Monthly Archives: June 2012

My Trip To Norway 3

One last batch of photos from last week’s trip to Norway. Enjoy!

I love taking photos like this. Of patterns found in nature. Mix of chaos and organic order.

A special guy in Bergen collects stones and put them along the roads in the city. He has bee doing this for as long as I can remember, and this is his latest "work"!

A beautiful Norwegian hose.

Flying home to Sweden we passed a gigantic glacier!

My Trip To Norway 2

Here’s another batch of nature photos I took while in Bergen last week. The photos are taken with iPhone 3 and some of them are processed with Instagram afterwards.

View from above. Bergen has around 270 000 inhabitants.

Blood oak and lilac. Bergen is full of them!

A "forest star" on the hills surrounding the city.

Beautiful old stone walls hidden by vegetation up in the hills.

My Trip To Norway 1

Last week I went to Norway to meet my family. Norway is a country full of mountains next to Sweden. I visited the coastal city of Bergen. Bergen is known for it’s fish and the fact they have so much rain the climate is actually considered to be “rain forest” (but without the heat). If you want to follow me on Instagram my name is Saxen8, just like my Twitter. Ah well, gonna share some more pictures with you as soon as I get them into my computer. Right now I’m working with re-designing the “About Me” page in this web site.

15 minutes outside the town. This is where the city gets its drinking water.

The nature is very green and beautiful!

I even found a meat eating plant!

My grandma's backyard! I was very lucky with the weather and got 4 days of perfect sunshine!

My grandma's backyard! I was very lucky with the weather and got 4 days of perfect sunshine!

Reading May's issue of Edge in the garden

Games

Some Swedish game developers talking about the future of gaming. But hey, what do we know!

With E3 around the corner (one of the biggest game developer/press conferences about games there is),   me and some of my friends working on other studios talked about the current state of game development.  Since we are working on three different companies, making three different kinds of games, it was very interesting to hear what my friends had to say about the topic.

Quick background info: I work for a company that runs a free to play MMO with micro transactions. We are just about to release our first iPad game and many of those who work for us have great experience of making big AAA-titles. My friends in this conversation works for 2 different studios. One of them making a fast paced PvP game, and the other group making mobile games and “regular” PC games. Back in the days we went to game dev school in Skövde together.

We talked about the usual stuff the whole industry are talking about, such as:

How much should you follow your heart as a developer? Well, I think this is such a hard question. In a perfect world you could create all the games you want. All your favorite ideas could come true and you wouldn’t have to care about money. The truth is a lot of really cool game studios out there are no more thanks to this. My opinion is that you need to follow your heart and make a game that you feel is worth your time. If you make a game from scratch you need to devote many, many hours into this (and sometimes it might not even work in the end). You need to have the motivation to do that, you need to do something you believe in. But if you at the same time want to pay your rent and have dinner on the table you need to do a reality check. Is there a market for your game? Is that market willing to pay for your product (two completely different & relevant questions)? Do you have money to make the game AND market it? There are plenty of cool indie developers out there that do not care about the money (or the food), pushing the game media forward. For me it’s important to work with something I believe in, but it has to be rooted in a realistic business model. As my concept artist friend put it, “I think it shows in the game if the people who made it had fun when they crafted it”.

Swedish/Finnish key board!

Computer games could be so much more! They need to be considered art! This is one of the most discussed subjects among those who make games (and the one about “does playing violent games makes you a aggressive person?”). I think it’s just a matter of time until games as a whole is considered an important part of the culture heritage. In some groups and countries this has already happened. Humans have been playing games since forever, and playing chess for example, is already considered a classy activity. The situation about not being able to copyright game mechanics is very interesting. This means you are “free” to borrow from others and re-use smart solutions. I think this makes it easy for cool cross breads of games and a lot of experimentation to take place. OFC it’s not that cool to steal someone else’s design, but imagine if someone had the ability to jump copyrighted, or the concept of XP, or the option to have a friend-list etc.

People often say that “we could to so much more with games than we are already doing”. I guess that’s true to some extent, but I think we need to look at what’s going on in the market and realize there’s some pretty awesome games out there that makes people forget to sleep or even eat. It’s nothing wrong with striving to improve, but remember to appreciate what you got!

One thing that (for me) set games apart from other media is the fact that I’m controlling the actions performed. It’s me that’s jumping, killing or solving a puzzle. When reading a book, watching a movie or listening to a song the story is told to me. That results in images and feelings inside my head (you know when you read a book and make up the places described for your inner eye without even thinking about it). When playing the game much of this takes part outside my head. It’s a different kind of immersion, at least for me. Someone else already crafted the scenery, the images, the sound, the art and the actions. To me it leaves very little room for interpretation. I act instead of dreaming up stuff. Having this said I think games that aren’t so clear about what’s going on, like Flower, is much more close to be accepted as a form of art. It lets the player (or the beholder) read what’s going on in another way that Dead Space for example. But that’s just me. The “eye of the beholder” and all that stuff.

P.S I think these are some of the most common subjects when people with different backgrounds are talking about games:

– Should video games be considered art? Why/Why not?

– Does playing violent games make you violent or anti-social?

– How much gaming is bad for you? Can it ever be bad for you?

– Is free 2 play a honest business model?

– Is it OK to collect metrics and data about your players and drive the design based on this?

– Who are you gonna market your game if you are a small developer?

– Do women/men differ as games or consumers of games? If they do, then how?

Random past

Mostly cheap stuff from random stores, but the clock is something me & my friend bought second hand when we felt like time is passing to fast. It's a symbolic thing.

Sometimes it's hard to remember that someone else out there is happy with less than you got : )

I hate owning things I don’t use. Or use too often. So this past week I’ve been cleaning out some old stuff and clothes I don’t want to wear anymore. Feels good to give away items I haven’t used in a long time. Most of my old stuff went to the loving hands of a good friend, and whatever’s left I’m gonna give to charity. For some reason I can’t help but feel like a weight is lifted off my shoulders each time I get rid of old crap. I don’t literally believe in Feng Shui (that invisible energy-flows we can’t see are blocked, in your house or in your life, if you got to much old crap laying around), but I do believe that throwing away things you no longer need in your life clear up some well needed mental bandwidth.

Speaking of mental bandwidth, I met with some dawgs from Skövde this weekend. They were on a visit to Malmö, and we made tacos and talked about the state of the game dev industry (more on that in next blog post). Sudenly we all fell silent and one of the guys raised his glass and said:

– “Man, look at us! In this room there’s currently three game companies represented. We made it! We actually made it. Remember when we still went to school and we kinda panicked because everyone was telling us we could never get a job in the industry? Well, we got a job and are developing games. We fucking made it! Cheers FFS!“. Beautiful moment, I felt proud of my friends.

Clothes etc.

I don’t always take photos of my clothes, but when I do it’s because I really like the current fashion of mixing sporty wear with something more sophisticated.

Today is the first day of my summer vacation! This means I will have time to just chillax and do whatever I want to. I’m probably gonna meet my family in Finland and hang out with my friends. I long for windsurfing and diving. Watched the new trailer for the upcoming Bond movie “Skyfall” and the scene where Bond falls under water made me realize how much I want to zip my wet suit and get out there.