Sometimes working with Lightneer seems like a dream. That’s because we get to work with people who are so advanced in their skills and understanding that it feels like magic.
It is a rare day at work when I don’t have my jaw drop at least once. I’m amazed to work with such wonderful people when Alberto explains how he structures his code; when Liisa converts a white screen into an amazing vision that perfectly conveys the inner life of atoms; when Ilari creates levels that are so maddeningly difficult it feels they’re nigh impossible (and yet you still have to give them another go, grr!).
When Marja and Tiina and Napua come up with a crazy idea after another on how to convey our dreams (like handing out 3000 helium balloons or interviewing rockstars in Slush); when Mauri or Rayco or Felix crack a maddening problem in the code; when Janne makes atoms dance; when Alisa makes sure that everything just works; or when Peter and Lauri convert the impossible into the possible.
One of the best perks of working with Lightneer is working with amazing people. This means more than just the people we get to share our everyday lives with. Our advisory board includes people who make a huge difference in the world every day. Such as the CERN antimatter super genius Rolf Landua or the academic wizard professors Pasi Sahlberg, Marcus du Sautoy and Mikko Voutilainen, or Rovio founder Niklas Hed whose crazy ideas led to one of the most successful gaming companies ever.
The strangest thing is to get to work with people who have had a massive impact on our childhood.
My first brush with creating computer games happened when I was about ten years old. I had been reading roleplaying books. Instead of reading the book page to page, you make decisions and navigate the book according to them. Inspired by the books, I used our old Kaypro computer’s text editor to create a series of fantasy episodes and each ended with a choice. If you hit the goblin, load file “Hit Goblin”; if you flee, load file “Flee Goblin”.
Later on I became a huge fantasy fan, reading through everything by J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Terry Pratchett, and spending long nights playing D&D and AD&D.
My younger brother had a huge collection of He-Man figures we used to play with to go into amazing adventures. Not to speak of the animated show that we would watch wide-eyed every week. Another TV show that was a big deal to me was Fraggle Rock. I still feel warm when thinking about the cute little Fraggles and the scary Gorgs in their muppettian fantasy world.
Our advisor Ian Livingstone, the co-founder of Games Workshop, created the Fighting Fantasy books that inspired my little forage into text-based adventure gaming. He was also responsible for many of the board games we loved playing in the eighties and bringing Dungeons & Dragons to Europe.
Another of our advisors, Tom Kalinske, then CEO of Mattel, helped create He-Man and Hot Wheels toy cars as well as revive the Matchbox toy cars that were my childhood favorites. He was also responsible for creating Sonic the Hedgehog and reviving Sega’s console business.
Jocelyn Stevenson, showrunner of our animated show, co-created Fraggle Rock (and has also had a huge impact on my kids through Magic School Bus and Pingu and Thomas the Tank Engine and Bob the Builder and the list could go on forever). When I was talking with her the first time it felt like I was in a weird time loop where on one hand we were speaking of wonderful future collaboration – and at the same time I kept on thinking on how big an impact this person had had on the eight-year-old me.
At the core of any human endeavor are people. During the last year our team has grown into an amazing assembly of superheroes that I am proud to work with every day. Likewise we have been lucky enough to find wonderful people who share our mission to help us both as advisors and freelancers.
We are privileged to get to work with people who are the heroes of our childhood; with people who are superheroes; and with people who will soon grow to be ones.
Superheroes are great to work with. People who passionately love what they do, whose work looks a lot like magic, and who make a difference to better the lives of millions every day.