Wands

CEO Spotlight with Andreas Skoglund

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We’ve talked with our CEO, Andreas Skoglund to hear about his daily life as CEO, dreams and best practices.

Hi Andreas! Welcome and thanks for sitting down with us. Can you tell those unaware who you are and what you do?

Hi there. My name is Andreas Skoglund, I am a 36-year old nerd who lives in Stockholm, Sweden together with my wife and two daughters. At this particular point in time I am the CEO of Cortopia Studios. When I am not doing work, I tend to split my time between consumption of digital entertainment and spending time with my girls at home.

What is Cortopia?

Cortopia is a gaming studio within the VR sphere with ambitious plans to start doing very cool stuff in the near future.

How did you get into this position? What drove you to Cortopia?

It started with a wish to do something different and go to a more intimate setting. Before Cortopia I was working at DICE for 7 years where I very much enjoyed my time and I’m still today very much in love with the company and the people there. But I am a restless soul and came to a point where I felt I knew the reality of working for a big media company a little too well and wanted to focus my time in a creative setting where you can make a lot of impact.
I knew Ricky, the founder of Cortopia, since his time at DICE a couple of years ago. When he asked if I was interested in helping him direct the company as its new CEO, I felt it was a perfect fit for where I were mentally at the time and here I am today with a new set of wonderful colleagues and a whole new fresh industry to conquer.

 

What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

The single most exciting part is to be able to work with passionate and driven people. In a smaller company like Cortopia the success lies within how the people decide to engage in their work. I don’t see myself as a boss with all the answers, my primary role is to make sure everyone knows their purpose, share the vision of where we are going  and feel like they have a personal and professional journey to grow with. How well the company does is directly correlated to how engaged the people within it are.

 

Cortopia secured a rather significant funding at the end of 2017, 21,5m SEK to be exact. How was this experience like and what are the goals with this new influx of capital?

Working in the still very early industry of VR and AR comes with the reality that not many companies are able to fully drive the business on profit. So funding is a common form of securing continued results and innovation. For us, we were lucky to find investors that share our vision for the future and the industry and are willing to partake in our journey for the long run. As for goals, we want to build on the success of our first game Wands and widen our VR portfolio while also venturing into AR. We will do this by recruiting industry leading talent.

 

Nice! You mention Wands, Cortopia’s hero title. Can you give a brief introduction for anyone not aware of what this game is about?

Wands in its core is a competitive, player vs. player game set in the scene of magic duels in the 13th century of London. You take the role of a wielder and load up your wands with magical spells and challenge other players around the world to show who is best by climbing the leaderboards. It is a very beautiful and intense experience that has a big following of dedicated players. What is also very cool is that the game is available on the majority of the major VR platforms out there and everyone can play everyone.

 

Given Wands’ very competitive scene, are there any plans to expand into the eSports market?

I am personally a big fan of eSports and spend a lot of time on Twitch. So yes, we are keeping a close eye on opportunities in this area to see what the future might bring.

 

What about future games? Is this something Cortopia is looking into and if so, will it also be within the VR space?

I believe we both need and will grow by putting our creative hats on and work on some new and different types of games. We have an immense talent pool with itchy fingers. Along side of this we are still very much dedicated to Wands and will keep supporting the game for a long time to come.

 

Where is the AR and VR industry going in the next years and are these two subjects relatable?

I believe both VR and AR will continue to grow at a steep rate as the technology becomes more powerful and available to the general public. VR and AR are by definition two very separate experiences but as we move into the future I am sure that from a gadget-perspective they will merge into the same device and very much replace things like smartphones and TV screens.

 

Where do you see Cortopia in 5 years given your thoughts on AR and VR?

We are breaking new grounds in how entertainment is experienced on these platforms.

 

For anyone wanting to get into the gaming industry, what are your best tips?

Education is always good and will get you a long way, but I came into the industry with no formal education in the area or previous experience in the industry. Both looking at how I landed my first job in games and what I today look at when I hire people, it mostly comes down to a genuine love for games and the will to leave ego at the door and learn on the job. I will take true humble ambition with the mindset of doing what it takes over a proven track record any day of the week.

Ready Wielder One

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Ready Wielder One

Ready Wielder One brings forth in-game tournament, sales, new trailer and much more. Read all about it right here.

 

 

Season 4 Winners

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Announcing the winners of Season 4!

Season 4 is now over and we’re excited to announce the top 10 winners below. Also as announced in our 1.3.7 patch announcement that went live yesterday, we’ve also made some anticipated changes to our ranking system, so that you’ll be able to keep track of your lifetime ranking, as well as the current season ranking.

From many players, down to 10 wielders, 1 winner came out on top.

Hailing from United States, Crystal Commander is the champion of season 4.

Furthermore, our engineers and wizards in our top secret Wands Factory finally finished their work on the exclusive wand Invicta, awarded to all top ten players of season 4.

Season 4 Winners

 

Wands – Patch 1.3.7 Now Live!

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Patch 1.3.7 is now live, and adds several new features and updates, including two new spells; Chilling Clutch and Skull Specter. Along with this we’re introducing an update to the ranking system. We’ve also spent some time on improving Wands for new players. For all the information, continue reading below.

 

New features

  • New rating system
    • We’re introducing a new rating system for our leaderboards where you’ll be able to see your global ranking, as well as your ranking for the current season. This should make things more interesting for seasoned players interested in keeping track of their lifetime ranking, among other things.
  • Banners in Lobby
    • Who doesn’t love banners? Based on your ranking the current season you will see your banner evolve, and evolve they will! We’ve been hard at work designing some very beautiful banners. Enter the beyond and start wielding your wand, defeat your opponents and start seeing how your banner will change.

New spells

  • Chilling Clutch
    • Shoots an icy claw that slows its victim’s mana regeneration by 50% for 10 seconds.

  • Skull Specter
    • Summons an ally that when reaching a tile shoots one projectile at its nearest enemy.

 

Balancing

  • Slightly reduced maximum speed of Devil’s Spit.
  • Updated spell descriptions to be more accurate.
  • Improvement to Dragon’s Breath effect / damage correlation.

Improvements

  • New lobby UI.
  • Updated graphics for spell select table in Workshop.
  • Improved context sensitive graphics in the Workshop to help ease new players into the game.
  • Basement (Shooting Range) can now be directly accessed from the Portal.

Bug fixes

  • Spell is selected correctly even after quick joystick movement after a charged spell release.
  • Fixed issue where Flaming Phoenix would target opponent’s tile rather than opponent.
  • Fixed issue where wand aim and reticle would render on top of fade sphere.
  • Fennec no longer pops outside of the portal.
  • Disc of Antioch now has the correct select sfx.
  • Disc of Antioch no longer deals damage through shields.

Android

Oculus Gear VR

New features

  • In arena control scheme option toggle added

Daydream

New features

  • In arena control scheme option toggle added

Season 4 Announcement

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Announcing the end of Season 4!

The year is 1890.

Under assembly in our top secret Wands Factory, few know of its location, only that it’s somewhere in London. A wand unlike any other. This grand prize will only be awarded to the most skilled and dedicated Wielders across the realm of Wands. Season 4 ends on March 22nd. Will you be one of the few carrying this token of excellence?

Wand design and modelling by lead technical artist Petter Bergman. Petter has throughout his time at Cortopia been responsible for providing top notch visual content for Wands.

 

 

 

Free Weekend on Gear VR and Oculus Rift

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Try Wands for free this weekend!

Not even a day has passed since the launch of Patch 1.3.6 and we can already reveal our next Wands treat! Join the Free Weekend on Gear VR and Oculus Rift today and test out the new dynamic environments, spells and more.

Try Wands on
Gear VR
Oculus Rift

 

 

Patch 1.3.6

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Wands releases Patch 1.3.6

Dynamic environments, in-game events and new spells are only a few of the things included in Patch 1.3.6. Read more about this update Patch 1.3.6

 

 

Survival

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Wands announces new game mode “Survival”

Through the portal and into the Beyond rumbles a new power, a challenge against the most powerful creatures yet to be seen. Enter the Oblitus Grounds whilst waiting for your next opponent and pick up the Crystal Wand if you deem yourself ready for the challenge. The Oblitus Grounds acts as your new warm-up and waiting grounds before facing your next opponent…

Read more about Survival including information on The Hulk & The Arcer below!

Survival

 

 

Programmer Spotlight with Hannes Lidbeck

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We’ve sat down with Tech Lead, Hannes Lidbeck from Cortopia Studios, to get a deeper insight and understanding of what it’s like working in the VR/AR industry! Enjoy this monthly Spotlight which will feature different roles, perspectives, tips & tricks and more!

Hey Hannes! How’s it going?

Oh, hi Marc! To quote the 2014 motion picture ‘The Lego Movie’, everything is awesome.

I think we’d all be very interested to hear how you initially ended up at Cortopia and what you do?
I was hired as a software engineer at a company called Univrses, tasked with building a magic dueling game demo to show off their inside out positional tracking software. After a couple of months it became apparent that me and Petter (lead tech artist) was way ahead with the demo schedule wise, so a decision was made to turn the demo into a full game. Wands was then released under a newly formed company called NUX Studios, that later became Cortopia Studios and here I am. Oh, and I’m currently tech lead.

What drove you to become a programmer?
I’m still not comfortable calling myself a programmer since I basically only do scripting work, but my amazing coworkers at least allow me to proudly say I’m part of a programming team. Education wise I went to Futuregames in Stockholm which is a vocational school for Game Design and 3d Graphics. There were two basic directions for the design class, scripting or level design. I found the latter to be too damn hard, while scripting was super fun. So kind of coincidental I guess, but I have no regrets about my decision.

So tell us, how does a regular day in the life of a tech lead look like? Please start from the very first thing you do in the morning to the last in the evening!

Check email, scroll through discord, re-prioritize work if something critical has shown up at Jira, make sure everyone in the team has a task, review eventual pull requests on git,  daily stand-up and then hopefully some hands on work. As tech lead I also attend a bunch of meetings and help remove impediments for my co-workers. Being situated in Sweden means when my work day ends, most of our partners are just arriving to work, so I usually end my day the same way I start it, by checking my email.

Diving a bit deeper into coding, can you tell us about some of the software you use and why?

We use Unity due to its accessibility and flexibility. Both me and Petter had experience working with it before so it was a natural decision. Ever since Unity added the option to download Visual Studio together with the engine, I’ve been using it as code editor.

What are some of the challenges you face on a day to day basis?

We have a lot of ambition which is great, but it also means we have to twist and turn time sometimes to make our schedule work. Unforeseen events such as disease or other types of absence of team members is always a bummer, since it might lead to a feature being delayed. Support is definitely a huge challenge as well, especially when we receive bug reports that we can’t reproduce. Luckily we get really good support from our Q&A team and our community.

What are you most and also least proud of having put into this world?

If we keep it to game development I think my least proud moment would have to be my first game project at Futuregames. My group made a game where you would take turns shooting endangered animals and watch out for cannibals, not sure how we ended up with that. I am of course most proud of Wands.

Speaking of Wands, how has the whole experience been, bringing a game from ground zero to now being one of the biggest competitive games on VR?

It has been a great experience overall but it hasn’t been problem free. The balance between supporting, porting and developing new content has been rough, especially when I was alone on the programming side. Looking back at my personal journey and what I have achieved though, it has definitely been worth it.

You mention porting Wands to different platforms, what has it been like working with this many partners?

Every partner we’ve worked with so far have been very supportive, which made our work a whole lot easier. The fact that they continue to support us even after the game has launched says a lot about their commitment as well.

Sounds great. What kind of projects or features are you working on right now, anything you can share?

Personally I’m doing the least sexy type of work right now which is maintenance, i.e. fixing bugs, balance work and doing general improvements to systems already in place. Basically filling in the cracks of our foundation to help my co-workers build new awesome features. I’m happy to say we’re finally at a point where we can develop Wands further and not just support it, so prepare yourself for a wondrous spring.

Thanks a lot, Hannes! Do you have any last advice to give for newcomers trying to break into this field?

Be humble, fail fast and learn from it, Google is your best friend.

Patch 1.3.4 & Steam

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Tuesday, December 19th marks a big day for all Wands players! Not only is Wands from today available through Steam for both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, but a major patch update brings forth big features long awaited by its dedicated community. The team at Cortopia Studios have been hard at work to make sure your Christmas holidays are packed with new content and a major update on balance issues and bugs. Enjoy patch 1.3.4 and all the new features it brings!

Wands is now available on Steam!!

Patch 1.3.4 – Survival!

New features
-Survival

Improved features
-Clearer info in the Workshop portal
-Major optimization pass on all levels
-Improved graphics for all HP bars

Game balancing
-Chaos Leap will no longer avoid compromised tiles and it will no longer show the purple trail
-Devil’s Spit now accelerates when airborne to double its original speed
-Reduced Lightning Strike’s charge time from 2 to 1.5 seconds
-Flaming Phoenix
–Reduced mana cost from 45 to 25
–Changed damage range from 16-60 to 10-25
-Dragon’s Breath
–Increased range from 15 to 25 meters
–Changed damage range from 8-22 to 10-20 per second
–Increased flame speed
–Improved hit detection

Bug fixes
-Lightning Strike now damages your opponent
-Fixed visual issue with Dragon’s Breath on Temple of Ophidian
-Fixed issue where Chaos Leap would stop working after trying to cast it without enough mana
-Match will now proceed properly to Lobby if match ends in draw
-The remaining player can now retrieve pickups as intended after two players tried to enter the same tile
-Exploration no longer counts as a match, you won’t take damage and it won’t end after 3.5 minutes
-Fixed issue where game would crash if trying to bring up menu in Lobby on Daydream
-Repaired sound effects for the trains on Ortus Station
-Improved recovery on connection failed in the Workshop

– Cortopia