News! Tech! Tools! Talks! Games! And Stuff Worth Sharing!

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Unread post by jonaz.dk » 13 May 2020, 14:48

Actually a game! But not a digital one.

150 vs 150 in The Battle of the Nations. Just pretty cool. :)
Or let me rephrase that. It's completely badass! :cool:
Mad props to the guys living out medieval warrior fantasy. But not only in front of the screen. But still with the safety of not losing a limb and critical liters of blood in the process.


Denmark also has a competing team in The Battle of the Nations. Which is awesome! :cool:
Sadly it's my impression that Denmark is sort of a pussy team that often looses. But I guess that's what to expect from our kind of soft motherly society we grew up in combined with a much smaller talent pool. Usually it's the likes of Ukraine and Russia grinding the opposition to a fine powder.


Anyways if your interest has peaked in this sort of physical game activity. There is Københavns Historiske Fægteklub. One of my colleagues used to teach there. It's a place to start! :cool:
https://www.khfk.dk/

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Unread post by jonaz.dk » 13 May 2020, 14:58

Cyberpunk adventure point and click game VirtuaVerse is out now.


And GOG
https://www.gog.com/game/virtuaverse


Lies Beneath coming to Oculus Quest



Huntdown is out on the Epic Store and consoles.
Just love the trailer and pixel art!

https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/p ... tdown/home

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Unread post by jonaz.dk » 13 May 2020, 15:03

Really nice advancement in fluid simulation!

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Unread post by jonaz.dk » 13 May 2020, 15:06

Valve's top tips for launching a game on Steam
The GamesIndustry.biz Academy delves into localisation, wishlists, game tags, and other tools to ensure the best possible launch on Steam
https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/ ... e-on-steam

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Unread post by jonaz.dk » 13 May 2020, 15:07

It's been out for a while now.

Afslører barske forhold i spilbranchen: Arbejder alt for meget - og tjener alt for lidt

Flere har forladt branchen, viser en medlemsundersøgelse om forholdene i den danske spilbranche fra fagforeningen Prosa.
https://www.dr.dk/nyheder/kultur/gaming ... r-alt-lidt

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Unread post by jonaz.dk » 13 May 2020, 15:15

What to Write So People Buy: Selling Your Game Without Feeling Sleazy

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Unread post by jonaz.dk » 13 May 2020, 15:16

Blizzard cofounder Mike Morhaime: Shared experiences are key to success in gaming

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Unread post by jonaz.dk » 13 May 2020, 15:23

A really useful link for developers looking for which version of Android, MacOS, iOS or Windows. By world region is the most prominent currently.
https://gs.statcounter.com/android-vers ... /worldwide

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Unread post by jonaz.dk » 13 May 2020, 16:38

Aaaaand Deep Rock Galactic 1.0 is finally out of Early Access!
Grats to the team at Ghostship Games! 🥳🥂🍾
May the already great success continue!

Rock and stone! 🗻


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Unread post by jonaz.dk » 13 May 2020, 19:01

Unreal Engine 5 revealed! Boom! 😯🤯😎
Coming 2021.
An absolute generational leap. Didn't expect this! UE4 next gen support was just announced.
I guess Xbox Series X support should be announced next for UE5. But the SSD should not be as fast as the PS5. So there might be some issues as the asset streaming would be quite taxing on the system. But i guess they should get there sooner or later. Perhaps at a decreased visual fidelity most likely. Time will tell.

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Unread post by jonaz.dk » 14 May 2020, 12:02

Humble Learning Game Coding and Development Bundle
Master in-demand skills that can help you to land your dream job, start your own business, or just have fun with an awesome new hobby! Get on-demand, project-based courses featuring video lessons, PDF notes, full source code, and offline access. Learn anywhere, anytime, and on any device!
https://www.humblebundle.com/software/l ... evelopment



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Unread post by jonaz.dk » 14 May 2020, 12:24

Oh damn!!! This is big! Epic moves aggressively yet again!

So basically for the like of 99% developers (*the ones making less than $1 million dollars) in gross revenue on their game...

The Unreal Engine is now completely* free!

It used to be $50,000 dollars. So this is HUGE!! for indiedevs especially.
This is far more a game changer than announcing new fancy tech.

Unity will have to respond on their pricing or face a long term substantial challenge of market share.
An even harder competitive environment has been kicked off for sure!

Unreal Engine is now royalty-free until a game makes a whopping $1 million
New royalty-free period, which is retroactive, has grown by a factor of 20 in 9 years.
https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2020/05/ ... ng-1-mill/


And also their Online Sevices is free for all developers. Doesn't matter if your are using a different Engine.
https://dev.epicgames.com/en-US/services

Also in the Epic news cycle.. in about 5 hours from time of writing. GTA 5 will be free on the Epic Store.
And the store is back online! After the big GTA 5 influx.
https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/p ... uto-v/home

A whole lot of Epic news to take in.

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Unread post by ZeroHero » 14 May 2020, 12:33

I wonder how Epic Games financially can pull this off. Is that sustainable business model?

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Unread post by jonaz.dk » 14 May 2020, 21:46

I'm pretty sure the internal projections made sense to them. Or I hope so! :D ;)
I guess they are still burning a lot of China funny-money and Fortnite is making the dough as their main sources of funding. Not forgetting the Epic store is also taking off and becoming a serious contender in the digital games store space.

They are indeed building an entire ecosystem like no other. Where the different areas feeds into each other.

I do not know their current economy in detail. Far from! I can only assume that it is favorable. They have been moving super aggressively of recent times.
A few years ago they were SUPER pressured. Then Fortnite was retrofitted with the battleroyale game mode and saved the day!

Fornite is still raking in a whole lot of money.
Tencent bought a 40% stake in them. And injected $330 million.
I guess their studio back catalog brings in a little. But nothing super crazy.
The Epic Store makes money I'm sure.
Also the Epic Marketplace. But not in the same league as the Store.
Expecting current and future Unreal Engine licensing to be (very possibly) financially viable.
Also they went into more of a Publishing arrangement. This has still to materialize as a source of income.

Quixel and their new opening up Epic Online Services for other developers is pure expenditure. But important building blocks in their ecosystem. Indirectly it will bring more developers into their ecosystem. Good for them!
I can only assume they are also developing more internal titles at the moment with a heavy price tag.
And they have been spending a whole lot of cash on filling up their Store and Marketplace with time limited free titles and assets. Bribing us all with free goodies. Hard to complain about.

All in all they bring in a lot of cash and they burn a lot of cash. I expect them to be around for a long time. While making money for Tencent as they go along. Technically supporting the CCP-regime's long term plans. :|

Unity will be fine I'm sure. But their current product and overall strategy is currently looking a bit more pressured in the long run than it used to.
Their original mission statement to democratize game development has certainly worked above and beyond.

Gamers and developers are certainly on the winning side from all this competition.

**Edit** you could also make the case that for developers. Competition will increase even more. So it's a give or take. Depending on if you are on the winning or loosing side of increased competition. Currently even solo developers or very small teams can make some quality-wise insanely good looking game productions. The recently freely available photogrammetry assets will only increase this. Overall it should mean more opportunities for developers.
And we will have to stand out. From initial concept to final delivery(ries). Find the niches we can fill. And be the most excellent game makers, community builders, IP wizards, business makers and marketers we can be. In order to stand a chance on the global market. While not breaking out backs completely in the process.
And with the all the talk of sustainable anti-crunch development. Which I whole wholeheartedly support. We need to be aware that there is always someone out there in cheaper countries (and cheaper is not even a prerequisite) also working smarter and harder. Giving it their best.
It's a train of increased competition that's not about to stop.

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Unread post by ZeroHero » 15 May 2020, 08:45

Nice thoughts Jonaz.

As amazing news as it is, I still can't help thinking that this probably won't get us better games anytime soon. Maybe it's the cynical side of me that is talking to me but we have seen it in the music industry as well. People use protools, digital editing software, auto-tune and quantized beats. Musicians have everything at their hands these days and yet, the last international musical breakthrough that took all teenagers by storm was the grunge wave in the early 90's. It seems that creativity goes out of the door when people get perfect tools to work with. When the sky is the limit creativity dies. People stop being creative when they don't have any limitations. Anyway, this is up for debate and maybe it's not a fair comparison.

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Unread post by jonaz.dk » 16 May 2020, 22:02

I guess there should be some coherent definition of creativity before going into a discussion. The definition may vary from person to person. :)
On creative paralysis from too many creative possibilities. The Unreal Engine 5 tools is not that much different, pretty much the same. Realtime lighting and hires assets just looks a good bit better now! The engine and toolset is already super powerful, enabling all kinds of creative endeavors. It will be as creative as usual. I don't really think it will become much of an issue.
Naturally we will see the same photogrammetry assets across multiple games. But this is not much different either from Asset Store assets in Unity that has been running for years and years now. Which does lead to some form of generic look of things in some situations. But it's really in the hands of creative people and how they choose to employ and/or modify this. And it is fundamentally empowering the individual or team to enable their vision at a faster rate. Or even at all. Albeit looking a bit generic in the end product. That's for sure.

Also I don't have the slightest worry about lack of creativity in games on a broad scale. Also with concerns to having more options for creative freedom in existing tools or off the shelf assets. There is so much happening all over the place. Also in the lower risk commercial space. And if you dig a bit under the surface there has already been an explosion in creativity across the board. Indie games, game jams, modding communities and content creators within games. Imagine all the kids being exposed to sandbox games from an early age. It will be crazy in a few years how much they will be able to do.
I believe it's the function of more creative people being exposed to more creative opportunities in so many ways. :)
There is even a few games exploring the deeper levels of assembly language. But sure.. much of what especially kids is exposed to is within walled gardens. Minecraft, Robolox, Fornite, Kogama, Dreams etc.
I think It's fundamentally the people factor. Creative people makes creative stuff regardless of platform or medium. Most people is that not 'that' creative. But usually they go for duplicating something they now well and love with some modifications. Within their own and the tools limitations. But over time these things evolve. Small interesting contributions here and there filters in to a larger picture. And sometimes a few people comes up with something super creative and original (if that is even possible with "true originality"). And it can push things forward if they strike the right notes of appeal and newness.
Also If you are too out there and hyper creative in your works. You will also run the risk of simply not connecting with most people. Which is also fine if that is your goal. You can't make something for everybody. So it's about finding your specific audience.

Overall I think the rate of new interesting stuff will increase with a larger audience of creators, platforms and tool-sets.



On another note. There was an UE5 tweet from Tim Sweeny claiming it is running fine on Xbox Series X and high end PCs. Sounds great!
I still suspect the lower SSD speeds on those system should still give a slight decrease in visual fidelity. But perhaps it's not really that noticeable under normal circumstances.

The biggest thing for consumers in the sheer size in potential data size. It's all in the hands of developers. But when they start using ultra hires assets. Game download and patch updates could very easily increase to inconvenient sizes. But let's see how it will be implemented. I'm sure there will be some fair moderation on file sizes. Or I hope so! :)

Also we are now at the level were triangles for high frequency/density meshes doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Let's say we are at peak triangle!
It could easily mean a whole lot of wasted data you never really see.
It did sound like there was some sort of internal conversion step when importing ZBrush hires assets. As always with Unreal Engine. They did show the ultra dense triangles drawn in the demo. So it can only be rooted in some variant of classical triangular geometry. But perhaps optimizing the meshes to something less memory and storage intensive on import.

Media Molecule has shown an efficient way of going in a different direction. The Dreams tech looks crazy. I'm pretty sure we will see more similar tech creeping into our game editors in the years to come. With more use of voxel/point cloud/distance field something something like data for surface representation.

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Unread post by jonaz.dk » 16 May 2020, 22:08

And in other news. LEGO Ninjago Movie video game is FREE on Steam and consoles.
I played a shitload of LEGO games with the kiddo over the years. I had it almost up to here. ;)
Broadly pretty decent coop games to enjoy with the younglings!
So if you have kids in the target group or is a child a heart. It's one more thing to add to the library,

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Unread post by jonaz.dk » 17 May 2020, 16:19

Sony has a 10 years plan with Dreams they say. So I guess an updated PS5 version could be on the horizon sooner or later.
In the mean time we can take a peek under the hood of the current system. Too bad they are not porting the tech to other platforms.
But who knows. Someone might pick up the mantle and create a more open system in it's absence. Even though it is a brutally tall order to deliver.

Dreams: Under the Hood with Alex Evans!



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Unread post by jonaz.dk » 17 May 2020, 16:28

There is also Core in the works. Now in open alpha. Kind of looks like Unity made in Unreal Engine.
But it should be a system designed to bridge the gap between sandbox modes in games. And the more advanced stand alone game engines. For the moment I assume it will be a walled garden.


More on:
https://www.coregames.com/

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Unread post by jonaz.dk » 19 May 2020, 12:05

King's game engine Defold now goes **CORRECTION** source available. It's already free. Only now it has less strings attached. If any even.
It looks like a pretty sweet entry if you are working on (mainly) 2D projects for web and mobile. I have a notion it's a pretty battle tested and polished solution. King has been using the engine for years.

Thinking that King is making it free available mainly as an indirect recruitment/training tool. They will have an easier time hiring and saving time on training. As potential candidates has a fair chance of being familiar with their tech. Seems like a win win for all!

** Previously it was reported Defold was now fully open source. That was not perfectly correct. It can be categorized as source available. I'm no expert on Open Source. But I guess that would be somewhat similar to how Unreal Engine source code works.

Image

https://defold.com/


A quick intro

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Unread post by jonaz.dk » 21 May 2020, 00:50

Megascans in UE4: Photoreal Environment Creation | Unreal Engine



In the latest blog post. Unity showcases the latest updates to their PhysX integration.


(Sorry couldn't resist!) :blush ;)

You can read more about it here
https://blogs.unity3d.com/2020/05/20/us ... -behavior/

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Unread post by jonaz.dk » 21 May 2020, 00:58

Oh yeah.. anyone tried working with Amazon's game engine Lumberyard? I tried to do an install a while ago. Just out of curiosity. And it was a nightmare!

Interestingly enough the limited experience I have with CryEngine 1,2,3 of which Lumberyard is based. Was pretty smooth sailing.

Oh well.. big tech and many chefs.... :rolleyes
At this current day and age I don't see Amazon picking up any game engine market share to speak of. With Epic's Online Services free availability. I don't really see a good spot in the market for Lumberyard anymore. And it wasn't super strong to begin with.

I guess I'm not the only one experiencing pain with Lumberyard.

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Unread post by jonaz.dk » 21 May 2020, 20:21

Console versions hitting the street of

What the Golf on Switch


Trailmakers on PS4

https://store.playstation.com/en-gb/pro ... AKERS00000

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Unread post by jonaz.dk » 21 May 2020, 20:24

And a free version of the horror game TRAPT from Aza Game Studio (DK) in avaible on itch.io.



Story ⚫
A camera containing the last recording of a unknown missing person trapt within a sewer system has been recovered by the local police. Now you will have to relive the persons experience through the recording itself. See if you can alter the outcome.

Description ⚫
TRAPT is a VHS aesthetic found footage horror experience that plays on realistic situations and claustrophobic environments with a deep atmosphere.

Download from itch.io
https://azaxor.itch.io/trapt


Gave it a quick play. I really like the VHS aestheic! But gameplay-wise it's not terribly well done. The experience is walking around more or less headless in claustrophobic tunnels. And then BOOM! you die because you took a wrong turn.
The jump-scare effect did work though.
Would have worked so much better if you were feeling hunted while possibly having some sort of navigational oversight. While trying to find the pieces to escape. And be able to evade the creature.
Also why not use the VHS recorded concept a bit more. Like you can review the recorded footage and see "beyond" the real world.

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Unread post by jonaz.dk » 22 May 2020, 11:34

Oh shit.. so many I haven't watched yet. 8O

The Making of Outer Wilds - Documentary


The Making of Pyre - Documentary


The History of Creative Assembly (Total War / Alien Isolation) - Documentary


And a trailer for the upcoming Arkane Studios doc!

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