Jykä the coffee maker has been animating some hot and delicious coffee into the pan and is now ready for some blogging time!

Please introduce yourself!

Name is Jyri (Jykä) Leppänen and I’m the latest addition to this awesome humans crew and hoping to be equally awesome someday. My primary objectives are to make coff…to make these cool monsters animatable and then animate them to life, hopefully in a cool manner too. Ok, flattery behind, coffee is getting colder and thoughts are getting older.

How did you end up at Almost Human?

I was working very hard on updating my animation reel since the old one was heavily outdated. At the same time I searched for some open positions and work possibilities from anywhere and everywhere. Well, fortunately I sent my animation reel to Almost Human even there wasn’t any open positions mentioned at the site. Grimrock naturally appealed to my nerdiness and I decided to give it a try. For my great joy they called me to an interview and hired me. I can say that was quite a happy day.

What is your role at Almost Human?

My main tasks consider character rigging and animation with and under the guidance of Olli. He has the experience and knowledge what kind of animation style and rigging tricks work best in this kind of grid based game. Also the large variety of monster types makes things interesting because there actually isn’t any types. Every monster is it’s own case. This is all new ground for me. When the character starts to be playable, we usually think about some new ideas for it with Petri & Olli. Our coder Petri has better picture of how the character should work mechanically to be balanced difficultywise and so on. Usually this means new approach and new/additional animations for the character.

There was also a brief moment I did some modeling and texturing when I helped the art department with the games item list. Basic stuff but believe me, it was challenging enough for a newbie like me. Thanks to Jyri, Juho and Olli for guiding and encouragement. I would gladly do some more modeling in the future.

Greatest part of working in this kind of a small but experienced team is that you have the best chances to learn new things and you get opportunities to challenge yourself in tasks that could be totally new for you. In a big company it’s a bit different story.

I almost forgot!! First big thing I learned here was the basics of Softimage. I have worked with many 3d softwares but Softimage was maybe the most unknown one for me. Idea of going back to, let’s say 3DSMax, would be a repulsive idea. But in the end, I’m always the coffee maker.

What does your average day at work look like?

Well, as I arrive to the office, my first task is to make some…How would Dale Cooper from Twin Peaks put it:
“I’m going to let you in on a little secret: every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it; don’t wait for it; just let it happen. It could be a new shirt in a men’s store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot, black, coffee.”

Except I have a bad habit to put some milk in mine. Then I’ll maybe read some news and enjoy my delicious cup of coffee for awhile. Then I start to work with the work at hand. Before starting with a new monster for example we usually have little creative discussion about the nature and characteristics of the individual. Then we make a bit deeper analysis with Olli who is THE rigging expert. Like how to rig the character using as few deformers as possible and so on. When the character is rigged I’ll make sure it exports correctly in the game. If everything works ok, I’ll start animating idle animation. When you pose your character into idle pose first its easier to plan how the other, more complex animations could work. This way it’s also easier to maintain the important start and end poses while you move ahead in the animation list. So mainly rigging, animating & coffee making in my workday. Oh! I forgot to mention that Olli got me fooled into the sweaty business, I mean the gym downstairs. We go there to punish ourselves three times a week and of course in the mornings. What could wake you up better than heavyweights (if empty bar counts as heavy?) and two cups of hot coffee.

What are you currently working on?

Well now I’m actually rigging one of the most challenging characters I have come up to here. Lots of holes and obscurity surrounds this little “fellow”. Animating this will be interesting.

What else do you do beside working at AH?

Well as I mentioned earlier I have been doing some weightlifting at the gym. I also bike a little but have been quite lazy with that recently. I blew up my back tire and it’s just overwhelming idea to buy a new one and change it. I’m also part of our Descent Journeys in the Dark party and we try to play it whenever possible. I also like hiking but sadly opportunities to do that are quite rare these days, but we are actually going to make a small hiking trip next month. I really hope it will work out. I’m a bit of a hayseed and I actually hope our office would relocate in the middle of the forest by some beautiful lakeside. Hehe! Maybe too much. Things are so well that the future dreams have no room but to go wild.

Favorite games/books/movies?

This is THE most difficult question in life so I won’t take the responsibility if this gets ugly. I have heard that if you can answer to this question perfectly, you know the meaning of life. Fortunately favorite band question is missing. I’ll try… Games: Lucas Arts adventures, Baldur’s Gate 1 & 2, Fallout 2, Diablo 1-3, AvP 2, Tomb Raider 1-3, Resident Evil 1,2 & 4. Books: Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, Jeff Long’s The Descent (haven’t read the sequel “Deeper” yet). Movies: Sh{t…I’ll quit. This is impossible question for me. Not a chance. Sorry.

I guess no meaning of life for me. Well I think life would get boring with a meaning so good for me =D.

Why is AH the best place to work at?

Awesome dudes to work with, animating coolest monsters, never ending challenges, instructive environment, getting childish ideas into actual use, you are not lone with your nerdiness, gym & sauna, lunch, short work trip.

Hope you didn’t lose all hope for written language while reading this. If you didn’t, feel free to throw me a question or two.

 

Alright, this has been a long time coming… I’ve worked at AH for about a year now and haven’t written anything to the blog! Naturally I should introduce myself before I start blabbing about other things so the guys threw me some interview type questions and I went on to answer them.

Please introduce yourself!

Hello everyone! My name is Jyri Ullakko and I’m an artist here at Almost Human. I’ve previously worked on games like Trine 2, Shattered Horizon, and on some mobile games back in the day when I was at Fathammer. I’ve also spent a number of years working at Fake graphics creating graphics for advertisements.
Continue reading »

 

If you’re just dying to know who are the geniuses behind a masterpiece of such grandeur as Legend of Grimrock, this post is for you! Almost Human Ltd. is a Finnish indie game studio founded in the beginning of the year 2011 by four foolhardy game developers with loads of games industry experience but close to zero knowledge of entrepreneurship. Our office is in Matinkylä, Espoo, in the bottom floor of an apartment building. It’s a nice and quiet (and super cheap!) location and the previous tenant of this office apparently was involved in some sort of indoor agricultural project and if you want to commute to work via horseback it can be arranged since we are situated right next to a horse stable.

In the beginning, we kicked things off by doing work-for-hire style jobs for other Finnish game companies but now we think we are ready to tread the waters by ourselves. Or actually that’s been going on for the last few weeks already and, despite getting our feet seriously wet, the deeper waters seem mighty inviting still! That is not to say that we won’t do some odd jobs on the side occasionally but our primary focus is definitely on our own games from now on. But we’ll have to wait and see if this thing takes off. If you want to help us out on our quest, just tell your friends of the game or post on a forum that you go to or bake a cake with the name of the game on the frosting or something. Anyways, now we need to venture onwards to discover the secrets of the individual developers behind Legend of Grimrock! Continue reading »

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