jMonkeyEngine3 SDK Alpha-4 released!

Dear Monkeys, we are proud to announce the release of jMonkeyEngine3 SDK Alpha-4!

The first jME3 release of 2011 is at the same time the last alpha release of jME3, the beta release of jME3 will finally be in “API freeze” although most planned API changes have been incorporated already in alpha-4 and we will try to keep the changes until beta at a minimum while mainly concentrating on adding new features.

About Alpha-4

It took us longer than anticipated to get alpha-4 out but we think this package was well worth the wait. Many improvements and additions like lighting support for terrain, post-process water and physics controls bring jMonkeyEngine3 a big step closer to its final release. The SDK steps into a whole new dimension of visual editing thanks to @Sploregs new terrain editor plugin for jMonkeyPlatform, many internal improvements in the platform make extending and improving it even easier.

The jMonkeyEngine3 SDK has really become a mature product by now and success stories like those of Mythruna and other projects further strengthen our belief in providing a complete game development package that keeps all aspects around the development under control so that you can concentrate on creating your game.

From this release on the jMonkeyPlatform with all its plugins will be referred to as “The jMonkeyEngine3 SDK”. While the jMonkeyPlatform application itself will keep its name, the amount of available plugins that come preinstalled and can be added make the whole package more than just a simple application, hence the shift to the SDK name.

We sincerely hope that also those users that code in other IDE’s start to use the SDK and its functions, remember you can edit other IDE projects assets via File->Import Project->External Project Assets.

Changes in the engine

– Lighted terrain
Post Process Water
Depth Blur Filter
– Movement paths & cinematics tracks
Physics Controls
– Improved physics character
– Overall improved physics flexibility
– NiftyGUI 1.3 (changes may break current xml)
– OpenGL 1 support (currently all materials are unlit in OpenGL1)
– Support for mat param -> renderstate binding to support OpenGL1 for your own shaders
– Uses lwjgl 2.7.1

Notable deprecations
– PhyiscsNodes have been deprecated (in favor of Physics Controls)
– Most unshaded material j3md files are deprecated: (in favor of Unshaded.j3md)
– SolidColor.j3md
– VertexColor.j3md
– SimpleTextured.j3md
– ColoredTextured.j3md
– The m_ prefix for material settings has been deprecated (its kept in the shader source only)
– JOGL support has been deprecated

Changes in the SDK

– Terrain editing and painting
– SkyBox creation wizard
Vehicle editor (WIP)
Improved Material Editor
Undo/Redo support (WIP)
Adding of items via SceneExplorer
– Executing of functions like tangent generation via SceneExplorer
– Editing of UserData for Spatials
– Support for Controls in SceneExplorer (AnimControl, PhysicsControl etc.)
– Improved physics support
– Improved switching between plugins in open scene

Changes in the jMonkeyPlatform Plugin API
– Generally improved internal and extension APIs
– Support for creating custom items via the SceneExplorer
– Support for Undo/Redo
– Support for custom Controls in SceneExplorer
– Improve support for custom Spatials in SceneExplorer

Platform and Update Center changes
jMonkeyPlatform is now based on our own build of the NetBeans platform which allows us to update the base platform independently from the NetBeans IDE update cycle. A new update center on jMonkeyEngine.com provides the updates for the base platform. For the time being these are generated from the “silver” version of NetBeans, which makes jMonkeyPlatform more up-to-date than the current NetBeans beta release :)
The update centers for NetBeans plugins are now disabled by default to avoid cluttering the list of available plugins with stuff thats mostly not relevant to jME, however you can simply enable these to access the additional plugins that are available for the NetBeans IDE as well.

Upgrade notes

Note that depending on the content binary asset files created with alpha-3 might not be compatible with alpha-4 as no upgrade handling code is added to the jME3 serializer methods before beta. Also note that some API changes (especially physics) might break existing code, most changes should not be too complicated though.

Its recommended to uninstall previous versions of the SDK using the uninstaller:

Windows:
– Select jMonkeyPlatform in your installed software list and uninstall it
– (Alternatively) Double-click the uninstall.exe in the jmonkeyplatform folder
– Go through the uninstall wizard

Linux:
– Run the uninstall.sh file in the jMonkeyPlatform install folder
– Go through the uninstall wizard

MacOSX:
– Right click the jMonkeyPlatform application and select “show contents”
– Double-click the uninstall.command file in the folder that opens
– Go through the uninstall wizard
– Delete the empty jMonkeyPlatform application.

SVN changes

Shortly after this release the /branches/jme3 branch in svn will finally be moved to /trunk/engine to replace the now end of lifed jME 2.1, which will be moved to /branches/jme2.1. The /branches/jme3-gde branch will be moved to /trunk/sdk.

Download the SDK

Download the SDK in our downloads section.

Happy coding,
the jMonkeyEngine Team