I gave a lecture at SGC15. Photo by Sebastian Bularca.
I’m back after a well needed break from the blog. This week’s been crazy. I went to Sweden Game Conference in Skövde Sunday to Wednesday, gave a lecture on basic marketing for indie games, then to Stockholm and less than 24 hours later I headed towards Malmö again. By Friday night I was running on fumes, but attending at SGC was so much fun! The awesome people at Gothia Science Park & University of Skövde really put together an amazing three days! I was a bit nervous for the lecture, since it was my first time talking about the subject, the first time anything I talked about would be streamed online and also the first time I gave a lecture in English. If you happened to be there and want to grab the slides for “Marketing Your Game 101” please do so HERE! 10 of 10 I will attend again!
On another note, killing the Art Project was really the right thing to do, I’ve had so much more inspiration ever since. I feel free to paint and draw again. I feel like I can relax and have fun while creating! : )
Giving a lecture at Microsoft Game Camp Sweden 2015!
After the lecture I found this on one of the screens over at Gothia Science Park : P
Having a beer (or two) with the guys from Coffee Stain Studios. It was a blast!
Crunching numbers for the upcoming Game Developer Index of 2015. Reading +200 annual reports!
Last week I visited Microsoft Game Camp in Skövde and gave a lecture in “Metrics Guided Game Design”! It was very nice to meet with all the teams making games at the camp this summer. I did my best to provide feedback on their projects, talk community management and some marketing with them. Out of all the things I talked with them about, it seems like they all struggle with visibility. This was also the fact for a lot of the already established studios I met and talked with. They all talked about how hard it is today to get noticed on a very crowded market. There are more games coming out than ever, and since the tools for making games are getting more accessible with each update there is no reason to believe the flood of games entering Steam, the App Store or Xbox Live will diminish any time soon. It is very rare a good game just attracts an audience on it’s own, if you don’t get featured by the App Store or someone famous tweets about your game. Developers need to focus a lot of time and energy on marketing and PR. The big studios can afford to throw money at the problem and are often working with strong IPs. If you’re an indie or don’t have a widely known IP this are a lot harder.
I studied at the University of Skövde back in the days, so going back there is always kind of bittersweet. Most of the people that made the city so awesome have moved on by now, so it feels a bit lonely to be there. Luckily I met some new cool devs, and my friend G was kind enough to let me stay at his place where we watched TV-shows and sang in his car. After the lecture I had a coffee with the amazing Laura Bularca and then some beers with the crew from Coffee Stain Studios. All in all I was super satisfied with my visit and ended up smiling on the train back to Malmö the day after. I think it’s a huge privilege to get to share my knowledge and insights with others, and to get to listen to what others think. I believe you can learn the most by listening and asking the right questions, not talking about yourself all the time. I strongly believe that everyone you meet knows something you don’t.
Another thing I haven’t mentioned is the gig I’ve been doing for Dataspelsbranschen.se this summer. I got the pleasure to work with research for their upcoming annual Game Developer Index! So I’ve been digging trough over 200 annual reports this summer, collecting numbers and digits. The report will be coming out in a few months, mapping out the state of the Swedish game industry. If you want to read last year’s report it can be found here for free (in English).
I’ve been helping Mediocre with some community management for the past year. Last night they won an Apple Design Award for their latest game Does not Commute, over at The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco! Huge congrats! You guys absolutely deserve this! The game is truly unique, fun and super polished. If you’re curious to try it out, just head over to the App Store and download it for free : ) It features cars, adultery, time travel and you are literally your won worst enemy. The lovely story is written by Simon from Simogo (the company behind hits such as Device6 and Year Walk). The full list of winners and some nice photos of Dennis and Henrik from Mediocre can be found over here.
It’s June! This means two things. First off: 1) it’s supposed to be summer here in Sweden (hint: it’s not), and 2) my company Casen Crowd has turned 1 years old! In other words: I managed to survive for one year as self-employed/freelance. I’m very happy about this, and so thankful I’ve got to be part of so many awesome, cool projects, met so many nice people and had my friends and family sometimes advising me or gave me a high-fives when I needed it the most. Thank you all who believe in me, gave me a chance or provided feedback so far.
I’ve learned so much, more than I believed to be possible in one year. The past 12 months have been quite the roller-coaster. Some months have been fun, smooth sailing, while others…not so much. I remember giving most of my family home made gifts for Christmas since I could not afford buying them stuff. There has been way more lunchboxes than I would like to think of (when you eat the same fucking lentil soup for three weeks in a row you start to question your life choices…). But there has also been a lot of hard work, confusion and small victories. The best part of doing my own thing is without a doubt that I meet a lot of people, and that I get to work from almost anywhere. I can work from home, at my office, while traveling or at a train. I can take a break whenever I want to, go out for a walk or sleep in one day if I need to. The flexibility is very nice, but it does test your self-discipline. However, after this summer I might start looking for joining a team of some sorts. In the end I’m a bit too extrovert to be working on my own. I perform best if I have a team working with me.
Last week I visited Stockholm and got to see both the DICE and Spotify offices (top image), which was nice! Spotify got free snacks for all their employees…! It’s like literally eight fridges packed with nuts, wraps, protein bars, soft drinks, mineral water, salads etc etc for the people who work there. That alone makes me want to work at Spotify! Speaking of nice things, I rewarded myself with some new gym clothes a few weeks ago. I’ve now managed to go to the gym for more than one year, and I really feel stronger and healthier. The image in the middle is from December last year, and the last one from this week, it’s good to see some progress!
Anyways, that’s enough talk for one post. I’ll get back to the art posts eventually, don’t worry! I’m drawing, I just don’t want to show it to anybody at the moment.
Nordic Game Conference of 2015 is over. I had a blast! It was very nice to get the opportunity be part of the Art Contest hosted by Wacom and Epson. I did my best to make sure everything was running smoothly, writing the rules, designing a poster, convincing artists to try out the Wacom gear in the booth and counting the votes on Friday. The people from Wacom were nice, and I got two students helping out as well. We printed the participant’s art and posted it on the wall by the coffee table, where conference attendees were invited to vote on their favorite piece on Instagram or Twitter. The winner, Jerina Kivistö, got handed a brand new Intous PRO M on stage during the wrap-up of the conference on Friday. Her interpretation of the theme “Blueshift” was a worthy winner, but I’m really happy I didn’t have to pick a winner since there were so many talented artists joining this. I’m glad the crowd on social media got to decide, haha!
NGC always makes me feel like the Nordic games industry is one big family, and it’s really one of the high lights of the year to me. When everything is over I’m totally exhausted and overwhelmed by new ideas and inspiration, while at the same time I’m just super excited about what I’ve learned and all the people I met. This was my 7th time, and it’s starting to feel more and more like a class reunion each year. It’s the yearly opportunity to meet everyone you only speak to by email or on Twitter, to catch up and get drunk together, comparing war stories and meet new folks. This year I really felt like a n00b in so many ways. When you talk to people like Vic Bassey (editor of the Indie page The Square, top image), Laura Bularca (producer at Gothia Science Park and the person who snapped the photo of med and Vic) or listen to Brie Code (3rd image from the top) talk about how to assemble a kick-ass team, you just realize just how little you actually know. How it is even possible that learning new stuff makes you feel even more like >THIS<? Huge thanks to Jacob, Marie and all the others at Nordic Game for making this possible each year < 3
Speaking of art, Margel posted this very cute drawing of me, Ola and Ivan. It’s us from back in the days when we worked at Junebud together. The best part is that it does really look like Ivan’s haircut in real life ; D
I’ll be at the Nordic Game Conference next week, hosting an art competition in the Art Corner, together with Wacom! Anyone can join the competition to draw their own personal interpretation of the Nordic Game 2015 theme “Blueshift” using products from Wacom. This is a great opportunity to try out a Cintiq if you haven’t already.
Participants’ artworks will be printed and displayed at NG15, and anyone with a Twitter or Instagram account can cast a vote for their favourite piece of art using the tag #NordicGame. The winner will be announced at 14:00 on Friday 22 May during the final conference session, and will receive their prize, a Wacom Intous Pro M, on the main stage.
If you happen to be at this year’s NGC, please drop by and make some cool art that we can hang on the wall!
Just a quick little photo dump of what I’ve been up to lately! At the top there’s a photo I shot when visiting the game development school of Ädelfors, together with some very nice teachers from The Game Assembly two weeks ago. It’s nice to be able to help the kidz studying there and to get the chance to feel their inspiration and drive for making games! I’m involved as part of the advisory board for the school’s game education.
The photo depicting nature is something I snapped while running one morning in Norway, two weeks ago. The nature just outside of Bergen is truly stunning, a lot of small springs flowing everywhere. It’s hard to believe you are no more than 30 minutes outside a big city when you see stuff like this. It was so beautiful I had to stop every few minutes just to take photos and enjoy all these amazing plants, flowers, birds and old pinewood trees. Easily the best setting for a run a I had in a long time!
After that there’s a photo from the indie game dev beer in Malmö, hosted by my former employer Tarsier Studios, together with Nordic Game (the company behind the much loved yearly Nordic Game Conference). I had a great time, drinking cola from old fashioned glass cans and playing some of the old arcade and pinball games at the club. It was nice to meet some new devs and just hang out with a gang of old friends.
Bottom two photos are from yesterday’s release party for Mediocre’s brand new game “Does not Commute”. The guys had made these cool bumper stickers based on stuff from the game. There was live music, food and plenty of drinks. I felt a little bit shy that night, so found myself a spot in a corner and just kinda watcher everything, but in the end some of my friends took a seat next to me and I had a great time. I’m so happy to see the game is featured in the App Store and Google Play right now! Read some of the reviews earlier today, and so far people seem to absolutely love DnC : )
Mediocre’s “Does Not Commute” is finally out on the App Store and Google Play today! The game is free to download, so give it a try and tell me what you think : ) I’ve helped the guys with some community management, costumer relations and newsletters.
The game is very charming and features a quirky story, humor and traffic chaos. I’m very happy and proud to be associated with this super talented team of game makers.
My clients Mediocre (the duo behind the mega successful mobile game “Smash Hit“) have released the new trailer for their next game called “Does Not Commute”! It’s a really charming trailer. The game will hit the app stores next week on the 23rd.
“What starts out as a relaxing commute in a small town of the 1970’s quickly devolves into traffic chaos with hot dog trucks, sports cars, school buses and dozens of other vehicles. You drive them all. Plan ahead. Don’t be late.”