Adventure Creator feature discussion thread

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Adventure Creator feature discussion thread

Postby tlaero » Sat, 16Jan23 19:36

Although it started differently, I now mostly make AC for my own purposes. It's my primary tool for making games (well, that and my awesome artist :-) so I update it with whatever I decide would help me.

That said, I still want to support the rest of you who either make games with AC or who would like to.

I've created this thread so that we can have a place to discuss features you'd like to see in AC. Is there anything I could change to make your development easier? Are there any features in other game creation tools that you wish we had in AC? Let's talk about them here.

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Re: Adventure Creator feature discussion thread

Postby tlaero » Sat, 16Jan23 19:44

How would you folks feel if I removed the overall page title from AC? (I'm talking about the one in the upper left corner, right below "File") Most browsers have removed the chrome that showed that title, so I'm not sure it matters anymore. And it seems unlikely that anyone would want that title to change from page to page. Does anyone do that (intentionally)? Maybe we should make it a single setting that we put in _games.js instead?

I'm thinking about removing the "Title", sliding "PreLoad" over, and adding a "PostLoad" box. You don't really need a PostLoad, since Body Bypass covers it, but I'd have found it convenient when doing RfJ.

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Re: Adventure Creator feature discussion thread

Postby kexter » Sat, 16Jan23 20:55

tlaero wrote:How would you folks feel if I removed the overall page title from AC?
Please do.
tlaero wrote:It seems unlikely that anyone would want that title to change from page to page. Does anyone do that (intentionally)?
Wolfschadowe might still be trying to do it but BEW is silently ignoring it. I might have "accidentally" failed to mention it to him so keep it hush-hush.
tlaero wrote:Maybe we should make it a single setting that we put in _games.js instead?
Seems reasonable.
tlaero wrote:I'm thinking about [...] sliding "PreLoad" over, and adding a "PostLoad" box.
So where would that fit in the current execution order?
  • _functions.js or _game.js (whichever downloads first)
  • _game.js or _functions.js (whichever downloads second)
  • any extra scripts (download order dependent)
  • anything in the preload-section
  • anything in the header-bypass
  • topInit()
  • bottomInit()
  • anything in the body-bypass
  • window.onload event
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Re: Adventure Creator feature discussion thread

Postby kexter » Sat, 16Jan23 22:15

Seeing as you're thinking of reshuffling stuff, I have a few suggestions:
  • The mp3 and ogg checkboxes could go. AC or the game could always add both the mp3 and ogg sources for the audio and there would be no strict need to supply both with the game. If both are present then good, the browser will choose whichever it prefers. This would free up a bit of space for the "Loop" and "AutoPlay" checkboxes.
  • We no longer need the "Add a reference to _game2.js" functionality, so if no one else uses it then that could go too.
  • I image you'd be touching the template due to the "PostLoad" feature anyway, so I thought I'd mention that it could be simplified back to it's earlier state as we no longer use the front-pane/back-pane weirdness:
    Code: Select all
    <!DOCTYPE html>
    <html>
    <head>
    <meta charset="utf-8">
    <title>ADV_CRE_TITLE</title>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="ADV_CRE_CSSPATH_functions.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="ADV_CRE_CSSPATH_game.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
    ADV_CRE_EXTRA_GAME
    ADV_CRE_EXTRA_JS
    <script type="text/javascript">PickSizeCss(ADV_CRE_CSSSIZE);/*_size.css*/</script>
    <link href="ADV_CRE_CSSPATH_style.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />
    ADV_CRE_ANIMATE
    ADV_CRE_PRELOAD
    ADV_CRE_HEAD_BYPASS</head>
    <body>
    <script type="text/javascript">topInit();</script>
    <div id="layoutId" class="layoutClass">
    <div id="center" class="main-text">
    ADV_CRE_TOPTEXT
    ADV_CRE_SOUND
    </div>
    <div id="hotspots" class="main-image" aria-haspopup="true">
    ADV_CRE_IMAGE
    ADV_CRE_AREAS
    </div>
    ADV_CRE_BOTTOMTEXT
    <div id="says" class="dialogue">
    <table ADV_CRE_BORDER>
        <tr>
    ADV_CRE_TABLE   
        </tr>
    </table>
    </div>
    </div>
    <script type="text/javascript">bottomInit();</script>
    ADV_CRE_BODY_BYPASS
    ADV_CRE_PAGE_COMMENT</body>
    </html>
    This should be good but I haven't tested it.
That's all I have off the top of my head.
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Re: Adventure Creator feature discussion thread

Postby tlaero » Sun, 16Jan24 00:38

Thanks Kexter. Yeah, I'm definitely getting rid of the MP3 and Ogg boxes. Everything plays MP3s now, so there's no need for Ogg. I was thinking about moving the extra JS and sound to "Advanced UI" but if you don't need the js anymore, maybe I'll look at other options.

Cool that you don't need all the panes anymore. If I rip that stuff out, I'll send you a private copy first to make sure it works for you. I'm thinking I'd like to be able to do a transparent overlay on the image, but I haven't really thought about how or what with that.

As for your earlier question, I was planning to put the PostLoad between BottomInit and Body Bypass. Seems like the Bypass should be the last thing, since it's a big hammer.

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Re: Adventure Creator feature discussion thread

Postby kexter » Sun, 16Jan24 01:10

tlaero wrote:I was thinking about moving the extra JS and sound to "Advanced UI" but if you don't need the js anymore, maybe I'll look at other options.
Yeah, funny thing, we don't need the extra JS stuff anymore either. Completely forgot about that. So both "Title" and "JS" can go, as well as the "Edit->Add a Reference to _game2.js". A whole line gets freed up with these removed if I'm looking at it right.

tlaero wrote:I'm thinking I'd like to be able to do a transparent overlay on the image, but I haven't really thought about how or what with that.
Like a separate background image with a transparent character overlaid on it? Or like a menu overlay?

Oh, and I nearly forgot: _functions.js has an AddAreaOld() function commented out, maybe that could be removed too if it's no longer needed.
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Re: Adventure Creator feature discussion thread

Postby tlaero » Sun, 16Jan24 02:34

I'm thinking about something like if someone wanted to do an RPG style game or something that has icons or things like that overlaid on the image. Or maybe somewhere to put vertical bars like in Shark's games.

I tend to keep commented out stuff around for a while, because sometimes I go back and need it. That behavior saved my butt yesterday when I realized I needed OnMouseDown and only needed to uncomment a few lines to get it back.

That said, the old AddArea should probably be deleted.

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Re: Adventure Creator feature discussion thread

Postby kexter » Sun, 16Jan24 03:01

tlaero wrote:That behavior saved my butt yesterday when I realized I needed OnMouseDown and only needed to uncomment a few lines to get it back.
Are onmousedown and onmouseup behaving themselves on mobiles and/or tablets? Because if my memory serves well, they don't. Using your animation-test as example, "holding the touch" would result in bringing up the magnification-stuff or a menu. At least that's what I think would happen on Android but I haven't checked.
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Re: Adventure Creator feature discussion thread

Postby tlaero » Sun, 16Jan24 04:01

It works on browsers that implement the pointer interface. When I test my games, I use touch almost exclusively. But, yeah, because not all browsers do, I have a bypass in the game that lets people with an incompatible browser and no mouse skip the scene.

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Re: Adventure Creator feature discussion thread

Postby tlaero » Mon, 16Jan25 19:59

In Redemption for Jessika, I rearranged the directory structure to make it easier to do multiple languages. There are no changes needed in AC for this, but it got me thinking. Could I add features to AC to make it easier for localizers/translators to translate AC games into other languages? I'd like to hear from people who do that work what they'd like to see. I'm thinking of a couple of different possibilities, some easy for me, some harder.

1) You edit the htm files in some other editor. No work for me, but pretty lame.
2) You open two copies of AC, one on the original language and one on the new one. Also no work for me, but not much lame.
3) I make two "GameView" windows, one for the original language, and one for the new one. When you click on a file in either, it brings up the new file in AC so that you can edit the text there. This way you never accidentally change the original, but you have easy access to see the text in it in the game view. I guess I'd also add something that makes it easy to see which pages haven't been updated yet.
4) Some kind of thing where the main AC window shows two of each text field and it opens both the original and new language file into the same window. Then you edit them side by side. You'd need a big monitor for this (the window would be large) but it seems like it would be the easiest way to work.

Or, is there something else I'm not thinking of?

Thanks,
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Re: Adventure Creator feature discussion thread

Postby Wolfschadowe » Mon, 16Jan25 21:38

I kind of like option 4

Here's what I envision in my mind, either in the main AC window, or pops up a specialized window. As I think about it, a specialized window, similar to the image viewer concept would come.:

The functionality would be something like, putting AC into "Localization" mode or some fitting title.

In Localization mode, there would be a drop-down that lists available languages, maybe even an "Add Language" button to spawn a new language. The "Base" language would show as a non-editable label over the text box, and translated text would be placed in the text boxes.

Maybe enumerate the area text dynamically, so if there are 4 hit targets, it would show 4 rows for area targets. Potentially this could even be done with bottom text.

Use a scaled, smaller image for reference if using a new window, and even get rid of anything non-editable, like href's and similar.

So basically, workflow would be to open the localization window, maybe allow selections from game view if you wanted to get fancy. (Even fancier would be to use game view to detect missing translations for a selected language, similar to the broken links filter)

In the localization window, select the target language (French, for this example). Type the French translation based on the label containing original text above the text box.

When done, hit save, and maybe navigate using the link arrows, or game view for the next one.

Hopefully I described that in a halfway sensible manner. :)

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Re: Adventure Creator feature discussion thread

Postby kexter » Mon, 16Jan25 23:01

Quick though before everything else: [[dynamicText]] - what is your plan of action to handle these? Would "_game.js" be duplicated for each translation? I'm not too fond of the idea of duplicating all the game files for all languages because if a bug surfaces in a page (say a typo in a GotoPage() call) then it will need to be fixed N times instead of one. Also, in my experience, translators don't use AC to modify the files - I know I'd use Notepad myself but I'm weird.

Generally I'm not against the idea of adding some form of localization support in AC directly, I'm just not sure if it would be used that much. Interested to hear the opinion of translators actually.

BEW has a custom localization system; which is an abysmal monster-child of a dynamic patching system which was never intended for localization support. I naively thought that our translators would translate the html files and then send those back to me for integration. Well, they opted to edit the script files containing the localization data directly instead - even though those were originally just auto-generated write-only garbled mumbo-jumbo stuff. What I'm saying is that I have immense respect for our translator for that alone, the sheer amount of work required to translate the game just adds to that admiration. I'm actually in the process of redesigning said system but I'm swamped so progress is slow.

For those interested: BEW handles translations like this (simplified overview):
The "locale.*.js" files store the localization data for all of the game's pages, the localized version for each text-modifying function, and all the interface strings. For each page a translated version of the main-, hotspot-, and response-texts are stored in an array. On every navigation the game determines the current page, selects the appropriate data from said array and applies it. (This can result in a slight flicker as the original text is replaced with the new one.)
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Re: Adventure Creator feature discussion thread

Postby tlaero » Tue, 16Jan26 00:02

100% of the time, if I'm deciding between a complex system and a simple one, I'll go with the simple one. This approach has served me very well in my (actual) career because it saves time and effort in the end.

Prior to RfJ I had all of the text files in the "files" directory and all of the images in the "images" subdirectory. (And, if there were sounds, they would be in a "sounds" subdirectory.)
For RfJ, I just made a subdirectory in files called "english" and copied all of the text files to it. Then I used stringreplace to replace all instances of "images/" with "../images/" in *.htm.
Then I updated start.htm to look for the _functions.js in files/english/_functions.js instead of files/_functions.js. Etc.

Whole conversion took me about 5 minutes. Now, if I want to do a Spanish version, I just duplicate the English folder and change the files in it. They'll already point to the right place for images and the localizer will be able to do anything he wants with the text files. Then add a Spanish flag to start.htm that points to files/spanish/_begin.htm and we're golden.

I considered leaving the non-htm files in files (rather than moving them to English). Like you, I'm also concerned about needing to fix bugs in multiple places. However, there could be text strings in _game.js (ie, the text that shows the score in my games), and the css may need to be changed for some languages (German words, for instance, are long and may require changed sizes.) So, in the end, I've decided to put all text files in language subdirectories. It's the simplest solution.

BEW is kind of special, since it's being localized during development. But most AC games are released and then localized. So the concern about needing to fix bugs in multiple languages isn't really valid for most non-BEW games.

Even if you removed BEW's custom localization system, though, I don't think what I'd do for localization would work for BEW. If I remember correctly, BEW has subdirectories with cohabitating images and text files. So it would be hard to make a subdirectory for a different language and just duplicate the text files. You'd have to make language directories in each location that has an images directory. That's pretty messy. You're probably best off continuing on your existing path. I'll keep thinking about it, though.

I'm pretty sure anything localization I do in AC will assume that any directory in files that's not "images" or "sounds" is a localized directory. I'll have some mechanism to choose the primary (maybe just make it the one where you open the first file) and then AC will show you the directories you can use for other languages.

As for the UI, yeah, I'd definitely like to hear from danigonz or moksys on what would work for them. I like Wolf's idea of a separate window that pops up with just the text fields, showing the English as labels (non-editable) and having edit controls for the new language. Probably not show the picture at all. That's in the main window and it seems unlikely that the size or shape of the hit target would change for language reasons. Seems reasonable, but since I don't work in this space, I don't have the right experience for it.

I would definitely do something in gameview or something that makes it easy to find the pages that haven't been localized yet. I'm so reliant on the "broken links" functionality that I'm sure a localizer would want something similar.

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Re: Adventure Creator feature discussion thread

Postby Wolfschadowe » Tue, 16Jan26 00:39

I am kind of the problem child with BEW, aren't i. [img]images/icones/icon13.gif[/img]

I was primarily thinking front end, but I'm wondering if the magical back end could follow a page function to see if there's variable text, and then serve it up on the translation page. Upon saving, maybe store it in an array keyed by a language index.
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Re: Adventure Creator feature discussion thread

Postby tlaero » Tue, 16Jan26 02:47

That's really specific to just the current iteration of BEW, which is in the process of changing. I'm currently in the process of removing a bunch of things I added for BEW that Kexter says aren't needed anymore. I think I'd like to keep the tool a bit more general.

I would make sense to allow multiple languages per subdirectory though. The original idea for subdirectories was that you could release an episode that's self-contained in an subdirectory, both images and htms. It seems that whatever I do for the UI should work on the subdirectories. So maybe you'd have something like this:
Code: Select all
files
    images
    english
    spanish
    episode1
        images
        english
        spanish

I'll make sure that works. Up to you folks if you want to use it or continue with the custom version. Whatever works for you.

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