MissionComputer: The Saga Continues

Posted Image Good afternoon, everyone!

I first released MissionComputer at the end of 2001, having been working on it since that September. At the time it supported only a few resource types for EV Override (with the original Escape Velocity joining it in version 1.3). The number of editors gradually increased; version 2 added support for EV Nova , which had been released in March 2002, and version 3 added the map editors, the first to edit whole groups of resources at once. Most recently, MissionComputer 4 made the jump to Intel, allowed multiple editors to stay open at the same time, and added support for new resource types. Development remains underway: at the moment I'm working towards giving Mac OS X users back the cicn editor that they lost when new computers stopped running ResEdit, and the recent upgrade to the game itself has raised some interesting new possibilities.

This morning I posted MissionComputer 4.0.4, which adds support for the new NDAT format that appeared yesterday in EV Nova 1.1. It also improves the Open Recent menu, and fixes bugs in the shïp editor and graphical picker. The Welcome screen is also graced by an entirely pointless 'Seventh Anniversary Edition' badge.

MissionComputer 4.0.4 is a 14.5 MB archive, available for free, exclusively from davidarthur.evula.net. It requires Mac OS 10.3 or higher, on Intel or PowerPC.

Congratz! Keep up the good work and Happy New Year!

Just a note on .ndat for those interested: Nova uses this format internally for all its data files, however it cannot be used otherwise (for plugs, pilots, or TC data files ) without adding the correct type/creator codes to the files. The codes cannot be preserved without MacBinary encoding so using .ndat is pointless and unhelpful (windows users can't convert it). Perhaps a future update could change it so the codes are not required and perhaps the windows converter could be updated to handle them but until then distributing .ndats is a no-no.

Anyways, happy 7th anniversary 🙂

This post has been edited by Guy : 01 January 2009 - 12:12 AM

@guy, on Dec 31 2008, 03:39 PM, said in MissionComputer: The Saga Continues:

. . . it cannot be used otherwise (for plugs, pilots, or TC data files) without adding the correct type/creator codes to the files.

I’ll have to test this to find the appropriate way to handle these files (though I agree that it probably isn’t a good idea to distribute anything in the new format). The game’s own data files have blank type and creator codes – does it just ignore external files that are set up the same way?

Question: what are the advantages of using the ndät format over the npïf format for plug-ins? Didn't we determine that it has the same drawbacks as the npïf format?

The "Open Special" window doesn't show the EVN data files yet.

Congratulations, and well done on your fine product. Thanks a heap for this!

@david-arthur, on Jan 1 2009, 01:01 PM, said in MissionComputer: The Saga Continues:

The game’s own data files have blank type and creator codes – does it just ignore external files that are set up the same way?

Sorry, small correction. TC data files (anything in a "Nova Files" folder) are okay. It apparently handles Nova Files differently to plugs.

@jacabyte, on Jan 1 2009, 02:29 PM, said in MissionComputer: The Saga Continues:

Question: what are the advantages of using the ndät format over the npïf format for plug-ins? Didn't we determine that it has the same drawbacks as the npïf format?

We're not talking about NDät here, we're talking about .ndat 😉

@jacabyte, on Dec 31 2008, 08:29 PM, said in MissionComputer: The Saga Continues:

Question: what are the advantages of using the ndät format over the npïf format for plug-ins? Didn't we determine that it has the same drawbacks as the npïf format?

.ndat files are simply Mac OS X-style data-fork resource files. The datastream is identical to the traditional one, except that it’s save in the data fork rather than the resource fork. This means that it has all the same limitations on size and number of resources as a conventional resource file. The only potential benefit is that it can exist on a drive which does not support resource forks (which is not a common habitat for the Mac OS).

MissionComputer supports the new format for completeness and because the game’s data files are now stored in that fashion, but I see no benefits in using it for plug-in distribution, and several drawbacks.

@geek, on Dec 31 2008, 08:40 PM, said in MissionComputer: The Saga Continues:

The "Open Special" window doesn't show the EVN data files yet.

Not the new .ndat format ones, no. Supporting a format in Open Special is actually somewhat more complicated than being able to open and save it, so I didn’t want to postpone this release while I updated Open Special.

@guy, on Jan 1 2009, 12:12 AM, said in MissionComputer: The Saga Continues:

TC data files (anything in a "Nova Files" folder) are okay. It apparently handles Nova Files differently to plugs.

Oh, then this is the way that EV Nova has always behaved. From the beginning, it’s cared about type and creator codes for plug-ins, but not for the Nova Files folder.

Crap, I installed assuming MC 4.0.4 would work when I opened it, and it doens't. It gives me 4 error messages, two of them twice, when I open it:

Quote

MissionComputer has encountered a nil object error in the App:xPrefsRead routine that prevents it from running.

If the problem persists, please report these details on the EV Developers Corner forum.

And then a second time, looking something like this:

Quote

MissionComputer has encountered a nil object error in the App:xPrefsRead routine that prevents it from running.
If the problem persists, please report these details on the EV Developers Corner forum.

And then a third time, only with a different message:

Quote

MissionComputer has encountered a unidentifiable error in the App:Open routine that prevents it from running.

If the problem persists, please report these details on the EV Developers Corner forum.

And then a fourth time with the second message but like the second time; it's not bolded and doesn't have any line breaks.

I hunted down any preferences from MC 4.0.3 that might be screwing with it, deleted those and I'm still getting the same message.

This post has been edited by JacaByte : 02 January 2009 - 12:23 PM

Fixed, thanks – it came from an entry in the recent files list that had somehow become invalid. I was able to reproduce the error by purposely garbling my preferences file.

For the mean time, the relevant preferences file is MissionComputer.xml in your Preferences folder (not in the MissionComputer Preferences sub-folder). Is that the file you deleted? If not, then try deleting it, which should fix the problem.

Yes, that was the file I deleted. Deleting "MissionComputer Preferences.xml" did fix it, though, so I'm back in business! Thanks.

Is there a reason why I can no longer set a 'before starting' delay for cröns?

@jalisurr, on Jan 2 2009, 07:21 PM, said in MissionComputer: The Saga Continues:

Is there a reason why I can no longer set a 'before starting' delay for cröns?

Hmm, that’s odd – I wonder where that went? I haven’t touched the crön editor in ages. Anyway, fixed, thanks.

@jacabyte, on Jan 2 2009, 06:34 PM, said in MissionComputer: The Saga Continues:

Yes, that was the file I deleted. Deleting "MissionComputer Preferences.xml" did fix it, though, so I'm back in business! Thanks.

Right, sorry, it’s changed its name a few times during the development – the first one you deleted was probably left over from an early alpha. I’ve thought about having MissionComputer automatically clean up such files, but I suspect people wouldn’t appreciate it if new versions broke old ones.

Woo!

I did find one tiny little bug, in the Preferences screen, if you click the Choose... button to the right of the Nova Plugins checkbox, the text at the top of the locator drop-down menu says "Please locate the 'Nova Files' folder." instead of saying "Please locate the 'Nova Plugins' folder."

Also, would it be possible to add a feature that opens up a sÿst resource from the Star Map by double-clicking an individual system? And similarly, in the sÿst graphical editor, opening a spöb resource by double clicking a planet or station?

Love the newest update. 😄

@hamster, on Jan 5 2009, 09:51 AM, said in MissionComputer: The Saga Continues:

I did find one tiny little bug, in the Preferences screen, if you click the Choose... button to the right of the Nova Plugins checkbox, the text at the top of the locator drop-down menu says "Please locate the 'Nova Files' folder." instead of saying "Please locate the 'Nova Plugins' folder."

Fixed, thanks.

@hamster, on Jan 5 2009, 09:51 AM, said in MissionComputer: The Saga Continues:

Also, would it be possible to add a feature that opens up a sÿst resource from the Star Map by double-clicking an individual system? And similarly, in the sÿst graphical editor, opening a spöb resource by double clicking a planet or station?

I’ll take a look to see whether it can be done without an excessive chance of false positives.

@hamster, on Jan 5 2009, 09:51 AM, said in MissionComputer: The Saga Continues:

Woo! … Love the newest update. 😄

🙂

Is there a specific reason you are not posting this to the EVN Add-ons page?

@jean-luc-picard, on Jan 13 2009, 09:01 AM, said in MissionComputer: The Saga Continues:

Is there a specific reason you are not posting this to the EVN Add-ons page?

The updates to the web site broke the old method for administering the add-ons page, and they haven’t got the new method in place yet. I’m calling this version a limited edition so that it sounds like a good thing. 🙂

In the prefs, can you make the file chooser look inside app bundles? Otherwise we can't choose the Nova Files.

@guy, on Jan 21 2009, 06:54 PM, said in MissionComputer: The Saga Continues:

In the prefs, can you make the file chooser look inside app bundles? Otherwise we can't choose the Nova Files.

That would be difficult, since the Open dialogue is supplied by the operating system, and not all that receptive to changed instructions. Fortunately, I’ve already got a solution that’s even better… <cryptic grin>

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