You have probably all seen the announcements at GDC 2015 (going on right now). The big engine guys are battling it out for the attentions of developers large and small. Epic Games are giving away Unreal Engine 4 for free and Unity Technologies have released Unity 5 (of which the Personal Edition contains all engine features). But it doesn’t stop there; Chukong Technologies continues to improve the widely adopted open source engine Cocos2d-x and PlayCanvas are showcasing at GDC right now with their stunning WebGL engine and ARM has been excited to sponsor their PLAYHACK March competition with a great prize of a Samsung Chromebook 2 (Exynos 5 Octa and ARM® Mali™-T628 MP6 GPU) for the winning entry.
As all the major players continue to offer amazing engines with incredible features and continue to reduce the cost to developers, the barrier to entry reduces too. This is great news for all developers but especially for new aspiring indies keen to break into the industry.
As the ecosystem continues to expand and the audience of games becomes ever wider, ARM is incredibly excited to take on the challenge of ARMing (pardon the pun) developers with the tools and education they need to optimise their games for both performance and energy consumption. At GDC 2015 we’re proud to be, once again, working with key games industry players.
Moon Temple, a collaboration between ARM and Epic Games
We have been collaborating with Epic Games to port Unreal Engine 4 to 64-bit and add ASTC texture compression. This can be seen in our joint demo called Moon Temple based on an existing demo from Epic. As well as 64-bit and ASTC, you’ll also see Pixel Local Storage in action; this allows us to perform energy efficient rendering by keeping data on-chip to reduce bandwidth consumption. Full details of this demo were explained in our joint talk with Epic – “Unreal Engine 4 Mobile Graphics on ARM CPU and GPU Architecture (Presented by ARM)”. Keep an eye out on the GDC Video Vault if you missed it.
Ice Cave demo from ARM; created with Unity 5
Last year, ARM released the “ARM Guide to Unity: Enhancing Your Mobile Games”, a popular guide teaching beginner and intermediate developers how to optimise for Mali and implement cool effects. We’ll be updating the guide again this year but as a special sneak peek into what is coming, check out the Ice Cave demo from our internal demo team. Created with the latest Unity 5 (now available), this demo makes use of real-time global illumination (employing Enlighten, the new lighting solution inside Unity 5) and adds some cool reflection, refraction and soft shadows. All to be detailed in the ARM Guide to Unity later this year! ARM continues to work ever more closely with Unity and we can’t wait for what the future holds. Be sure to check out our GDC talk “Enhancing Your Unity Mobile Games (Presented by ARM)“, also to be available in the GDC Video Vault.
Cocos2d-x is a very popular open source engine and we’re very pleased to have been working closely with the creators Chukong Technologies for a long time now. ARM is especially proud to have been able to help optimise the engine for Mali and help with the transition as the mobile world moves to ARMv8 and 64-bit. To make great games, you need a great engine backed by useful, easy to use and powerful tools. Recently you may have seen the announcement for the integration of ARM DS-5 into the Cocos IDE. This will allow developers the ability to efficiently debug their C++ code and continue to optimise for ARM and push the boundaries!
Seemore WebGL created with PlayCanvas
The barriers to entry for game developers are reducing but the possibilities continue to widen. ARM enables partners to create high performing energy efficient devices and we’re seeing more and more content running across multiple platforms. Console quality engines are already running on smartphones and tablets and that trend continues with browser technology. We’ve been collaborating with PlayCanvas to showcase what is possible with HTML5 and WebGL on current generation mobile devices. PlayCanvas have created a stunning rendition of our popular demo SeeMore. With stunning lighting and physically based rendering, all running on last year’s Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition (Mali-T628 MP6), developers can now easily deploy high quality visuals across browser-based apps and games.
At time of writing, there are only two days remaining of GDC 2015, if you’re lucky enough to be there, be sure to head over to the ARM Booth 1624 and check out all the demos and technology on show!
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