My name is Johannes Vuorinen. I live in Finland with my most important human in my life: my wife – and with my most important non-human in my life: my dog. Most of the time, I program games. As I recently became an entrepreneur and started an indie game company, I decided to start sharing things from my life.
Two years of Trials
The last two years have been really hectic for me. In spring 2010, when I was working at NVIDIA, I got a job offer from RedLynx to develop the sequel for Trials HD. I was super-excited as I had professionally only been working on mobile games before. I accepted the offer and joined the Trials Evolution development team as the lead in-game editor programmer. In the very same spring, in the middle of the interview process, I met my wife. There I was in the middle of two new big transitions.
Trials Evolution was a great project to work in. The team was very talented, and I learned a lot from the other developers. What I enjoyed the most was the fact that I was given free rein with the development of the in-game editor. I quickly formed a father-child relationship with the editor, and thus I wanted to make sure it is the greatest, most powerful editor, ever.
After I had programmed the editor for about seven months, in winter of 2010-2011 the team was expanded by talented level designers. They fired up their Xbox 360′s and started to use my baby boy. The level designers used the very same editor that was shipped with the game to create all the Trials Evolution tracks. This was a really great decision as now I had guys to test the editor all the time. And not just only test, but really work with it to create all the tracks of the game. The level designers constantly gave me feedback about the editor, and I made sure that their working environment was as enjoyable as possible. This teamwork worked great. Meanwhile in my personal life, I had realized that the woman I met during the interview process was the perfect match for me. We got engaged in the new year’s eve of 2011.
In the editor development, 2011 was a year of crazy new features. I kept implementing all the stuff the team came up with, and the editor became more powerful all the time. Soon I realized that if I add a couple of new features, the editor could be actually used to create any kind of games – even those which do not involve the rider or the bike at all. After a couple of weeks of coding, I created a working FPS game prototype. The very same prototype was shipped with the game as an editor example. Meanwhile in the late summer of 2011, after a year and a half of two different kinds of trials, I got married.
Then came 2012 with lots and lots of bug fixing and tuning until the game was finally released in April 18th, 2012. That was an exciting day. Finally I could see what players create with the editor. And ever since I have had so many laughs playing the crazy tracks the players have created. Awesome feeling! But that’s enough with Trials Evolution and the editor now – I’ll talk more about it in a future blog post.
Becoming an indie developer
Although I really enjoyed coding Trials Evolution, finishing it also meant me to move to the next stage; unleashing my visions entirely and creating my own games from start to finish. This is possible because I have found the right co-founder, Juhana Myllys, who shares the same visions and who is able to not just make the games as visually appealing as possible but also design the games to the perfection with me. I feel that now we have the skill and experience to create games in the superb quality we want.
During my Universomo (a former game studio of THQ) years in 2008-2009, I met Juhana who was working there as a graphics artist. We had a cozy little 9-man studio in Helsinki and it felt like we had our own company as there were no big bosses wandering around. Unfortunately THQ didn’t see all the potential the guys in Universomo had, and the corporation shut down the studio in early 2010. It was not a surprise as things were going to the wrong way already in late 2009. I remember we discussed about forming our own game studio back then with Juhana, but it did not feel right at that time yet. But now was definitely the right time, and so Frogmind was born.
Becoming an indie developer has felt absolutely the right decision and I highly recommend it. I’ll tell you why in a later blog post.
Welcome to my blog!