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Here is the brand new version 1.3.0 of VBDE, featuring version 6.0 of the VUEngine.

Choose your flavor – the lightweight “regular” edition comes with Notepad++ as its editor, while the Pro edition is bundled with a proper IDE, IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition, as its default editor, as well as Git for version control.

A new release of the VUEngine Platformer Demo is also available here, built on the latest engine and coming with another layer of polish.

Following is an overview of the major new VUEngine features.

VUEngine Preprocessor

This is one of the two major changes on which we have been working non stop the past couple of months, besides the usual bug fixes, performance improvements and code clean up. VUEngine 6.0 is the first release to include a brand new code syntax, closer to that of C++.

The new syntax is supported by the VUEngine Preprocessor, which consist of a group of seamlessly integrated scripts that convert, before compilation, the new code into the old C-macros that we implemented to support some object oriented features.

The hope is that the new syntax, by being a lot friendlier and familiar, would entice some developers to try out the tools that we have developed over all these years, without having to overcome the steep learning curve that the heavy use of macros required.

This is just the first step into an easier, and safer, to use VUEngine, but by no means is the final state of the preprocessor. In the future, we hope to replace the scripts with a proper grammar parser that should help to reduce the preprocessing and compilation times, while enabling us to make more improvements to the syntax.

VUEngine Plugin Library

VUEngine is making a big step towards a more modular architecture with the VUEngine Plugin Library (formerly “VUEngine Components”), a library of reuseable, prefab components like entities, states or fonts, that can be easily included in your VUEngine project for a good headstart and/or to add new functionality.

For example, the library covers all the basic needs of a Virtual Boy game, like an automatic pause feature, a blinking low battery indicator, various splash screens or even a save data manager to work with Save RAM, so you can focus on writing the actual game. It also offers a broad selection of ready to use fonts, effects and special entities, with more to come in the future.

See the readme for a full list of currently available plugins.

VUEngine Editor Templates

Speed up your development process even more with the new VUEngine file and live templates available in VBDE Pro.

Live templates are a way to quickly produce pre-defined blocks of code like function bodies, macros or definitions. Included right now are the most important ones. Simply type “.” in the editor and a list of all the available templates pops up. Select one, or continue typing to narrow down the list:

  • .f for functions
  • .m for macros
  • .d for definitions
  • .p for partials

Pressing Enter or Tab unfolds the choosen template and guides you through a few variables where applicable (tab through these).

File templates takes these a step further. Right click in the project browser, then select “New” and, for instance, “VUEngine Entity Definition” to create a new file that contains a live template which guides you through the creation of an EntityDefinition.

VUEngine Multiplayer support

The new communication class brings multiplayer capabilities via the link cable to the VUEngine. This is a very lightweight implementation that only allows for very basic data transmission, leaving the details of logic synchronization to the game’s code.

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