Category Archives: Travels

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).

Adventures Around Skåne

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Skåne is the southern part of Sweden. My friends surprised me with a car, some food and a map, and then we went on a whole day of adventures! We basically drove from coast to coast, visited a lot of historic places, old forts, a creepy-cool lime stone cave and Nimis (an illegal built tree house that over the years has come to grow to this epic fort, hidden my the beach in a nature park).

We fooled around at all these places, eating way to expensive pizza, driving around and hiking in the woods. We actually got lost on our way to find Nimis towards the end of the day, and what should have been a one hour walk ended up taking almost three. After getting lost in the woods we decided to walk along the rocky beach, which slowed us down considerably. The way to Nimis isn’t marked on any routs since it has been built illegally, and our phones were dead or out of Internet.

We finally found Nimis and managed to get back to the car just in time for the sunset, hehe. But it was totally worth it! This treehouse is so cool, and I’ve already tried to find it one time before so I just didn’t want to give up again. I’m so happy my friends take me on adventures like this < 3 On out way back we stopped by a hamburger place along the highway, and had some food. I got to drive as well, which was nice! All these photos are by my dear friend Nina.

Polski Part 3

claes_3jan_2 claes_1jan_1jan_3 jan_4 jan_5Last batch of photos from my trip to Poland! As you can tell we did not only climb mountains, but we lurked underground as well. I was thinking of the movie “As Above, So Below” all the time, hehe! We walked trough the “Frosty Cave” (Jaskinia Mroźna), where it is only 6°C year around, the “Dragon’s Lair” and the salt mines in a city called Wieliczka, just outside Krakow. It was so cool and a bit spooky! A total contrast to the hot, airy mountains.

The two natural caves were carved into lime stone, and at some points you had to crawl to get to the other side. However the Frosty Cave had electric lights installed, so it was never like you felt trapped or scared. I noticed that around every small light source there were different kinds of very fragile bryophytes growing, trying to claim the scarce sources of light. Cool to see how life always finds a way and never gives up! The Dragon’s Lair was quite short, but so steep you had to climb using chains, attached to the cave’s walls, and so dark you needed a flash light to find your way. I felt like 12 again, running around in the forest, having unexpected adventures!

At the salt mines of Wieliczka we booked the the “Miners’ Route” and escaped down to 200 meters above sea level, when there was almost 35°C in the city. A perfect day for some underground exploring! Walking around in the huge mining complex, that is over 500 years old, was like nothing else I’ve done. We even got this overall, helmet and an emergency breathing kit if we for some reason got trapped down in the mines and the air became toxic. The mine is filled with salt crystals (obviously), and you were encouraged to lick the walls if you wanted to (which I did ofc LOL). Almost all of the walls were covered in massive, old timber, soaked in salt. Thinking that the mine system was so big that you could walk there for moths without visiting rooms and trails was both scary and thrilling.

I know it’s been a while since I posted my art now. What do you guys think, should I only post my art or can I share some photos and stories of my travels and derpings as well?

Polski Part 1

polen10 polen_1polen_11polen_13polen_14polen_12polen5I’m back from a trip to Poland! It was sort of a mini vacation (or at least I did my best to only work a few hours every day, whenever I happened to have Wi-Fi). The last two weeks has been nothing but wonderful! I just feel so happy and lucky. I truly had the time of my life, together with an awesome bunch of old and new friends (mostly game devs from Paradox and Hazelight). Just before going I threw a housewarming party at my place, celebrating the fact that I finally managed to furnish the place after living here for more than 1,5 years LOL. The party was really nice, and I got a selfie-stick as an “ironic gift”, haha! Of course I made sure to bring the stick on my trip as well. The perfect gift, haha!

Going to Poland was very exciting, the only Eastern European country I visited before is Estonia, so I was very curious about Poland. The country is huge, with a very rich history and culture, but I knew almost nothing about it, besides from the very basics of its unfortunate fate during the World Wars. We flew from Copenhagen to Kraków, which only takes about one hour. My Polish friend Agnieszka was our guide for the trip. The average Polish citizen seems to be better at Russian or German than they are at English, so having her translating everything from menus to cab directions was very helpful. I managed to learn two words in Polish during my stay: Biedronka (Ladybug) and Herbata (tea) : P The language resembles Swedish in some way, but I find the pronunciation extremely difficult.

The architecture in Kraków’s Old Town, where our hostel for the first night was located, was so beautiful and inspiring! Kraków was not destroyed in the war bombings, so most of the city is still preserved. However a lot of the buildings were almost falling apart due to lack of maintenance, covered in ivy and wild flowers. Kraków is a city where many young artists come to live and create, like Kreuzberg in Berlin. Compared to Sweden the food in Poland is crazy cheep, and you almost always get more than you manage to eat, if you go to a restaurant. Beer is usually less expensive than water!  I could feel the creative spirit in this city, and the majority of the people I saw on the streets were between 20-30. This place really got my imagination flowing. I could totally move here for a summer to do some sketching and writing < 3 It was like each old house had it’s own story to tell. Walking around in the city filled my brain with so many new ideas.

After sleeping in Kraków for a night we headed towards the mountain village Zakopane, located towards the Slovakian boarder, near the majestic High Tatra Mountains. Zakopane would be our main base for five days as we did hiking and followed different mountain trails. The architecture in Zakopane was also very cool, you could see these houses with pointy ceilings everywhere, looking a bit like the Stave curches in Norway. The houses in Zakopane looked like miniature versions of the mountains surrounding them, with all theirs pointy shapes, floors and balconies.

I got another batch of photos coming from the hike itself, I just need to sort out the best ones. But as you can tell from the bottom image the nature in the High Tatra Mountains is extremely beautiful. I had no idea this could be found in Europe!

 

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 : )

Egypt 2015 Part 1

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m back after a well needed vacation. Here are some photos from my diving trip to Egypt. I don’t have a scuba license (yet), but planning on getting one as soon as I got some extra cash saved up. More photos to come later on, got a ton of them that needs sorting. Here are some photos from 2012 when I visited the very same hotel for the first time.

Trains

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This week has been totally crazy and a tiny bit exhausting, to say the least! I went to Göteborg and back on Tuseday, Karlshamn and back on Wednesday and Ädelfors and home again on Thursday. Friday was spent catching up with all the needed paperwork, sending 1000 emails and the monthly breakfast with all the other teams sharing my office space. I always prefer to have too much to do over having nothing to do, but spending 17 hours on trains across Sweden takes its toll. Especially when I was planning on working those hours as normal on the train, but realized my 3G and the Wi Fi was of very poor quality at times…hehe.

Anyways, stuff is getting done and I met some very exciting people this week, especially when attending the meetings up in Ädelfors. I’m part of a board helping the Ädelfors’s school of game design improve their education. The education caters to young people with some kind of autism, and is meant to prepare and boost them for higher education.

I really feel like its super valuable all talent in a society gets the chance it deserves, not matter if you need special care or special attention or don’t fit into norms. All human brains are valuable. It may sound a bit strange, but I’m always thinking that if everyone gets the chance to participate we can all move towards a better place together, that we can’t afford to lose out on talent and individuals due to stuff like race, sexual orientation or special needs.

The next breakthrough in fighting cancer, or the next Picasso or the next stellar game developer could be out there right now, fighting to even get the chance to go to school or fit into society. If I can help kids with autism get into the games industry we might get some cool games we would otherwise have missed out on. To improve the state of video games we need to tell more different stories, and the only way to do so is to get different kinds of people into making games. I’m also pretty sure that game development in many cases could be a very nice fit for some of these kids over at Ädelfors. A lot of them are extremely creative and already super skilled with computers : )

Last Chance

Last Chance

Last chance.

Click to enlarge. Spent 6-7 hours in Photoshop today, painting this. The perspective was so hard to get right, had to relay heavily on some refs for that part.

I wanted to create something that tell a story, perhaps sets a mood, not just another study. This image is partly based on some reference photos I shot trough the window when going home from Karlshamn by train last week. I just keep snapping all these low quality images with my phone, there’s something beautiful about the cold Swedish landscapes. I never liked the winter before so not quite sure what’s going on. I blame Simon Stålenhag.

I hope you enjoy this. If you feel like owning it, click here to view my high quality prints.