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Package Plugins

Many games store 3D models, textures, and other game files in some type of compressed package format. These can be anything from a simple ZIP file to a custom multi-file archive system. This has the benefit of making the install size of the game smaller, and can prevent users from accessing the raw files. Often times undocumented proprietary file formats are used to optimize loading time, although with DDS and glTF this is not such a problem anymore. Leadwerks uses built-in support for encr


Josh in Articles

Plugins and File Formats

At last I have been able to work the plugin system into the new editor and realize my dreams. The editor automatically detects supported file formats and generates thumbnails for them. (Thumbnails are currently compatible with the Leadwerks system, so Leadwerks can read these thumbnail files and vice-versa.) If no support for a file format is found, the program just defaults to the whatever icon or thumbnail Windows shows. The options dialog includes a tab where you can examine each pl


Josh in Articles

A First Look at the New Editor

I've been wracking my brain trying to decide what I want to show at the upcoming conference, and decided I should get the new editor in a semi-workable state. I started laying out the interface two days ago. To my surprise, the whole process went very fast and I discovered some cool design features along the way. With the freedom and control I have with the new user interface system, I was able to make the side panel extend all the way to the top and bottom of the window client area. This g


Josh in Articles

Animated Textures

One of my goals in Ultra Engine is to avoid "black box" file formats and leave all game assets in common file formats that can be easily read in a variety of programs. For this reason, I put a lot of effort into the Pixmap class and the DDS load and save capabilities. In Ultra Engine animated textures can be stored in a volume texture. To play the animation, the W component of the UVW texcoord is scrolled. The fragment shader will sample the volume texture between the nearest two slices on


Josh in Articles

Six Months With Cyclone

Back in the summer of 2017, I started experimenting with the idea of a puzzle game by placing launch pads on surfaces. The first build was very sloppy, and there wasn't any wall launching at this time. This build however was the first step of the experimenting process. Only one map was ever made and I just reused old Vectronic assets.    I shelved this concept until Winter of 2020 asI developed an itch to work on something and I wanted to get familiar with GIMP. This build again


reepblue in Cyclone


Ok so I didn't quite do one shader a week but I got to 52. I wasn't sure I could pull it off but hopefully the shaders are diverse enough to give something to work with for most occasions. I tried to keep the language consistent throughout and organize them sort of from easy to hard. I threw in all kinds of links because I don't know a lot of the technical terminology. I don't know how Ultra is going to be but I get the impression it's not going to be too much different. From what I understand,


havenphillip in Shaders


According to learnopengl.com PBR - or physically based rendering - is "...a collection of render techniques that are more or less based on the same underlying theory that more closely matches that of the physical world...[it] aims to mimic light in a physically plausible way...[and] generally looks more realistic compared to our original lighting algorithms like Phong an Blinn-Phong...PBR is still nonetheless an approximation of reality...which is why it's not called physical shading, but physic


havenphillip in Shaders

Visual Studio Code and Ultra App Kit on Windows

Before doing anything I want to use Visual Studio Code in Windows instead of Visual Studio. The reason is that I'm already using Visual Studio Code for some other things and really like it and don't feel that installing Visual Studio just for compiling my Ultra App Kit development is something that I want to do. I got that working and will here describe how I did that. Maybe there's better ways, just give suggestions in that case. Anyway here we go then. I assume that you have he Ultra App

Vulkan on Mac with MoltenVK

When it comes to complex projects I like to focus on whatever area of technology causes me the most uncertainty or worry. Start with the big problems, solve those, and as you continue development the work gets easier and easier. I decided at this stage I really wanted to see how well Vulkan graphics work on Mac computers. Vulkan doesn't run natively on Mac, but gets run through a translation library called MoltenVK. How well does MoltenVK actually work? There was only one way to find out...


Josh in Articles


So we went through a lot of fragment shaders. Did some vertex displacement. Went through tessellation. Now, some geometry. I don't have much to say about it. Just keep poking at it with a proverbial stick and eventually situations start to look familiar and you know what to do because it's similar to stuff you've encountered before. It does seem to me that there's not a lot of variety in geometry shaders. There's a bit, though. Enough to make it interesting. But grab these shaders and you'll hav


If you liked vertex displacement, you're going to love tessellation. Tessellation is very similar, but incorporates the control and evaluation stages of the shader. The Leadwerks box brush creates a box that has two triangles per face. If you want to use some kind of vertex displacement on it you're going to have a bad time. With tessellation it's different because you are able to subdivide the faces with the shader, so you can use the shader to create more structurally complex models. The contr

Depth Buffer

Note: In my last post shaders 36 and 37 weren't working correctly so I replaced them. If you got the old ones you can throw those out and re-download the new ones on the same links. These shaders are based on the Leadwerks soft  particle shader, which I was directed to by Marcousik, and which I noobalyzed into a model shader. What the soft particle shader does is create a soft falloff in opacity depending on how close objects are behind it. To clarify, imagine looking down at a water plane,

SyntaxEditor - Widget

Hi,  I finally managed to build a first release candidate for a SyntaxEditor-Widget. The Widget is using the famous Scintilla TextEditor-Component under the hood and wraps the control into a UAK-Widget.  At this point i only provide binaries (includes and libraries) but i am currently preparing to release the source as well.  The source itself is semi-autogenerated with a manual created body and a tool which generates the main part of the Scintilla-Component based of so called iFace fi


klepto2 in Releases

Ultra App Kit 1.1 Adds Support for Cross-Platform Development

Ultra App Kit 1.1 is now available on our website and on Steam. This free update brings cross-platform development to our fast resolution-independent GUI toolkit. To download the new installers, click on your account purchases. In addition to Windows, Mac and Linux are now supported, which means you can code once and compile everywhere to easily create cross-platform GUI applications. Builds on Linux use minimal dependencies and will work on virtually any distro without any additional


Admin in Articles

Vertex Displacement

Simplistically speaking, you could think of the vertex stage of a shader as the "position" of the object, and the fragment stage as the "color." All you really need is position and color. Vertex displacement manipulates the position to warp or move the object. There are many ways to do it but the whole trick revolves around the ex_vertexposition. You may notice in every model shader you have these two lines in the vertex stage:    ex_vertexposition = entitymatrix_ * vec4(vertex_position,1.0

Vulkan on AMD Graphics Cards

I have procrastinated testing of our new 3D engine on AMD hardware for a while. I knew it was not working as-is, but I was not too concerned. One of the promises of Vulkan is better support across-the-board and fewer driver bugs, due to the more explicit nature of the API. So when I finally tried out the engine on an R9 200 series card, what would actually happen? Would the promise of Vulkan be realized, or would developers continue to be plagued by problems on different graphics cards? Read on


Josh in Articles

Concrete Elements (Wall 38 - 4K)

In addition to the usual metallic looking textures, a few of these have different elements to break up the collection, namely concrete. In the final pack there will be "metallic" variants of these textures as well. I have the materials set up so that I can import different scanned substances, like cinder blocks or bunker walls. Makes for a cool military look and can be used to ground your setting more into reality, if you wish. Just choose your preferred look. I will be mixing all the

Simplex Noise

I don't deal with noise shaders that much but there are a lot of examples on Shadertoy. It has a lot of uses depending on what you want, but very often I see noise being used with raymarching to create 3D scenes. I prefer using textures because I can get what I want out of them and noise is a lot of math (noise shaders can get very large very quickly), but I figured a good shader series ought to have a noise function somewhere.   I got this noise from iq of Shadertoy fame. Just a nice


Parallax is a cheap way to add a lot of 3D details to any scene. The less vertices on a mesh the better, because parallax doesn't actually add any geometric information. And it requires only the bare minimum number of vertices to work. That makes it fast. And the effect is believable. All you really need is a heightmap and a dream... It's a lot of fun trying different textures with it, and if I could I'd use it for everything. However, there are a few limitations to parallax. The first prob


In this first entry I will introduce some basics about the internal structure of the Widget class and what the purpose of some of its members is. For the real basics on how to write a custom Widget I suggest reading this https://www.ultraengine.com/learn/CPP/CustomWidgets first. Most of the members are self explained, so I will focus in this entry on 4 important methods: virtual bool Initialize(const WString& text, const int x, const int y, const int width, const int height, sh


klepto2 in Basics

Masks and Texture Blending

Masking is pretty easy and useful for adding some variety to your shaders. Masks are usually just some greyscale image that is turned into a float. In shaders floats have a very broad utility because you can add them just about anywhere. Super useful. And they can be used to blend textures or define areas in your material. Adding a mask in code is the same as with any texture. The greyscale quality allows you to use a single channel of that greyscale as a representative of all the channels.
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