Godot 4.2 Released

Events often resist efforts to package them up and stamp a Convenient Narrative on them, but it’s really tempting to me to say the history of the internet in this era is that of many people rejecting the hegemony of large corporations and doing things for themselves.

Social media has seen the rejection of Twitter, for reasons I really don’t want to hash out again here, and while some ran directly to Threads or Bluesky, a good number realized it was eventually just going to happen all over again, and that helped to increase the update of open source, federated work-alike Mastodon.

Another piece of this narrative vase that we might be able to fit into place, with creative thinking and a whole lot of glue, is the downfall of Unity and how it helped the effort to create the free open source gamedev replacement Godot. And lo, after a fairly recent release of 4.0, yesterday they already released 4.2. The changelog is here. Here is GDQuest’s rundown of the changes (22 minutes), and here are Lukky’s five favorite new features (3m), which are:

  • FSR 2.0 support (upscaling higher resolution output from lower resolution rendering)
  • Color-coding of folders in the file hierarchy within Godot’s UI
  • The ability to “bake 2D navmeshes”
  • When resizing 3D objects, the UI no longer resizes symmetrically around the object’s origin by default, but instead only the side you’re changing is modified
  • And, within the code editor, you can now create special comments to define a code region, which can be independently collapsed to reduce clutter, and expanded when you need access to its contents. And the Ctrl-K Comment Out feature works better now.

To get back to talking about software philosophy…. There are unique problems with using fully open tools to create games. Console manufacturer devtools are still locked in a mode where the maker hands you proprietary libraries, which they are unwilling to make freely available because of their economic desire to preserve trade secrets and control their platform. Most developers get around this by going through a third party, who has independently created a system of working between the open development framework and the publisher’s libraries, and then licenses it to a studio so they can get their project working on consumer hardware.

Godot is subject to this limitation, with 4.2 being no exception. But there is a sense, with it, that it’s the brightest hope for free and open game development going right now. They don’t ask for any license fees, they don’t try to count how many installs you have and they don’t track user behavior. But because they don’t try to claw in income through direct means, fair or foul, they must survive off of contributions. If you find Godot useful to your work, please consider using their donation link and signing up for an entirely voluntary plan.

News 7/18/22: Fall Pac-Dwarf Unity

“We scour the Earth web for indie, retro, and niche gaming news so you don’t have to, drebnar!” – your faithful reporter

Jordan Middler at VGC noted of instances last week where Fall Guys players who had intended only to preview items were instead made to purchase them, and no refunds were offered. Since it became a big affair on social media developer Mediatonic reversed course and promised to refund the purchases, and that their customer support was lacking in this case. But it kind of makes you wonder about the errors that don’t make it big on social media, doesn’t it?

Unity has been in the news a lot lately! They merged with ironSource, a company that once made a malware installer (Jody MacGregor at PCGamer), and their CEO John Ricitiello criticized mobile game devs who had the temerity to not focus on monetization when they made games, calling them (focuses on page) “fucking idiots.” (Ian Walker, Kotaku) That second article, it’s beautiful and infuriating. Since then, Ricitiello has apologized for his statement on Twitter, and that tweet has itself made the rounds by now. As part of the fallout some developers are seeking out other packages, including site-favorite open-source gamedev system Godot.

PCGamesN (I’m too cranky right now to put the superscript on the N) writer Ian Boudreau presents news of the upcoming graphical Steam version of indie darling Dwarf Fortress, and how its trees change colors with the seasons! I seem to remember them doing this in ASCII mode too, but it’s nice to see it with non-terminal eyes. A lot more pictures are on this post on their Steam News page.

Lookin’ good, Blinky

Some fun links are good once in a while, am I right drebnar? Hackaday’s Orlando Hoilett links us to monseley’s Instructables page about an LCD matrix they cobbled together that shows animations of Pac-Man characters, and how you can make one yourself. It’s even set to make the ghost blue when it’s cold and red when it’s warm! Us one-celled organisms have always felt a certain kinship with ol’ Pacs, I tell you.

RPG In A Box

Lots of players are also armchair designers, so we like to present interesting tools as they appear. One that recently went up on Steam is the voxel-oriented RPG In A Box ($29.99). It has that interesting 3D-yet-8-bit vibe that make the Dragon Quest Builder games so appealing.

There are a lot of interesting tools out there for a variety of skillsets, and greatly differing levels of flexibility. Some considering are RPG Maker MZ and MV (who knows what the letters are meant to stand for), Zelda Classic for action games, and for more flexible tools it might be worth checking out Godot, or maybe creating something with Python and Pygame.

Godot Wild Jam

We live in a golden age of game jams, thousands of people every month make little games in absurdly short amounts of times, and surprisingly often those games are even interesting! What that says about the nature of game creation is very interesting, but not the subject here. That would be Godot Wild Jam (itch.io), a monthly themed and judged jam where the thread of continuity is the use of Godot, the amazingly small yet feature-packed free and open source game development system.

Since it’s monthly, and I’m writing this three weeks ahead of time, I don’t really know who’ll win the one currently in the offing. The previous jam as of this writing was won by Stranded on Ice. You can look through all the entries on Godot Wild Jam 44’s itch page, or ALL the entries throughout the jam’s history by browsing through itch’s #godotwildjam tag.