Get 20% off your ticket for Nordic Game Conference 2018!

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Discount offer on NG18 tickets

Nordic Game offers you a very special 20% discount on conference passes for this year’s event, 23‐25 May, in Malmö, Sweden.

This is how you do it:

Hurry up, go to www.conf.nordicgame.com, push the “Register” button, check the “Organisation discount” box, choose “IGDA” from the drop down menu, and then enter the code “XJ7VnpGDsM” in the “Discount Code” box.

CEO Summit in Cyprus Tickets Still Available

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White Nights Conference organizers are inviting game industry top managers to their CEO Summit in Limassol, Cyprus. The conference aims to create a dialog where leaders can share their experience and concerns in a setting of openness and trust. Topics include work/life balance, growing a global company, taxes & legislation, recruitment & corporate culture.

Attendance is limited to 250 people and is only for game industry executives. Participants need to apply using the following form: http://wnconf.com/cyprus

IGDA Finland members get a 10% discount using promo code: IGDA-Finland

 

Get 10% off your ticket to Game Access

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Game Access is an annual game industry conference that will take place in Brno, Czech Republic on 1-2 June, 2018. The conference is expected to attract more than 1000 game developers to the Brno Exhibition Center (BVV). The event also features an indie showcase that is accepting applications until April 30, 2018, 23:59 CEST

IGDA Finland members get a 10% discounts on standard and premium tickets. 

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

Turku Hub - Report from February Gathering With NAPCON

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”To err is human. To improve is NAPCON” says the slogan. NAPCON brought a whole team of people to their presentation at the IGDA Turku Hub February Gathering.

What is NAPCON? It is a company that is part of Neste, and they make games to teach operators how to operate different complex industrial plants.

It takes years to learn to operate these systems, and previously teaching was done with normal classroom and textbook studies. Newbies got mentoring from senior operators as they learned how to run the operator systems. The idea of NAPCON is that educational games could make this process much more effective, and fun. Speaking of fun: David Hasselhoff promotes the company’s games in a series of commercials.

Learning how to run petrochemical plants and biorefineries is very complicated. It takes a lot of skill to control a plant. The systems are more complex than passenger air planes. It takes years to learn all the dynamics, says NAPCON production manager Tuomo. With the game the operators can learn the basic principles and controls. So far there have not been many good tools to train the operators.

At the same time the simulations need to be innovative. The games have to be accurate representations of the real thing. At the gathering the audience had a chance to see the game in action.

The development team consists of people with different skill sets, but most have a background in chemical engineering. The team wants to make customer oriented educational games. The operators need to learn the right things. That is why the team has close contact to the industrial customers, visiting the plants and so on. Pedagogical skills are of course also important in developing educational games. NAPCON is a tiny unit, and that means they can be flexible like a startup, and make fast changes.

The learning process has also been gamified by company wide operator competitions: the operator world cup. This way the operators can also show off their skills. And like the Hoff says: it is important to stay zen and keep cool in stressful situations. This is certainly tested in the operator world cup.

Q & A with the audience:

Q: Is the UI same as the real refinery?

A: The UI is a simplification, it kind of looks similar but not quite. We wanted to make it more pleasant, beautiful and more illustrative. So you get an idea of what is happening in there. We replicate the information and the numbers, and let them learn step by step

Q: Can anyone play?

A: It starts easy… *Natasha tries the game, and fails miserably after few minutes :D* If you know nothing you might have to read something about processes.

Q: Do you have levels where there are no right answers?

A: We considered it, but situations where you cant do anything are not so educational.

Q: Will the player see what went wrong?

A: There is a ”game over”. When something went wrong, something was not allowed. In most situations there is feedback for how you can do better etc.

Q: You don’t have a game designer in your team, how do actually get your player on board the game? Where is the game designer?

A: I would not say we don’t have game designers. Most of us are multidiscipline people that have connections to game development, but we also use outsourcing. We don’t have graphic designers, that is also outsourced. We are bit by bit expanding knowledge in game design, and we do have some serious hard core gamers in the team. FYI we have an office in Turku.

Q: The best learning comes from fun. How do you make it fun? Who is responsible for making the fun? And the team that won the world cup, did they get more money?

A: We don’t know what the Hungarians got :D Some companies do connect the salary level to the education that operators have.

On the fun side, it’s hard to make educational games fun. We have to take the aspect of the game being closely tied to the real environment, and then adding a layer of gamification around something that is complex.

Q: You said you have done this to biochemical companies, what other fields?

A: Customers in bioindustry. But with the generic games, like distillation games, it doesn’t matter what industry teaches the fundamentals. Then we make tailor made games for specific customers related to their industry. These are not as fun…

Q: The score: what are the criteria for the first level and the process score? Could these be used for cruise ships?

A: Scores are tied to what we want to teach. Yes, why not for cruise ships!

ReVersed Submissions Closing Soon

The Big Indie Fest at ReVersed is an indie developer focus gaming event taking place in Vienna this summer from July 5-8. Game submissions for the event will be closing March 31st.

The Big Indie Fest is open to alpha, beta, and even early published games, so don’t hesitate to sign up even if you just have a demo you’d like to present; as long as it’s playable.

If your game is selected your team will get:

    Access to exclusive meeting system
    Access to all talks & workshops
    One table: 1,2 x 0,80m
    Up to 4 chairs
    In case of VR: 2 – 3m²
    Power strip

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

 

Helsinki Hub: Non-Commerical March

By Giorgos Riskas and Roope Sorvo

The March IGDA Finland gathering at the Helsinki Hub was a non-commercial celebration. It was the first unsponsored Helsinki event in a number of years and opted to focus on other non-profit game initiatives taking place across Finland.

The seminar highlighted the work of industry wide game consortium that has been working together to address the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation. The talks were an introduction and warm up for a bigger GDPR event that will be held at the Supercell office on March 28th. Anyone working for a game development studio interested in joining the upcoming GDPR event, should send an email to gdpr (at) neogames (dot) fi.

Neogames Senior Policy Analyst Jari-Pekka Kaleva, presented six steps to prepare your company for the upcoming changes. He highlighted the practice of implementing “privacy by design”, which will require both big companies and indie developers have to adopt a new mindset when it comes to handling data and how the new rules  affect their revenue. “The fact is that this is a new situation and it is hard predict how exactly games industry will change ”, Kaleva said, “But we definitely have to start implementing the new rules now  and see where that leads on the long term.”

Petri Hyökyranta, CTO of Rovio Games, has recently been busy interpreting how to best implement the GDPR requirements into games. He shared how Rovio is approaching the upcoming changes. Over the course of last few years, Rovio has worked alongside several other Finnish game studios and policy analysts to create an industry wide GDPR task force where game developers can get info they need regarding the upcoming changes, exchange thoughts and seek opinions and views, all in one convenient space. Hyökyranta says that as of now there are no definitive right answers regarding the best plan going forward, but game teams  need to understand what data they are collecting, why it is being collected and how it is being processed. It is clear that the best approach to addressing the GDPR is working in a collaboration with and between  game developers all over Europe and new companies are joining the task force daily. Anyone interested to joining the task force, should contact J-P or Petri to get things started.

Kaisa Salakka, Product Director at Unity, talked about how GDPR will affect monetization in games, using Unity as an example. Like Hyökyranta, Salakka believes that at the moment everything is a bit blurry regarding the legislation, and that it might take a few years for companies to adjust to the changes. The procedure of getting there might have some revenue impact for both indie developers and bigger companies. She also believes that change of regulations in the European Union might be a disadvantage to those in competition with companies outside the EU.

The presentations sparked a lot of conversation and questions in the audience, which featured noticeably more top management participants than usual. The audience and speakers concurred that the regulation will impact student projects and educational institutions will need to adapt their curricula to adapt to the upcoming changes.

The serious tone of seminar was lifted, when Jonne Harja, board member of Finnish Game Jam Association and super jammer Samuli Jääskeläinen gave a lighter presentation about game jams the activities of the Finnish Game Jam (FGJ). The entertaining duo showcased many of the weird jams and stunts the association has organized jamming in a bus, in a remote cabin in the middle of wilderness (Survival Jam), and on back of a bike (JamBike).

Appropriately, the Demo Corner featured games from two events organized by FGJ, the Sami Game Jam in February, and this year’s Global Game Jam, featuring the theme of ‘transmission’. My Turn to Pew is a turn-based SHMUP where the player moves in 1-second bursts, and the world around the ship only moves during that same time. Incoming Transmission is a simple 2D game where the player pilots a ship with an increasing delay between the player inputs and the ship’s response, asking the player to be able to predict and calculate further and further ahead. Wasteland Trader is a post-apocalyptic exploration game where the player trades items with other entities they encounter in order to collect pieces required to repair a radio tower. Exploding Babies is a hectic 4-player battle arena game where the players try to win by detonating the babies of other players using sound waves.

Despite the lack of a sponsor, nearly 300 people turned out for event.

 

Theme Park Organizing Free Art Workshops in May

Theme Park is organizing two wonderful three-day workshops in Kouvola on May 25-27 at the Meduusa studio. The workshops will be lead by Ivan Smirnov and Evgeniya Zherebtsova, two professional teachers from the Smirnovschool, an online digital art school. They both have nearly a decade of experience in creating art for entertainment industry.

Please note that both classes require intermediate knowledge of Photoshop and will be running simultaneously, so it’s impossible to attend both of them.

For more information and to sign-up please visit the Eventbrite page:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/theme-park-may-workshops-tickets-39083196894

Theme Park is a group of people passionate about making art for the entertainment industry, who want to share their knowledge with other professionals, hobbyists and students.

 

 

Reboot Developed Reduced by 10%

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Reboot Develop 2018 is taking place in the historical city of Dubrovnik, Croatia, from 19th to 21st of April. In its fifth year, it solidifies its position as a worldwide game industry event with continued growth. This year's conference promises more than 1500+ attendees from 600+ international companies representing an intriguing mix of big established game development studios as well as 100+ indie studios, countless representatives of investors and publishers as well as most of the key tech companies from the game industry.

IGDA Finland members get 10% off standard tickets using promocode: REBOOTFINLAND2018

Visit the conference website for more information: http://www.rebootdevelop.hr/

Get 20% off Game Dev Days in Tallinn

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Game Dev Days is right around the corner and IGDA Members get 20% off standard tickets using promo code IGDAFIN. Game Dev Days is a great knowledge sharing event where business meets creativity.

Attention Indies! The deadline for submitting your game to the Game Village is March 15th.  Game Village is the conference's indie project showcase and competition where developers can present their latest games and get feedback from experts and conference attendees. The best project will be selected during the show and be awarded by a special prize and automatically qualify for Casual Connect's Indie Prize competition. 

The Game Village package includes: 2 Standard conference passes, demo space to showcase their game, and access to the workshops.

Check out the conference website for more information: https://gamedev.ee

Helsinki Hub: Bravo, February, Bravo

By Giorgos Riskas and Roope Sorvo

IGDA’s first gathering in Helsinki in 2018 IGDA started with a blast.

London-based BRAVOCOMPANY, stepped in at the last moment to sponsor the February event and showed cased their tactical team combat game Forces of Freedom. The company have coin the term “Coffee Break eSports”, which they use to describe a competitive real time team multiplayer games that can be played in 4 minute sessions.

In his seminar “Forces of Freedom in Early Access: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly!”, Florian Stronk, the co-founder and CEO of BRAVOCOMPANY, openly discusses the development process of Forces of Freedom, the company's first game.

In his presentation he didn’t shy away from the things that went wrong in development; sharing anecdotes that serve as learning moments and advice for the future.

Much emphasis was given to the importance of the community. When BRAVOCOMPANY first started, the team was short on resources and experience but full of ambition and passion for what they were doing. Now they would like to let other people benefit from the experience they gave gained throughout their development process.

Heavy emphasis was also placed on communication between the developer and the players. According to Stronk, the most important aspect of this communication is honesty, admitting one’s mistakes and taking whatever action is required to handle issues at hand.

Forces of Freedom was also available for play in the traditional IGDA demo corner. The team-based third person shooter pits two 5-person teams against each other over multiple game modes, with matches clocking in around four minutes. The full version is planned to feature multiple classes from scout to sniper, with maps spanning around the globe and covering over 50 years of history.

Despite the game drawing from real life military history, the game’s purpose is to bring people together across national borders. The matchmaking system used puts people from several different countries in the same team.

The game has already attracted more than 10 million players in Google Play’s Early Access. Based on organic traction and reassuring metrics, the company is focused on evolving Forces of Freedom into an entertainment product to be enjoyed over the years.

 

IGDA Board of Directors Election - 2018

On behalf of IGDA Finland, we wish to remind you that IGDA org has open election for the IGDA Board of Directors where we have the best candidate from Finland – Christopher Hamilton!

Chris has had an incredible impact on the Finnish chapter of IGDA for years with his huge passion for games and community development. We need a representative such as him to be elected to the IGDA Board of Directors in order to have the voice of Finnish gaming industry heard globally.

VOTE FOR CHRIS!

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/