Is Stencyl Dying?

esterD

  • Posts: 4
Hello to anyone who is actually seeing this.

Please understand this question comes from my heart. I am in no way meaning to offend anyone. I am just heartbroken about my experience with Stencyl and I am not sure what to do about it.

I have been trying to create a game using Stencyl, but I find every time I do anything in Stencyl, nothing works correctly and all material for learning is all out dated with broken links, broken flash videos, or forum posts that are years old! What is with Stencyl? Even the most simple logic is not working in this thing.

1) I started out wanting to make a merging chemist game. But each time I tried to get objects to merge in game, it wouldn't work. I did eventually get the logic to work but then because of how Stencyl works, the logic would actually fail randomly. So I figured, ok a bug, and  decided I just wouldn't make that type of game with Stencyl.

2)Next I attempted to make a top down RPG type game. The only thing I needed to do was get items to draw in the proper z ordering so they didn't overlap incorrectly while playing the game. This is something you see in many games these days, so I was confident Stencyl would have a logic for it. I tried several different block arrangements.  There was NOTHING to read in the documentation about it except some methods for using the z ordering blocks that didn't work upon running the game. All posts in the forums lead to dead ends. To be fair, most of them were from 2014. So, I decided to make my own thread. Only a few people replied.  One seemed willing to help, but was too busy with his own life to actually explain what and how to impliment his "work around". He eventually resorted to giving me over to an other's website to purchase someone else's completed programming.  I appreciated the effort, but my goal was to learn how to use Stencyl, not have someone else do the work for me. 

3) So, being I was finding no way to learn how to make proper game z ordering work with blocks, I gave up on that and decided to start over and just do a scrolling game. No merging, no need for any z ordering, just scrolling and characters interacting with other Actors.  It wasn't the game I set out to make, but I still thought it would be fun. I was able to get a simple setup with land to walk on and a character to walk back and forth on it. I placed some items on the board as well. Then I went to the task of making a behavior that allows items to grow slightly when hovered over with the mouse.  This is another super simple game logic that should have been quick and easy.  I first used the On Actor Event and created an "enters Actor" logic.  I put a  "grow actor" block in there and added the behavior to the desired actors. I saved and found when I ran the game, it did absolutely nothing. Simple logic, "Enter Actor>Grow Self". There is no way to mess this up.  I went to the learning center. The Code Block documentation gave me nothing I could use. The "Stencyl TV" thing was broken. I even found an interactive Stencyl Book? Yeah, broken link.  I went back to the forums and found an old post from 2014 again. (that was an active year for the forums it seems.) It stated I needed to put my code blocks in the Updating event. So I did, with an if statement that used an "mouse is over self" block.  But you know what, it doesn't work. It does absolutely nothing. I'm not surprised. Because this tends to be my experience with Stencyl. Perfectly sound logic fails at runtime and no help is found in forums or any of the resources available because they all say that what I did should be working.  My guess is, the program may be now riddled with bugs and nobody is fixing them. Or maybe there isn't enough people available to fix them. All I know is, this should have worked. There was no reason it shouldn't. I should have been able to use Code blocks to simply recreate such a simple logic as EnterMouse>GrowActor.  That simple actions like this are not working leads me to conclude Stencyl is not as high quality as I had hoped.

Now I am asking myself, Why are all the video's broken? Shouldn't they have been updated past Flash by now if someone was actually serious about Stencyl continuing on? Why are all the learning resources so vague? Why must I always search the forums for answers that aren't there? Why are the only people offering me support sending me to their website to buy their products?

I truly wanted to create a game that I could be proud of and go through the whole process of publishing and doing my part by paying Stencyl to host my game or whatever else was required to get my game out there, but this has gotten to the point I don't even believe Stencyl is even a "REAL" thing anymore.  Stencyl was hailed to me as a platform that was aimed at making game creation easy and fun. It has been everything BUT these things.

My hope is you will not delete this post and realize that everything I have said here has been because I have genuinely been quite frustrated with Stencyl having not given me the experience I thought was available to me based on what was advertised.  I am truly reaching out to find out why I can't find support. Is there any reason for me to believe, I, as someone with minimal programing background, can actually MAKE a game like all the Stencyl Advertisements tell me I can? Because up to this point. I am unconvinced.


merrak

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  • Posts: 2696
I think it's fair to say that forums are losing popularity--not just the Stencyl forums, but web forums in general. Much of the Stencyl community has moved over to the Discord chat. It's certainly much more convenient to ask questions live, but there is a notable downside--forum activity created a nice, searchable archive of questions and answers. If someone gets their question answered in the Discord chat, that answer is not searchable. Most of the screenshots and devlog type posts that would've been posted to the journals thread is now on Twitter (check out the #madeinstencyl tag).

I think the holes in documentation need to be addressed, since we now need a substitute for Q&A thread archives. Old video channels have gone--and while new ones have replaced them (Luyren's Quick Tips, for example), they're harder to find on the forums.

I'd be curious how you set up the logic for the item merging game. If you're using physics, I'd guess most of the "random" failures are actually related to floating point numerical comparisons, timing problems, or some combination. The Stencyl engine is pretty solid, so I can tell you that there are solutions to the issues you've ran into.

Z-ordering is often misunderstood. A Z-order isn't a "layer within a layer". Rather, each layer has a list of actors it contains (called children in OpenFL). The child's Z-order is its position in the list of the parent's children. Hence, if a layer has 8 actors and you set its Z-order to 1000, there will be no effect. What you need to do is sort the list of children by the y-coordinate their feet (y-coordinate + height of actor, or just y-coordinate works if all actors are the same height)

It'd be nice to have this functionality built-in, or in an extension. Here is one solution, though: http://community.stencyl.com/index.php?topic=47517.0

Cobra Blade

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  • Posts: 63
I sure hope it isn't. I've used so many game creator tools, but have never forgotten my time with Stencyl thanks to its unique and fun coding style. It was real easy in Stencyl 2.0 as the StencylForge had so many ready-made kits. Whatever you were planning to code could already be found and dropped into your project.

It has been so many years since I used Stencyl I won't be able to help, but I do hope you find a solution to the multiple hurdles you did encounter.

vicevicebingo

  • Posts: 80
Um can be exciting?
click on monster
+1 exp
but finally the longer game
is no hilarious thing happesn.


Max Marin

  • Posts: 138
@esterD If you give me your .stencyl projects, I'll fix them and tell you where you failed or failed the program.
I'm human

Apamaster

  • Posts: 117
If it is true it is very uncared-for. and other game engines are more active than stencyl. Despite being generally easy, the code still has unknowns, which have not been resolved.
But every time there are fewer people I think due to the lack of documentation.

Bombini

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  • Posts: 1397
Getting into Stencyl:
I think that is is difficult for someone new to Stencyl to find their way through the information and documentation as you said. There is a lot outdated information, a lot new which is very good but also difficult to find if you don't know where to look. It really helped me to use pre built behaviours in the beginning just to understand it. It would be helpful to clean up this web forum and i think Stencyl would need a dedicated person because it is also a lot of work. 

I also became quite frustrated at a certain point with this web forum. Moving my attention to the discord of Stencyl helped me a lot to get the feeling of being part of this community again. So i agree. This web forum feels outdated and merrak has a good point that this is not only a Stencyl problem.

Why am i sticking with Stencyl?
  • The way it works. I prefer it over other game making tools. I know how coding works but i cant write code. I get bored remembering the language and all the details. I am a visual guy.
  • The community is very nice, respectful and helpful
  • I know how it works after a few years

I think its really important to check what feature your game will need and if Stencyl supports it. Unfortunately this requires some work. I would use a different game maker tool if you wan to rely on certain features (proper light system for example) or a proper market place where you can buy code modules.

I think Stencyl is not using its full business potential because it makes is more difficult for new Stencylers like you. It feels like a small crowd of individuals which is for me actually one of the things i like best about it :)

designpeg

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  • Posts: 731
I'm still using Stencyl daily. I was a little concerned that there hadn't been an update to the private builds download since last November! I saw that a new beta was made available last week, so that's reassuring, especially the updating of lime and haxe to the latest versions, as is the talk of 4.2 version of Stencyl.

Luyren

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  • Posts: 2705
I'm still using Stencyl daily. I was a little concerned that there hadn't been an update to the private builds download since last November! I saw that a new beta was made available last week, so that's reassuring, especially the updating of lime and haxe to the latest versions, as is the talk of 4.2 version of Stencyl.
All subscribers get access to the changelog in the Discord server. For the past weeks we have had new builds dropping nearly every other day.
My Stencyl resources are available here: https://luyren.itch.io/
Cutscenes, RPG Elements, Particles, Map System and many more.
Twitter

Bombini

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  • Posts: 1397
I wasn't aware of the changelog channel. This is so cool!

chikegar

  • Posts: 2
I'm in the process of  helping my 13 year old son choose a game engine.  I like the idea behind Stencyl being cross platform(made presumably in Java), uses Scratch block codes and implements the Haxe language which transpiles to many languages. I enjoy reading how the visual coding translates to the Haxe language.  But I'd have to agree that many of the learning resources are wanting ...

merrak

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  • Posts: 2696
I'm in the process of  helping my 13 year old son choose a game engine.  I like the idea behind Stencyl being cross platform(made presumably in Java), uses Scratch block codes and implements the Haxe language which transpiles to many languages. I enjoy reading how the visual coding translates to the Haxe language.  But I'd have to agree that many of the learning resources are wanting ...

I think part of the problem is that there are a lot of good resources, but it's hard to find them. Luyren's Stencyl Tips is one of the most comprehensive set of tutorials--and also recent.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/user/ViolinistPenguin/videos

The Discord chat is also a great resource, but not appropriate for kids. I believe the minimum age is 13--not an issue  for your son in particular, but could be for others looking at Stencyl for their kids.

Photics

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  • Posts: 719
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I even found an interactive Stencyl Book? Yeah, broken link.

Do you mean my book? I checked the website and the link works.

https://photics.com/books/stencyl-textbook/

Currently, this book is free to download. Where did you see this broken link?

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Please understand this question comes from my heart. I am in no way meaning to offend anyone. I am just heartbroken about my experience with Stencyl and I am not sure what to do about it.

This doesn't offend me. Actually, this is a problem that I'm concerned about. I was thinking about refreshing my previous book projects, which includes the Stencyl book, but I am concerned about the future of Stencyl. I've been working on https://photics.tv — which is mainly an educational / tech channel on YouTube.

Although, now that I see that documentation is one of the main concerns, maybe I should get to work. The idea was to create a Stencyl playlist and then promote a new edition of a Stencyl book.

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I think it's fair to say that forums are losing popularity--not just the Stencyl forums, but web forums in general.

Yeah, it does seem that way. Forums are kinda dead these days. It's hard to build a community around a website when everyone chats on the major social networks. Although, I think this forum could use some work. It's hard to format a nice reply. It's a bit discouraging, as writing a book is not an easy task.

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It would be helpful to clean up this web forum and i think Stencyl would need a dedicated person because it is also a lot of work. 

I also became quite frustrated at a certain point with this web forum.

The website does look like it could use an overhaul and it is a lot of work. I don't know what resources are available to Stencyl, but maybe the forum software should be changed to something more modern and easier to manage. The folks at Tumult seem to like Discourse. They certainly have the capability to run their own forum, but they went third-party so they could focus their efforts on building their software.

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But every time there are fewer people I think due to the lack of documentation.

Seriously? Is that the consensus around here? Is documentation really that needed? How interested are you in an ebook (that would probably be $25), YouTube videos, and downloadable examples?

If the demand is really there, I could start working right away.
Michael Garofalohttp://photics.com – Author of The Interactive Stencyl Textbook 8)