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!

Head to Vienna for the ReVersed Festival

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

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

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

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

Are You the Next UA Superstar?

The Games Growth Hacker program aims to train new UA and mobile marketing talent for the Finnish gaming industry. 

During the program, trainees will work full time for 6 months at gaming companies and go through an 18-day training program held by industry professionals from companies such as Google, Rovio, Yousician, and Seriously.

No previous experience in UA, mobile marketing, or growth hacking is required. This program will train the participants, however applicants must be Finnish and unemployed to qualify. This is a good opportunity for unemployed members because past experience in the games industry, demonstrating a passion for games, and a positive attitude will help during the selection process. 

For more information visit: http://www.digitalexcellenceacademy.fi/koulutustrackit/games-growth-hacker/ 

Application deadline: June 4th

Wargaming Party 2017 and Bus Transportation Registration

Wargaming will be sponsoring bus transportation to the Parola Tank Museum from IGDA Finland Hubs. The buses are being coordinated by your local IGDA hubs.

In order to ensure a spot on a bus please do the following:

  1. Register for the Wargaming 2017 Party on Eventbrite (registration is now closed)
  2. Once you have a ticket to the event, register for bus transportation via one of the forms below.
  3. Bus registrations are individual, you cannot reserve bus seats for multiple people.
  4. Only register if you know for sure you can attend.

Bus transportation registration is now closed.

Bus transportation is free of charge, however a small fee of 5 euros will be collected from participants in Parola and donated to the Parola Tank Museum.

More info about the Wargaming Party 2017 here: https://www.igda.fi/new-events/2017/wargaming-party-2017

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.

Introducing IGDA Finland Vaasa Hub

Vaasa game development scene is ready to take the next step. There has been a lot bubbling under in Ostrobothnia in recent years. One of the most visible parts being Vaasa Game Days, an annual event combining both consumer and professional sides in one enthralling game fair. And of course: there are plenty of people developing games!

Introducing IGDA Finland Satakunta Hub

In Satakunta there is plenty of know-­how in game development, gamification and related fields, but for a long time the companies and schools have worked mainly on their own. Well, that’s about to change right now: We are proud to introduce the brand new member of IGDA family – ­IGDA Finland Satakunta Hub! The first gathering for the students, professionals and enthusiasts was held in Pori in October 2015 under the name “Peliala Satakunta”. The organizers were expecting from 10­ to 20 people to participate, but the total number was almost 40! Lots of contacts and plans were made, and from the start it was clear that the gaming community in Satakunta wants to be part of a larger network: ­ IGDA.

Since then there has been a gathering every month and the network has expanded even more. Over 80 people have attended to the gatherings and other events and the hub´s Facebook group has well over 100 members. In the process of gathering the network, a local audiovisual development and production facility Villilä Studios has been a big help with the project “Cogas – ­Concepting Gaming Seriously”. The aim of the project is to gather a network in Game Development and Gamification and search for joint development ideas and new areas for business. Cogas is financed by The Regional Council of Satakunta.

But so far the enthusiasm of the game developers in the area has been in the biggest role in networking and boosting up the game industry in Satakunta; local game companies, education providers, development companies and all the great people sharing the passion for making games.

IGDA Finland Satakunta Hub warmly welcomes everybody to the gatherings and events in Satakunta. The first official gathering as IGDA Finland Satakunta Hub will be held in April. Join the group and find out about the upcoming events on Facebook: facebook.com/groups/igdasatakunta

Recruiting volunteers!

IGDA Finland is looking for more volunteers! Are you crafty with words and love social media? Or do you have some graphic design expertise? Our wonderful Media Team wants you!

We are currently looking for Social Media Managers and an Art Director in Helsinki area.

Social Media Managers - produce quality content on our social media channels (Twitter + Facebook), including live coverage of our monthly gatherings

We appreciate solid skills on Twitter and Facebook, understanding on the principles of different social media channels, excellent English skills. A more technical background will be considered a plus.

Sounds like you? Super! Contact our Social Media Coordinator Noemi Cugudda: noemi.cugudda@igda.fi

As an Art Director you will - take care of the look and feel of our visual content - oversee and organise the work of our photographers and graphic designers - plan and coordinate various graphics projects

We appreciate experience in project management, diverse graphic design skills, photography skills and a sharp visual eye.

Interested? Great! Drop an email to our Media Team Lead Niina Pesonen: niina.pesonen@igda.fi

As well as a fun team with fantastic people we offer exclusive studio visits and the chance to meet all the cool people in the industry – not to mention the warm and fuzzy feeling inside you when you get to make the world a better place.

Not from the Helsinki area? Contact your local hub to volunteer! Everyone is welcome to contribute, no matter their skills and background.http://igda.fi/hubs/

Vesa Raudasoja nominated for IGDA Board of Directors / Vesa Raudasoja ehdolla IGDA:n hallitukseen

A long time active IGDA Finland member and a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Vesa Raudasoja has been nominated for International Game Developer's Association's (IGDA) Board of Directors. Raudasoja has been involved with IGDA Finland since the beginning, and is the first Finnish person nominated for the Board. Previously the Board of Directors has mainly consisted of members from North America.

A game developer himself, and having closely followed the growth of Finnish game industry, Raudasoja finds IGDA's role very important for game developer communities and wants to get European and Scandinavian voices heard more in the community.

"I'm sure that many game studios in Finland and internationally have started because of IGDA's activities. Without an organization like this the game industry in Finland, for example, would probably be much smaller. Game developer communities are very important and IGDA has been creating these for years all around the world.”

All full members of IGDA are eligible to vote on the election until the end of February. There are four candidates in total of which two will be elected.

Raudasoja will be saying a few words on his nomination at the February gathering on 9.2.

More information on the election: http://www.igda.org/?page=elections2016

Vesa's Campaign Page: https://www.facebook.com/voteforvesa

IGDA Finlandin pitkäaikainen aktiivi, Lifetime Achievement Awardilla palkittu Vesa Raudasoja on ehdolla International Game Developer's Association (IGDA):n hallitukseen. Raudasoja on ollut mukana IGDA Finlandin toiminnassa sen perustamisesta lähtien ja on ensimmäisenä suomalaisena ehdolla hallitukseen, jonka paikat ovat aiemmin jakautuneet enimmäkseen pohjois-amerikkalaisten toimijoiden kesken.

Raudasoja on itsekin pelinkehittäjä, ja on ollut seuraamassa Suomen peliteollisuuden kasvua pienistä indie-studioista satojen pelialan yritysten maaksi. Hän pitää IGDA:n roolia erittäin tärkeänä peliteollisuudelle, ja haluaa saada yhteisössä kuuluviin erityisesti pohjoismaista ja eurooppalaista ääntä.

“Olen varma, että monikin pelialan yritys niin Suomessa kuin ulkomaillakin on saanut alkunsa IGDA:n ansiosta. Ilman tällaista toimijaa peliteollisuus etenkin Suomessa olisi varmasti pienempi. Yhteisöt ovat erittäin tärkeitä ja IGDA on luonut näitä vuosien ajan ympäri maailman.”

Kaikki IGDA:n täysivaltaiset jäsenet voivat äänestää vaaleissa aina helmikuun loppuun asti. Neljästä nimetystä ehdokkaasta kaksi valitaan hallitukseen.

Raudasoja on paikalla helmikuun tapaamisessa 9.2. ja pitää puheenvuoron ehdokkuudestaan.

More information on the election: http://www.igda.org/?page=elections2016

Vesa's Campaign Page: https://www.facebook.com/voteforvesa

Recruiting volunteers!

IGDA Finland is run completely on volunteer basis, by people who commit their time and skills for the good of the game developer community in Finland. The organization consists of three groups: the board handles all the official functions and obligatory paper shuffling like legalities and finances; the coordinators act as the engineers of all operations, planning events and making sure everything runs smoothly; and the volunteers, who support the coordinators in various roles. We find ourselves in a dire need for more volunteers to fill a variety of roles in the Helsinki area:

Do you have a knack for writing? Social media? Photography? Graphic design? Join the newly founded Media Team.

Are you a master of all things tech? Whether you know your way around all sorts of devices or you write beautiful code, we want you.

Even if you feel like you don’t have any special skills, don’t be shy about contacting us – we need all hands on deck to keep this ship sailing smoothly.

Perks of the job include exclusive studio visits and the chance to meet all the cool people in the industry – not to mention the warm and fuzzy feeling inside you when you get to make the world a better place.

To join in on the fun simply drop an email to our Co-Volunteer Coordinator, Jori Hellstedt jori.hellstedt@igda.fi and tell us a bit about who you are, what you do and if there’s anything specific you can and/or want to do for us.

(Not from the Helsinki area? See if there's a hub near you that could use your help! http://igda.fi/hubs/)

Invitation to the annual IGDA Finland ry meeting

Greetings all members of IGDA Finland association! You are warmly welcome to join the statutory annual meeting. The meeting is held on Monday the 25th May 2015, from 4 PM until 6 PM, at Femman hall (address Eerikinkatu 2, 00100 Helsinki).

There will be some small snacks and soft drinks to enjoy during the meeting. We ask you to RSVP latest on May 22nd by emailing suvi.latva@neogames.fi to better estimate the servings amounts.

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

Best Regards,

Suvi Latva Board Member IGDA Finland ry

THE AGENDA OF THE ANNUAL MEETING ON MAY 25th 2015

  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

The new IGDA Finland ry Board of Directors has been elected

On December 9th 2014 at the IGDA Finland Autumn meeting, the new Board of Directors was elected. The term of the new Board started in the beginning of 2015 and will last for 1 year. The Board of Directors is the governing body of the IGDA Finland ry. The board oversees every aspect of the association, always acting in the best interest of the game developer community. IGDA Finland Board Directors are all volunteers. Jyri Partanen will continue as the Chair of the board as Aki Järvilehto will take the place of Sonja Ängeslevä as the Vice Chair. Congratulations also to our new board members Anna Salomaa, Joona Pulliainen and Tony Brusin and we wish success for their exciting journey as IGDA board members.

A huge thank you also to the members that are leaving the IGDA board: Sonja Ängeslevä, Kosti Rytkönen and Antti Summala. Your contributions to IGDA Finland are greatly valued and we wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

The IGDA Finland ry Board of directors for Fiscal Year 2015:

  • Suvi Latva
  • Anna Salomaa
  • Joona Pulliainen
  • Vesa Raudasoja
  • Tatu Laine
  • Tony Brusin
  • Aki Järvilehto

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: manage coordinators in Helsinki
  • Needed time: 5h-10h / week
  • Needed xp: team lead 2-5 years, knowledge of industry

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

Seminar Coordinator (new position)

  • IGDA Finland Helsinki is going to create continuous educational seminar events in combination with the regular gatherings. To achieve this target, we need an experienced person to create an exciting flow of talks by inspiring game industry speakers. The Lead Coordinator will support and manage this role.
  • Responsibility: create educational events, supported by event coordinator
  • Needed time: 3-5h / week
  • Needed xp: organizing any events 1-2 years, lots of experience of gaming conferences, game education a plus

Send your applications to recruitment@igda.fi

IGDA Finland ry:n syyskokous

IGDA Finland ry:n sääntömääräinen syyskokous järjestetään 9.12.2014 klo 17-19. Paikkana toimii Femman (Eerikinkatu 2, 00100 Helsinki). Kokoukseen ovat tervetulleita kaikki yhdistyksen nykyiset ja tulevat jäsenet. Tarjolla on myös pientä purtavaa ja juotavaa. Tarjoilujen vuoksi pyydämme ystävällisesti ilmoittautumaan etukäteen 1.12.2014 mennessä suvi.latva@neogames.fi

ESITYSLISTA

  1. kokouksen avaus
  2. valitaan kokouksen puheenjohtaja, sihteeri, kaksi pöytäkirjantarkastajaa ja tarvittaessa kaksi ääntenlaskijaa
  3. todetaan kokouksen laillisuus ja päätösvaltaisuus
  4. hyväksytään kokouksen työjärjestys
  5. vahvistetaan toimintasuunnitelma, tulo- ja menoarvio sekä liittymis- ja jäsenmaksujen suuruudet seuraavalle kalenterivuodelle
  6. valitaan hallituksen jäsenet erovuoroisten tilalle valitaan myös hallituksen puheenjohtaja.
  7. valitaan yksi tai kaksi toiminnan-/tilintarkastajaa ja varatoiminnan-/varatilintarkastajaa
  8. käsitellään muut kokouskutsussa mainitut asiat.

HUOM:

Mikäli yhdistyksen jäsen haluaa saada jonkin asian IGDA Finland ry:n syyskokouksen käsiteltäväksi, on hänen ilmoitettava siitä kirjallisesti hallitukselle osoitteella igdafi-hallitus@igda.fi, jotta asia voidaan sisällyttää esityslistaan.

Jobs site moving to Games Jobs Finland

Since IGDA Finland started offering our jobs site it has grown into the important platform it is today, making it easy for game companies to reach new recruits and talents seeking positions in the industry to find where they are needed.

However, as you all know, IGDA Finland is run by volunteers. The amount of responsibilities has also grown in size over the years and the gatherings alone take a huge amount of effort to organize. Running the jobs site is no longer something that is viable for us to keep around eating away our resources and thus the IGDA Finland board has decided to focus our efforts to events and community activities. This means that from now on all of our attention will be on Helsinki and the other hubs all over the country.

Fear not though, this will not be the end of a safe haven for game industry related jobs posting: IGDA jobs site functions will be transferred to our industry partner Games Jobs Finland/Barona IT for further development and maintenance.

The IGDA jobs site will be closed by end of May 2014 and all traffic will be guided to Games Jobs from now on. Before that all active job ads will be posted to Games Jobs Finland. Games Jobs Finland will contact the current and future partners.

We’d like to thank all the companies who made the jobs site an important employment tool for the industry and hope you keep utilizing it after the transfer! May you find the best talent out there.

http://gamesjobs.fi/

How our new Industry Partner AWS can help Finnish game studios to grow?

IGDA Finland has recently got fabulous new Studio Affiliates like Frogmind, Kuuasema and Housemarque. Also Amazon Web Services, G-Cluster and Lexia have joined as Industry Partners. Welcome! Amazon Web Services (AWS) has witnessed several game industry success stories. That's why we decided to have a chat with the AWS guys to learn what type of business growth tips they can give to Finnish game studios.

When it comes to cloud computing, there's no bigger name than Amazon Web Services (AWS). Most likely every relevant Facebook and mobile game developer knows and uses / has used AWS. How big AWS actually is?

AWS: We have hundreds of thousands of customers in over 190 countries and among those customers we have a significant number of gaming customers leveraging AWS. Customers like Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Supercell and Sega all take advantage of the flexibility and scalability of AWS technology. For game developers AWS offers a comprehensive set of development tools and services that make it faster and easier for developers to build, deploy, distribute, scale, analyze, and monetize successful games.

Why you decided to become an IGDA Finland's Industry Partner?

AWS: We want to support the Finnish game developer community to help them become more successful in their game development efforts. Leveraging AWS services has helped companies like Supercell, Rovio, and Grand Cru to focus on game development instead of setting up and managing the infrastructure.

More concretely, how can AWS help Finnish game development studios to grow? AWS: Game development is part science and part art. Developers strive to deliver compelling entertaining experiences for users but never really know how successful their game will be until they actually launch it. A big question that a game developer must address is how to prepare for game success or even failure? For a Social Game the number of players can be unpredictable; for some games the number increases rapidly and then drops again. To cope with the rapid growth anticipated with their most popular games Monster World, Diamond Dash and Bubble Island, Wooga turned to Amazon Web Services. With AWS Wooga (link to the case study) could scale easily to meet their peak demands. On the flip side, when the peak was met and the game dropped back to a steady state they were able to scale back the number of servers they were using just as easily and all without the headache of acquiring and managing their own physical infrastructure.

Amazon focuses on five things:

1) Pricing - always looking for ways to drive down costs for customers. When Sega’s Online Operation team was looking for a new home for their public websites, AWS was the obvious answer. Once migration on to AWS was complete, Sega noted a cost reduction in server costs of 50%.

2) Flexibility – Game developers are innovators. They are always looking for new ways to bring compelling entertainment in the form of games to users and as such need the flexibility to stitch together infrastructure as they see fit. Sony’s Naughty Dog Game Studio (link to the case study), maker of the popular Uncharted Series, looked to AWS to support them with Uncharted 3’s online multiplayer features and noted that the ability to have low level access to AWS’ powerful services meant that they are never in a position where there is something they can’t do.

3) Rapid Provisioning – With AWS Auto Scaling game developers know that they can programmatically increase the number of servers they use to meet user demand. This means that they can provision only as much as they need to get started and as the game grows in popularity they can scale to meet demand. In addition, they can scale back down when the demand decreases to a steady state.

4) Focus on the game – AWS enables game developers to focus on what they love, building great games, while AWS handles the undifferentiated heavy lifting of core infrastructure.

5) Rapid Growth and Scale – game developers can be confident that there are always resources available to support the rapid growth when a game becomes a hit. Take for example the Finnish-based game developer, Supercell, that successfully launched Hay Day and Clash of Clans in 2012. Since then Supercell's player base has reached over 8.5 million daily players and to manage their infrastructure they use AWS. The AWS services are important for Supercell to manage the rapid growth of their server usage and keep their players happy.

Amazon has done lots of case studies, including many Finnish game industry super stars: take a look at the Amazon case studies to learn more. Just to highlight some, check out Rovio and Supercell case study.

Join IGDA Finland November 12th Gathering to meet with Amazon guys in person.

Spotlight story: Kotka game development scene

It is time to continue our tour around Finland. This time we will take a closer look on Kotka game development scene. Teemu Saarelainen, the new head chef of Cursor and a key person driving the growth of Kotka game development scene answered a couple of question about the local scene. Kotka game development scene in a nutshell: There are more than 15 companies in the Kotka game scene, ranging from game studios to various service providers (game testing, game music and sound). Most recent addition to our growing community is a game publisher: Playground publishing. The number of indies is naturally growing the fastest and we're seeing new companies being established quite regurarly - most of these stem from the game education in the region. Right now there are 5 new indies in the process of getting their business up and running.

Kotka actually has pretty long history of game development and the first game studio (Nitro Games) was founded in 2007. Game programming education has since then had an important role in creating talent for the companies. There's close, day-to-day cooperation with the local Kymenlaakso University of Applied Sciences and their game studies. Kotka area is also quite fortunate in the sense that the regional development company, Cursor Oy, has been pushing and systematically developing the local games business since the very beginning. Cursor also runs the Play Game Hub, which is the common brand for the Kotka and Lappeenrata game clusters, and LevelUp-spaces that serve as development platforms for new startups.

Image: Kukouri: Tiny Troopers

Nitro Games sure is well known but what else is there? The most recent success stories are definitely Kukouri Entertainment and Skyrock Games, which were both founded in 2011. Kukouri now employs 8 people and brought us Tiny Troopers & Tiny Troopers 2, which have 6,5 million downloads. Skyrock Games also employs roughly 10 people and has recently launched their first title, Gloomy Hollow, through Chillingo. They are currently working on their second (indie) title called Highland Wars, which can already be pre-ordered through Steam.

What are the key factors of the growth of Kotka scene?

The main driver for the development today is naturally the general interest in the games business, but without systematic support from Cursor in the early years and even more so recently, the game development community would probably not exist in Kotka in the first place. Another strength in the region is clearly the education: Kyamk, LUT, EKAMI & KSAO all offer game studies, so we get plenty of new enthusiastic work force. Recently we've also managed to work out a partnership with Google and Aalto University to support the local game dev community and bring their expertise into the area.

When Markus Råmark moved from Cursor to Playground Publishing, Teemu Saarelainen took the lead of local game business development initiatives. What is Cursor and Playa? Cursor aims to build a thriving game cluster in the South-East Finland and we want to create a whole ecosystem around the game development community. Our Playa hub (See also Playa Facebook group) has a strong presence in all of the major game business events throughout the year and we support companies that really want to develop and grow their business. The primary tools for this are the LevelUp-spaces (including hardware & software), Playa Launchpad (business development services) and Venture Gym program (startup accelerator). We're also looking into the possibility of creating funds and attracting venture capital into the region - especially for games. The big goal is a game development cluster which is recognized worldwide and is able to attract both new companies and new people to the area.

Image: Skyrock Games: Gloomy Hollow

After 5 years Kotka will be the leading game development hub in Finland? How to make it last?

In a few years we will have a vibrant game development hub in Kotka which employs over 250 people directly. There will be an even broader range of game studios in the area, but we'll also see more companies that will offer services to the game development community.

To make it last, we need to have quality education, a working startup-scene with good supporting activities, and funding for new games and new companies. Our dev community is a pretty tight bunch, so basically everybody here knows one another - and we're very much looking forward to becoming one of the IGDA local hubs. :)

Have a great summer holiday!

Thank you everyone for the epic season. IGDA Finland is the biggest ever!

To be able to organize best game industry parties and presentations also in the future, IGDA Finland volunteers need to take it easy for a month or two.

We'll organize the legendary, traditional IGDA Finland picnic in July - August. More information to follow. IGDA Finland fall season starts in September. We have some great presentations and news for you! Just wait :)

The venue survey is still ongoing. How do you like Adams Club for Gatherings and Presentations? How can we improve? We will close the survey at the end of July.

Introducing IGDA Finland hubs!

IGDA Finland boosts game development in all of Finland!IGDA Finland ry wants to accelerate game development activity in your area.

If you’re involved in the game development scene in your region, you can apply to become an IGDA Finland Hub! If you’re having get-togethers or other kinds of professional activity for game development professionals in your region, we want to help you!

IGDA Finland promotes the development of careers and professional skills of individual game developers based in Finland, and develops further the international recognition of the Finnish game developer community. IGDA Finland Hub -membership can help you boost your local activity and networking. You’ll have our help in arranging your events and visibility through our information channels. If you’re an active coordinator in your area, please contact us!

This is an example of IGDA Finland local hub logo. Design by: Sami Marsch

Prerequisites for becoming a Hub:

  • Gather 5 active IGDA members to become the Hub
  • Hold 4 public IGDA Hub gatherings per year
  • Update activity log on IGDA Hub pages

Benefits for becoming a Hub:

  • You may present your club as IGDA Finland [area] Hub
  • Promote your events on IGDA Finland FB-page and web eg. www.igda.fi/hubs/turku/
  • Email address for your region eg. turku@igda.fi
  • Right to use IGDA Finland hub logo

BONUS! Starter pack for the new IGDA Finland Hubs:

  • 5 IGDA Finland hoodies
  • IGDA Finland rollups for presentations and meetings
  • IGDA Finland Posters and flyers

IGDA Finland reserves the right to revoke the Hub status if deemed necessary (eg. due to lack of activity). New individual IGDA Finland Hubs are accepted by IGDA Finland Board.

Interested? Contact us and we’ll get you started: jyri.partanen@igda.fi and tatu.laine@igda.fi

Hello Finland, IGDA Finland supports local clubs and communities across Finland. Design by: Sami Marsch