Hi, My name is FatShady and I've been a Kotaku AU since approximately 1BS (one year Before Serrels). Those who know me also know that I occasionally play the XBLA game Trials by Finnish game developer and Ubisoft Studio Redlynx. I'm just an Aussie gamer who spends his spare (read: work) time on blogs like this and day dreaming about gaming. I have no industry knowledge and no particular talents, but somehow my story over little more than a year has included writing a number of articles for Kotaku, appearances on ABC's Good Game, which ultimately lead me to realise a dream of mine -- traveling half way round the world to Finland and to meet my favourite game developer.
To commemorate this visit, and to launch Season 2 of Redlynx TV, The guys put together this video. It not only highlights my visit, but also some of the amazing tracks and, also, the introduction of the True Fan award (you'll have to watch to see who won that!)
"A pilgrimage is a journey or search of spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a location of importance." (Thanks Wikipedia)
I refer to this as FatShady's Pilgrimage because that is what it was to me. A 15,000km trip that took more than 28 hours to complete, and that was just getting there!
I've been a regular on the Official Redlynx forums since 2009 and while I initially just wanted to find gamer who were as crazy about Trials as I was, I stuck around because of the community that was built around a loyal fan-base, and regular contributions from the development team. I'm not talking one person employed as a Community Manger (although that guy is nice too!) It seems like the entire development staff were regularly on the forums and getting involved in any number of conversations. It just feels like a great bunch of guys who really care about their fans.
Regulars on Kotaku may recall that I was involved in exposing the Trials HD Riddle seeking assistance from all of you. That proved to be a good move as it helped us get the word out and eventually, with a little coaching from the Redlynx Developers and some truly hard work by the Redlynx Forum members, we were able to reveal the answer to this riddle. Now I am not sure why I put my hand up for this, but I offered to the Redlynx guys that I would produce a video to reveal the answer. I can honestly say I am self taught in this stuff and I had only learnt video editing about six months earlier -- for a Kotaku Comp actually.
Its worth reminding everyone of this -- one of the best comps that we have had on this site! It was this competition that inspired me to learn video editing over a four day period and I'm so glad I did. So, with no experience and literally no idea what I was getting myself into, I made the video featured here revealing the answer to the Riddle.
During the development of this video and as we were getting close to releasing it, The CEO of Redlynx, Tero Virtala contacted me and invited me to Finland to visit their offices in Helsinki and to attend the Official Trials Evolution Launch Party.
You have to remember that while I have spoken to many of these guys on forums, I had only seen a few pictures of a couple of them. I was also not even sure if they spoke English and it wasn't until I arrived at the door of the office that I had even thought of this. I was a long way from home and didn't actually know anyone... and I had just turned up at their work! Thankfully, they all turned out to be a very warm and welcoming bunch and I felt right at home. Part of the relaxed atmosphere had to do with the lack of shoes.
I can't say that I've never walked into a business of any kind and immediately been asked to remove my shoes but it was actually cool. I'm thinking of trying to bring this in at my workplace. I'll try it and let you know how it catches on. It was a really relaxed atmosphere and the offices were exactly what I expected.
If you were ever looking for evidence that the community is at the front of every bodies mind, right at the front enterence way, there is a table dedicated to The Trials Community and awards. There are items here from a wide range of events/occasions from the life of Trials HD, including the awesome custom painted controller that ShiftySamurai painted for the games second birthday.
The next thing that immediately strikes you as odd (but it does seem to fit in once you get to know them) is the wrestling mat. Now this isn't tucked away in a hidden part of the studio, this is located on the side of the main hallway, right in the middle of the office.
Just one word of warning, if you ever enter an office that has a wrestling mat, don't be stupid enough to ask if they actually use it... doesn't end well!
Yep, that's Antti (Creative Director and strongman) showing me how it's done. After thoroughly beating me up, they decided to give me a short tour round the office. It was actually a small office because Redlynx is a small company and as you can see, they were all packed into the offices pretty tight.
The funny thing about this photo was my competition with Ville the whole time I was there. He is amazingly good at supercross and basically unbeatable, however in this photo, I was winning and by a fair amount. You can tell by the look on my face (I'm the dude on the left) that I was happy. So to show off, I decided to bail out to win the race, only to faceplant on the finish line and have Ville win that one too!
So, as a way to say thanks, I decided to bring some good old fashioned Aussie food for the team to try. Aussies will immediately get what all of this food is, but the Finnish team had no idea. Needless to say that the team didn't go hungry and Antti got his wish of eating a Koala.
It was an amazing journey that I will never forget and to make sure, I got myself a pretty cool souvenir, a Trials Evolution flag signed by the entire development team.
Getting to meet these guys was a fantastic feeling. Everyone in the office, from the CEO to Manu (Antti's dog and actual full time employee) were so great to me and just made me feel like part of the team. I'm not sure what impression I left on them or what they thought of this Aussie bloke wandering around their office when they were trying to work, but I will seriously never forget it. I was proud to be part of this community before this. After this experience, I will be a Trials and Redlynx fan for life.
If you are looking for any information on the Trials Evolution Launch party, here is a link to my write up on the Redlynx Forums. The images and video are far from professional quality and I don't remember all that much apart from walking around Helsinki lost at 3am with Maccas in hand, but it was a great night!
My gamertag is 'FatShady Live' so if you ever see me online or on the forums, say hi and I will be more than happy to chat about this with anyone.
I will however conclude with a MASSIVE thanks to the Kotaku Australia readers and in particular Mark. I know you will disagree but without you NONE of this would have been possible. Yeah, I did the work, but it was the Kotaku competition that got me into video editing, our conversation about Trials and your love of the game that inspired me to write the initial article and your ongoing support and assistance just kept me going. It was great to know that I would always find an audience of willing readers here and it's the reason I keep coming back. Thanks to everyone and hope you enjoyed that little sneak peak into the Red Lynx HQ.