Our Team

Kim Holder

Founder / Design Lead

I studied sculpture at OCAD in Toronto. Half my adult life has been spent in Southern Ontario, and the other half in central Mexico. I believe in lifelong learning, having a project, and meditation.

Karim Rizk

Lead Developer / Server Engineer

The networking guy, author of the Agones C# SDK & has worked on games like Cabal Online, BoI Online & Luna Online

Yael Atletl Bueno Rojas

Tools Programmer

Computer Science student from Puebla, Mexico. I enjoy creating cohesive systems and easy to use tools for games. 3D modeller. Working on a Marathon remake in my spare time. Always willing to learn.

Zach Shea

UI / UX Designer and Programmer

Been working on different Godot projects for over three years. Head admin of the Custom Robo competitive community. An avid open source enthusiast that likes to hang out with like minded people on FOSS social media sites.

Our Story

Moonwards was born at the National Space Society conference in Toronto in 2015. It was the first space conference I (Kim) had ever gone to. Towards the end of it, I was talking to one of the directors of NSS (Claire McMurray). I said to her, the NSS should make a virtual moon base online to show how it would really be. And Claire said, maybe. Why don’t you do that? 

So when I got home I thought it over and got started. After a lot of reading, consultation, and work I cobbled together a few 3d models. They were very basic and naively designed. But when I talked to people in the space community about the concept, many were intrigued. It was enough to continue on.

Early concept - a machine that moved along a slowly spiralling path leaving a continuous coil of packed regolith wrapped in locally made basalt textile, until finally a dome was made. Also visible - the panels of glassy basalt then laid on top, and the solid rock created on top by spattering molten regolith over that.
A partially completed dome made with the device to the left, featuring a parabolic mirror mechanism for passing in a large amount of sun all day long, as it tracked the sun. And the giant construction crane with its robot manipulator, the giant solar powered furnace that supplied the molten basalt, and the Fresnel lenses used to create the panels.

I went to more space conferences, where at the end of the days I always felt exhausted from listening to so many highly technical presentations. There were so many visions, but also a palpable sense always that progress has been far too slow. The things I heard and saw sharpened my feeling that the fundamental issue is that the general public has no idea that space development has a tipping point beyond which things turn from being very expensive to being very profitable, and do so in a rather short time.

So I decided – this is the time that has to be portrayed. Not an early lunar base, but a booming town doing vast manufacturing. I worked more on my designs, taking ideas from papers, books, and interviews, and fusing them together. I noted that many of the ideas that could be built on came from the 70s and 80s, a time when lunar bases were expected to be built within a decade or so.

I started talking to regulars on Stack Exhange’s Space Exploration site about it.  That’s where my interest in space had really been fed, a couple of years earlier when I started hanging out there. (Which I did because I’d finally managed to control a chronic fatigue problem I’d had for decades, and was searching for something meaningful to do with my sudden surge in energy.) The people on Space.SX had educated me about space, and one – Sigvart Brendberg – did a lot of work doing the math on my early concepts, and together we built the first version of the website. Another – Pavel Lixonov – refined the early concepts on energy production, and did great work on writing the early code in the Godot game engine. 

The stripped down essentials of a system that extrudes molten lunar glass into threads and spins them into cables, in the left row, or that spews it out of pores from a spinning nozzle to create fibrous mats, cotton candy style, in the right row.
A row of 'dust roasters', also stripped down to essential parts. These machines were designed by Dr Peter Schubert of Purdue University to extract metals and oxygen from lunar regolith. You can read a good paper on it if you click on the image.

Once the programming of Moonwards began, the project began morphing and hasn’t really stopped since. Game developers from the Godot community began poking their heads in, and some of them stayed. Over the two years that followed, my understanding of the nature of this project changed tremendously. In order to allow people to add things to it, and in some cases build things completely inside it, it would need a lot of code. But if those things weren’t possible, it would serve no purpose. I realized this was going to be a long, difficult haul.

Now we have a stable core team, a solid draft of all the major structures, and the code so that people can visit, look around, and talk about things with a chat system. There is a rover to drive, there is lots of information posted around, and more being added in a constant stream. New objects are being added on a regular basis, and now they come from outside sources. But Moonwards won’t be serving its purpose until much more functionality has been achieved. We’ve defined the steps to get there and are steadily working through them.