Great news and progression again, congratulations! Since I used the tilemap branch at my miniLD68 entry, got an impression, which I intended to share earlier, but ... laziness.
Some words about the entry: it's bad and unpolished, the main purpose was just to test out the new Duality functionality. Anyway, here's the link to it
, and also the source
. A guy also included it in his let's play
. I don't recommend that to compile yourself, because some dll's are missing from the repo, but if you want to have a look, there it is. I did not use the tilemap API for this project, just created the level using the editor tools, thus I cannot tell anything about that.
First things first, I think this is a great and useful addition to the software, even though it does not really fit into Duality's philosophy of development - as Adam mentioned an earlier forum post - since it targets a rather specific set of problems. Not that this would be an issue.
How does the editor workflow feel? What can be improved?
If I had to describe it with one word, that would be convoluted
. This means, that for me it took plenty of time just to figure out, how all that stuff works. Not a big issue, and I couldn't come up with a better organization of functionality at the moment, but the number of new resources, components, menus and their properties was rather overwhelming. An usability issue discussed several posts above didn't help either.
A small related story: recently I started to work at a major software company as a developer trainee. They (we) work on a design software for architects - and on the annual developer meeting one chief manager talked about how to catch new customers: the first half an hour they spend with the software should be fun and laughter, even if the advanced functions are deep and convoluted. Duality's new tilemap functionality does the opposite: the learning curve is rather steep.
Sure, it's not a commercial product, and don't want to sell it to anybody. I just wanted to point out, that for a newcomer, it can be difficult. What I can propose, is to have a detailed, step-by-step tutorial to introduce the new functionality as gentle as it can be.
On the other hand, the distribution of the detail seems a bit uneven. The tileset editor is gargantuan, advanced functionality (different render layers, collision layers, etc) everywhere. In opposition, the actual tile editing feels less feature-rich, I missed some functionality here and there, for example region copy-pasting or replacing a particular tile with another. Crafting multiple larger levels with that can be a pain, creating a small one that my game has was fun. I used Tiled before for this kind of work, it's terrain and auto-tile tools are awesome, they deserve a closer look. However, instead of implement this heavy lifting in Duality, I think a .tmx format supporting (community?) plugin would be better use of "resources".
Do you think the sample is illustrating how to use tilemaps sufficiently? Why or why not?
Absolutely. It helped me to understand how to organize multiple layers of tiles, combined to a single collision layer. Also unveiled some of the depth sorting functionality. Even aesthetically pleasing!
Are there bugs? Usability issues? Glitches? Tell me!
Nothing much, maybe some weird behaviour, when clicking the mainTex render layer does not open its inspector. Couldn't reproduce it intentionally. I'd say it's ready for release.
A long wall of text, isn't it? I hope you find it useful, and also that I was not too harsh - trying to be constructive. What about the game jam, do you plan to organize it yourself? I'm still in edit: Happy birthday, Adam!