About me

About me – the profile.

About me and dogs.
Norman with some of his dogs on Crete.

Let me introduce myself:

My name is Norman ‘Kretaner’ and since my childhood I am interested in history and strategy games. Later, I have learned programming and the development of computer games, and finally with the Internet, also web design.

I’m in the fortunate position to combine all my interests with my work and to live on a place of my choice, at the Mediterranean Sea.

After more than 15 years on the ‘island’ and richer by numerous experiences here, you will not be presented on my website CreteTip as on most travel or tourist websites only the beautiful vacation (dream) world, but the reality, which is often not as colorful as on the glossy photos of the travel portals. Therefore, the effort of a long-time resident of the island, possible objective and unvarnished reports about sights, excursions and vacation destinations, news, tips and also problems directly from the first hand of the largest Greek island to convey !

With dog on Crete.
With dog on Crete.
Since my childhood I live together with dogs, cats and also other animals. Being a native of Crete for many years, this has not changed and it does not take long here to have the first four-legged comrade as a partner !
Taking dogs from Crete or from southern Mediterranean countries is similar to adopting an orphan from a distant third world country. This concerns the feelings as well as the everyday life with them. Therefore, the mission of my website BestDogs is to help in the adoption, placement, education and training of dogs and especially of their conspecifics from the south and at the same time to engage in animal welfare and against cruelty to animals, poisoning or chain dogs, in order to gradually improve the lot of their fellow sufferers here on the ground.

My projects include a WW2 strategy game for PC, together with a website about the occurring World Wars weapons and units.

But I want to start from the beginning !

With cat on the cover of MegaZine.
In the good 1990s, the then ‘MegaZine’ wrote the following about me in an article:

If it had only been the Fron-Con to let me descend 1,100 km of ‘viscous traffic’, I would have burned all the role-players of this world into an airtight dungeon or the eternal Ork-grounds with a spell of ‘Maggie-Level 374’.
But the way back from Frankfurt to Ahlerstedt inevitably leads past Friedrichsdorf and that was more than enough reason for MegaZine’s raving road reporter MegaCarl to visit a monument of the German long-distance gaming scene.
Searching is exactly the right expression: Hidden in the industrial area of a suburb of ‘Krankfurt’, in a street that exists twice and actually residing in a P.O. Box address anyway, but actually 200 m² open-plan office, top floor, penthouse apartment above, landlord with cats: Norman, Mr. ‘Decos’.

Party time
Party time in Decos office.
MegaZine: Norman, you are one of the best-known and leading game developers in the German-speaking world – I think that’s fair to say – so we’re naturally interested in how that came about.
Norman: I started developing complex board games on a historical basis when I was still at school. At that time, however, there were no suitable computers. So these were pure board games (KoSim, editor). Only later was it possible to have the large amounts of data of these complex board games managed by a computer program. This made it possible, for example, to interrupt these games at any time without any problems and to continue them later, because even then the games went on for months, so they could not be played in one evening or weekend.

Norman: In a complicated game, a turn consists of various events. Many of the decisions I make depend on what the other player has done before. But when I make a move for a correspondence game, I don’t know what the other person is doing because all the players make their moves at the same time, not one after the other as in a board game. That’s why I have to put the different events that a turn contains, e.g. building up population values, movement of regiments, into a form so that it remains playable and the player can react to the other at least in a certain way.

Those were the days: ‘Table-Top’ with pewter figures and CoSims as precursors of modern PC strategy games.
I then first took a relatively primitive game that I had already developed as a board game and more or less converted it into a correspondence game. That was the beginning of today’s ‘History 1800’, in its most original form. That was actually a board game, where pewter pieces were moved on the coordinates of a huge map. At that time, the board game was even more complex than the correspondence game version, because the first small computers had too little capacity. So you had to make some compromises with the remote game. But that has changed a lot until today, of course.

Remote games today are understood to be online, LAN or browser games, but in fact the ‘data exchange’ was initially done by letter mail, then by server mailboxes with modems over telephone lines, and finally by e-mail over the Internet – but everything was handled by my developed computer programs even then.

A number of more or less successful games followed (e.g. History 1914, where the last German version Generalstaff 1914 is still used by some eternal fans and therefore still available for download).

Finally, wife and child led to a ‘serious’ software company for the development and commercial distribution of Java business applications.
Since this life did not satisfy me any more and the dream of living in the south by the sea had been smoldering in me for a long time, I drew the consequences one day and have been living contentedly on Crete for many years now.

The development of online and computer games, as well as the construction of various websites, together with my royalties, allows me to make a good living even far away from Germany and at the same time, both in projects and other activities, to pursue almost exclusively my interests.

For all this projects I still have a lot of work to do, but I was also waiting for a long time to publish my grandfather’s unique photographs from WW2 and before. And I think, the pictures and documents will make it clear, that he was not a fan of war as well as Nazism. This is the purpose of the web project on WW2Total.com.

None of my projects should support extremists, whatever their color, or glorify the war. Extremists are not welcome here and war is only useful for a museum, movies or computer games !

I try to keep distance and take care of objectivity, but I like to combine my interests and knowledge in the programming of computer games and working on homepages projects.
Even strategy games, which had their origin in chess, have a great educational value because they facilitate the logical thinking, planning and overview.

Especially abroad, I have learned that it is important to have obsessiveness and a distance view of the recent history, since there are so many people who are interested in WW2 and about the Germans. Computer games and popular websites are an excellent media for this.

I hope, that some of my projects will contribute a little bit help for these tasks.

Find a job that you love – and you’ll never have to work for the rest of your life !

Norman during a visit in Germany.
Computer games are extremely complex pieces of software. In fact, they are without a doubt the hardest programs to write.
To begin with, computer games are ultra-high-performance computer programs. No longer can you use high-level APIs for time-critical or memory-critical code sections. For the most part, you must write everything yourself that is related to the inner loop of your game code, or else your game will suffer terrible speed and performance problems.
One of the hardest things about writing computer games is designing them. Sure, 3D mathematics is hard, but thinking of a fun game and a design to go along with it is just as difficult, in a manner of speaking, and definitely as important. Who cares if you have the latest volumetric photon traces if the game sucks ?
Now, thinking up a game idea isn’t that hard. Ideas are cheap and you will find them everywhere. It’s the details, final implementation, and visual look that make the difference between the dreams of millions of players OR really to do it !

This allows me to be creative and innovative at the highest level !

This is my daily challenge and commitment and I’m enthusiastic about it !

Why is World War II the theme of this computer game ?

That World War II is the theme of this computer game was from the start not an accident. On one hand, the author has the most knowledge, the best sources and also by far the most numerous 3D models in his collection about this historical period. And on the other hand, for a strategy game with shooter elements WW2 provides the perfect scenario, because it was the only world-wide conflict which was fought complete three-dimensional (on the ground, at sea and in the air). For example, in World War I air warfare was not decisive and tanks were only limited used in the last years. Furthermore, it was the first time that economic planning, armament production, control of raw material areas and weapons research was at least as important as military strategies. Such features are essential elements of every great strategy game !
In addition, there are being considered a plethora of historically quite eligible political and military options, which could give the game each time a different course. And finally, there is also the fact that it was a ‘total war’ with two irreconcilable camps, which was fought until the final decision, what is at least optimal for a multiplayer game with two opposite factions.

A last word about the language:
My main language is German (since my origin is from Germany), so if you see mistakes on the websites, please forgive me, and feel free to send me a message indicating the mistake and the proper use of English, because I’m still learning a few languages here.

Email: [email protected]

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