March Gathering: Ooze Attack! and Games as Services seminar

March was a month for another double feature: IGDA Finland Presentations and Gathering at the Cuba Cafe. This time IGDA Finland Presentations session was held at the Diana Auditorium together with Tekes-project Games as Services. Games as Services (GaS) project focused on the fact that online games market (subscription, digital game download, DLC, virtual commodities, value-added services) is expanding. As a result games are designed, distributed and consumed increasingly as services. Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT) and Tampere University (TaY) researchers examined the consequences of this evolution to games, game culture and business. Diana Auditorium event was the closing seminar of the project. What the research group is doing next is to focus on the future of gaming. By interviewing various industry gurus they try to identify the shape(s) of things -- games and gaming -- to come. Their interpretation of the future will be available at the end of this year. GaS project manager Olli Sotamaa will manage the future project, too. If you want to know more, get in touch with him!

GaS presentations attracted good number of listeners. Over 60 persons attended the final panel of the seminar. The panelists: Koopee Hiltunen (Neogames), Ilari Kuittinen (Housemarque), Mikko Honkakorpi (Mahtava Development), Riku Suomela (Nokia), Kai Kuikkaniemi (HIIT) and Olli Sotamaa (TAY) discussed about digital distribution, changes in user segments and the division between casual and hard core and its role in current forms of game industry. If you missed the half day seminar, you can check out the slides from the net. The findings of the project were clearly valuable as people kept discussing of the presentations through the evening. I heard several mentions especially of Saara Toivonen's research findings at the bar. Good stuff! Cuba was nicely crowded with 131 persons joining the Gathering. GaS researchers were also present at Cuba with a experimental game play prototype people could try. They presented a goo game Ooze Attack that uses the heart rate as a measure for the firing rate.

"Ooze attack is an experimental public display game prototype. It has been developed together by researcher in Helsinki Institute for Information Technology and software project course in Helsinki University of Technology. Basically it is a combination of simple real-time shooter, which is controlled with touchscreen phone and heartrate band. Game world is in the big screen and interaction takes place through the mobile devices. Research motivation has been the exploration of public display game mechanics, collocated social experience and biosignal interaction. If you want to know more, talk to Kai Kuikkaniemi /" And those who didn't feel that experimental, could loosen up by playing some 16 bit games. After Cuba closed its doors, the strongest continued the night in the neighborhood. At least Rymy-Eetu and Beetroot got a good share of game developers as well. All in all good networking and lots of valuable discussions and opinion sharing. Go Finland! Go game developers!

If you missed all the fun, check out the photos and be sure to join in April!

Next week some Finnish game developers will be at GDC2010. Igda Finland will share our take on GDC 2010 shortly!