Master Archer lands on Facebook Instant Games

We’re excited to announce the launch of Master Archer, our new Instant Game for Facebook Messenger. Shoot the fruit from Bob’s head and challenge your friends with your high score!

Only a week on from release and Master Archer has already cracked 1,000,000 players!

instant-game-chart

This shows the incredible viral power of Facebook’s new gaming platform.

Many developers make 3D apps with PlayCanvas, but as you can see, PlayCanvas can also be used to create beautiful 2D games as well.

To play, open Facebook Messenger, select a friend and hit the joypad icon:

play-archer

And select Master Archer from the game list!

Or you can play on facebook.com if you are using a desktop browser.

What's your high score?

Let us know your high score in the comments!

PlayCanvas in 2016 – WebGL Everywhere

Farewell, 2016! It seems that WebGL was everywhere last year, spreading across every corner of the web. And this added up to PlayCanvas’ best year yet!

Big Name Users

The last twelve months have seen some incredible companies adopt PlayCanvas. Here’s our pick of the bunch:

Disney selected PlayCanvas for the Moana-themed Hour of Code

King published Shuffle Cats Mini as a launch title for Facebook Instant Games

Miniclip published the fiendish Virtual Voodoo on their portal:

Leapfrog launched the Leapfrog Academy subscription service

Nickelodeon published the TMNT game Turflytle

Universal launched the movie Ride Along 2 with a PlayCanvas-powered Truck Tour:

So what’s attracting incredible companies like these to PlayCanvas? It’s because they need WebGL tooling that works. Other game engines have let them down and PlayCanvas is delivering the technology they need.

2016 Tech Updates

Here are our top 5 picks for PlayCanvas tech improvements during 2016:

Scripts 2.0 with hot reloading, collaborative coding and parallel on-device testing:

Integrated WebVR support with optimized stereo rendering:

Runtime generated lightmaps to bake lighting on app startup for fast rendering.

One-click texture compression to enable the loading of far more texture data.

REST API for automating development tasks via script.

Cool Games

Plenty of PlayCanvas games have been released during 2016 but we have to give special mention to Midgard’s BlastArena! It pays homage to the classic Bomberman with frenetic, insanely fun online play.

And we have to give special mention to our own online multiplayer game TANX! 2016 saw the game receive a massive upgrade, with stunning new visuals and level design.

PlayCanvas continues to race ahead as the leading platform for building lightweight, mobile-friendly WebGL content. We’ve got lots of surprises in store for 2017 and we can’t wait to share them with you. Happy New Year everyone!

Disney Selects PlayCanvas for Hour of Code

We’re proud to announce that Disney has selected PlayCanvas to power their newly launched Hour of Code application. Entitled “Moana: Wayfinding with Code”, it’s a free online tutorial to teach kids the basics of computer science.

In the tutorial, kids are tasked with using code to navigate Moana and Maui, two of the main characters, through the ocean. When they’re attacked, the students have to use their coding skills to dodge the pirates.

PlayCanvas enabled Disney to bring the beautiful visuals of Moana to the browser via WebGL-based, realtime 3D graphics.

PlayCanvas’ web-first approach makes it incredibly easy to incorporate other web technologies such as Google’s Blockly and more besides. But it also gives great performance, particularly on mobile. And the tiny footprint of the 160KB engine makes for lightning fast download times and rock-solid stability all the way down to iPhone 4S.

Try “Moana: Wayfinding with Code” now and see how Disney is leading the way in encouraging our younger generation to become tomorrow’s software engineers.

PlayCanvas December Mega Update

Time for another dev update, WebGL lovers! We’ve deployed a ton of new features, optimizations and fixes. Here’s a run-down of what’s new.

Camera Preview

A Camera Preview is now shown in the top left corner of Viewport when an entity with a camera component is selected.

camerapreview

Interactive Asset Previews

New Material, Model and Cubemap Previews are now available in the Inspector. They are interactive and clickable.

material-preview

Antialiasing Control

It is now possible to control antialiasing in Scene Settings.

antialias

Model Placement

When dragging a model to the Viewport from the Assets panel, if CRTL is held (CMD on Mac) it will put the model in front of the camera rather than at the origin.

Assets Panel Enhancements

Added toggle button to Assets panel to switch between small and large thumbnails.

thumbnail-size

Added Folder Up button to navigate to parent folder.

folder-up

Hovering on asset in Assets panel will show a tooltip with the full asset name.

asset-tooltips

Asset Replace feature is available under the context menu of an asset. It activates the asset picker so the developer can choose another asset of the same type. It will replace references with new asset in Entities and Assets.

GIF files are no longer translated to PNG. They are now treated as another valid runtime format with parity to JPEG and PNG runtime texture formats.

Code Editor Enhancements

  • Highlight current line of cursor.
  • Highlight errors.
  • Made cursor more visible.
  • Fewer disconnection messages.

Optimizations

Huge speedups achieved for both loading and rendering of scenes!

  • New thumbnail rendering system reduces VRAM usage in the Editor by up to a factor of two. This makes the Editor more stable and faster to load, especially for larger scenes.
  • Major optimisations for loading and Editor rendering process so projects with thousands of entities and assets can load and render now up to 10 times faster in extreme cases.
  • Asset load operations are now batched rather than performed one by one.
  • All engine assets are loaded only when they are required (when they are enabled), leading to reduced traffic and loading times.
  • Optimisations in internal API of Editor and UI leading to reduced garbage collection (and therefore GC stalls) and speeds up UI templating for Hierarchy and Assets panels.
  • Enabled GZIP on WebSocket traffic, which reduces data transfers for initial loading.

Fixes

  • Fixed up arrow while navigating in the Hierarchy tree.
  • Fixed sorting of folders in the Assets panel tree.
  • Fixed material overrides on the Model Component if the model asset wasn’t loaded.
  • Cubemap faces now update in the Inspector (in the Faces section) if a face texture file is changed.
  • Read-only users can now select text/number field values.
  • Double click or right mouse click on number fields now will select whole content of the field and not just part of number separated by a dot or minus sign.
  • Networking improvements have been made to reduce disconnects.

Phew! We hope you like these latest additions. Got any feedback? Comment on the forum! We’d love to hear what you think.

Instant Games and PlayCanvas

You may have seen the news about Facebook launching Instant Games in Messenger. If not here’s the launch video

Instant Games is a totally new mobile gaming platform and it’s entirely built on HTML5 games. This is tremendous news for the PlayCanvas game development community.

Games that are built using PlayCanvas will work with no modification as an Instant Game. Those games are ready to be played in the Facebook News Feed and in Messenger.

Developing Instant Games

Instant Games are playable today in the News Feed and in Messenger. However, the development platform is currently in closed beta. If you’ve started developing a game that would be suitable as an Instant Game visit Facebook to sign up for the closed beta.

PlayCanvas Instant Games

PlayCanvas is already being used to build Instant Games. The launch title Shuffle Cats Mini by King was built using PlayCanvas. Look out for more titles built using PlayCanvas in the future.

A new gaming platform

We’re tremendously excited to see Facebook launching the Instant Games platform and it is a perfect platform for PlayCanvas games. HTML games that are fast and lightweight, mobile and shareable. We hope you share our excitement and if you want to get started building your Instant Game, sign up to PlayCanvas for free today.

Tutorials section expanded!

We have just revamped the tutorials page to include many more code samples of functionality with PlayCanvas. These include common use cases such as creating an Orbit Camera around an Object, Load Assets with a Progress Bar and more.

orbit-camera

To make it even easier to find the what you need, we have also added a filter to help narrow down the search. So if you are looking at moving a camera via user input? We have it covered!

tutorial-filter

 

The tutorial section will grow as we write more samples so if there is anything you would like to see, let us know on our developer forums!

PlayCanvas Interviewed Live on BBC News

On Friday, 18th November, PlayCanvas HQ was visited by BBC News, the world’s largest broadcast news organisation. Our CEO Will was interviewed live on the 6 o’clock evening news which has viewing figures of around 1 million people.

It was a great opportunity to promote London as a great place for young tech companies to do business. Will describes the benefits for finding great talent, but London has so much more to offer. Outside of the US, London has the most active venture capital scene. Most international companies chose to locate an office in London. Transport links are superb. Government tax breaks are in place to assist tech startups, particularly in the gaming space. And on top of that, it’s an incredible place to live.

We can’t imagine being anywhere else!

TANX Takes WebGL Gaming to a New Level

One of the most popular WebGL games today is TANX, our online tank battle game. WebGL brings developers amazing new possibilities: lightning fast load times, cross-platform play, easy sharing, incredible performance. It all adds up to instant, pure fun.

But as good as TANX is, we’ve been working hard on a major upgrade. And we’re happy to announce that it’s live today! So what’s new?

We’ve added a brand new level. We’ve moved away from the ‘TRON’ style graphics and adopted a more realistic style. Beautiful, I hope you’ll agree.

tanx-new

All power ups have been lovingly remodeled.

tanx-powerups

We’ve added a very sexy shield effect. See it crackle with energy as it kicks in. All done in a special custom GLSL shader.

tanx-shield

To turn up the mayhem, we’ve added camera shake and punchy explosions, built with PlayCanvas’ particle system component.

tanx-boom

 

The game even has a new URL. Play now at:

https://tanx.io

Public Service Announcement: TANX is highly addictive. Please take occasional breaks!

Can you believe this game is playable after loading just 2.8MB of data? Massive fun delivered to your browser in seconds.

We hope you love this update. But what do we have planned for the future? Is there more to come? You’d better believe it! Our games team is now working full-time on TANX so expect continual updates over the coming months. Send us your feature requests and suggestions in the comments below!

Refinements aplenty for our WebGL Editor

You probably saw this week’s big announcement about our seamless integration with WebVR. But while WebVR is getting a lot of attention, we still care about the small details that can make you even more productive. We’ve spent the week adding some simple yet useful tweaks to the Editor.

Previous Selection Button

We’ve added a button to the top right of the Inspector panel that allows you to step back through the selection history. There’s also a tooltip that shows clearly what the previous selection was. So if you’ve selected a model, then a material, and then a texture, you can now bubble back up to the model quickly and easily.

selection-back

Updated Physics Engine

We have updated PlayCanvas’ build of Ammo.js to the very latest version. This update benefits from 2 years of Emscripten improvements and exposes much more of the Bullet API. So if you are feeling adventurous, you can delve into the parts of Ammo that PlayCanvas does not expose and try some more advanced physics effects. For example, soft body physics. Or maybe utilize constraints for things like ragdolls, as shown below:

What to check out the project above? It’s here.

Miscellaneous Improvements
  • You can search for an asset by ID in the Assets panel
  • Edit boxes in the Inspector panel now lose focus on hitting ENTER
  • Read-only collaborators can now download assets from projects
  • CTRL-A now correctly ‘selects all’ in the Assets panel
  • A material’s ‘reflectivity’ property can now exceed 1
  • F2 (or ‘n’) now renames a selected asset or entity
  • Page Up/Down move the Editor camera up and down

We hope you like these little tweaks. We do love to make your lives easier!

WebVR support in PlayCanvas

Today we’re really excited to announce support for WebVR into the PlayCanvas Editor.

This week Google announced that WebVR 1.1 (the latest current version of the spec) should be released in Chrome for Android in January 2017. But for a feature as complex as virtual reality, browser support is only one piece of the puzzle. At PlayCanvas, we know how important great tools are to making high quality experiences so today we’re launching our WebVR engine integration to make sure that you can create applications right now.

PlayCanvas WebVR

Optimized Engine Support

The PlayCanvas graphics engine is an advanced WebGL graphics engine. We’ve worked hard to make sure our renderer is optimized specifically for stereo rendering. Unlike most engines we don’t simply render the scene twice for each eye. Instead, our renderer knows that a lot of the main render loop is the same for each eye. So, for example, expensive operations like culling, sorting draw calls and setting uniforms and render states only have to be done once before we draw the scene for each eye. This can lead to a significant performance increase, particularly on mobile.

Polyfill for unsupported platforms

It’s still early days for WebVR which means it’s not yet supported on all platforms. When you enable WebVR in your PlayCanvas project, we make sure your browser can support it using the WebVR polyfill library from Google. PlayCanvas is smart enough to load the library only if you need it.

Tutorials and Documentation

PlayCanvas is renowned for its extensive documentation and VR is no different. Basic instructions, API reference and specific optimization tips, we’ve got it all.

Samples and Starter Kits

These sample projects show you how to construct a VR scene and give you sample code to start from.

Hello World – A very simple 3D scene

360 Image – Just drop in your own 360 panorama

360 Video – Add a link to your own video

Room Scale VR – A more complex scene designed for HTC Vive and other Room Scale VR

The Future

We believe the future for WebVR is very bright and we’re committed to making PlayCanvas the best tool for creating WebVR applications. Sign up for free today, we’d love to see what you build!