Tag Archives: Högskolan i Skövde

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?

 

A Game About Zombie Pigs

The start screen for “Pick a Pig”! Click to see the trailer!

Oh my god! I almost died of laughter today when I re-discovered my programmer friend Simon’s home page (don’t worry Simon, I wasn’t laughing at the page in itself!)! Simon’s page featured the very first video game I was part of making; Pick a Pig! It’s a simple 2D game; you catch falling pigs on a plate and bring them to a “converter”, that turns them into sausages. Yes. Totally normal. (I apologize now already if anyone feel offended by this game. We were young and just wanted to make a fun game. Sorry.).

You can play as “Captain Pig” if you want to! Please notice the sausages get a different color depending on if you put regular pigs or the special ones into the “converter”.

And there’s more. You can catch zombie pigs, or demon pigs, and rats give you extra lives. If you want to, you can play as a pimp, a zombie or a butcher. The concept was mine, the result of an assignment we had at University, to write a design document. Gosh, I have no idea why I made it about screaming pigs, zombies and sausages…So many people asked me “but where did you get the idea?”. The truth is I don’t remember anymore. I just tried to write a concept that could be translated into a game in 10 weeks. There was no time to make an epic post-apocalyptic steam punk mmo saga about space marines and ninjas. So let’s take a walk down the memory lane and I’ll explain to you how this silly game from the past came to shape my future.

You can download the game for free at the end of this post!

I was the manager for the team, and I still stay in touch with some of the team members. Pick A Pig ended up on the arcade system board at the University of Skövde the same year. People laughed so hard they cried during the presentation of the game in 2008. Most of those who played it still remember it! Hey, I’m sure it would be a hit if we converted it for iphone/ipad! But be warned if you try it, it’s not balanced and the game gets impossible to beat after a few levels. The purpose behind this game making course was to learn about everything that can and will go wrong when you make a game and have small or no experience. It provided a great learning experience!

I held a presentation at school about “Pick a Pig” for the game designer/guest teacher Ernest W Adams. He signed my game design book! It’s a nice memory, and one of the first people I met that encouraged me to continue doing games. I know that without that last minute improvised presentation about PaP I would not bee where I am today.

During this game project at University, when I was studying my first year as game developer, I had Ola Holmdahl as a teacher. He went on to hire me as a community manager for his company later on in 2010. And this year when Junebud sadly closed it’s doors, I was the associate producer. I think that Pick a Pig, even if it’s a ridiculous game made a long time ago, has played an important part in shaping my future. I held an improvised presentation about the game for the guest teacher Ernest W Adams. He visited the school and held a couple of lectures when we were making PaP. I’m sure that if I could go back in time and hear my presentation today I would be embarrassed about how weak my English must have been back then, but I really did my best. And Mr Adams even came to talk with me after the lecture, wishing me good luck in the future, saying some nice and intelligent things. It made me very happy, and he made me believe in myself as a game maker.

The truth is very simple. It’s scary and nice to learn new things. I realized you get strong by following your dreams, but to follow your dreams you need to be strong.

It’s all a long time ago, but I still remember it. And as I said before I eventually god hired by Ola, even before I was done with school. He was also very encouraging and supportive. Ola is one of those leaders who challenge people and make them grow in a good way. Sometimes it hurts to grow, or it’s scary. But that’s because you are out of your comfort zone, and you need to be out of your comfort zone to learn new things & evolve. (I’m not even gonna mention that the Chinese sign for crisis is the same as the one for opportunity, because that’s such a predictable cliche, so let’s not).

I try to use part of my time to study mathematics while searching for new jobs. I need to catch up on some metrics and analyzing stuff. Today I went to my favorite coffee shop, so cozy!

Sadly Junebud don’t exist any more (or legally it actually does a few more weeks or so). It’s a new chance for me to push myself out of my comfort zone and learn new things. Just like that time at University when I stepped up and held the PaP presentation when no one else wanted/dare to. I put myself out of my comfort zone. The thing is, it’s time for new adventures. The last couple of weeks have been so exciting. I can’t go into details, but I’ve talked to some very interesting companies about the future. Nothing is decided yet, and I’m still trying to decide what I want my future to look like. It’s my chance to shape it. I want to put all the XP I gained at Junebud to a good use!

I finally got that business dress I spotted in Finland in July! Ready for new adventures!

Yesterday I collected my last stuff from the Junebud office and headed for a beer with some of the old crew members. I don’t know when I’ll see them again, so it was nice to sit down at the local pub and talk war stories and the future. Some will move away from Malmö, while others already have a new job. It was nice to see them one last time. I’m pretty sure no one from the crew will stay without a job too long.

Junebud Crew (some ppl missing) and friends! Together for one last beer.

  • To download the game Pick a Pig for free, click here (PC). You unpack the game using 7zip for example (get it here), then click the file named “Pick a Pig”. Use space bar as your “enter” and to make the converter accept the pigs, click Ctrl. I’m sure you’ll figure it out!
  • Ola’s blog can be found here.
  • Ernest W Adams web page is here.
  • Simon’s page is over here.

P.S I hope you like the Pick a Pig game over screen!

Weekend

 

It's 2 am in the night, a bit tired after all the party!

It's 2 am in the night, a bit tired after all the party!

Had a great weekend in Skövde! Finally back home and time for some sleep. Tomorrow I will have the time to give you all the pictures and this week’s weekly photos! This is me and my friend Kitsune who works on Triolith, a mobile gaming company in Skövde. See you tomorrow!

Work Hard/Party Hard

Oh I just gotta show you this photo of Ola and me! It’s from out trip to Casual Connect in Hamburg!

So…we meet again!

 

This weekend I will go to Skövde (Sweden), to hang out with some old friends from the University, and just have a good time! Last time I visited Skövde was about 5 months ago. Always feels kind of strange to go there. It’s now 2 years since I packed my stuff and left the town for Malmö. Going back brings up memories, and the good ones hurt more than the bad ones do.

I really liked the freedom you have when you study. You are free to plan your days as you see fit, and attend the lectures you want to. That said you have a great responsibility for your education. Working 9-5 has its blessings, like you get a steady income, and you don’t have to deal with a constant bad consiens for not studying…But I miss the ability to go to the gym in the middle of the day if I want to, and all the good parties! I go by “work hard, party hard”. If I work really hard I need to party hard to keep me sane.

University of Skövde

Skövde means a lot to me. It was the place I got my first kiss, but it was also the first time I got to live on my own and take care of myself. I moved to a new country (I’m born in Finland), and had no idea what to expect from a place like this. I moved to study computer game development, and frankly I had no idea what I was doing at the time. When looking back it feels like I was learning life lessons each day.

I learnt so much in Skövde while trying to find out what a computer game designer actually does. Every time I go back to Skövde it feels like I’m opening a portal in my head and going back trough time, to the past…Except the past isn’t there. It still the same old buildings, it’s still the same old cold wind blowing in my face, it’s still the same old super markets and the yellow Uni…The setting is still the same, but the staff has changed, the students are now hired by companies and the apartments I spent so many magical moments in are now darkened down and someone else is now staying in “my” apartment. It’s a sweet pain. Sooner or later you have to move on, get a job and face the future. Any way, this weekend will be all about catching up with the ones still living in Skövde and party hard!