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A unique vision can take you far in the games industry

Students, industry professionals, and various companies all met for the fourth time at this year's Aalto in the Game event.
Kim Valori, Miikka Junnila and Lasse Seppänen. Photo by Mikko Raskinen.

There's a buzz in the air at Aalto's Design Factory's game demo room. As Kim Valori lightly touches the screen of a tablet device, a little black bug nimbly follows his commands on its adventures through a dark landscape.

'The unique thing about our game is the way you move around', Valori explains.

'Generally-speaking, platform games are quite restricted. But in Shadow Bug's movement is effortless and dynamic', he continues.

Developed by Valori, Veli Laamanen, and Juha Ylimäki, Shadow Bugs started life as a standard piece of coursework.

'And then the idea kind of took off!  We received some funding for concept development from Avecon, won the pitching competition at the Beatcon games summit, and we've just been chosen to take part in the Summer of Startups programme.'

The secret to a hit game

In addition to providing a space for developers to demo their games, Aalto in the Game also functions as a recruitment event and includes presentations from numerous industry professionals. In the Urban Mill, Aalto University teacher Miikka Junnila talks to the audience about the educational opportunities in the gaming sector. At Aalto University, the School of Science and School of Arts, Design and Architecture both offer two-year master's degree programmes in the gaming field. Whilst each programme has its own unique components, both emphasise practical exercises, internationalisation, and multidisciplinary.

'To successfully come up with and sell a decent game requires a huge amount of expertise from different professions. Thankfully, we're able to provide all of this at Aalto', remarks Junnila.

And there is plenty of market demand for the multi-faceted expertise possessed by members of the Aalto University community. Indeed, according to Junnila, there are already plenty of Aalto University students and graduates working both in large games companies and smaller startups in the industry.  Everyone is looking to make a hit game, but what exactly does it take to realise this goal?

'The most important thing is to do your own thing and not copy others', explains the man behind the hit game Alan Wake, Lasse Seppänen.

'The mobile gaming market is already quite saturated. Having said that, there's always room for fresh, new ideas.'

There's a buzz in the air at Aalto's Design Factory's game demo room. Photo by Mikko Raskinen.

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