About Rakethopp

This is my personal site about interaction design in general and game design in particular.

However, it's terribly out of date! Expect a revamp very soon (as of the fall of 2014).

Jacob Michelsen

@Jickelsen on Twitter
Rocketjumpr on Tumblr
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Entries in Conference (2)

SGA Conference Recap

I've had time to gather my thoughts on the SGA conference and I can safely say it was really worth the long car drive (did I ever really doubt it?). There were of course a few things I thought they could have handled better, most importantly keeping both presentation sessions in sync so you could more easily have switched between them.

Another thing was Per Strömbäck of Dataspelsbranchen, whose industry-centric but sobering final talk effectively lowered our enthusiasm one or two notches. Putting him as the final speaker was perhaps not such a great idea.


Otherwise though, it was awesome! Here are some of the highlights.

Robin Flodin of Power of Two and Zeal Game Studio talked about his game Dwarfs!? and setting up a game studio. I remember meeting Robin at Gamex 2011, and that he through an offhand remark meant as a joke got me started down the entirely wrong path, making games with Torque 2D :D

Our friends at Unity were there and showed off some new features of their latest release, Unity 3.5. Of all the features, nothing could have made us happier than the announcement that external version control is now a free feature! The limited version control compatibility of the free version has  been a huge problem for us in Fortenight Games, with versioning conflicts stealing lots of time.

Anders Frank from the National Defence College held a presentation on Serious Games, a category of the Swedish Game Awards which he also is part of the jury of. It was really interesting and many of the gameplay concepts and aesthetics he mentioned really tickled the interaction designer in me. This is the kind of stuff we are doing right now in the aesthetics of interaction course!

Jon Svenonius of Stardoll is head of their newly started studio focused on mobile games, and he talked about surviving in the iPhone App Store. Don't go over 20 MB!

Johan Pilestedt at ArrowHead Game Studios, makers of Magicka (one of my favorite games) shared lots of advice and lessons learned. Check out his awesome postmortem on Magicka at Gamasutra!

Oskar Burman of Easy, once part of DICE, talked about the future of digital distribution and games a service. Very interesting, and I've always thought games as a service seems like a reasonable solution to the problem piracy supposedly poses to the traditional business model... assuming you can leverage the appropriate infrastructure!


Of course, we met lots of cool indie devs who were alsp just starting out, and we tried to convince more than a few of them to come visit the awesome bohemian city of Gothenburgh and drink beer with us on indie beer nights.

We had plenty of opportunities to be starstruck too! On Saturday there was an announcement that Youtube legend and game critic/promoter John "Totalbiscuit" Bain would be around to give feedback on concept documents for SGA entry games, but we had nothing like that... we have a playable prototype! TB gave us some good feedback and we were super psyched that he liked the core concept! There was much mead drinking later that night!

And of course, it was pretty cool seeing our Minister for Culture Lena Adelsohn side-by-side with TB onstage. 


Nordic Game Conference in Malmö

Last week I had the opportunity to visit the Nordic Game Conference in Malmö, the largest industry gathering in Nordic Europe. For two days me and Samson Wiklund listened to speakers, photographed stuff on display, and played a number of promising indie games. The whole thing kicked off with an Indie Night the evening before the congress, which was a lot of fun (though I had kinda hoped for better presentations, though Grapefrukt and Petri did a fun one on their obsession with statistics in games).

While only a handful of studios had booths, the Icelandic group including CCP being the loudest, a great number of prominent figures were present. Most well known is probably Ed Fries, previously leading Xbox development at Microsoft. His opening keynote was a throught-provoking piece on the importance of constraints to stimulate creativity. To illustrate this he brought up the challenge he had set himself, to create a Halo game on the Atari 2600 with the unique limitations imposed by that machine. The book that was his inspiration to undertake such a project, Racing the Beam by Nick Montfort and Ian Bogost seems like a very inspirational piece for any game programmer (needless to say I've already ordered it :) ).

The final session, pitting indie titles against AAA games in various categories, has inspired me to finally write a piece about player-driven storytelling in games, specifically Minecraft. I hope to be done with it soon!
More pictures and video from the event can be found over at my Tumblr blog and soon also at Gameplayer.se, the site I helped photograph for.