So, here we are, a year to the day since we launched Construct 3 in public beta. A lot has changed since our inaugural public build, r12. Construct 3 has had around 27 years accumulated usage from around 240,000 unique users and has been used in 210 countries!
We’ve now got our own build service to allow users to build APKs and Xcode files to make Android and iOS apps. The editor is now available in five languages, with another 12 translations in progress. You can now build games for Xbox One, Facebook Instant Games, and the mobile gaming app GAMEE. In fact, if you look at the Construct 3 releases page, we’ve made over 400 updates to the editor, and that’s not including the bug fixes - that’s more than one for every day of the year! We are all really proud of everything we’ve achieved this past year.
So to mark this occasion, each member of the team has written a little something about what they’ve been up to over the last 365 days!
It’s been probably the busiest year ever in the history of Scirra! Firstly I think it’s worth reflecting on the huge technical accomplishment of getting our software running entirely in the browser, with very few downsides and some huge upsides. Construct 3 now runs across all major operating systems, even including Linux, Chrome OS, Android, iOS and even on single-board computers like the Tinker Board! We also now support all major browsers. We’ve always believed in web technology, and I think this is a strong sign of the direction things are going in. Google’s support of PWAs (Progressive Web Applications) puts a lot of weight behind this.
I’ve been doing a ton of work on things like the new manual content, new tutorials, co-ordinating translations, working on the addon SDK and documentation, and new features like Instant Games and Xbox Live support. On top of that, we’ve received well over 1000 bug reports since launching and closed around 95% of them.
In between all that I’ve been hard at work writing an entirely new runtime for C3. It’ll be the next technological leap for Construct 3, and I can’t wait to have that done and dusted! There’s still, as ever, a lot left to do though!
Getting the new website up was a big job – it’s scalable and a bazillion times more reliable than Scirra.com. It’s working, and downtime for Construct.net has been tiny this year (in the minutes). It was a pretty huge job, and I had to learn a lot along the way but am thrilled with the results.
Creating the payments system seems on the outside a trivial task but it’s incredibly difficult work (tens of thousands of lines of code), and it also seems to be ticking on nicely!
The addon exchange was launched and is also working well. Future hope for this is that it can be integrated into the Construct 3 editor directly.
Now I’m adding the finishing touches to the new blogging system, and this year should see a lot more rapid progress on other fronts as well. We’re about to onboard a new web developer to help me develop the site, and hope this year to get a new arcade and forums out on Construct.net. The goal is to shut down scirra.com, (the sooner, the better) but there’s a lot of work to be done before we can do that and we’ll be working hard to move everything we can over so no content is lost.
I’ve probably drunk a couple of hundred cans of red bull and a few hundred cups of coffee as well, probably need to cut down a little on the former!
Wow, I can't believe it's been a year since we released C3, it's also been just over two years since I started at Scirra. To say it's been a busy year is a bit of an understatement. While I have quite a bit I could talk about I thought I'd share with you the favourite thing I've worked on this year.
My highlight has been creating the Opus decoder for the runtime. Ashley has published a few blog posts on audio formats, so I won't go into too many details on why but we chose Opus for the Construct 3 default audio format. In short, it offers great audio quality, produces small files and is completely open source. Unfortunately, there are still a few browsers out there that don't support Opus. To get around this, we decided the best way to solve this was to write an audio decoder, which would allow us to use Opus on every browser we support.
Creating an audio decoder that runs in the browser isn't something simple, but I've always appreciated a good challenge.
Initially, I decided to compile the multimedia command line tool FFMPEG to JS using Emscripten. Fast forward a few weeks, and some fixes for initial teething problems and a troubling out-of-memory bug report appeared. After some thought, I decided that I needed to dump FFMPEG. So I searched around and found no JS based projects for parsing WebM. A little troubling, but that wasn't going to stop me. I went in search of specification documents for WebM online. It took a few weeks and several iterations but I managed to produce a very lean WebM reader in JS. Next, I used Emscripten to compile the Opus decoder and plugged the 2 bits of code together. Out of interest, I compared it against the native decoder in Chrome and the decoding time was impressively close!
So that's a brief story of our audio decoder, I hope you found it an interesting look into how we develop parts of C3! This is the first time I've written anything for the Scirra blog, hopefully, I'll be able to write more in the future.
This has been a pretty great year starting with the launch of C3. Of course, I was way more comfortable before the release, with no pesky users finding problems in my otherwise brilliant designs... just kidding you guys, I love you... except when you find bugs -_-
Fortunately, none of these problems have been show-stoppers, at least on our side of the deal. I know that it can be quite distressing to be using a tool and have it suddenly blow up in your face for no apparent reason, so I would like to apologise to all for any stress caused by sudden crashes.
If you didn't know, one of the main areas that I take care of is the Animations Editor. The main goal was to make it so that C2 users would feel right at home, so I went to great lengths to make sure it would have all the features of C2's Animations Editor.
Asides from a few non-obvious oversights, I think it turned out quite nice. What I find more interesting though, is when people suggest what looks like obvious missing features. I then go look at C2 and find out these are not present there, hence why I did not copy them in the first place.
So I get to work on something new that will improve upon C2 and will make the life of someone out there a tiny bit nicer, and that is a good thing that makes me happy. :)
Speaking of new and shiny things (which we all like), for some time now, I have been working on a rather large new feature for C3. It's the support for timelines, something that has been requested for quite some time now. Hopefully, soon enough I will be able to have something that can be shown in public. The gist of it is that it will provide a nice visual interface to make animations based on time, something that at the moment can be done via events, but it can be a little bit cumbersome and difficult to change later down the line.
In the back of my head, I dread the moment of release, at which point I will be buried alive by bugs... such is life for a software developer.
So if you are looking into becoming a software developer yourself to finally bring that dream video game of yours to life, take my advice and STOP! Just stop. Instead, pick up Construct 3 and save yourself from madness, let the friendly staff at Scirra do the heavy lifting for you :P
Have a good one!
In successfully launching Construct 3, Scirra has really done something special, and the team should be very proud of what they have achieved. There is so much opportunity and potential for Construct 3 that it is quite difficult to make sure we stay focussed on the really important things, and looking forward we have some further really exciting functionality to deliver – the first of these being the new runtime.
In amongst all we have done and are doing, I am also excited about the potential for Construct 3 in Education, where we pick up where Scratch leaves off and are able to provide students with a fabulous platform for learning logic, computational and ICT skills all the way from age 8 to 18 and beyond. Our partners are also using Construct 3 as a vehicle for teaching Product Design, Product Development, Testing, Marketing and many other topics alongside Game Making and while we are, of course, a business it is great to think that we are playing our part in educating the next generations.
However, there is still one thing that is unchanged with the launch of Construct 3 – I remain the one that waters the plants!
Well, it’s certainly been an interesting year, hasn’t it? From a community point of view, we’ve collaborated with the folks over at Newgrounds and GAMEE to bring you game jams, GameAnalytics and our own Construct users to bring you guest blogs, and we’ve joined forces with Digital Schoolhouse to bring Construct 3 into schools around the UK.
I’ve met some fantastic people both within our community and in the industry, and it’s been a lot of fun. Just recently, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some inspirational teachers who are not only using Construct 3 in the classroom to teach students about game development but also supporting their students through an eSports tournament! It’s amazing what’s being done in the computing and gaming world at the moment, and I’m delighted to be a part of it.
Looking forward, I’m researching possibilities of new events both in person and online that we can run with our partners, as well as the possibility of attending events ourselves! I might even start my own blog on the site if you want to read the musings of a somewhat sarcastic community manager.
One more thing…
There’s one more little announcement for this anniversary. You know that new runtime we’ve been talking about for Construct 3? Well, we plan on having an alpha version available for testing shortly! We've just released a new stable build of Construct 3, and the next beta release will include a special setting to opt-in to testing the new runtime.
r94 Release Notes
This has been a huge project and will take some time to mature still, so this initial phase of testing should be considered alpha quality. However it’s part of our release early, release often philosophy, and we want to get this exciting new technology into your hands sooner rather than later! Stay tuned –this beta release should be no more than a couple of weeks away.
Well, that’s about it from us. As we’ve said, we’re all really proud of what we’ve achieved, and we really think that Construct 3 is a fantastic product. We can’t wait to see what you get up to with the new runtime, and we hope you’re as impressed with it as we are.
So how about we do this again next year? There are tonnes of new features we are working on and want to implement in Construct 3, so there’s undoubtedly going to be plenty to talk about.