Construct 2 compared to.... (Stencyl, etc)

Discussion and feedback on Construct 2

Post » Fri Nov 07, 2014 5:43 pm

Hi all,

I'm a newbie to Construct 2. I've been a web developer for a while (HTML to CSS to PHP) and long ago took C++ in school. Even longer ago, I created text adventures in Basic. Now that I'm somewhat competent at graphics and pretty decent at coding (or logic, if you will) and even have dabbled in game design (I created a board game called Supernova.. find it on Amazon if you're interested).

Where I'm at right now is this: I'm trying to decide between using Construct 2 or Stencyl.

I'm going to use Fireworks (which I'm very, very familiar with already) for Graphics, Spriter for animation (I've already bought it) and very likely, Tiled for tileset creation.

Up until discovering Spriter, I was set on using Stencyl. I had tried it and C2 and felt that Stencyl had the upper hand for several reasons (and hence this post - to discover if they're valid reasons) - but after seeing how integrated Spriter is with C2, I'm wavering. Perhaps you guys and gals can give me a better understanding on this.

My thoughts on Stencyl were this:
    The "snap-together' code blocks are really fantastic, allowing for some very complex behaviors to be built somewhat simply.
    The tileset functionality is comprehensive and straightforward.
    The ability to create native apps for iOS and Android is perhaps the biggest selling point for me.
    Multi-platform capabilities - I mostly will develop on Windows, but I also run Linux, which will enable cross-platform testing as well.

The main bad thing about Stencyl is basically the price, but also the fact that it seems far less streamlined than Construct 2. In other words, it seems like I could create a similar game in C2 way faster than Stencyl - but I don't know if that is at the risk of far less flexibility in some areas.

The video that the Spriter guys put together about how you can change character maps at runtime in Construct 2 is swaying me heavily towards C2.

Thoughts? Am I totally missing something about non-native apps (ie: HTML5 apps wrapped for different platforms) that makes it an irrelevant advantage? Is there things that C2 can do that just isn't possible (or not done nearly as well in Stencyl?)

Thanks in advance for your feedback and advice. I just don't want to get far down the road with any tool and discover I've made the wrong choice for game engine and have to start over. Right now, I've only paid for Spriter and I'll be going with that for animation regardless of the engine I ultimately choose.

Oliver
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Post » Fri Nov 07, 2014 7:26 pm

Well, hopefully someone who has used both can chime in too, but here goes(tl;dr warning :shock: ):

I know nothing about the Stencyl community. It may be great...or not. But C2 has a wonderful community. Actually, the quality of the C2 community is the main reason I choose to go with C2. If you have a question or problem, you can usually get an answer in a matter of hours, or even minutes. And Ashley (C2's lead dev) frequents the forum himself, and often replies to a dozen or more threads a day.

As to C2's capabilities, I think you can build pretty much any 2D game with it, short of, say, cortex command.

In terms of logic I think the way 'programming' is handled in C2 is really excellent. Essentially, you have a 3-tiered system:

    Top Level: Object Types and Behaviors. With these you can literally build a complete game in a matter of hours, with just a handful of 'code'. Speaking of which...

    Mid Level: Events. The C2 event system is an excellent compromise between flexibility and simplicity, and allows you to do almost anything. When you begin to feel constricted by what can be done with behaviors, this is where to head next. Of course, sometimes you hit a wall even here. So...

    Low Level: Roll your Own (Object Types/Behaviors): C2 has an open plugin SDK, which the community has very much taken advantage of. There are TONS of plugins for C2, most are free, and the few that aren't are cheap (and your supporting an indie dev too :) ) Just take a look at the work of rexrainbow for starters (I think he's a vampire who doesn't sleep). Oh, and it's easy to develop for. I made my own plugin to add Mouse Lock(Pointer Lock) support with no prior javascript experience (though it did take a couple weeks on and off, but that was JS not C2).

Exporting and platforms...this is where things become a bit of a mixed bag. Exporting is in a far better state than ever before, but there are still issues to be sorted. For example, exporting to linux has broken for newer distros. Now, there are some ways around it, but they require some monkeying and are neither foolproof nor user-transparent. Of course...that sort of describes linux in a nutshell.

Mobile exporting is not perfect, but in the last ~6 months or so it's gone from dismal to pretty damn good. My knowledge here is a bit sketchy -- I'm still in the dev phase of my first major project, and I haven't dove deeply into exporting yet -- but my understanding is that Phonegap will offer perfect compatibility and great performance for any devices running IOS8+ and Android L (5)+. For all the devices running Android 4+, Crosswalk(based on chrominium) is shaping up to be a high performance and stable option, and is in active development by intel. OTTOMH, the people to ask more about this would probably be ArcadeEd, Silverforce, or cranberrygame.

Spriter is indeed awesome. Just thought I'd throw that in there.

Cheers, Tim
Last edited by TiAm on Fri Nov 07, 2014 7:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post » Fri Nov 07, 2014 7:43 pm

well, if you are not planning of using the html5 capabilities or do not care about html5 at all, you prefer multi export to each individual platform rather than multiplatform, and that stencyl or another engine seems as convenient, you might want to look to these instead of C2, you can still try out C2, but basically, do not expect better performances from the wrappers of C2, they add features related to each platforms, but performances are still kind of the same compared to a good browser (not that it is an issue but some people are really picky sometimes).

basically, C2 performances and features increase with the platforms increasing their support of web techs, pretty confident you can do any kind of 2D games in C2 in his current state even when wrapping the games, C2 rely on specifications and standards to have one code for all, which involves that 3rd parties have to do their jobs correctly, it is a superficial issue but that turns a lot of people off, I prefer telling it rather than you buying it then discovering it due to a lack of research.
Game design is all about decomposing the core of your game so it becomes simple instructions.
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Post » Fri Nov 07, 2014 9:58 pm

Hi all,

Thanks for your responses. I'm sure I'll use the HTML5 option for Kongregate/Newgrounds if/when my game gets to that point, but my main target is Android & iOS. I want to make sure that whatever I make works and runs well on those platforms, everything else is a distant second. As for platforms like desktop and linux, I'm not really concerned about exporting to those. They're a 'nice to have' and I'll look at them once I've actually made a game. I might occasionally develop on linux if there was a client (ie: Stencyl).

My main objective for the post was just to make sure that if I do indeed go with C2, that I won't be sacrificing major functionality or performance by virtue of it exporting HTML via wrappers. Everything I've read about C2's functionalities, ease of use, speed of development and capability has been stellar.

I'm going to play with them both a bunch this weekend and then decide. Thanks again!
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Post » Sat Nov 08, 2014 5:08 am

Stencyl had a smaller community in my opinion. Often times less comments and less developer activity. Things might have changed/grown though.

The puzzle type snapping also turned me off. You can do about as much with the two programs however stencyl felt less intuitive to use. Stencyl simply gets a bit confusing in how it looks and operates. When I used it I felt like the system was working against me. That said I only briefly used it. Because of those reasons.

Another option you may like is gamemaker. As far as drag and drop goes it sucks. But the gml scripting is superb. You can do a ton with it, if you have experience with actual code it will be easy to get into. If you have no experience it is still fairly easy to learn. The editor however is not my favorite. I would still be using gamemaker if they had a good editor for layouts and such.
Gamemaker exports everything natively. Great program.

Finally construct2. Best for last right? Given the other two options, here I am. I've used both but prefer construct. It has a superior editor to gamemaker, a bit similar to stencyl. Coding is much easier and quicker to use than both gamemaker and stencyl. However it can be slow to learn if you have actual coding experience. I stepped right into gamemaker familiar how to make things work, felt very very very limited with what I saw with construct 2's functions and behaviors.

Truth is, construct 2 looks incredibly shallow. To simple to be any good. But it is secretly this very powerful tool that can let you do just about anything.
What would take me 30 minutes to an hour in gamemaker takes me 5-10 minutes in construct.

Learning and understanding construct can be tricky.
Mastering it takes a ton of time.
I have not made any large projects. Mostly been playing and learning it on and off in my spare time. But finally have a confidence with it where I think I could manage just about anything with it.

I can tell I have lost my focus a bit so am going to cut myself off.
I say try all the engines. But if you value time and quality construct will leave you very satisfied.

One warning. I must stress. Construct is incredibly art driven. You need an art asset to implement your code.
This is my one big dislike to construct. Gamemaker would allow me to get a big chunk of code in place without worrying about art. Construct won't let you do anything without it.
You learn to get used to this though.

Hope that helps.
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Post » Sat Nov 08, 2014 7:24 am

If your main target is Android or iOS, then you still won't beat Game Maker(!) for that role.

C2 shine because of HTML5, it can be on all the web portals, it can be exported to PC/MAC directly and it can also be wrapped for Android & iOS*.

* It's taken a long time for this option to be really effective, but its finally "there" in the past few months.


(!) I think as iOS8 (CJS/Phonegap wrappers) matures, and the pace of Crosswalk advancement, soon this will no longer be true and C2 will be the ultimate 2D engine for mobiles as well as being very flexible for Web/PC/MAC.

C2 needs to sell itself more on the mobile capability, coming to the front page, all you see are PC games used to sell C2, but I bet many people who get into C2 do it with the purpose of mobiles first and foremost.
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Post » Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:30 am

Tylermon wrote:One warning. I must stress. Construct is incredibly art driven. You need an art asset to implement your code.
This is my one big dislike to construct. Gamemaker would allow me to get a big chunk of code in place without worrying about art. Construct won't let you do anything without it. You learn to get used to this though.


not sure I understand what you mean by this? Do you mean because you apply behaviors to sprite objects? but temp or placeholder art is usually a necessity in every game engine.
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Post » Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:38 am

Is $151.99 just a temporary personal edition license? Or permanent because it used to be $145.99 but I can understand if the price must go up...
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Post » Sun Nov 09, 2014 4:34 pm

jobel wrote:
Tylermon wrote:One warning. I must stress. Construct is incredibly art driven. You need an art asset to implement your code.
This is my one big dislike to construct. Gamemaker would allow me to get a big chunk of code in place without worrying about art. Construct won't let you do anything without it. You learn to get used to this though.


not sure I understand what you mean by this? Do you mean because you apply behaviors to sprite objects? but temp or placeholder art is usually a necessity in every game engine.



I mean in a traditional sense I can set up all my code to a nonexistent art asset, I can code first and add the temporary art later.

In a case where I might normally create a few functions to interact and do things before worrying about any art. I now have to create art first. which usually slows down my thinking process.

It is not a huge issue because I have gotten used to it. But first starting off it was something that really bothered me. I can't get the logic of an idea done when I have that moment of genius unless I have a piece of art at hand or am willing to make something.
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Post » Sun Nov 09, 2014 7:39 pm

@Tylermon

Actually, I sort of know what you mean, though I've never thought of it like that before. Alot of times the first thing I do when I get an idea is...jump into sprite editor to scribble something.

I've been hoping Ashley would add an 'open in external editor' button; IMHO, putting any more into the internal image editor is a total waste of time. Being able to go out directly to something like gimp or krita (all set up with presets of course) would be marvelous.

I think something like this could be pulled of with AutoHotKey but I haven't had the time to sort it out yet.
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