Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A new employer, a retrospective, bigwigs and a silly competition

After eight years at Jadestone Group I took the plunge two months ago and changed job. It was a hard choice to make because it was eight great years with a lot of fun. Here's some of the stuff I did during these eight years:

The Age of Mobile
It all started out with a tech demo of the SIP technology for Nokia packaged as a multiplayer mobile game for Series 60 handsets. A multiplayer mobile game eight years ago, imagine that will ya'! The challenges were as you can imagine quite a few, but the game was well received and resulted in a sequel for the Nokia N-Gage platform.

Some screens from Spirits for N-Gage

Next up was a lot of mobile projects for Boss Media, WilliamHill and Swedish game monopoly Svenska Spel where I did everything from scratch cards to casino games and slot machines.

When I look back I realize that Nokia runs as a red thread through a lot of the stuff we did back then and the Nokia project I'm most proud of has to be the multiplayer pirate adventure game we did for the SNAP Mobile platform that Nokia acquired from SEGA. The game was under development for a long time, but never really got a chance to reach a wide audience since Nokia decided to shift it's focus away from SNAP Mobile.

 High Seize - Sea O' Fortune for Nokia SNAP Mobile

The era of Flash
During the later half of my time at Jadestone the focus was shifted from mobile to web (the mobile department was put into it's own company becoming the now very successful Fabrication Games). My main focus was client development using Flash and Actionscript and we did things like the multiplayer skill platform GamArena and the dice and card platform DiceArena, now available at 20 of Europes largest gaming operators.

To sum things up: I'm damn proud of what I did at Jadestone. I learnt a lot and got a chance to work with some great products and some amazing and talented people. I wish them all the best in the future!

The competition
Now on to the silly competition I mention in the title. My new employer, formerly named SWAD (Swedish Application Development) underwent a brand change just as I started and we are now known as Springworks. As a part of the brand change a lot of company names were chosen and discarded. For three of the more serious names domains were bought just in case one of the names would become the new name of the company. As it turned out none of the names were used and Springworks was picked instead. During a Friday beer a few weeks ago we decided to hold a competition where we split up in three groups, took one domain name each, created a simple web page and put an identical message on each page. The message was:

"We had a really hard time deciding on a new name for our great company. This name and site was one of our ideas.We are quite happy we found our soul as a warm family of skilled engineers and came up with Springworks instead!"

The winner of the competition was the group that got the highest search ranking for the message we put on all three sites. The group I was in got the name BigWigs, and you could look upon this entire post as an attempt to push BigWigs.se higher up the search rankings.


  1. Interesting story :)

    BTW this is unrelated, but you really gotta do some SEO - it's basically impossible to find this blog or anything about you by googling "björn ritzel", and even googling "björn ritzel dweller roguelike" doesn't give any decent results.

    Good thing I somehow remembered the name of the actual blog :)

  2. Ido, you did what 9 out of 10 do when they try to spell my surname, they add an 'e'. It's Ritzl, not Ritzel. I blame my wife's Hungarian dad for that one... it would have been so much easier if there was an 'e' in there :-)

    The good thing is that if you do spell my name right and Google it as "Björn Ritzl" the first 10 pages or so are all linked to me :-)