Something’s brewing in Norway – part 1

I spent the better half of 2012 getting to know the Norwegian game development community. There’s a lot of exciting stuff happening and I thought I’d take some time off this Sunday afternoon and write a few observations, while the local game developers are slaving away at Bergen Game Jam (over 30 participants and a good handful of women – not bad – very proud girl geek heart!).

There’s over 70 companies registered in Norway that are game developers and I’m willing to wager that there’s at least as many individuals dabbling with game development in their spare time but not taken the steps towards professionalisation yet.

Norway may be a very small country but we are also spread far and wide with massive mountains inbetween. Usually what comes out of our capital, Oslo, has the main focus, but I’m wondering if those of us who are a part of one of the “districts” of Norway are also coming into our “own”. We can debate on why later.

First off let me introduce my home town:

Bergen

There’s so much excitement in the air here in Bergen. We’ve got a unique community here that is all about sharing and boosting each other’s projects. We meet once a month for beer and informal chats and it’s quickly turning into one of the highlights of my month.

At present I count 9 game developing companies in Bergen and nearby districts. I’m sure there are more, so please let me know if I’m missing something.
Rain Games
Rain is very currently adding the finishing touches to their game, Teslagrad and it looks beautiful, or as Nathan Grayson from Rock Paper Shotgun puts it:

“Titled Teslagrad, the outwardly Braid-esque (read: hand-drawn and utterly gorgeous) sidescroller deals not in time-bending, lionsheep-smacking hijinx, but instead traverses terrain by magnetizing objects and characters.”

January 17th, 2013

They’re a very passionate group of game developers and artists with a very clear vision of the worlds they are creating. They’re very dedicated to their craft and the results are obviously gorgeous. Here’s a clip of gameplay:

 

It should be finished and ready for release March/April 2013 – so look out for it!

Other media mentions of Teslagrad:

Indie Statik

Gamereactor (Norwegian)
Bergens Tidene (Norwegian)

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Konsoll

I’m extremely embarrassed that I haven’t been blogging for such a long time! I have so much to tell. I haven’t even mentioned Insert Coin here yet – which is an insult to my communications profession. Can we just say that I’ve been very busy and I’ve been having a hell of a lot of fun!

So remember how I was writing about a game event in Bergen in October? Well we frakin pulled it off!

We collaborated with several others in getting this done so the program tended to confuse people, and at certain times even ourselves. So it was a difficult concept to communicate which will be much better next year when we’ll be more independent.

 

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Linn – an agent for game developers?

This is the one that I am most unclear about, but it’s so closely related to part 1 of my next adventures – so I’ll let you into my foggy thoughts on the subject.

Image

From Walter and Marianne’s wonderful house!

I want to establish myself as some form of agent for game developers. I want to help them find the best publishing and distribution platforms for their games and I want to help them with professional PR and advertisement.

I’m very strongly influenced by Bandello and UKIE, and I hope to learn more from them.

I think game publishing and distribution is coming into a very good era, but I also think that it’s a growing into a challenging landscape to coordinate in. I want to be the woman who guides these game designers on to the paths that are right for them.

I have a lot to learn and the last couple of months have been good research for me. I’ve been using the gaming event that I’m organising with Spillmakerlauget as a base for this research, which is also why I gush so when I write about them, for they’ve been very open and welcoming. It’s been a great way for me to learn more about the game development community in Norway and what their needs are. Where’s the gap and can I fill it? I most definitely can (when did I become so arrogant?) and I see there’s a lot of potential for me to start a good business. There are some pretty amazing games in production and I sincerely want them to do well.

I’ve been wanting to get into the computer game industry for a while now, I just didn’t know how. But I truly believe that this is something I could do well.

So this is where I’m at right now:

  • I’m setting up meetings and introductions
  • I’m writing a business plan
  • I’m trying to think of a good name – but struggling. Suggestions are very welcome!
  • And I’m reading wonderful blogs such as Games Brief to get a grip on the industry
  • I’m making my own map of what publishing and distribution looks like today in the computer game industry
  • Strongly considering bankrupting myself by going to GDC Europe to start establishing the relationships I need. Are you going?

I’m sure that this will be a forum where I brainstorm more openly about how to do this. Cause I’ll be honest with you – I’m kinda scared about this whole “found my vocation in life” thing. I have days of feeling very alone and vulnerable. But then I have a meeting or a phone call with a non-believer of the industry and I find myself doing well and sounding pretty convincing (yes – I surprise myself!).  I soooo hope that it is not an illusion and that I can make this work.