Happy new year everyone! We're already a little way in to 2021, but it's good to take the time to look back and see what we achieved through 2020.
There's also our previous review of 2019 if you want to go further back, too.
This was a tumultuous year for the world with the spread of coronavirus. We were fortunate in being able to relatively easy switch to working from home without too much disruption. We've been working from home since March last year and continue to do so. Hopefully some time this year we'll get back to the office again!
Through 2020 we released an impressive 65 releases of Construct 3 - just over one a week - from r181 to r229. As ever you can find all the details on the releases page, but here are some of the highlights!
Long one of the most highly-requested features, last year we added comprehensive support for scene graphs in Construct 3, also referred to as hierarchies. It allows multiple objects to be connected together so they move, rotate and scale as if they were one large object. You can see an example of this in the skeleton hierarchy example - each part of the skeleton is a separate sprite, which are all connected together to act as one.
These hierarchies can be controlled at runtime, but there are also editor tools to connect objects together so you can set up your hierarchies in the Layout View.
In the latest beta releases, there's also a new option to create entire hierarchies at runtime, allowing you to easily spawn an entire set of pre-connected objects. This will be available in the next stable release early this year!
A very cool new graphics capability is mesh distortion, which can split an object in to a grid of points, and each point moved individually to deform the appearance of the object. Check out the mesh distortion example to try it out yourself!
The mesh can dynamically change at runtime. It also alters the collision of the object - meaning you can use it for things like fluid platforms for the Platform behavior to run along!
In the latest beta releases, there's also the ability to create and edit meshes in the Layout View, allowing you to easily design levels using this feature. This will be available in the next stable release early this year!
Local file & folder saves
After a long period as an experimental feature, we finally shipped the ability to use local file & folder saves in Chrome this year. This makes it much more convenient to work with project files on disk, and the new folder-based projects are good for large projects and collaboration with source control. You can read more about it in our previous blog post Local file & folder saves now available.
Plugin and behavior updates
Through last year we made some significant updates to the built-in plugins and behaviors in Construct, including some new plugins:
- We added a new Date plugin for managing dates and times
- We also added a new SVG Picture plugin to allow basic use of SVG images
- We overhauled the Pin behavior with new options and better flexibility
- The Tween behavior got new options like scale, loop and ping-pong
- Wake locks are now supported in the Platform Info object
- New wrap modes were added for Tiled Background
We added absolutely loads of new things last year, and on top of that there was a mountain of bug fixes, changes, optimisations and other improvements which we couldn't possibly all list here. But here's just a selection of the other improvements we made:
- A new guided tour to help beginners get started
- Support for building Android App Bundles (AAB)
- Nested timelines
- Auto-tiling for tilemaps
- Use shared folders in Cloud Save with Google Drive and OneDrive
- Cut/copy/paste in the Project Bar
- Requesting mobile app ratings
- Family folders
- A new storage cleanup dialog
- Asynchronous functions, which can be waited on with Wait for previous actions to complete
- Improved PNG compression on export, including losslessly palette reducing 32-bit PNGs to smaller 8-bit PNGs
- Worker mode was enabled by default, hosting the runtime off the main thread to avoid the browser janking it
- Faster remote previews
- Autocomplete for string global/local/instance variables and function parameters
- Improvements to splash screen support on mobile
- New Swedish, Ukrainian and Chinese (simplified) translations for the editor, making for a total of 11 languages you can use the editor in! We also have a German translation completed and currently under review. Thanks to all our contributors who've helped translate Construct!
A significant milestone last year was reaching 200 releases of Construct 3!
Our work towards making Construct work great in education continued, and this also included providing some new education materials for free on our website. You can find these on our Construct education resources page.
We also started experimenting with WebGPU support in Construct 3. You can learn more about this in the two blog posts A brief history of graphics on the web and WebGPU, and From WebGL to WebGPU in Construct. This is still experimental and not yet available, but there may be more news about it later in 2021.
Laura also gave Construct 3 a spin on the new Raspberry Pi 400 with good results! It's exciting that you can use Construct on this kind of low-cost device, as well as for playing Construct games.
Laura's also been busy doing intriguing interviews with Construct developers, finding out more about their stories and what they've been working on. Several of these have been posted now, and you can find them in this list of blog posts with the developer-diaries tag. There are still more to come and indeed there was just another one yesterday!
Finally almost a year ago now we announced that we were sunsetting Construct 2, which will be 10 years old in February - an age in the software world. Construct 2 will be fully retired in July this year, so make sure you upgrade to Construct 3 before then if you're still using it.
More to come!
After a productive year and a well-deserved break over the winter holiday period, we're back to full steam ahead. We have plenty of exciting things in the pipeline and we're looking forwards to making Construct even better through 2021!