has anyone actually used this seriously?

Discussion and feedback on Construct 2

Post » Sat Jul 05, 2014 11:35 pm

Actually I have brought up this issue several times on the forum and not really had any replies. To me asset management is by far the weakest aspect of C2. The amount of times I have wasted replacing animations and sounds has really driven me to the point where I have mostly moved onto other engines. If you are building even a medium sized game, art assets will need to be updated numerous times and you shouldn't have to jump through hoops!

Currently in C2 my workflow to replace an animation is to create another animation with a slightly different name, delete the old one and then rename the new one to the old name. I can't even marquee select the animation to delete frames, so that I can then reimport into the same animation. The ideal way is to just be referencing a folder of my choosing, so that when I change the animation frames in the source folder it updates it C2. Or have the option to reference it in another location.

Likewise changing audio is a nightmare. The game I am working on has some serious audio fx going on with 9 sfx variations for each effect (it is a musical game) so when I import these 9 wav files into C2 I get 27 files (including ogg and ,mp3). Now to replace these I need to delete them , reimport and then relink in the actions. Actually I have to be careful to import the new files first, relink and then delete the old, since if I delete audio it will delete the actions! Would be very easily resolved by having the files referenced by C2 and just swap them out at source. Also, why is the audio list cluttered up with the ogg and mp3 files ? Obviously these will be used, but the user doesn't need them to be seen. Scirra should look at how it works in Unity where the Assets window is basically a mirror of your actual project structure. Currently it is all dumbed down and out the users control which is maybe by design for the beginner, but will only frustrate a serious user.

It is a pity, since C2 is so nice to use, but the combination of no asset management and the woeful export options has mostly driven me away from C2. I am finishing off a long term project with it, and will keep up with development and the community but I have mostly moved on. It really needs some big changes if it wants to keep up with the big guns of Unity, GMS, UE4. I will always keep it around for pure HTML5 output as that is its real strength....funnily enough :)
B
11
S
2
G
1
Posts: 108
Reputation: 1,899

Post » Sun Jul 06, 2014 1:38 pm

If you have a folder-based project, you can just copy-paste directly over the files in the animation folders. Is it really that much trouble? I'm not sure I'm clear on why this is so tedious. You can do the same for audio - just copy and paste files over the ones in the project folder to replace them.

Also no matter what folder structure we choose, I'm sure there will always be other tools out there using different structures. I'm not sure what a good way to solve this in general is, other than making it easy to reimport a whole animation at a time, which should already be possible either by reloading from disk or importing spritesheets.

The original post also references "many oversights and problems" without addressing any other than re-importing animations. If you actually listed them I could perhaps address them by adding new features, but without that there is nothing I can do about your complaint.
Scirra Founder
B
395
S
231
G
88
Posts: 24,367
Reputation: 193,694

Post » Sun Jul 06, 2014 7:50 pm

Thanks for joining in but kind of proves my point that you can't possibly have gone through a whole project with an artist working beside you... or he would tell you pretty quickly why it's so tedious and time wasting trying to update animations.

I've worked in the industry for 25 years, from adventure games on the Amiga, Tomb Raider 1 and 2, pc, xbox, ios titles... I used to design our in house tools with the lead programmer on Tomb Raider.. the only reason I'm saying this is just to give you some perspective on how well I know how these things should work..

Once the animations are stored in separate folders the artist has no choice but to perform an export from his art package for every single one of these folders... so if your character has 12 animations - 12 separate exports, 12 times double clicking on folders 12 times selecting yes - overwrite files... 12 times changing the frame range (say the jump anim is frame 6 to 12 ) then back again..... 12 times ... every time you tweak your sprite - you get the idea.

where if all the files were in one folder, all the animations for the character were named hero01.png, hero02.png...//...hero32.png you can export the entire animation in one command, the entire range of frames for all the animations! Then construct just knows that the run animation is from hero12.png to hero20.png for example.

Then pop back to construct (in your reply you say just overwrite the files, but then, officially are you not suppose to go and find the sprite and choose "reload from disk"?) and refresh your sprite. Job done.

I've tried using sprite sheets, that's worse. There is no way of just updating the sheet the sprite refers to, because it too stores them as individual frames in individual folders, if I could just overwrite a single sprite sheet image I would. The only way you can update a sprite that uses a sheet is to reload the sheet for each animation and redefine the range for each animation.... very painful.

You say just overwrite sound files... yes but what about generating the .ogg and m4a files? So I have to generate them myself then overwrite them manually. That would work. But the manual says nothing about updating your sounds... because really there is no way, just a bodge, overwrite and generate the other formats yourself. Maybe should mention that in the manual. Which by the way I think is excellent, well written and well laid out - I mean that.

Construct is so nice and a joy to use in places... I just feel that it has not been tested thoroughly, it seems as though using a community for testing and improving is the way tool developers (and game developers) do it these days. But I'm not paid to test and debug it am I? Why should I take up my time testing and debugging something that I've bought? Wasn't that suppose to of been done already? - I understand there has to be a little flexibility with this... but it shouldn't be relied on as the main way of testing.

And the other oversights and problems? - I've got to get on with some work, I've spend enough time on this already...
B
7
S
2
Posts: 16
Reputation: 771

Post » Sun Jul 06, 2014 8:36 pm

I agree that there is space for improvements on features already implemented, that's why we have that forum, by showing places for improvement we can make it better. Also other programmers behind C2 is a good idea to accelerate the job.

As many here I'm very grateful and I'm sure I made a really good decision by buying this tool, it have a good potential and flexibility and it's always getting better, my only concern is that the developers should take a better look at some basic things on the program instead of only adding new features.

for example, when you start selecting with your mouse in layout screen why not show how many objects are selected?
B
32
S
6
G
5
Posts: 437
Reputation: 6,119

Post » Sun Jul 06, 2014 9:31 pm

.
Last edited by ggibson1 on Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
B
21
S
5
Posts: 196
Reputation: 1,974

Post » Sun Jul 06, 2014 9:41 pm

@stuatk
Many Construct 2 developed games are on Steam, and one of them was even reviewed by GameInformer, the #1 video game magazine in the world.

http://www.gameinformer.com/games/our_d ... eview.aspx

The review was right next to the review for The Last of Us DLC, a game which won over 200 industry awards.
Construct 2 is a serious development tool. If you're looking for a huge portfolio of popular games like GameMaker, you'll have to wait because that took many years to develop.
Personally, Construct 2 is my favorite game development engine, and I've used many (Unreal Development Kit, Unreal Engine 4, Unity, GameMaker Studio, MMF2/2.5, Stencyl, GameSalad). It's the fastest prototyping tool around (try using it in a game jam) and the interface allows for a lot of customization. Scirra also has the best forum for a game engine I've ever used. Maybe you should try other lesser game engines to fully appreciate the capabilities of Construct 2.
B
22
S
4
G
1
Posts: 153
Reputation: 1,938

Post » Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:54 pm

Ashley wrote:If you have a folder-based project, you can just copy-paste directly over the files in the animation folders. Is it really that much trouble? I'm not sure I'm clear on why this is so tedious. You can do the same for audio - just copy and paste files over the ones in the project folder to replace them.



@Ashley

Scirra could probably make a lot more money if they made a Unity Package in the Asset Store that could read in C2 projects and run them inside the Unity engine (and export to mobile with Unity).

Basically C2 could be a super powered version of this (https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/7381)

This way C2 can have all the advantages of Unity big team features AND still be the premiere 2D game engine (for cheap since the Unity free edition is all that would be needed for C2 integration).

Sort of like this:
http://www.brashmonkey.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=15670
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toYWWIejxO4
B
21
S
5
Posts: 196
Reputation: 1,974

Post » Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:08 am

@Ashley , The problem with replacing animation sequences directly into the C2 created folders is that the images have all had their names replaced to a generic 000.png - xxx.png. If I have my run animation originally created as run000.png - run012.png , am I expected to export all of my new animations and images with the exact same file names sequence of 000.png - xxx.png ?

If you don't want to change the IDE to allow external asset reference then one easy solution would be to allow a multi select of all of the animation frames, which would then allow you to delete them , and then reimport the new sequence. Currently you can only select one frame at a time to delete. Hence why I create a new animation, import the updated frames into this, delete the old one and then rename it to the original. Yes, it is as tedious at it sounds. At least implementing a multi select via a marquee select of frames would be a halfway measure.

The problem with updating sounds in the folder is that we have to replace not only the original wav file but also the ogg and m4a files. This means to you have to use C2 to import the original wave file, but for any updated audio files, the user must manually convert to ogg and m4a to replace into the folder structure. At least the wave file has not been changed by C2 upon import.

One possible way around this would be have the option for C2 to only do the conversion to ogg/m4a on preview/export, so only the wave file needs to be replaced. Yes this would slow down the preview process, but would be good to have as an option. Even better is have C2 only reference the audio files from a folder of my choosing, then I can replace the originals at will.

Another issue with replacing sounds is that if I delete a sound , any actions using this sound are automatically deleted without any warning to the user! This caught me out quite a few times initially. So the workflow becomes import the updated sound (which of course gets renamed!), have it converted, changed the actions to reference the newly named sound, then delete the old ones. To compound this, since I can't multi select sounds in the project view, every single sound needs to be put into a folder so that all 3(wav,ogg, m4a) are in one folder to make it easier to delete. Yes , it is a currently a nightmare. My current C2 game is a musical one, where every sound has each 7 notes of a C major scale, so each time I need to update a sound it is quite a nightmare!

On a related note, is the general way the C2 needs all assets within its own directory structure. If I want to iterate my project to the next version (which I tend to do several times a day), this means that all assets have come along for the ride. If the project has 250mb worth of assets, each time I save my project it is saving all the assets, where ideally all I want changed is the project file that will point at the same assets. What is I want to go back to a version of the project that I did the previous day , but with my updated assets?

Hopefully, you can begin to see that separating project files from assets is the only way to go for a decent sized project. Sure, there is a certain elegance in having everything contained in one zipped capx. This will work fine on a crappy bird clone, but for a project with hundreds of sounds and sprites it becomes a logistic nightmare.

While I don't have the game industry experience of @stuatk , I have over a decade of experience in the broadcast animation business and have worked on many high profile jobs. All compositing and editing packages only ever reference media files for good reason. It makes it easy to update/reload files at their source and the small project file is easy tranportable.

Just the fact that someone of stuatk's calibre is even trying out C2 is noteworthy of itself. C2 has been turning heads, mainly because of its event system which is the jewel in its crown. Since it is so good, users expect the rest of the software to be of a similar quality. Sadly the asset management, exporting problems (reliance upon 3rd party solutions) and non modularity of code are the main issues which will continue to plague the product unless they are addressed.

Hopefully the Scirra management will take note these issues in its long term business plan, as there is now plenty of competition among engines now. Most offer a free (Unity and GMS) or very low priced(UE4) version and they don't tend to have the same issues. Although there is nothing out there that is as easy to use as C2, there are plenty of contenders such as Stencyl, GameSalad and Game Develop (which was recently open sourced and is very close to C2 in terms of workflow), who would happily eat Scirra's lunch. I would prefer to see a more pro orientated version (C3 Professional) with haxe or similar underpinnings (ala Stencyl) be developed in tandem to the current C2 which would stay as a html5 engine.
B
11
S
2
G
1
Posts: 108
Reputation: 1,899

Post » Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:59 am

Thanks to everyone for their input -

@zendorf - brilliant ideas all around, it's great to have intelligent input from a developer who comes from a different background. I'm sure Scirra is considering some of the options you've mentioned - well I hope they are... I too have tried all the alternatives (gamesalad, stencyl etc) and despite constructs problems - I think it's by far the nicest to use, and is a brilliant fast creative way to work - it has immense potential.

maybe a short term fix for lack of external asset referencing: save some data along with the sprite that contains the path and file name pointing to the original file imported. Then have a "reload from source" button, if the asset has been moved report the missing path to the user and allow them to edit it if they want. I remember the 3dsMax used this method if it couldn't find your textures.. (same for sounds) just an idea.
B
7
S
2
Posts: 16
Reputation: 771

Post » Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:11 am

This is exactly the stuff that I've been struggling with. I'm used to having my own folders for different quality assets for my games. I would love to be able to simply change the path and manually maintain different resolution pictures. from /hi_res to /lo_res and then export or alter the path from my games graphic options. Years ago I was using Game Maker and I wrote a script to replace all my sprites that were just blue circles with a correct picture file from a folder. It made everything easier and allowed me to load files when I wanted. I see that Construct 2 has a similar command to replace sprites, but I would like to see more than 8x8 stretched blue balls when I'm editing my levels.
stuatk mentioned 3dsmax and it's a good example to learn from as it's well designed tool for visual work.
B
44
S
5
G
5
Posts: 412
Reputation: 5,771

PreviousNext

Return to Construct 2 General

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 3 guests