It has been sad to see a lot of beauty turn ugly on the Facebook bandwagon. I'm still hoping we could return to the golden era of online experiences instead of cheap viral jokes.

Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

I'm Simo Santavirta. 29 years old. 

Originate from Pori, but located in Helsinki, Finland. 

I'm a craftsman of digital era. I've designed and coded stuff in digital environments since 1998. My passion is to create realtime graphics (my gallery). I'm the dude behind APEXvj (a project that explode nuts) and a demo scene hobbyist. I've earned my living mostly on digital advertising industry.

What do you do for inspiration?

I don't seek for inspiration. For example by watching movies, playing games or gazing sort films. I do consume those but just for entertainment. I create because I enjoy it. Inspirations comes free as side products while having fun. My creative process is same as child have. By experimenting find new interesting things and while doing so learning more skills and that way get more doors to open. 

Ideas pop out all the time. It's frustrating if I don't have skills to bring them into light. That's why I constantly try to polish my skills.

Please list 3 of your favourite sites.

http://www.pouet.net/ the most complete collection of demo scene legacy.

This one is awesome at the moment http://zenpencils.com/ This one dude draw comics about smart peoples words. Awesome indie stuff.

This site keeps me updated for all sort of weird ideas  http://spacecollective.org/recent/ 

I check http://www.vimeo.com/ regularly. Perfect design for brilliant concept and obviously outstanding content.

Hups.. listed four.

What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

Achieving the level of skills I have. Within a month it'll be even greater achievement. What can be more in context of profession? Seeking for endorsement of others is an fruitless path to oblivion. 

How many hours do you work each week?

Depends if I have a personal project going on. Which is the case a bit too often if you ask my wife. When I have a personal project on lathe I work 8 hours at day job and continue to 'work' on personal project about 4-8 hours at home.  Can't stop until it's done. But personal projects are so much fun that I wouldn't call them work. Obviously I get a bit burn out at the end of that sort of period :)


I also experiment with code almost every day or at least every week. I've done this for 10 years. I think it can be called education and relaxation at the same time.

I've been working extreme hours at work a lot. I remember one project where I worked for three weeks in a row and had breaks only for sleeping 6 hours or eating. Working long hours makes no sense at all. It was young mans stupidity. 

Seen this picture on web where 'Your comfort zone' and 'Where the magic happens' is separated? I think this is rather false idea.  Magic happens only in comfort zone. It's just matter of how fertile ones comfort zone has evolved. Evolving comfort zone takes time. Years of time.

But there's a side effect. I love to work in my comfort zone so bad that again end up working extreme hours. So guess I'm still stupid young man.

How do you relax or unwind?

1. I play frisbee golf on a warm summer day with friends and drink beer. 

2. Trek to forest, swim in a lake and spend the night there in my hammock. 

If there are any pivotal experiences/decisions you could point to that helped shape your career, what would they be?

I started as graphics designer, but realized that with code I could explore more interesting visual horizons. That field has thought me that all good comes slow and I'm probably going to be at my best at very old age. It's wise to gain skills slowly then do sort-sighted stunts.

What software could you not live without?

I do my AS3 coding with FDT5. It's a lovely soft.

In terms of software, is there anything new you have been playing with lately or that has impressed you?

I've been experimenting with AGAL (Adobe Graphics Assembly Language) a lot. 

It looks like this:

sub vt4, vc5, vt1

dp3 vt5, vt4.xyz, vt4.xyz

It's a whole new world for me. Behind these hieroglyphs is a world of galactic possibilities. Trust me I've seen a glimpse of it.

Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?

I follow people instead of companies. But like everybody else I admire North Kingdom. They have great creative developers as well e.g @oosmoxiecode

Also the gang behind Away3D is awesome. Their work is seen in huge amount of sites featured here in FWA. They are really nice dudes in real life too.

What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?

A homepage made for my sisters boyfriend. It was a site full of gif animations I found on web. Cool stuff like flames and pentagrams. That dude payed me 50 Finnish marks (8 euros) and adjusted my moped. So professional from day one :)

The web is getting out of the web. Do you find that thinking in digital solutions alone hinders you? Do you feel the urge to solve the problem using all mediums necessary?

I would love to do more touch screens and space designs. I don't feel the urge to poke in every direction. All that contains pixels and has enough power to move them in real time is for me.

In general I have followed the rule that master one thing first and evolve from there. I don't see point on knowing a bit about everything and master nothing.

Looking 10 years in to the future, how far can websites go?

It might be that in ten years we'll see the trend of screen fragmentation increasing. A 'website' will turn into a service that does its thing in million different gadgets. It'll work differently depending on nature of gadget. In clothes, refrigerator, car, glasses will have their own UI for consuming data from Internet. The technology that can answer to this challenge will be strong. This is one thing.

Another more delightful trend could be the rise of indie in web. We'll see more sites that have pro quality content generated by just one or few people. They will be able to monetize their services and focus just on their thing. Those sites will be about some specific content. People will appreciate quality content more instead of just ability to scream their opinions and report current location.

It has been sad to see a lot beauty turn ugly in Facebook bandwagon. I'm still hoping we could return to golden era of online experiences instead of cheap viral jokes. At least it would entertain me more.

Things will get extremely interesting when quantum processors emerges. 

Of all the websites you/your company have produced, which one are you most proud of?

I'm proud of UPM Forest Life (2007) we did when I was working at Valve. A project where I was privileged to work as developer. We somehow managed to bring the atmosphere of Finnish forestry to web.

What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?

I must say that APEXvj mobile was quite a challenge. There was so much new things I needed to learn to pull that off. A lot of the technology it contains I learned from scratch. All of it was done on my free time while NOT compromising my role as a fresh father. This meant for example learning to sleep a lot less and code in sort phases. Which is against all good norms when dealing with coding and learning. And I had to accept the frustrating fact that project would take months more time this way. 

It's online http://www.apexvj.com/mobile/ 

There is perhaps a shift in web use these days. We are seeing a decline in the purely experiential sites in flash with huge production efforts, to a relationship with clients bases on tools and services, that many times have simple interfaces. How do you see that trend developing? Will Flash suffer? 


It makes sense to create something people know how to use. The trend now is to create services for people. In best case they become users. The need for inspire people is still there though. 

This weird tech buzz word bandwagon has been riding wild for years now and a lot of bad decisions are made based on that. Real people don't give a rats ass if it's build with html or pascal as long as it turns their pictures into cool retro. A lot of metrics still talks for Flash and AIR. It works on most people machines and we can do a lot of things with it. 

The era of wild experimental UI's won't ever come back again. But wild experimental content will get stronger in forms of games, interactive stories and services.

How do you keep up with the latest capabilities of Flash or do you rely on other members of you team to do this?

I follow developer dudes at Twitter and follow the Flash Player prerelease email list.

What would be your ultimate vehicle to travel in?

Space elevator. Sit in cosy chair while drinking mature Islay whisky. Listening to Bonobo - Walk In The Sky and see how landscape fractal turns into a blue planet. 

How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?

It's OK to spent months on a minor detail to fully understand it. When one internalize a detail it becomes a rich resource for the rest of his life.

At least spending a lot of time on something even an idiot learns something. This is what happened in my case.

What country excites you the most in terms of innovation?

Sweden. They kick our butts in every field except ice hockey.

It has been a privilege, thanks very much

Thank you Rob and thank YOU for reading. 




Spiral Out

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