Learning the hard lesson of Modding

For the last several weeks I have been diligently working on my new mod, really a modification to a great Mod called “Thomas’ Wars” [NOTE: if you are a Civilization IV junky, you must try this mod]. Last night I was so excited to get home because I was ready to show it off to my friends.

I had just a few more changes that needed to be done, and on the last edit I tried to run my the mod.

To my shock it crashed, not even a an error code. I immediately backed off my recent changes and ran it again. To my utter despair it still crashed. Somewhere in my coding, I must have let slip a number or an extra slash.

Still learning this whole process of XML editing, I am still doing it the old fashion way of making the changes in WordPad. There are no doubt better ways to make the edits. The problem with the WordPad process is that it makes it almost impossible to find any errant problem in the mash of lines of code.

I tried all night to figure it out, but eventually gave up. My only recourse was to use a file that was three days old. I guess I was lucky to lose only three days of work, but it was my most productive three days in the weeks of learning the stuff.

Lesson 1: Backup everything, every night!

Lesson 2: Don’t throw away all those pages of scribbled notes — they may look like worthless hash but in truth they are the map to your changes.

Finally last night (very late) I got to a point where I said, “enough is enough”. I am calling this version done. Of course there will be further refinements but I hope to play the mod now for several weeks accumulating notes on changes and balances.

I do want to add in Heavy Footman and my Man of War (early wooden battleship). I have also been thinking of a line of technology for personal body armor and Promotions to match the tech tree. Ya, my mind is already spinning on the new permutations — “where is the notebook!”



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