A Menu Designer Idea

The software that I’ve developed has been a result of making my own work easier, and sharing that experience with fellow developers. Interestingly enough, when making these projects, I’ve come into difficulty myself with certain elements of creating them.ImageOne example is my “AGAPI”, so I call it. It is the most advanced, standardized, and functional online interaction and content management API that exists with Game Maker today. Unfortunately, it is in closed beta. One reason is because I want the code to be more organized, and another is the compatibility with studio… But one main reason is the interface. I had to design a completely new interface for all of these lists to hold the data. And when it comes to interfaces, I am completely OCD about it. They have to be smooth, easy to use, and work perfectly for me to enjoy using them. That impression makes a big difference, believe it or not… at least in my experience and opinion.

This brings me to this new idea that will help Game Maker users: A non-DLL, GML-based menu system. After going over the design of the objects, it is actually kind of re-inventing the wheel. Yes, Windows dialogs and controls are there and everything, but I’m talking about web.

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The web already takes advantage of the custom controls. In css you can edit the padding, margins, borders, and width and height, and how many items in the list are displayed. However, nothing will be as simplistic or as rich as this, because first of all you can program with it with GML, and secondly, it is done in a designer and generated for you! It’s like front-page, but actually worthwhile using. I mean, this server list is ugly right now, but what if I used the designer to put the graphics in to match the game I have, and spend 90% less time on the interface by having the code already generated for you?

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Now, as much as I would like this to happen, it doesn’t mean that I will ever create this program. Firstly, the money has to be there nowadays. I can’t be living in my mother’s basement forever haha. And there also has to be enough appeal for this to reach enough potential users. But, I figured it would be nice to jot down my ideas, so at least theyre publicly visible instead of in my ideas collection next to my desk 😉

Professional developer’s look at Game Maker

I found this article that had a great look at Game Maker 8, and the issues that most of the veteran GM users also recognise: @ moacube.com

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Now that Game Maker Studio is out, I guess you can see where the people at yoyo games were heading on improving their product.

Unfortunately, a point made that, in my opinion, had gotten worse in GM:S, is interface. It may just be me, but the IDE layout means a world of difference. If there is tedious work involved when working with the development tool, it bugs me enough to not want to use it as much. However, GM is still a great tool to use for game making. It just needs a face lift to look more professional, and with that also needs to reduce the number of exception errors there are in its interface as well. Reliability is key for a development tool, so I like to know that it looks a feels like one that can be trusted. It is meant to make a programmer’s life easier after all.

They are taking a good approach, but unfortunately it also alienated other users, in which case I would recommend them sticking to Game Maker 8 in the meantime. (I still think GM8.0 is their most reliable product yet.)

It will be interesting to see what they will come up with in this upcoming year. I haven’t been using the tool as often nowadays, but as I update my “old” software, we will see if I come back eventually.

Windows 8 – WHERES MY FOLDERS?

So the first thing I notice in Windows 8, aside from the doohickies in every corner of the screen, is that you may not know where to start! (hence the Start Button “panic”) Honestly, Microsoft spends all of their time making things easier with their operating system, (which the improvements are great, by the way, at least for me) but then they make other basic necessities of a computer more difficult for the average user! Let me explain below:

People do not like to set things up when they don’t know what they are doing.
Makes sense right? This is why we have IT departments that do these things for the business – to follow a standard. I noticed something that is, frankly stupid with windows 8. The shortcut to folders in the Start Menu is gone. Thats right, no more Start -> My Documents. That’s not the worst thing though, its that there is no other straight-forward way to get there!

So it turns out you need to click the File Explorer button to open the file explorer. Makes sense right? Now lets open another files window…. Having a difficult time doing it? Exactly. Not straight-forward. Honestly, I work with computers all day, but this annoys the hell out of me frankly.

You have a couple options at this point. You can use the file explorer button again. Only it is not like W7, where you can just click on it, oh no. You need to either middle click it, or right-click then click “File Explorer”. Okay so we got that down, now to go to my main working folder…. Problem again? Well you can “pin” these folders to the file explorer by dragging it there, then accessing it with a right-click. Or you can just place these shortcut folders on the desktop (“app”). So… in an operating system that pushes for fullscreen apps, why do you have only these options??Image

Now try explaining this to an old person (haha). Yes, software can manage files for people who do not want to manage them themselves. But for people who work with these files all of the time, this just doesn’t seem like a nice approach, does it?

Wouldn’t it be nice to maybe…. have folders that they always work with go right on the Start Menu, maybe? For easy access? One would think this would be a nice idea…