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Author Topic: Return of the AGS.Native  (Read 2082 times)

Eric

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Return of the AGS.Native
« on: 10 May 2012, 19:03 »
I wasn't sure where to post this question, so I thought I'd stick it in the forum clearly marked "Beginners."

There's been a lot of talk about editor and engine improvements lately, and I gather that yesterday's release of native code is a big deal toward making these happen. I feel as though I've potentially joined this place in the midst of a transcendent moment and that stuff, as they say in the movies, is about to get real.

I also anticipate that there are a number of folks like myself who have no idea what any of this really means, and so I was wondering if someone could break things down for a layman. I understand that many of these won't have specific answers, but:

To what extent are things going to be changing? Will the code that we use to make games stay essentially the same?

What new capabilities are we likely to see?

Will this allow for new areas of portability?

On what timetable do we anticipate all of this will take place?

I ask because I'm sure there are some folks like myself about to embark on making games, and want to know if, for instance, I waited a few months to start coding and just focused on art, could my game have portability through ScummVM, better implementation on newer operating systems, widescreen resolution, or whatever the new functions will be?

I don't even know if I'm asking the right questions, or in the right way. I don't even know what Allegra is. Someone break the situation down for the less knowledgeable among us. Thanks!
« Last Edit: 10 May 2012, 19:18 by Eric »

Stee

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Re: Return of the AGS.Native
« Reply #1 on: 10 May 2012, 23:18 »
Allegro (assuming thats what you meant by Allegra) is a Game Programming Library. One of the issues the devs are facing with AGS is that it uses an older version of Allegro meaning that some parts of the engine use outdated methods that are not supported on other platforms.

To what extent are things going to be changing? Will the code that we use to make games stay essentially the same?

If you mean the way you use the editor, on the most part I think its staying the same. The first process (although a few people have jumped the gun) is refactoring the code. This basically means that the code is going to be tidied up, so that it is less complex and easier to read (for a developers point of view). This means that it is easier for people to improve on the code itself in the future. It makes absolutely no changes to the functionality of the program whatsoever (it just aids development).


What new capabilities are we likely to see?

Will this allow for new areas of portability?


I think the big things people are looking at are making games cross platform (osx, linux, android, ios etc), and releasing the editor for mac. Some people have already begun work on other resolutions, so your games wont be restricted to the ancient 320x240, 640x480 & 800x600. New capabilities are not really restricted - have a look at the plugin/modules forum for a small taste of inspiration that could be built into ags.


On what timetable do we anticipate all of this will take place?


How long is a piece of string? It could theoretically take years to see drastic changes to the code. When you bear in mind that one guy has been working on it for 13+ years and most of you still don't think it's finished, I'm going to say development of AGS is going to be ongoing for a long time and people will still put in feature requests.


I ask because I'm sure there are some folks like myself about to embark on making games, and want to know if, for instance, I waited a few months to start coding and just focused on art, could my game have portability through ScummVM, better implementation on newer operating systems, widescreen resolution, or whatever the new functions will be?


You are asking a question no one really knows the answer to. I'd just stick to making your game and if you really want to, make any changes that become available further down the line. You're talking about a hell of a lot of work, and this is just for a development release, not a stable version. As for widescreen resolutions someone is already working on resolution support over here http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/yabb/index.php?topic=43955.0
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Eric

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Re: Return of the AGS.Native
« Reply #2 on: 11 May 2012, 01:23 »
Thanks, Stee! Like I said, I don't even know enough to be able to ask the right questions. It just seems like AGS 4.0 might be a vastly different animal to 3.2, and, as most of our amateur games here have long production times, I could imagine some (myself) being halfway through a project when all of these new possibilities arrive, and having to decide whether to scrap and start over or continue with an older version. I'm heartened when you say:

If you mean the way you use the editor, on the most part I think its staying the same.

Monsieur OUXX

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Re: Return of the AGS.Native
« Reply #3 on: 15 May 2012, 16:14 »
May I add something?

For a long time, AGS was maintained by a single man (CJ, its creator, a.k.a. "Pumaman" on the forums).
His ultimate effort was to produce the version 3.x of the Editor, which was very classy and modern.

But alongside the Editor was also the engine, meant to run the game once it's compiled. Let's call it the core of AGS.
This "core" is very old and, as Stee said, is using some rather obsolete stuff (like the "Allegro" library). By "obsolete" I don't mean old (if it's working, no need to fix it, no matter the age), but I mean that it was becoming very difficult to move on to new technologies (like hardware acceleration, etc.). Not to mention the successive enhancements transformed the code into a pile of intricate patches that make it hard to change anything wihout breaking something else.

Last year, CJ announced that he was willing to open the source of the Editor to the community, and more recently he also opened the source of the engine.
"Return of the AGS.Native" was one of these announcements. He notifed the community that he was releasing the last bit of source that was still kept private. It was also the lowest level of source, and the most complex one.

That means a whole wolrd of new possibilities.
- the community will be able to remove the obsolete parts
- the community will be able to add new features

- You can consider that within a year or two, you will probably see versions of AGS running on several platforms. Within 3 years it will probably run on all platforms, I'm confident in the community for that.
- In a near future, you will see AGS running on higher resolutions, also faster. (it's already the case if you use the experimental branch of AGS, coupled with the hardware-accelerated blending plugin).
- You will see the number of hardware compatibility issues reduced (at the moment you sometimes need to choose between hardware acceleration or no hardware acceleration to make the game work).
- You have already seen new external tools flourish (dialogDesigner, etc.). That's because the AGS file formats are more easily documented, now.

As an indirect consequence of the code's cleanup, you will most likely see some new plugins that implement features that you can already see in some other engines (there are more and more attempts at networking and 3D, for example).


« Last Edit: 15 May 2012, 16:17 by Monsieur OUXX »
 

TheMagician

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Re: Return of the AGS.Native
« Reply #4 on: 16 May 2012, 18:05 »
Thanks for clearing this all up. I feel AGS is looking into a bright future!  :smiley: