Old Design Document


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So I was looking through some old files today, and one that I was surprised to see again was a design document for a new Stencyl feature three years ago: a built-in dialog system! (attached below)

It's been over three years since plans for this feature were first formalized, and nearly two years since I actually programmed it and released it to the public as an extension (and that was adapted from code I wrote over three years ago, back when Stencyl exported games in Java). Looking at it now and comparing it to the original specification, it's surprising how many of the original ideas are still unimplemented. Nevertheless, I've made pretty significant progress in the time I've put into it over the past few years. (in the past, I had to program during breaks from school. Now I program during breaks from working on Stencyl. :P )

Base Functionality:
- Draw characters onto a message graphic and display that graphic? Check!
- Different fonts and colors? Check!

System Extensions:
- Various places to hook in to the main system? Check!
- Ability to run code when certain <tags> appear in the dialog? Check!
- Set of preferences to determine the look and functionality of the plugin? Check!
- These have been part of the Dialog Extension for years, but until the upcoming 2.0 release, have never been selectable in the UI. All users have always been stuck with the default set of plugins.

Different Dialog Styles:
- Define different styles to display dialog with? Check!
- Easy to use properties editor for styles? We're getting there! That's one of the reasons the Data Structures extension was written.

Editing Dialog in Stencyl:
- Since I never coded this into Stencyl itself, some of the ideas I had before don't make a lot of sense. Right now everything is tucked away into the Extensions section of the dashboard, but perhaps it can be better integrated with Design Mode and the Scene Designer in the future.

Other thoughts:
- This document was written at a time when Stencyl only exported to two platforms: Flash and iOS. The prospect of writing code that would work on both platforms was one of the troubling issues of the time. Thankfully, with Haxe, that's a thing of the past! And with recent changes I've implemented in Design Mode over the past year, it won't be too long before dialog plugins can be written in Design Mode, too. :)

What do you guys think? What could make this extension more useful for you? I don't always have a lot of time to work on this extension, but I'm always open to hearing ideas.

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