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S&box: 2 Years Later

A 2 Year Mini-Retrospective on S&box development.

Jul 6, 2023

A Little Context

About 2 Years ago, My friend Plaonder got nominated for S&box early access. He told me that he would try get some keys for a team we were working for, and to also not get my hopes up as garry said he had run out of keys. Literally the day after he said this, he sends me a key. Right off the bat I knew I wasn't the target audience. I knew s&box was mainly only for programers, when I only did mapping and stuff, and I knew I wouldn't have gotten it if I wasn't in that very VERY lucky situation. I felt kinda bad honestly, I didn't know what to do half of the time, and I decided this would be a good time for me to delve into the realm of C#, and see if I could actually contribute to the games development.

What changed since then

By now, I have a bit more knowledge on how C# programming is, but this section isn't really about me. I wanna detail how S&box has changed as a platform, rather then myself. First off, obviously we gotta talk about UGC. How was it back then? Well, it was very bare bones. You only had the options of uploading a zip file that had everything for your game and or map, or you had to upload it to github, and link that. There was absolutly no addon system to speak of, and it was pretty bad. Instead of, it was called s&dev, and it was at the time, just meant as a replacement for the workshop. Now, its ToyBox 2, and a beefed up version of the Unity Asset Store, with no paid assets. (at least right now, this could always change. also, for the children here, Toybox was pretty much Gmods way of handling addons, before the workshop was created.)

What S&dev looked like. is awesome.
What it looked like

Since we are on the topic of s&dev I might as well mention the Developer Preview. The only way for people to get access was through a stupid queue system. It accounted for Garry's Mod workshop submissions and even required you to own gmod. It was so dumb that it gained quite the meme status whitin the s&box community. Gvarados when he was still making videos on s&box, even had a small limited run of a shirt that parodied the system. I was probably the only person who bought one. No I am not showing you what I look like in it, sorry.

Another thing I wanna talk about was how people made stuff. The main diffrence is that the tools were nowhere near as fancy as they are now. It was basically how games like HLA and DOTA 2 handled their tools, except we had most of the toolset here. Most of these tools ended up being stripped later on because of how unintuitive they are, and replaced by facepunch later on, while some other tools like Hammer, ModelDoc, the Material Editor and, the Particle Editor stayed mostly the same. One of the tools that was rewriten was the Asset Browser. The existing one was good, but it left little room for facepunch to motify, and improve it. So they scrapped it, and made a new one. The new one is much less confusing for new people coming from other engines like Unity or Unreal, and also intergrated support. It came with cool features like being able to drag in assets and models from the browser into the game view if you are hosting a sandbox game. Models, Materials, and other required assets download automatically with no fittling from the developers. Its pretty crazy. There is so much more I could go over regarding editor changes, but honestly I would be sitting here all day. Go check the blogpost site for s&box for anything else you might be intrested in, trust me its worth a read.

Closing Statement

Before I close this one out, thank you all so damn much for being by me these past years. I'm gonna be honest, I have not been the most emotionally stable person in the world, but s&box, and its community, made it worth it. Seriously, I could have the shittiest day in the world, and I could hop on s&box around the time I am able, and have a stupid ass grin on my face while I do it. I am being 100% dead serious when I say, I love you guys. You mean everything to me, from the absolute bottom of my heart. Heres to (hopefully) another 2 years to come!

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