Dear Jon... (Get it?)

JoeRice

  • Posts: 18
Hi guys and girls,

I've been using Stencyl for a few years now and although I don't post in the forums that often I do visit frequently - the community here is fantastic and I've really enjoyed being a part of it, if only as a spectator. I've made a few flash games during my time here and have been lucky enough to have several of them sponsored, but I feel like I'm ready to move on to larger, desktop orientated games and had been looking forward to meeting this challenge with Stencyl. However, upon further evaluation I feel that not only is Stencyl not the best option, it is not really viable. I know there have been several (successful) efforts to develop higher quality games for desktop platforms, but quite frankly there are features missing from the tool kit that are inexcusable and make the task infinitely harder... some of these omissions affect the quality of even flash games and our ability to get our work sponsored.

As a result, I've decided that in order to take my career as a games developer further, the only logical solution is to move onto a new development platform. I've enjoyed my experiences with Stencyl, and before I closed the door on my time here, I felt it only fair to give some feedback in the hopes that the software can be improved to a point that people like me may be inclined to stay on board.

Flash pre-loaders The support for flash pre-loaders is awful. Anything more than a splash screen with a customisable load bar is either impossible or a nightmare to get working. If you're looking to get your game sponsored, you will almost certainly have to use a custom pre-loader supplied by the sponsor. In my experience, most sponsors have been fairly amicable in accepting an alternative that is within the capabilities of Stencyl, but it makes me look less than professional and at some point I can imagine it being a deal breaker. Also, advertisers these days make use of pre-loaders that require click-to-continue mechanics. This is not possible for the novice user (if at all) and therefore limits potential valuations of Stencyl games.

File I/O While the Save/Load blocks are useful and make the process easy for beginners, the system lacks depth and makes any more sophisticated saving systems unfeasible. It would be nice to have some input/output blocks to take this into our own hands, as well as save settings, import resources etc.

2Dimensional Array For the love of god can we please get a 2d array attribute?! Not Maps, not 3rd party extensions, just a working block that allows me to use one of the most basic fundamentals in programming/data storage.

Right Click Support See previous item.

Displaying Text The methods for displaying text are incredibly crude. With no built in controls for things like text entry fields, list boxes etc any efforts to display large amounts of data become incredibly tiresome.

StencylForge The StencylForge is a joke. Most of what little resources are on there are of terrible quality, it's incredibly slow to respond and it's organised very poorly. It needs a MAJOR overhaul to be of any real use and without a way of monetising downloads there is no real incentive for anyone to spend the time to make good quality content. A decent resource library a la Unity's Asset Store would help create higher quality projects, speed up workflow and allow users to earn additional revenue.

Cross Platform/Version Issues The situation as it stands now means if I'm making a game on my Mac with version 3.2, I have to finish it on my Mac with version 3.2. Every experiment I've had with sharing game files between different computers (Windows/Mac) or updating Stencyl mid-development has led to failure. Obviously, this has huge implications when it comes to working as part of a team.

That's it folks! I hope my feedback will be considered constructive and who knows, if some of these features are implemented in future releases I may well find myself back on the wagon. My hearty congratulations and thanks go out to Jon and the team for the sterling work they've done so far, and I wish you all good luck in your game-making endeavours.

Stay frosty!

Joe

Donni11

  • *
  • Posts: 2182
@Flash pre-loaders, just buy the Indie licence.
Peace

SquarePug

  • Posts: 148
Very fair feedback. Im sure it will get seen.

I think the shame with the stencylforge is that it would probably take a while to do so in terms of priority it is way behind other things. I reckon if you had a voting system for members of features they would like to see then members would pick lots of other features before the stencylforge was redone (like HTML5 fully supported, analytics for mobile, more mobile ad systems natively supported, better pre-loaders...the list could go on). But agreed, a store like Unitys where stencylers could create quality assets and charge for them would be great. Unity is a much bigger operation overall though compared to stencyl so its difficult to ask for things to be as good.

Good luck with your new game(s)    :)
Website: Satch
Twitter: @satchapps.

Rimrook

  • Posts: 251
I took the time to read all that and I agree with it.

Especially 2D Array. I'm using the 'split into words' as a list and getting a specific item number from that list to get data.
Setting data to that list is a nightmare as I have to extract the data, recompose it with text&text blocks, then do a 'for each item' block and search each item if it matches using the first method mentioned, then finally setting but. It's a headache. Again with text boxes/list boxes is that I have to do some crazy math to make the text fit and its unreliable.

I actually don't post to the forge because I know it'll be lost and not found.  I post to the shared resources forum.


Meestar

  • Posts: 652
I took the time to read all that and I agree with it.

Especially 2D Array. I'm using the 'split into words' as a list and getting a specific item number from that list to get data.
Setting data to that list is a nightmare as I have to extract the data, recompose it with text&text blocks, then do a 'for each item' block and search each item if it matches using the first method mentioned, then finally setting but. It's a headache. Again with text boxes/list boxes is that I have to do some crazy math to make the text fit and its unreliable.  This is super easy to do if you are using the "When Drawing" event.

I actually don't post to the forge because I know it'll be lost and not found.  I post to the shared resources forum.

Why do you not store the position in the list of the item you may need to replace instead of all of that other crazy stuff?  Also, what crazy math do you need to do with text boxes/list boxes?  You need the width and height of your text area, and then need to break dialog apart one word at a time and see if that line can fit.  If it can, keep processing words.  If it can't, skip a line and start the process again.
PM me if you require help.  I'm always glad to help out!

cloa513

  • Posts: 245
You have to use extensions to make text workable. The RPG dialog box is awesome.