[Tool] Tinker - Visual Code Editor


#1


(updated link to include example project)

Screenshots:

I whipped up this visual code editor in GameMaker-Studio for making choicescript games in about a week.

Basically it provides a simple interface for which you can rapidly prototype a game.
(No programming knowledge needed!)

I would like to see this get popular enough to become an official (and free!) tool on the ChoiceOfGames homepage.
But first I would like to gauge user response and suggestions first to make it as good as possible before I pitch it to the devs.

Thank You!

edit: as a user below pointed out, adding a new line (carriage return) to the bubbles does not happen when you press the “enter” key. The current alternative method is to simply type a “#” instead. I will get around to fixing this as soon as possible.


Just started a story, some general questions about coding
#2

Could u modify it so it could run used on an iPhone as well? Thank u


#3

This is really interesting! I’m playing around with it now, and I’ll let you know how it goes. (:


#4

I am always excited to see new tools for Choicescript. I have tried the tool and find it is simple, I use the tool created by @CJW
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/7840892/CJW/choicescript/tools/IDE/main.html
He is also slaving away at making a expansive desktop version. I would never would want to discourage any tool building but we have some high bars here lol. I would be happy to beta test anything you create in hopes to only help development for tools for us CS writers.


#5

I had no idea either of those programs existed. It’s a shame I couldn’t seem to import my current game to them. Would have been nice to see how an existing choicescript game was handled. I’ll take another peek when I get to the next one.


#6

@Pyromanci You can (or rather, will be able to) import games to the desktop IDE - but I agree that it would also be a good idea here.

@BenSeawalker Any chance of a Mac version?

EDIT: Just had a quick play, so here are some thoughts:

  • I like the general idea, and think it will appeal to a lot of people.
  • The whole thing still looks and feels very raw - it’s a great start, but keep refining it
  • Not a fan of the over-reliance on right-clicking, I think some nice buttons and/or menus, particuarly for variable creation would work a lot better
  • I’ve concerns about how ‘busy’ a typical project’s screen will get with all those big bubbles and criss-crossing lines
  • You can’t press enter (insert a carriage return) in the bubble text boxes
  • The whole format works really nicely as a visual map for *if conditions (it really helps to visualize the flow/paths of the game)

#7

Huh. I’ve been trying to post the actual screenshots for you, but seems I can’t either – they show up in my draft but not the post.


#8

Thanks for the feedback everybody!

@Lordirish Thanks for the link, that is indeed a very good tool. Significantly better than notepad++ which I was originally using.

@Pyromanci One of my goals is to have the ability to import existing .txt scene files, however due to the complexity of anticipating the coding habits of other developers, I put that feature on hold in lieu of more (immediately) important features.

@CJW Your post is most informative and appreciated. I am, in fact aware of all the problems you have suggested. Yes, my original goal was to create a simple interface to help me visualize the paths of a game, not necessarily create one. But adding the functionality to export code that works was not overly difficult to implement. It doesn’t necessarily look pretty, but the code does indeed work without any errors that I have encountered. (:

  • Yes, it is very raw, actually I would consider it in Alpha stages still. Like I said, I came up with the idea and worked on it in my (very little) free time over the course of a week. My goal for posting it now was to garner some feedback before I dive back into development after Finals week at college.

  • The right click menu’s are very temporary. I intend to add a slide out sidebar menu with a “drag and drop” interface. As well as refining all of the interface as much as possible. I don’t like how the “variables” scene looks at all. Any suggestions on that end are appreciated.

  • I don’t see a practical way around the “busyness” aspect you mentioned. However, the main text bubbles can be resized to be significantly smaller, as well as the ability to zoom in and out, and changing the colors of certain “routes” of bubbles should make it fairly easy to navigate your projects.

  • The carriage return is a minor annoyance that I am aware of. For now, you can simply type a # symbol to add new lines.

  • As for a Mac version, I think that would be awesome, as well as Linux/iOS/Android and even an in-browser version. However these will cost me quite a pretty penny in licensing fees which is an asset I don’t currently have. (Starving college student and all that)
    However! When I eventually deem the project to be in “BETA” I will make the source code available to whoever wants to export the project for said devices. At the same time I will modify it myself to work with touchscreen controls so that it will be simple for iOS and Android export.

As of right now, I am swamped with studying for finals. But I will have a couple of weeks free time at the end of the month before I start my full-time job when I can dedicate some time to making this project slightly less embarrassing. After which I will have weekends to divvy up my time between my other projects and responsibilities I have taken on. Rest assured though, that development will continue. It just might be more sporadic than I would like.


#9

The more tools, the merrier, as the toolbox said to the nut!

Or, uh, something… :blush:


#10

Oh and how do I upload a game from Choicescript IDE? I’m using an iPad mini


#11

I wanted to try this out, but unfortunately, when I attempt to run the program, it crashes and throws me a “tinker.exe is not a valid win32 application” error. I attempted to re-download, but had the same result.

On a side note, I also work with GMStudio a lot. A pleasant surprise to see a ChoiceScript tool created in it!


#12

@stainedofmind That is rather odd… Do you have access to another pc to try it on? Sounds like you might have some corrupted windows files. Particularly “Rundll32”, I had the same thing crop up on my win7 laptop, the only fix was to reinstall windows…
Haven’t had any problems with Win8 though. (:

Probably a stupid question, but did you extract it from the zip file first?

Otherwise, try this link to an installer version.


#13

This is awesome! I’ve been making some pretty complex scenes in it. You should add the ability to convert normal files to tinker files.


#14

@BenSeawalker I haven’t had problems with any other Studio program as of yet, but I’ll try the installer version. And yes, I did extract it from the zip first. I even broke into the .exe and extracted the core files and tried to run it that way, but still no go.

Edit: Tried the installer, but it too crashes, though in a completely different manner. Odd. Unfortunately, I don’t have another PC to run it on, so I’ll likely just have to appreciate your efforts from a distance. For the record, I’m running WinXP SP 3.


#15

That’s most likely the cause of your problem, that OS is 13 years old already.


#16

@Ayzkalyn Great! I started on a way to import existing projects, but it had quite a few bugs so I removed it from this release. I’ll get started on it again in about a week. (:

@stainedofmind Agreed, I’m building on a Windows 8 64bit machine, I imagine it’s just not compatible with XP. PM me and I’ll send an email with the source code. It looks like spaghetti at the moment, so that’s why I haven’t released it for everybody yet.

On a side note, I’m going to work on a way to make the Text Bubbles more interactive, like making it so you can add “if” statements to the Choices so only certain ones show up (or can be grayed out). As well as the ability to have “if”'s so that the text can change as well.


#17

Definitely agreed about the XP situation, but alas, I am stuck with it for the moment as my aging netbook needs a replacement that I can’t afford at the moment.

@BenSeawalker Sent you a PM.


#18

Hey all, quick update.


(also in the main post)

I changed the functionality of Bubbles to where dragging the “line_break” (purple “O” button) to another object doesn’t add a *line_break to the choicescript code anymore. This allows for dynamic text as seen in the simple demo project I included. I also added a Condition dialog box to “Choices” so that you can have certain choices grayed out based on variable status.

I also fixed the problem where hitting the Enter key didn’t add a new line.

Now, I’ve got some other news. College Finals end for me next Wednesday. I have decided based on the feedback and my own intuition to simply scratch this project and start over. Since I was so hasty in the initial development I wrote a ridiculous amount of spaghetti code that I am not proud of. And I believe that simply starting fresh would be a much swifter solution than trying to fix the existing project.

Take this as good news! I’m redesigning the interface to be more like Unity3D with a side menu for the properties of each object in the scene. The connection lines between each object will look significantly better and objects will have improved inputs and outputs. I am also redesigning the save feature to be significantly more compressed and secure. This means that existing Tinker projects will have to be imported, but I will still support them. Also, as promised above, I think I may have found a solution to importing existing choicescript projects.

I hate it when devs make promises that they don’t keep, but here I am potentially doing the same thing. XD

Regardless, Merry Christmas, everybody! Stay safe on your travels and a Happy New Year!


#19

For anybody who’s still watching this post, I’m just letting you know that I’m not dead. XD

My job started much sooner than I expected, so I’ve been quite busy between that and life in general.

GOOD NEWS: I’ve made significant headway on the new version of Tinker, that I have dubbed “Chronicler” give me a couple more days to iron things out and I’ll release it with the source code from day one. The interface is much improved, here’s a hint: No more annoying popup boxes! : D (but you can ignore the Unity3D promise above ^)

As of right now, I’ve decided not to support existing Tinker Projects. But I’ll change my mind if even one person requests it. Importing already existing ChoiceScript projects is another beast altogether, but I am working on it.

I’ll create a new topic for Chronicler and post a link here probably on Monday since weekends are crazy busy at work.

Thanks for the feedback and support everybody! I don’t think I would have continued had it not been for that, so thank you. (:
Have a great weekend!


#20