Leaving C2 for awhile. My opinions and thoughts.

Discussion and feedback on Construct 2

Post » Mon Dec 09, 2013 9:41 pm

As I approach the halfway point in my senior year in college, the question of "Where am I going to work?" is something that has been plaguing my mind lately. After long deliberation, I've decided to leave C2 and start learning Unity. Before I go, I would like to share my honest thoughts on C2, the community, and areas I think it can be improved upon.

Collaboration

C2 is very easy to use and understand. But when it comes to collaboration, there isn't much that allows groups to work together easily. Sure, you can copy objects and events from one project to another, but what C2 could really use is something that bridges the gap between writing custom plugins to import and copying events from project to project.

The C2 blog recently mentioned "Modules" as a long-term prospect. If I'm not mistaken, this means Scirra will eventually address this gap and have a "codebase" on their website that allows for sharing of events that handle certain tasks. This is something Unity is quite notorious for - a community built upon tons and tons of shared code so nobody has to tackle every problem from scratch.

C2 has made the process of starting simpler by providing built-in behaviors that address issues for a lot of game genres, but it fails to encourage collaboration and sharing of events (no Modules system) that Unity does. There's no question that C2 has a definite community of developers here, but the lack of collaboration support means the community is not fueled by expanding and sharing code but instead by solving "How do I?" problems that more or less contain mostly basic questions from users starting out in C2. In other words, it seems like the extent of this community's "general codebase" is stuck at the beginner level, whereas a codebase of some kind with events handling (and comments explaining) how to accomplish certain tasks would not only reduce the number of basic questions asked in the forums, but it would also lead to an increase in the number of complex games created and showcased in the Arcade.

tl;dr - Just like the debugger became top priority because it decreased development time and helps us fix our problems faster (giving us faster transition from game feature to game feature), pushing the Modules concept from long-term to short-term would also decrease development time and push the C2 community in a better direction.

Asset Store

There's hardly anything there right now. I think if you let users sell their content in the asset store (sprites, example game .capx files, etc.), then Scirra would not only earn more money off of asset store royalties, but the artists in the community would also have a place to publish their works (and subsequently more artists would likely come here and pick up C2).

One of the biggest issues I think C2 has right now is that there aren't many "serious good-looking games" being made with C2. There are plenty of exceptions, but when you compare the amount of good-looking games in development in Unity (which is far more complex than C2 and is also a 3D engine so the users are dealing with 3 dimensions and not 2) to the games being made with C2, there is a stark difference in art quality.

I realize C2 is amazingly easy to use, but the community base still seems to be scratching the surface. As I mentioned in the collaboration section, Unity has a large public codebase and assets in their store that let you start on a project and not have to work from the ground up. This is HUGE, because the community as a whole right now seems to be stuck in one place.

GameMaker, in the eyes of the public, has the issue of "nothing serious has ever been made with GameMaker." I hope this doesn't happen to C2.

tl;dr - The asset store should be more open to community input. By allowing users here to sell things on the asset store, Scirra would increase its income through sales royalties while also allowing artists and hobbyists to share their work for potential revenue.

Just my two cents. Feel free to discuss!
Project Lead of Zems Online Card Game

Producer at Impulse Limited
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Post » Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:16 pm

I've come to realise C2 is actually quite easy to collaborate on via SVN and with good planning you can make most things modulated. Although it does take good planning that is usually quite advanced.

But I do think lack of collaboration is the worst part of C2 - most people I talk to here about it say "Nah, C2 is just for a designer and an artist.", which is really not good. By making it so easy to develop on C2 people think "I don't need anyone else now!" instead of "Wow, imagine what a team could do now!". Especially with Spriter (and hopefully soon Sprite Lamp), you can make some stunning games at a ridiculous speed.

So with that said, I am a huge believe that C2 can be a massive market player if the users start coming together on projects and raise the scope above mobile. A team of 5 people on C2 could do what a 15 man team could via code, and there are no serious bugs in (non-mobile) C2 anymore.

So if there's anyone out there with a little experience who wants to try for something impressive, send me a message. I've got a very large RPG engine brewing away that 3 of us start on next year, and I would love another experienced programmer or two! Particularly if you are any good at menus, or maybe you have a neat little piece that could suit as a mini game. It currently has full text systems that require no events, a really flexible combat engine (allows for card game style effects like tracking number of pumps, base vs modified stats, etc. etc.), controller support of all forms and lots of other pieces.
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Post » Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:27 pm

@Excal
I was expecting the same old. eh it sucks. But nope. You have a lot of valid points. I have made comments that C2 needs the modularity for growth, that the modules should be on an Asset store that is integrated into C2 IDE.

And while the plugins is a great system. It's a hurdle for most developers. Where as Unity modules are still in C#/JS. That language is the primary programming language. Here the primary language is C2 Event Language. Which does very well dropping the barriers to allow non traditional coder writers to program easily. but the SDK level is and will often be for most be out of reach.

I totally feel where you coming from. Growth of the community developement can't go farther. it's just not the nature of such a low barrier and no integrated support. c2Addon was a good start. But it's not enough.

However a few points I want to make out.
Unity sat in the same boat as C2. No one took the toolset seriously until a handful of top design games came out. However this happened well after the asset/modularity system was in place.

Game Maker Studio is indeed making the transition from "toy" to serious game kit. Miami Hotline, Risk of Rain and Another Perspective are becoming more noticed and helping GMS.

So I agree. While C2 did a great job of lowering the barrier the execution still needs work. I feel the are three key factors for C2 to hit main stream.

1. C2 Event Language modularity
already covered

2. More Open Asset store integrated into the IDE
Asking developers to do stuff in the the files/folders is a barrier. This is to remove that barrier. Personally for me it's not hard. But this is still an inconvenience.

3. IDE team work synchronization.
SVN is ok, but this still requires active diligence on the part of the developers. However with a lower barrier entry that entire idea requires more support in the tool. This really can't be expected that the entry users will quickly scale up to elite programmers.


Don't get me wrong. I'm looking forward to the Multiplayer features. But these are the key elements needed to shift everything to mainstream.

Anyways have fun with Unity :)
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Post » Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:34 pm

Asset stores aren't as big of a deal for 2D games--just go get 2D art somewhere else like opengameart.com. Lot's of free music available online as well.
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Post » Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:48 pm

@jayderyu - for the SVN, it just seems trickier than it is. I stumbled around for a while even with the tutorial, but that was mainly due to having to forward my ports. So yeah, if you don't know how to do that it can be a pain, but once you do know it only takes a few minutes to set up and works great. And only 1 team member needs a server, the clients take less than a minute to set up.

So here complexity isn't the problem, more clarity. The tutorial should be tightened up, add some links to port-forwarding tutorials or something and really get it out there how easy it is to use.
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Post » Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:44 am

[QUOTE=Tobye]But I do think lack of collaboration is the worst part of C2 - most people I talk to here about it say "Nah, C2 is just for a designer and an artist.", which is really not good. By making it so easy to develop on C2 people think "I don't need anyone else now!" instead of "Wow, imagine what a team could do now!". Especially with Spriter (and hopefully soon Sprite Lamp), you can make some stunning games at a ridiculous speed.
[/QUOTE]

This is a big issue for this community. Instead of combining like-minded people and making "great" games, each of us would rather retain full control and make "good" games. I understand people are naturally adverse to others who have differing opinions, but having someone who disagrees with you and forces you to compromise can be the difference between making a game that is so narrow in target audience that it fails to sell and a game that can hit the balance just right.

If we examine the community as a whole, the majority of people here fall into one of two categories:
  • Experienced with C2, likely have programming background, likely to use C2 for independent games that are mostly self-funded and self-developed
  • New to C2, no programming background, trying to create something small


So where's the middle ground? There really isn't one because there's no modularity and no sharing of code. The transition from absolute beginner to competent C2 user to advanced C2 expert just isn't there.

With a community codebase and module system that promotes sharing of events, a user could pick up the ropes to C2 through tutorials and then begin the transition to competent C2 user by utilizing the public codebase and figuring out how to get the modules working into their own games (which involves reading the modules to get a basic idea of how they work). If everyone is forced to start from scratch or do long forum searches to find event snippets, then everyone is basically starting from the ground up for each project, minus the expert users who have their own individual codebases to pull from due to having a vast amount of small projects under their belt.

It's for this reason that I think modularity needs to be pushed up on the to-do list.Excal2013-12-10 01:45:21
Project Lead of Zems Online Card Game

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Post » Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:20 am

@Tobye
I've used SVN, Github, Putty to a linux and a few others over the years. For me it's not he trouble. It's the situation that the hurdle exists that holds back. Though I thought the tutorial would be pretty good.

The easiest way for this hurdle to be handled; is for C2 to have a Group Project IP/address. Where then only the IP needs to be put in with the information of the project name and such.

It all comes down to the one rule "Convenience is King" and using an external program, planning and diligent practice is not convenient. this will result in a reduced use.


@Excal
I fall into your categories :\ I'm very guilty. I totally agree. The lack of an integrated system and modularity is hurting C2's growth.

However The tutorial sections are fantastic. There are a lot of excellent tutorials. Some people are happy with detailed docs. I've seen others who couldn't care and only want the capx file. And finally there are people who NEVER look at the tutorials and even know they exist :(.

CAPX are the best way to share. It's not drop in and some times it's a pain to import a CAPX feature. But it's possible. It is however inconvient. Also lack of a good integrated repository hold other methods back. Rex holds a repo, which get's some use. But I bet if there was an integrated way to access Rex repo the use of Rex plugins would likely sky rocket.

I understand Ashley's situation. As I understand he is the sole C2 programmer with Tom on the web/server side stuff. So He has to weigh in what features need to be added.

maybe what Ashley should offer next prior to modularity is a true C2 Plugin system. Not by way of plugins for created games. But instead Plugins that assist in making games by the way of new interface options? new gui boxes? This could allow Lucid to work on a Spriter importer directly or some one else could have created a TileMap system already.

Unity seems to allow developer enhancements to Unity. I think this could let other people develope areas that C2 is missing. Some could develop a modularity system.

overall I agree. Modularity and Community based easy access features are missing for such a fantastic tool. There seems to be a lot of old C++ design paradigm for IDE use and sharing. In a time where integrated social features are the norm. C2 is running behind :(
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Post » Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:18 am

The average "serious good-looking game" can take anywhere from 1 to 5 years to make, sometimes even more. Construct 2 is hardly 3 years old. There are a few out there already and not all of them are on this forum.

You're also comparing C2 to game engines that have been around for a decade or longer and cost much, much more.

The main complaint in this thread is C2's lack of modularity..something Ashley is likely working on as we speak and has been promised numerous times. I mean..come on, man. It's pretty amazing what Ashley has accomplished almost entirely by himself in such a short time and C2's future looks promising.

I do agree that there isn't much of a "middle ground" around here though. I blame the tutorials section. The thought of writing a full-blown tutorial is a huge turn off. We need a forum, like every other game engine has, for people to share example .capx's to show off, experiment with, improve on, and learn from. It's the best way!MadFactory2013-12-10 03:22:45
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Post » Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:30 am

I won't talk about the collaboration issue as I haven't been in a situation where I have needed to collaborate with anyone in C2, so I really don't have much experience with such matters.

However, I disagree with you on some counts regarding the proposed handling of the asset store.

Firstly, 2D art is much different to 3D art. I'm sure many serious 3D games use purchased stock models, however I've never heard of a serious 2D game that uses stock art. I suppose this is mainly because 2D art styles are extremely differentiated and recognizeable, and while 3D art can share these qualities in many cases, it's often more homogenous.

The other main asset store component is plugins, scripts and code snippets. I agree that these are important to many C2 games, however the community here has an extremely generous spirit and ATM gives all this stuff away for free. It would be difficult to start charging for code snippets when there's already such a rich base of code available for free.

You also mention that there are very few high profle games being made with C2. Ignoring the fact that C2 is primarily intended for beginners, I think this is more a factor of the tool's age than it's quality. Unity is so ething like 7 years old now so a comparison in that respect is hardly fair.

Just my 2c ;)
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Post » Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:39 am

@Excal you've got pretty valid points there, and I do confess I fall somewhere in the middle of those two categories. A shame you're leaving C2, but I can see where you're coming from. On my side, I'm really trying to make a quality product using C2, but I'm just getting started. If it helps the public perception of it that's an added bonus and motivation, though :)Cappdog2013-12-10 03:41:31
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