Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Grease

Yesterday one of the informative TV programs we have was dedicated to Internet development in Cuba, with a second part scheduled for next thursday. As I expected, it was mostly grease.

According to the big boss exposing how good we go, currently there are no plans of having Internet at home. The investment required is too big. The pilot program havent even started, and it is not clear when it will, because part of equipment havent been bought yet. I had to attend the newest team members, so I couldnt call or even watch the complete program, regrettably.

The Google offers for help building the infraestructure have been declined, or ignored. Besides, a few articles have appeared trying to justify why it is not wise to accept such offers, based on technological sovereignty issues (yes, because chinese are our dear brothers and letting Huawei to sell us all of our infrastructure doesnt compromises technological sovereignty), technology transfer and interoperability.

But, we will have more WIFI spots and public browsing rooms, which pleases 90% of the users who think that internet is Facebook and VoIP and let us say that 20% of the cubans are connected. An statement that is true only if you stretch a bit the concept of connected. IMHO, having Internet access a couple of hours per month, one kilometer away from my home, where I really need it, is not to be connected. But, it is what we have, and things wont change any time soon. In the meantime, if you want better connection, you can move to USA, as many others have been doing.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Key of the World officially closed

Surely nobody will care about this, but I have decided to quit developing my open source isometric RPG. The commonucations with my main artist have became awfully difficult lately, I havent received the models I asked like 6 months ago, and community interest==null. you can get the current code from Github repo, and some of the art from OpenGameArt. I will keep adding code to test features, and will upload more models when I have time, but I wont be actively working to achieve a release or add more content.
As usual, lack of time is the cause. I have as many financial troubles as any regular guy, I need a new phone, some PC parts and fix my roof. So, I have to focus on projects that can produce a real profit, like my novels. The Key of the World collected $0 donations, so I guess it wont help me to solve my problems.
Im sorry, but some times the Real Life comes to bite your ass and drag you back to reality.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The secret lies in the layout groups

I have been working lately to solve my chronic ineptitude with  Unity3d GUI. One of the pending issues was to deal with complex widgets, where all elements overlaped each other when the resolution changes. I had a hunch that perhaps layout groups were the solution for this, so I decided to spend some time doing tests, as I could not find a decent tutorial (which later, I did, in Youtube).

And indeed, I solved most of my problems with the layouts. They help to keep the widget children organized, deals with resizing, etc. I managed to fix the inventory window in my RPG project and now it is almost finished. The only left issue is to implement scrolling for the item list.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Article about game development in Cuba

Panamerican World has published an interesting article about videogame development in Cuba. They have consulted some people involved (including me) and the text is q good reference to underestand the current state of the game industry here.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Vulkan and open source engines

It is weird, but even when Vulkan has embraced the open source philosophy (open drivers, tools, etc), Im not seeing too much enthusiasm to adopt it in open source game engines. I have been following mostly Godot and Urho3D, yet Ogre3D and Irrlicht doesnt seems to be rushing to implement the new renderers.

It is worth to mention that Godot promissed they would delay the long needed refactoring of its 3D renderer until Vulkan release, but now they say they wont be using it, favoring GL ES 3 instead. The other engines seems to be dealing with lack of man power (Urho3D leader left the work on hands of community, as he is not working on Vulkan renderer right now) and base code designed for older APIs, specifically, DirectX 9. Lot of work is required to adapt this code base, not only for Vulkan, but for DirectX 12 too. Well, nobody said that developing a game engine was easy.

The advantages of Vulkan have been widely detailed. From engine point of view, it would centralize all renderers in only one, if you are willing to discard DirectX 12 and really obsolete hardware, thus reducing the work required to maintain and develop one renderer for each platform. Also, Vulkan would support not so old hardware that is not fully DX 12 compatible (I hope so). Anyway, discarding Microsoft's API is a decision not to be taken lightly.

Historically, open source engines have been slow to adopt new rendering APIs, but, discarding it in favor of an old one? That's a weird strategy. Letting volunteers develop the new renderer? Usually leads to code that never gets integrated into the main branch, or even gets lost, leading to duplicated efforts. Let's hope this trend changes in a near future.