It's been another hectic fall and that has unfortunately meant that it's taken us way too long to get this report out again. Our apologies for that. Last part of the report will give you highlights from all the gatherings held during the season 2007-2008, including short introductions and links to the original articles.
(NOTE: Attendance figures in this report are the double checked ones and might in some case differ from those mentioned individual Gathering After Action Reports slightly)
After the relaxing summer break, the well-tanned game developers were full of eagerness at the IGDA August Gathering in System Rock on 28th August. This timeÂ 124 attendees joined the party.Â Digital Chocolate andÂ Bugbear were especially well represented! Also professionals fromÂ Remedy,Â Red Lynx andÂ Recoil were there.
This time IGDA Finland gathering started differently because the evening begun with our first-ever IGDA Finland Presentation event at PÃ¤Ã¤posti Auditorium. The theme of the session was money. We were positively surprised of the plentiful and versatile audience.Â There were a little over 60 people watching the presentations, from students to business developers and game designers. The gathering itself drew in 125 attendees. It was also good to notice how the presentations attracted people who have never been at the pub nights but found it a comfortable way to take part in our activities. Some practicalities were still looking for their place but otherwise things went well. The speakers at the first session wereÂ Erik Robertson from Nordic Game Program,Â Ilari Kuittinen from Housemarque andÂ Timo Vuorensola from Energia Productions.
The cold fall weather took itâ€™s toll on Octobers IGDA gathering attendance. Even with industry representatives from Tampere, the attendance rose toÂ 99, just shy of a hundred.
Most notable at the gathering were the new decorations on the wall. System Rock had gone through a small facelift, which was well received by attendees. While attendance was lower than usual, those who showed up had the rare luxury of free tables. This luxury was quickly exploited and various boardgame sessions sprung up around the room, amongst them Munchin and Scrabble. A person with a brand-new iPhone got a lot of new friends as everyone wanted to try the device out.
Despite the icy and windy weather,Â 243 brave game industry professionals made it to the System Rock on 13th November for the Recoil-sponsored November gathering.Â 243! Thanks to everyone who attended -we clearly beat the previous record of 210 attendees set in November 2006 (which by the way was also a Recoil-sponsored event).
Finnish game development scene was well represented from Recoil, Bugbear and Sumea to RedLynx, Ironstar Helsinki and others. Also several IT-professional joined the party to marvel at active discussion amongst game developers. IGDA Finland was happy to welcomeÂ 45 newcomers to the party as well as people all the way from Spain, Digital Chocolateâ€™s game studio Microjocs and a bit closer to home, from Tampere TTVO!
The last gathering of the year drew in a nice crowd ofÂ 174 attendees total! In December gathering AMD provided drink tickets ensuring the mood was indeed very merry all night long.
The other sponsor was Microsoft and they provided us with the demostands, with which we hosted 2 game competitions, as well as the prizes for those competitions. Both demostands were popular but Guitar Hero 3 demostand even had people lining up to play from time to time so it was clearly the more popular one.
Year 2008 got a kick start on 8th of January when there were both IGDA Finland Presentations and a pub night in snowy Helsinki.
This time IGDA Finland Presentations in association with Remedy was held at Papa Giovanni Showroom just opposite System Rock. The room was fully booked withÂ 59 people. It was especially good to see new people joining as well as individuals who usually donâ€™t visit the pub nights â€” something for all that is!
Pub night was in line with â€œtipaton tammikuuâ€ (Alcohol-free January) with slightly less people than usual. This time 97 developers reached System Rock. Both lectures and pub night attracted new faces which is always super! There were also regulars from Bugbear, Housemarque and Sumea. Also a group from Tampere were there again which can be seen as a challenge to fellow developers from other bigger towns like Oulu, JyvÃ¤skylÃ¤ and Turku!
Long and dark winter is getting to the bones of Finnish game developers. It is the flu season in Finland and that surely shows! In February IGDA pub night attendees were a bit few in number but strong in spirit! This time there was only about 78 attendees.
Between pre-GDC chatting and local game industry news, the attendees filled out a questionnaire about the venue. There has been a discussion whether IGDA Finland should find a better venue for the gatherings (which finally happened in October 2008).
Bugbear was celebrating its 8th anniversary at the IGDA Finland March gathering. In addition to free drinks, the 209 party goers were treated with a slot car racing track to play and T-shirts to take home. Bugbearâ€™s birthday party speech proudly proclaimed Bugbear as the worlds leading independent driving game developer (as all the other good ones had been bought off by publishers :P), and had a few interesting tidbits about Bugbearâ€™s next projects.
The third IGDA Finland Presentations session was held on 8th of April at Papa Giovanni Showroom and drew 39 interested souls in to listen. This time the theme was education covering everything from most interesting research findings to current state of gamesâ€™ education and recruitment in Finland: how to boost up collaboration between companies and school which would benefit both. The gathering itself attracted 93 attendees.
IGDA gathering held on 6th May had extra board gaming flavor thanks to Tactic. Kati Heljakka and Petter Ilander from Tacticâ€™s Product Development unit were visiting us. That time 82 game enthusiasts joined the party chatting about game development and board games in particular.
Finnish casual game start-upÂ Everyplay wanted to give a kick start to summer vacations on 10th of June when the last IGDA Gathering was held before the summer break. It was a great way to celebrate the birth of the latest addition to the line-up of Finnish game developers. IGDA Finland happily welcomes Everyplay and wishes them to live long and prosper!
IGDA June Gathering sponsored by Everyplay drew in 163 developers to join the event. You could clearly notice the closeness of summer vacation because the chat went around summer plans more than work related stuff and industry news.
Jussi Laakkonen the CEO of Everyplay gave a short presentation of the company. For many Jussi was previously known as the Business Development Director of Bugbear. This time he talked convincingly about casual games and how the current games are just the tip of the iceberg. Everyplay believed that games are for all and playful interaction is getting common outside game industry as well.
- Joona and Lari