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Using Stencyl in a team setting

harshhsrah

  • Posts: 16
We are a small game development studio with a core team of 3 and a couple of additional freelance artists that we work with in some of our projects. We have released around 30-35 small games on iOS/Android with 7-8 mn downloads till date. We also make games for PC/Mac and sell it through portals like Big Fish Games, Iwin etc. as our target audience is casual female gamers. As such, the game genres that we target are solitaire, match-3, mahjong etc.

We think that game engine, specifically game coding is not relevant as we all are in the business of making games using computers and it doesn't matter how we make those. 
Our core team is inclined towards visual design and most of the times our prototypes actually end up being final games. Currently we use Adobe AIR and have over years built a customised framework  for developing games specific to our needs but it lacks a bit in cross platform performance which has led us to explore various visual coding options of which Stencyl looks very promising.
That brings us to the following questions which we would greatly appreciate if any of the veterans could give us some answers/pointers to.

1) How effective is Stencyl to use in a team setting? e.g. If one team member is working on the main game and another is working on 3-4 meta games, how easy it is to integrate the project together.
2) Can Stencyl handle the development and build of large size games? Our games for PC/MAC on the casual game portals can be in the 150-250MB range. (large number of high res graphics/sounds etc.).
3) How much risk is there to the future development and customer support for the software? As we understand the Stencyl team is quite small and the software is sold as a yearly subscription which led to this question.

I am returning to Stencyl, I guess after 7 years or so (when it only did Flash export), so did such a long post..hoping to get some good pointers..

« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 09:29:20 am by harshhsrah »

NobodyX

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  • Posts: 1202
Trying to answer as best I can.

1) I hate to say it, because I love stencyl and I want everyone to use stencyl, but this aspect is pretty bad right now. You can export and import actors and behaviours and assets one by one to switch them between projects but that's about it. Last I tried I couldn't do it with scenes. Personally I just do everything in one project even if I think they might be a part of separate games later.

2) 3.5 which is currently in beta handles this much, much better than the current public release. Large graphics would create major problems in the editor but as far as I know this has been totally fixed already I think. As for the time it takes to load a game for testing, you can set at what points within the game graphics and sounds are loaded using atlases, so it should be manageable to work with as long as you split it up enough, I assume.

3) I hope things will be good.
“If you wind up with a boring, miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on TV telling you how to do your shit, then YOU DESERVE IT.”
― Frank Zappa

yoplalala

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  • Posts: 1437
1) Not the best part of Tencyl
but to add to what NobodyX said
- You can easily copy block of codes if you open 2 Stencyl
- I actually think it shouldn't be too difficult to join different projects together with some program to batch rename the files
3) I actually think it's a good part of Stencyl. In fact the engine is open source. It uses openfl and haxe which are also opensource and which have no risk of stopping
So if ever Stencyl dies for some reasons, you could still continue your project.

NickamonPoppytail

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  • Posts: 643
Can Stencyl handle the development and build of large size games? Our games for PC/MAC on the casual game portals can be in the 150-250MB range. (large number of high res graphics/sounds etc.).

Yes it can. A couple of other Stencyl users have been making a game called Jacbil Gobbet which according to Ceosol is almost 1GB, so this should be possible. You may have to raise Stencyl's memory limit for this, though.

ceosol

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  • Posts: 2178
Can Stencyl handle the development and build of large size games? Our games for PC/MAC on the casual game portals can be in the 150-250MB range. (large number of high res graphics/sounds etc.).

Yes it can. A couple of other Stencyl users have been making a game called Jacbil Gobbet which according to Ceosol is almost 1GB, so this should be possible. You may have to raise Stencyl's memory limit for this, though.

I use the external data extension. Almost none of those 1GB's are actually in the stencyl file. On its own, the stencyl file is about 50 MB.

ceosol

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  • Posts: 2178
About number1...

I have merged games before, but you have to be aware of the following steps:

1. Make sure each person uses different naming. For instance, I would use MovementC and you would use MovementH. Every other behavior I work on would have a C at the end of it. If you try to import a behavior with the same name, it messes up.

2. If you can, have your team work on completely different things. One person can work on the player character, one person on the enemy and the other person on scenes. This makes merging files so much easier because you are not stepping on each others toes.

3. When merging, it is not exact, especially in terms on global game attributes. Try your best to keep use of game attributes to a minimum unless they are all named the exact same thing in everybody's files.

4. Merging the same behaviors will take a bit of work - that is why I suggested working on different aspects/behaviors of the game. If you are doing two of the same behavior, e.g. MovementC and MovementH, you will need to go through the events manually and copy/paste whichever code you want into the master Movement behavior. It takes a little bit more time, but it is better than starting from scratch.

Exporting behaviors or actors creates a .png file. The data and coding is embedded in the .png. All you have to do is click "import resource" and select the .png in the file browser.

harshhsrah

  • Posts: 16
Thanks everyone...
This helps a lot ...Getting so many replies within 24 hours makes a strong case for Stencyl.

That said, regarding the project management, I think I understand how it works now with the behaviour exports and maintaining a library of some sort. A proper naming convention and structuring of the project is key.
In our games typically we have one person woking on the main game and other working on mini-games...to illustrate this consider the main game as a  point an click adventure wherein all the gameplay mechanics such as picking objects, using inventory etc. will happen in the main game while the mini game will be be something completely different, like if the player clicks on locked door, a jigsaw puzzle mini game will start. This jigsaw puzzle game code is completely independent of the the main game mechanics and is done by a different team member who will be working on multiple such mini games. The final build will be a package of the  main game and the mini games. Presently our Adobe AIR framework uses .swc files for different mini games (guys coming from AS3 background will know how this works).
Correct me if I am wrong but In Stencyl I think the mini games can be different scenes which can be exported and kept in a library and imported when the final project is built. Is this approach correct or do we need to do things differently.
Thanks again for all the help 

ceosol

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  • Posts: 2178
Correct me if I am wrong but In Stencyl I think the mini games can be different scenes which can be exported and kept in a library and imported when the final project is built. Is this approach correct or do we need to do things differently.
Thanks again for all the help 

I have never imported a scene. What you could do is have the scene generate in a scene behavior and then play out in that same scene behavior or in a different scene behavior. Back in the main game, you would import the scene behavior(s) and attach them to a blank new scene.

harshhsrah

  • Posts: 16
Correct me if I am wrong but In Stencyl I think the mini games can be different scenes which can be exported and kept in a library and imported when the final project is built. Is this approach correct or do we need to do things differently.
Thanks again for all the help 

I have never imported a scene. What you could do is have the scene generate in a scene behavior and then play out in that same scene behavior or in a different scene behavior. Back in the main game, you would import the scene behavior(s) and attach them to a blank new scene.

Thanks Ceosol. This sounds like a doable solution.
The only thing is that the scene designer cannot be used to place actors. Instead everything will have to be generated and positioned dynamically in the scene using a scene build behaviour and all the actors need to be attached beforehand to the blank scene in the main game.

ceosol

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Correct.

There is something to be said for generating the scene at run time, too. It gives you full control over everything, since you are generating it, instead of having to find it and possible getting null references when adding/deleting stuff to the scene.