X3D node and field documentation is now available in the API docs

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You can now find a node in the engine Pascal reference, like TTransformNode, and:

  • the Pascal description will include a short summary of node’s purpose,
  • and the important properties (like Translation, Center, etc.) are visible,
  • and (with time…) the properties will be documented too.

To make this prominent, we also link to it from our X3D components description (grouping component, for Transform node) (by “API reference” links). I want to emphasize this way that you can build and modify the X3D graph at runtime, which is a way to do many cool things with the engine:) Simple example of it is in the tutorial.

To make it possible:

  • We have added previous node “helpers” (like “TTransformNode.Translation” helper, wrapping an internal “TTransformNode.FdTranslation”) as normal class properties. This was done by generating files inside the src/x3d/auto_generated_node_helpers/ .

  • The node’s descriptions are specified directly in the src/x3d/x3dnodes_standard_xxx.inc files.

  • The field’s descriptions are specified inside the src/x3d/x3dnodes_documentation.txt . It is added to the documentation using the PasDoc feature https://github.com/pasdoc/pasdoc/wiki/ReadDescriptionFromFile .

This is of course an ongoing effort, and help in documenting is most welcome!:) Be sure to consult with X3D specification and with our docs to document everything correctly:)

In the future: we *may* add some stuff automatically from X3D Tooltips (but they are not always as concise, or as good, as we would like).

Also in the future: we definitely will gradually hide the somewhat-internal properties FdXxx (first we’ll hide them from docs, and then we may just make them private). In most cases, users should not use them. But not everything yet has the non-FdXxx equivalent, in particular multiple-valued fields don’t have them yet, like FdGrouping.

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sprite-sheet-to-x3d utility

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A new utility “sprite-sheet-to-x3d” was added to the engine. Using it, you can convert spritesheet information into ready-to-use X3D file. Many thanks go to Trung Le (kagamma) for contributing this!

The utility takes a spritesheet with a description (what frames and animations are present in the spritesheet) and converts it into an X3D file. The X3D animations can be played with our simple PlayAnimation method (and friends).

The supported input formats are:

  • Starling (.xml). Fully supported.
  • Cocos2D (.plist). Covered most of important stuff, rare features are not supported (yet!).

See pull request #39 for more details!

The utility is in the engine sources, in tools/sprite-sheet-to-x3d/ . It can be compiled just like any other engine example, e.g. by executing the shell script tools/sprite-sheet-to-x3d/sprite-sheet-to-x3d_compile.sh . Enjoy!:)

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Castle Game Engine plans for 2017

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"Sad Sam" cat

It’s time to annouce some Castle Game Engine plans for 2017!

I have a LOT of things planned, with the main thing being that I will seek funding for the engine development more actively, and the community will be able to fund some larger features through Patreon. I would like to seriously make the engine popular and I would love to see more games being developed with it:)

THE ENGINE FEATURES PLANNED *REALLY SOON* ARE:

  1. 6.0 release SOON, of course! Lot’s of features, new website (preview), even new logo!:)

  2. Better iOS support (to be able to trivially recompile your project for iOS using our build tool castle-engine, like you can now for Android and desktops),

  3. Basic physics, for our upcoming “Sad Sam” apocalyptic highway shooter/racer.

LARGER FEATURES, WHICH I HOPE COULD GET FUNDED THROUGH PATREON ARE:

  1. Visual designing of the castle components inside a Lazarus form (like GLScene and FireMonkey 3d),

  2. Animations blending (to smoothly fade in/out animation, with cross-fade between animations, for things played by TCastleScene.PlayAnimation),

  3. Terrain engine,

  4. Blender X3D exporter improvements,

  5. Android Cardboard support, maybe also other VR devices — depending on demand, and my access to test devices,

  6. Ready components to replicate data over the Interner, allowing to trivially get multi-playter functionality in your games,

  7. Vulkan renderer, Metal renderer,

  8. Batching of shapes that have equal appearance for start, to optimize the rendering,

  9. JavaScript integration with X3D,

  10. view3dscene as an Android application,

  11. Delphi compatibility.

  12. And of course we wait for the possibility from FPC to recompile to web (that is, JS or WebAsembly, probably through LLVM). Then our engine will jump on to the web platform. (Unlike current web plugin, which is soon deprecated by all browsers, unfortunately.)

Lot’s of ideas, as you can see! What is YOUR most-wanted engine feature? Or do you have your favourite feature already mentioned above? Please do comment!:)

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Animated creature in Castle Game Engine with normalmaps baked from Blender Sculpt

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You can use Blender “Bake” feature to bake normalmaps from a high-poly model to be applied on a low-poly model. You can create the high-poly model e.g. using the “Sculpt Mode” in Blender.

Such normalmaps can be immediately used as the “normalMap” texture for Castle Game Engine.

The resulting model reacts nicely to lighting. It has a detailed shading, just like the high-poly version. But the geometry comes from the low-poly version, so it’s still very fast to render. This technique is 100% dynamic: both the creature, and the light, may be animated in any way, and the shading changes correctly.

The sample model is available in https://github.com/castle-engine/demo-models/tree/master/bump_mapping/lizardman . You can open it in view3dscene, and use the “Edit -> Lights Editor” to move the light’s location, and use the “Animation -> Named Animation -> …” to run a particular animation. For now, use the view3dscene version from snapshots or GitHub sources.

To use this technique in your own models, you need to use the “normalMap” field of the Appearance.

  • You can add it by manually editing an .x3d or .castle-anim-frames file, after exporting if from Blender.
  • You can specify normalMap in the material_properties.xml file.

See the “normalMap” documentation and the material_properties.xml documentation. And see the examples in demo-models/bump_mapping/ from demo models.

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Castle Game Engine 5.2.0 release

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Enemies and Shadows - screen from Web3d 2015 tutorial
Texture memory profiler in action
Hydra Battles, an isometric RTS game using Castle Game Engine
Dragon Squash - Android game integration with Google Games (title, sign-in)
Dragon Squash - Android game integration with Google Games (leaderboards)
Dragon Squash - Game Over screen, with some new font features

We’re proud to present new Castle Game Engine release 5.2.0!

Be sure to also check out the slides and examples (data and code) from a tutorial about our engine given during the recent Web3d 2015 conference. They show (from the ground up) the creation of a simple 3D FPS game and 2D game.

The 5.2.0 release brings various improvements to the engine capabilities and API:

  1. GPU texture memory profiler is now available. This tells you exactly which textures are worth optimizing (maybe scale them down, maybe compress for GPU, maybe remove alpha channel or convert to grayscale…). See TextureMemoryProfiler documentation.
  2. Many improvements related to texture GPU compression (especially important on mobile platforms, where texture memory is precious):
    • New compression formats available: ATITC, PVRTC, ETC (in addition to previous S3TC formats).
    • Many more functions now accept GPU-compressed images.
    • LoadImagePreprocess allows to replace image URLs at runtime, to switch uncompressed texture files with compressed.
  3. New capabilities for font rendering: scaling: TCastleFont.Scale, outline: TCastleFont.Outline, TCastleFont.OutlineColor, print in rect: TCastleFont.PrintRect, TCastleFont.PrintRectMultiline, TCastleFont.PushProperties, TCastleFont.PopProperties.
  4. TUIState to help implementing simple UI mode switching (with possible stack).
  5. New option android_project was added to our build tool to support custom Java and manifest code in your Android project. This allows to integrate your Android game with Google Games (leaderboards, achievements, save games…), biling, ads, analytics and anything else you want:)
  6. Getting and setting fields of X3D nodes has now clean API. Just use LightNode.Intensity := 0.5 instead of ugly LightNode.FdIntensity.Send(0.5).
  7. By default we use fcl-image built-in handling of PNG format. This removes the need to use/distribute extra libraries for handling PNG on any platform.
  8. On Windows GUI applications, we will log to the xxx.log file by default, instead of trying to log to unavailable stderr. See the updated tutorial link about logging for details.
  9. TCastle2DControl component for easily creating 2D games. Already contains a ready T2DSceneManager.
  10. Encrypt/decrypt XML data using BlowFish. In the simplest case, just set TCastleConfig.BlowFishKeyPhrase property. This allows to encrypt your XML data, for example to prevent cheaters from easily modifying your game configuration variables in XML. It assumes that the particular value of BlowFishKeyPhrase you use is kept secret — e.g. it’s compiled and maybe obfuscated.
  11. Numerous smaller new features: TGLImage.Draw3x1, TGLImage.Rect, TGLImage.ScalingPossible settable, TCasScriptExpression.AsFloat, TFramesPerSecond.MaxSensibleSecondsPassed, TCastleConfig.GetMultilineText (plus a few helpers for TCastleConfig to get/set RGB and RGBA colors), TRectangle.Align (plus related THorizontalPosition, TVerticalPosition), TCastleSceneCore.AnimationDuration .
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Castle Game Engine 5.1.2 release (fixes to TCastleControl, tutorial, more)

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"Dragon Spine" running in an Android emulator

Castle Game Engine version 5.1.2 was just released! This release brings a couple of fixes and improvements to the engine.

  1. New useful events are published on TCastleControl:
    OnOpen: TNotifyEvent
    OnClose: TNotifyEvent
    OnBeforeRender: TNotifyEvent
    OnRender: TNotifyEvent
    OnResize: TNotifyEvent
    OnPress: TControlInputPressReleaseEvent
    OnRelease: TControlInputPressReleaseEvent
    OnMotion: TControlInputMotionEvent
    OnUpdate: TNotifyEvent
    

    These should be used to watch open/close of context, to watch key/mouse events and to perform continuous updates. For detailed documentation of them, see TCastleControlCustom reference.

    Some previously published stuff on TCastleControl is deprecated now and will be removed in next release (sorry, we have to break compatibility — this old stuff really doesn’t make much sense, all new code should use new events). Also, the deprecated OnPaint was fixed — just in case you’re using it (but please switch to using OnRender soon!).

  2. The beginning of the tutorial was much streamlined. We fixed some wording, removed a lot of useless info, and made the beginning of the tutorial really smooth. Now, you really quickly get to the “I made a 3D game!” stage 🙂

    Also, the tutorial chapter “Adding a simple moving object” was added.

  3. Also, as you probably see, the website got a total facelift, using HTML5 and Bootstrap style. Various pages and menus were rearranged to be more helpful. I hope you enjoy the new website — please leave a note in the comments 🙂
  4. You can save almost 0.7 MB from exe size by undefining CASTLE_EMBED_ALL_3D_FONT_VARIATIONS in some cases, see src/base/castleconf.inc for comments.
  5. Various testsuite fixes and improvements.
  6. Improve CastleCurves API, and also mark most of it as deprecated.
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Castle Game Engine 5.1.1 release (Spine, build tool, more), view3dscene 3.15.0 release

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Spine animation with female skin
"Dragon Spine" running in an Android emulator
GUI in Spine
Various Android applications developed using Castle Game Engine
Text with shadow
"Little Things" game on Android'
"Tasty Reflections" game on Android
Named animations on example Spine model
Named animations on Venice character
New selection indicator

We proudly present, after 7 months of work, the next official release of our engine:)

As usual, we also release view3dscene 3.15.0, our 3D/2D model browser and converter.

New features of the engine and view3dscene:

  1. Extensive support for Spine 2D models and animations. Spine is a great program to design 2D skeletal (but not only) animations for games. It can be used to design animated characters, backgrounds, GUIs… Our engine and view3dscene can now effortlessly load and play Spine JSON format.
  2. New build tool of Castle Game Engine, able to easily compile and package programs developed using our engine. Especially useful for Android, where it hides a lot of complications related to creating Android apk from your code.
  3. X3D Text node gets a new implementation, very fast, portable to OpenGLES (Android/iOS), and easy to use (shares tools and classes with 2D text rendering). You can also control whether it uses alpha blending or alpha test.
  4. Text can now handle international text (in UTF-8). texturefont2pascal can read font with extra international characters.
  5. Many improvements for 2D games. Besides Spine support, there’s also a comfortable T2DSceneManager and T2DScene. See castle_game_engine/examples/2d_spine_game/ for example of use.
  6. Many improvements for Android. See new tutorial page about developing mobile games. Try our “portable games skeleton” code in castle_game_engine/examples/portable_game_skeleton.
    Also Android emulator is working now with our programs.

  7. New X3D extensions (used by our Spine loader, but may also be useful for other purposes too):
  8. High-quality image scaling, using interpolation modes like Mitchell, Blackman, Lanczos, Gaussian. See TCastleImage.MakeResized and TResizeNiceInterpolation. The implementation uses excellent fcl-image library underneath.
  9. Named animations: Our engine detects named animations by looking at X3D TimeSensor node names. Name starting with “Animation_xxx” indicates an animation, with name “xxx”. Some converters (right now, our Spine to X3D conversion) follow this convention, so our engine immediately “knows” the Spine animation names and can play them. The benefits:
    • view3dscene displays a user-friendly menu in “Animation->Named Animations->…” to run animation by name.
    • TCastleScene offers a simple API for programmers to browse and run animation by name, see TCastleScene.PlayAnimation.

Also be sure to install on your Android device a demo of Castle Game Engine + Spine. It’s completely free of course, and the source code is one of the examples in Castle Game Engine sources.

“Dragon Spine” is also available for Windows or Linux. You can also watch the video!.

Check out also some games using Castle Game Engine:

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