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Evolution of Backdrop
Posted on: December 13, 2016
Since Fusion 3 is a complete rewrite we have the rare luxury giving our “old” objects a complete overhaul. The core objects of the Fusion line hasn’t changed much over the years because each of them had a pretty well defined purpose and use case. This doesn’t mean that we can’t improve on them however. For instance let’s look at the Backdrop and Quick Backdrop objects…

Backdrop & Quick Backdrop:

In Fusion 2.5 and previous versions the backdrop object(s) have always been quite similar in functionality; they sit behind everything on the layer they are on. They are simple in nature. Act as the background behind other things that are more interesting. However having two separate objects for this seemed to us a bit confusing as their functionality is almost the same.


We will in Fusion 3 be merging the Backdrop and Quick Backdrop object into one “Backdrop” object that covers both their previous use cases and adds more to it.

Along with the usual modes you will find a new “Nine-slice” method which I think will get quite popular. “Nine-slice” is a method where you can use 9 individual “slices” of an image to draw an object of any size where the borders doesn’t scale. Think the borders of buttons.


Since we can already draw buttons in your games why not give you the ability to use our button-drawing functionality for all sorts of other things than just buttons? First game-related thing that pops into my mind is Mario-esque blocky backgrounds.

Objects even of the same type can in Fusion 3 can have their own individual size and scale in the frame editor. This means that you can drastically reduce the amount of cloned objects you will be using.

A lot of our users also expressed interest in being able to change some of the backdrops at runtime – for example changing their colors, gradients or images. This was not possible in Fusion 2.5 because the backdrops were handled differently and weren’t even visible in the event editor.

For Fusion 3 the backdrops will also by default not show up in the event editor but you can change that with a setting for that object.

This means that you can now change all that in the backdrop at runtime:


The inverse problem was also present though. Often you would have tonnes of non-backdrop objects, like strings, that were only for show and didn’t need any logic. With the same setting you can hide them from the event editor so they don’t clutter it up for you.

The backdrop objects aren’t the only objects getting a long look at. All the objects shipping with Fusion will get a good look at and we will see where we can do things better and simpler. For example there is the case of the good old system box objects. How many can explain the precise difference between the “Active System Box” and the “Background System Box” object? – other than the background one being in the.. background?

The background system box object was mainly an optimization when it comes to drawing performance in a software rendered environment. It utilized the “background saving” technique that traded extra memory usage for drawing performance as long as the object didn’t move or change appearance. With the introduction of hardware accelerated graphics the object got largely obsolete as it then just became a lesser-featured version of its “Active” counterpart.

Guess which object gets the cut? Well more next week!

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