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If something can go wrong, it will

Written by Jose A. Milan.

There is nothing worse than finishing a piece of code and lose it by a programming error in the IDE, that's what happened to me today.

I was working on a new feature for the mission editor, briefing viewer and editor, save the files and started to debug it, after an hour or so, it started to work as expected and I decided to stop debugging and save the changes, when, without warning, the IDE decided to raise an error and shutdown itself.

My cry of agony will resound in the universe over the next few years, and I blame the mothers of some developers at Redmond.

It's really frustrating that these this happened, specially because the work was irretrievably lost, and I have to say that the version I have implemented today do not work as well as the old one, even if now the code is more elegant and more structured.

This leads me to 2 lessons I will not forgotten me in life, save the work before any major action on the IDE and not debug, and edit the code for so long, it is better to lose 10 minutes than 1 hour of work. Mainly because rewriting 10 minutes of work is usually easier.

Well I hope you found this advice useful.

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X-Wing Vs. Tie Fighter Mission Editor

Written by Jose A. Milan.

After a couple of semesters of Modula2 in my first year at the university and after designing a visual interface in text mode for my last practice, one of my professors told me that instead of wasting time with that, I should have used Visual Basic. After these encouraging words of the person who initiated me into the world of programming 8 months ago, the summer time began and I got myself a copy of the brand new Visual Basic 6. I've always thought the best way to learn new things is doing something you like, so I begin to work. I had to find a good idea and since the games were the reason I started the computer degree, I found very interesting to work on something related.

I started in the PC video games at a family friend house playing Monkey Island, but I get hooked with LucasArts' TIE Fighter. Lately I have spent most of my time playing the game X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter, also LucasArts, and I started to browse the game files on my hard drive. The missions files caught, as they are the most numerous ones and soon I discovered that they had a definite structure, and after finding on the internet a description of the structure for .TIE files, the previous game from LucasArts´ Tie Fighter, I started to work.

Fortunately, the files were not very different from his predecessors and after a couple of months of intensive research, the result was this fantastic application and some great experience.

Funny how just by studying only the files that define as a game missions can tell you so much about the designing of the game engine using them. Which brings me to the next level, I wanted to implement my own game engine.