Category Archives: Game Events

GDC16 Schoolarship!

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Are you a female identifying video games student living in the EU? If you are, then here’s some really great news for you! The non-profit organisation Diversi  and King (that’s right, that company behind Candy Crush) announced last week that they will provide 10 women studying game development with the chance to go to GDC in San Francisco this spring! You can apply over at the GDC Schoolarship page! Diversi and King will select 10 winners who’ll get an “All Access Pass” each, as well as their flight tickets and hotel stay covered!

This is a really great way to get into the industry, to network, attend a bunch of lectures and hang out with other game developers! Apply now or pass on this possibility to someone you know who’d appreciate this opportunity! < 3

Sweden Game Conference 2015

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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! : )

Microsoft Game Camp Sweden 2015

Giving a lecture at Microsoft Game Camp Sweden 2015!

Giving a lecture at Microsoft Game Camp Sweden 2015!

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After the lecture I found this on one of the screens over at Gothia Science Park : P

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Having a beer (or two) with the guys from Coffee Stain Studios. It was a blast!

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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).

Commute All The Way To the Top!

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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.

Nordic Game Conference 2015

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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

Spring Cleaning my Computer

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As you can tell my computer is under construction at the moment, so it’s hard to make any digital drawings come to life right now. I’m learning how to insert additional hard drives, format stuff and taking the time to sort all my 200 000 images and photos. I can’t say it’s fun, but it was well needed and long overdue. Having the perfect backup and everything from 2003 neatly organized in folders is…extremely satisfying, haha! I organized my Art Project sketch books while I was at it and started filling my 7th book. I actually feel quite inspired, and as soon as I got my computer up and running I want to paint some nature stuff. Doing digital studies of fruit, trees and flowers makes me relax.

Other than that I’ve been preparing the Art Contest for Nordic Game (stop by and say “hi” if you happen to be there this week), mixing some smoothies and visiting the amazing mega aquarium Den Blå Planet in Denmark last weekend with my childhood friends! It was super awesome, my favorite species there has to be the Common Sea Dragon. It looks like a tiny version of the dead horses pulling the carts to Hogwarts. It’s also the inspiration for the Pokémon Dragalge (I guess?!).

More art next week, just wanted to make a post to tell you guys I’m still alive : ) Write me a comment if you know about any additional cool creatures living in the sea, I love weird looking animals!

Photo Update

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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 : )

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?

 

Tarsier Freak Show

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All my guys kinda look the same, hehe. Need to work some variety into the male figures and portraits I’m drawing. Attended the weekly sketch jam on Tuesday and then went for hamburgers. I’m on first name basis with the Starbucks baristas by now.

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Tarsier Studios (where I used to work) threw a party yesterday, and it was a blast! Didn’t snap that many photos, but the decoration was super cool! They had these weird DJ’s mixing chiptune music, a popcorn machine, a candy floss machine, free street food, a giant monster cake and so much more fun stuff. The themes was “Freak Show” and I do think they managed to deliver a freakishly sweet party. Check out their Instagram for more photos.

Meeting some of my old colleagues and having a beer with them was the best part of the night. I really had such a great team when working there : ) Miss you guys!

Sketch Jam And Party People

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Photo from Nordic Game. I’m to the left, Grapefrukt in the middle and Mr Goatsimulator to the right. Party people!

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Got my first ever Frappuccino today at Starbucks. Had been saving up for a free drink of my choice after buying 10 drinks over the past months. Verdict: overrated, I would take a fresh smoothie instead any day!

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From today’s Sketch Jam. Had a good time and got to talk both art and politics!