Monday, 31 August 2020

Hygge by the fireside

- or a fireside chat with Jim McKeeth

End April in the evening Jim and I had a fireside chat, which should had been in front of our masonry oven - but I ended up having it from my home office.

You can see the chat here - it is a bit long but I think we had fun, and to help you through it, I have done this post as a commentary track, and put a bit more details in various places.

And the word hygge now seems to have gotten into the Oxford English Dictionary - but still pronounced wrong :)

[0:20] Wasabi - encounter with a Delphi beta

June 1994. I was PM for Database (and Paradox Engine) products in Borland Scandinavia at that time, when the PM for Languages handed me 8 3.5" disks with "Wasabi" written on them - and told me that this was going to be the new big thing.

I was sure that it was "just" the next version of Turbo Pascal for Windows, and it installed as AppBuilder. But it was all the things from my Paradox for Windows and SQLLinks compiling into exe files.

The language of Paradox for Windows - ObjectPAL - had, as I remember it - an event model where external events first hit the form, then the UIObject (button) and then bubbled up to the form again - and objects prefixed with an # where ignored. I think the team lead (architect?) on that language was Jesper Shultz - another danish employee at Borland at that time. And the language was very "begin-end" style - and combined the the database access included in Delphi, explains why many Paradox developers transformed into Delphi developers.

So in a way Delphi caused the end of my carrier at Borland, but opened up a new, doing Delphi training, consultancy and development for a living.

[2:56] Delphi, my longest lasting love - correction

My wife has been looking oddly at me after this part in the video - so just to be clear - the comment on my longest lasting love was in the context of computer languages - in real life that goes to my wife, which I have known longer than Delphi, which should prove my point.

[10:12] OpenCV and comics

This was just the reference to this old blog post:

[22:38] gitMonocle - simple git plugin

I do not use the IDEs VersionInsight, since it is modelled too generic on SVN use, and git and Hg are just pressed into the same paradigm - instead of designed on usage scenarios. The two things I missed the most are an indication of what my current branch is, and the blame for the current line(s).

So in 10.2 I did a small plugin - I called GitMonocle - that did these 2 things - that then broke in the versions afterwards - but I hope I will get around to fix and expand it at some point. Or others will.
In addition I did a dock-able bash console window - but more on that another time.

[24:06] Pipe output from external processes

This was just the reference to this old blog post:

[28:37] Prince of Persia

The creator of Prince of Persia - Jordan Mechner did a diary on the development of the game, that I can recommend - I did never complete the game, only the book :) :

[29:50] Games and timing - HeroX

Jim and I talked about the timing of game releases and shifting trends - and this does apply to many things in life. But I would like to mention the game HeroX - which was done by the same people who did Siege of Avalon. The same people and a variation of the same resource file format, indicates that that engine was just an evolved Siege engine also done in Delphi.

The game is a Superhero action RPG, that possibly could have had more success if it hadn't been for a game like Freedom Force which launched at the same time, executing better on almost all parameters - probably also on a much higher budget.

I am not sure on the morale on this - should they have shipped earlier - then the market for Superhero ARPG might not have been there.

It was a nice idea, but what put me off was the style of the drawn comic cut-scenes, they should have used a known superhero comic artist (preferable a Marvel artist). Revolution Software did good in Beneath a Steel Sky, to spend time and money on Dave Gibbons.

I still hope that the HeroX engine source will surface - preferable in a better shape than Siege of Avalon was.

The End

There might be a second part - since we did talk for a long time covering some ground - and I skipped things.


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