Stencyl 3.0 - Design Once. Play Anywhere. (Soft Launched on Feb 20th)

jpeterson

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great to hear, cannot wait

Photics

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The Pricing page also got a redo if anybody noticed that.

Ah, nice update!  :D

It seems that the Mac App Store was included with Pro... Windows too. Maybe I'll make some desktop apps. I don't have to sell those on the App Stores. My real interest is HTML5 though. Will HTML5 be the replacement for Flash, and end up in Stencyl Pro? Is Stencyl Pro Desktop and iOS [and Android] mobile? If that's the division, that seems cool. If HTML5 is added to Stencyl Pro, it seems like it could be $99 instead of $79. Hype is currently $59.99 on the Mac App Store. It's awesome for HTML5 sites, but Stencyl could be even more powerful.

That's going to be how I test Stencyl 3.0. I've been keeping a list of issues that I'm waiting to see if Stencyl 3.0 will fix.

  • Spawning - Can I properly create a new actor just beneath the spawning actor?
  • Screen Scaling - Will vector graphics scale properly? Will Retina graphics be used in Full Screen? Is it too difficult to support multiple ratios?
  • HTML5 Speed - Is it as slow as Swiffy conversions or is it playable?
  • Tables - Lists are a bit restrictive. Editing data in a spreadsheet makes things easier
  • RGBA color space- Flash tinting just isn't sufficient for cross-platform games.
  • Particles - Fire, Smoke, Cool Effects

On that list, one issue stands out... HTML5 Speed. Compatibility is also an issue. Is Stencyl 3.0 tough enough for my projects? It's been tough waiting on the outside. Although, that does give me a chance to line up some content. I have two projects that are ready for testing. Based on what Joe stated earlier. It seems that the speed might not be there for me.

It's an ugly time for Game/Web development. Flash is dying and HTML5 is not quite ready for prime-time. Yet, the recent update of Hype showed me that a good update can make a huge difference. Maybe it will be the same for Stencyl.
Michael Garofalohttp://photics.com – Author of The Interactive Stencyl Textbook 8)

Jon

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(There's a stickied post at the top of the 3.0 forums about the updated packages if you'd like to view that.)

HTML5 is meant to be a supplementary platform to publish to, and Flash will remain the primary platform of choice for web publishing for the foreseeable future.

There are people out there who like proclaim that Flash is dead, but the reality is that it's far from dead and still presents plenty of opportunities for making money and getting eyeballs (1M+ plays). People around here are still lapping up sponsorships (ArmorGames, Kongregate, Newgrounds and smaller players) on a regular basis.

Here's a recent example where the author made $3k off sponsorship on a game that took 1 month to build. That's a classic Stencyl story if I ever saw one.
http://community.stencyl.com/index.php/topic,18944.0.html

captaincomic

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  • Spawning - Can I properly create a new actor just beneath the spawning actor?
Yup, this is much easier now than in 2.x, but you still need to use (one line of) code.

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  • Screen Scaling - Will vector graphics scale properly? Will Retina graphics be used in Full Screen? Is it too difficult to support multiple ratios?
I think vector graphics aren't supported.

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  • HTML5 Speed - Is it as slow as Swiffy conversions or is it playable?
No idea.

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  • Tables - Lists are a bit restrictive. Editing data in a spreadsheet makes things easier
No toolside support for tables yet.

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  • RGBA color space- Flash tinting just isn't sufficient for cross-platform games.
Not sure what you mean here. Setting the transparency for drawing blocks or for actors? Don't we have both already in 2.x?

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  • Particles - Fire, Smoke, Cool Effects
In 3.0 you can put many more actors on the screen before the performance drops (at least in Flash) so that makes implementing particle effects much easier. In many cases you can probably just use actors as particles and don't need to "draw" the effect.

haim

  • Posts: 23
Nope, there is no set time.  I doubt it will be out of beta before April though.

why? not enough people paid for the V3 beta yet? :)
just kidding... :)
Haim ifrah
Web and Games designer.

Photics

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  • Posts: 718
HTML5 is meant to be a supplementary platform to publish to, and Flash will remain the primary platform of choice for web publishing for the foreseeable future.

What does that mean for speed though? Are HTML5 games too slow? Could something like Angry Birds be made with Stencyl in HTML5?

I don't like it, especially now that my understanding of ActionScript has dramatically improved, but Flash is dying. Plus, I'm seeing some pretty amazing things being done with HTML5. I thought Stencyl 3.0 was going to be in the group of awesome things with HTML5. Is that not the way it is?

I think vector graphics aren't supported.

Hey! Nice post!  :D

So what happens if a 2.x game has a "Draw Circle" block and it is ported over to 3.x? I thought all the blocks would still work.

Although, with 2.x, those drawing blocks don't quite work right in iOS... which is one of the things I'm planning to check with 3.0. Maybe I should stop using Stencyl for drawing lines and shapes. The bigger issue is that the graphics don't scale. Even if I stick with Flash, I don't like how things get so blurry in full-screen mode.

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  • HTML5 Speed - Is it as slow as Swiffy conversions or is it playable?
No idea.

If you haven't used Swiffy, it's a pretty awesome swf conversion tool by Google. It recently added some ActionScript 3.0. (Unfortunately, it doesn't work with files from Stencyl... not since last I checked anyway.) The only major problem (aside from a 1 megabyte upload limit) is that animation can be very slow. That's why I was surprised with Hype. Even with large graphics, things can still move with that software.

GameSalad has some HTML5 support, but it's very limited. From what I'm reading here, I'm starting to wonder if Stencyl HTML5 is better or worse than that.

Although, maybe this is good news. If Flash is seen as the primary mode of publishing, then maybe HTML5 publishing will be included with Stencyl Pro. Sure, Flash can still be a money maker, but there's a saying... "skate to where the puck is going."

Years ago, I was adding lots of Flash content to my site - Flash Games, Flash Paper and Flash video! But right now, about 75% of my website visitors (not including IE browsers) have Flash. That means Flash-only isn't going to work for my projects... not unless I want to ignore the ~25% of my site visitors that don't have Flash. Sponsorships are cool, but that's not my focus. Maybe Stencyl isn't the best tool for what I'm trying to do. That's disappointing.

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Not sure what you mean here. Setting the transparency for drawing blocks or for actors? Don't we have both already in 2.x?

Maybe I'm missing something. An actor can be made transparent, that part is easy. But if you wanted to change the tinting on that actor, it only seems to work in Flash. And even then, it's not something that's meant to change often.

I was thinking that Stencyl 3.0 would completely surpass GameSalad, but it seems that there are some minor issues that make major differences with game development.

I have a big project planned for Christmas (and lots of little Stencyl projects on-hold) and I'm stuck wondering what's the right tool for the job. If Stencyl HTML5 is dependable, then it's a no-brainer. The feedback here seems to suggest that it might not be as cool as I thought it would be. Sure, I wasn't expecting absolute perfection, but now it's starting to sound like something as simple as Super Mario World could be a problem.

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  • Particles - Fire, Smoke, Cool Effects
In 3.0 you can put many more actors on the screen before the performance drops (at least in Flash) so that makes implementing particle effects much easier. In many cases you can probably just use actors as particles and don't need to "draw" the effect.

This is the good news about 3.0. It seems that Flash performance has improved.   8)

why? not enough people paid for the V3 beta yet? :)
just kidding... :)

Ha!  :D

I'm surprised that it's still in private beta.

Also, the front page changed again. It's more informative and easier to read. It's not very flashy though. See why HTML5 is important?! Perhaps those three boxes could be interactive areas - made with Stencyl!

« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 07:28:20 pm by Photics »
Michael Garofalohttp://photics.com – Author of The Interactive Stencyl Textbook 8)

Joe

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Not even talking about Stencyl, but in general, HTML5 performance hasn't yet matched the performance of Flash. It will hopefully get there, but today is not the day. We're supporting both platforms with Stencyl, so when the day comes, you won't have to worry about much more than clicking a dropdown box.

With Stencyl, particularly on the browser side, you hardly have to code to a specific technology, and this is even more true in 3.0 where even (pure Haxe) Code Mode Behaviors will work virtually unchanged on any target.

If you know ActionScript 3, you'll be almost instantly comfortable with Haxe, which is very, very similar. Even the graphics framework we're using is nearly a 1:1 replacement of the Flash API, so you'll feel right at home with it.

Photics

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Not even talking about Stencyl, but in general, HTML5 performance hasn't yet matched the performance of Flash.

...but does Stencyl HTML5 get close enough?

I see Stencyl having the potential to be more than just a game development tool - but that depends on the strength of HTML5.

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If you know ActionScript 3, you'll be almost instantly comfortable with Haxe, which is very, very similar. Even the graphics framework we're using is nearly a 1:1 replacement of the Flash API, so you'll feel right at home with it.

I'm looking forward to playing with it!  :D
Michael Garofalohttp://photics.com – Author of The Interactive Stencyl Textbook 8)

Joe

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Close enough to what? to Flash? HTML5 performance with Stencyl is pretty good on modern browsers (>IE9) but doesn't match that of Flash. As long as you're hitting an adequate FPS count, that's what's important from a player's perspective. On mobile, you're definitely going to get better performance targeting the platform natively.

Here's a (slightly outdated) performance comparison of how well the tech behind Stencyl's HTML5 implementation holds up against the C++ reference target:

http://www.joshuagranick.com/blog/2012/11/14/html5-benchmark-scores-nme-runnermark/

Also, there's talk of Flambe getting support for NME as a backend, which would improve HTML5 performance even more:

https://github.com/aduros/flambe/wiki

« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 08:49:30 pm by Joe »

Jon

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As Photics has astutely pointed out, we've rolled out a new front page for real this time (if you're logged in, you can find it here too), and on top of that, the entire "Make Games" section has also gotten a redo.

None of this signals that 3.0 is here yet, but due to some special circumstances, I've been working mainly on the website and plan to do a little more work on it in the coming days.

captaincomic

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Hey! Nice post!  :D
:)

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So what happens if a 2.x game has a "Draw Circle" block and it is ported over to 3.x? I thought all the blocks would still work.
Ah I though you were talking about SVGs (which can be imported in any version, but are just converted to PNGs.)
 
Full-screen mode is improved in 3.0, but the work on it is not quite done yet. The premise is that it will use high-res graphics if you want to. Then the drawing blocks should also work at a higher resolution.

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... HTML5 ...
Personally I cannot say much about the HTML5 performance of Stencyl, I haven't used it much yet.
Like Joe has said, HTML5 is still quite new (in fact the specification is still a "working draft" and not finalized yet) and the perfomance depends a lot on browser support. I think there will still be a few years where Flash is a save bet.
 
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Maybe I'm missing something. An actor can be made transparent, that part is easy. But if you wanted to change the tinting on that actor, it only seems to work in Flash. And even then, it's not something that's meant to change often.
Ah, okay, another misunderstanding, you ask about tinting not transparency.
I'm not sure about the status of the effect blocks, if they work on all platforms or not.


Photics

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HTML5 performance with Stencyl is pretty good on modern browsers (>IE9)

OK, that's good news.  8)

If I have a project that's 60 FPS in Flash, but only 35 FPS in HTML5, I consider that good enough. I'll have to figure out ways around tinting and tables, but overall it seems that Stencyl should be able to handle the projects that I have lined up. I just have to wait.

Ah, okay, another misunderstanding, you ask about tinting not transparency.
I'm not sure about the status of the effect blocks, if they work on all platforms or not.

Well... with an RGBA color space, it's both transparency and tinting. I could start out with a single gray-scale image and then adjust the Red, Green and Blue values to create different colored actors. With Stencyl 2.x, if I want one actor to be Green and another to be Blue, I have to create two separate actors.

This is not critical though. If I just have to add a few extra actors/images to finish my project, that's not a major deterrent. Particles might be a problem though. There are some cool effects that can be done with layer blending effects, like additive, screen and multiply. The ability to spawn lots of extra actors can help create effects, but it looks more natural with blending.
Michael Garofalohttp://photics.com – Author of The Interactive Stencyl Textbook 8)

GwefTech

  • Posts: 306
Quote from: Photics
if I want one actor to be Green and another to be Blue, I have to create two separate actors.

Not sure if this will work, but could you not just have 1 actor with many frames,  and have frame 1 to be red, frame 2 to be green, frame 3 to be blue.  And just use local booleans and use the inspector in scene to initialise which actor is which colour?
## Mike
Picsel28 (formerly GwefTech)
Website - http://www.picsel28.cymru/ 
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/mikejones89  +  http://www.twitter.com/Picsel28

Photics

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Not sure if this will work, but could you not just have 1 actor with many frames,  and have frame 1 to be red, frame 2 to be green, frame 3 to be blue.  And just use local booleans and use the inspector in scene to initialise which actor is which colour?

That's a creative workaround. I think it would work at keeping the number of actors down.

The problem is that all the different images add size to the game. Also, it would be harder to visualize in the scene editor, as all the actors would be the same color.
Michael Garofalohttp://photics.com – Author of The Interactive Stencyl Textbook 8)

darkknighth20

  • Posts: 97
As Photics has astutely pointed out, we've rolled out a new front page for real this time (if you're logged in, you can find it here too), and on top of that, the entire "Make Games" section has also gotten a redo.

None of this signals that 3.0 is here yet, but due to some special circumstances, I've been working mainly on the website and plan to do a little more work on it in the coming days.
That's probably for the best, since the website had for awhile mentioned a release date for 3.0 that had passed. Also, since not everyone views the forums, they only notice updates done to the public-facing parts of the website, so at the very least, this will allow them to know things are progressing (shame on those non-community people who refuse to integrate into our Stencyl cult society!).  8)
- DarkKnightH20
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