Working for Stunlock Studios in Skövde, Sweden

Let me start with the most important part first: It was awesome!

Holiday cottage I lived in

Skövde is a quite small city (~35k inhabitants) in Sweden. Most of the city life focuses on the university there and a Volvo engine factory. It’s a charming city but accommodations are pretty hard to come by. My girlfriend accompanied me during the whole time from end of August until mid December. We were able to rent a nice little holiday cottage only 15 minutes by car from Skövde.

And as you can imagine the population density of Sweden is quite low, so there was a lot of nature around the house to explore and I often walked for hours around in the beautiful landscape. It’s however a bit troublesome that the sun goes down quite early in winter.
What I enjoyed the most about Sweden and it’s inhabitants was that they just aren’t as stressed as people in Salzburg or other places. They have to wait in line at the supermarket? No problem, they don’t get angry, they just patiently wait. Same at red lights. This makes living in Sweden very calm and enjoyable.
I took a class in Swedish for foreign students at the local university and was able to get some basic understanding of the language. It was important for me to try to integrate myself into the Swedish society and if you want to do that, you have to speak their language.

Stunlock Studios is a company founded 2010 by a bunch of Students from Skövde. They took their university project, Bloodline Champions (BLC), and made it into a successfully marketed game. BLC is an online battle arena game, where you control your hero in a top down perspective. Today, 1.5 years after it’s release it still have hundreds/thousands of concurrent players and an active eSport scene. It’s not as big as a game as Starcraft but then, what is? I really enjoyed playing BLC, and that was one of the reasons why I wanted to work at this game.
The SLS crew itself is pure awesomeness. I never felt like joining a company but more like joining a group of friends. The working atmosphere was really nice, and I was always respected for my work and myself as a person although I was “only” a intern. As an farewell gift, Johan drew a really nice Picture of the SLS crew for me. They also decided to name one of the ingame items after me. I think this shows how awesome a bunch they are 🙂

The Stunlock Studios Crew

So what did I work there? Well when I came to SLS in late August 2011, Patch 2.0 was in the final stages. I started my work by helping out wherever some small and easy tasks arose. That way I was able to familiarize myself with the huge code base. Knowing the game very well from a player perspective certainly helped a lot as well.
I did some GUI work at the beginning but switched to gameplay bugfixing after a while. That helped me to understand how the ability system of BLC works. After Patch 2.0 was shipped we started to work on a new Bloodline, the Metal Warden. I was introduced to the whole Bloodline creation process and was included in all steps like the ability gameplay design, sound but most importantly the programming.
The second Bloodline I worked on was the Stormcaller. My colleague Kae and me, did most of the work with this Bloodline, with Ilves guiding us in the right direction.
Besides the programming I also tried to help with the community relationship by being active on the forums and ingame.

Another highlight of my internship at SLS was Dreamhack Winter 2011. As I mentioned earlier BLC has an active eSport Scene. To support this scene, SLS is holding tournaments at the Dreamhack events. Since I never experienced something like this, I volunteered to go to DHW and to help organize the tournament. I was responsible for the technical stuff (Server, PCs, hardware) but also did a lot of organizing around the booth and the tournament.
All in all it was an awesome experience, and really one of the highlights of my whole time in Sweden.

BLC booth at DHW2011

tl;dr: Internship was awesome!