Feature Request: The next best thing to coding...

  • I completely see what you are saying

    But what Animmaniac is proposing and what is half the reason to why I created this topic was this:

    [quote:2iqfrvw2]In my view the problem with the current wizard UI is that it demands too much time and clicks just to navigate the windows, especially for users who don't use the keyboard. If you consider the frequency that these actions are repeated during a project there's a lot of wasted work that could be optimized. Every step is modal, so you always waste some time adjusting to the new context and get some cognitive load creating mind maps of where you are. What I tried to do with my proposal is to make it the less modal as possible. The steps are disposed side by side so you get an overview of the process and minimize both the clicks and the switching of states.

    If we can 'cut down the time you spend clicking and focus more on making the game' while maintaining the 'no programming required feel' it would be perfect. I like the way Animmaniac has it proposed so it is more fill in the blanks than it is programming. C2 or C3 doesn't need it's own language and I wasn't trying to recommend it. More like this as the next best thing. This would keep the the feel at 'no programming required' but mimic what it would be like to program and that is what I feel I am missing. (Could be a complaint for the sake of posting an interesting thread but nonetheless, wouldn't be a bad thing if it were feasible. )

    Tokinsom I think this would be the best fit possible for you? If most of what you use is a combination of the keyboard shortcuts and avoid the mouse all together, this proposed way is just that. Hit Ctrl-E to pop up this kind of fill in the blanks editing - tab, type and go!

    The alternate UI may trip up beginners or it may not (I always forget the Objects with Expressions window is there, but it is a great way to learn what Construct has). If it was presented in a way that was visible, god-dialog like, but it made sense to increase production and not confuse anyone than awesome.

    [quote:2iqfrvw2]With the proposed system with a single click you can change instantly the object, keeping all the filled forms intact.

    If there was a way to make any of these UI changes / Event sheet changes to enhance productivity but still maintain the feel Construct has built up, I'm all for it.

    One thing is for sure, I love this community! Getting responses from great forum goers, employees and founders! How awesome!

  • The question is could the editor be made to allow the user to implement their own style?

  • Animmaniac - ah, that makes a lot more sense now (with the typing in suggestion). I do quite like the idea. Editing parameters in-place could come first, and then typing in a new condition/action is an extension of that.

    The three-pane dialog does have some nice features, but I think there's still some issues around how to usefully show expressions without confusing anyone. Also if we had it as a kind of "advanced edit" dialog in addition to the current multi-step system (which would be preserved for beginners), as well as the typing feature, then that's a lot of different ways to add and edit events. Each one is a lot of work since the event system is deceptively simple - internally there are a lot of special cases and corner cases which need to be comprehensively covered. In an ideal world there would be just one perfect way of doing it, but I think in practice it will be best with a couple of approaches, but I wouldn't want to explode the UI in to a whole bunch of different ways of doing the same thing. For example the current multi-step feature could be aimed at beginner/intermediate users, and then typing in events provided for advanced users who know most of the events already. That covers beginner, intermediate and advanced users, so then who would the three-pane dialog be for? Maybe we could do without that? Or maybe the multi-step dialogs could be a subset of the three-pane dialog which can optionally expand out in to that "full" view? It's interesting to think about these options...

  • Now mock ups like these from Animmaniac make me drool! Even the color scheme is perfect!

  • [quote:27er9l8c] ah, that makes a lot more sense now (with the typing in suggestion). I do quite like the idea. Editing parameters in-place could come first, and then typing in a new condition/action is an extension of that.

    Ashley Epic!

    Animmaniac could you add in the parameters column (before you enter the condition) a place to show the expression so it's right there before you use it?

  • Animmaniac could you add in the parameters column (before you enter the condition) a place to show the expression so it's right there before you use it?

    'm not sure I understand your suggestion. Could you clarify it a bit more?

    Animmaniac - ah, that makes a lot more sense now (with the typing in suggestion). I do quite like the idea. Editing parameters in-place could come first, and then typing in a new condition/action is an extension of that.

    eah, the presence of editable fields are kind of mandatory for it to work. It makes sense to develop them first.

    The three-pane dialog does have some nice features, but I think there's still some issues around how to usefully show expressions without confusing anyone. Also if we had it as a kind of "advanced edit" dialog in addition to the current multi-step system (which would be preserved for beginners), as well as the typing feature, then that's a lot of different ways to add and edit events.

    did some more refinements and was able to simplify the three-panel dialog even further. By doing some rearranging most of the visual complexity is gone and should be very easy to grasp:

    With the section's titles on top and the buttons on bottom the structure becomes a lot clearer. The default display mode for each panel is a single list (similar to what we use now), so there's only one pick per column. That eliminates any confusion the filter lists may add. Also by displaying the events' description as a tooltip the visual complexity is reduced even further.

    For picking expressions I used the same idea of the change of state, but modified it slightly to appear as an overlay window. This makes things even clearer and should help to eliminate any doubts of what's going on. So the expression panel would still pops up every time an editbox is in focus, occupying the space of the two first panels, but as an overlay:

    It's not uncommon to hear reports of some users that do not acknowledge the existence of the floating expression panel. This could probably help mitigate that since the expression panel is always at hand when you need it: just click an editbox and it appears over the event dialog, click anywhere else and it disappears. There's no way to hide it behind other windows or out of screen.

    Of course the filter lists and the folder structure would still remain as display options for the panels, to fulfill different necessities or user preferences, but the single list could be the default for beginners.

    So in my opinion, even more with these refinements, I believe the three-panel dialog could totally replace the step wizard with no major problems and even some improvements. There's no need to keep two different mouse input methods. Mouse and keyboard are complementary, but having a third advanced mouse mode would probably be confusing. Unless we can turn them into some logic variations of the same mouse input method.

  • It's an improvement, but I still think it's an awful lot for one dialog to do. What if it took a compromise: have the "object" and "condition" panels in the first dialog, and then the parameters and expressions in the second step? In other words, like taking the current three-step approach and merging the first two steps?

  • You can already make events using mainly typing. Pressing "E" makes an event, typing part of the object name until the window selects the object you want and pressing "enter" shows expressions for the object. "C" to add conditions, "A" to add actions, etc. It's not perfect, but it can be helpful.

  • i'd say we need more exposition Ashley - we need to see what c2 can do. like a cheat sheet. shortcuts tutorial when you first run c2, and such.. would greatly improve workflow. i currently don't know any shortcuts (it's not a bother, but if i knew and it would increase my develop time, i'd love to be aquainted with them in c2, not by searching lots of manuals)

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  • The keyboard shortcuts section in the manual is pretty comprehensive.

  • i know it is, but noone is probably going to memorize all that. so some baloon tips or such could appear in editor from time to time, ofc. with ability to disable them once you learn the stuff

  • What if it took a compromise: have the "object" and "condition" panels in the first dialog, and then the parameters and expressions in the second step? In other words, like taking the current three-step approach and merging the first two steps?

    I have thought about that. Would already be an improvement. Maybe as a unified dialog could have more advantages, but as a two step process is definitely better than three.

    At this point probably the best thing to do would be creating some semi functional mockups and testing with some users to collect their feedback. It's hard to know for sure what would work or not without falling into personal opinion or assumptions. This is the standard practice for interface design.

  • Animmaniac count me in for testing!

  • i think generally a nice textbox above each column would be nice to filter out all the data.

  • i know it is, but noone is probably going to memorize all that. so some baloon tips or such could appear in editor from time to time, ofc. with ability to disable them once you learn the stuff

    A nice tip that I've used and seen my workflow speed increase dramatically is I always develop with the shortcut key list that Ashley linked to open on a separate window and I try to mainly use shortcuts when I do things. So if something comes up that my brain doesn't automatically know the shortcut to, I peak at the list and use the appropriate keys. Of course everyone is going to start off using only a few shortcuts but when an effort is made to memorize and use the shortcuts as often as possible, your repertoire increases, the amount of peaks at the list decreases, and over time you will be impressed with how fast you knock out events. Enjoy and Good luck!

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