New to C2, some general questions

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  • Greetings. My name is Matt. I'm an artist who has recently taken a lot of interest in game development.

    I've been using another such program, Stencyl, for the past 8 months, learning it, getting pretty good at it. I'm generally not very good with programming concepts and math and so on, but through persistence I've been able to accomplish a lot.

    I have some concerns, though, and I was curious about how C2 compared.

    I'd like to show you a demo for a game I've been working on in Stencyl, and then state my concerns and pose some questions about C2. This is a metroid-style game, where you explore a large world.

    It's highly unfinished, and note I've added artificial roadblocks to keep you guys from getting too far into the map. It's just not ready to all be seen yet.

    You'll have to copy/paste this link, it won't let me set up a hyperlink:

    Z jumps (hold for higher jump), X shoots cannon (hold for charge up), C executes a dash (hold for longer dash). Note you can dash through bullets/enemies to avoid harm.

    In addition, you can hit space to switch to alternate fire mode and try different weapons (cycle them with F).

    (To find enemies quickest, go down the shaft and take the first left. The game structure is not really in place yet so you start with some powers and can't die.)

    Concerns with my game in Stencyl:

    • Performance. I do things to accomplish the look and feel I want that also have the result of making the game run worse on some computers. Namely, the use of many "actors" (what stencyl calls individual objects that can be given behavior) to simulate sparks and motes and debris and various other things, and my use of actors as environment dress up pieces. The most intuitive way I've figured out to design environments is to use Stencyl's tileset functionality (simple grid based tiles) to put the structure in, then place many individual objects (chunks of rocks, plants, whatever) to make it look how I want it to look. I can do this while maintaining good performance on some computers, but have found that the game runs poorly on other computers.

    I have a great desire to dress up my environments in an intuitive way without thinking mainly (or at all) in terms of grid based tilesets.

    I also have a great desire to make my game flashier by using many effects, which, as I've learned, is difficult in Stencyl and generally limited to finding clever ways to simulate real particle effects systems, which can be limiting and drain performance more than it ought to.

    So, if you've read what my goals are and what types of things I want to do, and looked at my demo, do you think C2 may be worth learning? And if anyone here is experienced with both programs, how does C2 compare in terms of ease of use?

  • Hey there Matt, welcome to the forums!

    What platform do you wish to have your game on? If you want it for HTML5 on computers (NOT mobile), then I personally find that the performance of Construct 2 is VERY good. I have many effects going on in my game to make it look great and feel atmospheric, and the game runs smooth as butter. Old computers that lack decent graphics cards will usually run poorly, but that's to be expected, since they have bad graphics cards :P.

    Check this out, it's a comparison from the original "Construct Classic" and Construct 2 (That used DirectX rather than HTML5, so logically it should have better performance results than Construct 2, but Construct 2 is better in the tests):

    IF you want to aim for mobile, you may have a bit more of a hard time keeping the performance to a brilliant level if you want to have a high amount of detail and effects.

    There's a blog post from Scirra explaining stuff mobile-related here:

    The concept of having tiles, then decorating the tiles with more objects to make everything look unique is common practise, and in the above link to the blog post, it is explained that the game Rayman Origins uses this method, which is interesting to know :P

    For sparks and debris and stuff, there's a built-in Particle object that is very simple to use, or you can happily make your own particle system with events :P

    Hope I helped in some way!

  • Thanks for the reply. I find that in my experiments, the .SWF's that stencyl produces (at least in terms of the games I make) perform better or worse almost completely based upon what CPU the user's computer has. Graphics card seems to matter little or not at all.

    I take it HTML5 does not work this way?

    (Stencyl can export to various platforms, including HTML5 and standalone, but in my tests, my game has issues with exporting to those things as it stands right now.)

    And to answer your question, I'm interested in making games for the computer, be it in a browser window or stand alone.

  • Yeah .SWF is terrible these days lol, only good for animation in my opinion :P

    HTML5, however, DOES utilise the graphics card :). Construct 2 supports "WebGL", which allows you to use all sorts of shaders to give effects to images in your game, like colouring, blurs, distortion. In my experiences, I've literally only had bad performance when I have done bad programming in the events of my game. I've never had bad performance from too many effects or images as of yet :D

    Oh, and, Construct 2 can export to Standalone EXE too, as well as standalone for Linux and MacOS. I find that performance as an EXE is even better than when running in Chrome (Chrome is recommended when it comes to running in browsers btw)

  • can you use blending modes in C2? like setting an object or layer (not sure how the software works yet, haven't tried it) to, say, "overlay" and then that object or layer will blend with things under it?

    I rely on this a lot for how I've set up the visuals of my game.

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  • Yes there is a default "Blend mode" property in most of the visual objects (at least the sprite) which allows you to do such blending right out of the bat, it works in canvas2D (the base rendering of HTML5, "lower level" than webGL).

    Have a quick read through the several articles linked in the manual article, they should give you a good overview of what HTML5 is and what C2 can do on the visual level and don't hesitate to also have a play through the arcade to see what some other users might have come up with, some of the top ranked games should satisfy you.

  • Construct 2 has over 70 WebGL shader effects. One of them is "overlay", and there's lots more, like "screen", "multiply" etc.

  • If your game is ok on most computers, but takes a hit on a few. Then it's likely not the game engine at all, but a hardware bottle neck.

    I would suggest creating a graphical verticle slice of just one room, no game play, that only consists of the graphics with all the bells and whistles. Do that for Stencyl and C2, then run it on a variety of computers.

    I suspect both will take a a hit, but you never know and you can find out which has better performance.

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