S&box's New Horizons
In my last little blog post I talked about Facepunch’s upcoming game/engine S&box and how much I loved it. A lot has developed in the short amount of time that’s passed since writing that (and I just want to talk about my personal experiences).
I have a lot of respect for Unity. It’s one of the engines I am very comfortable working in and can work with it quickly and easily due to it’s component-based structure and C# API. However, they’ve been making terrible business decisions for a while now and it’s really starting to show. I’m sure I don’t need to go into detail but to put things bluntly, I will not be using Unity for any of my future projects.
I think Unity still has a lot of utility as a prototyping tool, but I think it’s time to move on to other options and time for developers to start broadening their horizons.
What does that have to do with S&box?
S&box has already been everything I loved about Unity, Unreal, and Godot (as I mentioned in my previous post) but in it’s own unique package. I didn’t think it was missing anything… However, I would be lying to myself if I wasn’t becoming incredibly frustrated with limited map loading features, lack of a live scene view/editor, and many other quirks that come from S&box being so closely tied to Source 2.
So to put things bluntly, S&box is retooling. They are ditching Source 2’s Entity System in favour of a GameObject and Scene system. Scenes can contain GameObjects and Prefabs which contain Components written in C#.
This is essentially the Unity-fication of S&box, and I am kinda here for it. I think this is going to make S&box even more accessible to new developers and will be great for Game Engine competition in general.
So what about things like Hammer?
Hammer is in a weird place right now. In my last blog post I talked about how much I loved Hammer 2 and how it was the first 3D modelling software I was able to intuitively use. This leaves me a bit worried about it’s future.
A few people from Facepunch have said they plan to bring all the modelling tools/functionality from Hammer 2 into the new Scene Editor, but I’m not sure how that’s going to work. It will be tough to have 100% parity while also maintaining the same workflow and ease-of-use that Hammer 2 has on top of the ease-of-use of the scene editor itself. This will be a large feat, but I’m sure Facepunch will be able to pull it off. And in the mean time, Hammer will be here to stay.
What about all the games you’ve made?
Luckily enough, a lot of my games are already built in a way that will make them easy to port over to the new system. This is because they are menu games, and utilize the same “out-of-game” technology that the scene system employs. I hope to make new games and ideas moving forward instead of porting other Entity games I had made in my first year of S&box (such as Plates. Maybe I will revisit the idea in a new and exciting way…)
I’ve already begun porting Home to the Scene System. This includes creating a dedicated Home database and web api with a few fun ideas I have planned. It’s going to take a lot of time, and I don’t want to re-release the gamemode until it’s far beyond feature parity with the original test version. Whenever this may be, it will still be an “alpha” release of Home, and I hope to continue to update it with new features and content for a long time.
Due to the excessive amount of work I have right now (releasing Turnip Boy Robs a Bank in January 2024, and taking some full-time classes for a few months) I don’t expect this to be any time soon. Please be patient, and join the discord if you want to stay up-to-date on the progress!