Timeframe for EXE exporter?

Discussion and feedback on Construct 2

Post » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:32 pm

[QUOTE=Ashley] ...
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- but we can't do everything at once,
...[/QUOTE]

It's good you guys recognize this -- that you currently have a finite amount of time and energy.

This also tells me that C2 is not going to be a half-baked app. I like the current focus and have never liked the idea of companies sitting on the fence about this stuff. If you sit on the fence, you get shot at both sides. Keep your focus on HTML5. Keep calm and carry on.

...sip...
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Post » Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:57 pm

@Kyatric, The Runtime you link to is part of what i call the "Plugin SDK" and i guess "Runtime SDK" is what is being called "EDK" but i did not know what you guys were calling it. So yeah i am talking about the Exporter Development Kit (EDK) yes, i figured you/other people would have understood that from my first post so i am sorry if i caused confusion.

@Ashley, I fully understand about the time issues but reading some of the comments makes it seem almosty like after having worked on Classic you never want to work with the EXE/native format again.

As for your points against a EXE runtime/exporter you make some good points however a lot of it seems like frustrations maybe from previous experience developing Classic, i really can't comment on that but as for EXE as a format however here would be my own opinions on it.

1) I really don't see people being limited to either windows, mac or possibly linux as a problem. Only untill very recently these were probably the only options people had available anyway.

Also what about Classic which is EXE with DirectX so probably windows only without tools? Why make anything other than a program that exports to all formats if multi-format export is so important. A lot of mobile devices also don't have anywhere near the power of native platforms and you also need to think about things like file size and optimizations a lot more so you have added limitations developing for some mobile platforms currently.

2) That's just down to the people that make the game/program though and OS's now have better security so it's all down to if people are ok running the EXE. Classic could have been a virus but it's not as far as i know yet many people were more than happy run that on their computers.

3) True for many points but as for not being able to port games you could have the argument the other way around and say that some people could not export EXE games to HTML5 because they don't have whatever plugin. Still at the same time there is many plugins available for Classic by 3rd party devs.

Also by saying "a constant thorn in our side. We want to avoid this situation at all costs." you make it sound like there won't be other runtimes than javascript because as far as i know just like EXE's many runtimes would need to use there own programming languages anyway and not be able to base everything on Javascript. The fact that there is technology's like Phonegap is lucky for the HTML5 runtime also because otherwise many of the current mobile phone/tablet export formats would not even be possible.

4) This is perfectly understandable. As i said before it would be great to think that much later into the future a EXE exporter might happen, but replying to your points i don't really see it happening in any other form than a wrapper for HTML5.

As for EXE advantages as well as the point you already made a few others are:

1) One thing i notice people choosing HTML5 over flash saying as a negative point against flash is that it needs a plugin to run, i don't see that as a good point myself, both need a browser to run. With EXE's however you don't need to run them within a browser. Another advantage for EXE is also that it's easy to give them shortcuts making them even quicker and really simple for people to run.

2) With EXE's for games in general the file size is not much of a problem. With web games such as HTML5 you need to make sure they are within a certain size range otherwise some people won't even bother to run them, this is also true for flash games. With web games you would also need web hosting or something like dropbox so people can play them but these have limitations like bandwidth, while costs are generally low this is a additional concern that you don't have with EXE's.

3) To take advantage of HTML5 you really need WebGL right now, you will not only need a compatible graphics card but to update the browser also. A while back there was also talk of security issues with WebGL, to avoid things like that and get speed improvements and visual error fixes etc if they happen you need browser and graphics card updates which makes it a similar process to EXE anyway.

4) EXE's are more secure and often compact, with HTML5 they are more visible and open hence the need for obfuscation etc. Sure you can say that you can rip things out of exe which is true but EXE is much nicer as default and also standalone so they don't need to be run from within a browser.

5) With Classic you are not just limited to games, that's true for HTML5 also but with EXE Classic has shown it's nice for making apps also. I think there has already been a few made with Classic and one good advantage that goes along with this is the fact that EXE is good at linking to the OS for system tasks. Javascript can also for some things and you could make web apps however you are mostly limited to the browser as it acts more like a sandbox. So maybe less of a point than the others but definitely still worth making because EXE is much better for system tasks.

"Adobe have ditched Flash for mobile, and is rapidly being replaced by HTML5 on the web anyway, so I see no reason to develop for it at all."

I would have said it's more like they wanted AIR to be the main adobe platform because it's much better suited for it. Also they will still be updating the flash player just not in a major way. Flash remains very strong on the PC platform though and will for a long time, with Stage3D it's now very powerful.

As i said before Flash/Flex could have been a good platform for Scirra to offer and would be good with plugins also but it's clear like EXE this probably won't happen.

While i don't really agree with your thoughts about EXE or flash i would like to say thanks for at least taking the time to respond back to me as i know you are very busy. Also putting opinions on exporters aside though i think you have done a great job Construct 2 for HTML5 so far so also thanks for a great program.
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Post » Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:49 pm

I can sympathize with the desire to want the days of desktops and executable games to linger. I too find it difficult to understand how gaming has changed so much in only a few years. The reality is we are moving away from powerful, full tower desktops towards terminals whose only purpose is to connect to a server.

Ive thought on many occasions that if the EDK were available I would write an Android exporter and sell it. However, I doubt anyone would buy. HTML5, especially with WebGL, will run very fast on mobile devices - if not today, someday very soon. Who would pay for it when they can just use the included HTML5 exporter for free? It isnt worth my time or Ashleys time to write an exporter.

C2 is being built on a gamble: that HTML5 and WebGL are the future. Early adopters are sharing in that gamble. If you cant see a day when web technologies will dominate or at least be an important part of the gaming industry, then C2 is not a good choice.

Lastly, if you truly need so much power that you must target the CPU and GPU directly, learning C or C++ and OpenGL or DirectX is really your only option. However, I cant even imagine a 2D game that needs that much power. All of my favourite 2D games ran on the SNES with its beefy 21.5 MHz CPU.
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Post » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:21 pm

@FireLight, I think you read too much in to my post. I didn't have too much frustration with developing the Classic runtime - I think we actually did a really good job. I think I'm actually more aware than most of what EXEs do well and badly against HTML5. HTML5 wins easily though. I disagree with all your additional EXE advantages you put as well:
1) HTML5 only needs time to replace Flash, and it will. So supporting Flash is supporting a sinking ship. Also, a URL is a better shortcut to a game than anything else!
2) If a user won't download a 10mb HTML5 game, I doubt they'll download a 10mb EXE either. And if you don't have hosting for a HTML5 game, where will you host your EXE?
3) You're wrong, HTML5 games work fine without WebGL - they just fall back to the slightly slower Canvas 2D renderer. So WebGL is nice to have but not strictly necessary. Also, Microsoft just added identical features to WebGL in Silverlight 5, so I think they were just making up those security scares to give WebGL a bad name... total propaganda.
4) Construct 2 obfuscates games by default on export.
5) You can also make apps in Construct 2 - we just haven't got all the features Classic has, for the same reason as before. HTML5 is also still in development itself, and it is being designed to get better at system tasks too. For example, there's a whole file system API in the works for HTML5, and it's all done more securely than EXEs.

And of course we don't have time right now anyway :)

Maybe it's my turn to read too much in to your post, but you seem to think running a game in a browser is a disadvantage. I think it's an advantage. It makes it way easier to get to the game. The more hurdles you put in the way of the user and the game, the fewer people will play it - you'll lose players at every hurdle. Compare:
HTML5 game: visit webpage -> now playing game
EXE game: visit webpage -> manually download EXE -> manually launch EXE -> browser security prompt -> operating system security prompt -> won't run if not on supported OS -> now playing game
For this reason I think it is better to have apps run in the browser than as downloads. I think it's old fashioned to have to go and download a separate app and run it for a specific OS. Games and apps of the future will run in a browser, and that's a good thing - they'll be accessible to far more people, and a lot more people will actually bother to run them. I think the technology makes EXEs almost completely redundant, except where extreme performance is necessary, which is still the only advantage I'm persuaded of for EXE games.
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Post » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:36 pm

Bastion was released on the Google Chrome store :) Jus sayin'... good example of a great game being played on a browser. No idea if it's HTML5 or not, but it does show how far browser gaming has come.

Anyway, back to my hidey-hole...
@bearboxmedia
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Post » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:51 pm

[QUOTE=AnD4D] Bastion was released on the Google Chrome store :) Jus sayin'... good example of a great game being played on a browser. No idea if it's HTML5 or not, but it does show how far browser gaming has come.

Anyway, back to my hidey-hole...[/QUOTE]

This. Bastion actually runs on NaCL (Native Client), google native run time for Chrome. I think that the best way to get an EXE exporter would be NaCL. But that would involve: Rewrite the entire runtime in a language that NaCL supports (currently C++ and C, more to come like C#). Then from this code base make exe exporter and NaCL exporter that would run on the browser. The problem is that currently only chrome supports it. The advantage would be : One code, like C++ , run on NaCL and every place that supports C++, that is everywhere. My hope of this technology is that: It get's universally supported on all browsers ,and gets support for C# because i hate C++. But this may take time. So the result is: Exe exporter won't be coming anytime soon most likely.Kiyoshi2011-12-13 23:52:45
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Post » Wed Dec 14, 2011 4:49 am

[QUOTE=Kiyoshi]Exe exporter won't be coming anytime soon most likely.[/QUOTE]

Yeah, the more I read this thread, the more convinced of this I become. Or possibly, it will never come from Scirra, but from some developer who wants it done, which, would be pretty rare to be completely frank, however if it was a paid effort I wonder. It is pretty futile to keep on arguing on which is the better platform, as nobody is going to change anybody's mind about it. Although, why make C2 flexible with other platforms if the developers hate anything not HTML5?

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Post » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:46 am

The biggest disadvantage, in my opinion, that browser based games have when compared to exe's is that they are bound to the browser, and the browsers functionality comes first. This means making a game that uses the mouse, arrow keys, space, or any other key the browser uses, will be awkward.

If you use the arrow keys then you can scroll the page unintentionally (which happens for me since c2 apparently exports a really large page for some reason. I've resorted to using the numpad for now), same thing with space. With the mouse if you click and hold you're essentially selecting stuff on the page, and if you then drag too far the screen will scroll.

Now, when I preview a project, the game is centered on the page with a border and black background and I don't get these problems, but when I've exported the thing and run it from the net I get the white backdrop and the problems I listed are present. I'm not sure why the preview and exported pages are different. Especially when the preview page is 'better'. The keyboard issues don't seem to be present on the arcade though, but if I click and drag the screen scrolls.

I dl'ed the Bastion trial from the Chrome store. Pretty nifty. but I'd rather get it from Steam, because the Chrome App runs at a set resolution and there's no settings at all apart from controls and subtitles.
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Post » Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:50 pm

Yeah there's some annoying problems with input. First, you keep selecting things outside the game and loosing focus. If you're , say, pressing a button and you character is walking , if this 'unfocus' occurs the button up event never occurs so your character keeps walking and walking forever even if you released the button. Other problem: Key or mouse events sometimes doesn't register mainly if you're pressing too many buttons at the same time. This is most likely a browser problem. The truth is that HTML5 tech is not completely ready yet for more complex games. There's canvas there's webgl, but that supplies only the rendering part. So, C2 is evolving very fast but browser techs are not keeping up. I hope this changes soon.Kiyoshi2011-12-14 12:55:17
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Post » Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:52 pm

[QUOTE=VampyricalCurse] [QUOTE=Kiyoshi]Exe exporter won't be coming anytime soon most likely.[/QUOTE]

Yeah, the more I read this thread, the more convinced of this I become. Or possibly, it will never come from Scirra, but from some developer who wants it done[/QUOTE]

Yeah same here, i doubt it will happen anytime soon but i guess if the EDK was made available there would then be more chance of it happening.

I am wondering why Construct 2 runs as EXE though which is apparently a redundant format. I quite liked it that way and the fact you could use it as a offline standalone, but with all of HTML5's benefits over EXE then C2 might be going fully browser based in the future by the sound of things.
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