In addition to writing and reading, I’ve been fascinated by games from a young age. That’s why I participated in Northern Game Summit this week and, like last year, learned a lot from it.
NGS is a 2-day conference where experts from the gaming industry talk about everything game-related, from technical stuff to marketing. The speakers ranged from CEOs to designers to animators to engineers, so there was something for everyone. The main idea of the event is to encourage networking between the pros and the newbies, so to say, and I think the environment and atmosphere are definitely NGS’s strong points. Everyone is welcome and the pros always seem very helpful and willing to answer questions and offer tips.
The presentations were informative and even though I know next to nothing about creating games, it was interesting to hear about Cities: Skylines for example. Skylines is a city-building game by a Finnish company Colossal Order and it was a huge success immediately after launch. While I haven’t played it myself, I’ve heard a lot of good things about it and seen several videos, and after listening to their lead designer’s (Karoliina Korppoo) speech, I can easily understand why people love it so much. The company truly listens to their customers and constantly works on the game to make it better, which I believe is something everyone should do.
One area I would’ve loved to hear about is how the process of writing a story for a game goes. As a player, I favor RPGs because I always love a good story and I’ve even played with the idea of being a writer for a game. There was a neat presentation about level design this year by Pascal Luban, but I’d be interested in hearing about the writing behind a level/game. I don’t know if game writing is something I’d really enjoy but I’d definitely want to give it a shot if the opportunity presents itself. How you write always depends on what you’re writing (game, movie, novel, poem, article etc etc) but I think understanding the different processes could be a tremendous help. I’m sure there are tips and tricks that could be adapted from one medium to another.
Like with books, I think indie has become a big word around the gaming industry as well. There were presentations about indies at NGS as well, and things like Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight have opened up the market to a much wider population of game creators. Many indie games have been amazingly successful over the past few years and more titles will no doubt continue to shine on at the side of their AAA-brothers and sisters.
Do you put more value on the story or the actual mechanics of a game? Have you ever backed an indie project through (for example) Kickstarter? If you happened to be at NGS, how did you like the experience?