IGDA Finland Turku Hub January Gathering with RETRO GAMES - Aftermath!

The January gathering in Saaristobaari was all about retro games, and invited speakers were Antti Koski from Retromagia and Miikka Mannerlehto and Eero Pihkala from the Academic Nintendo Club in Turun Yliopisto.

Retrogames extravaganza

Antti has started two retrogames shops in Hämeenlinna, and later joined Poromagia and expanded his business to Turku. The hobby of collecting older games has become popular in Finland during the recent years. Antti started by selling his own collection and later games and consoles he hunted down through fairs and other contacts. Some stuff he has even found in the garbage.

Antti explains this trend with the fact that people who played these games as kids are now getting older and can afford to start collecting games for nostalgic reasons. It is a bit insane, Antti says: Posters can be sold for over a thousand Euros in some cases. People even ask for Super Mario bed sheets.

Games that are unopened are of course the most valuable. If there is some game that is in demand, they will go looking for it. Currently their stock is quite full. Often they even have to through stuff away. For example, it could be difficult to sell Arcade game machines, because of the space that they would require. But perhaps the next step is to open an Arcade hall?

So what is a retro game? Antti draws the limit at PS2, or games and consoles that are no longer in production. No one is looking for a retro Xbox 360 (yet).

Nintendo nostalgia

The rest of the evening it was possible to try Nintendo games supplied by the Academic Nintento Club in Turun Yliopisto. This club was described as a “hörhöseura” (flake club) by Miikka and Eero. But anyone is welcome to come and try games every second Wednesday, and sometimes at special game events. Once a month all the Nintendo stuff is brought out and can be tried and played.


Brace Yourself for Polar Bear Pitching

IGDA Finland Oulu Hub will be hosting a Polar Bear Pitching Pre-Party on February 14th at the Ilona Night Club.

The 4th annual Polar Bear Pitching event will take place in Oulu on February 15th and will attract hundreds of participants from around the world. Unlike in all other pitching competitions, Polar Bear Pitching doesn’t have a time limit. Entrepreneurs make their pitches while standing waist deep in an ice cold water on a stage carved in the frozen Baltic Sea and finalists require a special mix of focus and endurance.

The party follows a day of networking and keynote speeches at an Oulu Game Industry Meetup that will showcase the vibrant local gaming community of Oulu and Finland, as well as, connections from all over the world.

The sign-up links are coming soon, but check these links for more information: 

Oulu Game Industry Meet-up:

Polar Bear Pitching Pre-Party with IGDA Finland Oulu Hub:

Get 15% Off White Nights Prague

IGDA FInland members get 15% off White Nights. WNConf is headed to Prague for the first time and is expected attract a unique blend of industry professionals and developers from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, Poland, Germany and more. Attendees will include representatives from Big Fish Games, CD Projekt RED, GREE, gumi, Rovio, King, Kongregate, Game Insight, Appodeal, Unity, Amazon, VK.com, Microsoft, Google, Pixonic, G5 Games and Vungle.

The Developer Exhibition is a great place for studios to showcase their games in order to meet feedback from leading publishers, industry gurus and fellow colleagues.  Best of the best will receive a trophy and receive prizes at the Indie Game Cup Awards Ceremony. We are accepting applications for the Developer Exhibition (https://goo.gl/forms/d7rLUPmEZoVQ2wIJ3) and for the Indie Game Cup until Friday, January 20, 2017. A list of nominations can be found on our website.

Use the promo code IGDA-Finland to get your 15% discount when registering here (http://wnconf.com/#registration).


Helsinki October Gathering with Wargaming.net - The Aftermath!

As the autumn grows colder, more and more people retreat indoors. Last Tuesday, well over 600 people were offered refuge from the chilling October winds by IGDA Helsinki chapter together with Wargaming. The international company, headquartered in Nicosia, Cyprus, is responsible for many successes, including World of Tanks.

The guests were treated to food and open bar during the fun and relaxed party phase of the evening, but over 200 people showed up already for the information-packed seminar. The IGDA Finland pioneer Jay Ranki, currently the Development Director at the Wargaming Nicosia HQ, gave a short recap of what the company has been up to over the years and introduced the speakers.

The audience was in for two presentations: Milos Jerabek, Development director for World of Tanks, talked about project management. Wargaming’s Global Head of Marketing, Juuso Myllyrinne shed light on how to tap into the surrounding culture for great marketing gains.

Read more about the seminar below, and see you in November!

“What is a lead and what they should really be doing”

After the traditional demo effects and tech hiccups, Mr. Jerabek took the stage. His presentation was mainly directed at team leaders, but offered interesting insight to anyone looking into becoming a team lead themselves one day.

His core messages was that bad management drives people away and damages your company’s reputation, harming future recruitment prospects. Hiring is expensive, so you shouldn’t waste it!

What is the best way to keep your team together, motivated and productive? According to Mr. Jerabek, the team lead should be an expert in their field, but more importantly, enable the team to do their best work. This includes knowing the team on a more personal level, finding out why they may be unproductive or unhappy and then helping them solve these problems.

Ideally, the lead should make themselves unnecessary in the everyday management, let the team have ownership of their work and avoid micromanaging. The manager should be further ahead of the team, clearing a path to the future, instead of putting out small fires.

However, it is just as important to decisively call the shots, especially when only bad choices are available. Mr. Jerabek stressed that making the choice you can live with is always the way to go. Not doing anything is the worst you can do.

Mr. Jerabek also gave more direct tips for managers:

  1. Hire people who are more accomplished than you so you can improve.

  2. Aim for a team that complements each other’s weaknesses and has many exceptional strengths, rather than a team where everyone is moderately good at everything, but not outstanding at anything. All superstars necessarily have some weaknesses due to concentrating heavily on their strengths.

  3. Communication must go both ways. Listening and being approachable is crucial. Dictating and not explaining your reasonings will eventually lead to loss of motivation and employees leaving. And the best way to know someone’s about to leave is when they stop caring and arguing.

  4. Always aim to improve!

Mr. Jerabek also reminded the audience that although teams need to build around experienced seniors, you should also bet on the future. Finland has great schools and amazing juniors, so empower them and bring them along to create great future professionals!

Milos Jerabek’s reading list as provided. Links discovered by the reporter, so while they are probably right you may wish to confirm with Mr. Jerabek about the last two:

twitter: Milabr87
facebook: milos.jerabek54
linkedin: milosjerabek


Marketing at the speed of culture

Juuso Myllyrinne’s presentation was loud, fast-paced and highly amusing, but also very informative. At the first glance it seems that today’s marketing is driven by “robots and machines”, it’s based on ever-refining algorithms, big data, metrics and other assorted buzzwords. But is there space for creativity?

When asked “how many of you in this room have clicked on a banner ad in the past week”, zero hands were raised. Zero. Currently, the customers are being bombarded by thousands of ads daily, wherever they go. And people are extremely good at filtering them out, as this very unscientific poll shows.

Mr. Myllyrinne’s first example was the recent Norwegian Airlines’ ad campaign for discount flights to Los Angeles. (For those living under a rock at the time, the ads read “Brad is single”, and were published in newspapers and online merely days after Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s divorce.)

It was a prime example of a relatively low cost campaign that gained traction because it turned into what Mr. Myllyrinne called “social currency”: people shared it voluntarily on their social media. They found it funny and hoped that other people would also see them as cool and funny when they shared the ad. And it worked: millions of views and shares, and more importantly, attention, all for free.

This was Mr. Myllyrinne’s main point: tapping into the culture and reacting quickly into events larger than you. In the best case, the ripples will spread and cause another reaction: if you keep feeding this loop, visibility can be multiplied.

This gives your company a competitive edge over others. The traditional kind of performance advertising, the kind where you pay money for exposure and results is all fine and good, but someone larger will always be willing and able to buy your audience.

To avoid that, Mr. Myllyrinne introduced three difficulty levels of being relevant:

  1. Know your customers: demographics, what do they like, their lifestyle?

  2. Have empathy, care about what your customers care about.

  3. Join the big conversation. Have values, a point of view, make your voice heard.

The second example was on a larger scale: the case of The_OMFGTR. In short, Canadian EDM star Deadmau5 (hugely popular in Japan, btw), turned his Ferrari into the Purrari, a bright blue sportscar with Nyancats on the sides, custom logos and floormats and all. Ferrari sent him a cease-and-desist letter.

Nissan stole the moment from Ferrari by tweeting a picture of their GT-R sportscar wrapped in a similar Nyancat design. Deadmau5 loved it, and as the story gained more and more audience, Nissan eventually actually shipped the custom GT-R to Canada. They made Ferrari look like grumpy old conservatives while making a huge impression on their core audience by empathising with their disappointment and providing a solution. Well played, Nissan.

Mr. Myllyrinne also reminded the audience, using a terrifying example, that if a company stays out of the public focus and concentrates on only traditional media, they might end up being dragged out in the open anyway, and not on their own terms. So best beat them to the punch!

Simply put, keep your eyes and ears open to the world, react quickly (or the moment will pass), best use fast and relatively cheap channels like social media. Not everything will necessarily become a viral hit, but the low cost keeps it worth the effort. And as an answer to an audience question, the optimal way to go about it is create interest and have people talk about it, then capitalise on it with traditional advertising. Seems solid!


Wrap up

Mr. Ranki wrapped up the seminar by reminding the audience of Wargaming’s publishing side as well and encouraged mingling, networking and making contact: “Everyone in the room should know that there's a friendly face at Wargaming!”

Wargaming has quite substantial experience in different markets and their focus points around the world, and Mr. Ranki encouraged the devs in the audience to approach them about publishing. Currently, Finns form the third largest demographic at Wargaming, and they want to bring a part of Finnish game development spirit to the company. Co-operation, communication and openness. Not a bad thing to be exporting!

There's still time to get a Russian visa

The White Nights Moscow conference will take place on October 11-12, 2016 and IGDA Finland members get 15% off tickets. 

The conference program will feature over 40 sessions across three tracks. CD Projekt RED, King, Playrix, Nevosoft, Facebook, Unity, VK.com, Google, Amazon, Game Insight, Rambler, RJ Games, G2A.com, Unreal Engine, Pixonic, Creative Mobile, 101XP and other leading companies will be attending the conference.

There will also be three exclusive closed-sessions run by Facebook, iOS and Google representatives. Please note: pre-registration required. For more info visit our website. (http://wnconf.com/en) 

The Developer Exhibition will once again be held as a part of the White Nights, where over 80 talented teams will showcase their best games in order to find partners, receive feedback from industry experts and make valuable business contacts.  Best of the best will receive a trophy at the Indie Game Cup Awards Ceremony. At the time of posting there are only two spots left, so act fast. 

There will be three networking events run as a part of the conference: pre-party at the Radio-City restaurant to be held on the day preceding the event, the main party at the luxurious Buddha-Bar at the end of the first day, and the Sparkling Intermission with Champagne by Applovin on the first day of the conference.

Use the promo code IGDAFinland15 to receive a special 15% discount when registering here (http://wnconf.com/en/#registration).

Wargaming Reveals Lineup of Speakers for 4C: Kyiv

Wargaming has announced the initial list of keynote speakers who will be converging on Kyiv in two weeks to create, craft, communicate and collaborate at the 4C conference. This international networking event, organized and held by Wargaming, kicks off September 23 and runs for two days, covering a wide array of topics ranging from technology and game design to data analysis and marketing.

Over 50 prominent experts and leaders from Europe and the U.S.A. will take the stage to share road-tested insights. Featured among speakers are Chet Faliszek, a writer who has worked on Left 4 Dead and other games from Valve, Chris Taylor, general manager and creative director at Wargaming Seattle, Sólfar Studios co-founder and creative director Reynir Hardarson, 2K Games creative director Eric Simonich and Electronic Arts (Russia) general manager Tony Watkins.

“I really think we have put together a very strong and unique program for 4C: Kyiv. Never before have we had quite this caliber of a line-up in any games industry event in the region,” said Jay Ranki, Development Director at Wargaming Development HQ and Head of the 4C:Kyiv Program Committee. “4C's focus is on the future of our industry; there is a strong theme around VR, AR and eSports in the program. We have Chet Faliszek from Valve, Reynir Hardarson, the creator of Eve Online, Josh Naylor from Unity, and many others talking about VR from their perspective. The interactive workshops run by Indigo are something you usually don't have access to unless you are part of some expensive executive training program in a big company. Make sure you take advantage of this opportunity to attend them!”

The conference will feature four sections:

  • People & Production (for managers and leaders in general)
  • Technology & Design (Art, Development, Design, UX, and more)
  • Business & Data (everything you need to know about the business component of product operations)
  • Future & Disruption (the future of video games and new horizons)

If you are a looking to forge a career in video games or are already doing it, 4C: Kyiv will bring you real life examples on how to succeed in the industry, plus advice on how to navigate the roadblocks, build and manage successful teams, and take on opportunities that modern technology provides. The conference also provides an exceptional opportunity to connect and network with internationally reputed industry experts, who all share a passion for video games.

Head to 4C’s website to catch up on the full list of experts who’ll take to the stage at the event. Stay tuned for speakers who have yet to be revealed, and a special surprise that Wargaming has prepared for all attendees.

This event is organized in partnership with iForum—the biggest IT conference in the CIS.

About 4C: Kyiv

4C: Kyiv 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.

4C’s motto is “Create. Craft. Communicate. Collaborate.” “Create” and “Craft” means we’re looking for people who, at their core, are passionate about building unforgettable experiences. This is tied to together with “Communicate”, because we know that projects live and breathe on being able to articulate ideas and guide others in realizing a vision together. When you “Collaborate”, pooling best practices, we can transform an idea into something that stands the test of time and influences the market for years to come.

Official website: http://conf4c.com/

About Wargaming

Wargaming is an award-winning online game developer and publisher and one of the leaders in the free-to-play MMO market. Founded as a privately held company in 1998, Wargaming has shipped more than 15 titles. Currently, Wargaming is focused on its team-based MMO war series dedicated to the mid-20th century warfare that will include the armored World of Tanks, the flight combat World of Warplanes, and the naval World of Warships. The three intertwined titles will form a common gaming universe integrated within the portal www.wargaming.net.

As part of its multiplatform line-up, the company has introduced World of Tanks on Xbox and World of Tanks Blitz on mobile and tablet. Launched in 2014 and 2015, World of Tanks on Xbox introduced epic tank-on-tank battles to console gamers and offers the first cross-platform gaming experience between Xbox 360 and Xbox One. In 2015, Wargaming announced World of Tanks for Sony’s PlayStation®4, continuing its console campaign. The mobile MMO game World of Tanks Blitz has opened up Wargaming’s trademark team-based military IP to smartphone and tablet users worldwide.

Official website: http://www.wargaming.com


Jay Ranki on Giving Back to the Game Dev Community

Jay Ranki is a seasoned gaming veteran and one of IGDA Finland’s founding fathers. He is currently the Development Director at Wargaming HQ in Cyprus and Head of the 4C Conference Program Committee.  We at IGDA Finland reached out to him to talk about things old and new, as well as, the upcoming 4C conference in Kyiv. http://conf4c.com/ 

Hi Jay, thanks for making the time. First things first. You were there at beginning of IGDA Finland. Could you tell us about the “Big Bang Moment” that ended up creating this organization which is now 1200 members strong?

Well, actually IGDA Finland got started in 2003. Back then I was just an attendee. :) I did not take over the reins as the main coordinator until in 2004. The original idea came from a good friend of mine, Lasse Seppänen, currently the CEO of PlayRaven. He got few key figures of the Finnish game industry together with the goal to create a true community for our industry. They started getting game devs to gather into a pub once a month in spring 2003. In fall 2003, they started collaboration with IGDA and the name IGDA Finland was coined. Without Lasse, Wili (Miettinen), Sami (Vanhatalo), Mika (Tammenkoski) , Aki (Järvilehto) and  Jouni (Mannonen) and others who kickedstarted the whole thing there would be no IGDA Finland. So we all owe them a huge debt of gratitude. There is no doubt in my mind, that without IGDA Finland, the Finnish Games Industry would not be where it is today. IGDA Finland is our not-so-secret weapon. I am always amazed that no one has managed to replicate it - so far. One of my big hopes for 4C: Kyiv actually is that someone(s) in the Kyiv game dev scene would get fired up to do exactly that. That’s why I wanted to have you guys speak there.

Was there any particular turning point where things began to take off for the organization?

I think there has been many. But three of them really stand out from the rest: the founding, building the first team and formalizing the chapter. The founding we already talked about. 

When Lasse passed on the torch to me, my vision was that this thing was too precious for me to carry all the responsibility alone. It would not scale. So I started building a system of volunteers and coordinators, to build a team that would take IGDA Finland forwards. That allowed us to scale the operations to a new level that no one man could have done alone.

When it came time for me to give the rains to Sonja (Ängeslevä née Kangas), I stepped back to an advisory role. Myself and few other advisors drove the formalization talks with IGDA in the US. After lot of hard work, we became first IGDA chapter to be a fully independent legal entity - rekisteröity yhdistys in Finnish - and that again allowed us to scale our activities to the next level. Formalization also made sure IGDA Finland would have lasting legacy, secured by a democratic election process and much easier access to funding.

Any special memories or funny stories?

I still remember the first time we hit 350 visitors for an event. It was crazy, the line at the door was running all the way to the outside. People were waiting in the rain to get in! That’s when I knew we had made it. We had created something huge.

Another special moment was back in the very early days. We had the honor of getting Ernest Adams, the original founder of IGDA, to join our young, fledging chapter. He gave a speech to the attendees - probably the first speech ever given in our events - and afterwards gave me plenty of advice on running the chapter and shared stories behind IGDA early days. I will never forget that night.

Third really special memory comes from GDC 2007, where during an IGDA luncheon, I received an MVP award on the behalf of whole IGDA Finland. It came as a complete surprise and I was left quite speechless during my acceptance speech and deeply emotionally touched by the recognition. Lasse Seppänen and one of our early coordinators, Liz Lehtonen were there to celebrate the moment with me.

Do you have any advice for the volunteers running IGDA Finland today?

Remember that running a volunteer organization is not easy. When you promise to do something, everyone around you is counting on you. Make sure you deliver on those promises. That’s a really important thing to take to heart, not just for IGDA work, but for everything you do. You want to be known as the person who keeps his promise and who delivers. That will get you far in life.

Don’t be afraid to talk to people. People in this industry are very friendly and supportive of anyone who wants to get into the industry. If you see a famous developer, say Sami Järvi from Remedy or the lead programmer of your favorite game, it’s ok to go and talk to them. They will welcome that. But also be sure to respect their time and don’t hog them just to yourselves for too long. There are probably lot of other people they also want to talk to or who want to talk to them.

But first and foremost be proud of what you do. You are continuing on legacy of all the volunteers who have worked for IGDA Finland in the 13 years of its existence. You are doing something that really adds value to the whole community. And please, please, please take good care of my baby! :)

You’ve left Finland a few times. Do you have any advice for Finns interested in exploring career options outside of the country?

If in doubt - Go! I would rather regret the bold decisions that didn’t pay off than feel sorry for myself for lacking the courage to try things. You can always come back to Finland. Having more varied experiences, both in your work and in life general, will make you not just a better game developer, it will make you a better person. Plus it’s great fun! :)

You believe in giving back to the community. One of the initiatives you’ve started at Wargaming is the upcoming 4C conference in Kyiv. What do you hope to achieve?

Wargaming wants to give back to the community and that is something that fits very well with my own personal values. So I was honored when they asked me to run the program committee. We have a chance to bring an event like this, with speakers of this caliber to an audience that doesn’t have regular access to GDC’s and other big Western events. That is huge.

Our hope is that 4C will turn into an annual event, organized in different location each year, to bring this kind of opportunity to as many developers as possible. But first we need to make sure this event succeeds, then collect the feedback and see if there really is a demand for this kind of conference.

Do you have ambitions to expand outside of the CIS countries and perhaps host a show in Finland or somewhere close?

That is definitely a possibility. But like I said, right now we are focused on making this first one a huge success and then evaluate based on the feedback. Assuming there is need for 4C type of event, I would love to bring 4C into cities like Minsk and St. Petersburg where have a Wargaming studios (like we do in Kiev). But the challenge with those cities is that both Russia and Belarus requires visas from most western Europeans and North Americans. It will also depend on where we can find the best partners to do this. Wargaming is happy to help, but as 4C gathers momentum over the years, we hope to see bigger and bigger network of partners doing this together. All I know for sure at this point is that we plan stay out of the areas that are already well-served by big events, i.e. countries like Germany, France, UK and the US, etc.

Thanks Jay. We're looking forward to seeing you at the October Gathering. 

4C: Kyiv is a conference for world leading video game experts and specialists who drive change, not simply adjust to it. Under the banner “Create. Craft. Communicate. Collaborate.”, this event assembles like-minded professionals to share their thoughts and knowledge, network with the industry’s key decision makers, gain valuable insight in development and publishing, define trends that will shape the industry for years to come, and get inspired. It will take place Sept 23-24.  

PGC Discount Went Up: -30%

Prices went up but so did our community discount. Get it here: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pocket-gamer-connects-helsinki-2016-tickets-20978722925?discount=PGCH-IGDA30

Notable additions to the program:

...and we've still got the free busses! It's going to be good.

4C Conference in Kyiv: Call for Speakers


The 4C Conference will take place in Kyiv 23th–24th of September and is now calling for speakers. The deadline is 23th of August.

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

4C: Kyiv 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 Kyiv_Call_For_Speakers (PDF) & http://conf4c.com/

PGC Helsinki Discount and Free Busses

Here's a gift to the community: 20% discount on tickets and free busses from Jyväskylä, Kotka, Tampere and Turku to the event!

A word from the organisers:

With PGC Helsinki, we're bringing the very best mobile and VR game developers together and we want you to be part of it. Come along to pitch your game to a panel of experienced members of the industry, meet publishers and representatives from the wider gaming media, hear inspirational words from the finest speakers all over the world, then unwind with everyone at the end of the day at one of our infamous Pocket Gamer Parties.

We can offer a 20% discount code on tickets, or if you apply to be part of the Very Big Indie Pitch then you have the chance of getting into the event for free.

For more information on applying for our VBIP, click here - http://www.pocketgamer.biz/news/63543/very-big-indie-pitch-comes-to-pg-connects-helsinki-2016/

We've also just announced a first ever for PGC Helsinki - The VR Indie Pitch where developers can bring along VR only submissions on PC, Console, and Mobile - http://www.pocketgamer.biz/news/63727/vr-indie-pitch-launches-at-pg-connects-helsinki/

Alternatively, you can enjoy an exclusive IGDA discount by clicking here - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pocket-gamer-connects-helsinki-2016-tickets-20978722925?discount=PGC-IGDA

Details & signup for the free busses: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pocket-gamer-connects-helsinki-2016-free-bus-seat-to-the-conference-tickets-27022487989

Looking forward to seeing you there!

IGDA Finland Early Access: New Website!

Boom! After some careful bit aligning we have a new home and it's better than ever.

We're now moving a lot faster than before as an association and some eggs have been broken while making this omelette: not everything on this site is up and running yet. Some links are dead ends. Some content is missing. Some typos are embarrassing. Social media stuff is not wired up yet etc. Release early and release often!

However here's something new and exciting: we're trying to make it a lot easier and more clear what we're actually doing and why. If we nail this thing right it should be way easier for anyone in the community to just pick up their ideas and do something amazing, wether it's under IGDA brand or not.

Head over to the new collaborate page to see what's what.

Pocket Gamer Connects: Helsinki 2016


2 Days, 8 Tracks, 100+ Speakers, 500 Companies, 1,000 Delegates, Endless Networking: PG Connects Helsinki is just around the corner!

The Mid-Term tickets to PGC Helsinki 2016 are still available and there´s a special 20 % discount to IGDA members. Go grab yours at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pocket-gamer-connects-helsinki-2016-tickets-20978722925?discount=PGC-IGDA

Pocket Gamer Connects is the conference series that reaches the heart of the mobile gaming industry. Curated by the teams responsible for the world’s leading mobile gaming site, it’s the essential event for anyone wanting to meet, hear, and learn from the leading figures from every corner of the mobile games industry.

Over 6,700 people have so far attended Pocket Gamer Connects conferences and have loved the unique access to the biggest names in the sector, the brilliant networking opportunities, and sharply honed content on show.

Who’s Attending?

Speakers and delegates from all the key industry players including:

  • Supercell, King, DeNA, TenCent, Gamevil, KakaoTalk, CJ E&M, Chukong, Disney, Wargaming, Kabam, Frogmind, Nordeus, Creative, Mag Interactive, NTT Docomo, Ubisoft, Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Gameloft, Sega, Capcom, Mag Interactive, G5 Grand Cru, iDreamSky, Unity, Wooga, Fingersoft and many, many more.
  • Hundreds of the hottest indie developers sharing their games in our Very Big Indie Pitch, Indie track, and I ? Indie Showcase zone.
  • Learn from over 100 amazing speakers across dedicated tracks.
  • Networking made easy via a dedicated meeting system.
  • Party and evening fringe events.

Additional information: http://www.pgconnects.com/helsinki/

Ropecon <3 IGDA


Many professionals in the field of gaming have begun their careers through role-playing games. Ropecon wishes to honor that connection with this year's CrossGames programmer track, which explores the common ground between digital and physical role-playing games.

What game mechanics do they share? How about combining physical and digital games? The panelists and lecturers share their development and storytelling tips. The presenters include familiar names such as Karoliina Korppoo, Tuomas Pirinen, Touko Tahkokallio and Guest of Honour, Ross Watson.

The event is a great opportunity to network, find new ideas and tools from the realm of physical games or to simply enjoy yourself! This year we've focused on making the event even more welcoming to families, so you can bring them as well!

Find out more at ropecon.fi

When: 29th to 31st of July
Where: Messukeskus, Helsinki
How much: 35e / 3 days or 25e/15e / day (discounts available to children and elderly)

Come join us! We <3 IGDA!

En kestä Ropecon ilman IGDA Beers (Can’t handle Ropecon without IGDA Beers)

It is the summer holiday season, but if you're missing those good ol' IGDA evenings, we got one for you!

Let’s meet up for developer beers on Friday! Devs old and new, of role-playing games and digital ones. We have so much to discuss. And so much beer to drink.

We've reserved some seats for you at the Terra Nova bar, which is right next to Messukeskus. You do NOT need a Ropecon ticket to enter, so come in for an evening and chat with us over a beer.

The event starts at 20.00 on Friday 29th. No entrance fee.

We hope to see you there!

IGDA Finland ry Annual Meeting

Greetings all members of IGDA Finland association! You are warmly welcome to join the statutory annual meeting that was delayed in May due to issues with our accounting company. The meeting is held on Tuesday, 9th of August, 2016, from 5 PM until 7 PM, at Business Meeting Park (CORNER, Salomonkatu 5 C, 00100 Helsinki). It is also possible to participate virtually via Google Hangouts.

The main purpose of this meeting is to go over our actions and accept our financial accounts for 2015 but it’s also a good moment to discuss the big picture of IGDA Finland with the current board of directors. Light snacks will be served.

Please RSVP by email to teemu.haila@igda.fi by the end of business hours on Friday, 29th of July, 2016.

If you have any questions regarding the event, please contact teemu.haila@igda.fi


  1. Opening the meeting
  2. Selecting the officials for the meeting
  3. Legality and power of decision
  4. Confirming the agenda
  5. Action report
  6. Presenting and confirming the financial accounts and auditors’ reports
  7. Granting the discharge for the board and others that are held accountable
  8. Other emerging issues
  9. Ending the meeting

IGDA Finland is recruiting coordinators

IGDA Finland is entirely run by volunteer staff, which means all of our activities – most importantly gatherings and presentations – are brought to life by the talent and passion of a group of individuals willing to invest their time and effort for the good of the industry. There are no paychecks but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t pay well: you get to meet awesome people, gain industry contacts and valuable experience. (Occasionally there will be fun and games too!) Right now we have a few open positions so if this sounds like something you’re interested in, don’t hesitate to email us!

Lead Coordinator

  • The Lead Coordinator of IGDA Finland Helsinki is an active and motivated leader. You get energy from the success of others. To succeed as a Lead Coordinator, you have already proved your leading skills, either in the industry or in other circumstances. Previous experience working with volunteer teams is a big plus. This role will get guidance from the IGDA Finland Board on a monthly basis.
  • Responsibility: Main responsibility of monthly gatherings in Helsinki including event production and sponsor communication, managing coordinators in Helsinki
  • Needed time: 5h-10h / week
  • Needed xp: team lead 2-5 years, knowledge of industry
  • Contact: Minna Eloranta, minna.eloranta@igda.fi

Event Coordinator

  • IGDA Finland Helsinki events are the biggest continuous game industry events in Finland. We are now searching for an exceptional individual, who can withstand the pressure of organizing events in a timely manner. This person has already experience in organizing multiple events and is self-driven. The Lead Coordinator will support and manage this role.
  • Responsibility: organize gatherings, communicate with sponsors
  • Needed time: 3-5h / week
  • Needed xp: organizing any events 1-2 years in major role
  • Contact: Jori Hellstedt, jori.hellstedt@igda.fi

We also want to thank our outgoing Lead- and Event Coordinators, Minna Eloranta and Jori Hellstedt for their hard work, positive spirit and hands-on input, and wish them all the best for their future adventures.

IGDA Finland Summer Party with Supercell


Who cares if it rains in July, when the biggest, sweetest, awesomest party of the year is coming in August.

That´s right! Our Summer Party with Supercell was such a blast last year, we decided to do it again!

Make sure to join us and bid the summer farewell with friends and fun times.

See you in a few weeks!

IGDA Finland Summer Party with Supercell
Time: 16.08.2016 at 18:00
Place: Maxine, Urho Kekkosen katu 1 A, 6th floor, 00100 Helsinki

Please note that you need to be at least 18 years old to attend.

White Nights St. Petersburg: 10th Edition


Less than a month left until the White Nights!

The conference will celebrate its anniversary on June 28-29, 2016 in St. Petersburg, Russia. The White Nights will open its doors for game developers and publishers for all platforms who are interested in development of a solid project and seek ways for successful launch, operation and distribution of games in different regions. Over 1,300 people are expected.

For the 10th time in a row the conference will gather industry leaders from all over the world! The conference program (http://wnconf.com/en#schedule) will feature over 40 sessions across three tracks. Remedy, Paradox Interactive, King, Goodgame Studios, Rovio, NetEase Games, Ubisoft, G5 Ent., Nevosoft, My.com, Big Fish, Creative Mobile, Game Insight, Wargaming, Pixonic, Lazy Bear Games, Unity, Epic Games, Playrix and other leading companies will be attending the conference. In addition, there will be two exclusive closed-sessions run by Facebook and iOS representatives that require pre-registration. For more info visit the website.

The Developer Exhibition will once again be held as a part of the White Nights, where over 70 talented teams will showcase their best games. At the end of the second day of the conference the Indie Game Cup Awards Ceremony will be held in the Red Hall. Applications are accepted for the Developer Exhibition (http://goo.gl/forms/Bjpn4YzCPb5uRW5g2) and for the Indie Game Cup (http://goo.gl/forms/LYfWl1HKvMLOsuvN2) for a few more days only. A list of nominations can be found on the website.

There will be three networking events (http://wnconf.com/en/parties) run as a part of the conference: pre-party to be held on the day preceding the event, the main party on the pirate boat called the Flying Dutchman - at the end of the first day, and the Sparkling Intermission with Champagne by Applovin on the first day of the conference.

Use the promo code IGDA-Finland to receive a special 15% discount when registering here: (http://wnconf.com/en/#registration).

See you soon in St. Petersburg!

IGDA Finland May Gathering with Yousician: The Aftermath


The last gathering of the spring is behind us! If you couldn’t make it and want to know just how much you missed, or want to relive the fun, read on. The seminar reports can be found below!

Yousician did a tremendous job of- transforming the venue into a massive music party. Demo spots equipped with guitars, ukuleles and keyboards were very popular, some people trying out the instruments for the first time. The app worked incredibly well despite the noise from the crowd and the occasional guitar shredding.

Guitar shredding? Yes! Yousician had come with an arcade cabinet that featured a competitive rock guitar tournament version of their game, solo and in pairs. Although a real electric guitar is definitely more of a challenge than, say, a guitar hero controller, the songs available were simple yet fun enough to let even the casual guitar player enjoy rocking out.

The best players were rewarded with an actual acoustic guitar or a ukulele, depending on their preference. And some lucky participants got the same chance in the random raffle, including yours truly! Woop woop!

Yousician CEO Chris Thür gave an engaging presentation about the company. A question often apparently arises whether Yousician really is a game or rather educational software. According to Mr. Thür, since the app, in fact, fulfills several conditions of a game product – Voluntary participation, feedback system, rules, winning conditions – it is indeed a game. If the side product of the game is that people learn actual real life musical skills, then everyone wins!

And if this wasn’t enough, the Yousician house band stole the stage and blew the roof off the party. With great energy, experience, excellent musicianship and brilliant song choices (Megaman!), they had the audience crazy dancing by the end of their set.

Thanks everyone for making the last gathering of the spring such a blast! See you in August!


IGDA Seminars, May 2016

Professional audio design for video games 101

Ari Pulkkinen from AriTunes kicked off the evening with a presentation about how to achieve the best audio design in video games. He stressed the importance of planning ahead, knowing your game’s tone and mood and communicating well with the audio team.

Keep the audio people in the loop from the beginning – that was Mr. Pulkkinen’s key point. Audio has a massive role in how a game communicates to the audience, and cannot simply be slapped onto an otherwise finished product in a week. His most recent work was Alienation for Housemarque; making the final mix took one and half months, but he worked alongside the team from early on to create music and audio effects.

In Alienation, he went from peppy '80s demoscene/arcade style towards a darker mood with some military, even apocalyptic notes with the idea of an “endless war, but not all hope is lost”. Judging by the before-after demo, letting go of the nostalgia really did enhance the mood and make the music better suited to a high sci-fi setting, but some elements of the first style still remained, consistent with Housemarque ideals.

Mr. Pulkkinen had some great tips for teams about working with audio contractors. Make playlists of music and videos that reflect the desired mood. Devs also need to think of lasting impressions. Music that works well in a trailer won’t necessarily work well in-game. The loop needs to be long enough, and not too intrusive, or it will distract and begin to annoy.

It’s also very important to keep well-organised, clearly named asset lists that are updated at least weekly so that the audio guy has access to them and can work consistently throughout the project, also when something is altered. If this isn’t done, there is going to be a massive explosion of assets at the end of the project when all of the audio is dumped in. Not fun!

At the end, Mr. Pulkkinen said he would love to get the chance to challenge himself as a composer, to make something more emotional, classical in style. Many games leave emotions out of the equation, but he mentioned new games such as Quantum Break and Uncharted 4 as great examples of how to evoke feelings with music.


Role of Audio in F2P

Next up was Ilmari Hakkola talking about the role of audio in F2P, and whether there’s a chance it could be used to increase retention and revenue.

In a delightful in-depth introduction, Mr. Hakkola started from the very basics of his subject, from hearing as a sense and human reactions to different sounds. He explored the history of meaning in music, taking us through Plato’s thoughts of how music shapes societies, the Pythagorean ideas of perfect harmony through mathematical ratios, to Schöpenhauer’s theory of music as a direct manifestation of the metaphysical will. Musical information, stored on the right side of the brain, is very memorable. From ancient times when information was passed on through singing to children’s songs you still remember the lyrics to, it’s a source of incredible remembering power.

The different purposes of game audio

For games, audio can do so many jobs. From an aesthetic point of view, it not only sets the mood but can convey information about the game world, the characters or their emotional state. Even the situation of the game world can be told through music and audio.

The music can be very much in line with the game world, like in Braid, where the art style is very painterly, and the calm acoustic string instrumental music underlines it beautifully. In Fallout 4, the occasionally heard 50’s style music reminds you of happy days gone by, the pre-apocalyptic utopia. It creates a very cool contrast with the broken world of the game.

Audio also boosts immersion, gives shape, size and context to objects and materials, even ones that don’t exist in the current reality. And it certainly serves an indicative purpose, providing feedback about the game state and events to the player.

Branding is also not to be frowned upon. For instance, Angry Birds has very consistent audio throughout the different products, thanks to very comprehensive guidelines. Audio logos and theme songs are also very memorable and can instantly take our minds to certain products just by hearing them.


Going beyond the traditional: audio in F2P

Mr. Hakkola postulated that audio can be used to boost game performance also in F2P games. To date, the vast majority of the effect of audio on customer behaviour has been made in the real world. Shops regularly work on providing pleasing audio experiences to boost sales, and the figures indisputably show that this works. According to Mr. Hakkola, a handful of supermarkets in Helsinki have begun experimenting with separate ambient sound environments for different parts of the shop, with great results.

Since F2P is all about monetization, devs really do need to start considering the chances of using audio as a sales booster. The first thing to look into is audio metrics, same as stores and other features. Do people play with sounds on or muted? Do the music and audio feedback boost purchases in the shop?

Anticipation points, according to Mr. Hakkola, are the points where players make decisions. Do they want to upgrade? Do they want to keep playing the level after failing, buy a booster? Audio can have an effect on this since after all, sounds can awaken primal reactions in us. A great example is Peggle blast, where the use of audio anticipation and actual human ‘audience’ reactions (Ode to joy when finishing a level, or a gasp when you miss) really add to the experience. Using voiceovers is a very good idea in any case since we are so used to human voices they immediately grasp our attention.

A fresh experience through new music

Mr. Hakkola also wanted to examine the way we currently ‘force’ the players to listen to the same music over and over again. It does get rather boring, but composers are expensive, not to mention how time-consuming the process of creating new musical content for games is.

He suggested that since there is more music available in the world than ever before, to the point where the music industry is struggling with visibility, it would be wise for everyone to take advantage of the extremely wide spread of the mobile platform. For a lower fee than exclusive compositions, games would be a great place to introduce music to different audiences, so mutually beneficial deals can certainly be worked out. Since casual games aren’t as immersion-critical, adding music as background playlists would work nicely particularly in that genre.

A radio player functionality would work best, says Mr. Hakkola. It gives the player the choice to select the music while in-game. There can even be customised personalised playlists, for individual players or even countries, since the servers tend to run separately for each country. So if getting huge international stars would be hard to achieve, local stars would be an option.

You can even use new music as an incentive to play further, by indicating in the level maps that playing ahead will unlock new music. In the end, Mr. Hakkola suggested doing A/B testing with different audio scenarios and seeing how it goes.


Photos by David Jakob

IGDA Finland Turku Hub Gathering in May

May 12 was Turku Game day, and IGDA Turku Hub organized a full specced evening program at Sparkup, with talks by several prominent game industry people. Read more about how to make money when everything is free, what Rival Games learned from their game series The Detail, how NordicEdu designs the future of serious games and what Appstar are up to. Read all the way to the end, and get some good advice from IGDA volunteer of the year.


Lovell’s Curve

Nicholas Lovell, an investment banker, author and consultant, held a thought-provoking talk about his theory on ”how to make money when everything is going free”. Lovell claimed that F2P is not actually a business model it is a marketing tool. By offering the product for free first, you reach an audience, but after that you have to “earn your right” to talk to the customer again.

The Curve refers to the amount that a person, a customer, is willing to pay. The idea was inconceivable before the Internet. The web has enabled one-to-one communication, but also increased the amount of products that are given away for free. How do we keep paying our bills when the competition gives away their stuff for free?

We can let people choose how much they spend – this is a marketing opportunity. Some of the audience will pay even if most will not. Lovell’s Curve can be broken down into three steps: 1. Find an audience 2. Earn the right to talk to them again 3. Enable superfans.

His advice is that we as game developers and creators need to keep our customers in “our ecosystem”. You offer the customers the chance to pay what they want (and including some ridiculously over-priced items, tiers or pledges, makes the cheaper ones look like a bargain). Also enabling people to participate in the journey of the game has turned out to be a successful strategy. Lovell mentioned Tim Schafer’s Kickstarter as an example. One-third of the pledgers did not even play the finished game – they backed the project for the creator’s journey.

So, how can you enable the people who love what you do? Let superfans spend money on something they value, let them “level up” as supporters. Lovell also pointed out that people in the digital era spend money on content that gives them status and emotions. The point is not to extract money from people. This is something that stops working after a time, according to Lovell. Delivering human joy is what works.


A Detailed Post-Mortem

Rival Games and Jukka Laakso held a presentation about their third and last episode of The Detail. For those of the readers who do not yet know about Rival Games, they are currently the biggest Turku game company, with 17 employees. They focus on interactive narratives and storytelling. The core game loop focuses on choices, particularly on the gray areas of our moral compass. These choices make the player emotionally attached to the characters in the game. Interestingly it is the smaller choices that really bring the characters alive. The Detail is a game series that is about how people experience stories differently.

The third episode of The Detail – Devil in the Details was recently released on Steam. Laakso gave the audience a post-mortem highlighting first the good, then the bad.

The writers did a good job, the visual style was unique and appealing, audio was successful, coders made things seem as they should. Communication within the team has improved.

The list of bad things was slightly longer, or more detailed. The team expected more money from revenue, and Laakso gave us the advice to plan the budget so that it lasts for the whole game. Because of the lack of money, deadlines and delivery failed. There was too much time between episodes, and sales were bad because of it. The team had to cut the last two episodes, and a lot of the plot was cut short. The core team changed a lot. Design was neglected, and so was gameplay. There was no iteration just execution. The art style was inconsistent because of the change of artists. There were bugs and there was not enough time left for testing. Many of the problems had their origin at management level. But all you can do is learn from it and move on.

Currently Rival Games has a partnership with a comics print, and the budget problems are solved.


Serious forest games

The following presentation was by NordicEdu CEO Tomi Kokkonen. NordicEdu has been making games for five years, and already have an excellent track record of serious games. They currently employ seven people and reside in the Manilla building in Turku.

NordicEdu’s goal is to become the best serious game company in Finland, and globally. They offer expertise to different organizations. They have three types of customers: other companies that want to implement a game idea; unions, federations or public organizations that need partners to develop a game; organizations that commission advertisement games.

People learn best when they are motivated. There are different approaches to serious games, and some projects are more about gamification or gameful design. Kokkonen lists types of serious games: teaching games, simulations, meaningful games and purposeful games. NordicEdu’s current project MobiMetsä is for UPM and the Scouts. It is a game about teaching the sustainable use of the Finnish forest. The players need to, for example, take photos of real trees in the game.

Kokkonen also gave us an introduction on how NordicEdu does their projects. They start with a workshop day and they create a user experience journey. Focus group opinions are crucial in developing good serious games. Making graphics and coding is almost trivial compared to the much more demanding process of getting to know the core audience.

NordicEdu also showed us an interesting way to garner comments from testers: short video blogs by the testers that are sent through Whatsapp. It is hard to get people to write, and when they talk freely they give away much more information.


Tapping into a fashionable audience

Appstar’s current game is focusing on the dress up genre with a more casual (but fashionable) twist. Olesja Parkkali introduced the small start-up that is about to grow. They have gained success with their beta version of World of Fashion and are developing the game further.

According to studies, women and girls spend more money and time on mobile games than men. Still this customer group is underserved. Appstar has been able to engage female players ages 13-20. The game itself is about collecting celebrities and doing global challenges. The players comment and like styles.


The Turku Game Day evening ended with a short presentation by an IGDA volunteer from Helsinki: Jenni. Her most valuable hints were to 1) volunteer 2) get a spot at the door to the gatherings, that way you meet everyone.


Our demo corner got many people interested in testing the new games.

IGDA is all about networking and an inclusive community, and making work as a game developer fun.

Text: Jenny Wiik

Photos: Oskari Tamminen and Toni Heinonen

IGDA Finland ry Spring Meeting

Greetings all members of IGDA Finland association! You are warmly welcome to join the statutory annual meeting. The meeting is held on Tuesday, 31st of May, 2016, from 5 PM until 7 PM, at Femman hall (Tekniskan Salit, Eerikinkatu 2, 00100 Helsinki).

There will be some snacks and soft drinks to enjoy during the meeting. We ask you to RSVP latest on Thursday, 26th of May by emailing niina.pesonen@igda.fi to better estimate the servings amounts.

If you have any questions regarding the event, please contact jyri.partanen@igda.fi


  1. Opening the meeting
  2. Selecting the officials for the meeting
  3. Legality and power of decision
  4. Confirming the agenda
  5. Action report
  6. Presenting and confirming the financial accounts and auditors’ reports
  7. Granting the discharge for the board and others that are held accountable
  8. Other emerging issues
  9. Ending the meeting