Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Spider Engine in Beta


My new game engine, the Spider Engine, is in beta testing!

It's my humble attempt at making a creation environment that is as accessible as possible, without sacrificing power and flexibility.

Motivation


I enjoy creating worlds using software, but I hate the process when it involves keeping track of too much code, having to read tons of documentation, or using friction-full technology. Life is short, and creation is fun, but no one dreams of spending their life in front of a computer fighting against technology!

Spider Engine came to life because there is a lack of user-friendly real-time creation environments. Creation software are complex to make, and there are design trade-offs at every corner. Each decision affects the overall flexibility, performance, functionality, and user experience aspects, to name a few. The balance is really hard to strike, and there are tons of software trying to cover all bases, but in my opinion, none of them do it just right. I don't think Spider does it right either (engines can never be right, they can only compete in popularity), but I think it's a firm step in the right direction.

Technology


Spider is entirely web-based, no installers, no downloads. This was one of the hardest decisions to make, coming from more than a decade of C++ experience in the video games industry. I had to learn the ways of web programming pretty much from scratch, as the last time I did anything remotely web related was at college. But at the same time, I couldn't have done it any other way, because in my opinion, being accessible on the web is a must for modern software. Instantaneous access, cloud save, team collaboration, ease of sharing on social media, are all things we expect from software we use and the web is the ideal platform for that.

In addition, Spider was built with visual scripting in mind. However, it is not one of those "Create games with no code" environments. You will still have to write code to get certain things done right. You decide what level of abstraction you need, depending on your project and your performance target (yes, code blocks have a small overhead, so in performance critical parts it's better to use one code block with a lot of code instead of connecting several mid-sized code blocks). The closest environment that is based on this idea that I know of is Unreal Engine. But Spider has a big advantage in terms of iteration speed, because Javascript compiles light years faster than C++ (Thanks several decades of arms race between browser vendors!). This leads to a tight, real-time, iterative and efficient creation loop that I'm very fond of, and I think will help teams create quality products in less time.

Check out Spider Engine and let me know what you think!




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