My interesting gamedev life

“Dear Laura, why the hell do you have a blog? You are a lazy bastard, very good at preaching, but rarely following what you preach.” True stuff. Let’s not do this anymore, shall we?

My life has been quite interesting lately, and I think it would be nice of me to share. I have always dreamed to be in the middle of a game development hub, and travel and meet lots of game devs, and learn, and do stuff. I am doing this now. 

To clarify the context, I am currently working in a very game dev intense city called Skövde, who has the most extensive game incubator program in Sweden, under a larger concept called Sweden Game Arena. Picture a small Swedish town of under 60000 inhabitants, but with over 25 game studios active, a game focused university and extraordinary initiatives. The Sweden Game Arena concept is new, and somewhat difficult to explain, but that’s part of it’s beauty: we are not limited in our plans to take over the game dev world. I currently hold several jobs, and this involves working with pretty much all studios around Skövde,  which makes my life intense, happy and very full of diverse, awesome games and game devs. I deeply love my job(s)! Nonetheless, this blog is my own and does not share any of my employers’ views necessarily.

Because of my pretty dam amazing job situation and the environment here in Skövde,  this year, I have been travelling more than ever, and I have met so many amazing people who inspire me wildly. Here’s where I have been:

  • In February, we went to Casual Connect in Amsterdam. It was pretty awesome, and I described the experience here. I did a pitiful job at capturing how awesome the event was, and how impressed both me and Sebi were about the indies we have met, the awesome sense of community and the generous, helpful attitude that we have encountered there
  • In March, I got permission to devise my gamedev world domination schemes so we started to plan several events in game city Skövde
  • In April, the Sweden Game Arena gamedev world domination schemes started with Play My Game! (photo report), because I wanted the people around here to know what awesome games are being made in Skövde, and because any gamedev needs feedback. It turned out far better than I ever imagined, our own local special gamedev mini expo, so we will do it again
  • In May, I’ve been to Nordic Game Conference in Malmö (report here) and to Casual Connect in Karlshamn (photo report here). Right in the middle of the gamedev world I always dreamed of, meeting people who’s work I have been following for years, meeting people who’s work I should have been following for years, and also meeting those who’s work I will follow for years. And it inspired me hugely! Really, I have no excuses for laziness, and I HAVE to write and learn and figure out a way to let all the games and gamedev love out of my head and into the hands of people who will hopefully enjoy it
  • In June, I met Ernest Adams! We organized a design workshop with Ernest Adams here in Skövde (photo report), followed by the University’s mini expo, keynoted by him again, to show the current student projects (photo report). We also inaugurated this year’s Microsoft Game Camp, where several teams will get assistance from a bunch of impressive industry professionals over the course of two months, whilst working on their games. These student teams are the ones who may apply to become the next studios in the incubator, and this is pretty awesome.
  • Today – still June – we organized Pitch My Game, where the young studios in the incubator were able to pitch their teams and projects to older, successful studios here in Skövde, for a chance to win substantial financial support to go to Gamescom in Cologne in August.

So now’s almost July.  At the end of this week is Midsommar, a holiday that we love and always celebrate at a castle called Läckö, on the shores of Lake Vänern. After a brief holiday, I will travel again to Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, in August, and then to several newer gamedev events here in Sweden. There’s so much happening that there’s barely any time to rest, but it feels amazing – it IS amazing.

And as always, Sebi keeps a great photo log on pretty much everything on his website.

 

I don’t want to brag though – I am just fortunate. Its just that in this situation, I watch and see and learn a lot. Some things I experience are awesome; others could certainly be much better. Which is why I lately rant a lot on Twitter about game dev in general, and in particular about tips and mistakes which can make or break a game or studio. I am slowly becoming quite passionate about the art of giving your game a voice, and the art of building a sustainable, fair, innovative game development studio. And I debate lots of topics, mostly in my head, about the state of the video games industry, how rapidly everything, from publishers, to press, to developers, is changing, how games slowly take their expected place as culture changers, as trend setters, as art, as a fascinating, immersive way to teach, and to offer different, unexpected, mind opening kind of experiences.

If there’s anything I am certain of, is that no one really knows anything. And if there’s anyone claiming otherwise, be suspicious. There’s no universal secret to market your game, or to forge a good team, or to sell or to create. But there are stories and lessons, good and bad, that can help you to at least devise a plan of action. Because – and here I go against my very own philosophy –  some things are certain: (1) knowledge is power, and (2) if you do nothing, nothing will happen, for sure.