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Visual Assist 2022 Year End Summary

Another year is once again coming to a close and with it comes a slew of changes to our favorite Visual Studio plugin. Visual Assist has had four releases this year—all filled with useful tweaks, bug fixes, and optimizations but here are the most important updates you need to know (in no particular order).

Visual Assist core parser behavior updated.

While generally a staple change, new features are introduced into C++ roughly once every three years which is why these changes keep Visual Assist on pace with the ever changing industry standards.

Apart from performance, updating the parser allows Visual Assist to recognize and suggest modern coding practices. This includes new features such as C++17’s structured bindings declaration or C++20’s nested inline namespace definitions features which had support added in 2022.4 and 2022.1 respectively.

Unreal Engine 5 support

Arguably one of the competitors for biggest update in 2022, rivaling only Visual Studio 2022 itself. Unreal Engine 5 brought game developers Lumen and Nanite, among other useful tools and technology.

VA 2022.2 gave developers a new level of Unreal Engine programming with better parser behavior when used alongside Unreal’s core redirect functions.This was a key development for renaming classes. and allows their Blueprint code to find the renamed classes by editing a redirect file for them.

HLSL Support

High-level shader language (HLSL) is an industry standard for those working with shaders and graphics technology. VA 2022.3 and 2022.4 added internal support for HLSL, as well as Unreal’s counterpart USH and USF files.

  • Code navigation features
  • Syntax highlighting 
  • Context-aware smart suggestions
  • Automatic code generation prompts
  • Coloring support for various file and matrix types
    Visual Assist support HLSL

    Basic HLSL syntax highlighted by Visual Assist.

     

     

New code inspections

Over the course of the year, Visual Assist has added 6 code inspection checks. Code inspection is a VA feature that automatically checks your projects for code smells and suggests the appropriate fix. 

Use this constantly, even only as a reference, so your skills (and your code) can keep up to date on the latest C/C++ standards. Here’s a quick rundown of the new code inspections added in VA 2022:

Head on over to our documentation for the complete list of all available code inspections

Bonus: Visual Studio 2022 Support

While support for VS 2022 started in November of 2021, we can still consider this part of this year’s updates. It was such a monumental milestone for Visual Studio and Visual Assist that we thought should be added here.

It isn’t an understatement that both the underlying architecture and the interface for Visual Assist were heavily adjusted for VS 2022.

Some other things we did this year

Apart from the usual bug fixes and Visual Assist improvements, we’ve also embarked on a few activities and events for the first time. Here are a couple of them:

Two new webinars

The game development community is a key audience for Visual Assist so we wanted to host something specific for them. One of our webinars was intended to help aspiring game developers get a feel for actual game development. This was hosted by VA’s very own lead engineer, Chris Gardner.

The other webinar was a mid-year What’s New presentation for Visual Assist. This was a spin on our regular blog posts and notifications. The interaction aspect of the webinar made it very much worthwhile!

Attending Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2022

Speaking of community interactions, 2022 saw the return of live events and conferences so we were super stoked to attend GDC. Relive the event in our blog post.

GDC 2022 was held in Moscone Center in CA.

A cool new website refresh

As our year ender, the website gets a facelift! We made some aesthetic and UX changes to some of the pages on the Visual Assist website. (And it’s not just a seasonal thing!)

If you have any suggestions on what you want to see on the website, please let me know.

What’s next?

We hope you find the work we do useful. Expect a new release sometime early next year.

Be sure to check our what’s new page and scroll a few screens down to learn more about the changes we didn’t include here.

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