Ken Silverman Interview

I decided to interview Ken Silverman after all he is the God of Build.


Mike359: How has 3D Realms and game programming changed your life?

Ken: The biggest change is that have the ability to support myself. Also, I don't have to advertise my website as much as other people do :)

Mike359: How do you feel about 3D Realms releasing the source code to Duke 3D?

Ken: I think it's great. Releasing the source code to old projects (once they've run their course) is something I'd like to see more companies do. I would like to see 3D Realms make an effort to release the Shadow Warrior source code at some point.

Mike359: Do you make Duke 3D maps for fun?

Ken: No, I've never made maps for Duke 3D. I've made lots of maps for Ken-Build, although I haven't done anything serious since 1996.

Mike359: If so where can we find them?

Ken: I've included some of my sample maps with the Build Source code distribution. Keep in mind that half of those maps are actually the work of my good friend Andy Cotter (who worked with me on Ken's Labyrinth). You can find a native Windows executable of the Ken-Build game on Jonathon Fowler's website.

Mike359: Out of all the games that you've made/help make, which one is your favorite?

Ken: My favorite is Duke 3D because I spent the most time with the team, and it was the most popular. My 2nd favorite game is Shadow Warrior. In 3rd place is Ken's Labyrinth. :)

Mike359: Are you helping in any way with Duke Nukem Forever?

Ken: No. I have no inside information about it either, so don't ask.

Mike359: What are your views on the physics code change?

Ken: Are you still talking about DNF? I wasn't even aware that they changed that.

Mike359: What was your original intent on the Build Engine?
(I mean did it end up the way you planned it?)

Ken: Like most projects, Build started as a challenge to myself. I was seeing if I could implement the features that Id was planning for Doom. When I signed on with Apogee, I didn't even know what an "engine" was. Not many people did. I really don't do much planning. I just try to make the coolest demo possible and hope that something will happen with it. With Build, 3D Realms went far beyond my expectations.

Mike359: Do you still program in Qbasic/QuickBasic?

Ken: Yes, and I see no end to me using it. QuickBasic is great for testing algorithms because it rarely crashes, brings you directly to the line when there's an error, compiles instantly, and it never creates any unnecessary files on your hard drive (such as *.OBJ).

Lately, I've been using my own compiler, Evaldraw , for the same purpose. It's not a finished product, but for simple things that don't require fancy features (such as arrays : ), it can be even faster than QuickBasic in terms of development speed.

Mike359: Have you ever used Eduke?

Ken: I looked at it once, many years ago. That is all.

Mike359: Do you visit the 3D Realms Forums?

Ken: Yes, almost every day. My favorite topic is the Duke Nukem 3D Source Code forum.

Mike359: If so are you signed up?

Ken: Yes, I signed up just this year. The transit of Venus is what finally convinced me to do it ;)

Mike359: If so whats your username?

Ken: I don't use my real name because I want people to focus on what I have to say rather than on me. I have given some hints already. If you really want to find me, you can. All you have to do is click on the right username :) BTW, my avatar is one of only 2 photos in existence with both Todd Replogle and myself in it. :P

Mike359: Have you posted in UseNet?

Ken: No.

Mike359: If so whats your username?

Ken: N/A

Mike359: Where do you work now?

Ken: I work out of my home.

Mike359: Besides from playing the best games of all time ;) What other games besides your own or 3D Realms do you play?

Ken: I really don't play much other than Quake 3 Arena or the Internet games which are included with Windows XP. Lately, I've been wasting more time surfing the web than playing games.

Mike359: Do you play DOOM?

Ken: I used to when it first came out. I don't find it interesting anymore.

Mike39: Have you played Doom 3?

Ken: Yes, the demo.

Mike359: If so do you like it?

Ken: No comment.

Mike359: What's the difference between your Build and Allen Blum's Build?

Ken: The main difference is Duke Build is compiled to support the native palette tables of Duke 3D and it loads DUKE3D.GRP instead of STUFF.DAT. The other things are all minor, for example, keys to display additional info, and keys to assist with finding certain types of sprites on a map.

Mike359: Where is Todd Replogle now?

Ken: Last I heard, he was living somewhere in Oregon. If you want to find him, just look for his username on the 3DR forums. : )

Mike359: How much (approx.) money did you make off of your Build Engine?

Ken: Enough.

If you would like to talk to Ken Silverman yourslef I reccommend visting his website.