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Leadwerks Game Engine 4.6 Release Candidate

An update is available on the beta branch on Steam with a few bug fixes. I'm going to release 4.6 with the current features because a lot of bugs have been fixed since 4.5 and we're overdue for an official release. 4.7 will add a new vehicle system, character crouching physics, and some other things, and will be out later this year.

Josh

Josh

GDC 2019

I have not gone in several years because everything we were doing revolved around Steam, and it just didn't seem very important. But this year I had some business to attend to so I spent the last three days in San Francisco. I still have a lot of friends in the game industry, and the reaction to my plans for the new engine was very positive. A few years ago people would have groaned at the idea of another engine, but it seems they are now bored with technology and very open to something new

Josh

Josh

Leadwerks Game Engine 4.6 Beta Update

A new update is available on the beta branch on Steam. This adds numerous bug fixes. The Linux build of the editor is compiled with Ubuntu 16.04 and the engine libraries and executables are compiled with Ubuntu 18.04. Linux users, please let me know how this works for you.

Josh

Josh

Wrapping up at NASA

I'm in DC this week helping the folks at NASA wrap up some projects. I'm going to move back to a supportive role and focus on development of Leadwerks 4.6 and the new engine, and I am helping them to hire some programmers to replace me. We found some very talented people who I am confident will do a fantastic job, and I can't wait to see what they create using Leadwerks Game Engine. I helped a team using Leadwerks at NASA get through some big milestones and expand. I hope that someday soon

Josh

Josh

Real Bindless Textures

Previously I talked about array textures acting as "bindless" textures, but there is an actual OpenGL extension that allows a shader to access any texture without the stupid texture binding / slot convention that limits OpenGL 4.0 shaders to a minimum of 16 textures. Implemenation was surprisingly easy, although Mac hardware apparently does not support this extension. When combined with the multi-draw commands in OpenGL 4.3, and some other tricks, it is possible to render multiple sets of object

Josh

Josh

Bindless Textures

Bindless Textures

The clustered forward renderer in Leadwerks 5 / Turbo Game Engine required me to implement a texture array to store all shadow maps in. Since all shadow maps are packed into a single 3D texture, the shader can access all required textures outside of the number of available texture units, which only gives 16 guaranteed slots. I realized I could use this same technique to pack all scene textures into a few arrays and completely eliminate the overhead of binding different textures. In order to

Josh

Josh

Fun with Stateless API

Leadwerks 5 / Turbo makes extensive use of multithreading. Consequently, the API is stateless and more explicit. There is no such thing as a "current" world or context. Instead, you explicitly pass these variables to the appropriate commands. One interesting aspect of this design is code like that below works perfectly fine. See if you can work through it and understand what's going on: int main(int argc, const char *argv[]) { //Create a model ;) auto box = CreateBox(nullptr); //Cre

Josh

Josh

Loading Binary and Embedded GLTF files

Loading Binary and Embedded GLTF files

It turns out GLTF is actually three different file formats. 😫 Textures can be loaded from external files, embedded in a binary .glb file, but they can also be saved in an ASCII GLTF files using base64 encoding. Having three different ways to store textures is not a good design decision, but at least it's better than the disaster called Collada. (Note to Khronos: If your file format specification has more pages than a Tom Clancy novel it probably sucks.) Our GLTF loader now supports files wi

Josh

Josh

Development Days

Development Days

Some of the Leadwerks Game Engine design was originally developed to run on PC and mobile. In order to supported multiple renderers (OpenGL and OpenGLES) I implemented a system that uses an abstract base class with an API-specific class derived from that: Texture OpenGLTexture All OpenGL code was contained in the OpenGLTexture class. This worked fine, and theoretically it would have allowed us to support multiple renderers within one build, like OpenGL and Direc

Josh

Josh

Loading Assets from Streams

Loading Assets from Streams

Since the GLTF file format can pack textures into a single file with the model, I needed to implement asset loading directly from a stream: auto stream = ReadFile("image.png"); auto tex = LoadTexture(stream); This was interesting because I needed to add a check for each supported image type so the loader can determine the file type from the contents instead of the file path extension. Most file formats include a string or "magic number" at the beginning of the file format to indicate what

Josh

Josh

GLTF Materials

GLTF Materials

I'm now able to load materials from GLTF files. These can use external textures or they can use textures packed into a GLTF binary file. Because we have a standardized material specification, this means you can download GLTF files from SketchFab or Turbosquid, and your model materials will automatically be loaded, all the time. There's no more generating materials or messing around trying to figure out which texture is the normal or specular map. An extension exists for DDS texture support, fort

Josh

Josh

Back in Action

So, most of December was eaten up on some NASA VR projects. There was a conference last week in Seattle that I attended for a couple of days. Then I had meetings in northern California and Arizona. Unfortunately, I can't really talk much about what I am doing with those. Rest assured I am working on a plan to grow the company so we can provide better products and support for you. I'm taking a hit on productivity now in order to make a bigger plan happen. Today is my first day back home

Josh

Josh

Loading GLTF Files

Loading GLTF Files

With an understanding of JSON for Modern C++ (an excellent library) I was able to dive into the new GLTF 2.0 file format and create a model loader. Here's what I've got so far: Although the file format is JSON-based, vertex and indice data is loaded from either a binary .bin file, or packed away at the end of the ASCII file. You can open GLTF files in NotePad and edit them, but GLB files are a mix of ASCII and binary. The model above loads in about 16 milliseconds. I did find som

Josh

Josh

Fun with JSON

Fun with JSON

I realized there are two main ways a plugin is going to be written, either as a Lua script or as a DLL. So I started experimenting with making a JSON file that holds the plugin info and tells the engine where to load it from: { "plugin": { "title": "Game Analytics", "description": "Add analytics to your game. Visit www.gameanalytics.com to create your free account.", "author": "© Leadwerks Software. All Rights Reserved.", "url": "https://www.turboengine.co

Josh

Josh

Plugins Expanded

Plugins Expanded

This month I was working on a lot of NASA projects using Leadwerks. My goal with this is to build up enough business that I can start hiring more people to help. It's nice to make money using my own tools, and it gives me a lot of ideas for the new engine. This morning I felt like experimenting with the design of plugins in the new editor a bit. I came up with two types of plugins. One will add an new menu item to the model editor that flips the normals of the current model. The ProcessEven

Josh

Josh

Vehicle Development

I've made progress with the new vehicle system and it is shaping up nicely. The vehicle wheels consist of a slider joint with a spring (the strut) connected to a pivot, connected to the wheel by a hinge joint (the axle). If the wheel can be steered, an additional pivot is inserted between the strut and axle, with a motorized hinge to control steering. There were two big problems in addition to this that need to be solved in order to make a vehicle that is stable at high speeds. First, the m

Josh

Josh

Digital Reorganization

It's nice to have my big monster computer back, and everything is just the same as I left it. I have a triple-boot machine with Windows 10 and both 32 and 64 bit versions of Ubuntu 16.04. This is easier than trying to set up multi-arch compiling on one install of the OS, though I look forward to the day I no longer have to bother with it. I'm running out of hard drive space on my Windows 10 500 GB SSD so I ordered a 1 TB SSD, and I plan to transfer the 500 GB SSD into my laptop to replace t

Josh

Josh

Basic Scene Benchmarks

I did some work optimizing the new renderer to discrete cards and came up with a new benchmark. This scene is interesting because there is not much in the scene, so the culling does not benefit much xrom multithreading, since there is so little work to do. The screen is filled with a spotlight in the foreground, and in the background a point light is visible in the distance. Both engines are running at 1280x720 resolution. This is really a pure test of deferred vs. forward lighting. AMD R9 

Josh

Josh

Sample FPS Player Script in New Engine

Here is a script for a first-person player. All of this is actually working now. It's very interesting that physics, rendering, culling, and Lua game code are all executing at the same time on different threads. CPU usage in a simple scene and some physics is about 35% on a quad core processor, which is good. I think the most interesting thing here is that to break the kinematic joint used to control an object the player picks up, you simply set the variable to nil. However, I did run into

Josh

Josh

Sample Sliding Door Script in Turbo / Leadwerks 5

I've successfully converter the sliding door script over to the new API. This will all look very familiar, but there are some cool points to note. The entity mass can be retrieved and set with a property as if it was just a regular variable. Underneath the hood, the engine is making method calls. I decided to prefix most field names with "slidingdoor_" to prevent other scripts from accidentally interfering. The "enabled" value, however, is meant to be shared. The Entity is

Josh

Josh

Leadwerks 4.6 Development

With Christmas approaching I am now turning my attention to finishing Leadwerks Game Engine 4.6. The major features planned are peer-to-peer networking and a new vehicles system, as well as miscellaneous bug fixes. A beta build will be made available early on Steam for testing.

Josh

Josh

Turbo Game Engine Beta Update

A big update for the beta of the upcoming Turbo Game Engine is now available, adding support for VR and Lua script! VR Rendering Turbo Game Engine now supports VR rendering, with support for true single-pass stereoscopic rendering on Nvidia GPUs. Other hardware will use a double-rendering path that is still faster than Leadwerks. To turn VR on simply call EnableVR(). Controllers are not yet supported, just rendering. Lua Scripting Lua script is now supported in Turb

Josh

Josh

Using Multiple Entity Scripts in Turbo Game Engine

During development of Leadwerks Game Engine, there was some debate on whether we should allow multiple scripts per entity or just associate a single script with an entity. My first iteration of the scripting system actually used multiple scripts, but after using it to develop the Darkness Awaits example I saw a lot of problems with this. Each script used a different classname to store its variables and functions in, so you ended up with code like this: function Script:HurtEnemy(amount) if s

Josh

Josh

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