Apparently I’m a Delphi guru.

A few months ago, my coworker and friend Jim McKeeth pointed me to a post on Olaf Monien’s blog about an upcoming conference on Delphi programming.  I mentioned in a reply post that the conference needed some people who would talk about game programming in Delphi.  Mr. Monien, who’s one of the organizers of the conference, agreed that that would be a good idea, and Jim saw it and told me that I ought to submit a proposal on the subject myself.  So I did, and somehow it got accepted.

Now I’m one of 27 members of an “International Crowd of Delphi Gurus!” listed on the Delphi Live conference website. It’s exciting, but I’m feeling in a little bit over my head.  The list of speakers reads almost like a Who’s Who of the Delphi programming community, including a bunch of people from the Delphi team itself.  And then down there at the very bottom of the list… yours truly, the guy who built an RPG engine in a cave with a box of scraps, as it were.  Apparently that makes me an authority on the subject of game programming.  (Either that or they just needed another speaker to round out their list.)  They even sent me this cool logo to put on blog and forum posts and whatnot:

Delphi Live speaker

I’m going to be talking about TURBU a bit, of course, but mostly I’ll just be speaking on the fundamentals of creating a game, the sort of knowledge and skills you need, and what sort of work goes into it.  I’m expected to put together a 75-minute presentation sometime over the course of the next 2 months.  (Jim’s advice: Have lots of code to show.)  To get ready for this, I’m gonna step up development work on the editor and the engine.  I’ve been real busy with work lately, but things are getting better.

I’m almost done with the stuff I’m doing to make the event scripting system work.  It would be done already, except that in my work I’ve managed to stumble into a few dark areas in the Delphi compiler, and devising workarounds took a while.  (I heard there’s an update due out real soon. Hopefully it’ll fix some of the issues I found and reported.)  There’s also a new version of SDL in beta, with some really cool new technology that should really speed things up for me.  I’ve been finding a few dark corners in it as well, but since SDL is open-source, the bugfix cycle is a lot faster.  As often as not, when someone submits a bug, Sam Lantinga (the guy in charge, a major programmer with Blizzard) has fixed code available to download within 24 hours.

The new SDL stuff will make it simple for me to create the editor: I’ll be able to embed the game engine itself within the editor window, like I mentioned in my last post.  Once I’m finished getting the system for event handlers set up, I’ll start working on an embeddable game engine so you guys can see how it’ll work when it’s finished.  Hopefully I’ll have something within a few weeks…

One Response to “Apparently I’m a Delphi guru.”

  1. Jim McKeeth says:

    I’ll let you in on a little secret I have discovered. When it comes to being considered a “guru” there are three things involved:

    1) In depth and broad knowledge about a subject matter
    2) Ability to articulate what you know to others in an understandable way
    3) The willingness to share what you know with others

    Nothing too surprising there, but the interesting part is the importance of each aspect. It is in the REVERSE of the order I listed here. If you never share what you know then it makes no difference how much you know. The more people you share what you know with, the more people who will consider you a guru.

    For example if you only show your cat your mad programming skills then you won’t go very far in being considered a guru, but if you start participating in books, blogs, articles, speaking at conferences, as an expert for news interviews, and in podcasts, then pretty soon you are perceived as an expert even if you know less then the guy who only talks to his cat.

    One thing that is often missed though is that the teacher always learns the most about the subject they are teaching. So if you are making the effort to share what you know then it improves your knowledge.

    This in no way should diminish you or anyone else who is speaking at DelphiLive! or otherwise considered a Guru at Large. I am certainly proof of rule.

    And not to scare you, but the flip side of this is that the more of a recognized guru you become the more people you will find that disagree with you and think you are wrong. Often times they may even be right. I’ve always heard that if you are not making at least a few people mad you are not doing it right.

    Good luck at DelphiLive! I look forward to your session.