Ken Silverman

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Ken Silverman
Ken Silverman.jpg
Ken Silverman in 2002
Born (1975-11-01) November 1, 1975 (age 38)
Yorktown, New York
Occupation Game programmer
Known for Build engine, Ken's Labyrinth, Voxlap
Official Home Page

Ken Silverman (born November 1, 1975) is an American game programmer, best known for writing the Build engine used in Duke Nukem 3D, Shadow Warrior, Blood, and more than a dozen other games in the mid- to late-1990s. Once considered the primary rival of John Carmack, Silverman started work on the Build engine sometime before his first semester at Brown University in 1993, under a contract with Apogee Software. Prior to this, Silverman created Ken's Labyrinth, which was later completed and published by Epic Games. Ken has previously been CTO and co-founder of Ardfry Imaging, LLC responsible for the PNG Compression tool PNGOUT. Currently, Ken is founder and Chief Computer Scientist at VOXON, makers of the Voxiebox holographic 3D arcade game system.


Ken's Labyrinth[edit]

Ken's Labyrinth is a first-person shooter game coded by Silverman. It was originally released in 1993 as shareware by Epic Megagames. The source code to the project and even older versions can now be found on Silverman's website.[1]

Build engine[edit]

The Build engine is a first-person shooter engine created by Ken Silverman for 3D Realms from 1993–1996. The engine was used in a number of popular games of the era, and its source code is now released.[2] Shortly after the Duke Nukem 3D source code was released, Silverman added the Polymost renderer to the Build engine.


In 2000, Silverman started work on Voxlap, a voxel-driven graphics engine. In addition to the engine, a Voxlap-powered tech demo was produced in cooperation with Tom Dobrowolski. Since 2003, development on the engine has been fairly static - the source code to the engine was released by Silverman in 2005,[3] allowing commercial derivatives with permission.[4] Ace of Spades, a 2011 online multiplayer shooter, was developed from the Voxlap engine.

Other projects[edit]

Other creations by Silverman include the ZIP file archiver KZIP, the EVALDRAW programming environment and the PNG file-size optimizer PNGOUT. In 2006, a GUI-driven version of PNGOUT known as PNGOUTWin [5] was released by Ardfry Imaging, a small company Silverman co-founded in 2005.


By 2012, Ken Silverman founded VOXON.[6]


External links[edit]