State of GameSalad on 12-1-2016

ForumNinjaForumNinja Key Master, Head Chef, Member, PRO Posts: 545
edited December 2016 in GameSalad Kitchen

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday! You guys are definitely overdue for an update, so here it is.

Developers

Update 1.25.x: We’re putting this on hold to put most of our focus into creating the new web tool (below). Even though the updates are going to come slower for awhile, there's a ton of benefits for both education users and you guys!

The current test build (1.25.77) has a couple blockers still, but it has a lot of quality of life improvements, and is mostly stable. If you’d like a copy to use pm me and I’ll hook you up with a download / a list of the most notable known bugs to look out for.

Android performance: We've received some test projects and are in the process of trying to reproduce the poor Android performance you guys have been reporting.

Education

GameSalad Curriculum: The last two units of the new curriculum are set for release this week, which is very exciting!

For those that don’t know what’s included:

It’s structured so that students learn important concepts while having fun building some tutorial games. The games range from a super basic maze game to a space themed platformer, and have detailed tutorial pdf’s to walk the students/teachers through how to build the games as well as introduce them to the different computer science concepts and how they’re utilized in GameSalad.

In addition to the pdf’s, there’s a set of videos that cover each part of each unit for students that fall behind, or in case people prefer watching videos to reading.

Computer Science Education Week: Computer science education week is coming up next week and we’ve been hard at work putting together resources so that teachers can run a successful hour of code activity with GameSalad in their classrooms.

Both

Increasing Staff: As you may have already heard, we’ve recently hired a VP of Sales & Outreach (Gretchen Thompson). She’s really excited to be here and some of her responsibilities will free up Carlos (previously hired developer) so that he has more time to work on programming.

She’s very knowledgeable of the education market and fits in well with our current team. I’ve asked her to give an introduction over here on the forums for you guys, but if you’d like to read her bio it’s up over on our team page.

In addition to Gretchen, we have Braydon on part time to help with the customer service side of things to free up Alexandra and myself more.

Web Version of GameSalad: Perhaps the most important part of this update. Here's a little more info about our ideas for the web tool and how it'll be good for everyone.

HTML5 Rocks

The technical team has been wanting to make this move for a while now and a few things have come to pass to make this possible:

  • The aforementioned Chromebook market in education.
  • The explosion in Javascript technology improvements and frameworks and their massive performance improvements.
  • HTML5/Javascript is cross platform.

So yes, things are going to slow down in terms of the current native Mac and Windows tools until the HTML5 tool is done. We won't be removing the current native tools until we get all of the functionally built into the new tools. But once we finish it, it's going to replace the two other tools as our main code base for tooling and this is an awesome thing:

  • Updates are going to happen much faster since we don't have to do everything twice.
  • New OS releases won't require us to do massive updates (think this years long update cycle due to macOS memory management updates).
  • Tutorial videos will only have to be filmed once!
  • The tool will be backwards compatible with the existing game engine, because we don't want to rewrite the existing game engine at the same time as building a new tool.

We also have the opportunity to build in a few things that are required of a web tool that will be immensely helpful in your development.

Tan is looking at ways of storing your games on our servers that will let see the entire undo or save history (I'm still working out the storage and performance implications of how fine grained that storage will be). This means you get something akin to online source control for your games.

Since your game changes are being incrementally uploaded and saved online, you'll also no longer need to wait to upload your games during publishing, they'll be available to our servers immediately!

And while it won't be available in initial release, the manner in which we'll be streaming changes to the server will hopefully allow us to do google docs style simultaneous editing. I'm not gonna promise that one because editing a "word" doc is very different from editing a game.

A web based tool opens so many interesting opportunities for GameSalad Creator.

The freeze in existing tool development doesn't mean we'll stop working on the game engine. The HTML5 engine is going to get a lot more love because it's going to be your main "preview" engine. So it's going to have to match the "native" engines.

As for the "native" engines, we'll be able to add certain types of features that don't require a tool updates. For instance, Google Play Services support can be added (I'm working on that now on the weekends).

These kind of updates will be slower as the team focuses on the new tool, but engine maintenance and under the cover features will continue to happen.

Bugs that result from new versions of iOS and Android will be looked at. Anything that doesn't require us to change the tool like loading time improvements, ad networks (unlikely but it's the kind of thing that's possible) will be looked at as well.

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Comments

  • KevinCrossKevinCross London, UKMember Posts: 1,893
    edited December 2016

    Any chance of setting up a mailing list for when new versions are released please? With all features/fixes listed in the email or a link to a page on your site with the full list?

  • ForumNinjaForumNinja Key Master, Head Chef, Member, PRO Posts: 545

    @KevinCross said:
    Any chance of setting up a mailing list for when new versions are released please? With all features/fixes listed in the email or a link to a page on your site with the full list?

    I can look into a mailing list, sure. You can currently view all the previous updates / list of changes here: http://gamesalad.com/download/releaseNotes/creator

  • KevinCrossKevinCross London, UKMember Posts: 1,893
    edited December 2016

    @ForumNinja said:

    @KevinCross said:
    Any chance of setting up a mailing list for when new versions are released please? With all features/fixes listed in the email or a link to a page on your site with the full list?

    I can look into a mailing list, sure. You can currently view all the previous updates / list of changes here: http://gamesalad.com/download/releaseNotes/creator

    Thanks. I mention it as I think it'll help inform the users that aren't active on the forums, and those that have moved away from GameSalad for whatever reason but might come back at a later date, once you've released that one special update that meets their needs.

  • jamie_cjamie_c ImagineLabs.rocks Member, BASIC Posts: 5,743

    @bobarino, no need to spam the forums. Use the blue button in the bottom right corner of your browser window. This will contact support directly.

  • jamie_cjamie_c ImagineLabs.rocks Member, BASIC Posts: 5,743

    I'm interested to see the Web version, but it's a real shame development of the core product (Mac and Windows versions) has stopped while it's in development. :(

  • Kevinw026Kevinw026 Member, BASIC Posts: 30

    Yes I had a huge issue late last night. Every time I would try to access my tables it would crash....Unfortunately I had done quite a bit of work before this happened and I didn't happen to make a save because I was working later than normal. I was too tired to upload screenshots of exactly where I encountered it. But It was just when I was typing in text on table, it closed out GameSalad every time. I cant bother with support anymore, they just not replied back to a message I sent 2 weeks ago about a log-in issue that I thankfully got fixed.... I am just more worried about how long Gamesalad will continue to be around as everyone is....I love this client and it's so easy to build up a nice looking game with time from countless hours of video. I have been spending tons of hours working on a Toddler Learning Activity Game and its 1 part of a huge app I would like to complete.

    On another note, @jamie_c I have watched all of your vids and have downloaded your tuts over and over. You have made my life so much easier on learning how to do things I need!

  • birdboybirdboy Member Posts: 284

    @ForumNinja said:

    Update 1.25.x: We’re putting this on hold to put most of our focus into creating the new web tool.

    Web Version of GameSalad: As stated before, this is critical for the education focus, and we’ve got plans to get this out before the start of the next school year.

    Sad but exactly what I expected. I'm glad that I didn't prolong my subscription. With any new features frozen and fixing of bugs taking months to years this product is no longer even close to being worth its price for me.

  • SocksSocks London, UK.Member Posts: 12,822

    @ForumNinja said:
    Web Version of GameSalad: As stated before, this is critical for the education focus, and we’ve got plans to get this out before the start of the next school year.

    When is the start of the next school year (in the US) ?

  • AlchimiaStudiosAlchimiaStudios Member Posts: 1,069

    @Socks said:

    @ForumNinja said:
    Web Version of GameSalad: As stated before, this is critical for the education focus, and we’ve got plans to get this out before the start of the next school year.

    When is the start of the next school year (in the US) ?

    It varies by state, but usually around July-August

    Follow us: Twitter - Website

  • SocksSocks London, UK.Member Posts: 12,822
    edited December 2016

    @AlchimiaStudios said:

    @Socks said:

    @ForumNinja said:
    Web Version of GameSalad: As stated before, this is critical for the education focus, and we’ve got plans to get this out before the start of the next school year.

    When is the start of the next school year (in the US) ?

    It varies by state, but usually around July-August

    Thanks ! It's September here in the UK, so a month or so later than the US . . .

    . . . but anyhow as @Hoodloc alludes to, as the the focus is on the Web Version of GameSalad, and the aim is to have that out by ~August next year, then it looks like there will be no further development of GS at least until late next year . . . and even here logic dictates that if the education push is viable there will be little reason to return to the non-web version / the non-education market (?).

  • Kevinw026Kevinw026 Member, BASIC Posts: 30

    this basically states that gamesalad is using all the money from its long time subscribers to make sure that the education dept. starts off well....then if they get their deals done because of it, its going to be 100% education oriented. Which in the end will pay their bills but they will no longer need to worry about the true game. Thus leaving developers like us to look for a different way to make games....Gamesalad is a great program and its huge for people like me who are great with graphics but suck at coding to make something really great....but others are catching up, it sucks to leave but its hard to stick around and worry about if all your hard work will just get wasted any given time.

  • SocksSocks London, UK.Member Posts: 12,822

    @Kevinw026 said:
    . . . . if they get their deals done because of it, its going to be 100% education oriented.

    This seems like the most obvious logical progression to me too.

  • IceboxIcebox Member Posts: 1,484
    edited December 2016

    Ah the past months of waiting and excitement was for nothing :) .. I thought we would have zoom + snap to grid first then you will focus on the web version. The web version would probably take a 6-12 months , and updating mac and windows build would take you another 6-12 months :)

    Just keep in mind that some of us payed before you announced the education focus , back when you said all resources would be put behind the creator with the new business plan . Thats when I was glad I payed for another year .Then you changed focus to education but still told us how things would benefit both education and developers ( which gave me hope) . Now its on hold for the web version ... Thats just wrong , i payed to get what was promised .. not this .. but anyway good luck with it.

  • SocksSocks London, UK.Member Posts: 12,822
    edited December 2016

    @Icebox said:
    Thats when I payed for another year .Then you changed focus to education but still told us how things would benefit both education and developers ( which gave me hope) . Now its on hold for the web version ...

    I suspect 'on hold' is a euphemism, a kind way of saying your goldfish has died.

    There has been somewhat of a history of this - promising X, people enthused by X hand over their cash, X is dropped, it happened to me with the Lua-Free engine (the videos of super fast loading time = me = :o :) :) :) = £$€£$€£$€), it happened to others with Graphene, it happened to others with the promise of super fast graphics (the new rendering system), I'm sure others jumped when they were told that Steam was around the corner or that asynchronous multiplayer was on the way - etc etc - all quietly dropped.

  • UncloudedStudioUncloudedStudio NetherlandsMember Posts: 285

    Time to move on!

    It's obvious the state of GameSalad isn't going to change any time soon.
    I'm not going to wait months or years for updates.

    You can wait and they can promise but we all know the answer.
    The developers are not the target audience anymore, let's face it... it's over.

    Working with GameSalad has been a blast and i've learned a lot about game development but i'm going to invest my time in Unity.

  • @ForumNinja what kind of attention can we expect the creator to get as things like iOS requirements change? Will it receive maintenance priority to still function properly as we need it to, to finish our current projects and keep our published games updated and working on the App Store?

  • ForumNinjaForumNinja Key Master, Head Chef, Member, PRO Posts: 545

    @RossmanBrothersGames

    I would expect Creator to receive maintenance priority for any unexpected iOS requirements etc, yep. We're also looking into having a 3rd party group come in and work on updates for Creator while we're working on the web tool, though we haven't reached a major decision on that front yet.

  • PhilipCCPhilipCC Encounter Bay, South AustraliaMember Posts: 1,390
    edited December 2016

    @ForumNinja said:
    I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday! You guys are definitely overdue for an update, so here it is.

    I'm afraid there is not much joy in this for us long-term, loyal, paying customers. :(

    I don't usually gripe on this forum, although I often agree with others' sentiments, so I won't start complaining now.

    The current test build (1.25.77) has a couple blockers still, but it has a lot of quality of life improvements, and is mostly stable. If you’d like a copy to use pm me and I’ll hook you up with a download / a list of the most notable known bugs to look out for.

    @ForumNinja Will a final build of 1.25.78 be released when the "couple of blockers" are fixed?

    Otherwise it looks like Trey might get my business in 2017.

  • ChunkypixelsChunkypixels Member Posts: 1,114
    edited December 2016

    Well thats it... GS pretty much pulling the plug on serious developers... or at least finally admitting it. ( they pulled the plug on us earlier in the year).

    Im glad I cancelled my subscription a few months ago now.

    Ive got a stack of unfinished games built in GS, some, really close to completion, but Ive lost faith in the product, and more so the direction that the new management are taking it. Its been hard to write off 6 years of using the software, but I don't really see any other option anymore.

    Ive been using Unity for the past couple of months, and really do recommend others make the jump too... it really is a lot easier to use and understand than people think. Its the industry standard, is well supported, and isn't going anywhere soon.

    As is usually the case, someones going to jump on here and say I can't discuss other tools, in this thread, or on the forums in general, but I don't think GS have any moral ground to stand on anymore, and owe it to long term users to be able to discuss other software to move their development efforts onto, now that they've announced they no longer plan to support and improve the core Mac/PC tool, and only do education focused work... at least for the next year.

    Its been a constant rollercoaster being part of the GameSalad community. Ive spent over six years hoping things would improve and finally go in the right direction.. sadly, it never did.

    I may come back to using GS to finish off some projects at some point, and will probably still play with GS for some quick prototyping... so Im not completely writing it off. But for now, they've lost me, and I don't really see any future with it. The Web version might work for education, but its a further push against serious developers, and is yet another big GS U-turn that will probably never see an end product, but burn through the last of any company resources.

    Big disappointment, but no longer a surprise....

  • SethsAppsSethsApps Member, PRO Posts: 328

    Just working to push out my final game with GameSalad right now then I'll be cancelling my subscription before it renews. I really had a lot of faith and hope in the developers as when I joined a few years ago, updates were coming out nearly every month with really exciting stuff! Now, things have gone stagnant and it's abundantly clear that GameSalad is fully focusing their efforts on pleasing the educational institutions.

    I'm glad that there's such a drive for educating young students about coding and programming and all of the skills associated with the tools that GameSalad has to offer, but abandoning the development of the creator and ultimately hundreds of paying customers who built up and supported the platform itself at that expense is really kind of ignorant.

    And for those at GameSalad, I'm sure you've been seeing these comments for months now - there's not a single overwhelmingly positive one on this post or many of your other recent updates. You don't have to dig far to see that your paying customers are tired of being pushed to the back burner. I suggest there's a change of course if you plan on retaining many of those who have poured hours into games made with a once-thriving platform.

  • iamcarteziamcartez Houston, TexasMember Posts: 648
  • jonmulcahyjonmulcahy Member, Sous Chef, PRO Posts: 10,402

    I'm not surprised, but I am sad. I've been using this product since 2009 and I also have a few games in the pipeline, but I'm scared to release them. One game, ten years left, is 97% complete too.

    I hope this is a successful venture for gs. It is a tremendous tool and that will do very well in the education world. I just don't think it will do well for me anymore.

    And to think 7 mths ago I got a gamesalad game on steam...

  • hybridhybrid Member Posts: 183

    well, i feel sad and kind of relegated and with this... i mean, i feel they're telling us that we are not the priority, and we are clearly not.

    I always waited patiently, knowing that they're doing the best possible, but now its different. When we where the priority we have to wait long times, i wonder how much we have to wait now.

    And as much as i like gamesalad i feel that im stucked with the same limitations as 4-5 years ago. But now we know they're not even working on them!

    Im afraid that we are at the point where this will be only for education. I understand that this maybe will be more profitable for gamesalad, but its not why i'm here.

    i have a paid subscription till may, but i dont think i will renew it. if the web version will be out near the next school year, it means they will begin to focus on the update about middle of 2017...

    Also, the update maybe will never come, and suddently will tell us the web version will be the only thing. Many times before we being told of future things and time later they change plans.

    and for the 3rd party group working on the update. If you haven't reach a decision "yet", its clearly its not important

    They need to honest and transparent about whats the future for GS, but really commit and deliver whats promised, i wont renew again to find out that this promises was only words to keep us here.

  • mhedgesmhedges Raised on VCS Member Posts: 634

    @ForumNinja , so what happens to users who just renewed their subscription? Do they get a refund if they cancel?

  • Nabbo (ReflectiveByte)Nabbo (ReflectiveByte) Member Posts: 278
    edited December 2016

    @ForumNinja Again an empty promise!! Why do you do this to us? You were promising some updates recently!! why you broke your promise and your team trust again and again!! And now you say no more updates for Mac and Windows GS for 6-8 months great.. great!! Again a let down!! Now you are working on another 3rd engine who cannot support windows and mac version updates.. great..

    Why do do this to developers!! at least reduce the subscription or change it to free since you have announced not to support for further updates for mac and windows.. we do not want to pay for web updates , we are paying for our mac and windows updates!! :'(

  • KevinCrossKevinCross London, UKMember Posts: 1,893

    I'd imagine they'd start listening if everyone just put there subscription on hold for a few months...

  • Kevinw026Kevinw026 Member, BASIC Posts: 30
    edited December 2016

    There absolutely must be a reduction in price, at least by half! No way can you blatantly tell your paying customers(devs) especially some that have been so devoted and loyal to GS, that you are not going to be supporting the application anytime soon. Yes we understand the focus is on your new student/teacher base customers, but we are STILL your customers as well. You can not tell us that you are completely stopping updates for GS and expect us to still pay the full "always up today with the latest abilities" price but give us the very low, glitchy, always crashing, broken state of the maker that is especially behind in other cheaper makers in terms of function, performance, and abilities to do tasks. Please give us a better update than this. I joined game salad to fulfill my dreams of creating learning app games for my 2 toddlers, so I absolutely agree on the teaching/learning aspect. But no way should it prioritize at a time when the entire program is broken as is. Please fix and keep updating the client and you will have much better business in the long run. If every single subscriber is complaining and worried about their apps' future....that clearly is something you guys should be worried about.

    @ForumNinja

  • IceboxIcebox Member Posts: 1,484
    edited December 2016

    I started using another game engine a month ago and was able to re create my game with it , so like others said time to move on as well. Even if we wait till the web version comes out who knows what your next decision might be.I cant even tell if you guys will stick to the education focus or stick to the web version , it literally takes a night for you to change your priorities. Anyway , was nice using GS for learning the basics of game logic, thanks to it making a shift to another engine was much easier.

  • ToqueToque Member Posts: 1,185
    edited December 2016

    Web based sounds like a total rewrite of GS?
    Maybe it will have all the features we've been wanting in 1.25? They should start a feature request for it........

  • jamie_cjamie_c ImagineLabs.rocks Member, BASIC Posts: 5,743

    I'm afraid like many users here I'm going to move on as well. I have a couple games in the works, one is so close I'll finish it with GS and the other I'll take all the art assets I've created and move to the new engine. I really hope the best for GS long term but judging by the past I'm not real confident. As @Icebox eludes too above, how long will it be until the education focus and web version are scrapped for the next opportunity for some level of income (a la Graphine) and when the web version is complete it will just be a 3rd version of the same software that is likely buggy, incomplete and under powered (I don't have a high opinion of web based software, maybe i'll be wrong) but still the interface and abilities of the software will likely be a different mix than the other two OS's that are already a different mix of interactions and abilities.

    I certainly understand GS corporates quest for profitability, I certainly can't blame them for that. But I'm afraid even the education focus might be short sighted. Adobe has arguably done a great job with getting their software into both secondary schools and colleges. Which is great since once you learn the Adobe suite in school it's the industry standard that you will likely be forced to use in your professional life even if you didn't want to. BUT the current state Gamesalad has no life beyond school (and I can only guess a web version will have less chance of post school use) so you'll be learning software that you will not continue to use and of course continue to pay for post education. I think it's a short term amount of income that can be generated from this, there are only so many schools that will buy into the program and even when they do you'll need to support potentially three different operating systems with 3 different sets of tools and interfaces and abilities to keep those schools coming back for more. I can't imagine maintaining 3 sets of lesson plans, books, videos, tutorials, etc when the company seems to barely be able to support the two current systems with any sort of parity. The ideal plan would be to have one consistent piece of software across all the systems you support (Adobe) and keep the students as users once they graduate and move into their professional lives (Adobe). I hope the best for GS of course, it's been great using it and I'll likely keep current on events with the software in case something really great happens but in the mean time once my current subscription runs out I won't be re-subscribing.

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