Better Error Reporting (0.25.0 Alpha)


This update includes a number of small, but very significant improvements to error handling, especially when loading data from mods.  I finally dug down deep and made sure that 99% of what can be done to make debugging mods easier is being done.

For each XML file read from a mod, it's in-memory equivalent has the source file and even the line it came from in that file attached to it.  This data is now referenced and provided to the user by the error reporting system during loading of mod data.

Also, there's a command-line switch available to dump the entire contents of the game's raw/unprocessed data to disk as an XML file, complete with comments describing where each and every line originated from.  To use this, add "--GameDataDumpFile=dump.xml" to the command line and replace "dump.xml" with whatever file name you'd like.  The game engine will start up, load all data, dump it to disk and then exit.

These new features are enough that I consider this game engine ready to support people wishing to make mods for it.

Aside from this, there were also a number of internal changes to make my life as a developer easier.  The most notable of these is a new built-in application for building a Java/Swing GUI from an XML file.  It parses an XML file, loading java.awt.Component instances, nesting them in each other as specified in the file.  It also parses and loads a javax.swing.JMenuBar.  Once parsing is complete, it displays the GUI in a javax.swing.JFrame.  By default, it uses the same Java look and feel that the game does, but this can be set via a command-line switch.

If you want to play around with this, download and unpack the game, then download and unpack the source archive on top of that. Run the "jar" task of the build script.  This will produce a few extra ".jar" files in the game's directory, one of which is "load-gui.jar".  You can run that like this: "java -jar load-gui.jar file.xml", but remember to replace "file.xml" with the path to the file you want to use to load your GUI.  There's an example file for a very simple GUI in the game's files.  Starting from the game's main directory, it's path is "doc/load-gui-test.xml".

Files

bigblockengine-win-linux-osx-alpha.zip 7 MB
Version 0.25.0-Alpha Sep 11, 2020
bigblockengine-source.zip 3 MB
Version 0.25.0-Alpha Sep 11, 2020

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