It feels like blasphemy, but...

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!

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So what have you decided? I'm in a similar situation - Mac user very comfortable with AGS and attached to the community, but running the editor remains a less-than-ideal setup.

Curious about how you're finding Godot & Escoria a few months on.

I just realised that you made a short MAGS game I enjoyed 20 years ago. Funnily enough I was thinking about it just the other day and couldn't recall the name. Buccaneer!

Hi Pilchard, thanks for taking the time to write this reply!

I'll be honest, between work & a part-time Master's course, I haven't had loads of time to work on Fhaloness these past few months. I've used the summer break to really dive into Godot, after a lot of navel gazing. I've been using it intensely these past few weeks and am enjoying it more every day. Escoria, as a framework, can do quite a lot. And where it can't, Godot is there to shift to GDScript instead of ESC script. I've coded some graphic stuff that I never would've been able to do in AGS which has been really cool.

I went for a real tailspin in deciding what to focus on. C# or GDScript? Move back to AGS or dig into Godot? In the end I realised it came down to my own coding anxieties. Recently GDQuest have come out with an excellent tutorial on "coding from scratch" which includes a free open source GDScript learning tool. It's been a blast to work through that, watch some YouTube videos and in general, get more comfortable with Godot.

I'd say at this point, the only thing I miss, is the AGS community. The Escoria Discord is a very, very, very helpful & welcoming place, but the community is quite small and all tech support seems to come from the devs. Compare that with AGS (which is obviously much more mature in that sense) and you have a range of coding experts hanging around the forums. However, that being said, if you're looking to mix-and-mingle (as in, adventure game, but you want a day-night cycle, or a combat system, or anything not strictly "old school") then the flexibility to do so in Godot is enormous and well worth the effort.

So for me, I'm definitely sticking with Godot. Remaking Fhaloness in this way will take more time than I envisioned, but the modularity, proper version control, asset management, cross-platform ease, graphical prowess and modern UI (Godot is a dream to use)... I'm sold. But I will miss AGS!

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Thanks for the reply – you've encouraged me to dive in and try Godot & Escoria.

It's been a while since I've dabbled with Godot, and I don't think I was even aware of Escoria back then. So far I'm impressed and hopeful! Everything is well documented and, on the pure Godot/GDScript side of things, that wealth of tutorials is reassuring.

I've always appreciated how the AGS community is this small but devoted audience, totally tuned into and supportive of these particular kinds of games – that's been just as important to me as the technical expertise that's always on hand. So I'm slightly remorseful taking a small step away from that, but I guess it's up to the likes of us to build an inspiring community around Escoria! And yes, the versatility offered by Godot is hard to ignore. Similar to you, I'd like to think I can bolt certain RPG elements on to my future projects without too much trouble. And of course, fill them with fancy particle effects and so on.

I should mention, I really like the original Fhaloness and I'm looking forward to seeing how you expand upon it. Keep in touch!

Building an Escoria community sounds like a good plan! :-) Looking forward to seeing what you're going to do with Godot/Escoria and I'll keep plodding away over here as well. Thanks for your kind words about Fhaloness!