future version of Construct and compatibility

New releases and general discussions.

Post » Wed Sep 17, 2008 6:02 am

I'm just about ready to start porting my MMF2 game to Construct, but I want to confirm that with games I start building now, I will be able to continue working on them throughout future versions of Construct without having to start over. going through some of the .cap uploads, i'm noticing a few of them either don't work exactly like described or sometimes they are almost entirely broken -- sometimes a bit of modification can get them working. i assume it's because they were created on an older version.

so what would you (Construct developers and long-time users) recommend for a long term project? start work now? wait for 1.0 (eta?)? minor necessary changes to my code upon update wouldn't be too much of a bother, but i don't want to make serious progress just to have to redo large portions. thanks :)
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Post » Wed Sep 17, 2008 6:48 am

My current project -- a rather large game -- has been developed over several different versions, and I've only had development halted by a bug in one of the builds, but that was quickly fixed. So, I imagine it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to go ahead and start your game. There's really not much to worry about.

Of course, for all I know I'll be proved wrong with the next build. :P
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Post » Wed Sep 17, 2008 8:13 am

I'd recommend you porting game to Construct. Even if new versions will force you to rewrite it, you'd have more experience with this program. If it'd be to hard to do because of crashes and stuff - give up for some time ^^. Anyway, there's no point in standing still and waiting for Construct 1.00 and then starting from scratch.

I can give no confirmation that this version'd be compatible with Cons1.0.
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Post » Wed Sep 17, 2008 8:17 am

You could conceivably start your project now and finish with no problem. But in my opinion the chances of everything going right are going to be pretty slim.

Not only might there be problems with compatibility (the most recent physics update broke all previous physics games), but there will most likely be problems with obsolescence.

That is to say, you could be coding things one way for a few versions, then all of a sudden a whole bunch of buggy code that you just hacked together to make things work right can be done with a couple proper new features.

And yes, you could dig into the code and rework everything to conform to the new, proper way, but it would be a major hassle. Especially if the bulk of your game engine is built around an obsolete hack-job. I know this from experience.

My advice is this: Construct is in beta. It's not finished. Don't expect to make a finished project with it right now, you'll just give yourself a headache. Instead, learn everything you possibly can about it and simply plan you game. Tinker with Construct and find out how it works. Report bugs and make feature requests.

In the mean-time, complete everything else that you can for your game. Graphics, sounds, music, whatever. Get that ready to go. Then when Construct gets to 1.0 (or at least closer than it is now) you'll be able to assemble all the pieces of your game relatively quickly.
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Post » Wed Sep 17, 2008 10:40 am

Well, .cap files even from 0.8 in theory are still compatible, and we have a very good compatibility code that allows us to add, remove, or completely change sections of the file format as necessary, while still being able to load the old format. So we'll never change the format in a way that breaks all existing files.

Being beta sometimes we need to make changes in order to fix bugs which might affect - but not completely invalidate - older files. The physics bug deadeye was referring to actually only affected .cap files that were started with a couple of the more recent builds. The default world scales were incorrect, but the value was ignored. So I corrected the default value and fixed the bug that made it ignore the value - but this meant old files were now making use of the incorrect default value. The change was very simple (change two properties to 3.3% and it worked exactly like it did before). This was, like any other similar situation that has arisen or will arise, detailed in the changelog. If you keep up-to-date with the changelog, it's a trivial change. Very old applications in the newest version might suffer a few of these minor changes, and it becomes more difficult to track down all the tweaks after more builds get released.

The official line is that you shouldn't start any really serious projects in Construct until 1.0. This is true, but it becomes less of an issue the closer we get to 1.0, and large-scale applications are very good for testing Construct. You should back it up regularly however, including to separate media (this is just generally good practice with any software). Construct includes anti-corruption code - every time it saves or autosaves it verifies the data it generated is valid and can be successfully loaded. In theory, this means your .cap file is never corrupted (overwritten with data that cannot be loaded). However, there might be some other obscure as-yet unknown situation that causes an invalid file to be saved (even mature commercial applications sometimes do this). With regular backups, I'm fairly confident your work would be safe, but take precautions in case it is not.
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