Get 10% Off Game Access in Brno

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Are you ready to discover Brno? Game Access '19, the largest annual game development conference in the Czech Republic, will take place from May 24-25, 2019, in the Brno Exhibition Centre. Get ready for talks by well-known game industry professionals from Eidos, Tekla Inc, Isomniac Games, Exit Plan, Ubisoft, Redhill, King, EA, Virtuos, Housemarque, Amanita Design, Seriously, and Geewa. There will also be also dozens of new games, unforgettable networking parties, and two amazing musical performances based on games “Mafia” and “Witcher” (tickets sold separately). All of this and more is waiting for you in the heart of Europe.

IGDA Members get 10% off a conference pass when using promo code: GA19IGDA10

For more information visit the conference website: https://game-access.com

Helsinki Hub: March gathering with Ubisoft RedLynx

Text By Giorgos Riskas and Roope Sorvo

With the winter snow finally starting to melt away, the IGDA Helsinki community came together for the March gathering at Maxine. The March gathering was sponsored by Ubisoft RedLynx, who was celebrating the release of their latest addition to the Trials franchise, Trials Rising. Trials Rising is a physics-based racing platformer with a tongue-in-cheek attitude and over-the-top action. Guests were invited to try out the game in the demo corner and there was a quiz whose winner received a grand prize. When leaving, all of the attendees were treated with a goodie bag.

The gathering was kicked off with a short seminar. Julius Fondem, an Associate Producer at Ubisoft RedLynx, started things off with his presentation Building ‘Trials Rising’ Together with the Community, Julius went through the history of the series, from its browser game roots all the way to the release of Trials Rising, which he describes as a “decided return to the series’ roots.” While the few previous titles had had more fantastical themes that were less grounded in reality, the development team of Trials Rising wanted to focus more on the three pillars at the series’ core: community, competition, and creativity.

Julius Fondem talking about the creation of Trials Rising. Photo by Jesse Eloranta.

Julius Fondem talking about the creation of Trials Rising. Photo by Jesse Eloranta.

Community has always been at the heart of the series. Ubisoft RedLynx has a history of collaborating with the series’ fans, be it through hiring top builders of custom levels, inviting groups of experienced players to the studio for workshops and actively listening to the community’s feedback through a myriad of social media channels. When asked if this kind of collaboration with the community is something any developer could include in their games, Julius’ answered a resounding ‘Yes’. “However, it depends heavily on the type of game being developed,” Julius elaborated. “Each genre and format creates its own type of challenges and limitations.”

The second presentation was hosted by Roland Kindermann, Technical Director, Mobile at Ubisoft RedLynx. His seminar Bringing South Park to the Small Screen delved into the challenges met during development of the mobile collectible card game South Park: Phone Destroyer. This included the process of replicating the world of South Park in a way that that supports the gameplay and works within the limits of a mobile platform, and the processes necessary to produce live content with an incredibly low lead time.

Gathering visitors playing Trials Rising. Photo by Casimir Kuusela.

Gathering visitors playing Trials Rising. Photo by Casimir Kuusela.

See you in April!

Volunteers' help needed for Finnish Game Awards event!

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Etsitään viittä tai kuutta vapaaehtoista, tehtävinä tapahtuman esivalmistelut tapahtumapäivänä (rollupien ym. laittelua, plaseerauskorttien laittelua), osallistujien sisäänkirjaaminen ja ohjaaminen tilassa, palkintojenjaossa avustaminen, rollupien ym. materiaalien purku tilaisuuden päätteeksi ja muut tapahtuman aikana mahdollisesti ilmenevät, vastaavanlaiset juoksevat tehtävät. Oma-aloitteisuus ehdottomasti plussaa.

The Finnish Game Awards tapahtuu torstaina 25.4. Ravintola Bankissa. Vapaaehtoisten olisi mieluusti päästävä paikalle jo n. klo 14. Itse tilaisuus alkaa klo 18, ja päättyy viimeistään klo 01:00. Tyylikäs, siisti pukeutuminen (puku). Vapaaehtoiset ruokitaan, ja heille järjestetään todennäköisesti jälkikäteen myös oma pieni karonkka.

PÄIVITYS 26.3.2019: Vapaaehtoiset tapahtumaan ovat löytyneet, kiitos kaikille mielenkiinnosta!
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Looking for five or six volunteers to help in the preparations of The Finnish Game Awards on the day of the gala, to help set up rollups etc., to check in guests and answer their questions, to assist in the awards ceremony and finally help take down our materials and clear the space once the event is over.

The Finnish Game Awards takes place in Restaurant Bank on Thursday, 25th April. It would be great if the volunteers could arrive already around 14:00. The event itself begins at 18:00 and will finish by 1:00. Dress nicely (suit). Volunteers will be fed during the evening and will most likely have a little thank you get together arranged for them sometime after the gala.

UPDATE 26.3.2019: Volunteers have been found for the event, a huge thank you to everyone for your interest!

Helsinki Hub: 2019 Post Play Party

Text by Giorgos Riskas and Roope Sorvo, photo by Jesse Eloranta

The February IGDA gathering at the Helsinki Hub was a non-commercial Post Play Party devoted to games and experiences created during the 2019 Global Game Jam. Four speakers of different professional backgrounds in the industry, united in their their passion for jamming, informed and amused the audience by sharing their knowledge and their personal stories.

The first to take the stage was Annakaisa Kultima, president of Finnish Game Jam and game studies scholar at Aalto University, shared her insight about game jamming or as she defined it: Improvisation of Game Development. According to Kultima’s seminar, Crazy Stunts and Awesome Numbers, Finland contributed to the global scene by producing 218 games in 26 locations by a total of 884 jammers in 2019. Unlike many other countries, a respectable amount of jammers are already working in the game industry while Finland also maintains one the highest ratios of games made to game jam participants.

Annakaisa Kultama addressing the audience

Annakaisa Kultama addressing the audience

Minna Eloranta, a game artist at Secret Exit, spoke about her Game Jam experience in Haifa, Israel. Expecting more of a culture shock, Eloranta found jamming in Haifa far less different than anticipated. Tools and terminology remain largely same. Of course, that doesn’t mean that there were no differences: politics heavily affect the game development in Israel, preventing creation of larger networks and developer communities with nearby countries. On a lighter note, Israel actually is the first country to start the Global Game Jam due to Sabbat.

Superjammer Samuli Jääskeläinen told about his experiences jamming at a mall in Shenzhen, China. Jääskeläinen is a jamming veteran who for many years now has travelled to different countries to experience the Global Game Jam in a different environment each year. Jamming or not, Jääskeläinen has a goal of making a game every month, a streak currently on its seventh year. He manages this by strict prioritization: by day he works as a software engineer at Varjo Technologies, while at night he’s a superjammer, who keeps game development strictly as a hobby.

Speaking of prolific, the last seminar of the night was held by composer and sound designer Elie Abraham, probably better known among the regular jammers as “That Guy with the ‘I WANT 2 MAKE MUSIC 4 UR GAME’ Sign”. Abraham tries to partake in as many game jams as possible, and usually contributes music to over ten games per jam. During the 2019 Global Game Jam he participated in creation of 30 games! In addition to serial jamming, Abraham has held talks, key notes, and workshops at several other jams.

The Demo Corner showcased the fruits of the 2019 Global Game Jam. The full spectrum of interpretations on the theme ‘What Home Means to You’ was on display: many of the games focused on activities that you do at home:

A Vacuum-Cleaning Game and Meanwhile at Home simulate house cleaning; Dumpling Family was developed by the team of Samuli Jääskeläinen in Shenzhen, China and focuses on cooking; Party Pooper is a point-and-click game about navigating a house party.

Meanwhile other titles used ‘home’ in more abstract ways: Laika’s Super Sober Adventure in Space features the titular cosmonaut dog traversing space, waiting to return home; while in Human Rescue dogs try to find homes for stray humans.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Finnish Game Jam should visit their site: http://www.finnishgamejam.com

See you next month!

Get 20% off GameDev Days in Tallinn

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Creative Mobile and IGDA Estonia invite you to visit Tallinn for the GameDev Days conference on April 11-12.

Founded in 2011, GameDev Days is an annual networking and knowledge sharing event, that attracts technology companies, global platforms, and game developers from the Baltics, Nordics and the rest of Eastern Europe.

Why you should consider attending? 

  • Find new clients or strategic partnerships in the Baltic and Nordic regions. 

  • Talk to platform representatives to find out about upcoming updates.

  • Get inspired by fellow developers, learn about their innovations and technologies and share your experience. 

  • Meet new talent to hire or find your dream job at the GameDev Days Careers fair. 

  • Friendly atmosphere and cozy environment create pleasant experience for networking and obtaining new knowledge.

More than 70% of our audience are returning year after year, bringing friends and colleagues along. 

Companies who have already confirmed their participation include Google, Wargaming, Ubisoft, Glu Mobile, and Remedy. We guarantee a world-class speaker lineup and high quality of content and networking. 

Check out the conference website for a list of confirmed speakers and discounts on lodging and ferries.

Use promo code IGDAFIN when registering for 20% off of all tickets.

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Helsinki Hub: An Epic Evening

Text by Giorgos Riskas and Roope Sorvo, photos by Casimir Kuusela & Epic Games / Dana Cowley

The IGDA gatherings of 2019 started off with a bang with a great event sponsored by Epic Games. The seminar featured a talk by Tim Sweeney, the CEO of Epic Games, at the Aalto School of Business campus in Helsinki, that attracted a capacity audience of 600 attendees.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney. Photo  ©  Epic Games / Dana Cowley

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney. Photo © Epic Games / Dana Cowley

The first part of the seminar revolved around Fortnite, an online multiplayer battle royale game that has enjoyed massive success since its release in 2017,  with an active user base of roughly 200 million players. Sweeney went through the whole history of the title, from its inception as a game jam project to its current status, and shared his insight about what made the title successful.

According to Sweeney, one of the defining factors was changing the monetization model to Free-to-Play without forcing the players into pay-to-win mechanics. A decision that not only changed the fate of the game, but  transformed the fate of the company. The game’s cross-platform availability was also an important reason for the constantly growing user base. However, it came with the cost of a very demanding process of optimization and maintenance, since the updates are always released simultaneously for all seven supported platforms.

Finally, Sweeney talked about the social aspect of the game by sharing some impressive statistics about players’ interactions and preferences. According to the research, the majority of Fortnite players spend time with their real life friends in the game which leads to even higher engagement, asserting the game was more like a social media app than a hardcore gaming title.

For the next topic, Sweeney talked about the launch of the Epic Game Store and explained how the technology that Epic Games offers expands beyond the game industry. Epic Games Store is a new digital distribution platform in the vein of Steam, the creation of which was brought on by a need of more competition in the field. Besides the storefront, the Epic Games platform aims to be an “opposite of a walled garden”. They have an emphasis on cross-platform, cross-service cooperation, sharing technology and assets between developers, with transparency being their key philosophy. A prominent part of this platform revolves around Epic’s Unreal engine, which makes real time graphics for all kinds of industries, ranging from sports cars to architecture in addition to video games.

Sweeney answering questions from the audience. Photo by Casimir Kuusela

Sweeney answering questions from the audience. Photo by Casimir Kuusela

The last part of the seminar was devoted to a Q&A session in which Sweeney answered, as he promised, any questions that were directed to him. In some of the most interesting answers Sweeney shared his insight about blockchain in game development.

“It’s a great tool for tech and research, but a long way from becoming a game development tool,” he said, adding “Due to the propensity of fraud it would be inadvisable to use blockchain in mainstream game development”.

When asked about the future plans for the Epic Games Store, he answered that the emphasis is on quality over quantity and the system of paying Unreal Engine royalties will remain as it is. That is, taking 5% of the game’s revenue in royalties, regardless of the success of the title. “It is the most equal approach and provides a more even playing field for smaller developers,” he said.

Before the seminar reached its conclusion, Sweeney gave a shout out to Epic Games Helsinki, a recent addition to the Epic family. It started as a collaboration with Kamu, a local anti-cheat development company that Epic acquired last year. “While it’s not a huge operation, it will grow steadily over the next few years,” he said.

The gathering was scheduled right after the seminar in the familiar location of Maxine where developers networked and socialize, while playing two games that were in the demo corner.

Demo corner. Photo by Casimir Kuusela

Demo corner. Photo by Casimir Kuusela

Chain Lightning is a fast-paced mobile game developed by Origame Studios using Unity. The three-piece team (coder, artist and a marketer) have been working at the game on-and-off since September, and plan to release it for mobile devices in a few months. A demo version is already available at Google Play.

Oceanhorn 2 is an action RPG game inspired by the classics of the same genre and it has been in development for by Cornfox Bros for the past five years. The game is a good example of what the Unreal engine is capable of when it comes to mobile gaming, since it will be released on iOS. The official release date of the game has yet to be announced.

Celebrating GGJ/FGJ with a Post Play Party

Hey Jammers! IGDA Finland and the Finnish Game Jam are teaming up to host a Post Play Party in the Helsinki Hub Demo Corner on Tuesday, February 12th for all the games that were made during the 2019 Global Game Jam.

Bring your creations, show them off with others, relive the exhausting and spirited fun you had, and encourage people to jam. Please use this form to sign-up. Space may end up being limited so we’ll let teams know if they have a spot by Sunday, February 10th.

The Gathering and Demo Corner start at 19:00.

And speakers — did we mention there’d be speakers?

These awesome folks will start sharing game jam experiences at 19:30:
Annakaisa Kultima, President of FGJ: Crazy Stunts and Awesome Numbers
Minna Eloranta: A GGJ Experience in Israel
Samuli Jääskeläinen: Jamming in China
Elie Abraham: You Never Heard a Jam Story Like This

Please note:

  1. This event is not sponsored and the fee for the cloakroom is 2,50€.

  2. Space is limited for the demo corner and if there are a lot of submissions there may not be space for everyone. Registration will close on Sunday, February 10th and teams will be notified they have a demo spot by Monday February 11th.


The Inaugural Games Helsinki Conference

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Games Helsinki is a one-day mini-conference focusing on console and PC games. It's going to be a small, intimate event with about 100 attendees from the Finnish game dev scene. We'll take over Games Factory for a day of talks, followed by evening of mingling and finishing the night with an afterparty.

For more information see the conference website: https://gameshelsinki.com/

IGDA members get a 10% discount off the ticket price using promocode IGDA when registering. Act fast there were only 25 tickets left at the time of publication.

Get 15% of White Nights in Berlin

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The winter edition of White Nights will take place in Berlin on February 12-13, 2019, with over 1,300 attendees expected. The program is already available on the confernece website.

Act fast to get one of 15 free booths at the Developer Exhibition. Participants from all over the world will present their best projects in order to meet industry professionals, find partners, publishers, meet platforms representatives and collect valuable feedback. Every team participating in the showcase will receive a free mini-booth + one free Premium all-access ticket + a good discount for team members. The application deadline is January 25th.

Developers can also take part in the Big Indie Pitch held by Pocket Gamer on Day 2. The unique speed dating format will give each developer some time with experts, meaning entrants will get real feedback from the event and a chance to win prizes! Find out more info and register on the Pocket Gamer website.

There’s still time to grab a 15% discount off your tickets by using the promo code IGDA-Finland. Feel free to contact the White Nights team at welcome@wnconf.com if you have any questions.

Volunteer with IGDA at GDC 2019

Earn an Expo Plus Pass to the 2019 Game Developers Conference with about 12-15 hours of on-site volunteer work with IGDA HQ.

GDC 2019 runs from Monday-Friday, 18-22 March. Volunteers have a required orientation on Tuesday afternoon, 19 March. If you are accepted into the IGDA @ GDC 2019 volunteer program, you are expected to be on-site from the start of orientation (Tuesday, 19 March) through the end of the conference on the evening of Friday, 22 March, during conference hours. Plan accordingly so you have no conflicts during that time.

Last day to submit your application is 16 January 2019 @ 10PM PST (UTC-8)!

See this page for details: https://www.igda.org/page/gdc2019volunteer

IGDA Members Get 20% Discount for PGC London 2019!

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IGDA Members get 20% Discount for PGC London 2019!

Message from the event organizer:

Connects London, our biggest game conference yet (Mobile, PC, XR, Blockchain)
 
Can you afford to miss our sixth, biggest, best PG Connects London on January 21-22? An all-new agenda showcasing 25 tracks with 180 sessions from 300 speakers will cater for over 2,500 delegates representing more than 900 companies.

We’ll cover every key part of the mobile games industry from Live Ops to Game Design and User Acquisition, from Global Expansion to Hypercasual & Instant Messenger Games, from Esports and Influencer Marketing to Cloud Gaming, AI and more, and even tracks for XR, and Switch developers. We also have the return of PC Connects, a dedicated, fully revised, partner conference focused on the fast-changing digital PC gaming space. Plus a brand new Blockchain Connects sister event, with an agenda to explain this new tech and the opportunities for game companies.

Indie developers will have their own dedicated track and pitch events (mobile and PC) and there’ll be an expo to explore, a matchmaking event, investor-developer connection sessions, workshops, Mentor Lounge, and the ever-popular Global Connects party.

Use code IGDAFIN at https://www.pgconnects.com/london/registration

*** 
• 20% discount on ticket rates.
• Indie Showcase table competition – Exclusive limited selection of free expo tables for both days + 2 indie tickets (package is worth $650) are available, winners selected at random once competition closes December 21 [LINK: http://bit.ly/2L2ByKB]

Helsinki Hub: Xmas with Veikkaus

Text by Giorgos Riskas and Roope Sorvo, photos by Casimir Kuusela

It’s that time of the year again, when developers congregate to bid their farewells to the departing year in good old IGDA fashion. The final Helsinki Gathering of 2018 was sponsored by Veikkaus and in addition to the usual free drinks this event included physical loot boxes and a fun non-traditional Christmas feast where the main ingredient was hot dogs. Their new, pirate-themed game Kultaranta occupied the demo corner, and featured as the common center point for the presentations.

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The seminars were opened by Veikkaus studio head and a game development veteran Henri Lindgren, whose presentation Veikkaus Game Studio in a Nutshell went into detail about their development cycles, team structures and company philosophy. The focal point of the presentation was the shift from slot machines towards the mobile-first game design Veikkaus has been doing for the past year.

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Lindgren’s previous experience in mobile F2P games has proven to be a powerful tool in leading his current studio to success. When asked to share a few hints on how to inspire teams instead of simply managing them, Lindgren used safety, freedom and responsibility as the key to success.

Following Lindgren was Sakari Tiikkaja, lead game artist at Veikkaus. In his presentation, Our Approach to Game Design and Creative Design, he went through the journey of a Veikkaus game, from raw concept to finalized, concrete assets. A key component on this journey is a 5-Step Design process influenced by Tim Brown and Roger Martin and further based on the work of designer Feng Zhu.

Tiikkaja believes that the aforementioned process could definitely be applied to games outside the field of gambling as well. When asked to name the biggest benefit of their workflow, Tiikkaja answered: “It is important to crystallize the concepts and find the boundaries of an IP early on in the development. This way, the developers don’t need to blindly grasp in the darkness.”

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After Tiikkaja the stage was given to lead game artist Senja Heikkinen and senior game artist Henrik Hackenberg, whose presentation Case Study: Kultaranta delved into various trials and tribulations the game had during its development. While primarily a recitation of the art design for Kultaranta, going from early sketches and mood boards to the finished product, the presentation also explored topics such as designing a game simultaneously for three different types of slot machines and working with the ever-changing, yet endlessly strict Finnish gambling laws. However, at least when it comes to the latter, Hackenberg thinks that the situation has improved. “Instead of handing each gambling company an unique monopoly, the Finnish law has recently been unified so that there’s less fear of stepping on one another’s toes”, he says.

Happy holidays and joyous new year. See you in 2019!

IGDA Finland Appoints New Chairperson and Board!

On behalf of IGDA Finland, I am proud to accept the position of Chairperson and delighted to announce the new elected Members of the Board of IGDA Finland - big congrats to Vesa Raudasoja, Oskari Tamminen, Tuomas Roininen and Joni Finne!

A big THANK YOU goes to Juha Vainio, Jussi Loukiainen and Daniel Fischer for incredible work in the Board for past two years!

New adventures await, and we are preparing incredible events across Finland for our beloved community of game developers, cheers!

Yours,

Natasha Trygg

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IGDA Appoints New Chair, Vice-Chair of Board of Directors

English version follows below.

Kansainvälinen pelinkehittäjien järjestö IGDA (International Game Developers Association) on nimittänyt suomalaisen Vesa Raudasojan hallituksensa uudeksi puheenjohtajaksi.

Aiemmin maailman suurimman pelinkehittäjien etujärjestön varapuheenjohtajana toiminut Vesa Raudasoja on pelialan konsultti ja yhteisökehittäjä. Hän on yli vuosikymmenen ajan kehittänyt kansainvälistä yhteistyötä, rakentanut yhteisöjä ja auttanut ihmisiä pelialalla. Hän on ollut mukana kasvattamassa IGDA Finlandia yhdeksi koko kansainvälisen järjestön suurimmista paikallisosastoista, jossa oli yli 1 700 jäsentä ja 12 paikallista keskusta. Hänet palkittiin IGDA:n elämäntyöpalkinnolla vuonna 2015. Hän on myös Finnish Game Jam ry:n hallituksen jäsen ja aktiivi sekä Devs.tv-palvelun perustaja.

Kansainvälisen IGDA:n edellinen puheenjohtaja David Seltzer jatkaa hallituksessa emeritus-puheenjohtajana. Nykyisestä hallituksen jäsenestä, Emily Greeristä, tulee uusi varapuheenjohtaja. Lucien Parsons jatkaa rahastonhoitajana ja Renee Gittins hallituksen sihteerinä.

”Vaikka olemme surullisia Davidin lähdöstä, olemme varmoja, että IGDA:n uusi johtajisto tulee tekemään suuria asioita”, sanoo IGDA:n johtaja Jen MacLean. ”Vesa jatkaa omistautumistaan kansainvälisen peliyhteisön parhaaksi ja Emilyn menestys peliyhtiön perustajana ja toimitusjohtajana ovat tehokas yhdistelmä IGDA:n tavoitteiden edistämisessä. Autamme jatkossakin pelinkehittäjiä kaikkialla maailmassa luomaan onnistuneita työuria.”

International Game Developers Association (IGDA)

International Game Developers Association on maailman suurin voittoa tavoittelematon jäsenorganisaatio, joka palvelee pelejä kehittäviä henkilöitä. Yhdistys on jo 24 vuoden ajan edistänyt työuria ja pyrkinyt parantamaan pelinkehittäjien elämää yhdistämällä jäseniä toisiinsa, edistämällä ammatillista kehitystä ja tukemalla kehittäjäyhteisöön vaikuttavia asioita. IGDA Finland tukee Suomessa toimivia pelinkehittäjiä monin eri tavoin. Yksi näkyvimmistä tavoista on säännöllisesti järjestettävät avoimet kokoontumiset.

English version

The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) has appointed Vesa Raudasoja as new chair of the board of directors, promoting him from the vice-chair position at the world’s largest organization serving individuals who create games. Previous chairman David Seltzer will continue to serve on the board as chair emeritus, with current board member Emily Greer stepping in as new vice-chair while Lucien Parsons continues as treasurer and Renee Gittins as secretary.

Vesa Raudasoja is a game consultant and community developer based in Finland. His career covers more than a decade in international collaborations, community building and grass roots efforts helping people get involved in games. He helped grow IGDA Finland into one of IGDA's flagship chapters with more than 1,700 members and 12 hubs and was awarded with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015. He is also a board member and evangelist with the Finnish Game Jam Association as well as co-founder of Devs.tv.

Emily Greer co-founded Kongregate in 2006 and took over as CEO in February 2014. Greer led the company’s rapid rise as a free-to-play web destination along with its expansion to mobile, PC and console game publishing, as well as the launch of the company’s new PC platform Kartridge. She is also well-known in the game industry for her presentations on the economics and psychology of free-to-play games.

Lucien Parsons is a games business and operations expert with a programming background and an MBA in Innovation Management from The Wharton School. With experience covering four continents, eight years of game development and 18 years of technical project management and production, Parsons has worked on everything from social media games and AAA titles at companies including ZeniMax to projects for the U.S. government and hospitals.

Renee Gittins is a multi-disciplinary leader with expertise in software engineering, creative direction and marketing at companies including X2 Biosystems and Xbox Games before becoming the creative director and CEO of Stumbling Cat. She is an outspoken advocate for diversity in the game industry and supports the growth of developers by organizing game-jams, panels, job fairs and other events as a board member of IGDA Seattle and by actively mentoring game development students at Foundry10.

“Although we are sad to see David go, we are confident the IGDA’s new leadership is going to accomplish great things,” said Jen MacLean, executive director, IGDA. “Vesa’s ongoing dedication to the international gaming community and Emily’s track record as the founder and CEO of a successful gaming company are a potent combination for furthering the IGDA’s goals of helping developers all over the world develop successful careers.”

Helsinki Hub: November Gathering

Text by Giorgos Riskas and Roope Sorvo, photo by Casimir Kuusela

The November IGDA gathering at the Helsinki Hub was a non-commercial celebration. There wasn’t a specific agenda for the evening so developers had time to meet with friends and relax while discussing their plans for the year that is rapidly reaching its conclusion.

With no sponsors or presenters, the most visible banner of the night belonged to the documentary The Name of the Game. The film tells the story of Nex Machina, the collaboration between the legendary arcade game designer Eugene Jarvis, and the Finnish game developer Housemarque. The movie was shot over the course of three years in five different countries, resulting in 200 hours of footage detailing the creation process of the game. “However, it is more about the characters and their journey than a straight up documentary about the game’s development,” emphasized Heikki Kareranta, co-writer and producer of the film. “We wanted to make a good story rather than just a documentary.”

When asked about how much the subject will resonate with general audiences, Kareranta replied, “People in Finland are especially interested in video games on a large scale, but the average Joe has little idea about their creation process. This gives them a sort of a peek behind the curtain.”

The first press screening was arranged earlier in the day prior to the IGDA Gathering.

The Name of the Game premiered on November 23.

In addition to the Hollywood bigwigs, a wig of another kind also graced the event with their presence: IGDA Women In Gaming (WIG) was among the attendees joining the gathering, as they have done many times in the past. Its main goal is to build a support network for women in the industry and the group recently reached the milestone of 1000 members in Finland.

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Two developers presented their games in this month’s demo corner:

Stone is a story driven ‘stoner noir’ game developed by Convict Games. The player assumes the role of a hungover koala detective in a colourful society of anthropomorphic Australian fauna. The game draws inspiration from pieces of media of the same genre such as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Big Lebowski.

The game was in development for about a year and is now available for purchase on Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/agecheck/app/907770/

Chopball is a competitive multiplayer party sports game, currently in development by a studio that is tentatively calling itself Kanto Games. The gameplay combines elements of soccer and pinball while introducing a few interesting twists, such as breakable defenses in front of the goals. The game has been in development for a couple of months and aims for release in late 2019 as the studio’s first title.

See you in December!


23rd of November - Premiere of the movie THE NAME OF THE GAME in theaters across Finland!

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The Name of the Game is a feature-length documentary about the team up between the legendary arcade game designer, Eugene Jarvis, and the Finnish game developer, Housemarque. The end result of the collaboration was the critically acclaimed PS4/PC title Nex Machina. The film gives the audience an unprecedented access to the unpredictable and plain crazy world of making a video game - uncensored.

The film hits theaters on November 23rd, and we urge everybody to go and see the film on the premiere weekend!

Next Gen Leaders at GDC 2019 Applications Open!

The Next Gen Leaders Program focuses on increasing the inclusivity of the game industry by supporting the retention of under-represented minorities who would otherwise be at risk of leaving the industry. The program is book-ended by two consecutive opportunities to attend the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, including a travel stipend, career-focused workshops, individual mentorship, extensive networking opportunities, and post-GDC discussions.

Applications are open to game developers around the world with 2-8 years of professional experience who identify as a member of an under-represented group and demonstrate a passion for game development.

Please help spread the word and apply today for a chance to join our 2019 cohort at GDC! Applications close on 30 November.

Get -10% off or even -15% off! #XmasJKL - The Game Industry Business Seminar 14th of Nov 2018

#XmasJKL 2018

#XmasJKL - The Game Industry Business Seminar 14th of Nov 2018

#XmasJKL – The Game Industry and Business Seminar is the annual game business seminar in Jyväskylä, Central Finland. And it is already 4th time already!

Seminar speakers, networking and business in an open, relaxed event.

Learn, share, co-operate!

Organized by Expa Game Business Co-Operative
- Let’s make awesome game business!

Top lineup of spekeakers again with various topics from industry experts like Global Business, Game Development, Human Resources, Adaptive Music Design, Taking over the world with YouTube etc:

Opening words:
The opening words by Suvi Vuojolainen, Business and Marketing Manager, Business Jyväskylä, City of Jyväskylä

Lineup:
- Mika Rahko, Co-Founder, Futureplay
- Lauri Vuohensilta, Hydraulic Press Channel
- Adam Sporka, Adaptive Music Designer, Kingdom Come Deliverance
- Mirella Keto, Head of Organizational Development, Ubisoft RedLynx
- Jussi Immonen, COO, Nitro Games
- Timo Soininen, CEO, Small Giant Games

The event is K18

Check tickest and more event info at the website:
www.xmasjkl.com

Join to the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/321368438598749/

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IGDA members USE THE CODE get -10% off: IGDAGOESXMAS

Get even -15% with Group Deal sent email for more details: sales@expa.fi

Source:: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/xmasjkl-the-game-industry-seminar-2018-tickets-50903992211

Helsinki Hub: October Gathering with Next Games

Text by Giorgos Riskas and Roope Sorvo, photos by Jesse Eloranta

October is the time of the year when the evenings get darker, leaves fall and the spirit of Halloween rises with undead horrors.

The October gathering was appropriately sponsored by Next Games, celebrating the release of their recent title, The Walking Dead: Our World, an AR title where the player takes on the zombie hordes on the streets of the real world. For the past five years, Next Games has been working hard to elevate the reputation of games using licensed intellectual property (IP), and they are currently working on three new games based on popular entertainment franchises.

Sulka Haro, lead designer of The Walking Dead: Our World, opened the seminar with his presentation “In Search for Location-based Mechanics - The Walking Dead: Our World Design Retrospective.” He went through the game’s creation process from their three core design pillars (“Play everywhere, Support couch play, and Be true to The Walking Dead) to aspects of the game’s core loop and the concept of shared reality. The presentation also delved into a brief history of AR games, listing influences and lessons learned from each spiritual predecessor of Our World.

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The second speaker was Matias Ärje, director of technology at Next Games. His presentation “Earth, My Game Level - How the Planet-Wide Gameplay in The Walking Dead: Our World Came to Be” explained the methodology and language of the impressive mapping technology used in Our World. The presentation went into detail about the process of mapping, use of art, troubleshooting gameplay elements, and offhandedly explained compatibility issues between Google Earth and Google Maps.

The third and final presentation of the night was “How We Gather, Use and Lose Data - On Data Architecture, Selected Results, and Data Retention” by Jörkki Hyvönen and Vesa Palonen, the self-described “Matti & Teppo of the Game Industry”. Both worked with analytics on Our World; with Hyvönen as the Head of Analytics, while Palonen described himself as a ‘happy generalist’. The duo went through how data collection works at Next Games, and how applying analytics to that data affected the creation of Our World, from visibility and prediction to modelling and automation.

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In addition to the presenters, we talked with Susanna Aittokoski, the communications manager at Next Games. According to her, the company’s success in the industry and good reputation on work ethic are thanks to the company’s culture, based on values of Caring, Courage and Curiosity.

“We give our employees the amount of responsibility they ask for themselves,” Aittokoski said. “Nobody is handed more to bite than they can chew.”

These values also extend to their partners, which has allowed a tighter relationship with the licence holders. Currently Next Games is the official, exclusive developer of The Walking Dead games. The close working relationship has enabled Next Games to have their games closely integrated with the series. For example, events of the series are reflected in The Walking Dead: Our World a day after the episode airs.

“Things like that are just plain cool to do,” Aittokoski said with excitement.

Alongside the seminars IGDA Finland presented their new project IGDA Future, an upcoming series of events aimed at kids and young people, created in collaboration with the libraries of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and Digitalents. The aim is to create an equivalent of IGDA gatherings for younger audiences, with less stress on networking and more emphasis on activities.

See you in November!

Announcing IGDA Future

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IGDA Future is like the Scouts of Game Development. It’s free, easy to access and aimed to give the participants tools and aid them in becoming independent, confident and skilled adults. We want to create an environment where it is safe to experiment, find friends and learn without fear of failure. It is our mission to encourage youth during times of strife and reward them for participation and volunteering.

Functioning under the same principles as IGDA, our goal is to take down the walls of obscurity surrounding the Game Industry and to offer people 18 and under an on ramp into the world of game development. Together, with the Helsinki Metropolitan Area Libraries (HelMet) and Digitalents Helsinki, we aim to produce events that will not only spread the knowledge of the games industry, but also empower the younger generation to participate and create their own games.

By choosing to organize events in open, public forums, we ensure easy access for participating. Libraries have long been in the forefront of media education in Finland, hence they provide a perfect venue for IGDA Future. Likewise, Digitalents Helsinki has a lot of know-how on working with youth.

IGDA Future is a pilot project that is the first of its kind in the world. The inaugural event will take place on October 25th at the Tikkurila Library at 17:00.