My name is Charles Van Noland, I live in Northern California up in the Sierra Nevada mountains with my lady Heidi and our two daughters Raquel and Charlotte. We run an online business out of our home making and selling various crafts we make ourselves. I'm the technically adept one that makes the projects a possibility and a reality while Heidi is the one actually dreaming them up. I try to stoke the creative fires by encouraging her to pursue new mediums I develop workflows for. So far so good. However, my personal pursuits almost exclusively pertain to code.

QBasic, in all its glory.

I've been programming since I was 7 years old, starting out with Qbasic. I had wanted to make video games and my dad explained that I'd have to learn how to program. I grew up on Wolf3D, Doom, Duke3D, and Quake. Modding these games, especially Quake, formed the basis of my gamedev knowledge.. I learned how to craft models and animate them, create textures for models and levels, map levels from scratch, code game logic and entity behaviors, create audio and music from scratch, etc. Everything that could be changed in Quake I found the tools I needed and honed at the very least a mediocre ability in each medium, developing a wide range of skills, know-how, and understanding about how games work along the way. I also learned how game engines work, and alongside modding always pursued creating my own engines and games from scratch.

Map-editor for Quake: 'Worldcraft', by Ben Morris.

I've also spent some time reverse engineering other games, such as Half-Life, and even spent a year or two 'hacking' this and other games, and their popular online mods. Learning the ins-and-outs of disassembling and hand-writing opcodes to write over EXE machine code to get the program to do what I wanted, whether it be render the walls transparent, wireframe, or target other players automatically with the push of a button. These were my 'bad' days (relatively speaking).

Wallhacking in Counter-Strike using an opengl32.dll wrapper.

The one thing I always came back to, though, was gamedev. I've been refining my craft, picking up new things as I go along, always adapting my vision to the latest trends... and never really producing or releasing much to the public. I figure all the time I've spent learning and staying up through many nights will one day pay off. It's just a matter of time.

I love exploring esoteric and cutting edge ideas, strategies, and techniques. I hate following the same played-out well-tread path and like to walk to the beat of my own drum. I want to show people that there are other possibilities, in the hopes that they too can expand on our ever-finite knowledge if they believe. Most achievements and breakthroughs start with the belief that they are somehow possible - that there must be a way. Take the Wright brothers, for instance. Nobody believed them, thought they were fools, etc.. For the most part, the answers to hard or unsolved problems do not just fall into peoples' laps. They must be pursued by impassioned individuals. Of course there are the accidental discoveries, but these are usually also stumbled upon by someone passionately pursuing something.

Precursor prototype terrain rendering that was used in a previous game project: 'Revolude'.
My game/engine Bitphoria incorporates very many unique and arcane techniques and algorithms, as do most of my other projects (Holocraft). I don't want to do things the way everybody else does, that doesn't feel like accomplishment to me. Nor am I impressed when somebody else achieves creating what many others have achieved at creating. It doesn't feel like learning or discovery or anything important or special. Implementing existing methodologies is redundant in my eyes. Pioneering and exploring the potential for advancement and progress is what I find most rewarding and exciting.

This blog is meant to inspire others to be creative. It is also meant to serve as a small web presence for my own projects, which I hope the rest of the world will find value in someday. I'm currently just trying to build a name for myself, by sharing as much as I can - which is more difficult for me these days as a work-at-home father with two busy little girls - while trying to stay productive on my own personal projects and projects with me lady to keep us afloat.

My back yard, far away from all the noise and confusion. Yes, mega-contrast-boost for effect.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Mr. Van Nuland, I am interested in a CNC system in order to produce specular holograms.

    Are you selling this? If not, are you selling the Holocraft software?

    Best regards,
    Dan Lieberman
    Nanografix Corporation