I have "known" Florian since 2003. I emailed him after I found a homebrew game for my xbox called "Super Mario War 1.1". I had played the game and it was so much fun, that being a fellow coder, I wanted to contribute. The game didn't have powerups yet, for pete's sake
My first impression of Florian was he was this energetic young coder that was full of ideas. He wanted to build and contribute to the free gaming community. He had this idea to create a website called "72dpiarmy.com" (72 dpi being the typical dots per inch on a display) where he wanted to build a community of developers, game designers and players to create free fun games. He wanted SMW to be the first game released under this community.
I went to work adding features to SMW. We would have email exchanges discussing features and implementation details. He showed me his work creating the Jump and Run tutorials http://http://jnrdev.72dpiarmy.com/
and how SMW used those concepts. The first powerup added to the game was the starman. Then a turbo button was added. He argued we didn't need a turbo button and wanted to keep it simple. I told him he didn't have to use it
He created a CVS repository that we could use to collaborate.
Eventually we had enough features that we thought it was time to cut a version. Florian thought we should have a forum for people to discuss and contribute to the game so he created forum.72dpiarmy.com. I didn't think anyone would use it, but he was a believer. Boy was I wrong. We decided on 1.5 as the version number and released it to the community for PC, Mac and xbox. It became crazy popular. People flooded the forum and began contributing maps and skins. Tons and tons of them. Also feature requests. Feature requests that became version 1.6, 1.7 and 1.8.
Talented contributors began to show up and smw started building a loose team. Rom hackers, music and sound composers, map makers, document and html writers, graphic artists, platform porters. It was becoming a "real" open source project. I could see Florian smiling through his emails.
He would send me links to articles or scans of magazines mentioning SMW. He would update me on traffic spikes where popular sites would post a link to our download and we'd get 10,000 downloads a day. Florian was featured on an episode of Gamejew http://http://blawg.72dpiarmy.com/?p=261
. He was inspired by the success and started other projects, including Puit. In his last email to me, he was planning the redesign of the SMW website to coincide with the 1.8 release. I guess I should have released it a little quicker.
You can read his blog here: http://http://blawg.72dpiarmy.com
His geeq page: http://http://soup.geeq.at/
Puit on soup: http://http://puit.soup.io/
SMW on soup: http://http://smw.soup.io/
Rest in peace, Florian. Your friendship, unique vision and our conversations will truly be missed.
I'll leave you with this: http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3eOIFo_Hrg