Monthly Archives: May 2013

Learning to Draw: #28

Now when I’m done documenting the last work related info at Paradox, saying goodbye to everyone there, moving all my stuff from Stockholm to Malmö, packing it up again and have my work station ready, I can finally focus on my own project “Learning To Draw”! This is an ongoing project where I try to learn how to paint and draw for real. By that I mean really learn how to craft attractive images by plenty of practice, reading theory and watching tutorials. I’ve been doing this since August 2012, trying to draw or paint at least something every day, some days drawing for hours, other days not drawing at all due to some medical issues I’ve been trough these past 6 months.

I’ve been documenting all of it here, on my blog, under the tag “Learning To Draw”. So here’s the latest batch of stuff, newest on top, old crap on the bottom.

saracasen_forrest_2

30/5-13
A forest. Not sure what happened to the light…I made a few different versions with a bulb of light in the middle, but I just couldn’t get the hang of where to place it.

saracasen_skog

30/5-13
Practicing more color and landscapes. I’m not that used to drawing landscapes & scenes, so I’m gonna do that more :]

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Doodles from the past week. Aurgh D :

saracasen_insectoids

29/5-13
Space armors. Inspired by the awesome art blog http://medsketch.blogspot.se/ < 3

saracasen_she_armor

29/5-13
Trying to design a more functional super hero costume for this girl. I know the pose is kinda awkward…

saracasen_the_gilrs

29/5-13
Some random faces while trying to solve major lag problems with Photoshop. Turns out some of the brush settings makes it run super slow.

saracasen_forrest_mirrors_edge

29/5-13
Practicing colors and lights. I love the art direction for DICE’s game “Mirrors Edge”, so I wanted to play around with cool, clear colors. Ref link here.

saracasen_tree

28/5-13
Major breakthrough! I realized it’s possible to mix big, soft brushes with small hard ones, and trying here to minimize the color palette used. Improvements!

saracasen_deergirl

28/5-13
Some late night painting. I got waaaay to much stuff going on in this picture, in a bad way. I should just pick a simple scene and a nice range of colors, and stick with it, not paint 1000 details and random colors. Lesson learned : <

saracasen_collage_drawings

May -13
Just some crap drawing while taking the train from Stockholm to Malmö, Aurgh, everything look so flat. Back to the drawing board, literally, hehe!

saracasen_attack!

12/5-13
Just some random blergh. This is what I draw when I’m bored or stressed and can’t decide on what to draw. I really want to move away from this kind of stuff. Usually I only use them to warm up. When you are about to perform a complex activity such as exercising or drawing I’ve noticed that warming up is very important. When I go to the gym I need about 10 minutes on the treadmill before I feel ready to start lifting. When I draw, I need a couple of doodles or scribbles before I’m able to draw anything that kinda OK.

saracasen_nials

11/5-13
30 minutes, painting a nail polish that I’ve found on my desk. Mainly done to study light. It’s all about the light when painting or drawing. You can make lines that are totally whack, but if the light is realistic, the human brain kinda accept everything else about the picture, even starts filling out details on its own : O

My first week without a job as been a lot harder than I expected. I feel like I can’t really concentrate on anything. If I’m on the beach I want to go home so I can draw. When I’m in front of the computer I can’t concentrate because of the beautiful sun outside. It feels like I’m moving nowhere very fast. I guess it’s all bout creating my own routines and daily schedule? Decide what I should do, and then stick to it, not wasting time. Anyways, since it’s so hard to see your own progress I made a quick collage showing some of my real life object studies.

saracasen_real life objects

That’s it for now, time to catch a train to Stockholm, I’m about to see Justice perform live this weekend < 3

Previous posts about my “Learning To Draw” project:

272625, 24232221,

20191817161514131211,

10987654321

Back In Malmö

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Doodles.

I’ve been in Malmö for almost two weeks now, and it’s been exhausting in more than one way. I have spent the past three days cleaning and sorting my stuff, getting rid of unwanted clothes and items (three big bags of clothes to the second hand around the corner). I absolutely hate having stuff I don’t need or use. I only want to surround myself with things that 1) work and 2) have a clear purpose. I would only buy things like decoration pillows & sentenced candles if someone pointed a gun to my head. I get seriously stressed out about having stuff laying around or living somewhere dirty. Nobody said it was easy to move here from Stockholm, quitting one of the best jobs I’ve ever had, but I’m not prepared  to give up quite yet…

Pitch To Investors 101

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Just some quick notes I wrote down while listening to the live pitching of game concepts at NGC this week. It’s the same way each year; 5-7 small companies make live pitches to a jury with plenty of money, hoping to get cash and a deal. It’s cringe big time, most of the companies are not nearly as well prepared as they should be, and the jury ask really hard questions to try to find flaws. Fun to watch, but super scary to be on that stage I imagine…

  • Tell the investors about your awesome team right away, do not wait until the end of the presentation! If you establish their credibility right away, the investors can decide if you are worth listening to right from the start. 
  • Present to core concept of your idea. Keep it short and informative. What are your unique selling points? Who are your competitors? Your typical user? Don’t wander off with a deep, detailed story about the game world, just tell them why this will be fun to play and how it will work! Show pretty pictures and video, this will help people to understand your idea one hundred times better than if you are only using words.
  • People with money love numbers and detail. Tell them all about your numbers, how much MAU, DAU, retention you think your game will have. How big of a user base? Tell them about how much money you think this will cost. Be prepared to go into detail. No I mean, be prepared, there will be super picky questions about the numbers and how you arrived to them.
  • Tell the investors how you are going to invest the money you are asking for. They are going to ask about each and every dollar. Be prepared and show pie charts etc. They will want to know what you are going to do with every single dollar, and how you are gonna deliver profit. Remember, there’s a difference between “profit” and “revenue”. When are you set to hit break-even? When will the investors be able get out of the project?
  • Discuss your marketing strategy. Don’t ever say stuff like “yeahhh we are going to have a FB page and a Twitter, hopefully something will go viral”. Social media creates places for fans to gather, it’s not a way to reach out to people that don’t know about your game. FB adds are a way to test the reach of your product, FB pages are not. Learn the difference. Just because Minecraft went viral, doesn’t mean your game is going to. There are 100 000s of great games out there that have never got the attention they deserve because their developers did not invest a single dollar in marketing or read the manual on how to write a press release. Some game studios don’t even contact gaming sites, they think game sites should contact them. Wrong! When you made a game, you are only halfway trough. There’s a reason big titles sometimes spend half of their millions on development and the other half on marketing.
  • What is the future of your product? What will you do when the product is developed?
  • Time for questions!

Good luck!

Nordic Game Conference 2013

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King dot come were among the main sponsors of Nordic Game Conference this year, together with Autodesk and Blueberry (to mention a few). King handed out these Rubiks’s all the time, and I really tried to lean how to solve a cube. It seems like it’s a lot like following road map trough a city. If you always focus on the white middle piece and twist and turn the cube you soon learn where the other colors should be located in relation to that middle piece. Gonna try solving a cube now when I’m unemployed and got the time to do whatever I want to, hehe!

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Mooore cubes!

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People were displaying both 3D printers and an Oculus Rift this year. These plastic objects are printed using the 3D printer, and they are made from corn (!). I think its so exciting to be in an industry where all this new tech and inventions are popping up all the time!   < 3

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The Nordic Party Thursday night, at the night club Moriskan! These DJs using an old Game Boy to shuffle songs, an old phone as a mic (it’s white and on the table) were kicking ass! The best part about this year’s NGC was meeting all old friends and hanging out like in the old days. Especially nice to met part of the old Junebud Crew; Calle, Ammad, Ola and Kata!

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Friday’s last session, wrapping up NGC13. This was the 10th edition of NGC, I’ve attended 5 of them over the years, and I love it! I get tons of inspiration from listening to all these awesome people and see what’s possible to do with games as a medium.

It’s over! This year’s edition of NGC was the biggest so far, with over 1 300 visitors, and the Unity event taking place this same week, in the same conference halls. I’m completely exhausted both mentally and physically after working 08-00 the whole week. Tired and happy! I got to attend some kick-ass lectures about storytelling in games, the value of taking care of your own time and what game design teaches us abut human behavior!

It feels like my life is moving so fast at them moment. I forget what month it is sometimes. Can’t really believe I lived in Stockholm last week, or that I went to France just a few days ago…Time is funny, it doesn’t move the way you think. However, it feels good to be back in Malmö, and the last of my stuff arrived this week, so I guess things are really happening.

Unite Nordic Day 2 & Indie Game Night!

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Moooooore balloons! I’ve been working withe the decoration for Nordic Game Conf the whole day.

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Back to basics, it’s MilMo, the F2P MMO created by Junebud, the place where I got into this industry in 2009. My former colleague Calle held a very good presentation about how he now is making a living selling his asset “Ultimate FPS Camera” in the Unity asset store. I didn’t know he had started a new company named VisionPunk. Happy to see him doing well! I also met Kata on Unite today. She was a programmer working with MilMo, now at Rovio : )

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When Unite was done (hopefully the event will be a reoccurring event in Malmö!), it was time for Indie Game Night. A night always before NGC, where indies get to mingle, show their games, dance and compete in “the indie game of the year”.

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Indie games on stage, this photo showing a game called “Clairvoyance”.  This year’s NGC is the 10th ever, and I heard it breaks all kinds of records, with something like 2000 visitors! I’ll be working at this the whole week : )

Unite Nordic Day 1

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First day of Unity’s event “Unite”, here in Malmö, Sweden. Photo from Unity’s key note this morning. They announced the free version of Unity for mobile, showed new stuff for Unity 4.2 and talked about where the company is heading. The upcoming feature that really got the crowd cheering was a “cancel” button for building in the editor, haha! I’m working on the event, helping out with some stuff.

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Today I’ve been filling over 200 balloons with air. I got the best buddies helping me out on the party station, behind the scene: Michelle and Jesper. Of course we breathed some helium and laugheted at our distorted voices : D

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Breakfast photo from this morning. “Unite” is a new event, first time ever in Malmö. Unity wants to offer a place where devs can come to share ideas, get inspired and talk to Unity about the engine. I used Unity when working at Junebud, making the MMO “MilMo”. I wasn’t a great scripter, but I sure gained a better understanding for tech by scripting for 6 months.

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The game studio “Full Control” talking about what they learned when working with the IP “Space Hulk”. I really liked CCP’s talk about the importance of prototyping your game. It’s hard to know if a game idea is any good as long as you have it in your head. It’s better to test it before you dedicate yourself and your team to months of development just to find out it was boring as hell…

Nordic Game Conference and Unite!

saracasen_ngc13

 

Photo from today. I’m in Malmö, helping to set up all the decoration, booths and registration for this week’s Nordic Game Conference! This year’s conf is the biggest ever, and it also marks the 10th NGC. Tuesday and Wednesday there’s Unity’s developer gathering Unite in the same building, so I guess I’m gonna be working there too. Nice!

Going To Monaco With Mojang!

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Arrived at the Bromma airport, with no idea about where we are going. Exciting!

So, I went to Monaco this week, together with Mojang, the developers of Minecraft. My friend Johan who is crafting the pocket edition of the game asked me if I wanted to join him for the trip, to celebrate 10 million sold copies of the game. Everyone employed at Mojang could bring a +1, and so I was happy to tag along for this adventure! Me and Johan know each other from back at the Uni when we both studied game development, he as a programmer, and me as a game designer (I might not really work as a designer of games today, but community management and data analyzing is still awesome!).

So this is the full story of what it was like. I can tell you it exceeded all of my wildest dreams, and this is probably a once in a lifetime experience, so buckle up and let me give you the short version!

I arrived to the Mojang office early Monday morning, where we got served breakfast. We then got divided into five different groups (all in all 48 people were booked for this trip). Then we got into white limos that took us to Bromma airport outside Stockholm. I had heard rumors about private jets, but when we finally pulled up to the Bromma VIP airport everyone in the limo were screaming “nooo way?!” 20 minutes later we left Sweden behind, still with no clue about where we were heading! The only thing I knew were that we needed to bring swim suits and might be travelling by horse later on (?). The horses turned out to be a lie, by the way.

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On board one of the five private jets. We had glasses of Brut Champagne and tried to figure out where we were going.

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Our pilots were skilled and nice. They smiled and told us the trip would take somewhere between “30 minutes and 5 hours”. We tried to guess where we were heading based on time and iPhone compass. We guessed Nice, France, and since we landed in Cannes, France, I must say the guess was pretty good, ey?

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The food on board the plane! This awesome food made it easy to endure the fact I’m scared of flying : 3

The plane could carry up to eight passengers and two pilots, and pretty soon Mojang’s Patrick took on the role of being a steward, which we found to be quite fun! He did an excellent job haha! After 3 hours we landed on a private air port in Cannes, France. Both the takeoff and landing went super smooth, it was nothing like the bumpy experiences you have when riding massive Boenings : O I like it!

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Kappishe choosing his ride to Monaco. I love the old truck in the background, haha!

The event personnel from Eventosaurus(who followed us around for the whole trip) asked us to line up outside the air port. After all we were going to Monaco’s Monte Carlo, and we needed to arrive in style, they told us. So as we stood there waiting three limos and 16 super luxurious sports cars came cruising around the corner! Everyone who had a licence and wanted to, got to pick a car! There were Ferrais/Lamborghini/Bentleys and more! Me and Johan jumped into a white limo (I’ve left my license home that morning) and off we went to Monaco!

People along the way took photos of us as we traveled through some coast towns. I mean, they probably believed us to some kind of famous people, riding in a caravan of three limos and 16 sports cars. I even waved to some of them and they started screaming and taking photos haha! Feeling like such a douche…

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Mojangstas Möllstam and Johan in front of our five start hotel Hotel d´Paris in central Monaco.

When everyone had arrived to the five star hotel we changed clothes and had some ice-cream and Champagne on a balcony outside the hotel. After people were done eating and drinking we headed to a restaurant, traveling with a funny and totally charming mini-train to get some sightseeing!

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The Mediterranean Sea! It was so nice to feel the salty breeze.

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The hotel by the sea, where we had dinner. I’ve never seen a pool with this kind of floor : O

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After the dinner we went to a night club featuring live music.  Champagne was offered to everyone, one bottle was as big as a small pony. The night ended with us dancing on the chairs!

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Monte Carlo by night, outside the casino!

Me and Johan got to bed at 02 that night, and I feel asleep right away, dead tired. The next day we had breakfast with some of the other Mojangstas, looking over the blue blue sea. Then we grabbed some limos and drove to the restaurant La Chèvre d’Or. I’ve heard later on they have two Michelin stars, but frankly they forgot I ordered a cup of tea, which is not really what you expect if the place got two of them stars.

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At the restaurant. Don’t ask me what’s going on with the children and the goat…

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Found the most uncanny statue that day. Please notice what part of statue that is still looking new and shiny…

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We spent the rest of the day on board a three floor yacht. I totally went into the pool with a glass of Champagne, cruzing the French riviera. The feeling when we realized the boat was moving was just crazy. And we listened to “I’m On A Boat”!

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Röyksopp were hired as DJs! When we had finished eating dinner, diving and riding jet skis Mojang’s VD Carl announced the Norwegian duo were to play for us the whole night!! I’m a huge fan and actually I had Röyksopp on my iPhone as lock screen the same day, haha! I got to talk to the guys, shake hands and they told me the liked how I kept the party dancing going! A while ago I tweeted something like “I wish I could party with Röyksopp some day”. Well, dreams do come true! I still can’t believe they were actually aboard, sleeping the whole day we were cruising! We dance barefoot the whole night, on board the boat, in Monte Carlo’s harbor. Such an unreal experience!

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Mojang’s VD Carl Manneh cheering for the party goers! People jumped into the pool and sprayed Champagne on each other. Crazy!

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Time to party! I wore the Ray Bans all guest got the first day, at every party, like a true rock star lol. People danced like crazy and when the waves rocked the boat everyone fell from one side to another, screaming and laughing. I can’t believe I didn’t got sea-sick!

I feel asleep so happy that night. Everything was just so unreal. This trip got wilder and more crazy for each thing we did. The best part was that no one knew what was waiting around the next corner, just that things were fucking crazy.

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Outside the hotel. The whole city is being transformed to a F1 racing track for next week’s Grand Prix! We packed our stuff on Wednesday morning and checked out from the hotel. Taxis took us down town to the harbor.

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Helicopters! We got to fly helicopters! I was really nervous, but everything went just fine.

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Me and some security instructions for helicopters. I was super scared when Johan snapped this picture. I don’t like flying, but I gotta say the feeling when the heli left the pad was so awesome! I even forgot to be scared!

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We went to a castle in France to have hangover burgers lol. Does it get more crazy?! The Mojang crew waiting for everyone to arrive for lunch.

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After the lunch we said goodbye and we got flown to the same VIP airport in Cannes where we had arrived two days earlier.

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Patrick getting out of the fancy ride. Heading home to Sweden on Wednesday afternoon. The private jets had been waiting for us the whole time in Cannes, and when we touched ground in Sweden we got prepaid cabs to drive us home.

I don’t really know what more to say, I’m sorta out of words for this whole experience. Thank you Mojang for the trip of a lifetime! It was awesome to meet Röyksopp, to ride helicopter and to visit Monaco.

I think my first week as unemployed went pretty well : )

Learning To Draw: Post #27

Latest batch of stuff. Have been really busy with work, travels and dealing with some eye-problems last 10 days.

saracasen_comics

1/5-13
Made a comic, haha! Not based on anyone I ever worked with : P

saracasen_algen_drawing

Made a quick reading of this image painted by Algenpfleger. It’s important to understand why things might look good.

saracasen_shadows

24/4-13
30 min. Made it in black and white, tried to add some color just for the fun of it.

saracasen_face_samll

Experimenting with light and shadows. How do they fall on a face? What about the bone structures beneath the skin?

Previous posts about my “Learning To Draw” project: 2625, 242322212019181716151413121110987654321

DeviantArt gallery featuring most of the stuff I made so far: [click here]

Thank you!

SARACASEN_JAPAN

Went to this awesome Japanese place with my friend Anders tonight. We just walked along the streets of Stockholm until we found something tasty looking!  They had the best restroom ever!

Yesterday I had some beers with my game dev geek friends over at Easy! We ended up at Imperiet’s club and I randomly met with an old friend who then slept on my sofa because of hassle with his hotel room. I’m really gonna miss all the nice folk at Easy! It’s possible to see Easy’s offices from where we are sitting at Pdx N, and sometimes I shoot photos of them hanging out on their balcony and send it to my friends over there, just to creep them out haha!

Today was sadly my last day with the amazing team at Paradox North. I’ve been spending this week finishing the last metrics reports for “Salem- The Crafting MMO” & “Magicka: Wizards of The Square Tablet” and documenting metrics/telemetry work. It was a lot of sad moments when I said goodbye to the team members this afternoon, one by one when they went home. Almost all of the crew are taking tomorrow off, but I guess I’m gonna drop in to say thanks & goodbye to the rest of Paradox! I really had an amazing run at Paradox, gonna miss this place a lot! I wish the guys & gals the very best!

photo

This long, hand written letter from my friend and previous co-worker at Junebud made me speechless : O

Ever since I told my friends and followers  I’m gonna move back to Malmö I have just gotten so much warm, loving, exciting feedback, messages and emails. I’m totally overwhelmed and so happy! Thank you all for beliving in me, it means a lot. I got an amazing handwritten letter from a former Junebud Crew member (featuring a bag of Danish licorice!!11), when I finished reading it I just sat silently on my bed with my mouth open : O

Some friends have contacted me with suggestions for new job openings, one of them invited me to this year’s Nordic Game Conference (!), another one offered his programming skills if I ever want to make a quick n’ dirty indie project (to make sure “I wasn’t leaving the industry” haha), and others have invited me to upcoming release parties this summer. Not to forget the trip to the secret location together with Mojang next week! I don’t know what to do, I feel like the happiest person in the world. I never knew I had so many friends and lovely people caring this much about me. Thank you, you guys rock!

A lot of my fellow geeks seem to be afraid I might leave this industry, but I can assure you I don’t plan on doing so. I just miss Malmö and I need a break. I don’t think there’s any other industry like this. Where you mix art, math, music, storytelling, management, psychology and data like this. Where people love their teams and pour so much passion into their everyday job. It’s possible to travel all over the world, to hang out with nice peers at fancy conferences, to grab a beer at each other’s studios, to create something that makes the world a better place, to entertain people and make them laugh, cheer, cry or just have an awesome time while playing something you actually helped to build. I love it. Not one day is identical to the other and since things are moving so fast there’s always something to learn, something new going on. I’m so happy I get to be a part of this! I really feel like I’m living the dream <3

This said I finally feel like I’m ready to replace some of my broken dreams with new ones. It’s not work related, but I feel like there’s so much nice stuff going on right now, and I feel I just wanna go with the flow.