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Author Topic: WME docs improvement suggestions  (Read 6749 times)

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Mnemonic

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WME docs improvement suggestions
« on: September 20, 2007, 07:09:49 AM »

Hi there, muties,

there seems to be a common consensus among users about WME being nice and powerful and everything, but at the same time it's not as much used as it could be, because a) it's not that well known b) because there's a steep learning curve.

For that reason my long term priority is making the development environment more beginner friendly. There are two main ways of how to achieve this. Firstly, the tools. The WindowEdit tool in WME 1.8 beta is the first one to use the completely reworked tools infrastructure and hopefully more new tools will follow in the future.

Secondly, the documentation, while it probably covers most of the functionality, it's far from being "beginner friendly". And that's where I'm turning to you, mainly people who already know a bit about WME and are using it for some time. You all were beginners once, so my question is, what were the most troublesome areas of WME development for you? What took you the longest to comprehend? What should be described better? What improvements to the docs would *you* personally appreciate?

Of course, I have some ideas myself, from reading people's questions in the forum, but it would be nice to hear from you directly. Thanks in advance. ::slug
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metamorphium

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Re: WME docs improvement suggestions
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2007, 07:19:56 AM »

Back in times when I started it took me the most of the time to figure out game.script - game_daemon.script tandem.  ;) I think that my problem was
that all demos are using quite complex structure - using sliding menu, action menus instead of mere left click etc. etc. I think that demos display capabilities but maybe if you include
something like nihil's BTT into the build (at least a part of it - if he agreed) would provide the missing link for beginners.

It's also very true, that in the beginning of my WME career I used a lot of help in the IRC and forums so my learning curve was not steep at all thanks to the support I got there.  ::beer ::beer
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CMK2901

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Re: WME docs improvement suggestions
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2007, 09:09:30 AM »

It took me the longest time to figure out how events were propagated to individual items from the game... I talked about that a bit in the other thread. 

It might also be a good idea to include something in the help file as to what the main game files do, what can be added to those files, and what can be modified - files like game.script, game_daemon.script, base.inc, etc.

I was also surprised to find you could add your own methods to, say, the game object by using the method keyword.  If you search for "method" in the help file, you get dozens of entries, none of which really jump out at a user to explain this functionality.

You might also benefit from some visual flow diagrams illustrating the order code is executed in (knowing specifically where the "point of entry" is in the scripts), and maybe a hierarchy of objects (like, I think Game is at the top, but I'm still not completely sure). 

Also, this might be a bit off topic, but the tech demo that shows off the engine is kind of...iffy.  I mean, yes, it showcases the technologies, but I'd think it should also make someone say "Wow, I can make something like this with Wintermute!?!"  Unfortunately, it doesn't especially elicit that response; to be completely honest, I almost decided not to use Wintermute because I was pretty unimpressed with the demo at first.  Even if it doesn't showcase any new engine features, a new demo with more professional production values might help "inspire" users who are just trying the engine out for the first time.  You know, wow them a bit.  If you're interested in updating this, I might have time to give it a shot.

But, yeah, otherwise, the forum support is amazing; I don't think I've ever seen a forum thread that doesn't get at least one response; you never leave engine users hanging, and I'm sure it isn't easy, but it's great work.  ::rock
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Mnemonic

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Re: WME docs improvement suggestions
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2007, 05:01:05 PM »

Thanks for the replies, guys! Anyone else?

If you're interested in updating this, I might have time to give it a shot.
I'd be very much interested. The demo is like 4 years old, made entirely by an artistically-challenged person (me) and it shows. The 3D demo should be better in this concern :)
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sychron

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Re: WME docs improvement suggestions
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2007, 10:54:29 PM »

One important thing: Your Scripting Docs are written from programmer to programmer. That's a common fault with us programmers ;-)
Maybe you add a chapter "differences to javascript", so they can use a javascript tutorial to get started with programming -- and get startet to reading the object oriented stuff in the reference.

I can remember my starts in OOP back in 199x ... I found the TurboVision help in TP7 and tried to figure out what all this stuff is good for ... and it took me about 20 books from the local library to finally get a "Click" in my head and switch to OOP thinking. This Click is much easier to archive nowadays, but: it has to be archived, so ... link to good programming tutorials and state the difference from that tutorial to your scripting language. Please do NOT write another programming tutorial ... that's pointless and far too much work ;-)
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Nihil

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Re: WME docs improvement suggestions
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2007, 12:56:12 PM »

I think the docs are mostly ok, even for beginners, only the step-by-step tutorial should go more in depth (and perhaps separate it from the rest of the docs. Many people seem to overlook it?). I would miss some more explanations, for example for creating an own interface, some more scripting stuff (from basic things like loops, multimedia-stuff (music, videos...), handling of variables etc).

If you want to use BTT for a 1st person example you can have it.

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Re: WME docs improvement suggestions
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2007, 08:26:27 PM »

Well, for me the docs and the step-by-step tutorial worked like a charm back when I started. Maybe the explanations given in the docs for the Methods and Attributes of the various game objects could have been a bit more elaborate, maybe even with accompanying short sample code, but other than that the documentation has always been very helpful.

The toughest part for me has always been figuring out the new features that haven't been covered by any step-by-step tutorial, like the 3D actors, particle engine, video playback, etc. It's true that most of them came out with their own very helpful demo projects, showcasing the respective features, but step-by-step tutorials are always the best for new users, in my opinion.

Also, it was a pain for me to understand the process of creating game assets for using with WME. It's true that it's not really WME's responsibility to teach people how to create 3D scenes, 3D characters, or Theora video clips but if you're looking for new ways to assist new users, then having guides on how to create such assets using commonly-used external programs is bound to make their lives a lot easier, I believe. I'm referring to guides like the one created by CMK2901 for the Theora video clips, for example.

Those are my two cents for now...
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Mnemonic

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Re: WME docs improvement suggestions
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2007, 03:29:13 PM »

Thanks a lot for all your replies. I'll try to use your suggestions for the future versions of the WME documentation.
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squeakydave

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New user first impressions and suggestions.
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2007, 12:20:28 PM »

Hi there:
First of all congratulations on the WME it is a very exciting piece of software.
I'm an Animator and Illustrator by trade and fed up working on other peoples ideas. Wintermute looks like just the tool to fulfill my foolish dreams of doing my own games. I have been working through the tutorials and have a few questions and suggestions that you may (or may not be interested) in.

The tutorial is very clear but it seems to end half way through. Ideally I'd like it to explain the whole of the demo game - door opening, moving between rooms, inventory, conversations etc. As it is I don't feel that confident that I can do anything useful with what I know. I know I can pick the tutorial game apart but I am an Animator and the coding aspect is non-obvious to me. I think if the tutorial was extended it would be a BIG help to new users.

Speaking of scripting, I know a little bit of Flash actionscript but would getting my sleeves rolled up and learning Actionscript 3 help with WME. I understand that it is pretty close to Java. If so other new scripters might be interested in Lynda.com It has some pretty good video training for actionscript and Java from $25 per month.

As I am using Vista and nothing seems to associate properly which parts of WME do I need to use for .actor and .window files?

Stuff of interest to animator types I'd like to see (they may already be there but I can't see them :))
Lip syncing - ideally using lostmarble.com/papagayo/index.shtml ,http://jlipsync.sourceforge.net/ or similar.
Some sort of Conversation editor to streamline dialog production. (AGS has this)

Um...thats about it for the moment. More when I've had a little more opportunity to poke around.

Huge Regards
Dave
www.squeakypics.co.uk

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Mnemonic

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Re: WME docs improvement suggestions
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2007, 08:41:50 PM »

Thanks Dave, I took the liberty of merging your post with this older thread.
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squeakydave

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Re: WME docs improvement suggestions
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2007, 10:25:39 AM »

Thanks for that I was just about to do an expanded version here ;D

Just to clarify. As a beginner I'd like a tutorial that takes me through ALL of the basics so that I can jump in and do my own simple game.
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fireside

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Re: WME docs improvement suggestions
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2007, 12:54:38 AM »

I think I'll chime in here.  The step by step tutorial is strictly 2d.  That's good, but another step by step for 3d would be nice, or an explanation of what's different.  I think there are a lot of people now days who would probably like to start with 3d.
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nuclear_winter

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Re: WME docs improvement suggestions
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2007, 08:01:44 PM »

...but another step by step for 3d would be nice...
yes please! please!
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Re: WME docs improvement suggestions
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2007, 09:16:55 PM »

while we are at it I think the step by step couls also include some more talk about items and conversations.
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Re: WME docs improvement suggestions
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2007, 04:46:35 PM »

It would be more than handy to have an actual code example for using all aspects of the Wintermute programming language, both primary Methods and secondary Attributes.
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noelbruton

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Re: WME docs improvement suggestions
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2008, 12:15:20 PM »

On the Wiki, there is an excellent "Inside the Brain of your game" which I found immensely useful. More stuff is needed at that level I feel. Aside, one of my biggest learning issues was with windows and associated scripts.

Much of the documentation seems to presume that programming techniques are obvious to all users, but that's not the case. There's a need for more "do this, because it means x, then do that to produce y result" step-by-step style of explanatory tutorial.

 
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Mnemonic

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Re: WME docs improvement suggestions
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2008, 01:19:25 PM »

On the Wiki, there is an excellent "Inside the Brain of your game" which I found immensely useful. More stuff is needed at that level I feel.
In that case, I think you'll love meta's excellent WME book :)
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