Train2Game News 2D Animation Engine 


​Midas Touch Interactive, a groundbreaking physics based animation and VR/AR interaction technology studio, today released its latest product, Midas Creature – a Directable Automated Animation Engine and workflow for quickly and easily creating complex 2D animations for video games and other creative applications. 

As part of the product rollout, the company is also launching a new website that contains product information along with a purchasing shop.

Midas Creature was developed by Jiayi Chong, a former Technical Director at Pixar Animation Studios whose experience includes working on many feature films, including Toy Story 3, Wall-E, UP, Brave, and Monsters University. Chong’s role at Pixar spanned ten years and involved developing physics simulation tools and engines, including simulations for rigid body dynamics, deformable solids, cloth, hair, fluid dynamics, and skin simulation tools. In his role as Technical Director of Animation for Midas Touch, Chong leads his team on creating cutting-edge animation pipeline and service, such as Midas Creature, that is made available to both internal projects as well as licensing partners.

“Midas Creature is the ideal pipeline for game developers and anyone else looking for a more powerful, efficient, and easy-to-use 2D animation process,” said Kevin He, CEO of Midas Touch Interactive. “The Directable Automated Animation Engine of Midas Creature allows you to create animations you might have previously thought impossible with key frame or flash animation. This includes motion like hair and cloth fluttering in the wind, as well as 3D-to-2D Mocap transfer.”

Video game developers and others can use Midas Creature’s powerful Skeletal Rigging and Animation tools to build, pose, warp, and bring their art to life. These tools are made to streamline the user’s workflow, reducing time and money spent while maintaining high-quality results.

“We’re very excited to have Jiayi on our team as he brings tremendous passion and expertise,” continued He, “which he utilizes to build and implement our next-gen AI driven physics based animation pipeline helping to further establish Midas Touch Interactive as a burgeoning immersive entertainment technology expert developing cost effective and deeply interactive content creation services.”    

Midas Creature caters to 2D developers of all sizes with its “Creature Enterprise” and “Creature Indie” levels. Enterprise is a premium offering that gives users everything they need to get started using Creature for their company and projects. This is the full-featured version of the tool and gives users a license for Sprite Bump, a normal mapping tool that gives 3D lighting effects to 2D images. Unlimited support tickets are included in the Enterprise package. And for first-year Enterprise customers, a Creature Lead Engineer will offer one hour a month of feedback on their projects. “Creature Enterprise” is offered as a subscription, renewed annually.

Indie is designed for small-scale development teams who prefer more flexibility without an annual commitment, while still offering product complete features and support for indie teams to realize their animation needs. The “Creature Indie” license is available to those with less than $100,000 in gross revenues in the current year, and can be purchased for $19.99 per seat for a 30-day license and to be renewed month-by-month. Committed to inspiring young and aspiring creative developers, Midas Touch is also offering students a version of Midas Creature that allows them (with proof of enrollment/student ID) to use the tool free for one month.

Midas Creature is a blend of traditional tools and new technologies. Both premium levels will have comprehensive customer support to aid user needs.  Early adopters have used Midas Creature and seen positive benefits, including a 10x increase in speed of art pipeline performance (source PlayStudios).

Midas Creature is available at the shop page: http://www.creature.midasphysics.com/shop

Train2Game News Marmalade 2D Kit

Marmalade Technologies releases latest version of Marmalade 2D Kit as part of Marmalade Platform 8.5
First introduced in Marmalade Platform 8.3 in March, Marmalade 2D Kit offers an advanced editor and runtime to make creation of engaging and dynamic 2D content both intuitive and fast.

“We have been working hard to improve the editor’s appearance, user experience and functionality, based on feedback from users,” says Adalberto Bruno, CTO at Marmalade Technologies. “With this latest release, our significant investment in this technology puts advanced capabilities in the hands of all Marmalade developers, offering a highly competitive feature set at no additional cost.”

Marmalade Technologies’ in-house game development team, Marmalade Game Studio, makes extensive use of Marmalade 2D Kit to power the entire UI on one of their latest titles, RIZE: Zombies, currently in soft launch.

“Having an editor focused on the specific needs of 2D content creation was a huge productivity boost, allowing rapid iteration and experimentation to fine-tune the UX in RIZE: Zombies,” says Laura Cheng, Producer at Marmalade Game Studio. “We are also seeing growing interest and uptake by other studios, helping us to continue to focus on the features that matter most to users,” adds Ryan Gilmour, Head of Product Management.

In addition to an all-new version of Marmalade 2D Kit, Marmalade Platform 8.5 also brings official support for OpenAL, opening up opportunities for developers to add immersive 3D sound to their apps using a simple, extensible model.

“OpenAL support continues to expand the number of out-of-the-box open source technologies available to our developers,” continues Ryan. “And by building on our platform abstraction we are able to offer this powerful middleware to all platforms simultaneously, including those not supported by alternative implementations of OpenAL.”

Rounding out Marmalade Platform 8.5, developers targeting Windows can now take full advantage of live tiles in their Marmalade apps and both new and existing Extension Development Kit users will benefit from enhanced documentation covering creating and debugging extensions.

Marmalade Platform 8.5, the latest version of the Marmalade Platform, complete with Marmalade 2D Kit, is available now from the Developer area of the Marmalade website.

Train2Game News: Unity 4.3 released

unity-logoUnity Technologies have released version 4.3 of the Unity multi-platform engine and development tools.

The important update includes the highly anticipated dedicated 2D development tools, huge additions to the Mecanim animation system, an upgrade to the re-written Umbra 3 occlusion culling, and much more.

While Unity has been used to create thousands of excellent 2D games, Unity 4.3 introduces new 2D development tools and metaphors specifically designed to streamline 2D workflow. Manipulating and optimizing 2D assets is made easier with the addition of a new Sprite Texture import mode, automated atlasing, an optimized 2D rendering, and drag-and-drop functionality for scene creation. Box2D physics have been integrated into Unity for better performance, stability, and smaller game builds. Additionally, polygon collider generation from sprite textures means quicker creation of accurate, but fully editable, physical collider meshes for refined physical response between objects in a scene.

In addition Unity’s signature character animation suite becomes more powerful with support for Blend Shapes, used to accurately and realistically blend complex geometry between model states, giving animators the ability to create, among other things, believable emotional facial animation.

On top of high-end improvements to character animation, Mecanim is now fully integrated with the Animation Window and its new dopesheet functionality. Support for animating simple scene elements, 2D sprite animations, camera settings, and more to make Mecanim an all-purpose animation solution.

The final big update for Unity is that Occlusion Culling in Unity has been rewritten for the upgrade to Umbra 3. Among other benefits, baking is much faster and generates much more accurate and better performing results. Rapid iteration allows for much more sophisticated environments containing highly detailed graphical content.

“4.3 is a huge update in the history of Unity,” said David Helgason, CEO, Unity Technologies. “The addition of 2D tools is an important milestone that will help developers make incredible 2D games, and with major improvements to Mecanim and greatly increased performance, this is a weighty, productive update that we’re thrilled to release.”

You can download Unity 4.3 and start creating games straight away from http://unity3d.com/unity/download

Train2Game News: Games Industry News – 30.08.13

unity-logoIt’s the end of the week so it’s time for the games industry news round up.

Unity Technologies unveiled new 2D tools and workflow for the Unity engine and editor to meet increased demand for features designed to address the specific challenges of creating 2D games. Now in beta, the first iteration of the 2D tools, many of which are included in the free version of Unity, will be released with the Unity 4.3 update this fall. The charge to improve workflow begins with the introduction of a dedicated scene view, which includes specialized 2D scene manipulation tools. Scene view can be toggled between the traditional view or set as the default when creating a project. Importing, manipulating, and working with 2D assets are made easier with the addition of a new sprite texture importer type, automated atlasing, and dedicated 2D renderer component. Adding 2D art to a scene is as easy as dragging a sprite from the asset library into the scene where Unity will then automatically create an object. If you are a fan of 2D games and work with Unity you now have no excuses to get a game out there!

Wizards of the Coast announced that the Magic 2014 – Duels of the Planeswalkers Expansion will release on September 18, 2013. Adding depth to the latest installment of the wildly popular Duels of the Planeswalkers franchise, the Magic 2014 Expansion will give players the opportunity to explore new planes, fight new enemies and face new challenges. Just like the full game the expansion will be available on Xbox LIVE Arcade, PC via Steam, PlayStation Network, iPad, and Android via Google Play and the Amazon App Store. The new expansions includes; five new decks, new campaign levels, five new challenges and more persona portraits.

Activision Publishing, Inc., in association with Nickelodeon and developer Red Fly Studio, announced, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows – a new, team-based, third-person action-brawler debuting on the Xbox Live online entertainment network from Microsoft for Xbox 360 as a part of the Xbox Live Summer of Arcade 2013, and on Windows PC via Steam. Starring Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows puts the focus on combat, characters, and co-op. Its swift and tactile fighting system affords players dynamic choices on the battlefield, rewarding successful combo flourishes, expert counterattacks, and brutal takedowns. The Turtles’ full range of personalities are on display throughout this original story in the TMNT universe, bringing humour and attitude to the unfolding narrative and influencing each character’s unique fighting style. The game will be released on September 25.

NEXON Europe had the pleasure to announce that global pop sensation, media personality and all-round gentleman, PSY, is appearing in the enormously successful online free-to-play games MapleStory and Combat Arms. PSY took the world by storm with his hit single Gangnam Style, inspiring everyone from news readers to the UN Secretary General to join in with his unique brand of K-pop humour. Over a billion YouTube views and global chart domination is not enough for the dance phenomenon however; starting this month and following another huge hit single, Gentleman, PSY will be bringing his outrageous personality to NEXON Europe’s most popular titles.

Steve Ballmer is to retire as Microsoft CEO within the next year, the company revealed, adding credence to the rumours of a management reshuffle which accompanied Don Mattrick’s departure earlier this year. Ballmer will oversee the choice of his successor before taking retirement and remain as CEO during that process. The Microsoft board has appointed a special committee chaired by lead independent director John Thompson and including chairman of the Board Bill Gates, chairman of the Audit Committee Chuck Noski and chairman of the Compensation Committee Steve Luczo. Microsoft has said that it will be looking both internally and externally for candidates.