We were recently asked if any of our company activities had a sustainability element, and initially it did not seem so. We don't plant trees or stop the burning of oil, in fact with the advent of printers and more powerful devices, we were consuming more trees for paper and using more electricity to keep everything running. Not terribly sustaining. Then we remembered the amazing advances over the last few decades thanks to computers. More people can work and study from home now, meaning less time driving back and forth, reducing pollution and the wasteful use of an increasingly valuable resource. Devices are getting smaller and using fewer watts of power to do the same job. Printing and sending letters have given way to email and even shorter tweets and posts.

As an industry, we are at the forefront of pioneering sustainability, so give yourself a pat on the back. For a while at least, you can breathe in the unprecedented clean air unburdened by cars and planes, and reflect that you're doing your part to make our tiny blue green planet a nicer place to live ?

The main development focus for AppGameKit Studio during June has been on bug fixing and tweaks. This work will soon see the light of day in a new build when we roll out an update to existing AppGameKit Studio users.

The Steam summer sale is currently running, and we have a host of deals across the whole AppGameKit family of products including the AppGameKit Studio Mega Media Pack which is discounted by 40%.

Plenty of deals to be had on AppGameKit Classic products in the Steam summer sale including:

We have seen a lot of new eye candy in June, including the reveal of the 'Cellar Demo', which will be our showcase scene for the release of GameGuru MAX. With its resident Zombie taking centre stage and giving everyone the willies, we hope to create a spooky and perhaps scary atmosphere for what might be your first foray into creating your own VR game.

As the world of VR slowly moves to maturity and perhaps mainstream, we continue to see encouraging evolutions, such as the recent announcement by Steam on the release of beta support for OpenXR, the long-awaited solution to VR coding fragmentation. Remarkably, just a few days before that reveal, we had announced OpenXR as our choice for coding support for the myriad of headsets currently out there, so we had a double smile when Steam added their powerhouse to the equation ?  Fear not Vive owners - with a little luck, you too will be taking things to the MAX.

We also had the pleasure of releasing Alpha Build 3 to all pre-order users, featuring for the first time our IDE running under a 64-bit binary and integrated with the Wicked Engine, the new graphics engine we are using. To get an idea what the new graphics engine will be like, check out our GameGuru YouTube Channel  for the recent sneak peeks and live broadcasts!

We are in the midst of a cool Steam sale, which means many of our DLCs are on a great discount, so check out the Steam product page for more details and grab yourself a bargain.

Later in the month we will have more deals for you including:

If your game-making project is looking for extra content in the above categories, keep your eye out for announcements of the above discounts on our GameGuru news feed.

Finally roll back the years with our new DLC – the Retro 80’s Pack - 40 high quality 1980s based technology models!

As you may know we are the developers behind the UK’s #1 app for the driving theory test – Driving Test Success 4in1 Kit.  We launched a new app for learner drivers just before the Covid-19 lockdown – timing eh! But now that driving lessons and theory tests are re-starting, we are hoping to gain traction with learner drivers who want extra help with the practical side of learning to drive with the Practical Driving Test UK 2020 app.

The Practical Driving Test UK 2020 app is no substitute for getting real driving experience with an Approved Driving Instructor; but our app helps reinforce and refresh the learning in between driving lessons.

The app features 360 degree videos and takes you inside the vehicle for an all-round close up view - no need for a VR headset!  Filmed from every angle, it’s like having your very own driving instructor with you! It’s the ONLY app with over 160 practical driving lesson video tutorials to help fully prepare the learner driver for their Practical Driving Test, plus it features driving help and guidance, quizzes and personalised reminders.

Enough of the sales spiel! The reason we tell you all this - it’s written in AppGameKit ?

This month we meet Matthew Hart and his VR Speed cubing application

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into coding and using AppGameKit...

I started programming back in the early 90s as a kid by typing in BASIC commands from a microcomputer magazine. I think the first game featured an ASCII jet that could move up and down and fire a bullet at incoming jets. Eventually moved onto QBASIC and got to grips with writing to the pixel buffer directly for rendering graphics. Windows 3.1 enabled game creation programs like Klik & Play and The Games Factory so I tried these for many years but WYSIWYG editors didn't suit me. I found myself using workarounds more often than direct solutions. When QBASIC was eventually discontinued I found FreeBASIC which reignited my appetite for coding games. In 2010 I released a game called Boondog which was bought by Gimme5Games and ported to ActionScript for their Adobe Flash games website. It is an unforgiving puzzle platformer!

Then I discovered AppGameKit with its Tier 1 and Tier 2 options about 3 years ago. It has a good blend of ease-of-use (Tier 1) and full control (Tier 2) in a familiar syntax. I've been very happy so far with my experience using AppGameKit. It can handle almost anything I throw at it and I don't feel like I am always "working around" the issues.

What inspired you to create a Rubik's Cube VR project?

I got interested in VR right when the Vive was released. I got the Oculus Rift when it was on sale and haven't looked back. In April 2019 I received a (very bad) knockoff Rubik's Cube as a gift. I also bought AppGameKit VR but at that time I hadn't put the two together. I've been solving cubes for just over a year now and I'm completely hooked (personal record is 17.68s #bragmuch). I now see VR as potentially a great way to introduce gamers to Cubing and to enable training methods that are otherwise impossible to do in reality. To be able to instantly set a cube to a particular state allows me to repeatedly drill an algorithm (a set of moves that perform a swap or cycle of pieces), or practice various stages of a solve more conveniently.

How have you found the process of coding the project in AppGameKit?

This project is Tier 1 and coding with AppGameKit is easy. Being able to compile apps for multiple devices and broadcast to them are fantastic features. However, I do miss operators such as ++ and += and the associative arrays of scripting languages like JavaScript and PHP.

Were there any challenges that you had to overcome? If so, how did you solve them?

I suppose developing in VR is its own challenge. I created a debug console panel on my left wrist so that I don't have to check the monitor while in VR. Having to put on the HMD over and over again to test things takes extra time, but the biggest challenge in this project has to be the cube math. Transforming a cube programmatically turned out to be a lot more complicated than I had anticipated! It is an ocean of jumbled indices, modulos and remappings that I'd rather not have to revisit! Shaders are a new endeavour for this project and I am very much enjoying that topic.

Are you planning on releasing the project soon?

I have no deadline on this project, it is still in the very early stages. It would be super to add multiplayer to play casually or competitively with a friend. It will be released when it is bug-free, fun and easy to play for everyone. So probably never ;)

Matthew posts updates to his projects in the AppGameKit Facebook Group. If you want to follow his progress please sign up to the group.