The gaming industry is rapidly growing in Tampere on many levels. The Tampere Game Factory project is promoting the growth and development of gaming companies in Tampere region.
The Stardust Galaxy Warriors team is creating a PC game under the same name in New Factory’s Protomo. The pace is intense, since the game is due to be finished in May, and the promotion campaigns for the publication already started in Steam Greenlight in December. Its makers have a common background as students at Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) and together they will start a gaming company and become the best PC team in Finland. Protomo provides them with suitable framework.
– We have a really professional and relaxed atmosphere here. There are other PC game teams working on the same premises, and peer support is always available, says the project manager and producer for the team, Minna Eloranta.
Spontaneity and the space without partition walls are an important part of how the New Factory operates. According to the project manager of Tampere Game Factory and gaming specialist Antti Salomaa, the number of gaming companies at New Factory is about to reach so-called critical mass.
– My goal is to turn this into a hub for the gaming industry where companies of all sizes can benefit from communal operations. When enough makers and companies are gathered in the same place, it also adds to the attractiveness and marketing value of the whole community, says Salomaa.
The new open company culture does not have to be specially imposed on the gaming companies, since both Salomaa and Eloranta have noticed that mutual helping is a part of everyday work in the Finnish gaming industry, even when the companies are located in their own offices.
– After all, gaming companies are trying to reach the international market from the start, and there is no need to compete in their homeland, Salomaa says.
Tampere Game Factory is a regional support project that tries to promote the growth and development of gaming companies in the Tampere region. It has, among other things, mapped out what gaming companies require to become balanced and successful. Three practical issues have emerged: recruitment, financing and access to distribution channels. If the gaming companies receive help with these things, the world will play notably more games developed in Tampere.
– The information published last October about Traplight Games receiving capital investment was great news. More of these will be heard in the future, because several companies from the region have been able to develop their material in peace, and now the work is starting to bear fruit, says Salomaa.
At the same time, the need for recruitment is increasing, and the companies need more capable staff: programmers, graphic designers, marketers, social network experts and so on.
– We try to make the situation easier by creating a separate section on the project’s web site to facilitate recruitment, exploiting the Orava service developed in Protomo, Salomaa says.
Obtaining funding is a large question mark for many game developers. Where and how to get funding, how to find business angels and to present the company’s vision... An expert’s help increases the chances of meeting the right persons at the right time and sorting out the frills of the funding optimally. The same goes for finding distribution channels, so that the game can also reach its users.
On the gaming world’s map, Tampere is the second largest hub in Finland, with a lot going on. Universomo, an internationally renowned gaming studio, was shut down in 2010. Little by little, a promising future has developed out of the sad event.
– Natural evolution has taken place in Tampere: After Universomo, several smaller companies emerged, some of which have been merged with bigger ones or grown together. The expertise has changed its place and shape, and all in all, this is a positive development, says Salomaa.
The Stardust Galaxy Warriors team meets every morning, goes through the tasks of the day and starts work. Things are decided together, and if necessary, the plans can be changed quickly. Starting a joint venture is now becoming topical, and the Stardust Galaxy Warriors game is the first product of the new company.
– It is destined to offer a fun gaming experience without unnecessary gimics. The objective is that when you invite your friends over, sit on the couch and grab the controllers, everyone can play a meaningful and good game right away. However, even after dozens of playing hours, there are still new things to find, Eloranta describes.