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Fusion 3's Backbone
Posted on: February 14, 2017
As we’ve mentioned in our previous blog posts our engine is a written in modern C++. Despite it’s age it is still one of the most popular languages to write software in today as it has excellent platform support and loads of tools that can help debug and improve the software your are writing. The C++ language has over the recent years evolved quite a bit and has added a lot of nice new features. Useful language features can help us help you in turn.

Fusion 2.5’s windows runtime was written in C++ but we have “native” ports of all our runtimes to various languages including Java, Objective-C, Actionscript, C# and so on. This unfortunately gave us the multiple-maintenance problem of having to fix the same bug in all the different runtimes. When various platforms started out we had to port the runtime to the supported language to even run on the platform. Android for example initially required programming the apps/games in Java.

Managed programming languages has some drawbacks including cost of garbage collection, limited amount of RAM and other issues. Garbage collection and managed memory often feels like they godsend to programmers as it creates more reliable programs and needs less time to get memory management right (memory leaks and crashes relating to already released memory).

All major platforms have moved to allow for the use of native programs – for example written in C or C++. C++ still seems to be the industry de facto standard and there is excellent support all over. Many game related libraries typically come with C++ bindings so you can hook it into almost any game no matter what they are written in. This is among many other reasons part of our decision to program Fusion 3 in C++.

Fusion 3 on the web

HTML5 is latest new holy grail of the web. It allows you to make interactive websites like never before – that includes entertainment like games and other interactive media.

Native apps and games on the web doesn’t seem like two things that go hand in hand. This however changed a few years ago with the creation of “Emscripten”. Emscripten is a source-to-source compiler that takes something called LLVM bitcode and spits out javascript. Basically it allows us to compile Fusion 3 made games into javascript based games/apps with relatively little effort and with very high performance.

Won’t C++ compiled to Javascript be slow?

Not really. Emscripten compiles to a subset of Javascript called “asm.js”. It is basically fully valid javascript but since only a specific subset of it is ever used it allows the browser to do some very aggressive optimizations on the code and even on-the-fly compile the code to native code for the platform you are running it on. This means that even though your game/app will go through a Javascript step it will “just be a phase” so to speak.

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