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Suggestion! Consider bringing Cordova into Construct 2/3!

  • Hi everyone,

    As we all know.. with iOS8 it really made Cordova a great option for C2 developers and in general I agree with this, but what I'm finding is that its also difficult to have multiple technologies all needing to work with each other at any given time and not knowing if this update or that update will break everything.. for example:

    I have construct 2.. which gets frequent (welcome) updates which I like to keep up with..

    then I use various Cranberry Cordova plugins which are great.. but these plugins in general, especially when hot/new tech also get regular upates.. and once you do this, you open yourself up to having trouble going back to C2 for help.. but since C2 lacks many essential plugins to make apps that can generate revenue / get discovered in many different ways.. we don't have much of a choice but to use them..

    Then we have options like phonegap, xdk and now cocoon.io.. each of these systems are also in development and getting updated. I've tried to stick with xdk simply because it seemed the most straight forward, but not everyone is using it so now you have fragmented publishing platforms with their own potential quirks / bugs, etc..

    All of this can result in one day being very productive making apps.. testing them.. etc etc.. to being dead in the water until the break can be found which is not easy.. especially since we have to (in my experience) actually make builds for many features to work (like ads, for example) because they don't work when testing in a browser..

    So that said.. I think it would be really smart if C2 could (or maybe a thing for C3?) to actually incorporate Cordova.. since it's open source as I understand it, there shouldn't be anything stopping it from working. basically there should be some standard in which Scirra establishes as THE best way to get your games to iOS / Android.. They did a great job with using webnode where basically C2 generates the various exe's.. what would it take to make an official / supported / working pipeline for (an assumption on my part) C2's biggest target platform (maybe it's not?) which I would imagine is iOS/Android.

    I realize making another "XDK" is a big undertaking but because the Cordova would be specifically tailored to C2 users / needs.. so much UI would be stripped out going straight from C2 to the Cordova wrapper. This would also help plugin developers who have to potentially deal with their own customers using multiple services and addressing those quirks and inquiries. Having one option (or at least a default one for advanced users who NEED something else) that most of us get behind would create a better widely supported system to work with..

    even when we get stuck at least we're all using the same approach, so it makes community help possible while in my work it feels that once i get out to XDK I'm kinda getting away from other users who may choose a different path for publishing..

    Thanks,

    Caleb

  • part12studios

    Personally I think the idea is good, and I have suggested that Cordova export be directly integrated into C2. The shot down reasoning is that this would require the developer(us) to download the JDK, ADK and I believe the NDK. In C2 we would then need to reference these folders for the build process.

    My take is that this build process could be easier than working through Intel XDK. Also doing Cordova directly would open up development options in C2/3 and just overall make mobile app development easier. Yes developers would need to download 2/3 different sdks, but I think the trade off is worth it. It's also not uncommon in the mid level and high level tools. If C2 handles the settings options well the process would be very simple.

  • yes exactly. updating some files is a small price to pay (even that could be automated i would imagine, similar to how C2 extracted the WebNode stuff out of C2 installer to save on download bandwidth.

    also just because cordova updates doesn't mean C2 would have to update every time. if we have a stable cordova version, updating that could be methodical. sure maybe some hard core users would need an update, but i think the vast majority of us just need a standard solution that works and is part of the C2 experience, not leaving that environment into a wild west of options and problems.

    I love C2, but it really has been a drag and a lot of wasted energy battling various build errors and inconsistencies taking a lot of time from making games to just getting games to build / run well.

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  • Hi everyone,

    As we all know.. with iOS8 it really made Cordova a great option for C2 developers

    I've been trying to find info on this but nothing is clear.

    Does Cordova default to iOS8's WKVWebView engine? I ask because its been a long time since I tested performance, back then the CocoonJS WebView+ for iOS8 ran extremely fast compared to Cordova or XDK iOS export.

  • Yea basically as far as I can tell, performance on iOS is about the same with both, but where CJS shines is on android where XDK relies on Crosswalk which ads 19mb to any game and CJS's output is much leaner..

    The CJS stuff (not CJS IO) was too quirky before which is why Scirra moved away from it.. too difficult to support it's unique system.. CJS IO seems like a better option, but it's still got some weird steps to go through to make things work and when I tried it failed and really didn't feel like investing more time into it when the tutorial didn't work, plus they charge for services / features (like debranding) and XDK is 100% free.

  • I think this sounds like a great idea!

  • I couldn't agree more with the initial post. I started using C2 about a year ago and immediately fell in love with it. I paid for a license and loved the process of creating a game. I had planned to include ads and posts to Facebook from the start, but saved it until the end to implement. This part of the process has been a horrible experience. As an example, the admob entry in the manual talks about how it works and what actions you can take, but there is nothing about how to test it. And do you use the native admit plugin or the cranberry version? You then start to read about the different export options and it is a maze of options. I see people on here, who obviously know what they are talking about, talk about using different paths to build their games. Do I use XDK? Cocoon? What is phone gap? haha I have actually considered biting the bullet and downloading Unity because I heard there is a straight path to building your apps. I hate to do it because I love the C2 interface and I have truly enjoyed building the game, but as you stated, I feel like I am out of the C2 world at this point in development.

  • Exactly. There just needs to be some absolute path for officially publishing each supported platform.. i do understand it puts some burden on Scirra, but if they can help us spend more time building games and less time caught in publishing hell, the happier their devs would be and that results in more sales..

    C2 is a very good value.. and I would be willing to pay more if only they could help make the publishing process easier..

    Definitely one of the worst parts of cordova / plugins for me (beyond the general build troubles that crop up) is that you really can't test without building for a device! This is a terribly slow and cumbersome process.. previewing over a browser is a godsend, but that goes away very quickly when you have to push over and over again to test one small change or debug a failing to work plugin..

    However if they could help us come up with some kind of effective simulator that could honest to god show things like admob working without having to build / push to a device, productivity would again go that much further.. but there doesn't seem to be a way to do this, but it seems like there must be..

    Even if they just focused on iOS / Android.. i know that supporting every single platform to this extent would be too much but at least help us with the most popular ones that would get the most use. I can't say I'm aware of what the statistics are but I'm going to say it's safe to say that most people are targeting mobile and of that iOS/Android are the largest mobile focus so let's go with that.

  • This thought keeps gnawing at me...can I build a business this way? Too often in these forums the answer is "use cranberry's plugin". I commend Sang Ki Kwon for the work he has done, but should I build a game/app that depends on a 1-man company who develops plugins in his spare time? I am relatively new to this aspect of the build process, but I am finding this part of the process much more difficult than the actual building of the game. (Example: I was trying to get the admob plugin working and now the game is locked in portrait mode even though every setting in the game and XDK is set to landscape. I cannot get it in landscape mode. haha) Not trying to sound like the voice of doom, but I really think C2/3 needs to make the process to iOS and Android builds a singular path for its customers. Until then, I just cannot see this as a tool you can use to build a mobile game business. (I feel obligated to say I love C2 as a game-making tool!)

  • part12studios

    Personally I think the idea is good, and I have suggested that Cordova export be directly integrated into C2. The shot down reasoning is that this would require the developer(us) to download the JDK, ADK and I believe the NDK. In C2 we would then need to reference these folders for the build process.

    Thanks what you have to do in GameMaker anyway, and it's not that big of a deal. Would be an amazing option in C3.

    Though I have to say, I started converting all of my apps (9 in total) over to Cocoon.io over the last few weeks and it's been really good so far. Admob ads are working natively on ios and android. I got all the game center features working on iOS apps. I found some errors in their C2 plugins in the process and they were really fast to fix them. I'm going through the rest of the ios plugins to make sure everything works, then I'll be doing video tutorials for all of them. I truly believe it's the best option for putting out a professional product. Again, one mans opinion.

  • that's exactly it! Sang Ki has had to take a break from plugins to do other game work because i'm sure it's paying much better.. so guess what? no broken plugins (if they are broken) are being updated and

    this is a serious problem and Scirra needs to take it serious because while it's only a few of us vocalizing this issue.. we need more people to speak up.

    Right now we're trying to get unity ads to work with the cranberry plugin and while it was working for iOS8 we believe that iOS9 it's now broken. I'm waiting to hear from Vulkan if this is in fact the case.

    I have the utmost respect for Sang Ki and his efforts, but he's one guy and like you said he is (and really is at this moment) a single point of failure.

    You reflect my feeling exactly.. C2 is a brilliant and powerful solution game development, but it doesn't help if we can't rely on it

    Sang Ki's work shows the great potential of what can be done through plugins.. but C2's limited plugins out of the box are not enough.. clients (and developers) need to be at the front of the curve as much as possible.. ads are going out of style.. rewarded videos are hot right now.. it's what people want.. i don't even care if we only have one solution so long as it works

    I just came out of plugin / xdk / c2 hell with IAP crashing on one of my games.. and only that game.. i had the latest Cranberry Plugin.. i was on iOS9.. this went on for almost 3 weeks.. Sang Ki wouldn't respond.. and everything was updating.. iOS9... XDK... Construct2.. Sang Ki's plugin was from september so that was steady throughout..

    anywho.. i try once more after updating things.. and great it's working again.. i'm willing to give up bleeding edge updates.. give me a stable version of Construct 2 with proven solutions.. now do i REALLY know what the problem was? no f'n way.. everything updated.. and sure.. maybe even some human error was in there.. but jesus.. it shouldn't be like that..

    I wish Scirra would hire Sang Ki to be a full time plugin guy. I know they are a small company but someone like Sang Ki would be a big help in managing just plugins.

    I admit I know it's not easy to keep up with all the changes.. but if we stick with stable builds that include native C2 supported plugins.. i'd be ok with that.

    As much as i love the regular updates from C2.. i'd be willing to suspend that for reliable publishing / plugins.. because i'm at a point where I may stop accepting client work or pursue any more mobile games with C2 and advise others to do the same until this problem is resolved.

    I'll advise for people to just use C2 for web games.. this is where it's real strength is.. and will be until the issue is resolved.

  • arcadeed yea i'd like to look at cocoon.io again. i tried the tutorial and got errors.. so i didn't pursue it further.. we just need a solid official pipeline.. and yes. for perhaps some edge cases / advanced users.. it may be a "at your own risk" but most of us just need to know our games will reach iOS successfully with the most popular ways of current monetization..

    I would love to revisit c.io with some tutorials.. but maybe it's time scirra also price better.. they have a fantastic product.. and frankly i'd pay more for it.. maybe they need to make the business license actually have more features like a guaranteed pipeline..

    The business license would feel like we're really getting something not just paying extra once we make x amount of dollars with it because guess what? I can't make money from clients with this software without it supporting basic things in a consistent / reliable state.. THIS is what a business license should be and if I could be promised publishing would "just work" I'd easily pay $500 for this software.. it's still a fraction of Unity3D.. it's a hell of a lot easier than blueprints for Unreal4.. it doesn't require C++/lua like Cocoas2Dx.. it's not a pyramid scheme like build box is... it doesn't require any scripting like game maker does.. it doesn't sandbox you like Gamesalad does nor a subscription fee..

    The only thing i don't like about c.io is the money you have to pay to remove the splash.. i mean I don't mind paying them to support the product but paying per game would get expensive.. but if it really works and doesn't break a plugin / game every other week i'd be happy to support it..

    It's just that there is this gaping hole in C2. I think Professional license needs to be re-evaluated in what it really means..

  • Thanks ArcadEd, I will have to take a look at that. You said you started converting all your apps to Cocoon.io. What are you converting from? Why did you decide to change paths? Thanks.

    @part12studios - I agree and honestly, I thought I must be missing something when I started looking at these issues and I was not finding a big outcry in these forums. How are there not comprehensive, up-to-date Scirra tutorials on how to publish to iOS and Android? Aren't most people thinking mobile for their games?

    I'm a simple man with simple dreams. I read about C2 and played with the free version before purchasing a license. When I bought it, I assumed I would be able to do the following with the product:

    1. Build my game (Awesome)

    2. Make money through IAPs and ads (I have not gotten to IAPs yet, but it seems ads are a 3rd party solution and based on your comments I think IAPs are too.)

    3. Share the game experience via social media (Again, it seems I need to rely on cranberry to share achievements via facebook and twitter.)

    I know some people will say they have done all this, but it seems it is not a stable solution. I am not sure I would sleep soundly if I had a successful game out there that relied on 3rd party plugins and I am an eternal optimist! haha

    Lastly, you mentioned that C2 is a fraction of Unity. I thought that Unity was now free, but the learning curve was a lot steeper than C2?

    Thanks.

  • They were all CJS before.

    Unity is free, but to remove their splash screen it's $1500 per platform. You also need to buy pro if your projects make over 100,000 in a year or something like that.

  • yea what Ed said about Unity.

    I say it's expensive because a client is not going to want you to make a game for them that says "made with unity" they are going to want it branded with their own splash logo.. and if you want a game for iOS and Android (pretty standard request these days) you're looking at $4500 to own a pro license or at least a 12 month commitment at $225 a month.. to lease the pro license.. so yea unity is not cheap for professionals.. it's fine for indies doing their own thing and don't mind some branding.. and you really can't expect a client to be billed an extra $4500 for software.. unless you've found a very very nice client.. heh

    Now to C2.. yes this is the issue.. and honestly there is a problem that goes into software development in general.. tutorials for example.. are snapshots in time.. they tell you how to do something at THAT time.. but because everything is changing.. XDK.. phonegap.. CJS (now I/O).. C2.. tutorials themselves have to be somewhat living things.. and this can be a lot of work..

    That said any engine has the same problem.. try googling tutorials or whatever on youtube for unity tutorials.. some go waaaay back to versions of unity where the interface is considerably different and methods change.. I don't expect C2 to solve this problem..

    but what they can do is "pick a plot line!" to quote Fear from the movie "Inside Out". There are no certainties in life (like C2 ultimately abandoning CocoonJS for good reasons) but if C2 could declare the "official" publishing path(s) for various platforms then developers could team up and focus their energy to help each other work through things.. but right now we have a 3 way split.. XDK (my choice so far), Cocoon IO and PhoneGap.. and I guess Adobe PhoneGap Services (whatever it's called) so actually 4 routes..

    This means that now when you ask for help with your platform a good number of people won't even be able to help other than "use what i'm using..." which is tiring after you've already put energy into one that pretty much does the exact same thing.. just at that moment unsuccessfully but will likely work again at some undetermined point.. heh.

    I'm willing to go with whatever platform works best. I just feel like C2 needs to take ownership of this issue and offer its community a real solution. For now I'm going to stick with XDK as long as I can till perhaps Ed's tutorials are in place because i followed the other one and it failed with a bunch of plugin errors which pretty much was enough for me.. seeing plugin drama was the last thing I needed to see for a first impression of Cocoon IO. However i hear it's APK's are smaller than crosswalk so I'm very interested in that.

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