2019-08-01

Engines

Hey nobody! Sorry to let you down, but I didn't work on Alight at all for the last two months. But, I do have a post for you today. Expect these to become a monthly thing from now on... especially since I literally delayed making this post for 30 days.

So I've sort of had Alight on soft-hold for this time, because of engines. I've been researching different 3D engines quite a bit recently for another (much larger scale) project. Originally I really wanted to write a proprietary engine for that project, but I decided against doing so for similar reasons that I decided against writing a proprietary engine for Alight. I'm impatient. I just want to tell my story, finish my game, and move on. As much as I would be able to learn from the experience, my patience would strangle me before I'd be able to sit down with SDL2 & C and program an engine for my needs.
So what engine is Alight using? Well, I'm using GameMaker. Why? Well, I own a copy of it, I've used it since I was about 7, and I actually love GML. GML is like the slightly retarded son of C, but it's so much better than having to put up with another shitty variant of Python, or using Java or JavaScript.
OK, OK. Let me clarify my statement from the start of this paragraph. Why has Alight been on soft-hold? Well, a little while ago I migrated Alight's development to GameMaker:Studio 2. This turned out to be a massive mistake, though. Not because the experience was worse - it's certainly a reasonable improvement over GameMaker:Studio 1.4, and the quality of life changes are fantastic - but not long after I started using it, GameMaker:Studio 2's free trial switched from a limited feature trial (less rooms, etc.) to a limited time trial. This basically paralysed me, because I didn't want to invest time into a project that could just be bricked if I couldn't afford the staggering price of the engine at the end of the trial period. I find trials to be really stressful and annoying (and abusable), but they are a better business strategy unfortunately.
But we're back! For development to resume I just have to move all the code I wrote in GM:S2 back to GM:S1.4, which should take me a couple of days. Development will of course be slower while I have university work to complete, but the project's future is looking better than it did when I wanted to make this post last month.

THE GOOD NEWS:
1) I came up with a new draft of the story which makes a lot more sense and is far more coherent than the last draft. Having this clearer vision should greatly assist with pushing me forward to develop the game. Having this vision in my head is what keeps me going, and seeing it realised is always the sweetest reward.
2) Why did I move to GM:S2? I wanted to use its improved tile system, because all I'd ever heard about the tile system in GM:S1.4 is that it was useless. Uh no, it turns out that I can totally use the tile system in GM:S1.4 and there was no need for me to make my own proprietary tile format, nor migrate when I got sick of trying to upgrade it for my needs. Argh!

Well, that's all for now then. Maybe I'll see you in a month, maybe sooner? Who knows.
Thanks for reading,
~zxin

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