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State of GameSalad on 9/19/2015

CodeWizardCodeWizard Posts: 1,143Key Master, Head Chef, Executive Chef, Member, PRO GameSalad Employee

Hi everyone! It's been awhile since I've written one of these. I figured a Saturday afternoon was as good a time as any. Let me jump right in:

Our main development priorities are pretty straightforward:

  1. Fix tool crashes until we get the percentage of daily users crashing to 5% or less. We're getting close on this!
  2. Deal with iOS 9 / El Capitan compatibility issues. As always, new Apple releases and upgrades need our attention.
  3. Deal with Android "lollipop" bugs. Not fun but necessary.
  4. Improve our new user experience, onboarding, and in-app tutorials.

Let me expand on that last one. Consider this screenshot of the latest development version of Windows Creator:

You'll immediately notice that we've got the Intercom chat window and bubble available in the tool now. What you'll also notice is that BowlBoy is chatting with me. What we've built here is an AI tutorial system, using Intercom for communication, that sits right in the tool. BowlBoy will offer guidance, step-by-step instructions, etc. to help folks learn how to use the tool.

This has been in the works for several weeks and is a game changer for the product. We're pushing it out in the Windows build first but Mac won't be far behind.

There have been several improvements and changes to Windows Creator as part of this work. Here's a summary:

  • Download size for the app has been reduced to about 27MB.
  • We've built a new downloader and launcher for Windows Creator to smooth out the install / update process for users.
  • We no longer require OpenGL support on Windows which improves compatibility.
  • Preview is now hosted in a separate process. This means that preview crashes will not crash the tool. And it opens up the ability for standalone Windows EXE releases.
  • Lots of general performance improvements to the Windows tool (mostly related to moving toward a multicore approach to loading projects, etc.)
  • We've changed the engine to work with editor game projects, improving preview load times.

More news on when this release will be live soon . But it's not far!

That's all I've got to share for now. I'm sure you'll hear from me again soon. :)

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Comments

  • pHghostpHghost London, UKPosts: 2,301Member

    Woah! A new State of GameSalad, the sky is falling!

  • Braydon_SFXBraydon_SFX Posts: 8,964Member, Sous Chef, PRO, Bowlboy Sidekick GameSalad Employee

    Great to see a SoG post! Thanks for taking the time to write it up on your Saturday!

  • PhilipCCPhilipCC Encounter Bay, South AustraliaPosts: 1,390Member

    Good to know what's on the Fix It Menu. Thanks. Enjoy Sunday.

  • FrantoFranto Posts: 779Member

    Incredible news for GS. :)

  • NimbleBugNimbleBug Posts: 483Member

    Awesome Thanks for the Status

  • mhedgesmhedges Raised on VCS Posts: 634Member

    @CodeWizard said:
    Hi everyone! It's been awhile since I've written one of these. I figured a Saturday afternoon was as good a time as any. Let me jump right in:

    Our main development priorities are pretty straightforward:

    1. Fix tool crashes until we get the percentage of daily users crashing to 5% or less. We're getting close on this!

    @CodeWizard ,
    Is that 5% for total users or only for those who report the crashes via Bug Splat or otherwise?

    On another note, I believe you've read this already. Kudos:

    bizjournals.com/austin/blog/techflash/2015/09/software-maker-gamesalad-pivots-business-model.html

  • 33miles33miles Posts: 71Member, BASIC

    Glad to know your getting creator ready for El Capitan! I'm really looking forward to September 30th for it's official release. :D Thanks for all the good work and have a nice rest of your weekend! B)

  • DuesDues Posts: 1,159Member

    @colander said:
    I'm loving it.

    Now you made me hungry :wink:

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

    @jay2dx said:
    Sorry guys but having a tutorial chat AI thing is really counter intuitive since new users only get 15days to get to grips with the software! Seems like a waste of precious bug fixing time to me!! Just my thoughts on that!

    You can continue to use the tutorial chat thing once you have bought one of the monthly / yearly subscriptions.

  • jay2dxjay2dx Posts: 610Member
    edited September 2015

    @Socks said:
    You can continue to use the tutorial chat thing once you have bought one of the monthly / yearly subscriptions.

    I guess! I'd just like to see something that would bring more users and more subs for GS, I recommend GS to everyone I meet, they all say they are not prepared to invest the time if it's only 15 days to learn it, the new daily log in mite help but it should really be a full month at leases, with all the free game design competition out there I just want GS to do well and be noticed!

    Friends see what I'm working on "I've not posted my new games to the forums yet" they get really enthusiastic and want to learn it too, but what I'm working on would take longer than 15 days to grasp, if you include Art dev time too, "it's what really brings it together though" they just don't feel they could achieve it and feel like it's not worth buying or investing in, annoying to be honest as I love GS :(

    Maybe when I release these games in a few months they will :) we'll see hey!

  • SocksSocks London, UK.Posts: 12,822Member
    edited September 2015

    @jay2dx said:
    I guess! I'd just like to see something that would bring more users and more subs for GS, I recommend GS to everyone I meet, they all say they are not prepared to invest the time if it's only 15 days to learn it, the new daily log in mite help but it should really be a full month at leases . . .

    It's not really 15 days to learn GameSalad, the 15 day trial is not strictly a learning period, it's an opportunity to play around with the software, test it out, check out tutorials and demos, see how you like it, and so on - the actual process of learning the software, getting used to how it works, advancing your skills, discovering new tricks (etc etc) will likely take months (I'm still learning new tricks in GameSalad after years of using it).

    Can someone learn GameSalad in 15 days ? Probably not, but the trial period will give them a decent overview of how it works so they can then decide if they do want to learn it, The idea that someone wouldn't be prepared to invest time in something they only have 15 days to learn is a misleading argument in the respect that there is no 'you must learn this in 15 days' stipulation.

    @jay2dx said:
    Friends see what I'm working on "I've not posted my new games to the forums yet" they get really enthusiastic and want to learn it too, but what I'm working on would take longer than 15 days to grasp . . . .

    Again, I'd give the same response . . . why would they need to acquire the same level of skill and creativity that you have built up over a couple of years in just 15 days ?

    @jay2dx said:
    they just don't feel they could achieve it and feel like it's not worth buying or investing in . . .

    There is - quite literally - no logic to their stance, the only thing I can imagine underpins their position would be "I am not prepared to spend $19 on something I am interested in" all the other stuff about time limits and needing to master GameSalad in 15 days doesn't even make sense, lol :smiley:

  • ArmellineArmelline Posts: 4,761Member, PRO

    @jay2dx said:
    Sorry guys but having a tutorial chat AI thing is really counter intuitive since new users only get 15days to get to grips with the software! Seems like a waste of precious bug fixing time to me!! Just my thoughts on that!

    I think this is a very savvy move, and for the long-term success of GameSalad I'm happy to sacrifice a bit of bug fixing time (though I expect it's different developers with different specialties working on each thing). What they're doing is making sure that during that 15 days of trial, you're actually learning. You're given resources and tutorials that you can be working on without having to juggle windows, and making sure that people newly opening GameSalad aren't getting lost and are getting the most out of their 15 day trial.

    I hope it's a big success for them!

  • MoikMoik Posts: 257Member, PRO

    @Socks said:
    Can someone learn GameSalad in 15 days ? Probably not, but the trial period will give them a decent overview of how it works so they can then decide if they do want to learn it, The idea that someone wouldn't be prepared to invest time in something they only have 15 days to learn is a misleading argument in the respect that there is no 'you must learn this in 15 days' stipulation.

    Judging by the dates on my project versions, by the time I submit my first app I'll have spent under 15 calendar days in-tool. In order to keep myself productive and organized, I need to make myself a checklist of things to do, then work off the checklist. Making the checklist is done without the app open; looking up tutorial videos, reading function descriptions to see if Game Salad is able to do what I want or how to kludge it, and asking theoretical questions on the forum.

    If Game Salad set up their tutorials to have Work days in-tool for connecting bits and Study days off-tool deciding on bits, people could easily accomplish a presentable shipped app within the trial period. I think they really need to focus on insuring that idea-cradle-to-release-grave cycle experience is built in to create the level of confidence needed to have someone decide to buy in.

  • SocksSocks London, UK.Posts: 12,822Member
    edited September 2015

    @Moik said:
    Judging by the dates on my project versions, by the time I submit my first app I'll have spent under 15 calendar days in-tool.

    That's fairly quick and I imagine not typical ? Obviously the 15 day time limit of the trial version is enough for you to learn how to use GS and produce an app, but for most people I suspect the majority of their learning would happen after the trial period.

    @Moik said:
    If Game Salad set up their tutorials to have Work days in-tool for connecting bits and Study days off-tool deciding on bits, people could easily accomplish a presentable shipped app within the trial period.

    As has been said by GS, the overwhelming majority of people nether publish nor ever intend to publish - the goal of the trial period is not to provide enough time to learn and publish an app, if they focused on people who wanted to learn GameSalad and ship an app within 15 days I suspect they would be catering for a very small minority of users.

  • MoikMoik Posts: 257Member, PRO

    @Socks said:
    That's fairly quick and I imagine not typical ? Obviously the 15 day time limit of the trial version is enough for you to learn how to use GS and produce an app, but for most people I suspect the majority of their learning would happen after the trial period

    Having tutorials which follow that structure, and suggest that pacing/ratio of work to research, could make it typical. By their conduct of switching from 15-sequential to 15-ad hoc trial days, I feel like GS is taking some steps in this direction by providing that better "access budget" to free users. I can't see them deciding to balance the tutorials to be more than 15 days intentionally, I just want to nudge this into the center of the table as a potential KPI for how effective the tutorials are.

    @Socks said:
    As has been said by GS, the overwhelming majority of people nether publish nor ever intend to publish - the goal of the trial period is not to provide enough time to learn and publish an app, if they focused on people who wanted to learn GameSalad and ship an app within 15 days I suspect they would be catering for a very small minority of users.

    Is there data saying most people have no desire to publish; a poll of some kind? I'll allow most people haven't, it's a long frustrating process when done with limited resources or aid. I'll also allow there are self-conscious people who would be too shy to publish. However, I can't see it being common that creators don't want to share their creations at all ever. If anything, modern society generally has a trend toward over-sharing. I can't see many reading "Chapter 15: Getting your game into the hands of players" and recoiling in horror at the thought then uninstalling Game Salad.

  • SocksSocks London, UK.Posts: 12,822Member
    edited September 2015

    @Moik said:
    By their conduct of switching from 15-sequential to 15-ad hoc trial days, I feel like GS is taking some steps in this direction by providing that better "access budget" to free users.

    Yes, agreed, the 15 non-sequential days is a much better approach !

    @Moik said:
    I can't see them deciding to balance the tutorials to be more than 15 days intentionally, I just want to nudge this into the center of the table as a potential KPI for how effective the tutorials are.

    I haven't got a clue what that means ! : ) I don't understand a lot of these phrases 'potential KPI', 'in-tool', 'balance the tutorials', 'access budget' (etc) !?

    @Moik said:
    Is there data saying most people have no desire to publish; a poll of some kind?

    GameSalad will have access to all that kind of data - we of course need to publish through their servers - so I expect the figures they have used to arrive at this conclusion are reliable.

    @Moik said:
    However, I can't see it being common that creators don't want to share their creations at all ever.

    No one has said creators "don't want to share their creations at all ever". I think you are conflating selling and sharing, people often share their creative efforts with others, but like I say the majority of creative hobbyists tend not to sell their work.

    @Moik said:
    I can't see many reading "Chapter 15: Getting your game into the hands of players" and recoiling in horror at the thought then uninstalling Game Salad.

    Agree, no one is recoiling in horror at anything, they just don't get around to or feel the need to publish/sell their creations.

  • MoikMoik Posts: 257Member, PRO
    edited September 2015

    @Socks I'm not sure I'm conflating publishing and selling as, to me, release and publish includes the free Arcade which has no IAP or ad providers. :)

    As far as I know, Game Salad effectively can't offer hands-on for the iOS/Droid/Amazon publishing tutorials as there's an extra cost to get into those programs and there may be copyright or non-disclosure concerns for those systems.

    KPI is a Key Performance Indicator. A librarian would have a KPI of how many returned books they re-shelve a day. The tutorial could have a KPI of how many people have published.
    In-tool would mean doing things while Game Salad is open, eating a Trial day. Off-tool would mean without it open, such as just reading the forums or watching videos.
    Balance the tutorials would mean something like rather than trying to do a 'world tour' that shows off all the potential uses of every behavior, have it step through some of the core ones every app uses then move on to the remainder of the development necessities to complete a project. Then let people loop back to the others on their own time, on their own dime as a paying subscriber.
    Access budget is the amount of time you have available to spend accessing the systems under the free trial. Someone who only had spare time on weekends to learn the tool had their access budget increased from like 16 hours to like 60 hours with the trial change.

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

    @Moik said:
    Socks I'm not sure I'm conflating publishing and selling as, to me, release and publish includes the free Arcade which has no IAP or ad providers. :)

    Good point ! I'd forgotten about the Arcade, but generally speaking - from what GameSalad have said - the previous model . . . whereby GameSalad earn revenue from advertising from free users (where ad revenue goes to GameSalad with free users) and paid subscribers . . . wasn't working due to the fact that the majority of free users simply didn't publish their projects.

    @Moik said:
    KPI is a Key Performance Indicator.

    Cheers for the terminology explanations, makes much more sense to me now ! :smile:

  • jay2dxjay2dx Posts: 610Member

    Some great points being made here @Socks I'm just gald at least I support GS :) hopefully I can change a few minds soon quoting some of the text above

  • 3itg3itg Posts: 382Member, PRO

    @CodeWizard said:

    • Preview is now hosted in a separate process. This means that preview crashes will not crash the tool. And it opens up the ability for standalone Windows EXE releases.

    I really, honestly can't believe no one called any attention to this little tidbit... standalone Windows EXE releases! I know it's not there yet, but the potential to target publishing platforms for Windows desktops (like Steam) is huge.

  • dgackeydgackey Austin, TXPosts: 699Key Master, Head Chef, Member, PRO GameSalad Employee

    @3itg

    That's been on the docket for a while, but the reliance on Windows OpenGL drivers was a real issue. Now that we're no longer tangled in that mess, it's a lot more feasible to create native EXE's.

    Dan Magaha · COO · GameSalad, Inc · [email protected]

  • AlchimiaStudiosAlchimiaStudios Posts: 1,024Member, PRO

    @3itg said:
    I really, honestly can't believe no one called any attention to this little tidbit... standalone Windows EXE releases! I know it's not there yet, but the potential to target publishing platforms for Windows desktops (like Steam) is huge.

    Yeah that's the best bit of all of this to me. One step closer to exe and hopefully Steam. Been wanting that as a feature for 4 years now.

    Follow us: Twitter - Website

  • HypnorabbitHypnorabbit SingaporePosts: 202Member, PRO

    Incredible work @CodeWizard! I've been with GS since 2009 and I haven't seen this rate of progress in a loooooong time. I don't know what you did but something happened obviously! Keep up the awesome work - GS deserves it and you guys deserve all the success you get. Look forward to the next update.

  • FrantoFranto Posts: 779Member

    I'm excited for .Exes and html5! :)

  • NimbleBugNimbleBug Posts: 483Member

    I too excited for .Exes and html5! :)

  • The_Gamesalad_GuruThe_Gamesalad_Guru Posts: 9,913Member

    I agree with @socks the 15 day nonlinear approach is ideal to see if you want to go further with the software. I also agree that for the naysayers this is about money. Follow the money is what they say. If you're not willing to pay something what's the point? My son just started his first year of college he's a game design and programming major. If you think $220 is expensive try writing a check for a year of college..lol As a parent I just think parents are wary to pay because kids tend to get all excited and then lose interest. There is no perfect scenario. As to those with limited funds, if you are really serious you can Xcode for free and there are tons of free lessons online. I myself am learning Xcode and already made a couple small apps. If your child is series they will eventually have to learn a programming language like Java or object C.

  • GameAlchemistGameAlchemist Posts: 106Member

    Great updates as always GameSalad. Just one question, since I have been gathering a decent amount of money for a wise investment in something, I wanted to know whether Graphene SDK is going to be released in 2015 or next year? and I know it's on hold but still, just want to make sure.

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