For one thing, all along I have had a custom file format for my Golem tilesets that contains all of the data for a tileset (actual tile graphics, random distribution tables for selecting a random tile from a set, data for setting the collision characteristics of a tile, etc...) all compacted into a binary file to be opened by the tileset loader when needed. Thing is, it's a colossal pain in the ass to do it this way, really. I hacked a custom version of a Lua interpreter with a set of special functions for handling data in my various formats, and to build a tileset I write a script which will collect all the tiles and data and pack it all together to construct the binary file. Making changes, even miniscule ones such as modifying the random characteristics of a set, requires making the change in the script then rebuilding the file. Not too onerous for the most part, but a big PITA when I am tweaking.
Since the final assets will be archived into a pack file, however, it seems redundant to me to pack a tileset into a custom file, then pack that file into the data archive. So I re-implemented tileset loading to load from a nested directory structure as an alternative to loading from a custom file format. Since the VFS can view a directory tree or a ZIP archive transparently as a filesystem, in the final distribution version I can just ZIP up the data directory into the data archive file, and the tileset loader can still load directly from the nested directory structure inside the archive. I can tweak things a lot more easily this way, without the extra step of rebuilding the tileset file.And to protect my precious, precious data ( =D ) I can simply write my own extensions to PhysicsFS to implement a custom archive file format or possibly to support encryption. Or if I decide to make it easily moddable by the player, I can just leave it as a plain ZIP archive and let them unzip, modify, and re-pack at will, without having to do a bunch of custom scripting to make their changes.
It's little stuff like this that I continue to learn as I go. Maybe someday, I'll actually be a real game programmer. ;)
Slowly, ever so slowly, the weather seems to be cooling off. It's supposed to get down into the 90s tomorrow, thank the light. Still a little warm for my liking, but more tolerable than the high 110s we've been getting. I may, just may, survive living in the desert after all.