Welcome to Arkanis Development

Profile

Who I am? Look for youself…

This page is about me as a human being. If you want to know what I'm working on take a look at the projects page. Ok, first the facts:

Name Stephan Soller
Aliases Steven, Arkanis
Creature Human, male
Habitat Germany
Age almost 33 years
Mail stephan.soller@helionweb.de
XMPP name soller@messi.mi.hdm-stuttgart.de
Skype name stephan.soller

What machines don't know is that there is an individual behind this data. Humans do know that and just in case you want to know something about this individual: keep reading. In the other case, you might want to read about some more interesting stuff like quantum mechanics or Iapetus.

My profession

I am what normal people call "a programmer". For most that means I life in a room without sunlight and do some crazy modern black magic that makes some other mysterious stuff do something. Unfortunately I have to disappoint you on that. I don't burn when sunlight hits me and I have absolutely no idea how black magic is supposed to work. Sorry. But what do I do then? Well, there's a bit of truth in every tale and I actually try to tell machines what to do. Others might say I conserve or digitize thoughts. This usually works with varying rates of success. However none of my programs yet developed a conscious of it's own and is trying to exterminate all of mankind, so my work can't be too bad.

For over a decade now I'm playing with bits and bytes and I already witnessed some quite astonishing things: the development of the Internet and how people used it to change some societies, the birth of new programming languages and technologies but also the decay of privacy as some other people realized what they can do with large amounts of data. However a decade is nothing compared to the long tradition of this craft easily going back as far as 170 years. Yes, I'm not doing anything new to this world.

It all started with creating some websites (I witnessed the Browser Wars from the first row) which I still do today although at a much more sophisticated level. That covers buzzwords like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, PHP, Ruby on Rails, MySQL, SQLite, Photoshop, Inkscape, GIMP, SEO, etc. I worked in this area for about 3 years but websites isn't all I do. I like to understand how stuff actually works and therefore I'm also interested in more "low level" stuff like operating systems, assembly and of course the hardware itself. This lead to countless experiments with languages like VisualBasic, C and C++. For the every day work however I like to use some "more pretty" languages like Ruby or D (and no, I don't think Java is a pretty language).

Hobbies

Computer stuff

In my spare time I usually dig around and try to figure out how something works or is supposed to work. Programming some experiments, reading books and specifications… stuff like that. That may sound boring but let me assure you, it is not.

I've sank a couple of years into never ending projects so I now mostly build simple (but not always small) stuff. A result of that is e.g. the Asteroids game or the website you're viewing right now.

Books

I don't only read specifications or other stuff online. I also consume classical good old paper based information. Sometimes I read books like the ones from Sitepoint or The Pragmatic Programmers to learn and understand stuff, other times I just read for entertainment. In the later case novels from Terry Pratchett or computer game based novels are my favourites (the ones from the Halo and Mass Effect universes).

Games

If I program games from time to time you might also think that I play games. Guess what: You're right. Sometimes good games virtually absorb all my spare time. In my personal hall of fame are: Deus Ex, Independence War 2: Edge of Chaos, Unreal II: The Awakening, the Homeworld Series and Darwinia. I know, these are not the usual block buster titles sold millions of times (well, except Deus Ex maybe), but every game in this list did it's part in changing my mind into what it is today. I should also mention OpenTTD which certainly lacks a compelling story but scores with pure gold gameplay.

Movies and Series

Well, I don't remember when I last watched TV… 2002 maybe… if I use this device now it's just to watch a movie with my brother or friends. However some movies and series really made me think about quite a lot of things. Neon Genesis Evangelion and Ghost in the Shell had a large impact on how I see the world today. If something is really good I can think about it for several month (no, this isn't an exaggeration). The series Planetes also falls into this category.

From time to time I also watch movies just for entertainment. Firefly, Serenity and Babylon 5 are some of my favourites there.

Music

Well, sort of. Not the usual stuff but mostly soundtracks or mood music. I guess I simply need music to convey something, be it emotions or a general mood or even a full story. The modern stuff usually lacks this kind of "content" and therefore have no purpose for me (for the big music labels there surly is a purpose in these pieces). One special thing about music is, that I don't know much about how it works… on purpose. It keeps me from disassembling and analysing every single part, something I usually do with everything, always. Only this way I can actually enjoy how music plays with my brain.

Now if you read this final line, you have my gratitude for beeing a patient reader. Thanks! :)