I'm not 100% committed (yet), but using Escoria 4.0 in Godot 3.4.4, I've made a first attempt at transferring my work from AGS into Godot.
Using AGS is a familiar environment that I know well, can easily script in and produce Fhaloness with. So why am I fiddling with the core engine that underpins it all? A few reasons, actually...
- I'm a Mac user. So I *can* run AGS through Wine, but the whole process is less than ideal.
- I like Git and whilst AGS has come a long way, it's not as repository-friendly as I would like it to be.
- I'm really enjoying adding some RPG elements to Fhaloness. And whilst I'm sure everything I want could be done with AGS, it's ultimately not an RPG engine. So if I want tile-based combat with more complex AI behaviour, Godot is better suited to that kind of thing. GDScript is infinitely more versatile for different types of games.
- The episodic nature of how I'm approaching Fhaloness means that I'll be releasing an unfinished story for quite a while. As a single binary, because ultimately, I want a Mass-Effect-Life-is-Strange kind of "your choices matter and carry forward". In AGS, save games break when you add too many new rooms, integers, etc. So I would need to develop an alternative save game system to compensate. So if I need to develop my own save system, then why not explore what else is out there?
- I love shaders. And dynamic lighting. God rays. Fog. And loads of particle effects. In the space of a few hours, I've managed to code a shader in Godot that mimics a slow-rolling fog effect across the main menu. And it looks really cool, pixel-perfect in 320x200. In AGS, the best I would be able to create is sprites, transparent or otherwise.
So why am I still on the fence?
- I'm not very skilled in Godot. Yet. So the learning curve is exponentially bigger.
- Escoria is in early stages of development. Similarly to AGS, it's being developed by a small group of enthusiastic volunteers, so I have every confidence that it will get there. But right now, the toolset is more limited within Escoria than it is in AGS. And as per the previous bullet point, I'm not skilled enough (yet) to code my way around that.
- The AGS Community. It feels like a betrayal! I've been lurking/engaging (on and off) on those forums for nearly 20 years now.
Ultimately, though, I think the flexibility and range of tools that Godot & Escoria offer will win me over. I can easily watch an RPG tutorial on YouTube and factor certain elements into Fhaloness now, using CSV documents to feed monster info into the game directly. Stuff like that.
Stay tuned. I'll continue to port things over and see where we go. I'll probably re-release the Prologue once that's made it across, just to see how people feel about it. And then, work on Episode 1 can continue. The good thing is that all assets transfer across without any issue (spritesheet and asset management in Godot is much easier too). So let's see where we go from here!