Leaving C2 for awhile. My opinions and thoughts.

Discussion and feedback on Construct 2

Post » Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:06 am

I'm a bit late to the party but I'll add in my 2c anyway:

SVN terrifies me, it seems clunky and awkward. If it's the industry standard then that's fine, but C2 (and its users) is hardly reflective of the industry as a whole. We're a different sort and we use this software because of that. Something like SVN is way out of the league of most C2 users (myself for sure, and a few others I've spoken to on the topic, at least).

Construct has a reputation for rapid updates, which is great, but by that reputation those updates focus on "cool new stuff" instead of improving the core of the software. I love getting new toys to play with almost every beta update, but I'd much rather go for months if I knew that something as substantially important as modularity would be on the other side of that wait - or longer, whatever.

The voting for new features is always going to be skewed because new users want sexy new features and veterans want improvements to the core application, solid exporters and general stability.

It cannot be stated enough how important modularity (and an asset store) is to the future of Construct.
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Post » Sun Jan 05, 2014 4:09 am

1) The original poster made well thought out and valid comments. Composable modularity is extremely import and leads to many other side benefits... for example Scirra would do well looking into a company called Propellerhead that makes music software called Reason and the Rack Extensions store they made about a year and a half ago... it really helped them make a lot more money because it encouraged REAL developers to get involved (to make money themselves) and it greatly expanded the power of the entire system.

2) The Scirra people have done a really good job building this development environment. Companies such as Microsoft (and many others) have been trying to reduce the cost to develop software for decades and I have never seen anyone come as close as C2.

3) I have been coding for over 30 years (Basic, Assembly, C++, VB, C#, SQL, JavaScript, others)

I took a few weeks vacation during December 2013 and bought C2 so I could take another shot at my childhood dream (making games) that I gave up once I became a young father many years ago. I have been sitting here everyday as if I was going to work (seven days a week and 9AM-11PM)during this vacation.

So I do not have near the experience with it most of you have, but I have crammed in quite a bit and it is fresh on my mind.

I will say that I can certainly do just about everything that would be expected from a logic perspective in software without having to resort to JavaScript plugins. That was my #1 concern with C2. I figured they had dumbed it down so much to make it easy enough for beginners that advanced developers would be hindered.

Even though I can code in my sleep I still bought C2 because I wanted to get something real done without having to dedicate years to it. By time I get home from work my mind is already tired. After these three weeks I can hardly believe how much of a complete "game" I have done as far as functionality goes.

I spent almost all of my time figuring out how to make my functions and events generic so they are reusable. 99% of this code now can be used for making many different types of games. I am making extensive use of the Family feature and Functions. I also have several arrays for storing all the metadata driving this code (this allows me to customize the code into a specific type of game just by changing the data in the arrays).

What C2 does NOT give you and neither does Unity or anything else is a replacement for experience in abstract thinking and problem solving.

I have read several posts in the forums where people were asking questions that made it seem like they did not even try to figure out how to use the tools at hand to solve a problem. It was as if they thought they could click, click, click, click ,drag drop, click, click, click, and then have Metroid or Castlevania.

The original poster sounded like a pretty smart guy to me, but I bet he just does not have the coding experience to see how Families can be used like Class inheritance and Interfaces. How to abstract out all the logic into data driven functions... and is hoping that using Unity will somehow make his efforts pay off since it is paying off for so many others... and in a sense it will because doing REAL coding will teach him abstract thinking and problem solving... how to effectively use data driven systems instead of hard coding logic... how to use Families to create libraries of reusable Functions.

Everyone using C2 would do themselves a favor learning how to code JavaScript not INSTEAD Of using C2, but to give themselves better insight into what C2 actually is doing for them and how to use it more effectively... and to see how much time C2 is really saving them.

Ultimately C2 might not be the right tool for all situations (3D and maybe publishing to XBOX One for example)... however from my meager experience so far the limiting factor seems to be more on the users end (expecting magic and very little effort instead of a tool and hard work).
ggibson12014-01-05 04:24:50
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Post » Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:05 am

@ggibson,

perhaps sir, not well received by all, but nonetheless...well said.
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Post » Sun Jan 05, 2014 9:30 am

Yep well said :) Keep up the input :) everyone can learn from everynoe else :)
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Post » Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:36 pm

Hi @ggibson1

Thank you for what you said. IMHO it is not often that people with very solid programming experience share on this forum their detailed opinions in such depth, and I was so glad to read about your approach to "code" everything in C2 in a reusable way.

I am not a programmer by education, but I have 15+ years experience of coding - on and off: Delphi,Python,JS,PHP etc - enough to appreciate and exploit OOP. During that time, I worked with many "real" programmers, and discovered that compared to most of them, I hate to reinvent the wheel from scratch, if it can be avoided. Hardcore programmers often seem to have this approach - if it can be coded, I'll code it - who cares it will take me 10x longer than if I found an opensource block/module that does the job ;-)

I love C2 exactly because it does just that: has got all the standard building blocks already prepared, while staying flexible enough to enable pseudo-OO work - as you said, with families and functions, one can do a very reusable "code".

The only thing that I wish C2 could allow for is creation of an object by name (or at least by UID). This is the same reason why I never use booleans - they require "pick-me-by-mouse-click" approach - so it's much easier for me to code something like "boolvar=1-boolvar" to flip it.

Now I will come with a suggestion that might put me in flames by other forum users, but nevertheless I will say it, as I can see it in my (and possibly others) interest:

Can we get @Ashley to determine how much, in terms of the cost of the software, would it be for Scirra to employ one more programmer, to speed up the (already extremely fast) development of C2?

I mean, if Ashley told the paid license holders "you need to pay a yearly fee of 20 or 30 for the personal license upgrades", but this would allow Scirra to employ additional programmer (s) - how many of you would say "we'll be more than happy to do it"? I would.

I wonder how others see it?

Greg

P.S. Forums session timeout would be a nice fix indeed ;-)
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Post » Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:45 pm

[quote]I mean, if Ashley told the paid license holders "you need to pay a yearly fee of 20 or 30 for the personal license upgrades", but this would allow Scirra to employ additional programmer (s) - how many of you would say "we'll be more than happy to do it"? I would.[/quote]

I might. But overall I think it would hurt revenue more than it would help. Just a gut feeling. Lots of hobbyists that are attracted to C2 as-is would run away.
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Post » Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:08 pm

Hi @ErekT

Indeed, this might be the case.

Now that I think about it, I own FLStudio as a simple beat making tool, exaclty because of their "free lifetime upgrades" policy.

But then, there are so many other options here - like having more paid versions. I mean, it's probably possible to calculate - e.g wait a year from now to get the modularity for free, or pay extra $ (not big, I would hope) and get the functionality in 3 or 5 months.

Look at how Unity does this - they have a very capable free version, and are moving modules from the paid to the free version (like mobile deployment), but there is, if I recall correctly 100+ team behind the development.

Or, let me rephrase the question: is it possible to turn C2 into a more mainstream tool just by getting more "serious" users/teams of users to make games with it, or maybe this requires changes on both ends of the stick? ;-)

Cheers,
Greg
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Post » Sun Jan 05, 2014 4:57 pm

If C2 had an "Extensions Store" then it would happen automatically via simple capitalism. Just like with FLStudio you can go buy a VST plugin (or download a free one) right now correct? That would add an all new synth sound or drum compression or whatever right? Well that required a software developer to make that... and FLStudio didn't have to pay them anything. The VST plugin system allows developers to make money selling them so developers on their own make them.

You can make plugins right now for C2, but there is no marketplace to make it easy to buy/sell and know that the items in the store has been vetted by Scirra to be of a certain level of quality.

I have seen some plugins from the RexRainbow plugin / behavior developer I would have paid money for... how many developers would be building things for C2 if they knew there was potential money to be made? And that library of high quality items would attract more game makers willing to spend money because they are intending to make money.

Scirra can sell their base product super cheap for the hobby game builders like they do today AND make money from a store for people who are wanting to go beyond the hobby phase.ggibson12014-01-05 16:59:46
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Post » Sun Jan 05, 2014 5:17 pm

For the "more programmers" question, Scirra has been looking for one more dev to hire in UK for more than 6 months now, and last I heard they still hadn't found someone that would fit the job/requisites.
About Scirra Careers link at the bottom of your screen

For the "change the license fee", the question already rose several times in the past and every time Scirra responded by telling they had no plan on changing their policy on that point.
And I still think it's a smart move putting them far above their competition on that specific aspect, C2 is so cheap it's almost a steal.

For the "serious users", C2 is almost 3 years old, we should start to see some of those "serious projects" pop up during 2014.

For the store/assets/plugins, it's in their bags as well and has been discussed in the past too.
One improvement will come from the new arcade that should support third-part plugins/behaviors and should have some "linkage" with the store as well.
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Post » Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:59 pm

Kyatric answered all the questions pretty well.

Personally I don't like subscription fee's. I dropped MMO's for Guild Wars 2 and won't go back. I especially don't like subscription fee's for tools. I won't ever pay Unity's subscription model. But that's me. I'm sure some will be fine by it. The idea of a smaller more bite sized price is easier to swallow. But I'm the opposite I like to examine the long term costs and if I can pay a higher now price to not pay more later I will. If I don't have a choice then I just won't.

I've been heralding the extension/asset store integrated into IDE for a while now. I'm the stance that it will jump the quality, developers and popularity for all of C2. Until then It's mostly a small game toolkit. Though I agree that some developers will prove that C2 has merit. Unity was the same way for a while. Unity needed a couple of solid games before the toolset was deemed viable for full comercial production. C2 will get there.
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