Just a word on programming

Discussion and feedback on Construct 2

Post » Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:32 pm

While technically you're not coding with Construct 2, I feel that the "no coding required" part is mainly used to market towards people that have some kind of fear or a stigma towards programming languages as something used by computer wizards that is not reachable by them.

They won't be typing code but they will still have to understand programming logic. "With events programming becomes intuitive...". Events/behaviors/plugins are basically pre written chunks of code that the user manipulates. It helps by somewhat removing syntax as a barrier, but they'll still need to be able to "write" the pseudo code in their head to translate that into Construct 2.

"Construct 2 helps you to learn how to think in a logical way and understand real programming concepts, making it easy for you if you decide to learn a programming language later."
Understanding of math, arrays and other concepts used in programming as well as web technology is still required to create anything of medium complexity and up.
That's one of the reasons why there are so many forum threads asking for help on "how to make my character have hp?".

Not to mention that you can create your own plugins, adding an layer of extensibility to Construct 2.
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Post » Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:59 pm

I was once asked by a friend from college, who is into web technology and game making, how I created a web showcase thingy with an animated character.
Naturally I told him about Construct 2 and linked him to the program. After reading through the features he stumbled upon the much emphasized "no coding required!" part and asked me laughingly what that was about.
It basically ended up with him dismissing Construct 2 as a learning tool or a fast prototyping tool at best.
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Post » Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:34 pm

C2 is like assisted programming, it is powerful enough yet fool-proof, you can fully do your game without worrying too much about the "OH GOD NO, I put a ';' at the end of all these lines, I leave a curse upon myself!"

Why did I use C2 in the first place?

I didn't have the time or energy to learn an entire syntax
I didn't have the time to do much in fact, I tried Game Maker because I knew games made with it, and because it promised simplicity.. Then I saw GML, and was like "well, I can try, it is oriented for games so, should do", had take too much time for result that didn't satisfied me, so I was like "well... nope".

Then someone told me about C2, I first tried it : "Seems good", then I understood the logic of the program, and I can tell you, understanding how C2 works is far less difficult and time consuming than learning another language while understanding how games works.

C2 is not only lowering programming difficulty, it is also teaching in his own way how to make a game (more like, what you should think about and why).

I didn't "learn" C2 syntax, because the only syntax is mostly for maths, which aren't a big problem, the "syntax" is fine enough to not be a problem.

Later, I talked about it to people, they were like "well, you didn't do it yourself, blablabla..", I was like :"you don't know what you are talking about, test it", they tested it, they admitted their mistake, they don't love it as I do but still recognised its power, and sometimes they do prototypes with it.

Anyway, to go back to the subject (because my life is boooring), C2 is great at what it does, and what it does is:

-Help you make your game, helping is not doing it for you, it is make it possible to you to do it without too many problems, and it helps a lot.

Also, as I said, I didn't learn programming language, but I kinda sucks at english too sometimes, so sorry if my post has too many errorsAphrodite2013-11-22 23:36:10
Game design is all about decomposing the core of your game so it becomes simple instructions.
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Post » Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:54 pm

[QUOTE=KFC]It basically ended up with him dismissing Construct 2 as a learning tool or a fast prototyping tool at best.[/QUOTE]

I reckon this is the troublesome part. You'd think people involved in the technology industry would be more supportive and interested in new ways to do things. This to me is like someone in a horse and cart dismissing the idea of an auto-mobile, because it's not what they're used to.

Sure you can't do everything you like (right now), but you can do so much more in the time vs. content created equation. Even if you don't directly benefit greatly from not using code, it enables whole new teams to be formed - all of a sudden you could have 4 people bashing away with you who would have otherwise never lifted a finger, and you're all doing it faster than with code. It just opens up so many more styles of development.

So really, I think that coding and programming are two very different things. They both take logic, but only one takes learning. I know half a dozen people who have been through the platformer or shooter tutorials just for fun, yet don't know anyone who has learnt to code a game from scratch in a few hours for laughs.

And while of course you need programming somewhere to make games happen, it doesn't mean everyone involved needs to know it. That's like saying everyone should know to mill flower before baking a cake. They are two different jobs and more can get done if people specialise in their own role.
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Post » Sat Nov 23, 2013 8:40 am

Wow, replies. So, well, I definitely wasn't narcisstic nor comparing my skills to others. And where did that come from? I wrote that you don't have to be anything special to learn to code. I was generally addressing those who say they C2 saved them because they couldn't (or wouldn't) learn to code, and just wanted to point out that it's not that hard as some people make it to be.

Then, at no point did I say that you should learn to code. Actually I was driving at the fact that developing games in C2 does constitute programming and I still stand by this.

Some programmers like to think that what they do is based on extremely advanced technical know-how and dislike the idea of letting "ordinary people" develop games/apps/software. That is why you hear a lot of 'yeah, but you should learn a real programming language.' But times change. Just as in photography, where you no longer need a great set of skills, expensive equpiment, a lightroom etc. to snap a picture, the future of coding may lay in easy-to-use tools. Surely enough, the revolution in photography resulted in an unbelievable amount of crap produced by random wannabes, kids, and those who don't care, but that's part of the package. A photographer saying that no one ever made a good photograph with Instagram does sound a bit self-assertive, doesn't s/he?

Overall, accessibility is a good thing.

Scirra does a bit of hedging by stating that C2 lets the 'advanced' guys sketch out ideas quickly. I would say that in many cases it's a fully self-sufficient solution. And frankly, when the performance improves and making mobile games becomes viable I see no reason to code anything 'the old fashioned way.'

[Edit: 'anything' meaning 'anything that can be made in C2 instead]pirx2013-11-23 08:58:23
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Post » Sat Nov 23, 2013 9:12 am

Anyway, it would be interesting to see what others think about it: so do you think there ARE benefits to writing text code for a simple game instead of using Construct 2, if we leave out performance issues?

I have doubts about it. I majored in ENGLISH, and many years ago there was a rancorous debate at my university about whether paper dictionaries (vs. software ones) were still good for anything. There was a collective of conservatists who advocated them as being 'more reliable', 'having more soul' or 'useful during power outages' but in the end their point was just impossible to defend.

Software dictionaries are just much quicker and convenient, end of story. Similarly, I somehow feel that in terms of developing (simple?) games, tools like Construct 2 may have the potential of becoming what Visual Studio is to coding in Notepad or even what Windows is to DOS. Would you agree?
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Post » Sat Nov 23, 2013 9:23 am

I agree, everything of this kind will become more and more accessible, even if some people don't want to.

And I think this is a good thing.
Game design is all about decomposing the core of your game so it becomes simple instructions.
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Post » Sat Nov 23, 2013 11:05 am

[QUOTE=pirx] Wow, replies. So, well, I definitely wasn't narcisstic nor comparing my skills to others. And where did that come from?[/QUOTE]
No idea ^^ I don't know how saying 'what I do isn't special' is narcissism.

I very much agree with what you're saying, except that the distinction between programming and coding is bigger than a lot of people say. And C2 has, by this mass saving of time, allowed people the chance to make games who literally could not have before, due to the time involved in learning to code vs time they have available to learn. So in this way it has 'saved' many people who could not code and allowed them to make games.

Heh, not directed at you, but I remember on the RM forums the veteran users would say 'if RM put in all the features you liked they would lose the scripting community! So if you want to make good games, learn to code so you can make your own scripts and stop asking the work to be done for you.', which just sounds totally bananas. But that is the mentality a lot of people have. I really wonder how great RM could have been if they A: tried, and B: regulated their community in any way shape or form.
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Post » Sat Nov 23, 2013 2:23 pm

Lately there are many tools at our disposal, but learning them and ultimately using them - or being creative with them is completely another matter.

I found C2 by chance and internet digging, used it and I must say it is an expressive tool to say the least. Tool that nicely exposes logic and integration of various elements towards final complete project.

On the programming side this kind of tools enables quick realisation of ideas and even helps to grasp some programming techniques.


(OK sometimes it would be beneficial if you could script the classic way but C2 is still evolving... :) )moxBorealis2013-11-23 14:23:47
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