Inspiring Women in Tech: Laura Thurlin, Co-founder of LudoCraft Oy
We are excited to present to you another amazing woman in the Technology Industry: Laura Thurlin, Co-Founder of LudoCraft Oy.
I have been working with games since 2004 which puts me into the tech career pool. I got started by joining a game research group at the University of Oulu. The research group later spun off into a company, called LudoCraft in which I am a founding member and lead animation artist. I never really thought about pursuing a career in tech. However, tech had a very strong role in my media art education. For me, it has always been about what tech has to offer to the content creation process.
As a founding member, I work in many areas, including business development and hands-on game development. My role as lead animation artist offers me many ways to strengthen my development skills in the areas of 2D & 3D animation, visual effects and designing VR experiences. In game development I often find myself trying to work around the limitations of a particular technology to maximise the visual aspects of an effect, representation of a character or player experience. Because technology evolves rapidly and LudoCraft offers games as solutions to other industries, I get to learn something new in each project. All of these elements keep work interesting and exciting.
Especially the huge jump in VR technologies within the last years is very exciting. Games are always immersive, whether you play on a mobile device, desktop or console. However, when using VR, the experience transcends to another level. Alongside my work, I am working on my PhD on player experience and these new technologies open unexplored opportunities for a researcher such as myself. The most interesting challenge at the moment for me is how to use biometrical data to enhance and change player experience.
The most important way of finding out new inventions and advancements that concern my area of expertise (creating content for games) is learning about the latest tools I can use. Game content often pushes the boundaries of technical limitations and by playing new games on new devices technical inventions are showcased well. In addition to that, I follow the development of technologies meant for collection of personal data, wearables and consider the possibilities to use those as a user interface or data provider in game environments. In my role as a researcher, I like to design and build prototypes of very experimental ideas combining different technologies.
I would really hope to learn more about using the latest advancements in VR and AR to enhance my experience in virtual worlds. Many of our customer projects include training games for challenging conditions where mistakes in real life are not only costly but dangerous up to a point where human lives are at stake. I believe today’s immersive game experiences could bring safe and — in the long run — extremely cost-effective ways to learn, design, and teach. Moreover, with games it is possible to enjoy mastering different job skills, finding ways to collaborate with co-workers or learning how to work on personal issues.
There is a lot of work to be done in the equality of people working in tech. We need diverse people to apply to tech careers and luckily there is a strong collective supporting this. There needs to be an attitude where more diverse ideas are heard and are given a chance. Diverse ideas attract diverse groups.
It is as simple as that. In addition, I think the idea of “careers in tech” does not necessarily match the reality of it. Technology is a vital part of my work, but my education is from the arts. And even though my education is from the arts, I need to understand the technologies we use to be able to do my work. So, my message is:
the definition of a “job in tech” is very wide. Tech companies benefit from more diverse skills and anyone can learn about technology.