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Why Isn't Leadwerks More Popular?


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Hello! I hope this is an okay topic. But I am curious. Why isn't Leadwerks more popular than it is? Why aren't there more people on this forum, and why isn't the forum more active than it currently is?

To be frank, I've known about Leadwerks for a long time (years), but I never bothered to work with it. I'm not sure why. And I've played with a lot of game engines. However, when I recently saw Leadwerks was on sale at Humble Bundle, I bit. And, frankly, I don't regret it at all. In fact, I am very enamored with the Leadwerks engine and am planning to develop my game project in it. I like the way it looks (the rendering engine produces a great look, as far as I am concerned), the editor is sufficient (though it could use a few tweaks), and I really like the idea of using LUA and the Flow Graph for repeatable stuff, like auto-opening doors, etc. So, yeah, I'm actually pretty stoked about using this engine.

So, here's sort of why I am asking why Leadwerks isn't more popular that it appears to be. First of all, it's been around for a long time ... about a decade or so already. And, if I remember correctly, Josh had been creating other things before the engine (such as a BSP level editor or some such, right?). So, after 10 years, why isn't this forum crawling with developers? Secondly, Leadwerks has managed to stay alive while other game engines have come and gone. I started out years ago using a game engine called 3D GameStudio. That's an old engine and at one time was considered one of the best indie game engines available. This was back in the day of game engines like Dark Basic, Blitz3D, Torque (Garage Games), etc. Then Unity came along and just seemed to take over. All the game engines I mentioned a moment ago (and a bunch of others)? They're gone (or, as is the case with 3D GameStudio, haven't been updated in years). Yet Leadwerks didn't go under or give in. Leadwerks survived. Even in the face of "giants", like Unreal, making their engines easily available to the masses. This says something to me about Leadwerks. While others have faded away, Leadwerks is still here, still being developed, and now Turbo is being developed, too.

So, if Leadwerks is able to have survived all of this, why isn't the community larger? Why aren't more Leadwerks projects being developed? Why aren't there a ton of LUA scripts available by an active membership? Where's all the stuff you normally see as a result of a thriving, active community?

I'm actually curious about this because I think the Leadwerks engine is pretty great. So, why isn't it more well known and used? 

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The entire industry went "free" and is in a weird place now. I can't imagine if Adobe decided it would be a good idea to give Photoshop away for free, along with the source code. Previously, our big selling point was that you get AAA features for a fraction of the cost, but that isn't really applicable anymore when everyone expects everything for free. There's going to be a squeeze for the next couple of years in this industry, but after that new opportunity will arise.

Unlike a lot of other engines, Leadwerks focused hard on ease of use, which is what kept us strong while so many others died. However, if ease of use is your selling point, you attract beginners who aren't as capable, which means your community won't have as good of output. To get an experienced developer to try something you need some other bait to interest them.

...this has led to me focusing on performance, particular with respect to VR. I go to conferences and I talk to a lot of people, and I pitch them in different ways to see how they react. Everyone I have ever talked to complained about the speed of unity and was kind of embarrassed of using it when it came to performance. This is also why NASA contacted me last year.

Going forward I plan to focus very specifically on this one type of user who is making high-end VR applications, particularly B2B stuff like aerospace, defense, and manufacturing. This is a customer that basically has no choice, they have to use Turbo if they don't want their user to vomit. I hope to have an announcement in a few days, but nothing is finalized yet. In order to win over the mass market, you have to tailor things to one or two specific types of customers, in order to stake out an area you own.

And at the same time, the product is getting better and better. I am really looking forward to the fifth iteration, as it is shaping up to be extremely polished and really on another level.

If you want to understand better what's going on read the book "Crossing the Chasm". Basically, by default everyone wants to use what everyone else uses. The only way to change that is to specialize in one or two areas, at least at first.

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As an amateur user I share the same concerns. Although I really lack deep knowledge of the subject, I have to say that Leadwerks is great from my point of view, the only thing I use is something called reality factory, entity3d, blitz3d and blitzmax, but it has always been a hobby of solving things and learning, however in Leadwerks there is something very striking, productivity is impressive and is the most comfortable thing I have seen compared to other environments in ease of use and performance on my old pc. What I see is that leadwerks is moving very fast and from lua it's nice to see that you can do something and ignore the c++ compilation times. I've always thought of opening a Spanish community on the subject, however this is progressing by leaps and bounds and I think leadwerks 4 will be forgotten as it is eclipsed by the Turbe Game engine. 

I am very grateful to its creator, it is always good to learn something new. 

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The forums are generally less busy when josh is working on a new major version of the engine. He generally loses some regulars when he does this too. I remember LE 4 suffered some community losses but he picks up new people with the new version.

 

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11 hours ago, Josh said:

The entire industry went "free" and is in a weird place now. I can't imagine if Adobe decided it would be a good idea to give Photoshop away for free, along with the source code. Previously, our big selling point was that you get AAA features for a fraction of the cost, but that isn't really applicable anymore when everyone expects everything for free. There's going to be a squeeze for the next couple of years in this industry, but after that new opportunity will arise.

Yes. It was especially surprising to see an engine like Unreal made available for "free". However, "free" hasn't stopped people from purchasing or investing in paid-for software. For example, Blender has been free for years and is getting more powerful with each release. Even so, most of the freelance artists I know (and, of course, studios) use paid-for software like MODO, Lightwave, Max, Maya, and C4D. Even I had been using MODO for the last 10 years, though I am switching over to Blender because 1) I don't like MODO's licensing (it changed with Foundry bought out Luxology) and 2) the "soon" release of Blender v2.8.

GIMP, Krita, Sai and many other 2D paint programs have also been available for free. Even so, Adobe continues to gain customers and Photoshop is still #1. Despite free apps, I use Clip Studio Paint for most of my 2D work and I have to pay for that. 

So, "free" is not keeping others from growing their base. And when it comes to the "big guns", Unity and Unreal, they are not actually "free", are they? If you ever make any real money with them, then you end up paying (a monthly subscription with Unity or royalties to Epic). Frankly, while I don't know if I'd ever make enough with my game projects to end up having to pay either, I'd still rather pay up front for my software, own it, and can do what I please with it (display whatever startup logo I want, not have to worry about paying royalties no matter what, etc.). So, even though I could be using Unreal, I would rather use Leadwerks.

Also, there have been and continues to be several 2D game creation systems that are free. However, the most popular one seems to be GameMaker Studio, which you have to pay a pretty hefty price to own the studio and even more to get the export features you want/need. Despite it's price, it remains insanely popular. So, the availability of free alternatives does not seem to be hurting them all that much. In fact, there are several paid-for 2D game creation suites out there and they all seem to be doing fairly well, having quite active forums, Discord groups, etc.

11 hours ago, Josh said:

Unlike a lot of other engines, Leadwerks focused hard on ease of use, which is what kept us strong while so many others died. However, if ease of use is your selling point, you attract beginners who aren't as capable, which means your community won't have as good of output. To get an experienced developer to try something you need some other bait to interest them.

That makes sense. However, look at something like GameMaker Studio. It focuses on ease of use (whether it is or not is beside the point ;) ) and has been used to create some serious games. So, ease of use can certainly be a hook to get people in the door. But what happens is they learn that the GameMaker Studio drag-n-drop system has limits or is not actually as easy to use as actually coding in GML. So, many move on to learning how to code and become quite active on the GameMaker Studio forum (and other groups dedicated to it).

11 hours ago, Josh said:

...this has led to me focusing on performance, particular with respect to VR. I go to conferences and I talk to a lot of people, and I pitch them in different ways to see how they react. Everyone I have ever talked to complained about the speed of unity and was kind of embarrassed of using it when it came to performance. This is also why NASA contacted me last year.

This is very cool, to be frank! I'm excited to see what Turbo will eventually have to offer. I just hope that the VR stuff does not take away from non-VR related development. I doubt it will, but even so ...

11 hours ago, Josh said:

And at the same time, the product is getting better and better. I am really looking forward to the fifth iteration, as it is shaping up to be extremely polished and really on another level.

I am, too. I wish I were a decent programmer so I could take a sneak peak at it via your Turbo support channel. I'd do it in a hear beat.

2 hours ago, Rick said:

The forums are generally less busy when josh is working on a new major version of the engine. He generally loses some regulars when he does this too. I remember LE 4 suffered some community losses but he picks up new people with the new version.

Sure. However, I don't see why that is. Other forums thrive, even when the developer is busy, well, developing. If the community is large enough, then they tend to "feed" each other, talking to each other, helping each other, and showing off their work. This community seems small and not very active. And, as pointed out, that surprised be given how long Leadwerks has been developed and how good the engine actually is. 

I think it comes down to the Leadwerks' community is not really being promoted. I looked up Leadwerks on Facebook, for example, and there have only been a few posts in the past few weeks and only one reply from someone showing any of the posts had been read. Josh is busy. I get that. But the page says there are over 1300 followers. Where are they? Why aren't there screen shots of projects being worked on? Why aren't there posts, discussions, etc.? Where is the community? And why do the regulars leave when Josh goes into development mode?

I'm not complaining. So, please don't get me wrong. Call me "passionate". I like Leadwerks and I'd like to see the community grow. Part of this is very selfish as I'd love to interact with, learn from, and be a help to people who also enjoy using Leadwerks.

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19 minutes ago, cassius said:

A lot more people own le than use the forum. I was thinking its pretty busy anyway recently. I know of another engine where the forum gets one post every three days on average, and usually no one answers them.

Heh. I'm used to forums with a lot more posts, it seems. Even 3D GameStudio, which has been basically dead for 5 years now, gets more posts in a day than the forum here. ;)

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12 hours ago, Josh said:

Unlike a lot of other engines, Leadwerks focused hard on ease of use, which is what kept us strong while so many others died. However, if ease of use is your selling point, you attract beginners who aren't as capable, which means your community won't have as good of output. To get an experienced developer to try something you need some other bait to interest them.

Recently, an engine called CopperCube released v6 and made their base engine/editor free. It boasts ease of use, specifically aimed at non-programmers. The engine itself is incredibly dated. However, I have to say that the creator of CopperCube has an interesting approach to allowing non-programmers to do quite a lot. Without programming, I was able to create doors, for example, that opened on proximity, opened via a pressure plate, opened with a switch/button, could be manually opened/closed, and a lot more. It was fun sort of stringing things together via it's logic system. It could be a bit frustrating, too. But I saw that I could create a decent game without a single line of code.

Now, while I do want to learn to code in LUA so I can develop in Leadwerks, I do like the idea presented in CopperCube. My "dream" would be for something like what CopperCube has, but integrated into Leadwerks. However, instead of doing things the CopperCube way (check it out to see what I am talking about, if you are interested), which can be visually difficult at times, I would love it if Leadwerks' Flow Graph was more developed so that it could become more of a non-programmer's paradise, so to speak.

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I’ve never used that engine but looking it up the idea of actions and events is a thing I always thought made sense. Leadwerks sadly doesn’t get that high level though. I’m a big advocate to the event style programming model because it just makes sense. You can sort of set this up in Leadwerks but without editor support you won’t get an ecosystem of actions and events from the community going. It would be great to get action/event support for entities that we can expand via Lua scripts and link together in the editor. Josh doesn’t like being tied to that level of how users should make their app. 

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9 minutes ago, Rick said:

I’ve never used that engine but looking it up the idea of actions and events is a thing I always thought made sense. Leadwerks sadly doesn’t get that high level though. I’m a big advocate to the event style programming model because it just makes sense. You can sort of set this up in Leadwerks but without editor support you won’t get an ecosystem of actions and events from the community going. It would be great to get action/event support for entities that we can expand via Lua scripts and link together in the editor. Josh doesn’t like being tied to that level of how users should make their app. 

That's too bad. It makes sense (to me) and makes code totally reusable, too. If you make your code so that it is editable in the editor (like you already can via LUA) so the end-user can affect things like which direction a door opens (slides up, slides left, etc.), how fast it moves, etc., then you have a system of things that don't need to be coded. A door is a door, etc. And with the Flow Graph, setting up triggers and other such things becomes a breeze.

I mean, a programmer need never touch this kind of thing if they don't want to. It's an option. But having something like this? It opens a lot of doors to a lot of people.

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What I think is that there are several groups of users of these engines and in this globalized digital age they sell it to people who can make a video game even if you don't have any knowledge and they sell you the idea that it can be very easy. However, knowing how to use a tool and take the leap to create a product as such not only means having an engine, but not having the talent to handle all its facets that involve making a video game, for that you will have to do everything alone, of course if you are a genius, or if you do not buy the talent of others, because although it seems that everything is free, no one will create an original model and will give it to you for your project.   

That said, I think Leadwerks has a lot of new users who came in with the expectation of creating a project, but they stayed on the road. why, because the engine does a large percentage of the work, you need people who are willing to invest much more than just in the engine, tools, textures, 3d models and when you invest money in something, the incentive is to recover something that has been invested in. 

Now, there are many tools, but surely the real programmers and artists work for big development companies, and I'm talking about those who possibly have the ability to create an engine written in c++. The rest as is my case is a hobby, but in the end I suppose someone must be creating/ developing a game with Leadwerks and we have no idea, this is in the leadwerks creator statistics. What I think and possibly this wrong is that Leadwerks 4 will pass to life like its previous versions, as Turbo engine will eclipse it. 

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

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Sure. I hear you, Yue. But that doesn't explain the size and activity on the forums, for example, at places like GameMaker Studio. Even the Godot engine Facebook page is hyper-active, with many posts clogging my feed every single day. What I am saying is that a lot of these engines have a decent following and active communities. I think Leadwerks deserves as much. It's an awesome engine (IMO). An active community tends to help the engine grow. Word of mouth spreads and more people come to see what's going on.

I'll be frank, when I took the dive into Leadwerks because the Humble Bundle deal was too good to pass up. But when I did a Google search, I saw little that was truly inspiring. I mean, typing in "leadwerks" into Google gets me a Wikipedia page as the first entry! No videos are offered. No reviews. Not on the first page. So, I was surprised to find that Leadwerks is actually pretty darned good. Great, in fact! It deserves more, in my opinion.

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1 hour ago, Argent Arts said:

If you make your code so that it is editable in the editor (like you already can via LUA) so the end-user can affect things like which direction a door opens (slides up, slides left, etc.), how fast it moves, etc., then you have a system of things that don't need to be coded. A door is a door, etc. And with the Flow Graph, setting up triggers and other such things becomes a breeze.

The flowgraph leaves much to be desired at this point. It can become overwhelming and unorganized very quickly. Something like UDK has a more structured way of handling that and a more universal interface. LE's is fairly barebones and without having built in events that can be triggered per entity, how you set that up is custom to your game and your ideas and is not a common structure throughout the engine which hurts it. If LE entities had  a common set of events that we can then expand on, it would be more useful.

Think of a "click" event. Something as simple as that. When you click an entity you want to raise an event. This should, in my view, be part of all entities. Picking entities is a very common task in games. You can do this in LE but it becomes very specific to your game. Entities can only have 1 script attached and handling that click has to be inside that 1 script. So you'll find yourself doing a lot of copy/pasting code and "surgery" to that script to get this functionality. Not ideal. If you could add multiple scripts to an entity then someone could make 1 script that handles a lot of these common events and you could attach that script without having to know anything about it. Then you add another script that is more specific to your game that has actions and then you could link them up via the flowgraph.

The decision to only allow 1 script, which it sounds like Turbo will stick with, sounds like a thing that keeps things simple, but in reality it makes things more complicated because of the code management that you have to end up doing. You'll be duplicating code all over the place and it doesn't give users a chance to make an ecosystem around the event/action idea.

There are ways to get around this but again most people don't know them or how to use them or because they aren't official it won't drive any interest from others and using it still requires some coding vs a pure UI approach. 

Entities should have a bunch of events built in if you ask me:

  1. OnCollisionEnter
  2. OnCollisionLeave
  3. OnCollision
  4. OnHide
  5. OnShow
  6. OnClicked
  7. OnDblClicked
  8. OnDestroyed
  9. OnCreated
  10. OnTimer

At the end of the day all games can be described with events and actions so having a better system to support those would be ideal. I also think it's easier for new people to think of things in that way. When this happens, do this. Easy.

I also think allowing 1 flowgraph per entity would be good as well. I like having a scene level flowgraph too, but an entity flowgraph would allow non coders to create complex entities from smaller scripts.

When flowgraphs were first introduced to LE I created what I called logical entities which didn't have a presence in the scene but would run code. You could do logical things like if's, loops, etc with them to make something complex without typing code but because you only get 1 flowgraph per scene it would become too unruly to work with.

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Yes! I very much agree with this, Rick! I've not yet played with the Flow Graph enough to know it well, but the base idea is there. There definitely needs to be a Flow Graph per entity. This is sort of how you work in Blender with material nodes, etc. It just makes sense that you would only want to see the "code flow" for what you are currently working on or with and not the entire game. Ugh!

Godot handles the script thing pretty well, from what I've scene. Like Leadwerks, you can only have one script per item. However, if you nest items (so that one is a parent and one is a child and set up a "signal", as they call it) then the parent inherits the code of the child. In this manner, you could, for example, code your basic player character code and attach it to your PC model/camera. Then, if you attach a "wizard" entity to the player (perhaps this is selected during character creation) the "wizard" code is then inherited by the player, effectively adding the "wizard" code to the "player" code. This allows you to code once and use multiple times. 

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On the forums, I think that if you are an experienced developer you will have enough with what is in the documentation except for certain cases.   What I think is that Leadwerks can open up the market more, especially to other languages like Latin America, a year ago I attended a congress and they only talked about Unity, UDK etc, but as mentioned Leadwerks have a great capacity that I think is not being given the proper attention. But this is going to stop, I repeat my prediction is that leadwerks is going to die, Turbo Game Engine, is going to send him to the grave. 

In the end, it seems to me that I always see the same users commenting, but the good thing is that we always see the creator jumping through their projects. :)

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

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21 minutes ago, Yue said:

But this is going to stop, I repeat my prediction is that leadwerks is going to die, Turbo Game Engine, is going to send him to the grave. 

What do you mean by this? That Tubro will replace Leadwerks (which is what I think you mean)? Or that Turbo will be a disaster and both Leadwerks and Turbo will die off? 

If you mean the first, I agree. However, other than a few things (engine updates, faster performance, PBR textures, etc., and an emphasis on VR, etc.), I suspect that a lot of what made Leadwerks what it is will be inherent in Turbo, too. So, if the creator, Josh, does not like certain things, you can bet they won't be in Turbo. ;) In any case, Turbo looks to be quite a long way off. It doesn't even have an editor yet (for example). So, Leadwerks still has some life left in it. ;)

10 minutes ago, Rick said:

The interesting thing with that link is the reason given is documentation! Just goes to show how important that is.

I completely agree. As stated previously, I am not a programmer. On the Leadwerks home page it states:

"Leadwerks Game Engine provides the smoothest learning curve to take you from beginner to full-fledged game developer. Our easy-to-follow tutorials teach you everything you need to make games, with no background knowledge or previous experience required."

So, I was excited to dig into the docs and learn. What I found was that not much was really explained ... not at least for a non-programmer to understand what is going on. As a result, I had to ask basic questions on the forum to figure it out. And, to be frank, basic things like some aspects of tables are still throwing me for a loop. I hope that once I can (finally) go through the FPS shooter tutorials I can start to understand them. 

Basically, if you promise to lead someone through a "smooth" learning experience, taking them from "beginner" to "full-fledged game developer", then you should at least try to fulfill that promise. The docs are to thin, in this regard, and not near clear enough for a beginner, imo.

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Regarding documentation and beginners, it's a tough challenge because people can come at it from different angles and tutorials are never enough.  If you show someone how to load a character and move him around, the next question can be anything from "now how do I make a platformer" or "how do I make an FPS" or "how do I make an underwater game" or "how do I have him drive a truck around" or "how do I make him climb a ladder" or "how do I have a spaceship fly from planet to planet" or "how to I set up a server and make an MMO like World of Warcraft?"  There was once talk of having multiple templates that would kickstart people in the area of their choice but we'll see if that comes to pass.  The more specific the template the less likely it will be used but some things (like FPS, vehicles, etc.) are in high demand.

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57 minutes ago, gamecreator said:

Regarding documentation and beginners, it's a tough challenge because people can come at it from different angles and tutorials are never enough.  If you show someone how to load a character and move him around, the next question can be anything from "now how do I make a platformer" or "how do I make an FPS" or "how do I make an underwater game" or "how do I have him drive a truck around" or "how do I make him climb a ladder" or "how do I have a spaceship fly from planet to planet" or "how to I set up a server and make an MMO like World of Warcraft?"  

True, but there's a middle ground, I think.

Read through the LUA scripting part of the docs. They start out pretty well, but then start to feel rushed and things are left out ... things that I think are important for a person new to programming to understand. Here's a simple example of what I ran into when going through the same docs (and I had to ask about this here on the forum) ... this is a code example straight from the docs:

function PrintUpper(text)
        print(string.upper(text))
end
PrintUpper("Functions can be fun.")

In the above simple, beginner example, the author of the tutorial does not tell the reader that string.upper is a LUA command. So, the first time I went through this, I was trying to read this and understand what it was and what it was doing. I understood "function". In understood the name the function was given (PrintUpper - which could have been anything the coder wanted to name it). I understood what he was trying to do in the parenthesis with "text". I also understood "print" was we had used it and it was explained from the very beginning. You can't very well do "Hello World" without print, right? But then there was this string.upper. It was just plopped in there with no explanation as to what it was and what it did. The author should have taken time to explain LUA commands, what they are, and how you use them, that string.upper was a LUA command and that it is used to do X, Y, or Z. Being the dummy that I am (and not knowing that string.upper was a LUA command) I tried to make a connection between PrintUpper(text) and string.upper(text) and tried to figure out if you could somehow use a part of the name given the function to do something. After all, they both had "upper" and "(text)" and ... well ... I was confused ... and we hadn't even started to do any game programming ... and LUA was supposed to be easy ... and the Leadwerks web page had promised this would be smooth and easy for beginners. :P

So, see where I am going with this? If the docs fail at trying to help beginners see what is what with programming, then beginners will just become frustrated. It's not a matter of asking "How do I make World of Warcraft?" It's a matter of banging one's head against the wall because even the super simple stuff is not explained well enough so that someone like me could just code a camera to just move forward a little. ;)

If we're going to claim ease of use, then someone needs to go through the docs, ensure they are more complete than they are, and think about what is written there to see how a complete beginner would view what is written. 

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There have been many times this forum was rather empty, but right now it has hit one of the lowest in a very long time. I have been active in this community since Leadwerks 2.2 (about 10 years ago).

There are various events and reasons (of which some were already mentioned) that cause the community activity to diminish.

  • The largest change was going to Leadwerks 3. We lost several core features: the powerful and ahead of its time real time deferred renderer was not ready at the launch of Leadwerks 3. For a year or so we had to bake our lights. Terrain and vegetation were also gone. It would take several years before it would return. Especially the initial announced price (I think something around 800 dollar scared a large part of the community away). I was very skeptical but I didn't have any large project in development so I just played around with the engine.
  • Mobile support. I get it that a business has to be run and that Josh needed to inovate. Josh tried really hard to make it happen but it was not meant to be. Many people didn't like the mobile direction since Leadwerks's strongpoint was its renderer. 
  • Flowgraph: This is something I never understood. Flowgraph was there from the start of Leadwerks 3. Since then, nothing has happened to it. Why? The core mechanic is there and it works. I remember that Rick and I made 2 little scripts in the first days of its release and they were so much fun to play with. But without zooming, layering and grouping, the flowgraph is just an empty tool that is pretty much useless for an actual game. For a small tutorial or demo scene, it it useful, but after that it becomes unmanageable.
  • The website, forum and documentation have had soo many changes during the last years. At some point it looked like this was the only thing that was in development. Of course maintaining and having a proper website is necessary to a certain level, because it attracts new customers, but it really felt like this was taking a lot of time of engine development. That said: The current forum, with documentation and store it the best version yet.
  • Steam: Moving the selling of Leadwerks to Steam was a needed step. Not everyone liked it (I personally did like it) as they wanted to have a separate installer rather requiring Steam for the editor to run. I think it made spreading the software easier. Especially with beta branches, features could be tested more frequent.
  • Steam workshop: From my own experience: just plain awful. This has nothing to do with Leadwerks in my opinion. The Steam interface was (and still is) outdated in design, sluggish and lacks to many common features for it to be attractive. Luckily this is replaced now with the forum's integrated web shop which already works 10 times better than Steam.
  • Game launcher: Conceptually really great but for me it never really took of. Often it didn't respond and without curating any games, it scared more people away than that it actually attracted.
  • Default Lua editor: the highest level of frustration of working with Leadwerks came from using the embedded lua editor. For beginners it already didn't help that there was no auto-completion (this was added later). Proper documentation popups like most mondern IDE's do was not possible. If you compare that how other default tools do that, then you are going to have a much more difficult time as a starter. Luckily Visual Studio Code is going to change that. 
    • Debugging: maybe that is just me, but debugging always felt like a pain. I would end up iterating over some weird table over and over again or I would hit breakpoints that came out of nowhere. Again, especially for beginners this is a real demotivating factor.
  • Editor customisabilty: Again something personal: the biggest issue that I think causes people to go away is the editor customisability. No assigning of custom hotkeys. Not being able to add shortcuts to toolbars ("Create pivot" for instance). No multiscreen support or customizing the editor layout. No custom editor plugins or tools support. How many tools haven't I made in Unity and unreal, that extend my workflow. From simple drawing lines to see where my characters waypoints are to generating structures in the scene tree like ropes. Maybe performance may be an issue in those engines, but the workflow for creating gameplay and level design is so much faster because of it.
  • Documentation: @gamecreator already said it: there is never enough documentation. Ironically the documentation website looks pretty good in its current state, but really needs some updating. In the private Turbo section of the forum, I hoped to convince Josh to move the entire documentation (including API) to github so that the community can help out. With Turbo I would really like to help out were I can making new tutorials, templates and what not.

 

Many of the issues above are going to be solved with Turbo. Josh's blog for the last few months have been a joy to read. Josh figuring out all these insanely crazy and complex technological things is amazing. I certainly couldn't do it.

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Well forum activity maybe low but on the good side if you have questions you find answers here.

Documentation is good imo.

Leadwerks needs more bling effects included,  more people will try it if see some nice aaa demos .

Any junior programmer will do great things with leadwerks.Its really easy to learn.

But i think the main bottleneck is art, you need artists, custom art if you go for quality game. 

So my theory is Josh should do some epic le/turbo demos in the style of unreal4 (check YouTube).Will surely bring more people.

 

 

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1 hour ago, aiaf said:

Leadwerks needs more bling effects included,  more people will try it if see some nice aaa demos .

I'm not sure I completely agree with this. I mean, "bling" doesn't hurt (unless poorly implemented) and can cause people to take notice. But there are popular game engines out there that don't have "bling" and are fairly active. It's a matter of community building and making the most of what you have, me thinks.

1 hour ago, aiaf said:

Documentation is good imo.

So far, the documentation has been sufficient. But, as a non-programmer who wants to learn, I found the basics presented in LUA Scripting to be frustrating at times. I didn't know what I was creating vs. what was an actual command in LUA because 1) we had not gotten to the LUA API Reference yet and 2) the docs simply didn't tell me (and they should have). As a result, I am still scratching my head with parts of Tables, though I probably wouldn't be if the docs were more complete (for absolute beginners in programming, like me). We ... even I am not an absolute beginner. I had programmed in BASIC back in the 80s and dabbled a bit here and there. So, I am quite familiar with IF THEN statements, etc. Even so, I struggle with some concepts and the docs were not helping me to get there. Which leads me to this point:

1 hour ago, aiaf said:

Well forum activity maybe low but on the good side if you have questions you find answers here.

Yes! I have found this to be true! I asked about one of my coding confusions from the docs and I was given a few explanations. So, this is good. Great, in fact! :)

1 hour ago, aiaf said:

But i think the main bottleneck is art, you need artists, custom art if you go for quality game. 

And I'm coming from this from the exact opposite direction. I'm an artist (both 3D and 2D) and want to bring my idea(s) to life. I can create the levels, the props, etc., but I don't know if I can fully bring them to life until I can grasp programming basics. 

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