The Event Sheet is the core of Construct. It is one of the key things that distinguishes Construct from other tools, and many spend the majority of their time working with events. So what's new with the Event Sheet view in Construct 3? We've made a number of improvements.
We did show this previously, but here's a closer look at the refreshed event design. The corners are rounded off for an easier-on-the-eyes look, and comments fit to the top of events giving them a joined-on appearance.
There's also a new Add... menu on the right side of the Add action row. This opens a menu that makes it quick to add something to the event other than just a new action.
A similar thing appears at the end of event groups. These now have a footer that lets you easily add a new event to the end of the group, or add something else with the menu on the right. These also serve as a reminder as to which group you've reached the end of, since they include the group name. So for very long groups, this can help you remember where you are in the event sheet.
Construct 3 also improves the readability of expressions in the Event Sheet View. Many users spend a lot of time looking through the existing events, so when displayed in the event sheet, Construct 3 transforms some common expressions in to more readable forms. For example if an expression is set to 2 * pi / 3, the event sheet displays it as 2 × π ÷ 3 — a more readable and accurate form of the expression. The system expressions sqrt and infinity are also transformed to their mathematical symbols √ and ∞. Expressions are still edited in their original form (as 2 * pi / 3) since they have to use characters you can type on your keyboard, but once in the event sheet, they switch to the correct mathematical symbols.
There's also a new print view to make it easy to print a whole event sheet without any of the user interface around it. This could be particularly useful for teachers who need to print lesson materials.
Remember in Construct 3, the Event Sheet View can now also collapse down to a vertical view on small screens. This is useful on mobile devices like phones.
New customisation features
Construct 3 also has a couple of new features to help you personalise and customise your events. You can now choose a custom background and text colors for groups and comments.
You can also use a simple form of BBCode formatting in comments, groups and variable descriptions. This allows you to use tags like [ b ] for bold, [ s ] for <s>strikethrough</s> and headers like [ h3 ] to help format your event sheet. Here's an example of how it can be used.
Improved condition/action picker
The dialog for picking a condition or action from an object has seen some improvements. Here's what it looks like in Construct 3.
Some of the improvements in this dialog include:
- The most commonly used conditions or actions are highlighted to make them quicker to pick out in the list — such as Create object, Every tick, On start of layout and so on. This includes common conditions and actions in other plugins (like Set text in the Text object).
- More varied icons are used, such as the layer icon for layer-related conditions/actions, a timer icon for time-related conditions/actions, and so on. Third-party plugins can also set custom icons for each individual condition and action.
- Some of the categories have been reorganised to make them clearer, such as having two separate categories for Layout and Layer related conditions and actions in the System object.
- There's an additional back button in the caption (in the top-left corner) to make it quicker to move around the event dialogs.
- The dialog is now better at remembering previous selections, to make it easier to navigate backwards and forwards.
- The search has been improved to allow returning results with matches from additional places like the description text.
- The dialog now uses a fluid design to ensure the full description or item text can be displayed, even if it is longer than usual.
Improved Parameters dialog
Like the condition/action picker, the Parameters dialog is another important part of the event editing interface. Here are some of the improvements we've made in Construct 3. First of all the syntax highlighting has been improved to color more types of expressions, such as system expressions and behavior expressions.
If there are a lot of parameters, such as with the Function object, the dialog now uses scrolling rather than simply getting taller.
Autocomplete can now also appear while editing half-way through an expression. This makes it much quicker to correct or change expressions.
Construct 2 had a very basic call tips feature which could help remind you which parameters an expression needs for certain system expressions. In Construct 3 we've improved this feature to reliably cover all system, plugin and behavior expressions with parameters, providing a useful reminder as to what you need to enter next.
The scrolling of the event sheet is smoother in Construct 3, making it easier to follow your location while scrolling.
We're happy to say that (at last) you can use boolean global and local variables in the event sheet.
You can also copy events as text which makes it quick to send a text representation of some events over email, instant messaging, on the forums and so on.
The previous example copies the following text:
+ Bullet: On collision with Monster
-> Bullet: Spawn Explosion on layer "Main" (image point 0)
-> Explosion: Set angle to random(360) degrees
-> Monster: Subtract 1 from health
-> Bullet: Destroy
-> System: Add 1 to MonsterSpeed
We think this will be especially useful on our forums.
The format cannot currently be pasted back in to Construct 3. This may be possible, but could prove difficult, given the format is designed for human readability and not computer parsing. We did investigate some formats optimised for parsing, but they weren't particularly human-readable. So we decided to just use the most readable format possible. We'll still be looking in to what can be done to allow pasting this format back in to Construct 3.
Improved search and 'Find all references'
We already blogged about this, but it's related to using event sheets. Construct 3 has much better event search and an all-new Find All References feature. So in case you missed it, take a look at our earlier blog on Finding in Construct 3 projects.
Throughout the development of Construct 3, we aimed to make improvements to every aspect of the product as we went along. The end result of this is well demonstrated by these improvements to using events. There are both significant changes and small refinements, ranging from cosmetic improvements to entirely new features. We also think many of these features will improve your workflow, with aspects like the improved autocomplete and expression call tips improving the usability of the event sheet. We hope this makes it easier and more fun to work with events, and we're looking forwards to letting you try it in the public beta!
Missed our earlier announcements? Here's a list of all the news about Construct 3 so far: