Passion & Mastery of North Kingdom

North Kingdom
6 min readNov 5, 2020

When North Kingdom first started seventeen years ago, the ambition was to be a personal development platform. We believed that if we focus on the individual passions of some of the best talents in the world, we would have an incredible journey ahead of us. That was true back then and is still as accurate today. We call it finding the individual’s “Passion & Mastery.”
Looking back, we have delivered projects we’re incredibly proud of and gained knowledge and experience doing so. We’ve also met some fantastic people along the way.
This year we have talents at North Kingdom that have been with us from the very early days — they celebrate fifteen-year together with the North Kingdom team this year.
Mathias Lindgren, 3D artist, and Klas Kroon, developer, have helped shape North Kingdom for the better, and now they’re sharing their memories and insights about North Kingdom and the industry as a whole.

Mathias Lindgren, 3D artist at North Kingdom

Portrait of Mathias Lindgren, created by Christian Lindberg.

This year marks fifteen years since I joined the North Kingdom team! Back then, I had just spent a year in Milano, working on an animated film. I returned to Skellefteå (a town in the far North of Sweden, and where North Kingdom was founded in 2003), thinking I would do a quick pit-stop and then move again for another studio abroad. In Skellefteå, I knew Daniel Wallström, a 3D designer at North Kingdom at the time, and he told me that he might need my help for a project. It turned out to be the Vodafone Journey project, a follow-up to the Vodafone Future Vision project that won many awards in 2004. I joined for the project but stayed for the amazing people and creative mindset!

A lot has happened in our industry in the last fifteen years. What has been the most exciting development?

The thing that always excites me is when new technologies are used to tell stories in new ways or in ways you haven’t experienced before. VR is such a thing that just opened up a whole new way of thinking about storytelling, and it’s exhilarating to imagine what the future is going to be like as it becomes more accessible. I love to learn new software, and right now, I’m learning how to use Unreal Engine. It’s vital for me to continuously keep developing my skills and finding something new in every project to understand or improve my existing skills. I have successfully been doing that at North Kingdom since I started. A central part of the North Kingdom culture focuses on encouraging curiosity and experimentation.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

I’m a big consumer of books, story-driven video games, tv-shows, and movies. Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni are a great source of inspiration to me as they’re using The Mandalorian as their creative sandbox to push new technologies and seem to have a collaborative approach to how they produce the show. Overall, I think that if you regularly take in other people’s creativity, you will get a pretty good underlying sense of what makes something work or not.
Internally, I think my co-worker and great developer Einar Öbergs work for our client Music:Eyes work has been genuinely inspiring lately.

North Kingdom aims to be among the most creative and innovative companies in the world — what do you believe is the key to get there?

I think it’s vital to inspire creativity within the company by staying with the inclusive way of working instead of producing “other people’s ideas.” People do their best work when they feel like they contribute to something greater than themselves.
The people that make North Kingdom into what the company is today have been my second family for a long time now and are a big part of who I am today. I’m lucky to be a part of it, and I hope we keep it up for another fifteen years!

Finally, if North Kingdom was a song and a character, what would it sound and look like?

I’ve made this illustration of what North Kingdom’s character would look like, and it would sound like Song 2 by Blur.

Illustration by Mathias Lindgren

Klas Kroon, Developer at North Kingdom

3D portrait of Klas Kroon, created by Robert Lindström.

Fifteen years ago, the founders of North Kingdom, Robert Lindström, and Roger Stighäll reached out and asked if I wanted to go back to working as a flash-developer again. We had worked together previously on Paregos in Skellefteå a couple of years earlier. When they asked me to join North Kingdom, it was winter; it was wet and cold outside. I was working as a carpenter, so it seemed like the right timing for a change in my career, as I kept doing flash experiments and small games in my spare time to keep learning since that was a passion of mine. It’s essential for me that I have space and time to learn new things that I’m interested in, which is also a central part of North Kingdoms’ company culture. On a daily basis, it means I can have some fun at work and still evolve in my role. I get to work with great teams of talented people.
Since I started, I think my all-time favorite memory was when we launched “Build with Chrome,” and you could follow the world’s reactions on Twitter. People appreciated it, which was great to see.

During these years, a lot has happened in the industry — what has been the most exciting development?

The “death” of Flash was probably the most significant change for me, and it was a bit exciting to sort of “start over.”
After Flash, I’ve mainly been focusing on real-time graphics. At first, I worked a lot with WebGL and eventually game engines like Unity and Unreal Engine. I’m excited about all the possibilities that Unreal Engine offers and what I can learn. It feels like I could learn it for five years and still only be scratching the surface.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

I draw inspiration from pretty much anywhere; nature, tv and movies, games, and more.
I also follow many 3D artists on Instagram and a bunch of interesting developers and artists on Twitter. Here are some of my favorites:
Beeple Crap, Ash Thorp, Roger Kilimanjaro, Frederic Duquette, Travis Ragsdale, Plsur, Andreas Wannerstedt, Javier Torres, Dennis Gustafsson, Keijiro Takahashi, Raven Kwok, Inigo Quilez, Mr Doob and Robert Hodgin.

From North Kingdom, I think our designer Kenny Lindström’s move to learn 3D over the last couple of years, is inspiring.

North Kingdom aims to be one of the most creative and innovative companies in the world — what do you believe is the key to getting there?

To reach real innovation, It’s crucial that a company “gambles” a classic risk and reward situation. To be innovative, it’s not enough to have ideas and thoughts, but you also need to follow through, which is much more difficult. The world needs more doers and fewer talkers, and that will always be the difference, I think.

Finally, if North Kingdom was a song and a character, what would it sound and look like?

Headhunter by Front 242



North Kingdom

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