Leaving C2 for awhile. My opinions and thoughts.

Discussion and feedback on Construct 2

Post » Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:56 am

[QUOTE=MadFactory]
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.
[/QUOTE]

The main complaint I am making concerns the "ideas for the future" that Ashley posted. He did a great job of prioritizing the debugger over other features after the poll results were clocked in, but now it seems like the next logical step that would benefit the community the most (modularity) is getting pushed back as a "long-term" thing.

The purpose of me starting this thread is to try to convince him to move it up, probably after the tilemaps feature since he's already made great progress with that.

[QUOTE]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![/QUOTE]

Every C2 project I have worked on is open source. The .capx can be found in a "My Creations" thread I have posted. This doesn't seem to stop people from posting "How do I make a notification system?" and "How do I make a turn-based game?" in the "How do I?" forum despite the fact that I have already created a semi-working project and documented it quite thoroughly.

It could just be that we need an organized area on this website to share .capx files (along with a description showing what our .capx does) for others to draw from.Excal2013-12-10 04:03:46
Project Lead of Zems Online Card Game

Producer at Impulse Limited
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Post » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:01 am

[QUOTE=Excal]
Instead of combining like-minded people and making "great" games, each of us would rather retain full control and make "good" games. [/QUOTE]

I do admit I'm kinda guilty of that. Although to be fair, this is my first game, and I just signed up a couple months ago. I can do art on a professional level, and my music skill is pretty close. That's why I am getting into game making.

I do like being in control, and there is some satisfaction being able to say I did it all by myself. Of course, I don't plan to put out rubbish. I don't know how you define "good" vs "great" but my game is going to take a few months to finish.

I might be willing to work with someone if they were an advanced programmer. Then, I could concentrate on the art and music. Of course, there's still the issue of whether they would want to make the same kind of games that I do. I'll most likely work alone on my first project. After that, I'll either continue to work alone, or I'll see where the road leads me.

I've already followed many tutorials, even paid for some video tutorials. I can do most of what I need to get my game going. C2 is plenty deep enough that there's still plenty for me to learn though.
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Post » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:16 am

[QUOTE=DrewMelton]   
I don't know how you define "good" vs "great" but my game is going to take a few months to finish.[/QUOTE]

I don't know a single "great" game made solely by one person. There are numerous books, lectures, and philosophies out there that talk about why having someone who disagrees with you on certain points and forces you to compromise will most often result in both of you creating a finer end product.

[QUOTE=DrewMelton]
I might be willing to work with someone if they were an advanced programmer. Then, I could concentrate on the art and music. Of course, there's still the issue of whether they would want to make the same kind of games that I do. I'll most likely work alone on my first project. After that, I'll either continue to work alone, or I'll see where the road leads me.
[/QUOTE]

This is the problem mindset that seems to plague this forum.

For example, I have a huge interest in space shooters. In my teen years I played a lot of space games online, got involved in sci-fi game communities, and I know a lot about the player perspective. My first C2 project was even a space shooter you can play here (audio has issues on some browsers). But when I try to collaborate with someone on this forum on a space game, I can't shake the feeling that I'm the one trying to make the game more accessible while the guy I'm working with wants to keep the game narrow or go really deep on features X and Y while leaving the other game mechanics really shallow and making the game feel like a developer's favorite features/mechanics simulation that only like-minded people would enjoy.

Another issue is that people don't seem to want to learn together. They are willing to take on an experienced developer as long as that experienced developer is willing to do the things they want them to. Look at the "Help Wanted" forum's posts filled with people saying "We are seeking experienced C2 developers to join our team and help us make OUR game in exchange for profits we make later on." I'm not sure where the "if we have a team, we're going to make MY game and not a game the TEAM decides on," or where the "We're looking for people who are MORE EXPERIENCED in C2 than us to join our team" kind of mentality came from, but it's not healthy.

Why aren't there any posts in the Help Wanted section that look like:

"Absolute beginner to C2. Does someone want to learn with me? Let's make a small project together!"

OR

"Making a space sim. Have basic game functionality completed, now looking for volunteer team members who love space sims to help us turn this into something great!"

Excal2013-12-10 04:17:38
Project Lead of Zems Online Card Game

Producer at Impulse Limited
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Post » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:32 am

@Excal
I was saying the same thing. Then lost my post with an access denied :|

Anyways. Good luck with Unity :) it's a nice tool kit :) I've been thinking of moving to GMS until Modularity and Mobile has been resolved. but probably won't :D
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Post » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:50 am

@Excal

I know how you feel as I'll be entering my senior year in university 2 years from now (which is still quite a bit of time but still). Unity will be your best bet for the job market in the future for both game-making and outside of game making if you happen to choose C# as your lead programming language. Companies want programmer's who are skilled at specific languages.

Also from what I have read, unity is also more stable then construct 2 and you will learn the basic workflow and syntax for programming if you learn to use it. Construct 2 is still amazing in my opinion, but it lacks a couple of things, also the only transferable skills from construct 2 to an actual job in the future for programmers is optimization, and game-making logic. It's great for beginners but it seems to me it's a bit more for an artist or hobbyist. I personally like to use it for proto-typing my ideas and I think I'll use it on the side-line to make games, but I have been considering unity for quite some time now.

I have already planned on moving on to unity but that doesn't mean I'll quit on Construct 2, it just means I'll be using it less as I'll be switching between the two engines. But to sum it all up, switch to unity if your planning to brush up your programming skills for the future, otherwise use construct 2 and see if you can make that one in a million popular app/game.
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Post » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:53 am

@jayderyu I would lose 9/10 posts I make on this forum if I didn't copy first and get ready to paste. I've never seen a forum so picky...

@Excal

I agree with most of your points. It would be interesting learning with someone, but there would need to be good communication otherwise we'd just be doing it alone essentially. It might be hard to get going.

As for most people wanting a skilled programmer, I don't know maybe there are more artists drawn to C2 than programmers. I'm good with computers, but I'm no programmer. I figure I could learn it. It might take a while though. C2 is straight forward enough that I can get "most" of what I need, but I keep needing to look for tutorials, example capx files, or forum tips to do the advanced stuff (usually one problem at a time).

It's difficult to say how well a team will work together. If there are two artists, I can see some problems. There may be style differences for example. One person may be an expert at anatomy, and the other can only do cartoony work. This would lead to a visible difference if both artists did characters for the same game. Now, if one guy did backgrounds and the other did characters, maybe it would be better. I'm not sure.

I think that most people that come here already have either a vision of what they want to create or inspiration to do a certain type of game. That's just my theory of course, but it would seem odd for someone to want to get into making games if the had no idea what to make. Now, if they simply had a hard time deciding what to go with, then that's fair enough. I have to make choices and prioritize and settle on something as well.

When you say you want to make the game more accessible, and the other guy wants it more narrow, well it's really hard to say which I'd prefer. I hate casual games. Or rather, I hate it when they dumb down a game to make it appeal to wider audiences rather than sticking to their guns. It would be like Skyrim vs Dark Souls. One game is trying to be more accessible, the other is trying to kick your face in. I fall into the latter category. But like I said, it really depends on what you mean by accessible. I didn't know if you are talking about difficulty or just making the gameplay more intuitive.
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Post » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:58 am

I do agree with your points. I'll admit, I work mostly by myself with [email protected], but I'll digress back to the point in a second. Having better collaborative efforts would drive C2 in a much better direction. That extends past the program though. Having some form of modularity, especially being able to import layout and event sheets, should be a standard thing. Having access to the app directly to design an application behavioral plugin would be cool (Eg, allow native access for Spriter to C2).

I think SVN is pretty standard past that though. It should be all that's needed. It sucks to set up if you've never set up something like that before. I personally prefer Git. But a system like that is standard in the dev world. It shouldn't be shied away from.

Where collaboration could be better is better community software. The forum software is lacking. Thankfully, Tom intends on updating at some point. God knows both Ashley's and Tom's plates are full though so it might take a while. Desura has things like personal blogs, news, and such. This community needs more of the same. On top of a more feature packed and efficient forum software base, the community needs a better way to display projects, art, news, videos, files, etc... I came to C2 and became quickly disappointed in the community support software. (That is not a bash to the support Ashley gives in the community. That is by far the best I have EVER seen)

With that said, I do have hope for the future. I see both Tom and Ashley working hard and they have come a long way for a two man team.

I do wish there were more assets for sale. Personally, my artistic skills suck. I can photoshop and adjust and image to suite my needs without a problem. I understand that 2D art is more prolific than 3D assets. It's more distinguishable. That's not to say that someone couldn't put up a flora pack with 50 different leaves and stems though. The consumer can edit the leaves as needed and build the plants from the pieces. The same could be done with character models and platform pieces. OpenGameArt is cool, but it's still very limited. Most other free, and even paid assets, have me feeling the same way.

Music and sound effects I'm a bit more iffy with. Some really good free music and sound effect places already exist unlike 2D art assets. Still, it would be cool. Also, if it puts more money in Scirra's pockets, then cool!

All that, and my point in my first sentence above, bring me full circle back to my main argument though. The barrier for entry is way to low. I tried C2 because they had a free version. I spent the $100 USD on it simply to keep playing with it. In the world of hobbies that is cheap. I know to a teenager it could sound expensive. Even to a college kid a $100 can be a lot. But in reality, it's not. I guarantee just about any working adults budget could be changed for a month to come up with the (technically) $120 USD (not $100 as I mentioned).

I also am in school for CIS and information systems. I have a solid programming foundation. I was amazed to how easy C2 is to use. It simply makes sense. Anyone coming to C2 with an okay foundation in computer science knowledge will pick up C2 insanely fast. The barrier for entry is so low though, and the UI is so well done, that it is deceptively easy to use. I do agree that the games I see being put out barely scratch what C2 is capable of doing. I believe it could do so much more. I also think it might be attracting some of the wrong crowd though because of the low barrier.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not knocking anyone using C2 at any skill level. In fact, I would encourage people to play with it. It's an amazing tool to learn the logic side of computer science. (I'd say better than Scratch and even Basic or Python as taught in courses). I think users are slightly deceived because of how damn well done the UI is designed. It really is a sexy piece of design. Users HAVE to approach C2 with a sort of programming mind set. All the better if it's a bit OOP in nature (using various event sheets and groups properly for pseudo inheritance and class principals).

In fact, the only direct 'coding' crossover event system I've seen missing (and I'm aiming this @Ashley here) is the ability to do and/or blocks in the event system. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I've found it's one or the other which kind of impedes on some logic.

I do think, going back to my points above, that a personal file repository on Scirra for others to upload and use CapX, assets, and such would be awesome. In fact, if people are interested in the idea, I don't mind cobbling together something on a paid hosting somewhere for C2 users. I would even be happy to invite @Ashley and Tom to be admins, if for nothing else to alleviate some of their workload until they can implement something official into C2 and give the community a good stop gap for right now. I'd want to see interest though before investing the time.

Anyway, sorry for the book. If you've made it to here than you have an amazing attention span!

Please use @mepis to respond to me. I have a bad habit of missing replies otherwise.
Kurieus
Come visit and play Blast Box!
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Post » Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:36 am

@mepis
I disagree with the target level and the price. I think it's a great target and price. I think though the potential is not leveraged enough. An asset store for free and cost items would do wonders for Scirra team.

Also some one tried to make a repository before. But unfortuantly it's not adopted enough. Mainly due to Excal's point. Dev/users just don't use much outside of the IDE. The access isn't convient enough or there is a mental block to using them. the asset store needs to be integrated to the IDE. but it's awefully nice of you to consider.

Maybe offer a code build that can be integrated into C2.
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Post » Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:36 am

@mepis those were some greatly detailed and well-put thoughts. I've read through all the posts here and definitely I've come across what seems to be some common opinions I share:

The asset store. First off, the format and design itself is different from every other page. Second, the only assets available are sound assets, a little-known manual on isometric pixel art, and a whole one game.

There is so much potential for user-submitted projects and assets there.

[QUOTE=russpuppy] 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.[/QUOTE] There are so many clashing designs on OGA it's difficult to find any art styles that work together bar the minimalist platform tilesets and 16x16/32x32 [J]RPG tilesets. Without those it's a free-for-all (@sqiddster put it pretty well into perspective). This is something the asset store could take care of. It wouldn't be perfect, but take Enterbrain's RPG Maker store as an example. They've been accumulating user-created content and many amazing collections of art ever since they began an incredibly community-based approach to their software.

In the case of team projects, I do fall into a similar category. There's just not much drive for me to want to work with others on a C2 project, unless, of course, I know them (hence Global Game Jam with my college game design club buddies). But otherwise I'm always hesitant of joining community efforts unless there's more personal interaction beforehand. Part of that stems from just being unsure if I know enough about C2 since some of the projects I see here are just astounding, while others, I admit, color me unimpressed.


Finally:
[QUOTE=DrewMelton] @jayderyu I would lose 9/10 posts I make on this forum if I didn't copy first and get ready to paste. I've never seen a forum so picky...[/QUOTE]About 80% of the posts I attempt to make suffer from the odd timeout.
DatapawWolf2013-12-10 05:39:08
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Post » Tue Dec 10, 2013 6:21 am

@jayderyu - Yeah definitely convenience is a huge deal, every single click you can reduce is a big deal when it comes to getting people to learn tools. But it's just not something that's missing from C2 and is not difficult to use. The main problem is no-one taking advantage of it, which stems a lot from it seeming like a lot of work. I worked with Excal a few times earlier on doing the 'copy your work over' approach and it was hell. It was just never made obvious how easy an SVN is to set-up, and when you look for collab solutions on the forums, you mainly find 'CANNOT DO! NOT FOR TEAMS! PREPARE FOR HELL!', instead of a whole bunch of 'oh just do this'.
So, I think instead of adding features it's far more efficient for Scirra to shove what's available in people's faces. I mean come on, look at the insane amount of effort people go to to try to get their games working on mobile, and then those same people think an SVN is too hard.

@Excal - I think the 'help me make my game' is a legitimate way to go, but only if you have enough experience. As you said, when you team up you feel you're all dragging in different directions, which is not a good way to go! So from the start it should be understood who is the designer, and that person should set out the systems for the rest to work off. Sure, the others should give their ideas and try to put as much of themselves into the game as possible, but the lead really needs to be able to say 'sorry, but that's not the direction of the game.'. This is the best thing for the game and those trying to learn.

Also different specialities are a must - I love making experience systems and in-depth damage systems, but as soon as it needs to be represented on screen productivity grinds to a halt. Whereas there are many people who only want to lay down images on screen and have them work. Of course it helps if everyone understands how and why other things are done, but specialisation streamlines production in a big way.

I do think it would rock the house if there was a 'module capx' section of sorts. I've learnt so much from people posting answers to their own questions when they find them, but you need to ask some specific questions in searches to come across these gems. I made this system for example, that lets you easily manipulate arrays and would love to get some feedback on it, but I don't really know where to post it and don't see many getting use from it after a day or two when it sinks in the forums. I've already expanded it to have many more applications (like pushing on axis even when duplicates, acquiring indexes of Y, etc.), and it only requires you to have functions and a family, nothing more. And the thing is, even though it's great for me, I have no idea if something similar is out there or where to find it if it is. For all I know I've just wasted a heap of time on an inferior version of something someone made months ago.

And actually I believe modularity, as totally fantastic as it would be, is easily second to multiplayer. Everyone wants to make multiplayer games, and currently they can't. Not many people want to collaborate, but they can. So modularity is clearly a second place here, although a massively important second place.

But whatever the case or viewpoint on all of the above, this is definitely a conversation that needs to appear more often with C2 :)
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