I got my first computer, a Commodore 64, a week before I started school. While many of my classmates only played computer games, I also read game magazines and designed my own games. In addition to the C64, my parents also gave me some game consoles, including a Nintendo Game Boy, a Sega Mega Drive, a Sega Game Gear, a Nintendo Entertainment System, and a Super Nintendo Entertainment System. All in all, I had quite a few games, with the turn-based, tactical role-playing game Shining Force 2 for the Sega Mega Drive ultimately becoming my favorite.
When I was eight years old, I wanted to put my ideas into practice and started typing listings of BASIC programs from computer magazines. In this way I learned the basics of computer programming. Soon I also got an IBM-compatible PC and switched to the programming language QBasic and later to Quick Basic and Power Basic. One of the first games I programmed was the action game The Bad Bat (1993). In it, you could control either a bat that had to dodge the hunters' shots, or a hunter who had to kill as many bats as possible within a given time limit. This game used the text mode of MS-DOS (80x25 characters). In 1994, the adventure game Tyrwago in Astrein World followed, which already had VGA graphics (screen mode 13, 320x200 pixels with 256 colors). In it, you played a dinosaur that had been catapulted to the present by a time machine and had to find a way to leave Goethe-Gymnasium. In 1995 another adventure game was released, Die Reise zum Mond, this time again in text mode. You controlled the commander of a spaceship powered by the flatulence of a fellow student, and essentially had to find the key to the food supplies in order to continue the journey. It should perhaps be mentioned that unlike some of my classmates, I didn't have a mentor to teach me how to program, but acquired all my knowledge through self-study.
It was also the year 1995 when my father brought home a copy of PC-Heimwerker magazine. This magazine was unique in the German-speaking world because it consisted exclusively of articles written by readers. Since I enjoyed writing (already when I was ten years old, a German game magazine, the SEGA Magazin, had printed a review of the game The Story of Thor written by me), I regularly contributed to PC-Heimwerker from then on; among other things, I published my programming course The Real Adok's Way to QBASIC there. It also happened that I became pen pals with some other authors. We usually exchanged floppy disks containing, among other things, programs we had written ourselves. Through the PC-Heimwerker I finally got to know the diskmags - electronic magazines with graphical user interfaces and usually background music, which were mainly published by high school students. It didn't take long until I got a letter from a teenager from Halle an der Saale, who called himself "Kaktus" and wanted to publish his own diskmag, but was still looking for someone who could program a graphical user interface for him. I then sat down in front of the PC for a weekend and used Quick Basic to develop a simple diskmag engine for graphics mode 12 (640x480 pixels with 16 colors). Kaktus proved to be grateful and appointed me as co-editor of the new diskmag. So it turned out that I had my own diskmag.
In the first four issues, the original engine was essentially retained except for minor changes. For the fifth issue, I wrote a text viewer in Borland C++ that actually ran in text mode, but also allowed smooth scrolling by directly manipulating the graphics card registers. The sixth issue featured a completely new engine, which I programmed in Borland C++ and used a super VGA mode with a resolution of 640x480 pixels at 256 colors. For issue 9, I wrote another engine in Watcom C++, where the special feature was that it supported hyperlinks, which eliminated the separation of menu and text viewer - the menu was now, technically, a normal text file. While issues 9 and 10 used smooth scrolling, I switched to crossfading for issue 11.
Early on, I had a dispute with my co-editor Kaktus about the strategic direction of the magazine, because he wanted to earn money with it and sold subscriptions, while I was of the opinion that Hugi - as the magazine was called - should be free of charge, because we paid our authors nothing. After issue 10, Kaktus left his post in a dispute. Later, at the age of 16, he founded his own computer company and was hailed by the regional media as "Saxony-Anhalt's youngest entrepreneur". I wish him only the best and hope that he can make ends meet financially.
A pen pal from my PC-Heimwerker days, who called himself "Scorpe", soon said that what we were doing was all well and good, but the best programmers of all were to be found in the so-called demoscene. I knew the demoscene from the book PC Underground, which I had read shortly before. It was basically a community of programmers, graphic artists and musicians who worked together on a special form of computer art. The book had not been able to arouse my interest in the scene, but since Scorpe thought that the demoscene programmers were the best of all, I now began to take an interest in the scene after all. At that time I was also in contact with the editor of the diskmag Cream, a visually very appealing German-language diskmag. "Coctail", as he called himself, had dealt mainly with computer topics and with politics in the first three issues of Cream. From issue 4 on, however, he wanted to focus on the demoscene. After I had made first contacts to members of the demoscene via Internet Relay Chat, it further turned out that a demoscener named "Salami" thought that Hugi was a good thing and in his opinion Hugi should also go more in the direction of the demoscene. All this led to the fact that starting with issue 11, Hugi's content focused on the demoscene. In addition, I switched to the English language.
The success came quickly. While there had been a very good English-language demoscene diskmag in the years 1992 to 1996 with Imphobia, of which a total of twelve issues had appeared, each with mostly more than a megabyte of text data, there was no comparable medium at the beginning of 1998. So Hugi 11, published in June 1998, filled a "gap in the market", so to speak. Soon Hugi rose in various charts to number 1 of the diskmags. From then on, I published a new issue every two to three months, usually with more than a megabyte of text and fresh graphics and music. My role in this was that of publisher, editor-in-chief and proofreader. I handed over the development of the Diskmag engine to other people. Starting with issue 12, Hugi used an engine developed by a Russian programmer called "Street Raider". It was executable under MS-DOS as well as under Windows. Issue 18 introduced the final engine, called Panorama, which was originally developed specifically for Hugi by Polish programmer Chris Dragan. It supported, among other things, True Type fonts and justification. Since then Hugi could not be run under MS-DOS. Besides the Windows executable there were also ports for Linux and BeOS.
On the side I organized programming contests. I myself had participated in an assembler contest organized by diskmag Pain in April 1998 and achieved first place. Thereupon I started the Hugi Size Coding Competitions. In a total of 29 competitions, the participants tried to implement a given specification in the most space-saving way possible. In the process, they learned a lot about optimizing machine code and peculiarities of MS-DOS.
In view of this biography, it would have been logical for me to study computer science right after graduating from high school. But I was unsure whether I was really good enough for that. That's why my father first persuaded me to study medicine. He had always wanted his son to become a doctor. In medical school, it became apparent that I had a talent for chemistry and physics; I had a much easier time than most of my fellow students in understanding the material. That is why they called me "the scientific genius". In the three sub-rigoroses of chemistry, physics and biology for medical students, I actually managed to get the grade "excellent". However, this was mainly due to the fact that these subjects were mainly tested for comprehension and the exams were written. From the third semester on, the focus was on memorizing texts and the exams were oral. Since I am incapable of memorizing the wording of texts, I only learned the meaning of the exam material and therefore received at best a "good" on most exams. When I then completed my first internships in the hospital, it became apparent that I had a hard time drawing blood. Since this was one of the main tasks of a trainee doctor in the system at that time, I doubted my suitability for the medical profession. This prompted me to enroll in computer science in addition to my medical studies.
So after three years of medical school, I started studying medical informatics. I continued my medical studies on the side. After I had done the bachelor's degree in medical informatics, I first thought of doing the master's degree in medical informatics as well. But I found the courses to be relatively boring and superficial. However, since the university I was studying at (the Vienna University of Technology) was renowned for its expertise in theoretical computer science, I decided to take advantage of this and enroll in the master's program in computational intelligence. This offered students a lot of freedom. One could freely choose almost all courses from a catalog. I then specialized in algorithms, formal logic, and theoretical computer science. In fact, I completed this degree in the minimum duration of study and with honors.
In 2013, my professional life finally began. Among other things, I spent five years at a company that had developed a program for the calculation and visualization of thermal bridges. After the founder of the company passed away, I became the chief developer of this program. Among other things, I implemented my own mesh voxelizer for importing CAD models.
I published Hugi until 2014; the last regular issue was number 38. Due to the intensity of the editorial work, I did little programming from 1999 to 2007. In 2008, however, I interrupted my studies for half a year to develop a game engine for turn-based, tactical role-playing games in the style of Shining Force. This resulted in the game Mega Force, which I released in 2016. The engine was initially based on Visual C# and the XNA Game Framework, which I later replaced with MonoGame. Mega Force 2 followed in 2019, and I also implemented several smaller game projects from 2009 to 2012, such as Adok's Magic Cube and the innovative edutainment game Adok's Number Maze.
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