The sad truth of Construct 2

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  • Let me go ahead and start this off positively by saying that I think Construct 2 is by far the best 2D game development software available today. It has nearly all the features and functionality that I want in a game development tool.

    So it's sad for me to state that I just can't use Construct 2 for the majority of my projects. The reason for this is the limitations of HTML5, and the odd love affair that Scirra has with it.

    My problem with HTML5 is that it just isn't there yet. It won't be "there" for a long time... if ever. It just isn't fast enough. It can't handle big games. It's incredibly challenging to work with saving/loading information for games. But the biggest problem is HTML5. Yes, it's great... yes, it's so cross platform that it basically runs on everything. But how well it runs is the issue.

    iOS does not support webGL. Which means throw any special effects or processor heavy operations right out the window. Everything else mostly supports webGL, but mobile devices just can't handle heavy HTML5 games. The same games that could run flawlessly in native mobile applications, slow to a crawl with HTML5.

    But you can export Construct 2 games to native apps right? No, not really. It's just the same slow HTML5, only now it's wrapped up to look like an executable, or an iOS app, or an Android app. There is really not much performance gain to be had, since it's still just pushing everything through a browser window. The problem with mobile devices is that they just can't handle running the OS plus running a browser, PLUS running a large game inside that browser.

    I constantly... CONSTANTLY hit limitations with HTML5. I hit brick walls with no escape.

    I feel like until Construct 2 can truly export natively, then it will just be a tool I use for small games. It's a sad truth, because the other game software I use that performs better (and creates native apps) isn't as fun to work with. I have to do a lot of workarounds and extra steps that Construct 2 handles beautifully. It's just unfortunate that Scirra is 100% gung-ho about HTML5, because HTML5 just doesn't match up to true native apps.

    The proof is in the pudding. I could create a game that caps at 30fps with Construct 2 and no matter what I wrap it up in, it's still going to give me 30fps. I can make the same game and it would run at a buttery 60fps with full special effects support. Just look at what some phone apps are putting out these days and then picture the higher end phone apps being made in Construct 2. What sort of framerates would you imagine they would get running through a browser?

    Is it totally out of the question that Construct 2 will ever support true native exporting?

  • Ashley responds to similar concerns here:

    Basically it takes a lot of time to make native exporters and to maintain them, and as time goes on devices will keep becoming more powerful and thus performance will keep becoming less of a problem.

  • I'm making a big game just fine. Super Ubi Land is coming along great in construct 2. Mobile games are pretty much out of the question for me because of the performance but I've come to terms with making games for PC/Mac/Linux. But I'm sure things will get better. I can see why this is a huge problem for others though.

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  • I got Final Fantasy Tactics for Ipad this Christmas thinking it would be awesome to relive the old memories.

    Turns out I rarely play it as it takes to long to play to any enjoyable degree, and the dam thing crashes half the time.

    There is a reason casual games do well on mobile devices.

  • Another excuse thread.

    It depends on your design.

  • I don't know man, I'm trying to make a big game on it and I'm amazed at how well it works. I'm using a bunch of layers, particles, behaviors and whatsoever and nothing has ever crashed with me.


    Before Construct I used MMF to make my games and I lost around 2 or 3 games because MMF decided to crash whenever I opened my projects, after some time.

    Link to that prototype :

  • So, knowing that Construct 2 is designed to create HTML5 games, you decided to complain that Construct 2 is designed to make HTML5 games. I'll let you sort that out on your own.

  • I don't know man, I'm trying to make a big game on it and I'm amazed at how well it works. I'm using a bunch of layers, particles, behaviors and whatsoever and nothing has ever crashed with me.


    Before Construct I used MMF to make my games and I lost around 2 or 3 games because MMF decided to crash whenever I opened my projects, after some time.

    Link to that prototype :

    andreyin i love your prototype!

    Also im developing another zedla-like game, here is my prototype

  • HTML 5 runs better and faster than Flash on my computer. I don't think it is that HTML 5 is slower, but the device itself performs extremely poorly with it. I'm sure they can optimize it to work better with the device, it will just take some time.

    I'm not an expert, this is just my personal experience with it, so what I say is not 100% accurate or considerable evidence to prove the point of HTML 5's dominance.

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  • C2 IS a game-making tool. Powerful, yes, but every game maker (pun intended) out there has it's limitations. Scirra is doing great job for such a small company, especially with all the latest betas.

    My advice to you Konidias - learn to code. It would solve all your problems. C2 is not for everyone - it has it's pros and cons.

  • I'm currently developing a bit larger scale project for PC and everything is going well, but I'm mostly concern about Construct 2 leaning so much towards 3rd party solutions. For example I have made lot of animations in Spriter imported everything successfully to C2 and in preview everything looks beautiful, but that's it. C2 doesn't export my animations and I'm left waiting for this to be maybe fixed some day.

    I've been really careful to start anything big with C2 because I still get nightmares from my Construct Classic times :) I had nearly finished my game and decided to update C1, and before I noticed anything unusual my project started crashing without any obvious reasons.

    Mostly I've been happy with Construct 2, but I'm waiting for some sort loading system that would let me choose when to only load stuff that's needed and not everything at the start of my project. The thing is that if players have to wait more than 12 sec for something to happen they're going to hate you, and if you try to entertain someone who's starting to play your game feeling upset. Well it can be a bit hard and they will probably be more critical towards what they see.

  • Another excuse thread.

    It depends on your design.

    Not an excuse thread in the least. I'm not saying I can't make ANY games with Construct 2... I'm saying I can't make BIG games with Construct 2. I'm also referring to mobile games when I say this, not PC games. There is only so much designing can do for a game. The whole argument is that I want to keep the designs I have. Not have to dumb them down or remove them all together in order to get playable performance out of HTML5 games on mobile devices.

    My last project actually pushed HTML5 mobile gaming to the limit and it wasn't even that intense of a game. It merely couldn't be optimized any more. Don't believe me? I sent the project to Ashley and he looked over it himself and told me basically the same thing. That there wasn't really much room to improve performance, and that it was an issue with the browser and the power of the mobile device.

    The problem is that mobile devices need native apps. Playing games through browsers on a phone just isn't going to cut it... at least not any time soon.

    So, knowing that Construct 2 is designed to create HTML5 games, you decided to complain that Construct 2 is designed to make HTML5 games. I'll let you sort that out on your own.

    Yes and no. I'm complaining that such a great piece of 2D game development software is limiting itself by forcing HTML5 only exporting. I'm not demanding that Scirra adds in more native export options... I'm merely expressing my disappointment that it doesn't offer them. Also that Ashley tends to address the issue by saying "it would take too much time" and "html5 is good enough". It's not good enough.

    Maybe it's fine on a good PC with chrome and full webGL support. It's not fine on an iPad 2 running Safari with only canvas2D.

    I think my problem with Construct 2 is that it's advertised to be super fantastic and export to everything, but it leaves out all the details of "well it's not going to be as great on iOS devices due to no webGL... oh and it's not going to be that great on most mobile devices if your game is doing anything more than displaying a few images moving around... oh and it's not going to be great for saving/loading levels or player data..."

    I mean if Construct 2 wants to be marketed as a "simple game maker" then fine, but it shouldn't be saying it can compete with game development tools that can export natively and then brag about how it creates more optimized games.

    Taken from this blog post:

    "We don?t currently support other exporters because we don?t need to. We?re extremely excited by the future of HTML5. New technology means that we can now reach, or will soon reach, all the platforms YoYoGames claim they do.

    Take for example CocoonJS and AppMobi?s directCanvas. CocoonJS on an Android phone averages 34 fps in our benchmarks, and directCanvas on iPhone 4S can surpass 50fps. And it?s early days - we?re confident this can be improved further. Other technologies exist to wrap HTML5 games in a desktop app. We are reaching a point where HTML5 games wrapped in other technology is comparable to native.

    We?re certain that HTML5 will imminently be able to deliver on all platforms, and it will allow us to focus our efforts on developing the best possible software instead of maintaining multiple exporters. HTML5 is going to allow game developers to create truly multiplatform games and we?re almost there. Maybe YoYoGames mistakenly don?t consider us a direct competitor yet, but they should: consider that you will only need a single Construct 2 license to reach all these platforms."

    Not supporting more exporters because they don't need to? We can reach all platforms that Game Maker does? Yeah, except the games don't run as smoothly and are severely limited in features.

    CocoonJS and AppMobi don't really deliver much of a performance improvement... not to mention they are still just wrappers that are running the HTML5 through a browser window. They are still limited by HTML5 limitations.

    "We are reaching a point where HTML5 games wrapped in other technology is comparable to native."

    This is just blatantly wrong and deceiving. Again, this is comparing simple games... not heavier games. It's a lot of misdirection. Just because HTML5 *can* work on most all platforms, doesn't mean it can match native speeds.

    In the end I know this post can't possibly change much of anything. I really just wanted to vent some frustrations. The software is fantastic. Creating games in Construct 2 is like a dream. I've managed to complete games with Construct 2 and they are great. But I had to hold back.

    I can't take advantage of any of the effects Construct 2 offers... blurs, color replacements/tinting... distortions, overlay/screen/multiply... None of it. Because it won't work on iOS devices. Yet other game development tools that export natively can do all of that no problem. I can't add screen shakes to my mobile games, because that would surely kill performance. So yes, Construct 2 can export to nearly everything. But with many limitations.

  • Thanks Konidias I have been feeling this way for the last month. The article post you copy/paste was also the selling sentiment for me to go C2.

    I think offering a model for native export is the best path, but I am firm another solution could be managed very well. The beauty of JS is that it's an overidable library. Also native wrapping is a great opportunity... I will go further on this in just a bit.

    The problem it seems is that Canvas is software pasting into the browser. Canvas2D is GPU accelerated pasting and memory management of the buffers and pasting into the browser.

    WebGL is acceleration mathematical rendering of objects and commands. Games by default now are using some for of GPU rending acceleration which Canvas2D doesn't seem to do. either very poorly or not at all and would be the valid explanation why there are no WebGL effects.

    going back a paragraph what seems to be the inherit problem is the piggy backing on Apple/Google/thirdparty software CocoonJS/DirectCanvas. These groups inexplicable aren't pushing WebGL. Though at CocoonJS it's on the todo list so I'm hoping sooner that later.

    What is that. That's a modified form of Ejecta where the WebGL commands are rebound to OpenGL ES. This is what boggles me. Why hasn't anyone just build a bridge between WebGL to OpenGL. Especially CocoonJS that has graphical performance intentions.

    oh well. Once I finish my current game for the Ouya( performance concerns) I'm going to tinker with the possibilities of doing an Android version of EjectaGL concept. building a bridge between OpenGL canvas and WebGl with the intention of converting C2 export. I have no idea if it's doable or the difficulty but I'm curious.

    For me. I would be happy to manage 100 objects running at 60fps on a Tegra 2. I find it painful that I can only manage 20 objects at 20fps :( not that i solved some of my devices problems.

    Anyways as someone mentioned CocoonJS is coming out with an update soon. So maybe it will come with something nice. Like WebGL? :) I remain hopeful and I know in the long run C2 has a very long future. But right now...

  • DirectCanvas sucked, CocoonJS is improving a lot, sometimes i get smooth 60 fps of all my games on my iPod touch 4, i'm gladly scirra keeps updating CocoonJS platform plugin.

  • So, knowing that Construct 2 is designed to create HTML5 games, you decided to complain that Construct 2 is designed to make HTML5 games. I'll let you sort that out on your own.

    Thats a good point. I have had no issues so far with my game. Horses for courses is the term.

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