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Mac Editor v1.1


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Over the holiday break i got enough time to make some much needed updates to the editor. You can find the new version on the downloads page of the new editor website. You can also read about the changes on the changes page, but I'll summarize the important ones here:

  • Added Sparkle support for updates - It will now be possible for the editor to detect updates automatically, download, and install them for you.
  • Now build a (32 bit) universal binary - Only five years after their introduction, the editor will finally run natively on Intel Macs.
  • Added support for placing movable mirrors - Tip of the hat to Ishad Nha for working out how to do this.
  • Fixed a nasty crash when scrolling among outdoor sections after making changes.

A more in-depth note about the first item above: Using Sparkle, updated versions of the editor are verified using DSA. The editor has in it one key, and I have the other. A result of this is that (if everything is working correctly), only I can issue updates via this mechanism. This is consistant with the fact that the URL at which the editor seeks updates is located on my website, where only I can add new data anyway. Should there come to be more people working actively on the editor and it becomes sensible to do so, I will happily share the private key with those other developers. Also, there is as always nothing to stop any interested person from creating a fork and including in it a new update key and new URL for updates. Users would have to download the forked version once manually, but after that it would be fully automatic again. So, even if I become unaccountably uncommunicative someone else can still take over the editor much as in the past.


With regard to the new website: I decided that the editor ought to have a space of its own, particularly so we can more closely associate the Mac and Windows versions. It's not quite finished yet, though, as I still need to move over the old Mac versions, work out getting more information organized for the Windows version, and fill in things like documentation.

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I see there is no help file. What is a plain language description for the Fill Bucket function, "case 106: //flood fill"? I have added it to the Windows version palette. It seems to be like one of the two fill functions, hollow rectangle and full rectangle, but I am not too sure what it does exactly.

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We (by which I mean mainly The Turtle Moves) have been working on bringing the original editor documentation up to date, but it isn't quite ready yet (in large part because I haven't gotten ready some things that I need to contribute to it), which is why the downloads page has 'Coming Soon' in that section.


The bucket icon, as in every paint program I can remember using, is a flood-fill tool. When you use it on a particular spot, it overwrites that space and all adjacent spaces with the same original terrain.

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So it seems there's a crashing bug in Sparkle for Carbon. I knew about this before the release, but it happened fairly rarely, and proved difficult to solve, so I figured I'd deal with it later (although I should have mentioned it as known bug, sorry about that).


As I now find that I cannot launch the editor at all without it immediately crashing due to Sparkle, I apparently need to drop everything and try to fix this, as it's rather intolerable. The good news is that since the crash seems to only happen when Sparkle finishes doing its stuff, if I can get a fixed version out, broken versions should manage to update themselves. Now I just have to fix the bug, which I suspect lies at the interface of the two halves of the library, written by different people (both not me), using two different programming languages. Whee.


EDIT: If, like me, you are completely unable to use the editor because it always crashes at start-up, you may be able get it running again with this stopgap solution: Download this preferences file, and drop it into your preferences folder (~/Library/Preferences/), overwriting your existing editor preferences. This will turn off automatic weekly version checks, so Sparkle won't cause trouble when the program starts. (You can also turn this off from a menu item in the editor, but that only helps if you can get it to run) It will also make the editor forget when the Blades of Avernum Files directory is, unfortunately, so you'll have to tell it again, and it will also overwrite your other preferences, but little as there is to those you shouldn't have too much trouble restoring them to what you like.


This will not fix the underlying problem, but it should keep the editor from crashing unless you manually run an update check.

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