This week has a lot of updates to cover.  Let's get started! First a quick reminder that I am not an employee of TheGameCreators and as such this opinion piece does not reflect their views. This is entirely a piece based on my own findings. 

Official GameGuru News

So first off, there's the rather beautiful 'Cold War' pack. A few weeks ago we were offered a preview of the asset list for this one and I have to say it looked really gorgeous.  The demo picture on the above link is also fairly compelling.  I'd say of the recent DLC releases, this one is my favorite.  That said, there's a few things I've picked up in 'chatter' from various model artist friends of mine as I've been slogging through the forums and discord.  Apparently there's some optimization that may need done on this pack and the author was notified of this.  I'm hoping we see that but in the meantime if you notice any performance issues with it, make sure you bring them to attention of TheGameCreators support team.

Next up, with respect to the other PBR updates that have been rolling out regularly, there have been some complaints about how they have come about on the models.  In many cases, people are finding that it's just not sufficient to add PBR to a very old model.  GraphiX demonstrated this on a forum post:

The left is the improved model while on the right is the post-PBR update model. Apparently model smoothing groups needed changed, though I'll admit that's a bit above my head from a modelling standpoint. 

Regardless, even a casual user can see a substantial difference. So substantial that lLee went and replied on the matter in a way that I can honestly say was very refreshing.  I'd love to see more communication and direct interaction with the community like this:

Take some time to take a look at this post and really process it, because it means a lot.  First he acknowledges the problems and then says he's going to create a new donation bucket and dump the remaining ones to pay for Graphix's fixes.  The new donation bucket will be for updates.  Make sure you re-update your donations to help support the non-TGC members!

So there we have it.  Definitely some steps in the right direction.  I know a few people are perpetual pessimists in this community and I really can't blame them - but I will personally say I've seen more change this year than I've seen in the last five.

What's Good in The Store

Well let's start with something pretty fantastic - a release by Slaur3n called 'Santa and the Evil Snowmen'.  It's a really impressive minigame (single level) designed completely in GameGuru.  You don't need GameGuru to purchase it, just a TheGameCreators store account.  It's available for a reasonable price on the store ($2.50).

You can get your copy here:

Also we've got even more work by Lotgd (aka Friskon). I have to say this one is probably one of his better ones and it's criminally cheap - animated maggots for corpses.  This is one where you need to watch the video to get the full effect.  The video can be found here:

Now available for 30 cents in USD:

M2Design has put together a background set of ruined buildings which are fairly efficient poly-wise but still have high end textures if you want to showcase them up close.  You can find the entire pack available for a reasonable price here:

Third Party Tutorials and Tools

Cybernessence made a modification to the core PBR shader that allows you to completely disable the sun for indoor scenes.  I tested it among many others and it seemed to work brilliantly in that regard.  Instructions on installation and usage can be found here:

M2Design put together some really fantastic instruction on fixing his transparencies for glass which has always been a sticking point for modellers with GameGuru.  Instructions are found here:

There's a pretty good discussion going on about importing MakeHuman characters into GameGuru.

Free Stuff

This week in Free Stuff we have: 

Lotgd (the maggot maker from above) made a free Christmas set.  Should be fun to play around with and hey, you don't have to pay for it so that's always nice :)   Get your copy here:

There's a glowing sphere here:

Graphix and Amenmoses have brought back the Piano:

And I have to say my favorite of the Free Stuff this week was from Lafette II with his Chinese Christmas object pack.

You can get your copy here:

Random Acts of Creativity (WIPs)

Bonesy has been doing more work with his CyberFi game - I noticed one of the skies looked familiar, turns out it's one of my old HD Space Skies :)

Looks like he added a face to the HUD as well.  While the palette hurts me a bit, I have to say his dedication to plodding forward on his project is exactly how things get done.  He just keeps chipping away at it and it's coming along great. 

Duchenkuke continues to wow with his Metro-style game that I am personally very interested in seeing come to completion - keep cracking man - you're doing fantastic! Video available here:

Defy put out some pretty impressive NPC behavior.  He's gotten pretty good with making the characters in GameGuru perform specific tasks and it shows:

There's a video available, of course, it appears to be related to 3rd person over the shoulder game:

Last up we have some screenshots from PirateMyke's work.  This latest stuff is pretty sweet looking and he is really dialing in his lighting:

I have to say, some of these projects are looking like they are really firming up.  The work going on here is fairly inspirational and I'm looking forward to be able to work on something myself (once the book is done).

In My Own Works

So obviously I had this huge update to do, but I've also been having a blast in my weekly tabletop game campaign.  I used to update the blogger page for it but I simply ran out of time.  Regardless, the players absolutely trounced me this round but that only makes the GM (me) want to make it tougher for them :) 

Beyond that the book is coming along, despite the difficult subject matter.  Big special thanks to AmenMoses for being available for my incessant questioning.  He's been extremely helpful for me to get a solid understanding of Physics and Particles as they are implemented by GameGuru.  After this I have the unenviable task of reading through this immense tome and fixing all the minor errors, then reorganizing the book more logically.

It's going to be a massive undertaking that will probably go on through at least the first few weeks of the year.  I'm also going to need to take approximately 130 pictures for the book, which is... also fairly daunting.  Thankfully most of it is fairly straightforward stuff like GUI icons and what not. 

Still, writing a technical walk through book like this is not for the faint of heart.  I'm looking forward to it's impending completion and subsequent release!

Michael Messina (AKA Bolt-Action Gaming) is a native of central Pennsylvania, currently residing near York. He is a Linux Systems Engineer, part-time author, part-time Indy game-dev and full-time father. He is currently working on authoring a start to finish guide for GameGuru via Taylor and Francis (via CRCPress).