Tag Archives: Junebud

World of The Dead

IMG_2559Since Junebud (the previous game company I worked for) has been dead for more than 6 months now, I feel like I can share this with you. Junebud delivered two games; MilMo and Tuff Tanks between 2009-2012. MilMo was a fun, colorful, friendly experience. Tuff Tanks was a bit more edgy, with some attitude, but still very light and suited for a younger casual audience. Today MilMo is still up and running, but Tuff Tanks (that’s owned by Aeria Games) I believe is removed from the app store by now. However, there were a third game that never really made it into the public space. A prototype, a last shot, that we poured all the energy and time we had left when we understood things might get tight. It was a zombie mmo called “World of The Dead”. We even got so far we had a working prototype up and running, cross platform. It was possible to play it on a PC together with someone playing on a tablet, at the same time, which is kinda cool!

IMG_2561The game was set in a dark, violent post-apocalyptic version of modern day USA. I think this was almost as far from MilMo as we could possibly go in many ways. A lot of the developers at Junebud had a background in creating heavy war games, and some of them just wanted to get away from that, creating MilMo. So I guess you need variation even when creating stuff? It can’t always be just shiny happy or dark gritty. Not for me anyways.

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photoWhen Junebud went bankrupt, the IP to World of the Dead got no buyer, and I’we spoken to some of the old crew members, so I’m happy to show you what we did work on for the last couple of months. I know the world of game development sometimes is a hard place, full of broken dreams and crashed hopes. For every game that makes it to the app store or becomes an even modest selling hit, there are thousands of failed projects, games that lost founders or teams that just couldn’t finish their projects. At least I can now share with you the very last thing we poured all our tears, blood and midnight oil into. Enjoy!

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Game Developer Events!

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The only photo from GDC -10 I managed to find. Or I think it’s taken on the same day GDC Europe ended and Gamescom began. Many devs choose to visit them both when in Köln since they are held the same week.

The MilMo devblog (MilMo is a game developed by Junebud, today owned by Dohi Entertainment), is still up! The blog features a lot of photos taken at conventions and events like Game Developer’s Conference, Nordic Game Conference and Casual Connect when I worked at Junebud. Since I don’t know if the blog will be up forever I decided to download some of the photos (I hope it’s OK since I’m the one both in front of the camera and owning the original pictures to some extent). I put together some collages of photos for the fun of it, remembering good times!

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Nordic Game Conference -12 with friends at the Nordic Game party in Malmö, Sweden. Awesome times! I danced so much this night I woke up with a sore neck…

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Swedish Game Conference: Satellite South in Malmö 2012. This is the game writer behind “Amnesia -the Dark Descendant” at the end of his lecture about storytelling. I gave a presentation about game metrics which was very appreciated.

As a community manager and someone with an interest in people I enjoyed the privilege of visit all these super nice events during my time working with MilMo. Me and the CEO of Junebud, Ola Holmdahl, promoted Junebud’s games, made business and attended inspiring lectures, taking careful notes and bringing back the info to the company, sharing it with the crew. After each event we put together all our material and organized internal conferences back at the office; JuneCons! A lot of the business partners Junebud worked with were people and companies we got to know at professional gatherings like NGC or CC. Prior to this I attended NGC two times as a volunteer, helping out and organizing stuff.

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Nordic Game Conference in Malmö 2011. The photo in the upper left corner is a photo from the official page of Nordic Game :)

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Casual Connect in Hamburg 2011.

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Gamescom in Köln 2011. Super cool event!

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Casual Connect 2012 in Köln.

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!

Junebud

The art direction of MilMo was refined along the years.

This week has been quite the rollercoaster. On the 1st of August Junebud, the company I have worked for the past years, filed for bankruptcy. The news even made it to Develop Online, Games Industry International and some Swedish newspapers.

I’m still very, very sad about this. No one wanted it to end like this, and whatever happens from now on I want to thank all the brave MilMonauts. Thank you for investing so much in MilMo, for supporting the The Junebud Crew and for always believing in us. I will never look at MilMo as a failure. A game that rich, beautiful, fun and adventurous is as far away from a  failure you can possibly come. I will always be happy and thankful I had the chance to work with the talented crew, and to be part of something bigger than I could ever achieve by myself. This post servers as recap of my time at Junebud and a big “thank you” to the whole Junebud Crew, as well as to the lovely MilMo community! Since there is no way I can organize this post in a better way, I’m just throwing myself down the memory lane and sharing photos I really like. Enjoy!

Most photos are available at Junebud’s developer blog: http://milmogame.blogspot.se/

This was one of the first photos ever taken of MilMo, back in 2008. Lightmill Island!

Seastar Resort was called “Summer Island” back in 2008. I joined the team at the end of 2009, when the game was to be released in closed beta. Back in then the game only existed on the portal milmogame.com.

Concept art showing the many different MilMo islands. Some of them were never made, some of them are familiar if you play the game.

A photo from one of the beloved “Meet The Devs” events we used to do. To meet the community online was always awesome!

I met so many cool, sweet, nice players during my time as a community manager. This is me and Vanny, one of the GMs.

Concept art for the “Spooky World” world story.

Imagiantion Devourers, the MilMo world’s biggest enemy.

GMs meeting devs in my Home.

A really crazy Home!

The MilMo Comic! The comic is still up at www.facebook.com/MilMoGame.

Awesome fan art!

User Generated Content at its best! The Home of a MilMonaut.

Beautiful screenshot collage made by a MilMonaut!

Halloween event in MilMo.

One of my favorites. This photo is special to me.

The Junebud Crew back in 2011.

Me and the CEO of Junebud, Ola Holmdahl, at Casual Connect.

Me & Ola at Casual Connect 2012. Like bosses!

Crew photo from the “goodbye party” this week. Shows about 50% of the Junebud Crew.

A photo of an unannounced game project by Junebud. This concept art was hanging on the wall at the office.

Thank you all, it’s been a fun ride!

It’s still not yet decided what will happen to MilMo in the future. Hopefully Junebud will find a way to keep the game online. For me it’s now time to look for new adventures.

Be brave,

– Sara

Sad News

Watch the official MilMo trailer, just click the picture.

I had some sad, sad news to tell you. The game company where I work filed for bankruptcy yesterday. My heart goes out to all the brave MilMonauts who have proven to be the most lovable and loyal community I have ever met online.

It’s not yet decided what will happen to the game “MilMo”, but I hope we will find a way for it to continue stay online. A lot of the fans have expressed their feelings on the official forum (click here). What amazes me is the support and grief, there’s no hating or blaming.

I will share more information about the situation when I have something to tell you.

 

About Game Developer Events

 

Drinking a cup of tea and thinking about all the game developer conferences I visited since I got in contact the game industry some years ago. I’m not gonna pretend I’m a veteran or anything, because I’m not. During the last weeks I met so many experienced and talented personalities working in the industry I realize how far I still have to go If I want to become good at this (the company where I’m working sent me and the CEO to the Nordic’s most important game event: the Nordic Game Conferance, last week).

But anyway, I made a small list of events and get-togethers I attended over the years. I like to order, name and label things in my life. Started thinking of my own path and how I got to where I am today, when I met with all the volunteers at Nordic Game Conf. Most of the volunteers are students studying at Malmö’s game developer school “The Game Assembly”. They get the chance to hand out their CVs, attend the lectures and help out at the conference for free when studying. I think it’s a good way of getting into the industry and get inspired by folks already working with game development. This year I noticed a lot of the companies giving lectures ending with announcing they have open positions. It seems like the industry in Sweden is growing and in need of new talent.

I’m very proud I started out as a volunteer back in the days myself. I especially remember the first time ever I attended the NGC and listened to Media Molecule giving a talk about how they prototyped their game “Little Big Planet”. That presentation was very, very inspirational and has left a deep mark in me. I dared to ask for the business card of the talker, and had it hanging on my wall for a couple of years (stalker warning anyone?!). It’s still one of the best business cards I’ve ever got (gonna take a picture of it and show you later). Its basically a hand-made old fashioned luggage tag of paper with the name, company and e-mail written on it, by hand. Reflects the whole LBP feeling of creativity and unique art direction.

Another very special memory is when me and our CEO went to Casual Connect for the first time ever. Casual Connect is held in Germany, Hamburg. We packed our stuff, flew to Germany from Sweden and on the flight down I put on my makeup. We morphed into party outfits, switched on to party mode and grabbed a cab to the big mingle as soon as we touched ground. It felt a bit like we were on a secret mission haha! When we went to Gamescom last year we arrived late at night and the taxi driver was really crazy, driving in 140 km/h on a highway in the dark. I just closed my eyes and prayed we would be OK. The other taxi driver we had that day talked about his time in prison and how he despised common traffic rules. I could see myself making headlines: game developers from Sweden axe murdered by German taxi driver.

A lot has happened since then, but every time I get the chance to go to these game events I try to put my best into them. I know I need to represent not only the games we made, but also the effort every single person on the team has put into what I’m showing a potentional business partner/investor or someone we want to hire. Since it’s a part of my job to go to these things and bring back observations of industry trends and contacts for the company I view it as work. But very fun work indeed.

Nordic Game Conferance 2012 Part 1

I’m back from the Nordic Game Conference (NGC), that took place in Malmö, Sweden last week. I have not visited that many game developer conferences so far, but it’s absolutely my favorite! It’s a really friendly atmosphere, it’s always plenty of old friends there and the Nordic Party is super sweet. And the fact that I can go straight home and sleep when the conference is done is a huge + ; )

Wednesday: Nordic Indie Game Party!

Ready for the indie party! Met plenty of old friends and new faces :)

Friends from the Malmö based company Southend!

 

Suit Up Day at Work!

So last week we decided to host a “Suit Up Day” at the game development company where I work. I kinda suggested it for fun, and the crew seemed to be very happy about the idea! Here’s some pictures of me, our producer Ivan (with the white tie) and our CEO Ola. Ola suited up in his death metal clothing instead of the regular suit, which was a nice change!

Ivan, Ola and me outside our office in Malmö, Sweden!

2cool4school!

Junebud’s producer team!

 

 

Aspiring Game Developers

This week me and my boss Ola went to the “Meet & Greet” event with aspiring game developers studying computer game development, at The Game Assembly school. As a final course of the school the students complete a 7 months internship on a game company.

We were hoping to spread the word about our company and get some 3D artist and programmers as interns. It was a pleasant surprise that so many of the students remembered the metrics focused lecture I gave at Swedish Game Awards: South conference, a couple of weeks ago.Even some of the other professional game developers attenting the “M&G” came up to say “hi” and wanted to talk about the lecture.

This year the competition for skilled interns was fierce, companies like DICE, Easy, Massive, IO and other big fishes also wanted to get hold of some fresh students.

After meeting with the students we all headed for the pub and some beers. I spent my night mostly talking to an old friend who now is the studio manager at Paradox South. Anyways, I already got some CV:s in my in-box from the students, let’s hope we are able to offer some internships for them after the summer!

Me and Ola pitching our studio for the game dev students. Picture by The Game Assembly.

Ola showing our new, upcoming game Tuff Tanks for a student

Just Another Week At Work

Had a super after work yesterday. We went to a small pub near the office, took a few beers and shared stories. It was nice to see everyone again after the Easter vacations! Here’s some pictures from this week at the office!

Our poor office octopus hanging on the fridge

Wohoo! We got the cutest co-worker ever! She will stay with us for a couple of weeks :D

I just love these tea packages to much to throw them away when I’m done. They look so stylish!

After work fun on Friday xD