Picture a place full of game developers who make super creative out of the box kind of games for everyone to play.
Picture a place where these many, many game developers help each other with their projects, they test each other’s games, exchange feedback, and help each other with their marketing efforts.
Picture a place where game developers put a lot of value on sharing knowledge, and they tell each other what they learned from their trials, share whatever good resource they find, and strive to make this knowledge accessible to anyone, always, for free.
Picture a place where game developers hang out for fun, and organize awesome parties and board game nights and game jams and events where everyone with an interest for games and gamedev can come and play and learn. Once a year, they go super big and organize this huge game conference and expo, where they welcome awesome gamedev folk from all over the world.
Picture a place like this with a gamedev university, who works with all the gamedevs to do the very best for the future game developers generation. They want to pass on the best lessons they can, to make sure there is a bright gamedev future here. Its not uncommon for your teacher to be a CEO or an art lead at a local gamedev studio.
Picture a place where game developers can point out what knowledge they are lacking, and get workshops held by veteran gamedevs from all over the world, where they can attend for free and learn, together.
Picture a place that has an incubator that gives offices and hardware and business coaches and production help and marketing help and travel assistance and workshops and more, so everyone gets a chance to try build their own studio and can lean on everyone around, and all the knowledge gained, to make it. And, in turn, they pay it forward.
Picture a place where your neighbor game studio’s success is more important than your own. Because you know they’d have your back, just like you’d have theirs. Because your neighbor might be your publisher one day. Or you might be theirs. Or just because that’s how everyone wishes things to be, and acts as the change they want to see in the world.
Picture a place where all these game devs can go together at international game events, share a booth and help each other make the best out of it, working to ensure that together, they have the best place possible and the best time at that show.
Picture a place where gamedev studios can easily join forces to bring a big project to life.
Picture a place where all this power is enthusiastically combined to build this big, open, resourceful community that can generate a lot of knowledge and help for the entire video games industry. And everyone contributes, with whatever they can and want to: writing useful stuff, streaming, tweeting, jamming, holding workshops, creating art galleries – anything they can think of, to make this community, and the video games industry, even better.
Picture a place where some studios become wildly successful, and others do not make it, but hey! This place has a booming gamedev industry so you get a job, most likely at a studio where you already know everybody and have probably worked and jammed with most already.
Picture a place that welcomes anyone with an interest and passion for gamedev, and with a kind of attitude that fits this larger plan to build a real, solid, wonderful and profitable community.
Picture a place where the municipality and politicians actually understand all this, and help a lot. They build the way and get the means so this community thrives.
Picture a place that has a physical location, but it morphs into this concept of making the video games industry an awesome, welcoming, creatively challenging industry for everyone to join, and for everyone to push its boundaries. Not just in terms of games, but also in terms of business conditions and conduit. A fair trade, where building people up and giving real value are the ultimate goals.
This community exists, though I think most people in it wouldn’t describe it as such. In fact, they would have lots to argue – its sort of a Swedish way (gamedev way?), and it is meant to push things forward. It’s OK, I do need my enthusiasm tempered sometimes. But, yeah, this community is called Sweden Game Arena and I really, really, really love my job. And if you are an SGA dev, or just a gamedev in general, know this: its easy to think about what you DON’T have, because what you do have, life teaches you to take for granted. Even if it is extraordinary. Don’t you love to make games?