For those waiting to experiment with Vulkan (in the daily builds of master at least), the wait is over, Vulkan is in.
All you need to do is wait for build sites like this one to push out brand new builds.
There’s a lot more heavy refactoring work coming (involving Vulkan, GDscript, and other areas), so serious production work is not recommended. Don’t blame the devs. if you lose work or even lose your project because you didn’t make backups.
This effort to modernize the core will continue through March with Vulkan work resuming in April. This is an article that every FOSS organization can take a page from, even the BF. Why? Because the Godot developers realize that having robust base technology needed by creators daily is just as important as the shiny stuff that makes pretty images and promotional material.
The first of what should be many such releases. The focus for this first one was fixing bugs that have slipped through, but smaller and/or otherwise safe features and enhancements will make their way in for future builds (at least until 4.0 stable comes out).
As of the current builds, custom sky shaders can now be written in code. In addition, the sky shader itself saw a major upgrade with the introduction of the Preetham sky model along with support for up to 4 suns (so a Tatooine like planet is doable). It can also be updated in realtime for things like day/night cycles.
What should also be noted is that this is not Reduz’s work nor is it the work of Chaosus, showing a higher level of interest by the community to work on modern graphical features.
This month was all about rewriting the window system, you can now make floating windows for certain editor functions (like scripting) and you can embed windows as well, all this being part of a massively streamlined OS class. The multiple window functionality applies to games and apps. made with Godot like usual (for instance, a ‘save’ window or a ‘settings’ window).
In addition, many 3D nodes now have new names to make clear the separation between 3D and 2D (Spatial is now Node3D for instance). There will be a system that auto-converts the nodes from existing projects.
And as the excerpt says, you won’t even need to wait until version 4 to have what amounts to a major optimization for the 2D engine. There’s no indication this will also be the case for games using GLES3, but GLES2 usually provides more than enough graphical bells and whistles for 2D anyway.
When you set a Global uniform in one material, it becomes accessible to every material in the game. This allows the use of things like making an entire environment wet when it is raining, cutting plants, ect…
Instance uniforms meanwhile allow for variation among instances without making tons of new materials (ie. a forest where each tree’s canopy is green, yellow, or anywhere in between. There are some limitations like 16 such uniforms per shader and no texture value types though (but a couple of them are only there because of the dynamics involved in making things work across different platforms). Meanwhile, you can set the uniform index manually to help make everything work for multi-material objects.
There are also other long requested graphics features that did not get their own article, among them vastly improved shadows (with softness) and decal support.
I see Godot is getting some features other engines have had for a long time now, but with each of these features, it gets more and more usable. I had a little play with Godot 2, and have seen some people doing nice things with 3, but I’m really looking forward to 4. The community seems very active and positive, and the rate of progress is quite impressive given their resources, so hopefully Godot will be as popular as Blender one day
This is a completely modernized lightmapper, the main reason to use it instead of the overhauled GI-probes is performance and quality. The fact that it can use the GPU (with an option to use the CPU instead if needed) means the GI can be computed in seconds.
In addition, you can create so-called “interior” lightmaps for indoor spaces in the level, and have them blend seamlessly with the outdoor areas of a level.
Other new things include a better packing algorithm, multiple lightmaps can also exist in any given level (since they are based on Godot’s scene system and a level might be an assembly of scenes). The grid-based automatic placement of lightprobes is still there, but you can now place them manually if desired.
Unlike Construct and other engines, this will be an optional way to experience Godot and the desktop builds will remain the recommended way to use the engine. There are two main reasons why this is being worked on.
Lowers the barrier to newcomers wanting to give the engine a shot (but are not ready to dive in fully), just open and run without adding any files to your hard-drive.
Makes it easier to run Godot in highly controlled environments (ie. classrooms), getting Godot into the schools is considered a priority for the team.
This is only a prototype right now and it will not be fully usable until Godot 4.0 is released, but for those who just want to give the engine a quick evaluation, go for it.