Early feedback on Construct

New releases and general discussions.

Post » Mon Jul 13, 2009 10:30 am

I discovered Construct with the SourceForge award nominees.
I though it was a cool concept, so I downloaded it and installed it. So far so good, good installation script.
Even though I haven't tried to do something with it, I thought I could give an early feedback, close encounter of first kind.
Disclaimer: some opinions there might seem negative, but I give them hoping they might help, not in a troll-like way... After all, I voted for Construct... :-)

I give a programmer point of view, and a parent PoV too: I wondered if my 11 years old daughter could use it. She speak only French and cannot program (yet?).

I first looked at the installation directory. Ah, so there is a Python runtime. Interesting.
And it uses Scintilla, showing good taste! ;-) Although I wonder why there is both Scintilla.dll and SciLexer.dll, the latter including the former. And I couldn't find where it is used, since the program stresses out the "no coding" paradigm (which is a good one!).

I see a Language directory, good, maybe I can get a French translation.
I looked around in the forum, found some simple games in .exe form (a bit big, 2MB, but well, a game size come mostly from its assets, graphics and sounds) and couple of source files (.cap format).

First criticism: why have chosen a binary format for these files? It is brittle (some files I tried crashed the runtime of my version of Construct) and it is totally awful to use a version control system (VCS) with them: hard to make incremental saves, no diff, no preview...
I am a proponent to use VCSes beyond pure programming field, such format is annoying.
I am aware it is a bit late in the game to change the format, although some big players like Microsoft did that for Office (switching from pure proprietary binary format to compressed XML). XML might not be the perfect format (could use Json, Yaml, or even self-made format).
I also tried today Anime Studio 5 (which is free for a limited time), and they save the files in a textual format (.anme).

Second criticism: current lack of good translation support.
Seeing a English (UK) folder, I duplicated and translated a few strings. Then I went to the preferences... and saw no way to switch language. I looked where the preferences are saved (C:\Documents and Settings\PhiLho\Application Data\Scirra\Construct.ini) in my case and found a Language property. Good, I change it to Language=French (FR)... and saw no difference.
There was a hint in the forum, so I switched the English (UK) and French (FR) folders and saw at least my translations! But that's ugly... :-(
Now, I also understood it is a work in progress, so I hope it will just get better there. And I am willing to help in the French translation.

On the positive notes, the interface is good looking and reactive, the functionalities seem complete, I will play a bit with it.
Are you using a self-made physics engine? Or does it uses something like Box2D? The Physics demo template runs quite slowly on my lower end, old computer.

In short, keep up the good work, I will try it more and keep an eye on the development.
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Post » Mon Jul 13, 2009 5:15 pm

It uses 2D Box I think
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Post » Mon Jul 13, 2009 5:25 pm

[quote="PhiLho":ox3cmgkm]
First criticism: why have chosen a binary format for these files? It is brittle (some files I tried crashed the runtime of my version of Construct) and it is totally awful to use a version control system (VCS) with them: hard to make incremental saves, no diff, no preview...
I am a proponent to use VCSes beyond pure programming field, such format is annoying...save the files in a textual format (.anme).
[/quote:ox3cmgkm]
the files it saves include the graphics resources inside the cap file

also, i think its its own physics engine. im not sure but i dont think its box2d or anything else
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Post » Mon Jul 13, 2009 5:26 pm

It is Box2D.
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Post » Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:58 pm

[quote="deadeye":1hmpxbwt]It is Box2D.[/quote:1hmpxbwt]
yeah, that's what I meant by "I don't think it's box2d"
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Post » Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:59 pm

Lucid = FAIL at physics :P
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Post » Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:00 pm

Hey, welcome to the forums, and thanks for the feedback :)

I basically agree with you on all your feedback - all us devs basically learnt how to program off this project, and only around now have we attained any kind of reasonable skill in developing a large software project, so much of the existing codebase consists of legendary uberhacks, unwise stunts, awkward acrobatics, all-nighter heroics and sometimes just sheer madness. So I'm acutely aware of all the shortcomings, and plan to improve on all of them in the next (still very far off sadly) major version, which is planned to kick approximately 3.14 times as much ass.

Still, it's kinda cool a bedroom-hacked program has made it as a finalist on Sourceforge! I'm not expecting to win, we've already got a nice site traffic spike from it so I'm content as it is 8)

[quote="PhiLho":11zsxlm6]I wonder why there is both Scintilla.dll and SciLexer.dll[/quote:11zsxlm6]
Scintilla is used for expression parameters which shows intellisense-style tips and colour codes correct/invalid expressions. Python scripts can be used to enhance events, but are not designed to replace them.

[quote:11zsxlm6]why have chosen a binary format for these files?[/quote:11zsxlm6]
Good question, which is why we'll be using an XML based format in the next version.

[quote:11zsxlm6]current lack of good translation support.[/quote:11zsxlm6]
I agree completely, the translation system has not been finished and isn't supported by the UI. It's doubtful everything will be able to be translated, which is also something that will be addressed in the next version.

Anyways thanks for the comments and thanks for the vote :)
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