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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Game event in October with The Game Developers Guild

It dawned on me that I haven’t written about what I’m up to on my own blog! So in no particular order – let me list them up for you

1) Spillmakerlauget

Not “the” official picture but I love that they’re all cracking up! From the back left: Peter Wingaard Medahl, Ricki Sickenger, Espen Thomassen Sæverud. Infront from left Bjarte Sebastian Hansen and Stefan Svellingen.

I think the jury is still out on the direct translation of the wonderful name – either it’s Game Developer’s Guild or Game Maker’s Guild. Either one is pretty wonderful in my book. Basically they are a bunch of hard working game developers in Bergen, having a few beers and having a vision about making game development more accessible and open in Norway. The result has been a wonderful space where game developers can learn from each other, exchange ideas, exchange resources and of course – dreams. Their morals and goals are pure and sincere – and needless to say – I adore them!

The event – Console

I was introduced to the guild in february and when I learned that Indie Game: The Movie was being considered for The International Film Festival in Bergen (BIFF) I felt that I had to make my move. We HAD to make a gaming event worthy of the documentary and game developers in Norway. I got in touch with someone that I knew was on the board at the guild and he agreed to let me speak at their next board meeting. I remember being rather nervous. I have a lot of respect and admiration for game designers and I desperately wanted them to like me.  I got to make my case to the board of the six wise game developing men and I let my passion and enthusiasm have free flow – which is always a scary thing – but I just couldn’t help myself. I honestly had trouble catching my breathe at times. Thankfuly – they were in agreement! We should create an event in unison with BIFF and do something fun! I was also happy to hear that they were interested in making the games industry more available to the public. So we decided to make the event two-fold. One part for game developers and the other part for the public that may not know games as well as we do.

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