First of all, could you describe Age of Wonders for us?
Age of Wonders is a fantasy strategy game, developed by Triumph Studios and released in 1999 through Gathering of Developers, and Take2. Players get to try their hand at creating a fantasy empire, learning magic spells, fighting battles, and making allies and enemies.
What part in the production of Age of Wonders did you play?
I was responsible for Tactical Combat, the particle effect system, DirectPlay multiplayer support, the interface system, and a few other bits and pieces... :)
What were the main factors in your decision to use Delphi to create this game, and were other languages used as well?
Delphi was used exclusively in the creation of AoW, mainly because it just happened to be the favourite language of myself and the other main programmer on the project, Arno van Wingerden. To me Delphi represents faster development, fast executables, and a solid development environment.
I have used just about every development package out there, and nothing really comes close to Delphi when it comes to increasing the programmer's productivity.
Are there any aspects of using the Delphi language to create games that you found restricting or particularly difficult to solve?
In development of our extremely large project, we ran into a few glitches and bugs in the Delphi environment, but we were always able to find reasonably easy work-a-rounds, and nothing in Delphi ever restricted what we were able to do in the game.
Do you use additional components with Delphi (such as DelphiX) or do you create your own to ease the production of games?
We created our own DirectX interface, as we needed very specific features, and needed absolute control and knowledge of what was going on in that portion of the code.
We did make use of the Internet Mail Suite for the "Play-by-Email" option in the game, as well as the Multilizer translation components to assist in localizing the game for other languages.
What are your team currently working on, and are you still using Delphi?
We are currently working on Age of Wonders II: The Wizards Throne, to be released early in 2002, and yes, we still use Delphi.
We used Delphi3 for AoW, and have happily been able to move to Delphi5 for our new project.
What would be your best advice to any budding Delphi game developers out there?
Well, I don't know if my route will work for others, but I was making games on various platforms with various languages since I was about 8 years old. I used a shareware game I developed as a hobby as my résumé... and here I am. :)
For anyone who is interested, the game I developed as that résumé is called Ooze. It was also created with Delphi, and is probably still available for download somewhere on the internet...
The biggest issue for anyone who does decide to make a game as a training experience: keep it small... A finished small game is much more impressive than a partially developed masterpiece... :)
Thank you to Josh Farley for taking the time to answer these questions.