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3.4 Recap and Beyond


Josh

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I've got a couple days sales data from the 3.4 launch and it went well. Our conversion ratio and all that boring businessey stuff is good, and I know more now than I did last week. I think our intro video could use some updating and a little more professional polish, so I am looking for a video production company to create something new.

 

I was planning to make a trip back to Caifornia soon. I was going to skip the GDC, but I then got invited to the Valve party. I guess they're hiring the band Glitch Mob to play at Folsom Nightclub, which is kind of awesome.

 

This isn't enough to make me want to go, but I remember my Valve VR demo came about because I was randomly talking to someone at Steam Dev Days and they emailed me about it later. So even if you don't get something out of it every time, I think it's necessary that I do these kind of networking things. Not sure if I'll attend the GDC expo itself or not yet, I need to figure out my plans today.

 

When I get back, work will begin on version 3.5, due out this summer. I want this update to include carving, vegetation, vertex editing, and I have a few other features in mind that will be included based on how much time I have.

 

There's also a class of improvements I want to make that are more "systemic". This includes driver bugs from third-party vendors (looking at you AMD), bugs or bad design in third-party libraries (GTK), and some improvements I can make in our core renderer design. Uniform buffers and FBOs are two low-level systems I am looking at. I think this will solve the Linux model editor issue and improve performance quite a lot on Linux systems in particular, and have some gains on Windows.

 

These are potentially destabilizing changes I do not want to attempt this week. I need to be able to do a quick turnaround if any small bugs are discovered right now, and having the renderer all taken apart isn't a good idea at the moment.

 

Finally, we have a problem with tutorials that needs to be addressed. I keep seeing post after post of people asking where the tutorials are. When you see threads like this, it indicates a problem. I have tried to make the documentation and tutorials pages as "in your face" as possible, yet people still ask where they are...it's the very first thing you see when you run the program! This is probably the most important problem to solve going forward, and has a much stronger effect on us than any feature I can implement or improvement I can make to the software itself.

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When I get back, work will begin on version 3.5, due out this summer. I want this update to include carving, vegetation, vertex editing, and I have a few other features in mind that will be included based on how much time I have.

 

patrick-star-drool.jpg

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Finally, we have a problem with tutorials that needs to be addressed.

Tutorials are not centralized enought, it would be better to have a complete web page page divided in categories of tutorials and links like :

- terrain

- BSP

- character movement

- camera

- shaders

- AI

- Navbmesh tool

- Model editor

- Collisions

- objects interaction

....

 

The tutorial menu is too small and don't contain all that is spread on the site forums unfortunatelly.

 

There is unofficial WIKI , and many blogs that should be put on tutorial as the information they contains is anywhere else (like blog about model editor new features)

 

 

Why there is not pinned thread on programming named "tutorials" or "tips" ?

 

I have tried to make the documentation and tutorials pages as "in your face" as possible

Just do like Epic, put a documentation and tutorial buttons directly on the editor , clicking on them it will open a Web page summarizing all tutorials available.

 

I forgot, but there are some other new users that made a really great suite of video tutorials, they should be in the tutorial page also.

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Just do like Epic, put a documentation and tutorial buttons directly on the editor , clicking on them it will open a Web page summarizing all tutorials available.

The Help button in the editor navigates to this page:

http://www.leadwerks.com/werkspace/page/documentation

 

Although there's some great stuff out there and I am grateful for it, user-made documentation is ultimately destructive. There's a lack of cohesiveness and overall design, it gets outdated and never updated, and sometimes it teaches things the wrong way. The fact people are so reliant on third-party tutorials is an indication that this is an area that needs improvement.

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There's a lack of cohesiveness and overall design, it gets outdated and never updated

Just give some tag to videos or web pages like "outdated"

Some filter could skip them also if the user would need it.

I don't know Epic has tons of video tutorials , a lot made by users, something Epic could not do alone. You will need users in depth tutorial talking about specific things ,not covered.

 

Anyway , just do as you feel is the best :)

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The Help button in the editor navigates to this page:

http://www.leadwerks.com/werkspace/page/documentation

 

While a list of classes and functions is good for the experienced person who is just looking to remember the function name or param list it does nothing for a new person about showing how to combine them to make some functionality for their game. That's what they care about. How do I make a HUD? How do I make an inventory? How do I make my AI do x? These are the questions that can't be answered with that kind of documentation for a person who may be new to game dev in general.

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I was going to skip the GDC, but I then got invited to the Valve party. I guess they're hiring the band Glitch Mob to play at Folsom Nightclub, which is kind of awesome.

Congrats! I guess they are not into the California rap scene ;)

 

I like YouGroove's suggestion though, maybe even allow other users to be able to edit and add onto tutorials if they are out of date or incomplete?

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Sounds like 3.5 is going to be awesome :)

 

I think most new users will just fire the editor up and skip straight passed the help popup and get stuck into playing with it. Then when they get lost they probably go to the forums or search the web for tutorials and videos etc. Then when all else fails, "oh yeah let me have a look at the official help from within the editor". - well that's me anyway :P

 

I just had a look at the tutorials page and at first glance it looked like there were only 4 tutorials. Maybe have some intro text at the top with instructions to use the category links on the right for more tutorials to be sure people can't miss them.

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While a list of classes and functions is good for the experienced person who is just looking to remember the function name or param list it does nothing for a new person about showing how to combine them to make some functionality for their game. That's what they care about. How do I make a HUD? How do I make an inventory? How do I make my AI do x? These are the questions that can't be answered with that kind of documentation for a person who may be new to game dev in general.

 

That, is the real problem...

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That, is the real problem...

 

I second this. This is only good for the experienced and I would guess that the market for LE is primarily beginner's and individual developers.

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Thanks for the feedback guys. I've hired Jorn for some temporary work and he and I are going to go through all the documentation and revamp things into a linear list of tutorials. Connecting the details of how things work with making gameplay is a priority.

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you can improve your search. I hate it to think about where may be i find some usefull informations... hmm. forum or website (what s ment by website?)

 

KISS keep it simple stupid... not only one tool to rule the world please add one search algo to find any kind of information at any place (forum, tutorial, docs etc...)

that will help a lot from my point of view :)

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you can improve your search. I hate it to think about where may be i find some usefull informations... hmm. forum or website (what s ment by website?)

 

KISS keep it simple stupid... not only one tool to rule the world please add one search algo to find any kind of information at any place (forum, tutorial, docs etc...)

that will help a lot from my point of view smile.png

See what you think of this:

http://www.leadwerks.com/werkspace/page/search?q=model

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I like it but where do i find it? (without knowing that url?)

if i do the search with the combobox up right there i only get a result a lot different. just try it out enter model into the field and hit search...

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It's just something I was playing with. Isn't implemented, I was just wondering if a full-site search was better. If I switch to this then you won't be able to search within a specific forum.

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I would like both, like a site search and detailed search. Sometimes I know where or what it is and just want to search for specific criteria.

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I think the documentation is more than adequate for some with programming skills.. But perhaps (Think I've already seen 1 or 2 like that) do some video tutorial, about creating a single SIMPLE game from A to Z using Leadwerk.

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I just see some points in LE3 after the better docs :

 

1) BSP tools are too much basic, useless if you want to work faster and make more complex things faster.

It is a core feature, but it didn't got any tools additions since LE3 came out.

Should not BSP Tools be a bigger priority and extend possibilties like loop select, loop cut, multi bevel etc ... ?

I think lof of beginners would appreciate to have a complete BSP modeling tools and as easy as Sketch Up.

 

2) Another point i see is lacking for non 3D artists , is content packs.

More character packs (soldiers, monsters, medieval, aliens ...) with a script ready to drag and drop in LE3 projects. Some new environement packs perhaps. Like FPS Creator packs.

 

Also really hope to see some Asset Store like in LE3 and having 3D artists selling their models elsewhere also spreading them in LE3 Store.

 

3) Game templates

LE3 has FPS by default gam, but it could be attractive for people to find other game genre complete game templates :

- FPS, TPS shooter , Racing and AI , Flying game, Sailing pirate boat game , space ship game , strategy, Diablo hack n Slash puzzle game ...

 

4) UI

LE3 dont have any , and it seems Flow GUI is the only cheap solution ou there. LE3 Should advert about having GUI functions but also a cheap ready to use complete GUI system like FlowGUI.

 

I just hope for BSP to go really farther in terms of tools as BSP is one of the core selling features in LE3.

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1) Agree.

2) Agree.

3) Agree.

4) Agree. I actually had the idea of a scripted GUI system that just uses script functions for all the rendering and event handling, but the parenting stuff is built into Leadwerks. This would still allow extreme flexibility and freedom (FlowGUI would work just fine within it) but provide a built-in template that handles the parts people seem to have trouble with.

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Agree. I actually had the idea of a scripted GUI system that just uses script functions for all the rendering and event handling, but the parenting stuff is built into Leadwerks

In fact i was thinking about advert and promotion, nothing is shown about GUI.

So showing on videos or adverts FlowGui and some of it's coool features and examples like Inventory , will be better perhaps ?

 

But if you have ideas to bring something related to GUI in LE3 it's even better.

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That's not good because I don't really have any control over the development of that, so there can be a lot of confusion. Ideally we would have a system that has some standardization but still allows third parties to add their own controls and skins since there's no way one hard-coded system can do everything anyone would want.

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Would agree a store is probably necessary (see FPS Creator Reloaded/Construct 2/Game maker as well as Unity etc.).

 

For beginners I found Jorn's YouTube tutorials were essential for me to get up to speed in an applied but modular fashion.

 

I think construct 2 and their web site get a lot of things right for getting started and building community and resources. (You're probably not meant to mention other software but this is 2D and it seems relevant to point it out specifically).

 

An easy way for LW to help new users is a nice attractive splash/start page like construct 2 has. It isn't a splash as such because it doesn't go away and is actually useful. The page actually stays open all the time in a tab (which fits their tabbed interface fine). You can disable it in configuration.

 

construct2.png

 

There's loads of useful stuff on there.

- 2 'full' game projects (with tuts to follow)

- Many real world useful skeleton templates (endless runner etc.).

- Links to manual, tutorials, forums and store

- You Tube FB etc.

- Friendly 'Plain English' *sentence* re-iterating same info above it.

 

Importantly the graphic and presentation are nice enough and readable enough that I don't feel compelled to turn this of and it is still a convenient place to do whatever task you want to do on program start (new/open/recent projects). If a program is aimed at beginners or users that want approachable software then the start UI can probably be more inviting than a traditional and typical windows software.

 

 

They also provide a resource pack (as LW does) which isn't mentioned in here but seems well signposted on the web site I think .

 

I get a strong impression from construct (Scirra) that they have done usability testing, and acted upon it.

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