04

Hosting a design talk at UAIC, Ebony Spire Heresy, My Fat Cat and Life Pictures

Small round to what’s been happening:

I released a beta/early access version of Ebony Spire Heresy. It’s a first person old-school roguelike where you can throw objects at enemies and enemies at objects, equip items and get teleported everywhere by pixes throwing potions at you. It’s cool and I’m working on it in my free time. You can get it for free.

 

The guys I work with are also releasing their “Emotional Experience” dubbed Life Pictures. It’s a really cool Unreal powered #WalkingSimulatorGame with #NanoMachinesSon. Looks great. The website and trailer is up. I’m helping them out with some twitter thingies.

 

I got a cat. The internet voted to name him RTFM (Read the Fucking Manual) – Arty for short. He’s fat now and I’m shamming him on twitter.

 

I’ve been invited to host a talk at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi“. The subject is taking a step back and imposing limitations to shape the design of your game. Themes range from small screen size, to limited input methods or weird/quirky programming languages. It’s happening next Thursday so if you’re in Iasi, drop by and say hi. We’ll get beers aftewards! Event is here (Facebook).
This weekend I’m off to a wedding in Suceava so no ES:Heresy builds will be mailed to you guys. Might upload some code updates to it’s Github so you can pull from there to get the latest changes. Still highly experimental.

That’s about it! I’ll get the slides from my talk uploaded after the presentation.

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Installing Ubuntu on a x86 tablet – Yay or [segfault/panic/….. [failed]

As I mentioned on twitter a few times I got my hands on a cheap Windows 10 tablet by Vonino. I previously had a Vonino Tablet running Android and it really did pack a good bang for it’s buck giving me a 1080p screen, 3G connection and HDMI output. When I saw that the iMart QSL tablet was a fully (debatable) x86 tablet with HDMI out, 4G and a full USB Port I just had to get it. It’s a cheap tablet though (round 200$/€) and you can see that in the build quality (the back almost seems 3D printed with a cheap printer) and the screen isn’t quite so good. However it’s windows 10 performance was pretty decent (used it to play/test/develop a few Unity 3D games I have on the backburner and they were flawless). So I naturally decided to scrap windows 10, throw out the warranty and install Ubuntu on it because I REALLY HATE NICE THINGS!

Prerequisites
  • Backup your Windows Install and mark down your Windows 8/8.1/10 serial code! I didn’t so short of buying a new license, I have no way to install Win10 again! Clever me…
  • Get a 8gb+ usb to burn Ubuntu on it
  • Have a usb hub ready to plug in! You will need a mouse and keyboard to plug in, besides the usb stick with the OS on it.
  • Optionally but highly recommended, get yourself a wifi adaptor module that works well with Linux! The onboard Wifi card is guaranteed not to work!
  • A (virtual)notebook to write down your partitions, kernel versions and what else might be needed

Continue reading

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VNC VR – a volatile solution or a virtually amazing revolution?

Let’s get this straight: If it’s unconventional, weird, untested and surely not enterprise ready in the near future then I am interested in it! A while ago I used an Android tablet as my main work platform and even though it worked, the negatives outwitted the positive. I know it’s doable, I’ve done it and I can see myself doing it again in certain circumstances. But since I truly am on the path towards becoming a internet enabled masochist I decided to go one step further and take my brain and eyes for a more unconventional spin: Attempt to do some remote work using Virtual Reality!

cardboard_hereNow I know how this sounds but bear with me! At heart, the concept of virtual workspaces sounds like a great solution to allot of on-the-go work, office space and expensive 30” inch monitors that people like me love to stack! Let’s be honest, even a huge laptop cannot be a true replacement for that sweet multiple display-based work station you grind away at work/home! We love our multiple monitors and there’s no shame in it. And this is were I think VR truly has the chance to shine! Where ever you go, where ever you sit, as long as you have a VR Head Mounted Display and a device that can connect to the internet you can, technically speaking, have 20 monitors surround you and work in any environments with no visual distractions! The downside? There’s no way to test this theory for now, at least no with more than 1 monitor but hey, I’ll work with what I have.

vr_cameraThe tools of the trade?

  • Android Smartphone
  • A google cardboard case
  • A ubuntu server (I’m using a @digitalocean droplet for this one)
  • A VR-enabled VNC app

or

  • Any VNC app with Native SideBySide for Android.
  • A Logitech K480 bluetooth keyboard
  • A Microsoft Designer Mouse

The smarthphone I’m using is Nexus 4 with Android 5.0.1 and an Asus Zenfon Go with 5.1.1. The N4 is the main display since it’s the only one of the two phones with a 1080 resolution. I could go about with Zenfon and it’s 1 extra inch but the fact that it lacks a gyroscope leaves the experience lacking. My home router (a TP-Link WR740N) seems to hate VNC so much that it crashes every time I setup a connection to a server on the same network so I had to go for a remote solution to test things out. As such I relied on good-ol’-same-ol’ digital ocean for this experiment. Now for the actual remote app, we can use two different approaches: Continue reading

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Vulkan just dropped – here’s what I have so far

Today marks a new milestone for game developers like me: In love with Linux, Game Development and willing to setup a framework for their development endeavours! Vulkan finally released and drivers from hardware vendors are dropping everywhere. nVidia released their own for both Windows and Linux. The Open Source Intel driver also hit the interwebs a few minutes ago (thank you Raven67854).

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Thanks to @mikekasprzak for the image!

First day caveats

Now, I’m bound to an Intel GPU at home (Iris Pro 5200) and thankfully that is supported.  However yesterday I ordered a x86 tablet so I can take my <future> development framework on the go (check up my articles on doing game development from a <android> tablet here). The problem is that said tablet is still on a Bay Trail GPU and as of this writing the Intel driver does not support any gpu that is not Broadwell, Cherryview, Skylake, Broxton or Kabylake. So not a great start but hey, I can work around it. Will require two separate renderers (Vulkan and OpenGL) so I can still do development while on-the-go but I’m hoping that in the future support will be added for those GPU’s. On the bright side, I now have a tablet I can install ubuntu on!

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Vulkan resources

So, here’s what I have so far! There’s a mother-load of Vulkan examples that dropped on Sascha’s William github! The official Vulkan’s Khronos Group homepage has allot of API references and specifications. There’s a Vulkan CPP wrapper running around courtesy of Chris Hebert which you can clone/fork/use from here. NVIDIA also released quite a few Vulkan examples on their developer’s portal. Get them, and the drivers from here. LunarG’s Vulkan SDK’s and tools are also up and available at this address (you need to setup an account). There are also allot of Vulkan events appearing on meetup dot com, events announced, hosted and/or endorsed by the Khronos Group, like this one (I’m really hoping that someone will host such an event in Bucharest, been itching to catch a flight to the capital for a while now).

What's next?

For Vulkan? Hopefully, allot of things! The Talos Principle vulkan-powered version should drop on Steam any day now. The same goes for Dota 2 and a few other Valve games. For me? I’m just starting to go knee-deep in Vulkan code and setup my development framework. The plan? A small 3D rendering engine coupled with Lua for scripting and a few tools I’ve been itching to write (cross-platform Level Editor, UI Designer, etc). The idea is that someday I’m hoping to go indie again and I want to be prepared. That means having some savings, tools that I have FULL CONTROL over and enough technical challenges to keep me motivated! I’ll also add a new blog category for Vulkan specifically where I’ll share my impressions of using Vulkan starting today!

 

Have a great day!

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Street Fighter 5 will be available on Linux & SteamOS

Just a quick Heads Up: Street Fighter V will launch on SteamOS & Linux this spring! Our little neck of the woods is starting to see more and more support with each season and this title is of note not only because it’s an extremely well known (and loved franchise) but because it’s one of the few Combat/Fighting game available for our platform. Windows and Consoles have their share of Fighting games (Mortal Kombat, Injustice) while Linux has seen very few games in that genre since, well, forever!

Minimum System requirements for Windows list NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 so for all you Brix Pro Owners, this fits right into your ball park assuming that Intel will be supported. There is a huge trend of only offering support for NVIDIA right now)! Check out Gaming On Linux‘s article for more details and reactions from it’s community!


 

Source: The Boss’s article on Gaming on Linux!

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Using Unity (3D) 5 on Ubuntu! How does it fair?

It’s 2016 and that means I get a fresh new attempt to update my development environment! I’ve dropped MOAI and my Chaurus framework 5-6 months ago, in favor of Unity. Been using Unity 5 at work for quite a while now and I’m comfortable enough with it. And since Unity officially embraced Linux as a development platform I decided to take it for a spin on my home development computer. How does it fair? Egh….. it kinda works!

Installing Unity 5 on Ubuntu 15.10

Ubuntu is the officially (yet unofficially) supported Linux distribution for running Unity 5. To install it all you have to do is download the latest .deb file from the release post on the Experimental Linux forums from Unity3D.com. Make sure you scroll down to the last post to get the latest version. Download the .deb file, run it and install it via the Software Center. Other debian-based distros can also get away with installing Unity via the .deb file using GDebi or the terminal. There is also a platform agnostic script on the forums, but you are required to hunt down and install all needed dependencies manually. The download is 1.1GB in size so, depending on your internet connection, you might want to brew yourself a cup of coffee think really hard about your choices in life. Now, once the download is over….

5 Bugs you are going to run into after the download completes

Yep, there’s a reason the forum category is called Linux Editor Support & Feedback (Experimental)! First bug that is bound to creep out on you will be the Unity Splash Screen and a blank window titled “Recent”! There are the default screens you see when you load up Unity on Windows or OSX (and now Linux ♥) only instead of allowing you to load up or create a new project it will just stay there and wait! Now this happens because the “Recent Panel” is searching for project files in a folder it never got around to create. Continue reading

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XCOM 2 – Performance aggregator

Yesterday I recommended that people with SteamOS/Linux should hold out on getting XCOM 2 if they were running a Intel or AMD GPU. Well, turns out that even those on nVidia (the officially supported GPU for our neck-of-the-woods) are having problems with the game! Multiplayer isn’t the only cross-platform thing for the game as performance issues seem to affect everyone. I made a list of reddit posts, articles and tweets with reports and tips from people that already had/have the game!

/u/import-THIS complains about input/action lag on reddit. The post contains some benchmarks from /u/Eriner_, as well as some fixes for missing audio. [Link]

/u/johnhue started a threat where people post their builds and performance! Give it a glance and see if your rig can handle it. [Link]

/u/niserox posted some ini tweaks you can perform to gain some more juice! [Link]

On /r/xcom, users began posting ways to edit configuration files to speed up animations! [Link]

Another /r/xcom post with tips to get better milage from your CPU and GPU. A windows users recommend nVidia features as 3D Vision Drivers and Streamer Service. Post contains information and stats on performance (FPS, CPU status) from a wide range of hardware. [Link]

TheBoss from my favorite Linux gaming news site (GamingOnLinux) took XCOM 2 for a spin. You can read his report (benchmarks, impressions, Linux version review) [here].

GoL’s own Samsai takes XCOM 2 for a spin on an R7 370 AMD card using both open source and proprietary drivers! How does it fair? Check out his review/opinion! [Link].

SegmentNext posted an article on common issues that people might have with the game such as Out-of-sync audio, impossibility to input a name, crashes to desktop, missing save file, screen flickering and 4K support just to name a few. [Link]

From twitter, Tornis (game streamer and all around great guy) is posting about his performance issues, love and general experience with XCOM 2. He is playing the game on windows but, as I said, issues are cross-platform (most of them). Check out his tweets bellow (first two are some “PSA/Tips’ from him. The other two, might have some profanity in them, you’ve been warned):

Continue reading