As the mist rolled across the mountains deep within the Austrian Alps, a group of game developers from across all disciplines were deep in thought. The task ahead of them seemed simple, but there’s always a catch. How could they get across a river, using all the items given to them (two planks of wood, three beer crates, and rope) whilst also beating the times of their fellow teammates? Sure, the river itself was a roped-off area next to a car park, but this was the Hansie Olympia, and team Snick Chicks (named after the candy they pulled out of a bucket to determine teams, in this case, a Snickers) were determined to win.
This was just one of a number of activities we enjoyed during our first ever Hansiefest. A three-day gathering of the entire Blankhans team to meet in person, socialize and relax. Work was off the agenda. As a remote team, we were amazed at just how quickly we all bonded. Blankhans is a remote-only company, so we had members of our team joining us from all over the world. For those of us, like myself, for whom it was our first day, we found immediate commonality. For the rest of the team, daily check-in meetings had already created a sense of community, respect, and fun.
While, as a company, we use Slack for work-based communication, we also use Discord for a lot of our video conversations. The rooms for which stay open and people regularly hang out. These rooms are typically full during work hours with artists and designers streaming their work and sharing ideas and feedback.
All of this made Hansiefest a success. After the Hansie Olympia, (which this unathletic community manager was pleased to find was not only inclusive but low impact) we were free to hang out in the cabins we were all staying in. We had a common area where, of course, a Nintendo Switch was immediately set up. Mario Kart competitions, Magic the Gathering, and impromptu jam sessions with instruments people had bought along with them broke out. Good times were in the air, and in many conversations, the same subject kept coming up; “it’s really amazing how well we all get on, isn’t it?”
As most of us who have been around the work world for a while know, that’s not a given. It’s a very special mix we’ve found for ourselves at Blankhans. We’ve managed to find a group of people passionate about the world of Ultracore, our upcoming sandbox survival title, but also a team of founders just as passionate about running a sustainable, healthy company for all its employees. This was reflected in the speeches they gave on the final night, where they reflected on the journeys they had been through together and how thankful they were to find themselves here with the team they had assembled.
We are a group of diverse people from many different backgrounds, and here under the Austrian Alps, we cheered, laughed, and shouted “Hansssiiiiieeee!” together. We can’t wait to share what we’re working on with you, but until then, please think about how you could get across a river made of ropes using only two planks, a rope, and some beer crates.
See you under the shield…