Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Level Up

Hello players,

It's been a busy time at the office lately. As some of you may already know Junebud recently teamed up with Aeria Games to bring MilMo to a wider audience. This is a big event for Junebud and for MilMo. Along with this deal comes a lot of work, and whenever we set out on a new, big stretch of development we usually arrange a JuneCon. This is basically an internal conference. Today's blog post is going to cover our meeting with Aeria Games, plus JuneCon 5, held the week after the visit. 

Most of the Junebud Crew on a much needed ice cream break during JuneCon 5.

MilMo is already live on the Aeria Games portal (, so you old hands on the English version may have met new players who connect from there. We  did the integration a couple of weeks ago, and shortly afterward Lan Hoang, CEO of Aeria, along with Terry Ngo, their CTO and Pascal Zuta, Managing Director of the German Aeria branch, landed in Malmö. It was a nice, sunny day when we walked them around the office and introduced them to the Junebud Crew.

After introductions, Calle Lundgren, our game director, Fredrik Olofsson, our own CTO, and I sat down with our guests to discuss how we wanted to develop the partnership.

Lan, Pascal, Calle and Ola get down to business. The weather was great when Junebud hosted the meeting.

Aeria Games is a large company that publishes a lot of games. They're currently expanding their browser games section, so MilMo is a good fit for them. We also had a chance to sit down and talk about what kind of a company Junebud is, and what we do best. Besides, we wanted to learn more about our new allies. We had been looking for a partner who knew Free games and who had a big audience, and much as we had guessed, Aeria fit that bill to a 'T'.

After the meeting we felt we had a fresh perspective on MilMo. Aeria has a lot of experience with these types of games, and were willing to share. This meant Calle, Fredrik and I had a lot to consider when we sat down to take a look at how we wanted to expand MilMo. Once we had figured out an exact direction and a plan to get there, we called a company conference a couple of days later. 

The Junebud Crew at the opening of JuneCon 5.

We've been arranging internal conferences ever since the company started three years ago. The first one, JuneCon 1, was held in August of 2008. So last week we held JuneCon 5, focused on where we want to take MilMo during 2011.

It's usually Calle and I who do most of the talking, but we've learned to set time aside for questions and discussions. The best part about a JuneCon is the chance to share ideas and compare notes. When a development team grows beyond five or ten people it's hard to keep everyone on the same page. After a conference like this everyone shares the same perspective, which makes it much easier to push ahead as a team.

We had lunch at a nearby restaurant situated on an old river boat. Summer rocks.

No JuneCon is complete without good food. Fredrik, our CTO, decided on chili, Sara went with a salad.

MilMo has come a long way since its humble beginnings, as pointed out by Calle here.

One of the things we talked about was the evolution of MilMo from a primitive MMO with 4 levels, at the launch in 2009, through the pretty big game we have today, and on to the game we want it to become. I won't offer any spoilers, but there's awesome stuff in the making. There always is.

Fruit break!
Dinner with the Crew. Calle seems pretty happy!

After JuneCon 5 the whole team went out for dinner and bowling. I was surprised when I realized we've been working together for years, and this was the first time we did something like this. Sure, the team has gone out to dinner before, but we never went ahead and did anything physical like bowling, go-cart racing or laser tag before. Most game companies do these things pretty often in my experience. Anyway, all I can say is it was awesome fun!

At the bowling hall. The smack talk begins.
The gang really got into the spirit of bowling and before long, competition was fierce. I don't know about you, but I'm not much of a bowler so it was looking pretty bleak. Luckily I ended up on the same team as Fredrik, who turned out to be hardcore and walked away with the individual best score of the evening.

Aaand... away!
Go, community team!
Yes! A fleeting moment of victory for the art team.

We work all day making computer games, which can be hard work. One of the trickiest things is to remember to have fun and to make the games fun, even when problems seem impossible. And wouldn't you know it, going out and having fun goes a long way to fuel that fire.

We're happy about the deal with Aeria Games. The Junebud Crew is psyched about kicking MilMo up a notch, as I'm sure you've already noticed. We've decided on a break-neck development schedule with frequent game updates just to cram as much cool stuff into MilMo as possible, and soon. With a big, new audience ready to find out about the game, who knows what the future will bring.

Best regards,


Today's post is made by Ola Holmdahl, game designer and CEO at Junebud. Ola's previous career includes teaching game design, doing game design and creating concept art. In a previous life he was a freelance artist and an academic (but not at the same time). Follow him at

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