Train2Game News: Top 3 Game Engines

UDKAcross the past week Train2Game held a poll to see which is your favourite game engine. These are the results!

In descending order the Third most popular games engine for Train2Game Students is the CryEngine 3.  It was originally developed by German studio, Crytek, as a technology demo for Nvidia and, when the company saw its potential, it was turned into a game. That first game developed using the engine was the first Far Cry.

The CryEngine 3 Free SDK, originally called Sandbox Editor, is the current version of the level editor used to create levels for the CryEngine line of game engines by Crytek. Tools are also provided within the software to facilitate scripting, animation, and object creation. It has been included with various Crytek games and is used extensively for modding purposes. The editing style is that of the sandbox concept, with the emphasis on large terrains and a free style of mission programming. The editor can also construct indoor settings.

Recently the engine has been used to create games such as Crysis 3, Monster Hunter Online and Ryse which will be released on the Xbox One.

Second in the poll was the Unity engine. Unity (also called Unity3D) is a cross-platform game engine with a built-in IDE developed by Unity Technologies. Unity is primarily used to create mobile and web games, but can also deploy games to consoles or the PC. The game engine was developed in C/C++, and is able to support code written in C#, JavaScript or Boo. It grew from an OS X supported game development tool in 2005 to the multi-platform game engine that it is today.

The Unity Engine is simple to use and as of this month free to publish to mobiles. It is clear why it is popular among Train2Game Students.

The Unity Engine has been used to create popular mobile games such as Bad Piggies, Slender: The Arrival and it was used to port Temple Run 2 to Android devices.

Finally the number one games engine according to Train2Game students is Epic’s Unreal Engine. Although primarily developed for first-person shooters, it has been successfully used in a variety of other genres, including stealth, MMORPGs and other RPGs. With its code written in C++, the Unreal Engine features a high degree of portability and is a tool used by many game developers today. It was first developed in 1998 for Unreal.

The third and current generation of the Unreal Engine (UE3) is designed for DirectX (versions 9-11 for Windows and Xbox 360), as well as systems using OpenGL, including the PlayStation 3, OS X, iOS, Android, Stage 3D for Adobe Flash Player 11, JavaScript/WebGL, PlayStation Vita and Wii U. Its renderer supports many advanced techniques including HDRR, per-pixel lighting, and dynamic shadows. It also builds on the tools available in previous versions.

In October 2011, the engine was ported to support Adobe Flash Player 11 through the Stage 3D hardware-accelerated APIs. Epic has used this version of the engine for their in-house games. Aggressive licensing of this iteration has garnered a great deal of support from many prominent licensees. Epic has announced that Unreal Engine 3 runs on both Windows 8 and Windows RT.

The engine is free to download and has a small charge of $99 to publish from, as long as you don’t make over $50,000 after which Epic will start to take a percentage.

The Unreal engine has been used in countless games including The Batman Arkham Games, BioShock Infinite, The Borderlands games, Dishonored, The Gears of War series and countless others.

It is quite clear why the Unreal Engine is the most popular engine among Train2Game Students.

Train2Game News: Train2Game Radio – Muir Halleron

Muir HalleronI got the pleasure of interviewing a young man named Muir recently who is just coming to the end of section 1 of his course. You may have seen Muir on Twitter or the Train2Game Forum as he is always very active on there. Now you can find out more about him!

You can here the interview here: http://audioboo.fm/boos/1391947-train2game-student-muir-halleron-talks-to-t2g-radio

Or read the transcript below:

Hi my name is Muir, I’m a Games Development student with Train2Game and I live in Widnes, Cheshire.

Hi Muir, how you doing mate?

I’m alright thanks Mark, how are you?

I’m good cheers buddy. So tell me, how did you get into Games Development?

Well, I’ve always loved games. My first games console was when I was like four years old and it was an Odyssey 2, if you can remember back that far! Showing my age. I’ve just been really interested in games going all the way up to Nintendo, Xbox360 and PlayStation. When I saw the Train2Game thing online I went on the website, filled out a form and didn’t think twice about it really.

Was there any particular game that made you want to get in to development its self?

Probably the Elder Scrolls series. I had a play with the Elder Scrolls, Skrim it was, there game engine that they use that they have opened up to allow people to mod the game. I was just absolutely gob smacked by it and everything that goes in to making a game. I’d say that’s probably the biggest series that’s worked.

Yeah. Were you into coding before that or is it something you have learnt through Train2Game entirely?

It’s pretty much something I am learning just through Train2Game. I remember when I was really little, about five or six years old, my Dad bought a home computer and I actually had a go at learning BASIC on that. It got to the point where I could make a really, really simple game on BASIC and that was about it.

So what have you been up to with your games development at the minute?

Well right now I’m nearly finished with Section one in the course and I’ve lately been doing the one game a month challenge that’s online. That’s www.onegameamonth.com

Oh yeah? How’s that going?

It’s going pretty good, this month has been pretty slow, I’ve had a mental block with coding for some reason this month but the last 3 months I’ve made one game a month. The first one was something based on one of the Game Maker tutorials in the intro booklet for the Train2Game course and the other two were ones I came up with, on myself. The last one being completely done in C++. I’m actually really proud of that one!

Nice, so it sounds like you are progressing quite well then?

Yeah and I just recently I’ve also been accepted with Road Hog Games. Doing there student initiative.

Ah very nice and what are you doing with them?

Well right now it’s a group of two developers, two designers and two artists I believe. We are in the process of making a game under the tutelage and support of Road Hog Games.

Finally, What is your greatest ambition for your career?

Well I am hoping eventually to be able to get to a point where I can either work for a well developed gaming company as a developer or go in as an indie dev and make my own games.

Is there any company in particular that you’d want to work for?

Well in this area, just in Widnes, there’s actually Sony Evolution Studios is in Runcorn which is real close to where I live. So I’ve been feeling the waters with them a bit and there’s a few other small gaming companies in Liverpool and Manchester as well.

Excellent. Well thank you very much Muir!

Thank you Mark!

Train2Game News: CD Projekt RED releases game creation tools

REDKit BetaCD Projekt RED have announced the launch of REDkit, the ultimate set of tools for crafting non-linear role-playing adventures.

Available for free via its official website, REDkit is based on the development tools used to create CD Projekt RED’s award-winning game, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.

The editor has just entered its open beta phase, allowing everyone who is waiting for The Witcher 3 to go back to the previous installment of the series and create new, amazing content or just play around with other modders’ creations.

REDkit gives modders of all skill levels the tools, they need to tell non-linear tales full of branching plots, believable characters and far-reaching consequences for player actions. Without learning to program or wrangling with opaque editors, game creators can use the top-quality art and assets from The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings or import their own, as well as intuitive tools for environment creation, to craft their own unique role-playing adventures.

“For CD Projekt RED, RPGs are all about telling amazing stories,” said Adam Badowski, head of CD Projekt RED. “We want to give players the power to tell the same kind of non-linear, branching stories that made The Witcher games so popular. Our fans have helped us for years to make our games the best they can be, and REDkit is part of embracing our community as a partner in game development.”

REDKit features:

• Intuitive tools developed for all would-be storytellers and game designers
• Complex and user-friendly terrain tools, including the SpeedTree foliage system
• Utilize the astonishing graphics and visuals that power The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
• Create a realistic and dynamic day and night cycle in a few clicks
• Implement non-linear stories and quests with a unique quest system that allows player decisions to impact the game world and plot
• Build believable characters, NPCs, and entire communities and set their interactions with the player
• Place dialogue cameras automatically or manually to create a film-like experience

This is excellent news for Train2Game students who want to test what they have learnt on an already established game or just use already created tools to see what your knowledge can create!

Train2Game News: Modding software on Kickstarter

Game Mod ComicA new Kickstarter campaign has launched which will help the average PC gamer to use Game Mods easier. This is good news for Train2Game students who like to create mods for games.

Olympus Games announced the launch of a new Kickstarter campaign to help fund the development of its upcoming mod management platform, GMOD. Built on powerful new technology, GMOD streamlines the modding experience for hardcore and casual PC gamers, delivering an intuitive platform where mods “just work”. Leveraging this simple and flexible interface, the GMOD team aims to open up the world of modding to mainstream gamers everywhere.

Supporters can learn more about GMOD or help fund the project at the official Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gmod/gmod-0

“Modding has always been a very important part of PC gaming, but there’s a reason why it has failed to reach mainstream gamers – it’s rarely a simple process,” said Skylar Kreisher, CEO of Olympus Games. “Our goal is to make mods so easy to find, play and share, that anyone can become part of the modding community. It’s time for a new generation to re-discover their favorite games with innovative modded content.”

The GMOD client is a mod management platform that’s designed to enable gamers to use mods faster, safer and easier than ever before. Users can quickly install new mods with its drag-and-drop interface, enable and disable mods with just one click, and most importantly, never deal with unzipping, directory-diving, copy-paste-overwrite or mod-based re-installs ever again.

GMOD is pushing the modding scene forward by building a holistic solution where players can use mods from any source or community, discover and share new mods with friends and promote the hard working mod developers that make it all possible. It’s a robust platform that, with fan support, will continue to thrive and improve, eventually incorporate everyone’s favorite games and mods.

For more information about GMOD and Olympic Games:

Visit Kickstarter: http://kck.st/Y0oLhC

Join the Facebook Community: https://www.facebook.com/gmodsocial

Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GMod

Subscribe on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/gmod

Train2Game News: Train2Game in 2012 – July to September

Guinness CertificateThe third quarter was probably the biggest for Train2Game, it was in September that we got in to the Guinness World Record books.

Microsoft sponsored the third Train2Game Game Jam in September and this one was the biggest game jam in the world with just under 300 participants.

It was also here that the Students got to test out Windows 8, before its release, for its game making potential. In the lead up to the Jam, students were put in to teams and worked together to learn how the operating system worked. Once at the 48 hour event they were raring to go and put what they had learned to the test.

When the event started the Students were given a theme to work from, following the great year England has had with the Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee it was only natural that the theme was Pride Of London. This turned out a number of great games and the majority of them have now been released on to the Windows 8 app store for all to play.

The winner of the event was a game called Royal Rush by a team known as Retro Metro. The game saw you play as a cyclist dodging the busy London traffic and picking up coins. It is a nice, fun addictive little game based on elements of the arcade classic, Frogger.

Retro Metro won quite a hefty prize including a new phone, a few games, Microsoft points and most importantly of all, a trip to Rare studios where they will be able to present their portfolio and get valuable advice.

You can relive or experience the event for the first time in the video below:

Train2Game News: SpecialEffect Charity video

SpecialEffect Over the past few months I have been updating you with all the good work that SpecialEffect have been doing and trying to get their video up to 25,000 views.

SpecialEffect is a wonderful charity that helps the disabled to play games. This means that they can interact with other people and play together on a level playing ground.

The SpecialEffect website describes themselves as “Doing whatever it takes to help everyone with disabilities to have a better quality of life. For some, this means access to fun and leisure activities like computer games. For others, it’s giving them a voice at a time when they can’t even speak.”

SpecialEffect help people by using there loan library which is where all the specially made controllers are loaned to those in need. For example a specially created Wii mote for a girl who lost her limbs to Meningitis.

The charity also uses their StarGaze project to help people who can move nothing but their eyes. StarGaze is, perhaps, the most labour-intensive and demanding element of SpecialEffect’s work. A huge amount of care and sensitivity is required to ensure that the person we support has a gaze controlled computer system – as quickly as possible – that is personalised to meet their specific and often complex needs.

Dr Mick Donegan, the CEO of SpecialEffect said “Time after time, people with disabilities tell us what they want and need most is to find a way to enjoy themselves – a way to interact, compete and make new friends.

“It’s difficult or impossible for them to access mainstream videogames and leisure technology, and before we started there was nowhere to go for independent and expert advice and support to help them use technology to actually have fun!

“At the heart of the charity is the determination to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to help each individual, and that necessitates a huge range of services. On the one hand, our GameBase website is giving information to many people who might need immediate specialist advice about accessible games and controllers. On the other, we have an increasing waiting list of very severely disabled individuals with complex problems that we know will take us years of support visits and equipment loans to achieve any level of success.

But that’s why we’re here. If the charity had been set up to support just one individual, it would have been more than worthwhile.”

The charity has been trying to get this video to 25,000 views by Christmas day. It isn’t far off so please keep watching and sharing the video as much as possible to spread the word of the amazing work SpecialEffect do.

Train2Game News: OUYA developer consoles being released this month

OUYA ConsoleThe kick started, Android console, OUYA inches ever closer to release as developer units are being shipped by the end of the month.

The team behind the Android-powered console has announced that they will be shipping the OUYA to anyone who pledged over $699 dollars to the $8.5 million kickstart goal that was reached back in August. The console will be sent out for developers to start testing on December 28.

The idea behind the console is that it will be a $99 console, built on Android, where all the games are free to play.

OUYA was created in 2012 by Julie Uhrman, a video game industry veteran who saw an opportunity to open up the last closed game platform — the TV. Julie and an initial team of game developers and advisors brought the concept to life, with the help of Yves Behar and fuseproject, and took OUYA to Kickstarter in July of 2012. OUYA’s first consoles will ship in early 2013.

“Yes, we are shipping these to you on time, as promised,” the company said in a recent update. “The dev consoles are an early version of the OUYA console and controller designed for developers to test their games on OUYA. Our Kickstarter developers are the first to get a crack at ’em! We’re psyched to have you on board, and we can’t wait to see what pours from your brain!”

For backers of any tier of the Kickstarter, OUYA chief executive officer Julie Uhrman also announced that usernames can be claimed on December 25.

“By December 25, we’ll email each of you a link to activate your account. For those of you who responded to our survey about preferred usernames, you’ll be able to confirm your choice. For the handful of popular names that had conflicts, we broke the tie(s) by honoring whomever backed OUYA first on Kickstarter. And, if any of you didn’t respond-or didn’t get your preferred username, you can choose a name when December 25 rolls around,” said Uhrman in the announcement.

You can read a basic fact sheet about what the OUYA is and what is designed for in the document below. It looks to be good for developers and gamers a like.

OUYA Basic Facts

Train2Game News: Minecraft coming to Raspberry Pi

The creators of Minecraft, Mojang, have developed a version of their hit game which can be loaded onto the Raspberry Pi.

Minecon was held in Paris last weekend and the news was announced that Minecraft: Pi edition will be released.

The Pi edition was developed by reworking the phone based, Minecraft: Pocket Edition. Mojang began work on this after the creators of the Raspberry Pi sent them a bunch of boards to work on a little while back.

The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card-sized single-board computer developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation with the intention of stimulating the teaching of basic computer science.

The port will have a revised feature set and support for several programming languages, allowing users to code directly into the game, opening a world of possibilities.

Mojang’s chief officer Owen Hill said “The possibilities are massive,

“You could organise the cheapest LAN party of all time, or use the Pi to learn the fundamentals of programming on a minuscule budget.

“It’s like hacking your way into Minecraft and modifying the game world with code, a bit like being Notch, Jeb, or Nathan, but arguably more fun and less stressful.”

The site states Minecraft: Pi Edition will be available for free “very soon”.

Train2Game News: SpecialEffect Case – Chloe & Ella

This weeks SpecialEffect case is a very special one. One of the young girls in the video is the daughter of the founder of SpecialEffect. The two girls use Kinect to play together, you can see how much fun they are having.

SpecialEffect has almost reached their goal of 25,000 views so lets keep watching and sharing to help them out!

Train2Game News: Mid-week round up – 24.10.12

Steams Workshop, which is used to create content for games such as Team Fortress 2 and Skyrim, has turned one. The user created content has subsequently earned “millions of dollars” for their creators and Steam themselves.

The Greatest Video Game Music 2, the follow-up to the best-selling video game album of all time, will be released worldwide on Nov 6 and has been performed by The London Philharmonic Orchestra. The digital soundtrack album will include 17 new orchestral renditions of video game theme songs like Halo, Batman: Arkham City, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations and the ever-so classic Final Fantasy VII.

Following the success of Borderlands 2, an iOS spin-off has been confirmed with a release date of October 31. The game sees you play as the original 4 vault hunters from the first Borderlands in a wave-based survival game. Additionally, in true Borderlands style you can earn experience and level up your characters, unlocking new skills and abilities with each character having their own set of unique skills and abilities.

The first reviews of Hitman: Absolution have surface in Official Playstation Magazine UK and Official Xbox Magazine. Both magazines gave the game 9 out of 10. OPM said “This is the peak of the series so far” and OXM said “it a triumph of stealth and sandbox design that retains everything that fans have ever loved about the series”.

Wish Studios, a newly formed studio in Brighton, is working with Sony to develop a new IP. While other details about the partnership remain shrouded in secrecy, the status of Wish’s new client will likely serve as a significant help to the recently founded start-up’s presence in the industry.

A report by Google has said that over 50% of people use their tablet for gaming. The only activity performed more than gaming on a tablet is checking emails. The study, which was commissioned and published by Google, found that 51.5 per cent of its participants used their tablet for gaming in a two-week period.

The new dashboard for the Xbox was launched yesterday. It includes an internet explorer app giving the console a browser and the newly launched Xbox music which is similar to that of Spotify. The update also saw the removal of the Twitter and Facebook apps.

In an interesting collaboration, a new mod was made for the MMO World of Warcraft which sees the newly introduced pet battles become Pokemon battles. The aptly name WOWkemon sees a short tutorial by Professor Birch describing the Pokémon-ified battle screens and ability menus with the familiar sounds, screen effects, and even the font closely resembling the style of the handheld game legend.