Hello, I am new here, so let me quickly introduce myself and give some background before I get to the point. Sorry if this post gets too long
My name is Milan, and I’ve been keeping an eye on the Amethyst project for a while now, but I’ve always been very passive, checking the website occasionally to see if there are any news, and trying out the engine whenever I had a little bit of free time (that happens extremely rarely, since I’m a university student with a part time job).
As such, I’m very much a beginner in both Amethyst and Rust and I don’t have a deep technical insight into the engine like most of you guys seem to have. I barely know there is something happening with Specs and Legion - I admit I have not researched these things well enough, so I’m still not sure what kinds of benefits are there. But that is not the point.
The point is that I’m mostly an Amethyst outsider and a hobbyist game developer with a fair bit of experience in Unity and Godot. I want to give you my perspective on how I view Amethyst, mainly from the point of view of a new-ish user. I may compare Amethyst with Godot along the way, I hope you’ll forgive me for that Also, I may make some incorrect statements and false assumptions along the way, please correct me whenever I do. It’s the result of not following the project closely enough.
That’s it for the introduction, now for the main part:
It has already been mentioned that the engine is hard to use. I agree completely. But it is not just the API or the documentation. What I miss the most when coming from, say, Godot is the editor. In my opinion, an editor makes a huge difference in usability and I would say it is essential to have it in any real-world project.
I have noticed some attempts at making an editor, but they all seemed both lacking in functionality and abandoned. If I recall correctly, there were two official attempts to make one, with the first one being cancelled in favor of a rewrite which, last time I checked, was inactive and incomplete. I was also stoked when I saw a Blender integration (it was called Arsenal I believe), which I thought was the perfect solution. Unfortunately, that project seemed dead as well.
Amethyst itself seemed to progress very slow in the past months. The latest news were from October last year, which announced Grumpy Visitors. I remember there was also news about WASM, which was supposed to arrive sometime in late 2019 if I remember correctly. Whenever I opened Github, all the latest commits seemed to simply fix typos here and there.
I know this is a project people are working on in their free time, but it got to a point where I feared that the project is dead.
I really hope that one day, Amethyst will reach Godot level of activity. Whenever I visit Godot’s website, it feels like an exciting adventure. Whenever I visit Amethyst’s website, it feels like a ghost town.
Last but not least, and this may just be my feeling, but I think Amethyst focuses way too much on low-level technical stuff. Things like Specs vs Legion, WASM, renderers… I mean, all these things are obviously very important. But after all, Amethyst can be used to make games already, right? Why not push for more ease of use (like focusing on the editor for now) instead of going for, say, the most performance possible?
I guess it’s about tradeoffs. As a programmer, I completely understand why one might fall into the trap of playing around with cool shiny technologies. After all, it’s one of the reasons I’m so interested in Amethyst and Rust. But right now, it feels like everyone is polishing the REST API while the frontend guys are nowhere to be found.
I think that if there is a massive push in the usability aspect, more people will start to use the engine, and as a result, more people will be able to contribute. Refactoring and redoing stuff can always be done later - it doesn’t have to be perfect from the start (and it won’t be, no matter how hard we try). I remember that when Godot started out, I hated its editor. It was really clunky and weird, but it was there. And people have been using it. And they have provided feedback. And slowly, feature after feature, it got better. And now, look at where Godot is.
I think Amethyst desperately needs more activity, and way more focus on ease of use. Stop trying to be too perfectionist and focus on features that make the engine nicer to use.
That’s it, sorry for the wall of text. I really hope Amethyst succeeds, but I think it won’t if the bar to entry is too high. I hope this post is helpful in some way.