An all-inclusive tutorial?

New releases and general discussions.

Post » Wed May 19, 2010 6:56 pm

[quote="abhilash2863":qhjc3bfm]
@Ashley:
I don't know how you'll take this suggestion but when you release Construct v1, then maybe you could spend a month or two improving the Wiki asking help from users instead of developing construct[/quote:qhjc3bfm]

I think Ashley's time is much too valuable to be making wiki entires. He has already devoted so much free time for a free product. I expect it is really up to the community to pull the weight of the wiki.

Beside after relaxing with his family and work, I would much rather see his continued efforts on C2
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Post » Wed May 19, 2010 7:47 pm

[quote="Guyon":2wbi10u9]
I would much rather see his continued efforts on C2[/quote:2wbi10u9]

Of course, because you already know how to use the program and probably quite well if not expertly. New users would (and should) have a different view.

All that's going to happen is that you're going to keep putting out new versions that new users don't have adequate documentation to learn from, thus continuing to ask the same questions over and over again making the forum even more filled with repeated questions, only adding to the issue of searching through a huge archive that keep getting larger.
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Post » Thu May 20, 2010 5:59 pm

[quote="RaymondHooks":3qzn6nu9]Of course, because you already know how to use the program and probably quite well if not expertly. [/quote:3qzn6nu9]
First, this doesn't have really anything to do with whether Guyon is an expert not. He is a newer user of Construct so you could argue that he is not an expert (no offense to Guyon meant ;-).

[quote="RaymondHooks":3qzn6nu9]New users would (and should) have a different view. [/quote:3qzn6nu9]
Were we not all new users at some point? How do you think Guyon gained his experience? He didn't magically become skilled in Construct one day and he didn't have somebody spoon feed him all the answers. He worked hard and learned how to use the tool.

We can all agree that more wiki documentation needs to be added. Since you seem passionate about this issue why don't you then do something to contribute? It doesn't take an expert to document a behavior, object, expression, etc.. I have added several wiki entries (within two months of finding Construct) not even knowing about how the object worked before I first started out. I scanned the forums, tried out examples, built my own examples, and just experimented with what the object did. I then added an entry and even examples in many cases.

You and any other Construct user could do the same.

[quote="Guyon":3qzn6nu9]
I think Ashley's time is much too valuable to be making wiki entires. He has already devoted so much free time for a free product. I expect it is really up to the community to pull the weight of the wiki.[/quote:3qzn6nu9]
This is a simple situation. How many of us here can fix bugs and write improvements to Construct code? Maybe 1-3. Ok, how many can add wiki entries? At least 100 - 200 users. So why have one of the only guys who can improve Construct waste time writing documentation when a couple hundred would do that job instead?

Construct is not C#. C# is a language standard that has had millions of dollars and hundreds of people working behind. You can't even begin to compare Construct (a free and community project) to a large language. We could hire a technical writer and solve all the documentation problems if that were so.

[quote="RaymondHooks":3qzn6nu9]I'd say that this single thing is needed more than Construct hitting 1, 2 and beyond. It's more important than any thing being done with this great program right now. [/quote:3qzn6nu9]
These don't have to be serial efforts. The community (you!) can do the documentation at the same time the developers move to 1 and 2.
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Post » Thu May 20, 2010 8:21 pm

[quote="scidave":2t64dfnq]
First, this doesn't have really anything to do with whether Guyon is an expert not. He is a newer user of Construct so you could argue that he is not an expert (no offense to Guyon meant ;-). [/quote:2t64dfnq]

I didn't isolate that to him being an expert. I said that he already knows how to use the product and maybe at an expert level, and that would be a big reason as to why a person in that position wouldn't be much concerned with comprehensive tutorials and instructional manuals. If you already know what you're doing, you're not spending any time reading manuals.

[quote="scidave":2t64dfnq]
Were we not all new users at some point? How do you think Guyon gained his experience? He didn't magically become skilled in Construct one day and he didn't have somebody spoon feed him all the answers. He worked hard and learned how to use the tool.[/quote:2t64dfnq]

Yes that's true, but that's beside the main issue which is lack of adequate instruction. It's very commonplace for these types of things to have better documentation that can be learned from. The reason for it is pretty simple really... it's just not the best idea to expect people to learn without it. A lot of the people here are smarter than they probably give themselves credit for, so they think the rest of the world can do what they're doing with the same amount of effort (I get that feeling from your post as well), but this is not the case at all. I know some very good C coders who gave up on MMF back when it didn't have much instruction, and have given up on trying to learn Construct for the same reason. So if those types would give up, consider what the average guy who has never made a game or has no programming discipline is doing when they keep getting stuck in Construct?

I code in C myself, mostly C# (had to learn through instruction), but in order for me to learn MMF I had to get the resources and learn through instruction just the same. For MMF, they have books and guides and instructions. I read those, I learned it. Then when moving over to Construct the concept of event-based programming made sense because of what I learned in MMF. But, if it weren't for what I learned through MMF's instructional resources, it would've taken me much, MUCH longer to pick it up and I probably wouldn't have started using Construct.

The best resource for Construct right now is the search function, but that at the same time also creates its own issue as I've pointed out in a previous post.


[quote="scidave":2t64dfnq]We can all agree that more wiki documentation needs to be added. Since you seem passionate about this issue why don't you then do something to contribute? It doesn't take an expert to document a behavior, object, expression, etc.. I have added several wiki entries (within two months of finding Construct) not even knowing about how the object worked before I first started out. I scanned the forums, tried out examples, built my own examples, and just experimented with what the object did. I then added an entry and even examples in many cases. You and any other Construct user could do the same. [/quote:2t64dfnq]

I may do that, but it's not my responsibility or any end-users responsibility. It's something done out of courtesy from an end-user standpoint. But if the same courtesy approach is used from those who actually create a program, it really doesn't make logical sense. Good instructions are just something that should never be looked at as totally separate from the development of development software, because you can never assume how well end-users will pick up on what you've developed. The search engine gives definitive evidence of there being an issue, so I don't think there is a valid argument against that. At this point you have 2 situations:

1. Wait for end users to contribute enough to the resource to eliminate the issue, which is more than likely not going to happen.

Or

2. Write it as a first-party, which would be the most realistic step to eliminating the issue.

[quote="scidave":2t64dfnq]This is a simple situation. How many of us here can fix bugs and write improvements to Construct code? Maybe 1-3. Ok, how many can add wiki entries? At least 100 - 200 users. So why have one of the only guys who can improve Construct waste time writing documentation when a couple hundred would do that job instead?[/quote:2t64dfnq]

We'll have to agree to disagree that it would be "wasting time". Having comprehensive instructions--something that should never be separate from the scheme anyway--is never a waste of time. It's necessary, very much so. And it can be tackled by the same people if it's broken up in pieces and done over a long period time. No one is asking for them to drop everything and just write a manual only, as there are certainly more rational ways to go about it. I should also point out that the people who created MMF also wrote books and resources on it in their spare time. It just comes down to how a developer views this aspect and how they're willing to allot time to tackling it. If a developer chooses not to make instruction an important priority, that doesn't in any way negate the importance or necessity of instruction... it just means the developer hasn't made instruction an imporant priority... nothing more than that, really.

[quote="scidave":2t64dfnq]Construct is not C#. C# is a language standard that has had millions of dollars and hundreds of people working behind. You can't even begin to compare Construct (a free and community project) to a large language. We could hire a technical writer and

solve all the documentation problems if that were so.[/quote:2t64dfnq]

See my previous response.
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Post » Thu May 20, 2010 10:02 pm

Here is my take:

I've been using this software for over a year now it seems. I think I have a strong grasp on it. One of the reasons I decided not to post for help as I learned was that the answers given in the help section sometimes just aren't good explanations, or at least not good enough for a new user to get. The wiki's? I got nothing from those. A lot of the help section answers I've read are written basically with the assumption that the person asking for help can decipher without the answer being given in steps. Just saying "use the <insert name>" object is not enough and I see that a lot in the help section.

Just posting a .cap is not always enough either, because without an explanation of why you wrote something the way you wrote it, you're still leaving the person asking's ability to understand up to an assumption.

See, I think the real opposition to something that to me is such a big need that it's even silly if not completely ridiculous to fight against, is coming from the long-time users and/or the knowledgeable, the nerds if you will (I say nerd affectionately, because I'm a nerd myself, pocket protector and all). But you have to step outside of yourself and realize that not everyone will pick things up the same way as you.

Finally, making the fact of it being free a reason for not having stronger instructions is a cop out. That really has nothing to do with anything, and above that there have been plenty of free programs with far better instructions made by the guy or guys who made those programs.

If you're going to make a program with the intent for other humans beside yourself to use it, the real question is why wouldn't you have stronger instructions included? Someone sat down and decided to create a wonderful program but didn't make good instructions along the way. Use whatever excuse you like, but that was a bad idea. However, it's one that can be fixed and it wouldn't be some herculean effort as some are making it out to be. Construct only has so many objects and there could easily be examples made for each, and who better to do that than the people who created it? The search is a mess of pages now, I don't even bother with it. If I can't figure it out on my own I just find a work-around, but I shouldn't have to take that approach. There should be better documents. The issue is not a new guy not understanding what to do, that's like blaming the new guy, that's absurd. No, the problem is that there isn't enough organized learning resource for him to learn how to get over the misunderstanding and I think part of the problem is the community's opposition to that reality and you can see the opposition in posts from seasoned users actually trying to reason that this doesn't even matter. That's just baffling.
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Post » Fri May 21, 2010 12:59 am

I can easily see this turning into a no win back and forth war that isn't going anywhere so I'll try to keep this objective as possible. :wink:

First, everybody has a good point that the documentation needs much improvement. It is severely lacking. No more discussion needed there.

Second, let's not compare Construct with MMF or any language or tool where there are PAID developers and tech writers in the project.

Third, we can compare and contrast Construct all day to other open source products but its not really going to get us anywhere. There are many open source projects that have far better documentation than Construct. There are many open source projects that have worse. There are many that have far more contributors which leads to my next point.

Fourth, many times people in this thread have mentioned the Construct "community". Well, how do you have a "community" when everybody puts all of the coding and documentation back on essentially the sole developer??? It's not a community...at least not a functional one.

Fifth, everybody has their own skill set and capabilities. There is an old saying that "hard work" beats "skill" when skill doesn't work hard. I have no delusion when it comes my skill set versus others on the forum. I'm a lot more skilled than some and a lot less skilled than others (like Quasi or Davioware). That doesn't change the fact that I've put probably over 500 hours of working with Construct, writing tutorials, etc.. That length of time is going to build skill.

Sixth, Construct has a TON of bugs. The developers are not that active on the project to begin with. All the documentation in the world is not going to help if the things being documented are buggy as hell.

I'm in the same boat as you that I'd love it if the developer wrote all the documentation and did all the work himself and we could not have to struggle to figure out certain features. So let's just all turn on the developer and demand that he provide us good documentation and fix all the bugs in his spare time because we somehow feel entitled to have a perfect project with complete documentation. <--- Fantasy world

-----> Real world .... Nick, you say you have used Construct for a year now and think you have a strong grasp on it. Then why haven't you added documentation to the wiki? Is it because you have more fun stuff to do in your spare time? Or you refuse to do the developer's job? You are not the only one that I'm picking on though anybody that has used Construct for more than a year should be contributing to the Wiki. That includes all of us "nerds".

We can debate all we want. The bottom-line is that many people here CAN write the documentation. The developer is the "ideal" person to write the documentation. The documentation is not being written. We can either whine about how it is the developer's responsibility to write the documentation, help write it ourselves (as this is supposed to be a community effort), or find some other tool that we feel has better documentation.
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Post » Fri May 21, 2010 2:43 am

Construct is not well documented. Yes, that's true. We don't have a reference of every object's ACE, we don't have a reference for how they are meant to be used, syntax limitations, etc.

On the other hand, it is so hard to contribute.

Just a few weeks after registering on the forum, I wanted to help with an angle problem. I proposed something I used in other languages, assuming that an angle as a value in degrees would always be in the range 0-360, what in Construct is not always the case (But even with the angle being something like -170 or 412, I still not quite understand why I'm not allowed to use math like abs(abs(angle % 360 ) - 180) to test for certain directions or a range of angles etc). I quickly learned then about "anglediff" and comparisons like "is clockwise". The point is, I knew they were there, but it was nowhere explained why they are there. Ashleys answers were very helpful but they are not on the wiki although they are essential (especially because they come from one of the developers)

I wanted to do a beginner's guide of creating effects. Soon after starting I ran into wierd behavior. HLSL intrinsic functions that are supposed to work with profile ps_2_0 do not. "noise" just does nothing, whereas "trunc" at least gives an error message (although it shouldn't), etc. So I gave up.

I wanted to do a in-depth tutorial about using particles. Guess what, I ran into bugs like setting the rate by code not working when in unlimited frame mode and a bunch of others. So I gave up.

I wanted to document the binary object - running into bugs (like Get Cursor Position not working).

I submitted bugs to the tracker, asked in the forum, but: How am I supposed to document something that doesn't work or we are not sure about why exactly it exists?

That is why I reduced my efforts to reading the help forum, answering as much as I can. And probably some dozens of other people too.
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Post » Fri May 21, 2010 3:07 am

[quote="tulamide":19ytbzhb]I submitted bugs to the tracker, asked in the forum, but: How am I supposed to document something that doesn't work or we are not sure about why exactly it exists?

That is why I reduced my efforts to reading the help forum, answering as much as I can. And probably some dozens of other people too.[/quote:19ytbzhb]

You have a really good point there. I strongly believe as well that if the developers want the users to help out with the documentation then they need to fix bugs and explain features that aren't intuitive.

For example, I gave up on documenting the Layout object because I just couldn't find a good reason for using it.

If the developer doesn't show dedication to the project then the users won't either. For example, Python. I've made numerous requests to the developers on the state of Python or how it works in relation to Construct that were mostly ignored (Ashley did answer sometimes, but David never did). These were questions that were easy to answer and only the developer could answer. I actually was really close to just quitting with Construct all together over that. As of right now Construct is just too buggy for me to use seriously.

I still stick to the idea that users should be helping with the large majority of the documentation. There is a very large body of knowledge on the forum that could be moved into proper form on the wiki. It is a boring and thankless task which is why I suspect no one has done it. Don't I give good motivation for helping! 8)

Your post just highlights the fact that Construct is so buggy that sometimes there is no point to documenting certain features. This just points to the developer's needing to do more developing (and yes sometimes answering questions only they can help with).

I know exactly what you are talking about though...
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Post » Fri May 21, 2010 4:32 am

While its true that the documentation is lacking, its also true that the whole thing is still in beta testing. I also would say that the fact users are now demanding more information shows how successful it is and will be.
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Post » Fri May 21, 2010 5:04 am

*opens up Google Docs and starts writing a Vertical Shooter Tutorial*
:)
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