has anyone actually used this seriously?

  • stuatk

    Many Construct 2 developed games are on Steam, and one of them was even reviewed by GameInformer, the #1 video game magazine in the world.

    http://www.gameinformer.com/games/our_d ... eview.aspx

    The review was right next to the review for The Last of Us DLC, a game which won over 200 industry awards.

    Construct 2 is a serious development tool. If you're looking for a huge portfolio of popular games like GameMaker, you'll have to wait because that took many years to develop.

    Personally, Construct 2 is my favorite game development engine, and I've used many (Unreal Development Kit, Unreal Engine 4, Unity, GameMaker Studio, MMF2/2.5, Stencyl, GameSalad). It's the fastest prototyping tool around (try using it in a game jam) and the interface allows for a lot of customization. Scirra also has the best forum for a game engine I've ever used. Maybe you should try other lesser game engines to fully appreciate the capabilities of Construct 2.

  • If you have a folder-based project, you can just copy-paste directly over the files in the animation folders. Is it really that much trouble? I'm not sure I'm clear on why this is so tedious. You can do the same for audio - just copy and paste files over the ones in the project folder to replace them.

    Ashley

    Scirra could probably make a lot more money if they made a Unity Package in the Asset Store that could read in C2 projects and run them inside the Unity engine (and export to mobile with Unity).

    Basically C2 could be a super powered version of this (https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/7381)

    This way C2 can have all the advantages of Unity big team features AND still be the premiere 2D game engine (for cheap since the Unity free edition is all that would be needed for C2 integration).

    Sort of like this:

    http://www.brashmonkey.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=15670

  • Ashley , The problem with replacing animation sequences directly into the C2 created folders is that the images have all had their names replaced to a generic 000.png - xxx.png. If I have my run animation originally created as run000.png - run012.png , am I expected to export all of my new animations and images with the exact same file names sequence of 000.png - xxx.png ?

    If you don't want to change the IDE to allow external asset reference then one easy solution would be to allow a multi select of all of the animation frames, which would then allow you to delete them , and then reimport the new sequence. Currently you can only select one frame at a time to delete. Hence why I create a new animation, import the updated frames into this, delete the old one and then rename it to the original. Yes, it is as tedious at it sounds. At least implementing a multi select via a marquee select of frames would be a halfway measure.

    The problem with updating sounds in the folder is that we have to replace not only the original wav file but also the ogg and m4a files. This means to you have to use C2 to import the original wave file, but for any updated audio files, the user must manually convert to ogg and m4a to replace into the folder structure. At least the wave file has not been changed by C2 upon import.

    One possible way around this would be have the option for C2 to only do the conversion to ogg/m4a on preview/export, so only the wave file needs to be replaced. Yes this would slow down the preview process, but would be good to have as an option. Even better is have C2 only reference the audio files from a folder of my choosing, then I can replace the originals at will.

    Another issue with replacing sounds is that if I delete a sound , any actions using this sound are automatically deleted without any warning to the user! This caught me out quite a few times initially. So the workflow becomes import the updated sound (which of course gets renamed!), have it converted, changed the actions to reference the newly named sound, then delete the old ones. To compound this, since I can't multi select sounds in the project view, every single sound needs to be put into a folder so that all 3(wav,ogg, m4a) are in one folder to make it easier to delete. Yes , it is a currently a nightmare. My current C2 game is a musical one, where every sound has each 7 notes of a C major scale, so each time I need to update a sound it is quite a nightmare!

    On a related note, is the general way the C2 needs all assets within its own directory structure. If I want to iterate my project to the next version (which I tend to do several times a day), this means that all assets have come along for the ride. If the project has 250mb worth of assets, each time I save my project it is saving all the assets, where ideally all I want changed is the project file that will point at the same assets. What is I want to go back to a version of the project that I did the previous day , but with my updated assets?

    Hopefully, you can begin to see that separating project files from assets is the only way to go for a decent sized project. Sure, there is a certain elegance in having everything contained in one zipped capx. This will work fine on a crappy bird clone, but for a project with hundreds of sounds and sprites it becomes a logistic nightmare.

    While I don't have the game industry experience of stuatk , I have over a decade of experience in the broadcast animation business and have worked on many high profile jobs. All compositing and editing packages only ever reference media files for good reason. It makes it easy to update/reload files at their source and the small project file is easy tranportable.

    Just the fact that someone of stuatk's calibre is even trying out C2 is noteworthy of itself. C2 has been turning heads, mainly because of its event system which is the jewel in its crown. Since it is so good, users expect the rest of the software to be of a similar quality. Sadly the asset management, exporting problems (reliance upon 3rd party solutions) and non modularity of code are the main issues which will continue to plague the product unless they are addressed.

    Hopefully the Scirra management will take note these issues in its long term business plan, as there is now plenty of competition among engines now. Most offer a free (Unity and GMS) or very low priced(UE4) version and they don't tend to have the same issues. Although there is nothing out there that is as easy to use as C2, there are plenty of contenders such as Stencyl, GameSalad and Game Develop (which was recently open sourced and is very close to C2 in terms of workflow), who would happily eat Scirra's lunch. I would prefer to see a more pro orientated version (C3 Professional) with haxe or similar underpinnings (ala Stencyl) be developed in tandem to the current C2 which would stay as a html5 engine.

  • Thanks to everyone for their input -

    zendorf - brilliant ideas all around, it's great to have intelligent input from a developer who comes from a different background. I'm sure Scirra is considering some of the options you've mentioned - well I hope they are... I too have tried all the alternatives (gamesalad, stencyl etc) and despite constructs problems - I think it's by far the nicest to use, and is a brilliant fast creative way to work - it has immense potential.

    maybe a short term fix for lack of external asset referencing: save some data along with the sprite that contains the path and file name pointing to the original file imported. Then have a "reload from source" button, if the asset has been moved report the missing path to the user and allow them to edit it if they want. I remember the 3dsMax used this method if it couldn't find your textures.. (same for sounds) just an idea.

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  • This is exactly the stuff that I've been struggling with. I'm used to having my own folders for different quality assets for my games. I would love to be able to simply change the path and manually maintain different resolution pictures. from /hi_res to /lo_res and then export or alter the path from my games graphic options. Years ago I was using Game Maker and I wrote a script to replace all my sprites that were just blue circles with a correct picture file from a folder. It made everything easier and allowed me to load files when I wanted. I see that Construct 2 has a similar command to replace sprites, but I would like to see more than 8x8 stretched blue balls when I'm editing my levels.

    stuatk mentioned 3dsmax and it's a good example to learn from as it's well designed tool for visual work.

  • So if I understand everything correctly all we need is:

    1. Remember the original source of imported animation frames and have a "reload from source" option

    2. Make an easier way to replace existing audio files

    Does that basically cover everything?

  • Ashley : the n°1 could be an improvement upon the current system if it can be done swiftly. Some "reload all animation" button or right-click option in the anim view could be nice. This still doesn't solve the tedious work of re-importing many background elements though. Can't compare with bigger engines or ask for a complete take over the system, but I feel like a lot of time is wasted arranging, creating and reloading objects from within c2, rather than using the windows explorer directly (cf. Unity's project manager).

    To list things more clearly, I'd see some design like that:

    1- a folder structure in project mode that mimics the explorer view. Only sprites with multiple frames and/or animations are stored inside a sub-folder using their c2 name

    2- C2 automatically detects changes in the folder structure or files in the project view based on changes done from the windows explorer -> updates the files and folder structure inside the C2 editor.

    Dunno whether it's feasible, but I think it conveys the idea. Something that permits a professional artist to drag and drop his 30 background sprites freshly exported using generator in photoshop, overwrite the current construct2 files, and voilà: the whole environment is updated in construct. That's basically how Unity (and game maker I believe?) handles assets.

  • Valerien - importing backgrounds should be really easy - they all go in the same Textures folder and have a name based on the object type. So you should be able to directly overwrite it from another tool, right?

  • Ashley : It's good, yes! But it only works with tiled backgrounds and spritefonts, while dragging sprites in c2 creates sprites by default. If you have, let's say, 4 or 5 environments, that's also generally nice to have the same amount of folders, just for organisation's sake.

  • Ashley - Thank you for the quick response.

    Yes - those 2 points are what I believe we need, it would be excellent if there was an option to either "reload from source" on just the current selected animation or for all the animations for the sprite. Reloading all the animations is what people would probably need most of the time, and if the system can't find a file bring up a file requester so the user can either cancel the whole operation or go find the file again...

    And maybe just right clicking on a wav and having a re-import option... or bring up the file requester if the files are missing...

    I hope these ideas can be implemented without too much pain, and again, thanks for responding.

  • So if I understand everything correctly all we need is:

    1. Remember the original source of imported animation frames and have a "reload from source" option

    2. Make an easier way to replace existing audio files

    Does that basically cover everything?

    That would be great if it was added! Some extra notes:

    • Reload and Replace should be separate options depending on what you want to do. A reload is fine if your updated assets retain the same filename, but if I want to replace current assets with another with a different filename or source location you would use Replace. This standard practice in something like After Effects or Premiere.
    • Would also be good to have a reload/replace options for the audio files, so that it would have the same functionality as animation frames.
    • An option to hide the ogg/m4a audio in the project window as it just clutters up the list.
    • Please don't rename the animation frames upon import. At least then there is also the option of replacing files directly in the C2 native folder structure.
    • multi select (either marque or shift select) of frames in the animation editor. A more advanced feature would be to multiselect some frames and then a right click menu to choose "replace frames". This way it would be more flexible in that you could replace a single frame, multiple frames or all frames. This would also be useful for deleting, duplicating and shifting frames around.
    • multi select in the project bar would also be very handy!
  • And while we're at it, since I don't see any mention of it yet, when replacing sprites, it's very important that they retain their collision polygons. I cannot count the number of times I've had to go and redo these when updating visuals.

    Also, since this seems to be asset management wishlist time, I'd be keen on a reworking of the "Crop transparent edges" function. As it stands now, when cropping, you're essentially committing to those sprites (reimported images would come in at a larger size, and thus collision polys would never line up properly), but that's not always desirable. I'd love to see a checkbox or something to toggle automatically cropping transparent edges on export only (maybe per sprite, not overall - that'd murder export times), since the main reason behind trimming these edges is to ensure the exported spritesheets stay at a reasonable size.

  • "Reload from source" does sound handy but will still require the artist to notify the programmer of changes, and the programmer to open the whole project, track down the object, open the animation, and click it, correct? Not that much of an improvement honestly..

  • GeometriX you can use a trick: copy your new image in an image editing software, select the image you want to replace in construct, delete and paste your clipboard. This will preserve your data as it is. It's not great though, but handy sometimes.

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