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Some bonus extras in Construct 3

by Ashley | 31st, March 2017

We did a lot of posts in the run-up to the public beta launch of Construct 3. We covered most of the major points, but there's a couple of extras we wanted to highlight as well. You can try all of these out now in the Construct 3 beta! We also just released the r14 update which has a lot of updates and fixes.

The new Start Page

You've probably seen this, given it's one of the first things that you see when Construct starts. The new Start Page is by our designer Paulo and it's a much improved and more useful first view to see when opening Construct.

The Construct 3 start page

One thing you may have missed is it's fully responsive. Try maximising the window, or resizing the side bars - it scales all the way from a tiny mobile screen to large desktop display!

Found a demo or template you like? Another cool feature is you can right-click (or tap-and-hold) to copy a link directly to the example projects.

Copying a direct link to a project from the Start Page

You can then share this link with someone. If they visit it, the Construct 3 editor will open and immediately open that project as well. Give it a go — try out one of my favourite templates, Turret Defense:

Bullet behavior stepping

A problem with the Bullet behavior is if the object is small and travelling very fast, it can "teleport" over obstacles. This is because it is travelling so far every tick that it might jump say 100 pixels in one go, and leap over an obstacle entirely without registering a collision.

To solve this Construct 3 adds a 'Step' mode. If you enable this, the object will move in small increments, triggering 'On step' every time. In this trigger you can then check if it overlaps anything. Destroying the object or using the 'Stop stepping' action will leave it where it is. The end result is a precise collision with something the bullet would have otherwise stepped right over.

Using our new direct links, you can try this out in the new bullet stepping example. Try enabling and disabling the checkbox in the top-left to compare results.

You can even use this feature to create instant-hit bullets or lasers by using extremely high speeds. Try out the new instant hit laser example to see it in action!

Create object by name

There's a new System action to now create an object by a string of its name. This is useful for dynamically creating objects based on variables, such as "Enemy" & number.

One thing to note about this feature is if the expression is determined at runtime, the Find All References feature cannot identify which objects it refers to and will list it as an ambiguous result, even for unrelated objects. So it's best to use the old variant with the object picker wherever you can, to ensure Find All References is as accurate as possible.

Project statistics

Construct 2 previously had some minimal statistics about the project crammed in to a status bar at the bottom. In Construct 3 we've moved it to a special dialog. You can find it by right-clicking the project item in the Project Bar and selecting Tools → Project Statistics.

Construct 3's Project Statistics dialog

This lists much more detailed information, ranging from the number of objects to a breakdown of the top 10 layouts by memory usage, and event sheets by event count. This gives you an easy way to see the biggest layouts and event sheets in your project, and consider breaking them up in to smaller and lighter parts.

Custom project colors

In Construct 3, you can customise some extra colors in Project Properties. You can change the background color (shown as the bars in letterbox mode, previously always black), the color of the splash screen when run as a web app added to the home screen, and the "theme color" which some browsers use to tint the browser UI. This helps keep everything in the theme of your game, especially when run in a browser or as a web app.

SpriteFont spacing

In Construct 2 you could set the widths of individual characters in the editor, but it wasn't especially quick to set up, and didn't preview in the Layout View. Now there's a new 'Spacing data' property that accepts a JSON array of character widths. This is simply an array of a width in pixels, and a string of the characters with that width. For example [6, "il"] means the characters "i" and "l" will appear at six pixels wide instead of the default character width. Ideally anyone distributing SpriteFonts will also share the spacing data so you don't have to figure it out yourself! This then allows for the SpriteFont to use variable width characters, and also preview accordingly in the Layout View. The end result is much more natural looking text.

Spritefont spacing in Construct 3

Enhanced acceleration precision

A while ago we were surprised, and a little embarrassed, to find a long-standing subtle math error in Construct 2. Its calculations for accelerating movement did not take in to account the acceleration over the duration of a tick, which is typically about 16ms. Generally this meant everything was approximately accurate since the velocity updated regularly every tick. However it was noticed in some circumstances, particularly with the Platform behavior, where it can affect the jump height by a few pixels. For games needing high precision this was a problem.

It can be difficult to change things like this because there are probably a number of games out there already relying on this behavior. In other words if we just went and changed it, some games could find previously possible jumps being missed, or previously impossible jumps being reached, if they had very close thresholds. So we've taken advantage of the move to Construct 3 to fix this problem, so existing Construct 2 users won't be affected. The new enhanced acceleration precision mode defaults to enabled in Construct 3 to encourage its use, but it can still be disabled to revert to Construct 2's calculations in case it does cause a problem, which helps make it easier to port Construct 2 games to Construct 3.

With the new mode, jump heights are calculated with very high precision, even when delta-time has some random variations. This ought to solve the problem of varying or inaccurate jump heights in the Platform behavior once and for all.

More to try

So there you have it — a few extra things to try. It's all live in the public beta right now. So you can give it a go today if you want to try it today!

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andreyin 28.5k rep

"we've taken advantage of the move to Construct 3 to fix this problem, so existing Construct 2 users won't be affected."

Are you serious? This is outrageous! Please fix it. Just let devs know what's up beforehand so we can fix our games accordingly..

Friday, March 31, 2017 at 3:56:02 PM
lamar 34.9k rep

Would be nice if we had enough events to actually test our own games and the features actually were availlable for us to try in the Beta.

If Scirra has now fixed eporting to other platforms why did they not just fix that in C2 since people that paid for that license have been asking for that from the beginning ?

Sorry but making a new web browser engine that has features and exporting that could have been included in C2 for the people that have supported Scirra with our money and time to create plugins and promote Scirra with our games seems to be a slap in the face to me.

Friday, March 31, 2017 at 3:59:16 PM
delaflaquita 1,746 rep

This is gonna be awesome. Can't wait til release... Keep it up!

Friday, March 31, 2017 at 4:03:31 PM
Renfd 5,249 rep

Could be possible to add the stepping feature to other behaviors like platform movement? It would be great.

Friday, March 31, 2017 at 4:06:49 PM
Ashley 198.7k rep

@andreyin - not sure what you think is outrageous? It's there in project properties so you can turn it off if a few pixels difference happens to break anything.

Friday, March 31, 2017 at 4:07:00 PM
Ashley 198.7k rep

@Renfd - the Platform behavior already uses various stepping algorithms. I don't think any other behaviors have issues with collision accuracy?

Friday, March 31, 2017 at 4:07:40 PM
oirad 1,812 rep

where do we enter bugs, I would like to note that opening the examples will switch to the startup page and when clicking on the layout tab, the game layout is not centered (starts on the top left corner) so I need to scroll to the center of it to see the actual game layout. I open the examples a few times thinking they were broken.
Used Chrome 57.0.2987.110 (64-bit) on windows 10

Friday, March 31, 2017 at 4:15:43 PM
Ashley 198.7k rep

@oirad - please post bugs here:

Friday, March 31, 2017 at 4:39:28 PM
eli0s 10.4k rep

@Ashley , outrageous is the excuse you make for not fixing this problem all this time in C2, while in the same paragraph you provide the solution you came up with for C3.
In other words, it's a bit insulting to existing C2 users to sell this feature in C3 and make this excuse for not adapting the same solution in C2.
The bullet stepping feature should be adopted too. These are basic stuff...

Friday, March 31, 2017 at 4:39:46 PM
vikuserro 2,016 rep

This "acceleration precision" is a fixed bug, not a new feature. It should be fixed in C2 as well.
Just make the fix "auto off" on objects when opening projects in new C2 versions.

Friday, March 31, 2017 at 4:50:08 PM
Ashley 198.7k rep

@eli0s - it's only a few pixels difference, it got us this far over 6 years! We're also focusing on Construct 3 for all future improvements from now on. It also did turn out to be more complicated than anticipated, since the details around maximum speed clamping become quite complicated when it starts taking in to account potentially extremely high accelerations when calculating the distance to step in the next tick. It caused a couple of bugs in the last few C3 betas.

Friday, March 31, 2017 at 5:08:35 PM
andreyin 28.5k rep
We're also focusing on Construct 3 for all future improvements
quoted from Ashley

It's outrageous because you're treating it like a new feature when it's really a bug fix... :(

Friday, March 31, 2017 at 5:19:15 PM
Paradox 41.3k rep

Ashley, good job getting bugs and updates rolling out so fast. I saw the bugs people were finding and it looked overwhelming.
I can see the limits are probably helpful for keeping your sanity.

Friday, March 31, 2017 at 5:23:29 PM
eli0s 10.4k rep

@Ashley , I am not saying it's something easy, I can only guess it's not!.
I am emphasizing the fact that you are suggesting that fixing this in C2 will brake compatibility with older projects, while at the same time you provide a solution ( turning off the advanced precision) in C3.
In my opinion, this should have been the way to go in many aspects and areas in C2, that you chose to left undeveloped, such as animated tiled backgrounds or workflow enhancements.
I should have put "outrageous" in quotes before, since I used this word to interpret @andreyin 's comment about this fact. I think he meant the above and you didn't addressed his valid (at least as I understand it) concern before. I share the same thoughts, so I replied this way.

Friday, March 31, 2017 at 5:24:36 PM
eli0s 10.4k rep
It's outrageous because you're treating it like a new feature when it's really a bug fix... :(
quoted from andreyin

Didn't saw this when I commented, so, this.

Friday, March 31, 2017 at 5:25:35 PM

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