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AppGameKit Studio Chat / What are the advantages of AGKStudio over AGK2?

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Loktofeit
AGK Developer
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Posted: 16th Jan 2020 18:07 Edited at: 16th Jan 2020 18:25
Been using AppGameKit Studio but lately I am wondering why I am not just sticking with AGK2 instead.
It's not that AGKS is bad, it's that it has annoying little problems and is missing QoL features that are present in AGK2.

Is there an advantage to using Studio over AGK2?
3Dski
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Posted: 17th Jan 2020 02:20
Hey, Loktofeit, I don't have a grand answer for you, but I would find it interesting to get your take on what you like better about AGK2 and the QoL aspects you speak off. I was drawn to AGK2 years ago and the library seemed suitable for one to get started but there were some areas that seemed cumbersome at the same time. But, I was really turned off by the fact that it didn't have an integrated level designer, because other envirionments do. I decided to give AppGameKit Studio a try and I do like the convenience of the level designer, but I did report a deficit that I felt it had...

If you were to code a game without the builder, you would load a single image, then create as many sprites as you'd like from that single image load. In contrast, the level designer doesn't have these smarts and will do a separate, additional, image load for every sprite you add to the map. So, if have a border around the whole game of 100+ sprites of the same kind, the command to load the image will exist in the scene file that many times, along with the sprite creation commands. So, right now, if you really wanted to optimize your game build with the level designer, you have to copy that code to an alternative file and clean up this excessive image loading behavior and use that file instead.

Their advertisement images seem to be misleading, in that they are showing 3D environments, leading you to believe the level editor handles the design of these. But, apparently these kinds of environments are obtained by importing environments from other tools like Game Guru. But, AGK2 never struck me as a 3D work horse, so didn't expect this aspect to be any different with Studio. With that in mind, I'm on the road to actually throwing some simple games together to really get a feel for it all, rather than just dabble like I have in the past.
Loktofeit
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Posted: 17th Jan 2020 03:06 Edited at: 17th Jan 2020 06:50
I have no clue what the level designer is that you're referring to, so I can't answer to that.

On what I have noticed, it seems like a general drop off of IDE features with each iteration.
I used DBPro, and then when AppGameKit came out, features that were lost were

- add icon
- standalone executable
- shellexecute
- several 3D camera and light commands


Ok, fine. AppGameKit had plenty of cool features that I didn't mind. But now AGKS comes out and we lose those plus we lose the following:

- asterisk and color change on tabs of files that were not saved. Yes, those are now a dot in the first column. Speaking of that column...

- the convenient Symbols (Funcs/Vars) tab is missing. And speaking of the tabs...

- AGKS arbitrarily alphabetizes project files. There is no logical reason to do so.

- missing the vertical loop/function lines
- missing core command help
- missing examples in any of the help
- missing Save All option in the menu, only available as an icon
- missing 'session' or 'open documents' options for Replace
- missing Alt-key and arrow controls from Menu navigation
- missing color picker
- comment/uncomment in context menu is useless because it uses some bizarre "//~" comment system. If you did not adopt that system, 'uncomment code' no longer works



Don't get me wrong. I really like AppGameKit. I am just wondering if I'd be losing something vital if I went back to AppGameKit 2 as seems to have a lot more conveniences than AppGameKit Studio does.

EDIT: Added in a commenting annoyance I just came across when moving AGK2 code to AGKS.
Bored of the Rings
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Posted: 17th Jan 2020 10:48
AGK-S also has Vulkan support, AGK2 doesn't . I use both at the moment but probably more leaning towards AGK2 at the moment.
Professional Programmer, languages: SAS, C++, SQL, PL-SQL, DBPro, Purebasic, JavaScript, others
PHeMoX
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Posted: 17th Jan 2020 15:49 Edited at: 17th Jan 2020 15:59
@Loktofeit he's talking about the Scene editor, which is actually perhaps the biggest advantage over AGK2 aside from the performance boost. Yes it is limited in some ways for sure, however with minimal effort you can set up UIs, menus, credit screens and so on.
With slightly more work you can use .scenes as your game's literal levels. For a 2D game this works basically instantly, especially when you use the 2D physics engine.

For a 3D game you have to translate the info that you put into the 2D scene into 3D levels, however when you don't use this approach you would be writing a level editor for your game in AGK2 anyway. Or worse, manually place your 3D level assets, which you really just shouldn't want to be doing.

With things like snap to grid, resize to grid and such, placing 2D sprites that through your own code will be turned into loading a new level in a specific way becomes child's play. It would allow for pretty easy user created levels too. So in terms of potential, there's plenty to like about AppGameKit Studio.

Things I currently dislike is:
- how refreshing the Media Files doesn't always work, nor updates any images currently active in a .scene that's opened.
- sometimes AppGameKit Studio crashes upon exporting a game project to Android
- some AppGameKit Studio interface icons, like Compile, Run, Broadcast, Debug are just way too tiny and apparently it is possible to miss click above the icon.
- Scroll bars (in coding screens) are often tiny in width, making it hard to just quickly drag them up / down with the mouse. I'm on a very high resolution laptop, so this is often a bit of a pain.
Also;
- missing examples in any of the help
Yeah, and I think I prefer the Help to just open a new internet browser window altogether. It takes up too much space within the same view I'm making my games in, is less versatile in doing searches or browsing too.
Loktofeit
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Posted: 17th Jan 2020 16:02 Edited at: 17th Jan 2020 16:27
PHeMoX, I have that problem with the scroilbars, too. The fact that the cursor remains an I-beam and not a pointer when hovered over them is also a nuisance.

And thanks for the info on the Scene Editor. I had tried it out but between not knowing how to use it and how much it bloated out the app size, I left it alone after a few tries.

I just realized that this is the second post saying the advantage is the scene editor, but my AGK2 has a visual editor. For like the past year it has had it, I think.

AGK2 Scene Editor - https://store.steampowered.com/app/650840/AppGameKit_Classic__Visual_Editor/



EDIT: Ok, now I am even more confused. I can't find any scene editor in my AGKS. I don't seem to have anything that looks like the attached image (the one with the planet). Where can I find the scene editor?

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Loktofeit
AGK Developer
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Posted: 17th Jan 2020 16:56
Holy crap, whoever made this IDE...

Finally found the scene editor.
- No menu item for it.
- No button for it.
- No toolbar for it.
- No Help info when searching the Help panel (Image Joiner is there, tho)

You'd think such a cool feature would be less hidden.

Good news is that now I have a new toy to play with this weekend.

PHeMoX
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Posted: 17th Jan 2020 17:43
Hahah, yeah, I didn't realize you have to add .scenes to a project by right clicking on a project file either.

When you're investigating how it works, you will also find out that by default each .scene will have its own window resolution and as such will go into 'windowed mode' unless you put a [yourscene_name_here] _create_window(0) in your code right before loading the .scene . You also have to match the resolution of the scene which is next to the Reset View button in the scene editor.

Also, you need to manually #include "yourscene.scene" in your code as well as it doesn't touch your own .agc files (which is probably good).

Quote: "PHeMoX, I have that problem with the scroilbars, too. The fact that the cursor remains an I-beam and not a pointer when hovered over them is also a nuisance."


Yes very annoying! And it sometimes does show a cursor, sometimes it becomes the I beam, but it always remains extremely finnicky to drag the scroll bar around. That stuff should be like super easy to control, as I've got projects with thousands of lines of code....
RGBZ
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Posted: 17th Jan 2020 20:02
In my opinion AGKS is leaps and bounds ahead of the old IDE for AGK. Yes there are still some issues and bugs, but overall it is so much better.

I have worked with a few game engines and the thing that really kept from AppGameKit was the IDE.

AGKS really has been a big improvement for me. The biggest things that I like besides the obvious scene editor are the debugger and code properties. The ability to more easily inspect variables without having to create watches is leaps and bounds better. Also the ability to use code properties to create variables that you can change while the app is running in debug mode and have it affect the game immediately. Little things like built in help I find very useful also.

An area that needs improvement though is as they keep adding things, it doesn't appear that the documentation is updated. Some new scene generated functions are included in the user manual yet and a few others.

Overall I really like it and I am finally using AGKS to develop my next game.
PHeMoX
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Posted: 17th Jan 2020 21:25
Yeah, speaking of the manual, I think I would use the Debugger a lot more had it been a little bit explained how things work. I haven't spend too much time with it yet, but I used to just use Print() commands to keep track on whatever gives problems, but with a good Debugger I won't have to anymore. So that's definitely a huge improvement. If I knew how to properly use it.
bjadams
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Posted: 20th Feb 2020 11:50
Apart from Vulkan, does AGKS have other advantages? For example does it support T2? I have been out of AppGameKit for many months and was not following progress. I mostly used AppGameKit T2 for it's entire lifespan

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