Turku Hub - report from January gathering with Veikkaus

IGDA Finland Turku Hub Gathering with Veikkaus - January 2018

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We start the year with a super interesting talk from producer Ilkka at Veikkaus Game Studio.

As you may know, Veikkaus is owned by the state and the company has a monopoly on gambling. Profits go to culture and healthcare, and this is part if how gambling is regulated and how the bad sides of addiction are being kept under control. The games are meant to be fun and exciting but safe at the same time.

Producer Ilkka started his career with being a croupier for ten years, but then got the idea to apply for a job in the Ray Game Studio (Ray and the old Veikkaus joined in 2017). When he applied for the position he knew nothing about the studio, and when he got the job he made it his mission to make more people aware of them and how they work.

The Game Studio has about 40 employees. They make their own slot games, but now also mobile games.

What generated the most money in Veikkaus? 1/8 is from the lottery and once a week games. 1/3 comes from sports betting games, where some skill and knowledge is necessary to play. 1/2 comes from so called excitement games, that is slot machines, e-scratch cards, normal card games etc. Half of the revenue comes from the slot machines, and this is the largest part over all.

In the game studio they start by making a game for the slot machine, for one type. Then the game is exported to other machines. Online games are made with partners, other Finnish companies.

When we make our games we start to make the game for slot machine, one type, then they are exported/improted to other machines. Online games made with partners, Finnish other companies.

The studio has 12 programmers, 10 artists, 1 audio artist, so most of the audio is outsourced. There are a few people who specialize on mathematics, and there is one head of research. They make 5-18 games a year, and are probably the most agile part of the company (Veikkaus employs around 2000 people).

They are organized into smaller teams. The team decides what the game should look like. The business department might say something sometimes, but the track records says that the team knows what makes a good slot machine game.

Agile development is a buzzword. If the team members are used to working with scrums or dailys, they can use whatever tools they want. As long as it works. One person is missing: there is no crunch guy. Progress should be made all the time, so NO crunching.

The development process usually starts from a need. The business intelligence says we need to diversify the portfolio for example ”We need a game in January”. The framework for the team comes from here. Sometimes it goes the other way, but it is rare.

The usual development cycle is 6-9 months. They have pretty fast production cycles in general.

Veikkaus differs from normal companies: they already have a monetization plan, and they have users. They can focus on the end user experience. The studio does not need to think about marketing.

After every project there is one month testing, with no development. Two new people test the games to see if something is wrong. If everything is cool it goes to an approval testing.

They publish game packs, not one game at a time. All updates need to be in one pack. During that time they can’t do anything with the game, and focus on other games.

The audience had a lot of questions this time:

Q: What do you search from outsourced studios?

A: Skillwise: mobile and desktop C++, online HTML5, you need to know these.

Some kind of good track record. Can you show us that you are team players and not complete newbies?

Q: Creative side? Graphics audio?

A: It doesn’t matter where you published your games, but having done mobile is good, so you know the technology. Otherwise there are no preferences on what you have done previously.

Q: How do you deal with bugs after release?

A: Since there is money in it… Turn it off so no one can play. If it is a graphical thing we make a fix in the next package. Hot fix if it is serious, its not common, but we can do it. If it something huge that has gone wrong… The player is the most important. If it is anything that endangers the player experience or their money, that is priority.

Q: How hard is to balance entertainment and profit?

A: Good question. We have the math guys. All of our slot games have 90 % return rates. For some people small money is entertaining, some people want just big wins. We are making games for different kinds of gamers. We need to have an idea about who the game is aimed at. Its about balancing the math with game play.

Q: Have you made a game where you loose so much it becomes unpopular?

A: Don’t think so.. I don’t think its about wether you loose or win, it has most to do with how it feels to play. Sometimes the loosing feels like winning. We try to give the player some value though the game.

Q: Do you get feedback?

A: Yes. Always relevant? No. But we do listen to it, there is always some truth in the comments.. But we need to interpret them… Its comment like ”I feel dizzy”, ”I want to win more” etc.

Q: How much regulation is there to restrict development?

A: Poliisihallitus, The national police board, if they say no, we can’t publish. The game can't be too fun or exciting. What is too fun? If there is a new feature that is too new or exciting. Sometimes they give us no motivation. But we do want to make entertaining games…

Q: How much say do you have about what kind of games? What kind of mechanics?

A: The teams have a lot of say. Business intelligence might say that now is a good time for a thing (a poker game for example), the rest is up to the team. The team have a good ownership of the products.

User Research Breakfast Meet-up at Rovio

The first User Research professionals breakfast will happen at Rovio's headquarters at Keilaranta 7, Espoo, on February 9th from 08:30 to 10:00. This will be a great opportunity to meet, talk and exchange ideas! There will be food as well as cold and warm drinks. If you're working in user research we hope to see you! 

If you have any questions e-mail Elise Lemaire at elise (dot) lemaire (at) rovio (dot) com, otherwise just register through Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1976781212576969/

Join the Quo Vadis Conference Volunteer Crew

Are you looking for a job in the gaming industry and want to make contacts to developer studios, related companies? Are you a video game enthusiast and want to get an exclusive behind the scenes look at the industry? Are you interested in event management look behind the curtain of a big B2B and B2C event?

Why don't you join Quo Vadis as a volunteer? Volunteers welcome attendees, assist with registration, provide directions, scan badges, hand out headsets, greet speakers and make sure they are all set for their talk, provide technical support in some cases, and keep the conference clean.

Quo Vadis takes place in Berlin from April 24-25, 2018. The priority volunteer sign-up ends on February 16, 2018 at 23:59 CEST. 

To learn more and sign up visit: http://bit.ly/QuoVadisVolunteers18

 

 

Get 15% off Your Ticket to White Nights Prague

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The White Nights Conference is returning to Prague on February 13-14, 2018. Industry leaders all over the world including representatives from King, Obsidian Entertainment, Supercell, App Annie, GSN Games, Bandai Namco, Raw Fury, Facebook, Nevosoft, Unreal Engine, Guerrilla Games, Appodeal, Pixonic, Wargaming, Playrix,  and more will gather in Czech Republic. Over 1,000 attendees are expected.

The show will feature three lecture tracks with more than 60 speakers and a big Developer Exhibition with numerous talented teams from all over the world presenting their games to game industry gurus. 

The agenda will also include great networking events.

Use promo code IGDA-Finland to receive a 15% discount when registering here: http://wnconf.com/en/tickets.

Volunteer with IGDA at GDC

Earn an Expo Plus Pass to GDC with about 12-15 hours of volunteer work with IGDA HQ. 

GDC 2018 runs from Monday-Friday, 19-23 March. Volunteers have a required orientation on Tuesday afternoon, 20 March. If you are accepted into the IGDA @ GDC 2018 volunteer program, you are expected to be on-site from the start of orientation (Tuesday, 20 March) through the end of the conference on the evening of Friday, 23 March, during conference hours. Plan accordingly so you have no conflicts during that time.

Last day to submit your application is 17 January 2018 @ 10pm PST!

See this page for details: http://www.igda.org/page/gdc2018volunteer

IGDA Foundation Scholarship Programs at GDC 2018 are Open

The IGDA Foundation has announced that applications for its IGDA ScholarsWomen in Games Ambassadors, and Next Gen Leaders programs at GDC 2018 are OPEN!

Applications for all programs close on December 6, 2017, and scholarship recipients will be announced in late January.

For more information about these programs visit the IGDA Foundation:

http://igdafoundation.org/2017/10/gdc-2018-applications-open/

 

Theme Park 2017

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Theme Park 2017 is a digital art rally being held on November 25-26 at the Meduusa studio in Kouvola, organized by a group of people passionate about art. This an international digital art event where professionals in the entertainment industry can meet and share their knowledge with other professionals, hobbyists and students. The workshops have been sold out, but general admission tickets provide access to all the lectures and get involved in discussions, sketching and life drawing sessions and more.

Some of the speakers include:

Sampo Rask / Senior Character Artist at Remedy Entertainment
Tatu Petersen-Jessen / Art Director at Rovio
Eliza Maria Jäppinen / CEO at Visible Realms, the creative force behind Studio Killers
Ville Assinen / Concept Artist at Remedy Entertainment

Visit Eventbrite sign up for this FREE event: 

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/theme-park-a-digital-art-rally-tickets-39084136705

Save the Date! Fall Meeting November 29th

IGDA Finland members are warmly welcome to join the statutory annual fall meeting of IGDA Finland ry. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, 29th of November, 2017, from 6 PM until 7 PM, at Business Meeting Park Forum (Forum Mall, Glass Corner entrance, Mannerheimintie 20 B, 00100 Helsinki, meeting room MARSKI 2).

The main purposes of this meeting are to confirm the plan of action, the budget and the membership fees for the next calendar year, and to appoint new board members to replace the ones retiring. We also urge you to send additional agenda items in advance on topics you want to address in the meeting.

If you have any questions regarding the event, please contact juha.vainio@igda.fi.

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THE AGENDA FOR THE ANNUAL MEETING ON NOVEMBER 29, 2017

  1. Opening the meeting
  2. Appointing a chairman, a secretary, two minutes inspectors and, if necessary, two tellers
  3. Verifying the meeting is legal and decisions made are valid
  4. Confirming meeting agenda
  5. Confirming the plan of action, revenue estimate and budget as well as joining and membership fees for the next calendar year
  6. Appointing new board members to replace retiring members of the board
  7. Addressing other emerging matters
  8. Ending the meeting

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It's the #XmasJKL Time of the Year - Get 15% off!

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#XmasJKL is an annual game industry business event held in Jyväskylä organized by Peliosuuskunta Expa & the IGDA Finland Jyväskylä Hub. This year the event will be held November 17-18 at Musica (M) in Jyväskylä.

IGDA Finland members get a 15% discount when using promocode IGDAFIN when buying tickets through Eventbrite!

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/xmasjkl-the-finnish-game-industry-seminar-2017-tickets-33657191566

For a full list of speakers and additional information, visit the event website: https://www.xmasjkl.com/

 

Get 25% off Athens Game Festival

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The inaugural Athen Games Festival will take place October 28-29, 2017, at the Helexpo Exhibition Center in Marousi, Greece. Greek and foreign game developers, researchers, academics, publishers and journalists will be supporting and promoting games and digital culture. 

AGF participants will find:
 
•    Presentations by influential people from the global game industry
•    Meetings with executives of major international corporations in the field
•    Exhibitors from Greece, Cyprus and other countries
•    Networking events such as Pitch and Match and the Athens Games Festival Party
•    Exciting, competitive challenges to get your game discovered like the Nordic Game Discovery Contest

During the Athens Game Festival, the Game Art Collection (GAC) will take place for the second consecutive year: Digital Game Developers will participate in an exhibition aiming to highlight the talents of Greek and foreign 2D artists and musicians, with "Superheroes of Greece" as a theme!

The Athens Game Festival is organized by the General Secretariat for Media and Communication of the Ministry of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media, with the contribution of the White Nights Conference. 

For more information, visit https://athensgamesfestival.gr and subscribe to our newsletter. 

IGDA Finland members get 25% discount using promo code IGDA25 when registering here: 
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/athens-games-festival17-tickets-36064684442

Last Call for the Free Buses to Pocket Gamer

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The awesome folks at Pocket Gamer have extended the free bus sign ups until this Thursday, September 14th.  Drop everything and sign up for a bus now!

Wait, free buses are cool and all, but I still need to buy a conference pass, right?

Well, yes you do. But they're also offering 30% off tickets when you sign up using promo code: IGDA_FINN17. Or just use follow this link. Can't you just feel the love?

As previously mentioned, this year the event has expanded into VR and PC, so it's three conferences in one. For more info on the conference visit:

See you next week!

Get 15% off Your Ticket to White Nights Moscow

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There is just under a month left before White Nights Moscow, which means it's time to start planning your trip! On October 10-11, 2017 the conference will gather leading game industry professionals in Congress Park at the Radisson Royal Hotel in Moscow. Over 1,300 attendees are expected.

The show will feature three lecture tracks and a big Developer Exhibition with over 100 talented teams from all over the world presenting their games to game industry gurus. Every team participating in the showcase will receive an exclusive, free mini-booth.

For more info on the Developer Exhibition visit: http://wnconf.com/en#exhibition

The conference program will feature presentations by representatives of Obsidian Entertainment, Playrix, BlackStorm Labs, King,  Nevosoft, Playtika, Google, Social Quantum, Appodeal, Pixonic, MyTona, Amazon, Unity, AppsFlyer, Facebook, Wargaming, Epic Games, Game Insight and other leading companies.

There will be a separate block in the program devoted to esports and blockchain in games.

 

Developers will also get a chance to win trophies and great prizes in the Indie Game Cup international tournament. To participate please apply before September 22. Please note that you must to be present at the event if you wish to take part in the contest.

Ticket prices kick off at EUR 150. Use promo code IGDA-Finland to receive a 15% discount when registering here: http://wnconf.com/en#registration.

Attendees requiring Russian visas can learn more information here: http://wnconf.com/#visa

PG Connects: Free Bus and Discounted Conference Tickets

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If you work in the mobile, PC or VR/AR games industry, Pocket Gamer Connects is the place to be this September. Taking place September 19-20 in Wanha Satama, Helsinki, it will deliver talks and panels, an expo area, free meeting system, massive party, indie pitch sessions and loads more. Celebrating its fourth year in Helsinki, PG Connects has become a popular fixture in the industry calendar.

This year the event has expanded into VR and PC, so it's three conferences in one. For more info on the conference visit:

IGDA Finland and Pocket Gamer want everyone to have a chance to take part in this event, so to make everything more accessible and convenient for our friends outside the Helsinki area we are organizing bus rides from hubs all around the country. The buses, provided by Pocket Gamer, are completely free of charge - you just need to register in this form and turn up. The deadline for register for bus is September 11th, so don't wait, sign up now. 

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/free-bus-ride-to-pgc-xrc-pc-connects-helsinki-2017-tickets-37088922967

A bus ticket doesn’t guarantee entry to the event - you’ll need a conference pass for that. As the event is so close, full price tickets recently rose in price. But fear not! The PGC Team wants to see IGDA members there, so they’re offering a 30% discount on this price to all IGDA members. Simply go to this exclusive URL and book your place now:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pocket-gamer-connects-helsinki-2017-tickets-31316271812?discount=IGDA_FINN17

They are also still accepting sign-ups for the Big Indie Pitch, VR Indie Pitch and PC Indie Pitch, so if you have a game project you’d like to showcase to expert judges, get in touch!

Get 20% Off Northern Game Summit

The Northern Game Summit (NGS) is an annual game conference and networking event held in Kajaani, Finland on October 5-6, 2017.

Kajaani is located 550 kilometres north from the capital of Finland, Helsinki. The Northern Game Summit doesn’t brag about its size, but rather on its easy-going and intimate environment where participants really have direct access to all the 500+ attendees. The event has three parts, the Business Mixer (a pre-party on the evening of October 4th), the Bonus Stage Party, and the NGS 2017 itself, which has six different tracks: Design, Production, Art, Audio, Business, and Technology.

The Northern Game Summit has attracted great speakers from all around the world including industry veteran John Romero, voice actor Adam Harrington (famous from Tales from Monkey Island and Wolf Among Us), Chris Evans from Blizzard Entertainment, Patrick Rose a Business and Product Analyst at Bandai Namco, Entertainment Europe, Eevi Korhonen a Game Designer at Remedy Entertainment and Timo Heinäpurola a Senior Engineer at Reforged Studios. A complete list of speakers is available on the conference website here: https://goo.gl/PBm7Td

This year’s panel discussion is about game psychology and how does games and gaming have an influence on the human mind. This will definitely be an interesting conversation and a worthy closure for the NGS 2017.

The Business Mixer is the NGS pre-party and game developers and others can mix’n’match there on October 4th before the conference. The Bonus Stage Party is an official conference party on October 5th that will have great people, Marioke, food, open bar and a small number of exhibitors.

IGDA participants can buy any ticket with 20% discount. Use promocode NGS-IGDA2017 to get it.

The event has been sold out in the previous years, so get your tickets ASAP: https://goo.gl/oFqx7s

Get a 30% Discount to 4C: St. Petersburg

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The 4C conference, co-organized by Wargaming and West Game Development Forum, will welcome speakers from leading companies such as Epic Games, Ubisoft, Supercell, Electronic Arts, Arkane Studios, and many others to foresee the future of the game industry.

The event will take place on September 22–23, at the Park Inn Pribaltiyskaya Hotel, in St. Petersburg, Russia. More than 80 industry professionals from the U.S., Canada, Australia, Europe, and CIS countries will share their expertise in developing, publishing, and marketing games. The roster of speakers will include representatives from Ubisoft (Sergei Titarenko, Development Director), Epic Games (Ben Lewis-Evans, UX Researcher), Arkane Studios (Eric Beyhl, Lead Environment Artist), IO Interactive (Maurizio De Pascale, Technical Director), and other big-name industry players.

4С: St. Petersburg will see, amongst others, a lecture by Glen Gathard of Pinewood Studios, who recorded Foley for the game Total War: Rome II, as well as, movies Guardians of the Galaxy and Edge of Tomorrow, and dialogue for Avengers: Age of Ultron, Skyfall, and Prometheus. Ralph Palmer, who worked as an animator at Disney on An American Tail, Pocahontas, and Tarzan, as well as the 3D versions of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, will speak about character creation.

The disciplines for 4C’s thematic tracks have been announced. The guests of the conference will be able to attend presentations and panels dedicated to 11 areas of game development and publishing:

  • Art
  • Audio
  • Business, data & marketing
  • Foreseeing the future
  • Game design
  • Mobile
  • New media
  • Production & leadership
  • QA
  • Technology
  • UX

Learn more about 4C: St. Petersburg and purchase tickets on the official website: http://www.conf4c.com

IGDA Finland Members qualify for a 30% discount. Use promo code 4CIGDA when buying your tickets. 

 

GameCamps Riga 2017

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GameCamps is inviting developers, artists, sound designers to Riga to participate in a 48-hour hackathon from Sept 29 - Oct 1. Teams will build a working game prototype and pitch it to a distinguished jury of game industry veterans. The best teams will earn the possibility of getting up to 10000 Euros in financing along with business mentoring on how to run an international game company.
Game Developers based in Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Sweden, may be eligible for FREE travel, accommodation, food and feedback. 

The registration is open until 15th September, so sign up now!
Registration: 
https://www.b2match.eu/gamecampsriga2017

Game Camps is an initiative to strengthen cross-border ties between the Baltic Sea countries’ game industries. It’s express goal is to help establish at least 10 cross-border game companies over the next three years, working with no less than 240 aspiring game developers from Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Sweden. Game Camps is co-financed by the EU INTERREG Central Baltic program.

All in all, four Game Camps will be held – one in each participating country – and the grand final is in 2019 in Silicon Valley, California, where the best of the best will pitch to a group of investors and fight to secure funding for their game. The first event took place in Tallinn, Estonia, from April 4 - 6. In total more than 60 participants, nine teams were organized, three winner teams were selected. Future events are planned in Kotka, Finland and Visby, Sweden. 

For more information visit: http://www.gamecamps.eu

 

IGDA members get -20% at Devcom 2017!

Register today with -20% discount and participate at Devcom conference - August 20-24, 2017 in Cologne!

Devcom is a prestigious, five-day umbrella framework for a series of events focused around game development, game publishing, networking and community building.

More information can be found at their website.

PG Connects Returns to Helsinki with PC and VR tracks

PG Connects returns to Finland for its fourth Helsinki conference from September 19-20, 2017. 

This year will feature XR Connects, a dedicated VR/AR/MR sister event with 60 speakers, 4 tracks, an indie pitch competition, and a genuine industry cross-section of companies with which to engage. Additionally, we’re introducing PC Connects, an inaugural foray into the PC gaming scene. Best of all, one ticket allows full access to all conferences. Expect 2 Days with 8 Tracks, 100+ Speakers, 500+ Companies, 1,200 Delegates, and endless networking.

Get Involved

There are lots of ways to get involved with the conference, like entering the Very Big Indie Pitch for Mobile, PC or VR or submitting a speaking session on PC, Mobile or VR/AR. 

Take Advantage of the Special Midsummer Offer

Use promo code “MIDSUMMER” to save 20% on tickets, delegate tickets, which now includes indie tables at reduced rate. 

For more information visit: http://www.pgconnects.com/helsinki

Head to Vienna for the ReVersed Festival

The ReVersed Festival is a free and open gaming event for everyone of all ages, but of particular interest for game developers, enthusiasts, jammers and journalists. 

Organized in part by our friends at IGDA Austria, the event will take place from July 6-9th at the MuseumsQuarters in Vienna, Austria and will feature an indie showcases, a four-day game jam, and plenty of opportunities for networking. 

The event is entirely free for everyone, and is run on the blood, sweat and effort of their volunteer force. That said, they are looking for anyone interested in sponsoring the event. 

For more information visit: http://www.reversed.at

4C: St. Petersburg - Call for Speakers

The 4C Conference is back and this time it’s coming to St. Petersburg on September 22-23, 2017. The organizers are calling for speakers. The deadline is June 20th.

This year’s event, will bring together a great line-up of experts to give over 60 talks, hold panels, and participate in discussions covering a broad range of topics including art, design, technology, managerial and leadership practices, as well as, existing and emerging trends that will shape the industry for years to come. The first 4C conference, 4C: Kyiv 2016, was held in September 2016 and saw a broad lineup of over 50 reputable speakers from 14 countries speak in front of a whopping 800+ aspiring developers, video game enthusiasts, prominent media, and other opinion makers.

4C’s motto is: Create. Craft. Communicate. Collaborate.

4C: SPb is a conference for those who drive change, not just adjust to it. Listed among participants and speakers are world leading video game specialists and experts. Our goal with this event is to create a meeting place for the most innovative and aspiring developers from across the globe. We won’t be talking about the state of the industry today — we’ll be discussing what the industry will be like in 5 or even 10 years.

The event is sponsored by Wargaming, an award-winning online game developer and publisher, and one of the leaders in the free-to-play MMO market. They’re best known for the mega-hit game World of Tanks.

Additional information: 4C Call for Speakers  (PDF) & http://conf4c.com/