io is leveling up its services, has announced a partnership with Finji to be the first and only platform to sell the anticipated Overland. Co-founder Amos Wenger shares the details of the site's plans. ...

Get a job: Psyonix is hiring a UI Artist to work on Rocket League

May 20, 2016 08:25 PM

Psyonix, the independent studio responsible for Rocket League, is looking for an experienced UI Artist to join the team working at its offices in San Diego, California. ...

Report: ISP now blocking online games in Morocco due to VoIP ban

May 20, 2016 07:59 PM

Word is spreading this week that Maroc Telecom, one of the largest ISPs in Morocco, has blocked access to many online games as it tightens its existing ban on VoIP (voice over IP)  traffic. ...

A year of sales data for premium-priced roguelike Cogmind

May 20, 2016 07:30 PM

"As is common with most (successful) indie games, community efforts play a large role in that success. At least a third of my time is spent writing blog posts, posting development updates, and on the forums interacting with players." ...

Don't Miss: Our 30th anniversary retrospective of Gradius

May 20, 2016 07:28 PM

Remember Gradius? Konami's stand-out 2D shooter franchise was released 31 years ago this month, and in this classic feature Hardcore Gaming 101's Kurt Kalata takes us on a stroll through its life. ...

Blog: Stealing from the movies

May 20, 2016 07:14 PM

"This article aims to encourage us all to learn from the mistakes that movies made along with their development as an industry." ...

Twitch signs on to stream the eLeague, TBS' televised eSports venture

May 20, 2016 06:57 PM

TBS and media firm WME | IMG will start broadcasting eSports on cable television next week, and Twitch has signed a multi-year deal to stream coverage  of the venture on its platform. ...

Videos of Nintendo-backed Minecraft Mario DLC trigger copyright crackdown -- from Nintendo

May 20, 2016 06:25 PM

This week Nintendo launched a free Mario-themed DLC pack for Minecraft on Wii U, and now YouTubers are complaining that videos of that DLC are being flagged for copyright violation -- by Nintendo. ...

Geeks3D Forums

ASUS - The Future of Ultimate Gaming Laptops

May 20, 2016 05:53 PM

Quote
The Future of Ultimate Gaming Laptops - A Glimpse

Movies are full of imagination and creativity, you get the sense that given time - anything is possible. From helicarriers to killer robots with AI, it al...

Gamasutra Feature Articles

Oculus puts the kibosh on 'hack' that let Vive owners play Rift games

May 20, 2016 05:39 PM

UPDATE Oculus VR updated its Oculus app this week, and among the changes are new "platform integrity" DRM checks that seem to block games in the Oculus Home hub from launching without a Rift. ...

With Disney Infinity's demise, what's the future of toys-to-life?

May 20, 2016 04:26 PM

Disney Infinity's cancellation is a huge blow to a billions-dollar video game category. What does Infinity's demise mean for the rest of the toys-to-life business? ...

Launching a premium, abstract puzzler on iOS in 2016: How did it do?

May 20, 2016 03:56 PM

"In February, we launched Ellipsis, a minimalist action puzzler with zero text. I benefited greatly from past sales reports and the developers who openly shared their numbers. I hope to pay it forward with this article." ...

Monument Valley revenues top $14 million two years after launch

May 20, 2016 03:41 PM

Monument Valley's lifetime revenue now stands at $14.38 million dollars, and is the result of 26.1 million downloads, and 50 million unique installs.  ...

Minecraft heading to China as Mojang signs NetEase partnership

May 20, 2016 02:06 PM

"We'll always embrace opportunities to bring Minecraft to new players around the world, widening our community, and giving us a new perspective on our game." ...

Clash Royale takes home top prize at inaugural Google Play Awards

May 20, 2016 12:56 PM

This week, Google took the time to honour the best Android apps and games at the inaugural Google Play awards. ...

Unexpected narrative: How would Samus Aran play Minecraft?

May 20, 2016 11:10 AM

"A linear game is merely a sandbox with a specific narrative. A linear narrative is merely a series of choices that have already been made in that sandbox." ...

The challenge of creating a brand new brand in fantasy MMO Crowfall

May 20, 2016 08:15 AM

"Establishing a new game company and an intellectual property can be very challenging in today's very saturated game market. This is the process we followed when creating the brand and identity for Crowfall." ...

Gamasutra Feature Articles

Early Access coming to Android via Google Play

May 19, 2016 11:07 PM

A new section called Google Play Early Access, which will include a "hand-picked group of promising open betas that haven't gone to production yet" is coming to Android phones. ...

How a triple-A developer takes global player feedback

May 19, 2016 10:29 PM

An alpha of Team Ninja's new game, Ni-Oh, was free-to-download on PS4. Now, the developer has revealed exactly what kind of change it's making based on feedback. ...

How Uncharted 4 was made accessible to more players

May 19, 2016 10:15 PM

"I think video games, for a lot of people, are often about being able to do things that you wouldn't normally be able to do... when you find that there are some people who can't enjoy those things, it's kind of crushing." ...

The Google Play store, and Android apps, coming to Chromebooks soon

May 19, 2016 08:56 PM

Today at Google I/O, the company announced that its popular computing platform will soon support Google Play -- letting a huge world of games onto the PCs. ...

Developers weigh in on working with Google's Daydream VR platform

May 19, 2016 08:52 PM

Google announced ten development partners while showing off its new Daydream VR platform, we checked in with a few to get their thoughts on developing for Google's new product. ...

Game From Scratch

Banshee Game Engine Preview

by Mike@gamefromscratch.com at May 19, 2016 08:27 PM

 

Let me warn you up front, this game engine is nowhere near production ready.  It’s very much a work in progress, with missing documentation, missing features and crashes are far too common.  This is certainly not a game engine to choose today for game development, that’s why this is just a preview instead of a Closer Look.  It is however a shocking capable game engine that you should keep your eye on!image

 

There is also a video available here.

 

What is the Banshee Engine?

So, what is the Banshee Engine?  Currently at release 0.3, Banshee Engine is an open source, C++ powered 2D/3D game engine with a complete game editor.  On top of that there is a managed scripting layer, enabling you to develop game logic using C#.  It is available under a dual license, LGPL and a Commercial “pay what you want” license... and yes, what you want to pay could be $0 if you so chose.

Banshee is available on Github, there are binaries available for download, although for now the engine is limited to Windows only.  The engine also only targets Windows at the moment, but is being written with portability in mind.

 

The Editor

Here is the Banshee Editor in action:

 

image

 

The layout is pretty traditional.  On the top left you have the various resources that make up your game.  Below that you have the Hierarchy view which is essentially your current scene’s contents.  At the bottom we have the logs.  On the right hand side is the inspector, which is a context aware editing form.  Of course centered to the view is the Scene view, which also has a Unity like Game preview window.  The interface is extremely customizable, with all tabs being closable, undockable or even free floated.  It works well on high DPI monitors and on multiple displays.  It does occasionally have issues with mouse hover or cursor and sadly tab doesn’t work between text input fields, but for the most part the UI works as expected. 

image

 

The 3D view you can Orbit the camera using RMB, pan with MMB and zoom in with the scroll wheel.  Of course LBM is used for selection.  There are the traditional per axis editing widgets for Transforms, Rotations and Scales.  You have a widget in the top right corner for moving between various views as well as shifting between Perspective and Orthographic project.  Oddly there doesn’t appear to be an option for multiple concurrent views, nor puzzlingly enough, are there axis markers ( color coded lines to show the location of X,Y,Z axis ).  The editor idles nicely, using only 4% or so CPU at idle, meaning the engine is fairly friendly to laptop battery life.

 

There are several built in Scene objects, including geometric primitives.

image

 

The engine also takes an Entity/Component approach, with several components built in that can be attached to a Scene Object:

image

 

Importing assets into the engine is as simple as dragging and dropping to the Library window:

image

With a  resource selected, you can control how it is imported in the Inspector:

image

 

The importer can handle FBX, DAE and OBJ format 3D files as well as PNG, PSD, BMP and JPG images.  You can also import fonts as well as shaders, both GLSL and HLSL formats.

 

Coding

Coding in Banshee is done in one of two ways.  You can extend the editor and engine using C++ code.  The code itself is written in modern C++ 14, although documentation on native coding is essentially non existent at this point in time.

For games, the primary going interface is using C#.  It current supports C# 6 language features.  To script a component, create a new Script in Resources panel:

image

 

Next, select a scene object, then drag and drop the script onto the bottom any the form in the inspector.  Double clicking the script will bring it up in Visual Studio if installed.  The script will have full IntelliSense in Visual Studio:

image

 

Scripting a component is a matter of handling various callbacks, such as OnUpdate() which is called each frame.  You can access the attached entity (er... Scene Object) via the .SceneObject member.  Here is a very simple script that moves the selected object by 0.1 pixels each update:

namespace BansheeEngine
{
	public class NewComponent : Component
	{
		private void OnInitialize()
		{
		}
		
		private void OnUpdate()
		{
			this.SceneObject.MoveLocal(new Vector3(0.1f, 0.0f, 0.0f));
		}
		
		private void OnDestroy()
		{
		}
	}
}

 

Documentation

This is very much a work in progress.  Right now there is a solid reference for the Managed API, the Native API (C++), but the tools user manual is essentially a stub.  There is an architecture cheat sheet which gives a pretty broad overview of the engine and how the pieces fit together.  There is also a guide to compiling the engine from source.  For those that are interested in giving things a go from C++ only, there is a C++ game example available here.  Unfortunately there are no downloadable projects or managed examples, a glaring flaw at this point that make it a lot harder to learn.

As of right now, the lack of editor documentation or samples to get started with, really do make it hard to learn, especially if you are trying to figure out if something isn’t working because you are doing it wrong, the feature isn’t implemented or there is simply a bug.

That said, these are all things that should improve in time.

 

Conclusion

This is a game engine for early adopters only.  It’s not even close to ready for primetime.  On the other hand, the kernel or core is there and remarkably robust.   While not the most stable by any stretch of the word, and with lacking documentation, I think you will be surprised with just how capable this engine actually is.  The potential for a great game engine is here under the surface, just waiting for a community to make it happen.

 

The Video



Gamasutra Feature Articles

Get a job: Be a Cinematic Artist at Telltale Games

May 19, 2016 08:10 PM

Minecraft: Story Mode developer Telltale Games seeks a Cinematic Artist to work on games alongside the rest of the team at the company's San Rafael, CA headquarters. ...

SF-based Make School adds VR dev to its summer schooling program

May 19, 2016 08:04 PM

Heads up, would-be VR devs: The Make School, a relatively new two-year "product academy" based out of San Francisco, has added a new virtual reality development track to its summer academy program. ...

343 tries its hand at bringing Halo 5's Forge creation tools to PC

May 19, 2016 07:14 PM

343 Industries is trying something odd with the Halo franchise, as it plans to launch the Halo 5: Guardians "Forge" editiing tools -- but not the game itself -- on Windows 10 later this year. ...

Ubisoft aims to launch a mobile Assassin's Creed MMORPG in China

May 19, 2016 06:45 PM

Ubisoft and Chinese mobile game publisher OurPalm have come to an agreement that will see the pair collaborating on a mobile MMORPG for China based on Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed franchise. ...

Don't Miss: How 343 rethought level design for Halo 5

May 19, 2016 06:29 PM

In this classic conversation, Halo 5: Guardians design team members speak to how and why they had to re-evaluate their approach to level design for the game's revamped combat encounters. ...

The top 5 secrets of mobile ad network payout

May 19, 2016 06:27 PM

"I'm always amazed by how little publishers know about what's going on behind the scenes of the ad-networks that drive most of their revenues. I believe knowledge is power so I hope this will serve as a resource." ...

Investors pour $4.5M more into eSports coaching tool startup

May 19, 2016 06:20 PM

Dojo Madness, the Berlin-based startup that's trying to make a business out of providing eSports coaching tools, has raised $4.5 million in Series A funding from current and new investors. ...

Study: Smartphone sales are rising, and most of them are Android

May 19, 2016 06:02 PM

Market research firm Gartner reports worldwide smartphone sales are up year-over-year for the first quarter of 2016, and Android devices make up an increasing majority (84.1%) of those sales. ...

Blog: Why I asked the Chrome team not to kill Flash support

May 19, 2016 05:49 PM

"I think because you do not understand Flash and Air, and especially the very passionate community of developers behind it, you are missing out on great potential." ...

GDC Europe: See how Obsidian designed and developed Pillars of Eternity

May 19, 2016 05:24 PM

At GDC Europe, Obsidian's Josh Sawyer willl speak frankly about the technical/creative challenges of developing crowdfunded PC RPG Pillars of Eternity to be a "retro classic" with contemporary design. ...

Unity throws its support behind Google's new Daydream VR platform

May 19, 2016 04:49 PM

Google has a new VR platform, Daydream, and Unity will "be there, we are there; it'll be native inside of Unity," said Unity chief John Riccitiello at Google's I/O developer conference today. ...

Google's new VR headset gets Unreal Engine 4 support

May 19, 2016 04:30 PM

Google's new Daydream virtual reality platform is getting the support of one of the biggest game engines on the market. ...

Geeks3D Forums

AMD - Unlock the Rasterizer with Out-of-Order Rasterization

May 19, 2016 04:29 PM

Full-speed, out-of-order rasterization

If you’re familiar with graphics APIs, you’re certainly aware of the API ordering guarantees. At their core, these guarantees me...

AMD GPU PerfStudio 3.5

May 19, 2016 04:26 PM

 What’s New in V3.5?



 New Features

  • New – DirectX 12 support has improved with greater stability and improved performance
  • NEW – Support for Liq...

NVIDIA GeForce driver 367.18 for Linux, FreeBSD and Solaris

May 19, 2016 04:16 PM

 

Linux 32-bit ARM Display Driver BETA367.18May 19, 2016
[...

Deep G-Buffers for Stable Global Illumination Approximation

May 19, 2016 04:03 PM

Quote
We introduce a new hardware-accelerated method for constructing Deep G-buffers that is 2x-8x faster than the previous depth peeling method and produces more stable results. We then...

AMD GeometryFX v1.2

May 19, 2016 03:52 PM

Update GeometryFX to v1.2
 

v1.2 updates from @Anteru * Mostly the addition of cluster culling


[IMG]http...

AMD TressFX 3.1

May 19, 2016 03:46 PM

Update docs with info on new ShortCut method


Google supercharges machine learning tasks with "Tensor Processing Unit"

May 19, 2016 03:37 PM

  Google supercharges machine learning tasks with TPU custom chip

Machine learning provides the underlying oomph to many of Google...

Gamasutra Feature Articles

Epic doles out $75,000 in Unreal Dev Grants

May 19, 2016 03:26 PM

Epic Games has awarded another $75,000 in unreal dev grants, offering financial support to developers Daedalic Entertainment and Right Nice Games.  ...

Geeks3D Forums

Dota 2 - Vulkan support is imminent

May 19, 2016 03:11 PM

https://www.reddit.com/r/vulkan/comments/4jzvy0/dota_2_vulkan_support_is_imminent/



Gamasutra Feature Articles

Experimenting with mobile: Lessons about dev, marketing learned on a test project

May 19, 2016 03:00 PM

"I released a game I'm not totally ashamed of, which was my primary objective; I learned a lot of things, on various subjects, and I gained some confidence on my abilities." ...

Game From Scratch

Google Release Android Studio 2.2 Preview

by Mike@gamefromscratch.com at May 19, 2016 02:52 PM

 

At Google.io, along with the announcement of VR Mode in Android N, Google announces a preview release of Android Studio 2.2.  Android Studio is a free IDE for Android development based off the popular IntelliJ Java IDE.

 

Details of the new release:

Android Studio is the quickest way to get up and running with Android N and all our new platform features. Today at Google I/O, we previewed Android Studio 2.2 - another big update to the IDE designed to help you code faster with smart new tooling features built in. One of the headline features is our rewritten layout designer with the new constraint layout. In addition to helping you get out of XML to do your layouts visually, the new tools help you easily design for Android’s many great devices. Once you’re happy with a layout, we do all the hard work to automatically calculate constraints for you, so your UIs will resize automatically on different screen sizes . Here’s an overview of more of what’s new in 2.2 Preview (we’ll be diving into more detail this update at 10AM PT tomorrow in “What’s new in Android Development Tools”, livestreamed from Google I/O):

  • Speed: New layout designer and constraint layout, Espresso test recording and even faster builds
  • Smarts: APK analyzer, Layout inspector, expanded Android code analysis and IntelliJ 2016.1
  • Platform Support: Enhanced Jack compiler / Java 8 support, Expanded C++ support with CMake and NDK-Build, Firebase support and enhanced accessibility

Google Announce VR Mode For Android N

by Mike@gamefromscratch.com at May 19, 2016 02:48 PM

 

Google.io is currently going on, Google’s annual developer conference.  In a world currently dominated with VR announcements, did you really expect no VR announced from Google?  Yeah, me neither.

 

The following is from the Android developer blog:

Android was built for today’s multi-screen world; in fact, Android powers your phone, your tablet, the watch on your wrist, it even works in your car and in your living room, all the while helping you move seamlessly between each device. As we look to what’s next, we believe your phone can be a really powerful new way to see the world and experience new content virtually, in a more immersive way; but, until this point, high quality mobile VR wasn’t possible across the Android ecosystem. That’s why we’ve worked at all levels of the Android stack in N–from how the operating system reads sensor data to how it sends pixels to the display–to make it especially built to provide high quality mobile VR experiences, with VR Mode in Android. There are a number of performance enhancements designed for developers, including single buffer rendering and access to an exclusive CPU core for VR apps. Within your apps, you can take advantage of smooth head-tracking and stereo notifications that work for VR. Most importantly, Android N provides for very low latency graphics; in fact, motion-to-photon latency on Nexus 6P running Developer Preview 3 is <20 ms, the speed necessary to establish immersion for the user to feel like they are actually in another place. We’ll be covering all of the new VR updates tomorrow at 9AM PT in the VR at Google session, livestreamed from Google I/O.

 

So basically they are baking much of the functionality required to support VR directly into Android N.  On top, they also released a reference device for developers and manufacturers to build their own Android N powered VR device, including this controller:

image

It has built-in sensors for helping to determine position along with a a trackpad for fine tuned control.

 

It appears that Google intends to leave device development up to others.   In an already saturated market, it will be interesting to see if this approach works.  Frankly the only real selling point I see for Android powered VR is the price point ( since the phone provides the CPU, GPU, Screen, etc ), but the GearVR is already in place and is the best selling VR Headset available.

Gamasutra Feature Articles

Kojima Productions' first game to use third-party engine

May 19, 2016 02:28 PM

Hideo Kojima has revealed that Kojima Productions' first project will be built using a third-party engine, explaining his recent, widely-tweeted, world tour has been something of a shopping trip. ...

Kojima on adapting to players and the problem with perfectionism

May 19, 2016 01:50 PM

"Players have a lot of choices. As a developer, you have to adapt to your customers' lifestyles. Maybe that means mobile, or endless multiplayer. You can't dictate." ...

Reducing banding and dithering in in-game lighting

May 19, 2016 10:59 AM

A technical post on reducing lighting artifacts: "more samples are always better, but even at higher sample counts, dithering makes a huge improvement in quality." ...

This week in video game blogging: Health and nature

May 19, 2016 08:02 AM

This week, our partnership with game criticism site Critical Distance brings us picks from Zoya Street on how games are finding new ways to portray health. ...

5 tips on making great DLC from Dying Light: The Following devs

May 19, 2016 08:01 AM

The developers of the well-received expansion Dying Light: The Following share advice and lessons on the many different aspects of making great DLC. ...

Gamasutra Feature Articles

Grand Theft Auto V tops 65 million shipped units

May 18, 2016 11:12 PM

The cross-generation mega-hit keeps on selling, with 13 million sold in the last year despite shipping on only one platform during 2015. ...



Apple classifies Palestinian-developed game as not a game, due to war theme

May 18, 2016 10:17 PM

Rasheed Abueideh has been instructed to reclassify his game in the App Store and remove all references to it being a "game" out of its descriptive text. ...

Take-Two turns in expected full-year results, as GTA continues to shine

May 18, 2016 08:48 PM

The launch of XCOM 2 and continued success of GTA helped the company do better than anticipated for its most recent quarter, and full-year results were in line with expectations. ...

Procedural World

Terrain Synthesis

by Miguel Cepero (noreply@blogger.com) at May 18, 2016 09:35 PM

This is just a teaser. We are still working on this, but we got some results that are already good enough to show. It is not about where terrain types appear (that was covered here and here), but how a particular terrain type is generated.

We want to make procedural generation as accessible as possible. Just like a movie director who shows a portfolio of photos and concept art to the CGI team and just says "make it look like this", we wanted the creator to be entirely clueless about how everything works.

This is how it feels to create a new terrain type. You provide a few pictures of it and we take it from there:


This system builds a probabilistic model based on the samples you provide. That is enough to get an idea of the base elevation. On top of that, several natural filters are applied. It turns out we do know a bit more about this landscape. We know how dry it is, what is the average temperature among other things. The only fact we are missing and have to ask about is how old do you think this is. The time scales range from hundreds of millions of years to billions of years. (If you believe your terrain is 6000 years old we cannot accommodate you at the moment.)

You can provide one or more sample pictures. The more pictures you provide, the better, but just one picture is often enough. Ready to see some results? The following terrains were synthesized out of a single photo in every case (do not mind the faux coloring, this is only to indentify the different terrain layers for now):




Providing multiple samples creates some sort of mix, similar to how you find both mother and father features in their kids:


This works with any kind of image. It could be some fancy concept art as seen below:


The natural filters in this case added some realism to the concept, and eroded some of the original hill shape. This could be avoided if you are after a more stylized look. But if you are short on time, and want to prototype different realistic terrains, the ability to quickly sketch something and feed it to the generator is a big help.

Of course you can still look under the hood and tinker with generation frequencies, filter parameters, etc. You can still have terrain models imported from Digital Elevation Models, or from third party software like World Machine. The key here is you do not have to anymore.

I'd be glad to enter into details of how this works if you guys are interested. Just let me know. I still owe the Part 2 of the continent generation. That should come shortly.



Gamasutra Feature Articles

Riot owner Tencent to launch League of Legends-ready console in China

May 18, 2016 08:20 PM

Chinese firm Tencent has unveiled a new Windows-powered console, manufactured in partnership with Intel and Haier, that's capable of playing games like League of Legends and Monster Hunter Online. ...

Get a job: Thekla is seeking a 3D Artist/Animator

May 18, 2016 08:01 PM

"You should be someone who can work in interesting, creative styles, and have the imagination and self motivation to take an abstract mockup and turn it into something stunning and meaningful." ...

Video: Killer Queen and the value of embracing the arcade community

May 18, 2016 07:32 PM

In this interesting GDC 2016 talk, Josh DeBonis and Nikita Mikros of BumbleBear Games discuss the unique and influential communities growing around their new hit arcade game Killer Queen. ...