Why I Love Working at RocketWerkz

Surprised that I already spent a year working at RocketWerkz I thought I’d slow down for a second to reflect on my time here. Normally I’d consider it too formal to write about an employer on my crazy blog, but unlike a conventional studio, you’ll see why my experience working for RocketWerkz is well blog-worthy.

An evil manager pouring up drinks at a Skyscraper looking over in Bangkok

The RocketWerkz office celebrating my 1 year with fireworks! Or wait.. maybe those were for 4th of July.

Over the years I’ve come across my fair share of studios who think they are special. Rather than bragging (or even mentioning) salary-ranges they emphasize what an honor it is to work for their one-of-a-kind studio. Problem is, the company culture bragged about is usually neither special or advantageous.

My favorite example of pretentious meaningless company perks must surely be the infamous beanbag chair. All though I could think of a hundred potential perks that could improve my life, beanbag chairs is not one of them! It seems that every CEO thinks they can turn a stale corporate environment into a never-ending party  with the right beanbags. Of course my issue isn’t the beanbags themselves, but the lack of good answers when I ask “what else you got that makes you special?”.

An evil manager pouring up drinks at a Skyscraper looking over in Bangkok

I love making fun of pretentious beanbag offices, so it’s ironic that a previous employer asked ME to pose for their obligatory beanbag-shot on their career-page.

So imagine my surprise when I arrived to RocketWerkz. Not only are we blessed with a beanbag-free office space, our perks goes way beyond mere buzzwords.

We are so incredibly lucky with our perks that I’ve stopped keeping an eye on other career opportunities. Because of my somewhat rare experience working in China my LinkedIn is bombarded with offers from Chinese studios looking for western experience. Sometimes these offers comes with salary ranges that makes coffee spray out of my mouth! But regardless how lucrative I just can’t take any offer seriously. After getting spoiled with the creative freedom working for RocketWerkz it’s hard to imagine ever going back to work for a conventional studio again! Allow me to show you why…

RocketWerkz New Game Living Dark Trailer

For a whole year working at Dean Hall’s new company RocketWerkz I’ve had to have my lips completely sealed about what I’m working on. While everyone’s been assuming I make VR games (because of our Out of Ammo releases) I’ve hardly even touched a Vive! Most of my time and energy has all gone into this one secretive game revealed today!

After my adventures making games in China, I had a difficult dilemma. On the one hand I wanted to move to New Zealand but on the other hand I really wanted to use Unreal Engine 4. With NZ’s games industry being tiny, it didn’t give me the luxury of being able to pick and choose jobs based on engine choice. Imagine my surprise when I finally received a job offer in my favorite place in the world using my favorite engine in the world!

 

At this stage I was so excited I gladly accepted the job knowing little about the secretive game I would be working on. Frankly I was so happy to move to NZ to use UE4 that I would gladly accept any project no matter how silly (I once even interviewed for ‘My Little Pony’ just because their studio was located in Auckland). But my luck was just about to begin…

At RocketWerkz they believe in letting developers work on what they want to work on. Al though I wasn’t officially introduced to Living Dark, I once saw their early prototype on someones monitor and immediately said “I wanna work on THAT!”

An evil manager pouring up drinks at a Skyscraper looking over in Bangkok

The game is being developed by a small indie team here in New Zealand. That’s me furthest to the right!

Having released over 20 children’s games, I’d gotten a little bit tired of their upbeat style. Especially when you consider that there’s nothing “casual” about the games I like to play as a gamer. Seeing the dark rainy neon-clad streets of Living Dark made me realize I wanted to join the project before even having any idea what the game was about!

What I really like about the game is its procedural aspects. When I played RPG’s in my younger years I truly felt like I was escaping into a another worlds, not so much these days! Perhaps because I’m a developer or perhaps I’m just too old, I tend to see through the smoke & mirrors of modern games which makes the worlds feel flat. Making the world procedural in a convincing (not ‘No Man’s Sky’ style) way is the best solution I can imagine to this problem.

I had finally found the game I wanted to spend my next year or years working on, only downside was that I couldn’t say a word about it! But finally the secrecy is slowly getting revealed!  Click to check out all 5 trailers!

My New Job at RocketWerkz

In my previous post I announced my sad decision to leave my life in China, but it turned out it wasn’t so sad after all. Al thought it seemed there were no good jobs out there I somehow caught one that seems too good to be true. 

My desk at RocketWerkz, with beautiful ocean view

4k 27″ monitor, 6 core @ 3.60 GHz CPU, 1070 GTX graphics… I think I’m in love with my new work machine!

During my job hunt I had two primary wishes; I wanted to use my favorite development tool Unreal Engine 4 and to live someplace nice. These requirements initially seemed reasonable until my job searching gave me a grim view of the market.

My favorite development tool has started gradually fading from the job portals, although Unreal is the vanguard of cutting edge of technology, many game companies are switching to Unity to save cost. Although the choice of tool doesn’t affect conventional rewards such as salary, using the best technology is what makes the every day process of making games interesting.

Similarly my living requirements wasn’t easily met. Although I’ve matured past my adventurous phase of living in places like China, I also didn’t love the idea of returning to Sweden or UK. A few years ago I’d decided New Zealand would be my ideal place to live, but after discovering how tiny its game industry is I realized it wasn’t likely to happen.

It seemed impossible to find a job that meets my needs, but then right out of the blue the perfect offer popped up!  Click to find out where!