Reflex – Dev Diary 74 – Tutorials Mk2

This week saw the release of a new version of GameMaker Studio 2 that changed a few things that affect Reflex.

Firstly, the Steamworks integration has been removed from the core and replaced with an extension. In many ways, this is actually a good idea because it means that the compiled games that don’t need Steam no longer have those commands compiled making for a smaller executable. However, it did mean a fair amount of setting up and re-coding here and there to get the update working with Reflex.

The other change is GMS now defaults to x64 compiling on Windows. Reflex up to this point has been compiled as x86 (32Bit) because the video player needed to show the tutorials only has a 32bit dll. It has been on my mind for a while that this isn’t an ideal situation. However, the only way to get around this limitation would be to remove the video player extension and change the way the tutorials are created.

There would be 3 options for replacing the tutorials:

  1. Do the same as the Android version; show a static image along with the description text.
  2. Record animated gif versions of the tutorials and use those – this would also allow animations on the Android version but the size of the texture pages would go up a lot due to the required number of frames for each tutorial.
  3. Rebuild all of the tutorials using GMS sequences. This would allow the Android version to show animations as well as the Windows version.

Obviously, I opted for choice 3, but it is going to be a fair amount of work. For the sequences I have to hand animated every element and some of the components that need tutorials require quite a bit of animating. For example the duplicators have 3 draw stages (base, secondary base, top – above missiles), then they also have the lights on the top and each step would need to be switched out and sequenced.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing this week. So far I’ve reproduced 12 of the 21 tutorials and they are looking pretty darn good. Once I’ve completed all the sequences I will need to go through the tutorial player code, remove the video commands and extension, and then add in the sequence controller. Hopefully, this will all be done in the next week or 2.

Then it’s back to finishing off the World 5 levels.