By Erik.B.Skjoldhaug, Co-Founder at Lumi Games AS.
Once upon a time in a faraway country, far to the north, a country covered in snow and where the polar bears roam freely in the streets, a young boy was born. Against the harsh weather, the dark deep woods and the creatures in it, he fought for survival, and survive he did, against all odds growing up in Norway.
This is the story of how a young man grew up, envisioned the future, and ended up being a Co-Founder of Lumi Games.
Ever since Erik was a young lad, he knew there had to be more out there then meets the eye, more than just books, more than just scripted television… more than…. And then, out of the most unlikely of places, inside a locked room in his parents house he saw it.. There before him, inside his brother’s room (which he forgot to lock that day) he saw it… Like out of a dream it rose before him in the far corner of the room. Under the TV it was, something he had never seen before. Something white, something shiny, and quite possibly something out of this world. Something his brother had kept a secret for far to long… He picked it up, hold it in his hands, it spoke to him like no book and no television had done before. He examined it, looked for some kind of marking, some kind of text, something that could reveal what this mysterious object was. And then he saw, it came clear to him. What he hold in his hands where the legendary Commodore 64. And from that day forward his destiny came clear to him. Like an angel or a divine creature the Commode spoke to him, and Erik slipped into a transic state of mind and fell to the floor. Like in a dream he floated around, visions flashed into his mind. “Spaceships”, “Particles going BOOM”, hard to solve “puzzle games”, and “Chain reactions”….. Then he woke up, grabbed the black and red joystick, held it up high, as high as he could, and as loud as he could he screamed: ” I WILL DO IT! I WILL MAKE GAMES!”… and so it was. From that day forward he started drawing, playing games, making levels for Mario and Sonic on used Bingo coupons his grandma had used.
Nothing would stand in his way.
Soon after, his brother bought a Nintendo, Erik bought a Sega Master system and their father bought their first PC. Playing games like Mario, Megaman, Alex Kidd, Wonderboy, Command & Conquer and Championship manager escalated young Erik’s mind. And stronger then ever was his vision, his dream and his future in game design.
Its very important never to give up on a boys quest, or a girls quest for that matter. Support from your parents and friends are utterly important, but remember, its totally up to you what you want to do in your life
Years went by and after finishing graduating as a kindergarten teacher he applied for a Multimedia Design class in the big and legendary city of Oslo. There he studied all day, and into the dark hours of the cold nights. One such night he saw something on the screen in front of him. An ad for another school which provided classes for design, animation and game design.
Not too long after, he packed his bags, said farewell to his beloved mom, and left… left to yet another strange and mystical city. The oldest city in Norway, the Viking City of Tønsberg. There he would stay for two years, but after only one he met a slightly smaller, younger and stranger boy… this boys name was Alex.
After graduation Erik began his professional career as a Rendering, Texturing and Composite artist for the Animated TV production “Elias” made by Filmkameratene, and worked there for about 9 months. Then the financial collapse occurred, and he was without a job and 40.k dollars in debt because of the studies in Oslo and Tønsberg. He then remembered his former education as a kindergarten teacher, and applied everywhere for a job. It was hard back in those days to get a job, but Erik was lucky, because Erik lived in Norway, and in Norway they are looking for men rather than women to work at kindergartens. And believe it or not, Erik was a man, and he had the education. But Erik didn’t get a job close to where he lived, no… Not even remotely close.. So now a new epic adventure began, he moved to the other side of the country, where the mountains are high and the fjords are deep, and where people talked in strange dialects. It was hard for Erik to understand sometimes, but he mastered it and became part of the small local community.
After two years living and working on the other side of Norway, Erik got a job back in his hometown and moved back. There he worked full-time in a Kindergarten for five years, while working on his game ideas and other things of interest at night. He often presented his ideas and actually developed ideas, characters and stories together with the kids at work. There his imagination exploded thanks to all the little kids. Erik loved working there, but he never forgot where his true passion lay, and realized he had to do something about it soon.
It had been a few years since Erik and Alex had been in touch with each other, but they decided to meet up at Erik’s place to have a little reunion and watch the local football team play. While watching the game up in the high woods of Erik’s hometown, they started talking about the idea of making a game for iOS. They didn’t know if it was the thin air up at the high altitude, or the beer that spoke to them, but they got an idea. A great idea they thought. “What if we make a game where you control a little bird with your finger, and your mission is to avoid obstacles.” They called that game “Polly the bird”, and already later that night, they had a workable demo of the game.
Just a few months later Erik and Alex founded Lumi Games, and soon realized that “Polly the bird” was too advanced for them to make, and that they had to start really small. They soon found out that making a really small game is very difficult, but never stopped believing it was possible. And one day Erik got a good idea, “Eureka!”, he yelled. “What if we make a game where you start a chain reaction, and see how long of a chain you can make”. This was a good idea Erik and Alex thought, and this must surely be a very small game that’s easy to make and doesn’t take to long to develop… Nothing could be further away from the truth. This was in 2012, and this game is still in development! This game quickly turned into a Behemoth with a life of its own. It grew uncontrollably in size, eating and devouring all of their time, hour after hour, week after week, and year after year.. Three times they thought the Behemoth would calm down so they could scoop it out to the public, and three times they where wrong. Oh how wrong they where! It kept growing and growing. It came to a point where they had to begin a new small project just to get a game out to the public. They put the Behemoth into an isolated chamber and they both turned their key, much like how they do it at a nuclear missile silo. And that’s how PAX HD! started.
After PAX HD! was released Erik and Alex started on a puzzle game where you merge blocks to create bigger blocks giving more and more score. Almost like the Behemoth did, merging and growing (maybe that’s the inspiration?).. This game was called TETRA, and is still in development alongside ParticleBOOM!.
Its now the summer of 2014 and FINALLY we see the light at the end of the tunnel. ParticleBOOM! is getting closer and closer to a finished product, and the Behemoth has stopped growing. Now we can look back and see how much bigger and better ParticleBOOM! actually has become. It’s a completely different and much more advanced game we have now then when we first started, and we are glad the Behemoth grew uncontrollably for these two years, if that hadn’t happened, we would be left with a very different and very stripped edition of ParticleBOOM!
I recommend all of you to have a Behemoth in the office, but remember to lock it away for a while if it grows out of proportion, and don’t let it get the better of you. And remember, a Behemoth can ruin your whole business if you let it, so be very careful. And don’t feed it to much.
Oh and one more tip: Follow your dream.