Interests

I’m especially interested in roleplaying and board games, programming and history. I also love to travel. And watching movies not to forget. And writing. So much to do, so little time… you might think I could need some more focus. Maybe that – or even more efficient time management. I prefer the latter challenge.

I have been roleplaying since about 1983 or 1984 (actually I  don’t quite remember) – I started with the red D&D box published in Germany by FSV. Today I own more than 400 roleplaying games of all types and genres. Recently I have discovered the indie publishing scene – in the past years I was not overly interested since I prefer my games to be published in paper. I don’t have much use for PDF but since printing on demand has become widely available I have enjoyed in the renaissance in interesting games. My most beloved classical games are D&D (although I really despise 4th edition – they lost me here), Boot Hill 3rd edition (by far the best wild west roleplaying game ever designed), Chivalry & Sorcery, Castles and Crusades, Gamma World and Shadowrun (mostly 2nd edition). I also enjoy GURPS, HARP, MERP, Tunnels & Trolls, Hackmaster and many many other games although I really lack time to play. Right now I hope to have a new RPG group starting in autumn… keep your fingers crossed!

For board games I’m a huge Roborally fan and I also like Battle Cry, Formula De, Hannibal, and many others. I would love to play conflict simulations and own dozens of them – but I fear that this will have to wait until my work life has ended…

As for programming – as a student I had a fondness for developing text editors (who would have thought?) until I stumbled upon the roguelike gaming genre. As Nethack was complicated for me I started to develop my own game – the result is ADOM (short for Ancient Domains Of Mystery), one of the most successful games of the roguelike genre. These days I’m a Java geek (don’t start on me with scriping languages – while they are cool in some respects they also all seem to have various shortcomings – I’m observing them carefully but rather would prefer to see some of the cooler features like Groovy closures and Scala traits merge into Java than being forced to use yet another language) and love to ponder architecture, design and new programming approaches. I’m particulalry fond of the Domain Driven Design approach by Eric Evans. Currently I’m working on a model driven approach to develop portal and web based solutions in a much faster and less technical way than the various current Java frameworks for web development permit. The result oif this is the open source project OpenSAGA for which I currently am the project lead. Maybe an open source project will evolve from that, maybe something commercial. We will see. Sometimes I also enjoy doing some PHP programming – the whole system (CMS, shop, etc.) controlling the Fantasy En’Counter is one of my older works.

I’m also kind of fascinated by history and if computer science hadn’t evolved I probably would have studied something like medieval history and archaeology. These days I’m most keenly interested in the American Civil War (and heartily recommend the amazing ACW series by Ken Burns to any newbie), the Second World War (again I heartily recommned the DVDs by Ken Burns to get an impression of the american view of the war) and the Medieval Period in general. I try to supplement my interests with books, movies, literature (both fictional and non-fictional), online resources and games (yes, conflict simulations actually can help you to understand something about the period in general and they are a good excuse to game anyways).

When traveling I absolutely love the south western parts of the USA… California in particular (if I had to choose three cities to live in, they probably would be San Francisco, San Francisco and Paris). I love the various national parks, the serene peace and tranquility of the endless open land in Arizona and Nevada and the beauty of the southern rockies and the High Sierra. And I love the beautiful city of Lone Pine and the Alabama Hills. Believe me – if you are in that area: Go there. It’s at least as impressive as Death Valley (which I also love) and there are far less tourists. A lovely area.

When going to the movies I prefer cinema to DVDs – although I’m DVD addicted. It’s just that I find so little time to go to cinemas that I savour each experience to the utmost. I watch everything across the board – history, drama, action, SF, horror, thrillers, comedy – whatever appears interesting. I love the stuff Clint Eastwood has been doing more recently (great actor and great director). But I also can enjoy George Lucas, Steven Spielberg side by side with Jim Jarmusch, Quentin Tarantino and Tom Tykwer.

I also write a little bit… both technically and literally (although it’s blasphemous to all real writers to call my stuff literature – it’s rather trivial and straight forward – and mostly not even good… but I do it for my personal fun, so what?). Just visit my list of publications and you will see what kind of stuff I write…

Finally I have lately become involved in learning a bit more about photography. I own a Nikon D300 and love to toy around with it. But again I’m just bumbling around and testing my skills – but it’s a lot of fun and I am looking forward to getting some good glass for more animal shots.

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