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Epic’s Mega Grant

Oh.. how cool it is?!!

When i created the UE4U.XYZ blog and all the content in there since unreal’s first day to be public in 2014, i didn’t know that there will be any type of appreciation for that..and I didn’t wait or expect any… but few years later, i got the Unreal Dev Grant fro that educational resources.

It was a big day…

Few weeks ago, i did get similar news by email, about my unreal python stuff that i started couple of years ago in order to dig deep in the python editor scripting stuff, and put FREE examples out there (which yet used as a python editor scripting reference by many companies, that includes some big players who uses unreal), that later turned to a course + free samples for everyone. I did decide to keep the news for myself until Epic throw a public announcement about it..And that did just happen a day or two ago..

How cool it is to be recognized..

You can check the full announcement at Epic’s official post at their blog. Or at the VentureBeat blog post that i kept getting in my facebook messages for the entire day from my sweet friends 🙂

What was even cooler, that “Mike” from GameFromScratch (which is a channel i do check it in daily basis because i LOVE it) while covering the news, he stopped at my entry, and did mention it is worth checking out…which made me twice happy to be covered even for few seconds in a channel that i appreciate and that means a lot to me.

Once more, thank you Epic Games..And let’s keep making Unreal Stuff!

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Yet, another Unreal stuff!

While this is not new…But this one means a lot to me, and will be always the very very close to my heart..Because…

If you didn’t get the reason, it’s because this is the first version of the Unreal Engine to support the upcoming PS5 & XB seriesX! Which not only means my fixes and my code went to the new generation already, but also means I’ve been with Unreal yet another full generation! Happy new generation to you Unreal!

Dunno what exactly was my work that made it to the 4.25 version, and by now I’m already lose tracking those things, but for sure this time was all bug fixing, and no new features at all from my side been submitted. The only features I’ve created in the past ~7 months, are only for the current gen consoles for my own joy, experimentation and learning[s], and Epic (afaik) not allowing for pull requests for those platforms.

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Oh, another Unreal contributions!

Yesterday I got my hands on the official launcher version of UE4.24 which was just released, and as always, eager to see if any of my personal fork changes made it to that release,..and guess what,…quite a few made it!

Let me spot some of my favorite changes….

Splitscreen

One of my favorite ones in this version, is the ability to (FINALLY) get and/or set the splitscreen status. This one been very annoying for many people and specially the ones with blueprint projects, but that is not the case any more. With this two new nodes…

A lot can be made for multiplayer games!

Because this was very annoying, i even recall making a video 5 years ago about how to “go around” it!

Screenshots

People who worked with me in Unreal projects, already know that i spend most of the in-editor time in taking high-res screenshots..If not for WIP or blogging, then for satisfaction!!!!
Quite sometime ago I’ve added to my fork the feature of storing the screenshots with timestamp (date/time), it is super useful, specially when deleting undesired screenshots. The thing is, screenshot files in unreal used to be stored in numerical order, and every-time before storing a screenshot, the editor will check for an available number, which means if you have image called 001 & 002 & 004, when you capture new image, it will be named 003 to fill the gap, not 005 as expected. Which was annoying for me!
Not to mention, there is limit, which i can’t recall right now (1000 or something), and i don’t like limited features!!

But now with this

we can have that:

Oh..the screenshots in that image were taken 5 months ago! That pull request is really old!

Landscape

Few months ago (around UE4.22 or 4.21) I’ve been working in a set of new landscape features (mostly inspired from Michael Kiessling, let’s give ’em some credit!), and that surprisingly met the task at epic of making changes within the entire landscape system and make the none-destructive thing that we have now (was not exist at that time). I’ve added some features that were not integrated within 4.24, but i feel in a way or another they were looked up/after, and had an impact on what we have now at 4.24!

Can read more about those landscape features at this blog post

Bugs!

If you write code, then you know that bugs are the ultimate fact! I’ve been continuously fixing UE4 bugs as a main method to learn about different areas of the engine, some times I do fix because they are impacting my personal work or because they are impacting someone i know. While other times they are blockers at the master branch during a weekend or so, and i need to get some changes, but at the same time to be able to compile and build UE4! And other times i just fix bugs just to dig deep about something…Anyways, i do like to push those fixes regardless why i did fix them, despite they will be approved or not, and within 4.24 there were quite a few of them, the one i loved the most, as it were impacting me personally was that one:

u already know how much i do LOVE the view modes and visualizing options within game engines 😉

Oh,..

And someone at work show me this today…it’s been an honor to contribute with UE4 so far, since day 1…..

Thank you for giving this piece of tech for FREE

And of course, you can check the full release notes here

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PoTN Files association

Been quite sometime since the latest update for “Penguins of The North”, but I’ve been busy in other projects that will be covered in later posts, or already been covered in the previous couple of months, such as the rats, gamejam, tools, UE4 plugins, or even UE4 engine modifications. Anyways, after bringing my level editor to mobile & PC, and I was able to draft levels anytime, let my kids toy with the editor and make funny levels, doing that anywhere regardless any thing! But that came with an issue!!!

Every time I move the new levels from mobile to PC in order to review & edit, I’ve to [1]copy them to a specific folder in the game install, [2]launch the game, and within the game menus [3]I look for the editor, [4]open the level editor, and then within the level editor itself, I [5]prompt the “Open Level” dialogue, [6]search for the level I want within a list full of tons of levels, and….BOOM I can see or edit it now…Time waste, right??!! And that’s why i decided to work more on the file association for the game levels (*.PoTN files) and refine that workflow to the ultimate-robust-productive workflow. And the outcome was…

Now as soon as the levels copied to my PC, or even while the phone connected via USB, the *.PoTN files will be identified as level of the game, and i can just double click any to launch it in edit mode. There is only single blocker for now, which is the splash-screens and the time it takes to load, but I’ll get rid of those later for the editor, as yet the editor is based on 80% of the game framework, and that was made in order to keep things consistent between edit mode and play mode.

Anyways, that’s my quick update regarding PoTN, just wanted to let you know, it is still alive, I’ve no idea when that game is done, been many years, but I’m enjoying it as a learning experience to find new-grounds!

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Free “Video Comparator”

Today I decided to clean up, update the code, update to the most recent vs2017 version, and release for free one of my most beloved personal tools that I’ve developed to help me personally and commercially. It have been a good friend over the years, helping me in comparing animation shots, pre-rendered renderfarm shots in cartoons industry, games vfx and cinematic shots.

Now you kinda got a clue, why I did put similar feature in my Mirage Engine ^_^ It’s something I love during work, comparing changes!!

The app used to be only supporting AVI files (back then mp4 weren’t fun anyways), but there were many improvements that been added over the years, in the way it work, the performance, the file formats, etc. . Currently it supports AVI, mp4 & MKV. There are also few other options I’ve added during 2019, but not included with this liver version, as I’m not sure yet about those options usability, but for sure will push those updates to the executable as soon as they work in the way i hope for.

You can just grab it from itch.io

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Once more, Mentioned in Unreal Engine 4.22

Well….By now you already know how this works! I’ve stopped tracking my pull requests, so I’m not sure which ones of my contributions are included within this release, but one thing to be sure about, it was either fixes or minor features, and it is not for sure related to Raytracing at all =D as I didn’t get an RTX card as gift yet!

Check the release notes here:
https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/blog/unreal-engine-4-22-released

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Level design on the Go

Not much to say, but more to show!

In the past couple of months I’ve been working on porting the PoTN level editor to Android devices, so I can get the chance to Design level at any time. It doesn’t matter if I’m in Subway, Taxi, Queue, Bed or Toilet. I can always design new levels whenever I want, which is FANTASTIC!!!

Successfully running on all my devices despite their difference in brand, quality & aspect ratio

Most of the work went into optimizations, inputs handling & whatnot; in order to package the entire 2GB game editor, its assets and data, into 45mb APK, while keeping the same visual quality and identity and good performance at this less powerful devices.

All designed levels will be saved to the device, and then can be either synced to my google derive (which is not available without VPN currently) or just hook the USB and copy them over to the game directory!!!
I guess I might release it with the final game at some point, so android users can build on the GO as well!

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nGUI to uUi is FREE now!

without further ado, I kept getting many requests of re-publishing that kinda old AssetStore project or someone want to buy a single license of it. But because I took the decision long time ago to not support it anymore
due to my time barriers. And with those messages increasing, I decided to put it online fully for free, and anyone can use it as is, improve it or share it for any purpose. So Enjoy it

Github

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Unreal Python[S]

I have created a public repo where i’ll be cleaning up most of my personal unreal Python scripts that I’ve made (and keep making) to help me in processing many things faster while working with UE4 pipelines.
You can access the public repository on GitHub here. I’ve another larger private repo on gitlab full of the entire library of my scripts, but i would not love to share it right away, as there are many many outdated scripts or chunks of scripts, things need updates, things are replaced or removed from the main Py api of UE4, so I found it more safe to pick them one by one, make sure it works without any errors, and then push it to the public repo.

And to warm up, here is the first one in this series, make sure to follow the channel or the twitter account to get the latest news regarding the new scripts, i won’t be posting here per script.

-m



____________________________________________________________________________
#Update:
I’ve created a public playlist, so things get easier to follow while scripts getting added frequently

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Penguins of The North – Editor Updates

By now, you probably heard about my super old game Penguins of The north, either here, FB, YT or Twitter. If you don’t, then in a nutshell, it is one of those endless games, that i never feel it is the time to finish its development 😀 Funny thing, I’ve started this game almost 10 years ago. It went from idea, to 2d game, to 2.5d game, to 2d game again, to real 3d game, to 2d game (AGAIN), to a 2d game with level editor (now)!

POTN started many years ago as a kind of jam game, called Harmonics at that time, and then been polished an updated in 2013 to a 2.5d version. Later on I decided to take it further to be a full complete game, and set the theme to be 2d rather than 3d. I felt in love with penguins as creatures to replace my unknown old Harminion weird creatures, and that was a good decision, as the game passed steam’s greenlight (oh,…when greenlight was exist!). It moved to a full 3d version that i’ll share about it later as postmortem when the game get out! But while the two games seems a lot different, but they have always been the same project, same code base & same folder!

All that was great, but the real anchor point for that project, and the reason it never ended, is the level editor!

At somepoint in the game lifecycle, I’ve decided to add a level editor to help me iterate faster in creating new levels, not only that, but i can share an editor executable with my friends to toy with, and i get their final *.POTN files to check them out, and put the interesting ones into the game.

But editor meant more work for me to do. As my goal have always been a runtime editor, where at any moment you can show the editor and edit the level, and save it. So every single element of the game have to be in a good synchronization with the editor, and the vise versa! With some exceptions in mind, things that takes time to add, but it makes more sense, something like death situations that have to be ignored while editor UI is exist, but restart the level if you are in game mode. Again, this was not means to be editor where i create the game, but editor where the game can be edited at any time!

And what i wanted to share here today, is the most recent update in the Editor, you can see it has more functions now, better and unified UI, and most importantly, better experience to have the game living while being created!

Also I’ve noticed that the game page on the Unity Connect hub became one of the most visited pages in there, it’s been long time since i created this page, but seeing this huge interest in the game is really impressive. I don’t usually keep an eye in there, but seems I must do now!

https://connect.unity.com/p/games-penguins-of-the-north

At the end, I’ve posted this over twitter long time ago, and I’ve reposed it today, but it is good one to leave you with 😉

 

-m

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