Category Archives: Casen Crowd

Bye Bye 2014!

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First post of 2015! Had a great New Year’s with a bunch of friends, celebrating, eating good food and just goofing around. It was all fun and games until half of us decided to go outside at midnight to watch the fireworks. Literally three seconds after they stepped out on the street a gang of teens aimed fireworks into the crowd and sparks and explosions were everywhere. Then someone started throwing beer bottles at my friends from a balcony. Fun times when you live in Sweden’s Gangsta City #1! I had a very nice silver dress I purchased the day before (thanks for that bunch of money Santa!). Did get some photos of the dress but out of respect to my friends I’m not gonna post them here, since everyone’s looking really wild and drunk in those photos, heh! Speaking about images, here’s a sweet Christmas card I got from Tarsier!

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Looking back at 2014 it has been a very exciting year, but also one of the most stressful in a long time. I didn’t get to keep my job at Tarsier, and went unemployed for two months before I started my very own business; Casen Crowd. Running my own thing has pushed me miles away from my Comfort Zone™ more times than I can remember, which is awesome in some aspects but also extremely scary and tiring at times. I’ve learned that the Comfort Zone™ is a place where you should be able to rest and recharge. If you are always outside of it, you don’t really get to recharge your batteries or rest. This past year sets some kind of record in exhaustion for me. I’ve done almost everything to try to battle the sleepiness, and it’s working so-so. I’ve made sure to keep a steady exercise routine, eat my D-vitamin, fill my fridge with healthy foods and lately I’ve tried to determine the best time to go to bed and get up with this cool sleep-analyzing app (it’s showing me my body almost always tries to wake me up at 07-08 no matter when I went to sleep, guess I should take a hint from my body on this one).

I’ve done a lot of interesting work this past year: researched a big report about the state of the video games industry for Game City, helped Mediocre with their social media, made sure VisionPunk got some extra support for their awesome Unity Asset and accepted an upcoming gig as a project manager for a festival in 2015! I did lectures for The Game Assembly and at my old university! I worked the 2014’s Nordic Game Conference and got to the chance to meet so many cool developers < 3 I’ve also got something super cool coming up in 2015, but won’t be able to talk bout it in months (if ever).

Among all this I’ve learned some about how to run a small company, how to design logos, to build web pages, how the tax-system in Sweden works and soooo much more. Having my own thing has taught me more in 10 months than I’ve believed to be possible ^_^ Of course I’ve failed and had sleepless nights, but I kinda knew beforehand that comes with the package. One of the coolest things during 2014 was to get the offer for an interview as community manager for Riot Games in Ireland! For 2015: need to work on how to reduce the stress.

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When it comes to my Art Project I feel a bit confused. On one hand I feel like I should do something with my skills…like have a plan for where this is going, but on the other hand I’ve come to learn that the best things in life are often created out of random and coincidents. In August this year it will be three years since I started The Art Project.

I look at the leading concept artists in the games industry and feel that working as an artist with games really isn’t my cup of tea. I honestly don’t enjoy drawing tanks or Star Wars stuffs, I just feel like all I see is beeews and mechs all the time. Nothing wrong with that, but it just doesn’t float my boat. The stuff that gets me excited seems to be landscapes with down to earth, kinda quiet settings. I totally love the art by Simon Stålenhag! I’ve also noticed that I don’t feel so happy while drawing anymore, I feel like it’s all just for the sake of learning some technique or doing a study. I almost feel like I can’t draw for the fun of it right now. Not sure what to do about this. I feel very alone in front of the computer. I can’t sink into my own world while drawing since I miss human interaction too much I guess. One of the drawbacks on starting my own thing has been to not have a stead team to work with everyday. I meet all these cool developers, but I really feel that I need a team for perform my best.

To close this post with something positive 2014 marks the year when I moved to a very nice apartment, I traveled to a lot of countries, celebrated an awesome Midsummer, got to hang out with some of my favorite people in the world and attended a beautiful wedding for some of my best friends. Also, here’s an drawing from 2002 (when I was 14 or 15 year old) I dug up during Christmas when I finally cleaned away all my old stuff from my room at my parent’s place in Finland. A poster for a made up movie. Enjoy!

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In The News

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So…this journalist from a local newspaper in Finland gave me a call a month ago. She was curious about me and what I was up to. I agreed to an interview and we had a very nice Skype chat. Honestly I thought the text would be one of those “personal portrait” pieces at the back of Sunday’s extra magazines, so when I got this in the mail two weeks ago I must say I was a bit chocked, haha! I did not expect three full pages about me and my stuff. Well, it was fun, and perhaps this inspires someone else from my old hoods to become a video game developer!

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Speaking about publicity, I held a lecture at my old university: Högskolan i Skövde, three weeks ago. It was mega fun to be back to the scene of the crime where I started my journey into the mad world of game development back in the days! After my lecture a young man from Finland came up to me and just wanted to thank me for lecturing about video games as a career four years ago when I returned to my old school in Finland. They guy had attended that 20 min talk four years ago and was now studying his first year at Skövde Högskola. So sweet ^_^

I met with some local game companies and had coffee with the studio managed for Paradox South’s office. Paradox has grown quite a bit since I left them in May 2013. They are now over 160 employees. When I signed my contract in Stockholm I was employee #94 (I think). It’s very nice to hear they are growing and keep pushing out plenty of exciting titles!

Skövde will always hold a very special place in my heart. It was a town filled with adventures, misery, happiness and so much confusion for me at the time. It was a completely new place, a new country and my first time living all by myself. I had just turned 19 the month before I packed all my stuff in suitcases and moved there to study. I can truly say I had the time of my life there, I met people who changed me forever, some that left a very deep mark on me, and developers who made me realize I really wanted to dig deeper into making games. But at the same time I’m very happy that time is over, that I was able to move on. Today it’s a bit like a ghost town to me. It looks all the same as when I lived there, but (almost) all my friends and hard core party crew are gone. Their memories are kinda like ghosts and for a second I always think that by visiting Skövde I will also travel backwards in time. Visiting the town always has my brain a bit confused at first.

As you can hear I got quite a vivid imagination, hehe. Maybe, one day, I’ll write a post where I discuss my imagination. I sometimes feel like I got all these “portals” in my head that keeps memories extremely alive and colorful, long after they’ve faded for most other people. Like I can reach into a memory and pull it all back again, whenever I want to. And sometimes I even get randomly inspired by things, like a movie or a book or just the color of the clouds, in such a way it feels almost like real memories, like I was able to catch a sneak peek into a portal showing other people’s memories. Perhaps I’ll write about that some day. Am I the only one experiencing this kind of feeling?

 

My New Company Is Called Casen Crowd!

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Today marks the day when the cat is finally out of the bag! I can now proudly announce my own company named Casen Crowd! The idea for the company has been with me ever since April this year, and I got my first clients in May. However it took until now to be able get a proper homepage, a logo and some official info. I have just been to busy focusing on making sure my first clients get all the attention they deserve.

Casen Crowd is a community management company focusing on the games industry. Casen Crowd helps game companies with social media and PR. The social side of video games and game development have always had a special place in my heart, and in my life. More or less every job I had so far in the games industry have been closely connected to the player community or focusing on helping the players enjoy the game, so helping other game companies with their communities and social media felt like a cool next step. After working with both hands on classical community management like moderating forums and social media strategies AND being able to combine it with my experience of analyzing player data I felt like I was on to something. When my contract at Tarsier ended in January I figured it was now or never to make something of my own. So I took a chance and went there.

If someone had asked me just a year ago if I wanted to start my own company I would would have stared them in the face and had a good laugh. But things change, and so do we (luckily!). It’s scary to run your own company, but I can truly say I have not had a single day at work when I haven’t learned something new. I have learned about such things as writing contracts, making offers, conducting interviews, VAT, marketing strategies, the App Store, Google Play, how to manage DNS, designing a logo, installing a new hard drive for a laptop, community management tools, social metrics etc.

So far I’ve had three main clients; Mediocre, VisionPunk and Game City. I’m extremely happy and lucky I have had clients since day 1, and I know that’s not the norm. I can truly say I got the best kind of clients since I feel I’m able to add value to their business while thy are able to teach me new things every time we met. Each and every one of them have been a pleasure to work with! My next goal is to sign a few more clients, so if you know any cool game developers looking for a community management consultant, be sure to send them my way and I’ll take good care of them < 3

Wish me luck, and don’t forget to follow Casen Crowd’s Twitter ! LET’S DO THIS!