AGS 3.6.1 - Patch 3

Started by Crimson Wizard, Sun 09/06/2024 14:39:23

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Crimson Wizard

AGS 3.6.1 - Patch 3
Full release number:

For Editor

For Android
NOTE: the Editor now includes Android build component letting you prepare your own games for Android

For Engine/Editor developers

Released: 9th June 2024

Previous stable version: AGS 3.6.0 P11 forum thread

This release is brought to you by:

- Alan v.Drake (fixes, improvements)
- Crimson Wizard
- edmundito (iOS fixes)
- eri0o
- Walter Agazzi (fixes)


3.6.1 update focuses mainly on improving performance and usability of existing features, in both Editor and Engine.

The noteable addition to the Editor is a "Log Panel", which lets you read game logs right in the editor's window. "Goto definition" now works on game object script names and opens their respective panels. Room editor features better panning and zoom controls. Views allow to select and modify multiple frames at once.

In the engine, there's a significant improvement to script performance, which may make script-heavy games run 30-40% faster compared to AGS 3.6.0 (these were real test results on a certain game with 3D simulation). There's a big improvement to the speed of manipulating Overlays, and general speed improvement of graphics rendering primarily useful for high resolution games.

There are other fixes and improvements to various parts of the program too.
Please be sure to read "Upgrading to AGS 3.6.1" topic in the manual:

Changes in the Patch 3:

 - Fixed that after deleting a View's frame editor did not select next frame (regression in 3.6.1).
 - Fixed "Delete last loop" button not appearing in the View Editor if the view is filled using "Assign sprites to view" command from the Sprite Manager.

 - Implemented an alternate solution for rendering "bad" TTF fonts that does not increase their loading times (after previous patch 2).
 - Allow scene render during "load room" event if the last room transition was "Instant".
   This has to be done because number of games used this event for custom transitions.
 - For games compiled in "Debug" mode "warnings.log" file will be written in "savegame dir" on platforms where modifying game directory is forbidden in principle (OSX, iOS, Android, Web).
 - Fixed System.Log() was registered for plugins using a wrong argument list.

 - Fixed loading of 3.5.0 saves (broken in 3.6.1).

 - Fixed disk space check was testing space in the current directory instead of the save game location.

Changes in the Patch 2:

 - Fixed few potential program errors for "Generate Keystore" in Android preferences.
 - Fixed external processes (such as test game runs) were started using ShellExecute, which could theoretically lead to unintended results.

 - Fixed String.Replace crashing the engine if the resulting string exceeds 3000 bytes.
 - Fixed releasing a mouse button could cause double "on_event" call (with eEventGUIMouseUp).
 - Improved rendering of TTF fonts which have glyph sizes surpassing declared font's height.
   This fixes the look of text on gui controls, and automatic outlining on these fonts.
 - Fixed a dialog shown with InputBox() function drawing typed text beyond text box'es border.
 - Fixed custom dialog options in the "old mode" not triggering redraw when the active option changes.

Changes in the Patch 1:

- Fixed View's frame preview sometimes drawn incorrectly, in case of certain panel sizes.
- Fixed folding in the script editor not working correctly if there's a commented closing bracket ("//}") inside this code section.
- Fixed Editor sometimes failing to update game exe's file information and/or icons, if user was importing any sprites during this working session.

- Fixed room objects not updating under Direct3D/OpenGL renderer, if they were assigned a dynamic sprite, then that sprite was deleted, and a new one assigned with coincidentally same ID.
- Fixed room objects not updating under Software renderer, if they were assigned a dynamic sprite, and that sprite was modified while object was not visible on screen.
- Fixed inventory cursor's crosshair not displayed (when enabled in game settings).

What is new in 3.6.1

Common features:
- Implemented Deflate compression option for sprites.
- Removed length limits for: Game name, savegame folder, Character's script name and regular name (description), Inventory item's name (description), Mouse cursor's script name, Audioclip's script name.

- Discontinued Source control integration functionality, removed "Put sound and sprite files in source control" option from General Settings.
- In General Settings moved few properties to different groups for better consistency.
- Added "Scale Character sprite offsets" property to General Settings. This property refers to scaling of Character.z and sprite offsets added by LockViewOffset script command.
- Added TextureCacheSize and SoundCacheSize properties to Default Setup. These let configure the sizes of runtime texture and sound cache sizes respectively.
- Added "Leave room after fade-out" event to Rooms (called "Unload" by default).
- Added Translated property to all GUI Controls (was available only in ListBox). Translated property tells whether this control's text has to be translated, and applied text direction (in right-to-left text mode).
- Support '\n' linebreak character in the Label's Text and potentially other text properties.
- Improved Room Editor controls:
  Added free panning mode done by holding the middle mouse button, or alternatively - by holding Space + LMB.
  Mouse Wheel without key modifiers scrolls the room vertically; Shift + Mouse Wheel scrolls the room horizontally.
  Zoom is done by Ctrl + Mouse Wheel and room now zooms towards or outwards the cursor position.
- In Room Editor the context menu is now displayed by RMB or Shift + RMB while editing masks.
  The individual room mode menu is merged with the "copy coordinates" command when shown.
- In Room Editor the hint with coordinates is now also displayed when moving Objects or Characters with keyboard.
- In Dialog Script editor support most Edit menu and context menu commands from the regular Script editor, with a few exceptions.
- In Sprite Manager added command "View" -> "Show filenames" which toggles display of a sprite's source filename under the sprites.
- Adjust sprites' import settings after "Crop sprite edges" command; this would ensure that these sprites are restored from source file keeping their cropped sizes.
- During sprite export Editor will display a proper progress dialog.
- Zoom controls in Character and View panes now allow downscaling too. View editor displays the preview sprite stretched to fill the parent panel.
- View editor now allows to select multiple frames at once, across multiple loops too, using standard Shift + LMB and Ctrl + LMB combinations. Properties panel lets modify properties for all the selected frames at once.
- Added "Replace with all sprites from folder" command to the View editor's context menu.
- For Audio Clips in the project tree added "Force Reimport", "Force reimport all file(s)" and "Replace Source File" context menu commands.
- For Output Panel added "Copy selection" context menu command.
- Implemented Log Panel that lets you see the engine and game logs right in the Editor.
- Improved LipSync panel looks in case user's system has display scaling option enabled.
- "Goto Definition" command in script will now work for most of the game entities too, such as Characters, GUIs, and so forth. In that case it will find a game's entity and open a respective editor panel for it. This still does not work for some types, such as Room objects, and Views.
- Added main menu commands for opening a Project folder and Compiled folder.
- Added "Export Global Messages to script" menu command. This command is meant for upgraded pre-3.2 game projects, and will generate a script with a String array, moving global messages texts there.
- For script's tabs added a context menu command for opening this script's location.
- When run with "/compile" argument Editor will print all messages to the console (stdout), instead of displaying modal message windows.
- For Android build target Editor now supports a directory to place plugins in.
- When building a game for Android and Linux the Editor will now be more tolerant to missing plugins and only issue a warning instead of stopping with error.
- Config will now be saved in UTF-8, letting to support setup program's title text in unicode.
- For non-Windows build targets Editor will fix config containing Direct3D graphics driver option and set OpenGL instead.
- For Color Themes: implemented character literal, braces match and braces error settings.
- Made Editor be somewhat more tolerate to missing XML nodes in Game.agf, in many cases it will still let open a game.
- When upgrading older game projects, Editor will insert a call to SetRestartPoint() in the end of the 'game_start' function in GlobalScript.asc. This is done to complement removal of an automatic restart point in the engine. This inserted command is safe to remove.
- When upgrading pre-3.2 rooms with disabled SaveLoadEnabled property the Editor will reset this property and insert a comment with a warning into the corresponding room's script. This is done because this property is deprecated as is no longer accessible.
- Fixed Editor refusing to open a game if one of the translation files is missing.
- Fixed General Settings and Default Setup not working correctly right after importing a pre-3.* game project.
- Fixed importing GIFs or 8-bit PNGs may lose transparent pixels if source images used other palette index than 0 for transparency.
- Fixed Project Explorer's folders collapsing after certain user actions, such as dragging items or renaming things.
- Fixed deleting collapsed "region" in script would sometimes lead to portion of the script undeleted but staying invisible.
- (Possibly) Fixed a "Index out of range" exception in Script editor, related to the "script location" drop-down list, which could occur at random circumstances while
  working with the script, and any Color Theme is enabled.
- Fixed Editor could miss some of the files when cleaning up old compiled files after the Game's Filename property is changed.

- Support "#else" preprocessor directive.

Script API:
- Implemented Room's "After fade-out" event.
- Added eEventLeaveRoomAfterFadeout event for the global "on_event".
- Added eEventGameSaved event which runs after game was saved.
- Expanded interaction functions for Character, Object, InventoryItem, Hotspot and Region types: now they all receive respective object's pointer as a parameter, similar to GUI event functions, as well as a cursor mode this interaction was run with, if applicable.
- Added Game.ResetDoOnceOnly(), which completely resets all DoOnceOnly instances.
- Added Game.PrecacheSprite() and Game.PrecacheView(), which preload certain sprites and linked frame sounds into the engine's sprite cache memory.
- Added ScriptName property to AudioClip, Character, Dialog, GUI, GUIObject, Hotspot, InventoryItem, Object.
- Added static GetByName() function to AudioClip, Character, Dialog, GUI, GUIObject, Hotspot, InventoryItem, Object.
- Added Object.AnimationVolume property, which works similar to Character.AnimationVolume.
- Added static File.ResolvePath() and File.Path attribute.
- Added support for a text formatting to a number of functions: DisplayAtY(), Character.SayAt(), Character.SayBackground(), DrawingSurface.DrawStringWrapped().

- Updated to SDL 2.28.5 and SDL_Sound 2.0.3+.
- Significant performance improvement to scripts. Script running speed restored to a level close to AGS 3.2.1. Testing few "script-heavy" games showed fps raise by up to 30-40% compared with 3.6.0 engine.
- Improved performance of String objects in script.
  For instance, appending a character to a String is now roughly x2 times faster, *sequential* iteration of String.Chars[] in Unicode mode is about x12 (!) times faster (Strings in ASCII mode have relatively less improvement, because they have been faster than Unicode mode already).
- Improved performance when creating, deleting and manipulating Overlays; allows the game to have thousands of those with much less slowing down.
- Improved performance when updating and deleting dynamic sprites, and notifying any objects that have to redraw themselves. Engine no longer resets Graphic properties of objects referencing deleted dynamic sprite to 0.
- Implemented "texture cache", in addition to the existing "sprite cache". The texture cache keeps textures generated from raw sprites and lets reusing them, improving performance and reducing CPU workload. The actual impact is proportional to the game's resolution and amount of simultaneously animated objects on screen.
- WFN font renderer now too supports unicode mode and renders texts in utf-8, so long as the font contains glyphs of corresponding indexes.
- Buttons, ListBoxes and TextBoxes now support Right-to-left text direction.
- DrawingSurface.DrawString now supports Right-to-left text direction.
- All the script File functions now treat paths in case-insensitive way (including subdirs), which makes them platform-independent.
- Removed an automatic SetRestartPoint() call at startup. This is done in case user does not want to use default "restart" save slot, or has a custom save system.
- Support handling multiple mouse clicks per game frame, similar to how multiple key presses were supported since 3.6.0.
- When starting up, engine will now precache only first 4 or 8 loops of the starting player character's View. This is done to avoid filling sprite cache with too much sprites at once in case when the player's View contains lots of additional animations.
- Characters will now have their graphic offsets, set by Character.z property and LockViewOffset() function, scaled along with the character's own scaling. This is done so long as the respective game option is enabled in the General Settings.
- Ensure that character and object scaling is updated even when the game is not drawn. This fixes rare issues when their scale property did not update in time whilst the game was completely fadeout, and similar cases.
- Allow to change Character's move speed while its moving.
- When Character is ordered a new move command while already moving, the engine will try to make a smooth transition between old and new moving without a delay.
- Ensure that when Overlays have identical ZOrder they will be sorted in the order of their creation. Besides convenience, this is also meant to restore historical behavior from before Overlay.ZOrder property was introduced.
- Allow game to call DynamicSprite.CreateFromDrawingSurface() and CreateFromBackground() with zero or negative size, clamping it to 1x1, in consistency with Create().
- Engine will now log a warning for the most incorrect parameters to Animate function instead of quitting the game.
- Engine will now skip blocking Character.Say commands instantly while skipping a cutscene.
- Object.SetView now lets invalid loop and frame values, and fallbacks to using loop 0, frame 0, printing a warning. This is also consistent with backwards-compatble SetObjectFrame() behavior.
- Changed Object.SetView() to not play a frame's sound, which could lead to a duplicated sound play if Object.Animate is run right after.
- Text Overlays internal images are now registered as dynamic sprites, and their IDs may be read from Overlay.Graphic. This lets find out their sizes using Game.SpriteWidth/SpriteHeight and optionally draw them somewhere using DrawingSurface.DrawImage.
- Ensure all the script API is now correctly available for the plugins.
- Engine will now safeguard plugin's reading and writing of game saves, so that any mistakes done by plugins won't affect other parts of a save.
- Engine will disable vsync in a "infinite fps" mode, because vsync prevents getting more fps.
- Engine will force any in-game debug messages to be displayed in message boxes, disregarding game's "Display all messages as speech" option.
- Display critical alerts as system modal messages on all platforms that support that (unless engine is run with "--no-message-box" parameter).
- Print some info about memory usage when reporting a "Out of memory" error.
- Deprecated in-game "console", as practically useless.
- Added new config settings in "graphics" section: "sprite_cache_size" (which replaces deprecated "cachemax" in "misc") and "texture_cache_size".
- Fixed Characters may be seemingly "walking in place" for some time when arriving at destination.
- Fixed Display and Say commands treating the second met "&" sign as a voice-over token too (they must only check the first one in string).
- Fixed PlayMP3File() function limiting filename argument by an arbitrary number of characters.
- Fixed speechlines were adjusting their Y position while trying to not overlap GUIs even when these GUIs are completely offscreen.
- Fixed first Sierra-style speechline in a sequence was adjusting its Y position without need when GUIs are set to be hidden during game pause (this includes blocking speech). Normally, the speechlines are adjusting their Y position in order to not overlap GUIs, but when GUIs are hiding during speech there should not be any need to do so.
- Fixed script behavior in case a local variable was assigned a value without being initialized with a zero memory by compiler's intruction beforehand. This is not a problem with the standard compiler, but technically could be an issue with any custom implementation.
- Fixed old-style letterbox viewport getting broken after loading an old pre-3.5.0 save.

Engine Plugin API:
- Added IAGSStream interface, IAGSEngine.OpenFileStream() and GetFileStreamByHandle().
- Added IAGSEngine.ResolveFilePath() method, which resolves a script path (with location tokens) into a proper system filepath.
- Fixed IAGSEngine.GetFontType() incorrectly reporting TTF font type for WFN fonts with more than 128 characters.

- In Editor, restored all the Character's variables available in "backward-compatible" mode. This is primarily to make it easier to import very old games.
- Allow to run an animation over a loop with zero frames, by using the placeholder frame. This lets particular old games to continue running instead of crashing with error.
- Fixed slower character walking speeds in pre-3.1 upscaled and high-resolution games.
- Fixed Object.SetView() and SetObjectFrame() not treating -1 for loop and frame as "keep previous values" in older games.
- Fixed inventory window not updated after game.top_inv_item is assigned a new value.
- Fixed a "New Room" command in old-style dialog scripts was preventing "First time Enter room" event to be called.

- 32-bit Windows engine is now built as "large address aware" program, which will allow it to use up to 3 GB of RAM on 32-bit systems and 4 GB of RAM on 64-bit systems (was 2 GB previously).

- Updated port for 3.6.*.

Web / Emscripten:
- Fixed Safari cannot switch the game into fullscreen mode.

- Added options for setting texture cache and sound cache size.
- Added options to disable particular graphic drivers and graphic driver selection, and fullscreen mode selection.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to and tested this version!


Thank you for making that fix for moving the location of where the warnings.log file is written for certain platforms (e.g. macOS).  This was causing an issue with some Debug Mac builds where that log file would get created inside the app bundle's Resources folder, which can cause issues if the app was code signed (since the app bundle should not be modified).  I'll definitely verify this change with some games I'm porting to ensure that things are working as I'm hoping!

Gal Shemesh

Thanks CW and the rest of the team! Honestly, the effort that you put in listening to us community members, along with the frequency build updates with the fixes to the varies issues we report about are much appreciated! Your loyalty to this engine and to its community is what makes it the awesome thing that it is! :)
Gal Shemesh,

Laura Hunt

I don't know if 3.6.x is considered pretty much closed and done, but I was wondering if it would be possible to implement a small QOL feature to make "characters turn to face a direction" a character property, the same way as "characters turn before walking". The latter is adjustable on a per-character basis as well as from script, but unfortunately the former isn't.


According to the manual, the same per-character property controls both behaviors, if the "Characters turn to face direction" setting is true.

Laura Hunt

The issue, at least for me, is that this forces you to enable or disable "Characters turn to face direction" for all characters.

The manual is a bit confusing, what with the double negation, but what it says is:

QuoteIf the character has Turning enabled (i.e. the "Characters turn to face direction" game option is turned on, and the character does not have the "Do not turn before walking" option checked), then the character will turn on the spot in order to face the new direction.

Simplifying the double negation for better readability (and also, the property is now called "Turn before walking", not "Do not turn before walking"):

QuoteIf the character has Turning enabled (i.e. the "Characters turn to face direction" game option is turned on, and the character has the "Turn before walking" option checked), then the character will turn on the spot in order to face the new direction.

So we can create a truth table, kind of like this:

Characters turn to face direction: ENABLED - Turn before walking: ENABLED
- Character turns when facing a direction, and when walking.

Characters turn to face direction: ENABLED - Turn before walking: DISABLED
- According to the manual, the character should not turn to face a different direction, but my tests show they do. I think there there are two distinct cases here: one is issuing a FaceDirection command that simply makes the character look in a different direction, and the other is when there is a Walk command that will result in the character facing a different direction before walking.

Characters turn to face direction: DISABLED - Turn before walking: ENABLED
- Characters will only turn when walking (whether it's from idle to walking, or when changing directions while walking).

Characters turn to face direction: DISABLED - Turn before walking: DISABLED
- No turns at all.

So the logic seems to be that these two properties are completely independent of each other. If "Characters turn to face direction" is enabled, then it is enabled for all characters, which is something you might want for only a few of them.

Crimson Wizard

Quote from: Snarky on Fri 28/06/2024 18:10:40According to the manual, the same per-character property controls both behaviors, if the "Characters turn to face direction" setting is true.

If so then the manual is wrong, existing character property affects only turning when walking.

Quote from: Laura Hunt on Fri 28/06/2024 17:53:53I don't know if 3.6.x is considered pretty much closed and done, but I was wondering if it would be possible to implement a small QOL feature to make "characters turn to face a direction" a character property, the same way as "characters turn before walking". The latter is adjustable on a per-character basis as well as from script, but unfortunately the former isn't.

From the looks of it, this will be trivial to add. But if added, this is going to be in the next 3.6.x version, not in 3.6.1 patches.

On second thought, would not it be convenient to have this as a parameter in Face* functions? Because I may easily imagine situations when same game may have a need to turn the character quickly or slowly depending on circumstances.

Laura Hunt

Quote from: Crimson Wizard on Fri 28/06/2024 22:43:26From the looks of it, this will be trivial to add. But if added, this is going to be in the next 3.6.x version, not in 3.6.1 patches.

Sounds great to me!

Quote from: Crimson Wizard on Fri 28/06/2024 22:43:26EDIT:
On second thought, would not it be convenient to have this as a parameter in Face* functions? Because I may easily imagine situations when same game may have a need to turn the character quickly or slowly depending on circumstances.

I think it's more practical to have it be a character property, and to be able to enable/disable it in script for punctual situations, than to have to specify it as a parameter for every face direction / character / object command. I would imagine that the most common scenario would be to want a consistent behaviour for the character, and only want to change the "speed" of the turn for very specific moments, if at all.

Crimson Wizard

If not for the 2 separate global settings, I'd simply expand existing character property to be used in both cases.
(Also, this property has "walk" in its name, which could be confusing if worked for turning when standing too.)

Is there actually a use case for having 2 separate settings with different values?

Laura Hunt

Quote from: Crimson Wizard on Sat 29/06/2024 09:45:21Is there actually a use case for having 2 separate settings with different values?

I'm sure other devs will have their own use cases and specific applications of this, but these are some of the ones we're working with now:

The most simple case is that sometimes we want some characters to use their full turn but not others (main characters vs. secondary ones, for example), so this would be the basic application of having "turn to face direction" as a character property.

As to having 2 separate settings with different values ("turn to face direction" vs "turn when walking"), I can think of two cases right off the bat.

In the first case, we want to disable "turn to face direction" for some characters because we have custom animations for their turns, while at the same time keeping their default "turn before walking" behaviour enabled.

In the other case, we want to have "turn to face direction" enabled for some characters, but we keep "turn before walking" disabled because the way they turn looks a bit janky because of the way the walking loops are designed or whatever.

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