IGDA discounts for the Aalto Game Executive program

Are you ready to learn from the biggest game companies in the world? If yes, Aalto University Executive Education wants to welcome you the most inspiring Game Executive leadership program designed for big or small game companies seeking exponential growth.

The program will take place in Helsinki from 16-23 of October 2019. Come and learn from awarded professors in the field of entrepreneurship, business and innovation and get ready for talks by veterans and industry professionals from Supercell, EA, Housemarque, Rovio, Fingersoft, Veikkaus, Barona, Apprien, Fondia Oyj and many more. Prepare to reach a global network and attend our unforgettable after parties where you can forge meaningful connections with investors and possible partners.

If you are an IGDA member you are eligible for the following discounts:

  • IGDAHELSINKI10, for a 10% discount per person attending

  • IGDAHELSINKI15, for a 15% discount for groups of 3 people or more

Check out the Aalto Game Executive website for a list of confirmed speakers and professors: https://www.aaltoent.fi/en/programs/game-executive

Announcing IGDA Finland Leadership Day!

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There are no dedicated games leadership conferences in Europe... so IGDA Finland decided to make one! Leadership Day by IGDA Finland, September 30th, 2019 in Helsinki, is an international event about how we build companies, teams and working cultures to build better games.

Read more about the event on the website (https://www.igda.fi/leadership-day) and pre-register to get info as soon as tickets are available!

We are looking for sponsors for the event. Please contact Minna (minna.eloranta@igda.fi) or anyone listed on the contact section on the website if your company would like to sponsor. We are looking for both lunch and after-party sponsoring, but there are also smaller packages available for e.g. coffee breaks and after-conference mixer drinks. Contact us for more details!

As all things IGDA Finland, the event is volunteer-run and non-profit. The event will be free of charge.

Happy Midsummer!

PGC Helsinki Returns in Oct 2019

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A much-loved part of the games industry calendar is set to return bigger than ever in 2019! That's right, Pocket Gamer Connects is back in Finland, the spiritual home of the mobile games industry, for the 6th time on October 1-2 – and it’s already shaping up to be the best yet.

Taking place in the days following the IGDA Leadership Day, Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki 2019 represents an unparalleled opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the world’s most creative and successful games developers on their home turf. It’ll be the country’s biggest B2B games conference, not to mention one of the biggest in the entire Nordic region with over 1,300 international delegates and over 600 companies from 50 different countries expected to attend. And since the show is even bigger and better this year, we’re moving to an awesome new venue with more space on offer at The Cable Factory.

Over 200 expert speakers will share their insight across multiple tracks on the very topics and trends that are pressing to all participants in the modern games industry, from raising funds and growing player bases to fine-tuning live ops, exploring new platforms and genres (such as esports, hyper-casual, live games and streaming services) working with influencers and maintaining a strong, fair company culture. The full range of speakers and the schedule will be revealed on the conference website over the summer months.

Ultimately though it’s all about making connections and getting business done and with that in mind we have a free dedicated meeting system for ALL delegates plus a plethora of focused side events to stimulate networking. There'll be the Big Indie Pitch, the curated Investor Connector session, and the famous Global Connects Party.

On top of that, there’s a packed expo to explore, a dedicated recruitment space if you’re looking to hire (or find your next job), plus a live game jam going on during the event.

This year we're also working in tandem with the IGDA which is running its Leadership Day on the Monday before Pocket Gamer Connects kicks off on Tuesday, Wednesday – adding even more value for visitors to Finland’s beautiful capital city. And of course that’s just for starters – we’ll be announcing more activities closer to the date!

Book your tickets now during the Early Bird period to secure your slot AND save money!

IGDA members are entitled to 20% off any ticket, by using code IGDAPARTNER20 when signing up or by following this direct sign-up link.

Get 10% off Games Gathering Odessa

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The team at Games Gathering invite you to socialize, relax and network at sea beach at Games Gathering Conference Odessa 2019.

The event will attract more than 800 specialists from the game industry, 30 useful lectures by successful professionals and 25 interesting indie games on Indie Blast exposition.

Registration: http://ggconference.com/en/#registration

IGDA Members get 10% off when signing up using promo code: IGDApartner10

The GameDevBus shuttle service is a unique opportunity for all our visitors a round trip ride between Kiev and Odessa! Ride with speakers and other attendees of the conference

Bus registration: http://ggconference.com/en/bus-registration/

For more information visit the conference website: http://ggconference.com/en/

Helsinki Hub: May Gathering with PlayStack

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

The May IGDA Finland gathering at the Helsinki Hub was sponsored by PlayStack, a London-based publisher with a Finnish office since 2018.

Knowing how or why one should approach publishers is an issue that many new game developers have to tackle. The speakers answered those questions and many more as a parting gift to the attending developers before the Summer break.

The seminar was opened by PlayStack CEO Harvey Elliott, who in his presentation shared some insights on how to make games stand out from the masses and how to make it in the current market. A large portion of this is emphasizing the player experience through enabling self-expression and interaction. Allowing players to create their own stories and amplifying those player moments goes a long way. Go for the carrot, not the stick.

Speakers from left to right: Harvey Elliott, Ritesh Thadani and Juha Huhtakallio

Speakers from left to right: Harvey Elliott, Ritesh Thadani and Juha Huhtakallio

After Elliott, PlayStack Helsinki GM Juha Huhtakallio took the stage and explained how to get games signed by a publisher, and how to get the most out of that relationship. He also set straight some of the more common misconceptions regarding the developer-publisher relationship.

Finally, Ritesh Thadani, PlayStack COO and manager of PlayIgnite, a subsidiary company that provides financial solutions for game developers took the stage. His presentation delved into how to scale your game in terms of funding and marketing, how to avoid the most common pitfalls, and how to finance the scale you set.

After the presentations the speakers answered some questions from the audience. Some questions inquired about the submission pipeline that potential games need to go through in order to be published; a specific point brought up was that games too similar to existing popular titles are likely to be filtered out by the process. When asked how original a game would be original enough, Elliott gave a concise formula: “ about 30% familiar,  30% improvement from the familiar, and 30% new and weird.”

This time the demo corner was very diverse, featuring games of different genres and platforms.

RoboVirus - Stolen Shoes Entertainment

A top-down shooter played with up to four players. Players can choose between different characters, weapons and levels, while more features are to be implemented in the future. The game has been in development since January 2019 by a team of 4 and they are planning to release the game on Steam by next fall.

Mythic Madness - Stage Zero Technologies

A real time virtual collectible card game featuring figures and themes from various mythologies.  Both A.I. and online play are available while the players’s purpose is to gain maximum points instead of eliminating their opponents. The game has been in development for 3,5 years by a team of 5 and are planning to soft launch this quarter of the year.

Playtesting Mythic Madness

Playtesting Mythic Madness

Rehaboo! Squat - Rehaboo

A kinect based game in which the players have to squat in order to keep their minecart moving and they can use their arms to collect gems. Rehaboo’s purpose is to make rehabilitation fun, rewarding and measurable. The company is currently focusing on activation games in three segments; Hospitals, Care homes for the elderly and working adults at the offices.

A Giant Problem - Critical Charm

A VR tower defense game in which the player assumes the role of a giant, set to defend a castle under siege against trolls and other monsters. The game is slated to come out for the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and the Windows Mixed Reality Headset. The final features are still being determined as the game is in early alpha.

Don't Die

A (up to) 4 players colorful cooperative game in which each player is trying to die but their opponents are trying to prevent their death by protecting them. The game was developed as a collaborative effort between 7 students from Amiedu, Metropolia, Stadin and Sibelius-Akatemia in the time frame of 6 weeks.

Forbidden Factory - Twisted Ark

A beautiful 2.5D puzzle platformer in which the player assumes the role of a cogwheel and interacts with the environment, trying to solve the mystery of the factory. The game’s development started last summer by a team of 3 and is set to be ready on early 2020 for PC and consoles.

Children of the Eclipse - Nutfarm

A visually engaging top down story-driven shooter in which the player shoots their way through a dystopian yet teeming-with-life environment. The early demo was developed in 4 months by a team of 5 and will be released early next year for PC and consoles.

Bobsu! - DieNo Games

A casual arcade game in which the player can choose between 4 differently skilled teams of fluffy ball shaped characters that move vertically (from top to bottom) while busting blocks of 4 different colors. The development started last summer and the game is currently set to be released soon for mobile devices.

The Maiden - Blind Fox Studio

A story driven 2D platformer that revolves around Finnish and Estonian mythology. The player assumes the role of a Maiden who can use spells in order to overcome different obstacles and face different opponents. The development started at the beginning of 2019 and the current plans are to release it early in 2020.

The next IGDA gathering at Helsinki Hub will be in August.

Until then, have a great Summer!

CALL FOR FINNISH STUDIOS

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IGDA Finland made partnership with F2P Campus in Spain, offering ALL INCLUSIVE (sponsored trip, participation and stay in Spain) for 3 months of development and coaching experience for Finnish gamedev teams. Boost your current project-development and business strategies while enjoying sunny Spain!

Deadline for application is 31st of May - so be fast!

More information can be found HERE.

Get 15% off White Nights in St. Petersburg

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White Nights will take place in St. Petersburg on June 19-20 with over 1,800 game industry professionals expected to attend. The program is available on the conference website.

Act fast to get a free booth at Developer Exhibition. It’s an opportunity for developers to meet the right people all in one place. The application deadline is May 29.

The deconstruction workshop, lectures and panel discussions, networking parties and much more are waiting for you in St. Petersburg this summer.

IGDA Finland members get 15% off registering on the website using the promo code IGDAFinland15.

Anyone needing a visa to Russia should review this information: https://wnconf.com/#visa

Finnish Game Day '19 in St. Petersburg

Finnish Game Day is an annual event that takes place in St. Petersburg at the Consulate of Finland on June 18th, a day before the White Nights Conference.

The mission of this event is to bring investors, publishers and founders of game studios from Finland, Russia, Eastern Europe and Asia together to explore business opportunities. Leading industry experts will participate in panel discussions on topics like investments in games, publishing and new markets, as well as, Finland as a place to grow game companies. Panelists will share their views about trends in the market and discuss business opportunities.

The Finnish Game Day team will be selecting 15 game studios and startups to receive a package that includes the Finnish Game Day seminar, two standard tickets to the White Nights Conference, a mini-stand in the Play Finland area to promote your games and company, and a networking boat tour along the Neva River and canals all for 200EUR + VAT.

There will be a Warm Up event to FGD19 will be held at Helsinki Games Factory on May 14th at 16.00 where a detailed plan of the events in St. Petersburg will be presented along with a question and answer session.

Warm Up Facebook event

For more information on the events, panelists and traveling to Russia visit: https://finnishgameday.com/fgdtrip19

For those who can’t make it to St. Petersburg, Devs.tv will provide a live stream of the FGD19 panel discussions that will be shown at the Helsinki Games Factory.

Helsinki Hub: May Demo Corner Sign Up

May's sponsor is PlayStack, a publisher founded on the belief that even the greatest developers need support in order to create their best work. PlayStack can offer that support in three key ways; end-to-end funding, publishing expertise, and tech to build a strong gamer audience and community.

It goes without saying that folks from PlayStack will be present at the gathering on May 14th and scouting for good teams who believe they have the next great thing.

With this in mind, we shall do our best to accommodate as many teams as possible in this month’s demo corner. That said, we may need to cut teams if the list gets too long, especially if there are a number of demos that require lots of space. Otherwise registration ends Sunday, May 12th.

Helsinki Hub: April Gathering with Game Makers of Finland

By Giorgos Riskas and Roope Sorvo

The April IGDA gathering at the Helsinki Hub was sponsored by Game Makers of Finland, the first union in the world for workers of the game industry. Game Makers of Finland celebrated their first anniversary by adding a few surprising spins to the traditional IGDA event; both a professional photographer and a career coach offered their services for free and helped all the interested attendees to improve their CVs.

The main goal of Game Makers of Finland is to ensure that workers and students alike get the required tools and training to prepare them to face the challenges of working in the games industry today. Their vision is to make Finnish gaming industry the best in the world, built upon the values of diversity and equality.

Milla Pennanen and Sami Vuolanne, Coordinator and Vice President of Game Makers of Finland respectively, organized an in-depth panel discussion about working in the Finnish game industry and tried to answer all the burning questions related to it. During this process, the audience was able to participate by answering survey questions via an online platform.

The topics of education, salaries, working benefits, work time and stability were discussed by a diverse panel of professionals- that included Mariina Hallikainen, CEO of Colossal Order, Koopee Hiltunen, Director at Neogames, Joonas Häll, Teacher of Game Design at Metropolia and Jenny Tirkkonen, 3D artist at Sulake.

Left to right: Panelists Jenny Tirkkonen, Koopee Hiltunen, Mariina Hallikainen, Joonas Häll and moderators Milla Pennanen and Sami Vuolanne. Photo by Jesse Eloranta.

Left to right: Panelists Jenny Tirkkonen, Koopee Hiltunen, Mariina Hallikainen, Joonas Häll and moderators Milla Pennanen and Sami Vuolanne. Photo by Jesse Eloranta.

After the panelists introduced themselves, they first kicked off the conversation with the topic of education. They unanimously agreed that the theoretical background that education offers is key to getting hired, and cannot be matched by other means of learning. That knowledge can also help students feel more confident and self assured when entering the workforce.  

Unfortunately, not all students have the same luck when it comes to the quality of education they receive. Educational institutions are usually not constructed in a way that allows teachers and students to quickly adapt to ever evolving market conditions. Technology moves very fast and the teachers have to work hard to stay ahead of the curve, which is not always encouraged by academia.

The panel then moved on to salaries and working benefits. The consensus was that workers should always be aware of what their salary demands should be to stay competitive in the market. For that matter, they should consider  moving on to different workplaces if they feel that their career has stalled. An important parameter of course is the different priorities that various employees might have; working for a startup might offer a lower income but keep a worker more engaged in what they do.

Working benefits can be, and many times have been, a decisive factor in the hiring process. Salaries are always relative to living costs, so it should never define one’s choices before put into proper context. Working benefits such as paid overtime, health insurance, and leisure time activities have typically outweigh higher salaries because they better appeal better to the job seekers’ needs.

On the topic of work time and crunching the speakers shared their insight about how companies should treat their employees when they want to reach strict deadlines. While having to work extra is a common phenomenon, there is an important distinction  between agreed overtime and crunching. The first option is generally seen as a fair way to keep employees at work for more hours, while the latter was mostly described as inability to schedule properly that should not be encouraged in any workplace.

The final subject was stability. While it was stated that instability is partially in the nature of the industry, it should never be an excuse for lack of professional planning and management. The workers should always be informed of any given situation of their workplace so they can make their own decisions.

After the seminar session ended, the attendees had the chance to talk with the panelists and the hosts as they wrapped up an informative evening.

If you missed the event and the panel discussion, you can watch it below:

Get 10% Off Game Access in Brno

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

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

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

Helsinki Hub: March gathering with Ubisoft RedLynx

Text By Giorgos Riskas and Roope Sorvo

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gathering visitors playing Trials Rising. Photo by Casimir Kuusela.

Gathering visitors playing Trials Rising. Photo by Casimir Kuusela.

See you in April!

Volunteers' help needed for Finnish Game Awards event!

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

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

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

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

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

Helsinki Hub: 2019 Post Play Party

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

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

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

Annakaisa Kultama addressing the audience

Annakaisa Kultama addressing the audience

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you next month!

Get 20% off GameDev Days in Tallinn

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

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

Why you should consider attending? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Helsinki Hub: An Epic Evening

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sweeney answering questions from the audience. Photo by Casimir Kuusela

Sweeney answering questions from the audience. Photo by Casimir Kuusela

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

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

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

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

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

Demo corner. Photo by Casimir Kuusela

Demo corner. Photo by Casimir Kuusela

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

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

Celebrating GGJ/FGJ with a Post Play Party

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

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

The Gathering and Demo Corner start at 19:00.

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

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

Please note:

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

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


The Inaugural Games Helsinki Conference

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

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

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

Get 15% of White Nights in Berlin

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

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

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

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