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Northern Game Summit 2014 is once again going to gather the top names of the game industry to Kajaani, Finland.

The NGS consists of a 2-day conference with fantastic speakers, as well as an evening party. It provides an easygoing environment for game makers to mingle, meet and exchange ideas. Our goal is to encourage mutual networking between the Novices and the Masters of the game development trade.

Creating new contacts, communicating new ideas, hearing the pros talk about current and upcoming trends - our attendants will have two full days worth of brain activity in front of them.

Scroll down for more details.

To stay up to date on news check out our Facebook page and @NGS_2014.

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Tickets for "Northern Game Summit" (09/25/2014 – 09/26/2014)
Ticket sales have ended on 24 September 2014 17:00

Event details

Northern Game Summit 2014 is going to gather the top names of the game industry to Kajaani, Finland for the third time. And as you know, third time's the charm!

During our 2-day conference, we'll have both returning partners (including Microsoft and Rovio) and new guests, representing established companies as well as successful indies. Our speakers are going to cover a wide range of themes, including not only ludo-scientific topics such as cyberpsychology, narrativism and gamification, but also more hands-on subjects such as animation and programming.

Our venue

Our venue will be BioRex Kajaani, a local cinema theatre with three halls and comfortable seats. We will be sharing our keynotes and panel session between all three halls, but most speakers will do their presentations exclusively in one of them.

The event will take place in Kajaani, the capital town of the Kainuu region. The local game industry has grown around Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, which provides the oldest and most diverse game development education in Finland. Kainuu region has previously been known for the Vuokatti skiing and sports center.

Our attendees are most welcome to enjoy the beautiful nature around Kajaani. We have it on a good authority that it only takes fifteen minutes to walk from the shopping malls in the center to the edge of the surrounding woods.

Our programme

We blast off our first day with a 90-minute opening keynote by Microsoft. On the second day, after the talks, we will also host a panel talk, immediately followed by a short closing keynote. Please note that Day 2 starts at 10:00, an hour earlier than Day 1, in consideration of those of our guests who have flights to catch.

On both days, we will present our attendees with three simultaneous tracks of different topics. According to the feedback we received after NGS 2013, we have adjusted the schedule this year to ensure that people have enough time for breaks, and for moving between the different halls.

Each speaker has been alloted one hour, out of which we encourage them to reserve 15 minutes for questions and answers. After each talk, there is a 20-minute break before the next three talks begin. The only exceptions to this format are the keynotes. The Day 1 keynote takes an hour and a half, followed by the 20-minute break, while the ending keynote is shorter and begins immediately after the panel, without a break in between.

Day 1

9:00

BioRex

Registration

11:00 - 12:30

Hall 1

Hall 2,3

Emmi Kuusikko: KEYNOTE (via video stream)

16:30

Halls 1-3

Day 1 is over!

17:30

Private

Dinner for our speakers and benefactors.

20:00

Club 96

Bonus Stage! Remember to bring your ticket! The party is exclusive to the Day 1 participants of the NGS 2014.

Day 2

9:00

BioRex

Registration

10:00

Hall 2

Andy Touch: Hands-On with Unity 5's Visual Tools

Hall 3

Dr Maria Stukoff: How tomorrow's game developers build a future on PlayStation

12:40

Hall 3

Kalle Pakalén: A client's viewpoint on game development

14:00

Hall 2,3

Panel (via video stream)

15:00 - 15:40

Hall 1

Final Keynote: TBA

Hall 2,3

Keynote (via video stream)

15:40

Halls 1-3

Day 2, and NGS 2014, is over!

In case of unavoidable changes to the schedule, we will do our very best to ensure that all the speakers listed for Day 1 will speak on Day 1, and the same goes for Day 2.

Our speakers

Because game industry is such an international field, you should note that the country codes after our speakers' name indicate the country they're currently active in, which may or may not also describe their nationality.

Our list of speakers will be updated as our partners will confirm the identity of their speakers and representatives.



KEYNOTE SPEAKER

Emmi Kuusikko, UK

Business and Strategy Director at Microsoft/ Lionhead Studios

Emmi has over 10 years of professional experience from gaming, social media and ICT fields. She is an expert in service based games development, with focus on monetization, retention and user acquisition.

Emmi's game career started in 2004 at Sulake, maker of the virtual world Habbo. Next she worked Digital Chocolate to head their product management and analytic's functions. Now she's a member of Lionhead's leadership team.


Toni Alatalo, FI

Lead programmer and co-founder at Playsign

Currently Lead Programmer at Playsign Ltd, Toni also both founded and is the owner of the company since 2003. He is a true veteran of the indie game scene.

In addition to this, he also was Technical Director at Studio Orange/Blender Foundation, and has many years of experience teaching and researching digital media and web services, among various other tasks.

Blender in Game Production: Creation & Export Tools

Day 2. 11:20. Hall 2.


Dr Miguel Á. Bernal-Merino, UK

PhD(Game localization); M.Sci. (Multimedia local.)

Dr Miguel teaches game localisation and media translation in both the undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at the University of Roehampton.

For the past few years he has worked to raise awareness about the issues involved in the localization of video games by leading several events in Europe and the U.S. He believes passionately that localized versions should play as wonderfully as the original ones.

"Become a global contender!"

Day 2. 10:00. Hall 1.

Dr Miguel coordinates the 'Game Localization Round Table' (for Localization World) and the 'Localization Summit' (for GDC). He is the elected chair of the 'IGDA Localization SIG', and his book "Translation and Localisation in Video Games. Making Entertainment Software Global" has just come out.

The community of professionals he leads considers localisation as an essential part of game development, production and marketing. For most game companies in the world, localisation is vital for survival adding from 35% to 95% of total revenues, but even better, localisation increases your fan-base and expands the reach of IPs, reducing the impact of copycats.

In this session, Dr. Bernal-Merino will give guidelines to introduce localisation planning in your game projects, so that you become part of the European industries that are gaining ground to the US and Japan.


Berni Good, UK

BSc(Psych); MSc; MBPsS

There are not many psychologists who specialise in the area of Cyberpsychology and even fewer (we can literally think of a handful globally!) who specialise in the video games industry. Berni Good is one of them.

A member of British Psychological Society and a founder of Cyberpsychologist Limited she is a psychologist in love with video games, trying to figure out what makes the gamer tick.

Video Game Psychology:
Applying Psychology to video game development

Day 2. 11:20. Hall 1.

Some of the world's most successful developers already have psychologists working with them using psychology to enhance immersion and engagement and addressing issues of disengagement as well as desire for continuation to play and understanding the science behind player types.

This no nonsense talk will largely focus on how psychology can be used and applied to the industry from design to monetisation strategies within gamer consumer psychology as well as ethical issues around using this science in an applied way.


Tomáš Jech, USA

Senior Animator

His stories and lessons are drawn from his work experience at Pixar, Bungie, and Blizzard, as well as his current position as a senior animator at Riot Games.

Tomáš has also visited and spoken at various US institutions including Gnomon School of Art and Ex'pression College for Digital Art.

Poop for the Stars!!

Day 1. 12:50. Hall 1.

A panel on the seemingly innocuous ways that creative professionals set themselves up for failure. Tomas shares stories from his experiences animating and developing games at major studios (Pixar, Bungie, Blizzard, Riot). Come and learn from his mistakes! Discover better ways to think, love, live (and poop!) like a creative professional.


Mikko Kasanen, FI

Technical Evangelist at Microsoft

Mikko Kasanen blew his first fuse when he was 4 years old when trying to build a "Electric Lego Car" out of a broken lamp cord. He still has a huge passion to tinker with all sorts of devices and code.

With experience from mobile application development in all 3 major platforms, he now works as a Technical Evangelist for Microsoft.

Creating your first Azure mobile service

Day 1. 12:50. Hall 3.

In this hands-on demo you will learn how to build your first mobile application with a cloud backend in Azure. This is a great starting point if you need to build and online backend such as an global high score list for your game!

Adding OAuth to Azure mobile services

Day 1. 14:10. Hall 3.

In this hands-on demo we will add authentication logic to our mobile application using most common authentication services (Facebook, Microsoft Account, Google, Apple etc.)

Quickstart to push notifications in Azure mobile services

Day 1. 15:30. Hall 3.

In this hands-on demo we will learn how to add push notifications to your mobile service. With push notifications you can alert your users about new content updates, messages, or any other vital information you would want your users to know.


Vlad Micu, FIN

Head of studio at Critical Force Ent.

Vlad Micu has had several years of experience in game industry journalism, PR and management. Some of you might also remember him from last year's NGS!

Vlad is currently responsible for Critical Force Entertainment's two main franchises: Critical Strike Portable (with 16+ million downloads on Google Play with 300.000 DAU) and Company of Tanks.

The Complete Game Startup Turnaround:
Tips and Tricks to (Re)Build Your Studio For The Future

Day 2. 11:20. Hall 3.


Veli Nyström, FIN

Concept Artist, Illustrator

Veli is a young Finnish digital artist who has worked in illustration and concept art for Gantasy Flight Games, 10tons, Fragment Production and Tuliotus. He's currently studying media at Tampere University of Applied Sciences.

He's been doing digital art since 2005, and has always been interested in painting and drawing. He's passionate about fantasy and science fiction, games and about of course about improving his art skills.

Environment Painting Demo

Day 1. 14:10. Hall 1.

Veli will do a digital environment painting demo as well as share tips and tricks he has learned during the years.


Kalle Pakalén, FIN

Spark Project Representative

The goal of the Spark project was to create a gamified interface to help young enterpreneurs create their business plans, including a printable document.

Kalle will share his experiences as a customer to a game company in a gamification project, in the hopes of smoothing the way for future collaboration between the game industry and the public sector. This will be a must-see talk for anyone interested in gamification projects.

A client's viewpoint on game development

Day 2. 12:40. Hall 3.


Antti Seppänen, FIN

Storyteller; CEO

A game designer specializing on narrative, a CEO of a new indie company Afterlife Entertainment, Antti is one of our returning speakers from the last year. His talk, The Unseen Narrator, was one of the most popular among the attendees of NGS 2013. This year he'll be back to share his new ideas on the topic of narrativism in games.

Narrative vs Gameplay

Day 2. 12:40. Hall 1.

Games have become increasingly more narrative during the past few decades, yet their gameplay elements have remained more or less the same. Compelling narrative mixed with freedom of interaction inevitably clash together, creating an intriguing problem called ludonarrative dissonance. Antti explains why this is an issue, and what can be done to create better story-driven experiences.


Martine Spaans, GER

Mobile Game Publisher

Martine Spaans started her career in online gaming in 2006 and has worked for well-known companies like Spil Games and Ubisoft. She quickly learned the magic formula behind a great game and developed a good understanding of gamers' needs.

She has her own Android publishing company Tamalaki in cooperation with FGL Mobile; helping indie developers to push their games to a diversity of app stores.

F2P vs Customer Satisfaction

Day 1. 14:10. Hall 2.

Free-to-Play design is looked upon as the popular kid on the block. Everyone is envious of the success, and everyone is waiting for the downfall. However, F2P is nothing new, and it's here to stay.

During this talk I dive deeper into the history and the consumer emotion behind the F2P concept. What is the value of free, how to handle user expectations, and how to implement some best practices.


Justin Swan, FIN

Lead Game Designer at Red Lynx

Justin Swan is the lead game desiger on Trials Frontier, the first Trials game released on mobile and also the first F2P game in the franchise. He has previously worked for PopCap Games and Microsoft, pushing the boundaries of the current platforms to find and explore new spaces and possibilities.

According to Justin everyone should game, and he wants to make that happen.

"Free": The Dirtiest four letter word in gaming.

Day 1. 15:30. Hall 2.


Dr Maria N. Stukoff, UK

PhD(Mobile Gaming and Public Art), Head of Academic Development

Currently Head of Academic Development at SCE Europe, Dr Maria is the driving force behind Sony's programme, PlayStation®First, which aims to engage the next generation of PlayStation savvy game developers.

She directs the programme's strategic planning and implementation, and evangelises PlayStation game development and production methods.

How tomorrow's game developers build a future on PlayStation

Day 2. 10:00. Hall 3.


Kajfa Tam, UK

Technical Art Director at Improbable

Now working on new and exciting tech at London start-up Improbable, Kajfa previously held the same title at Massive - a Ubisoft Studio. He has worked on games like Tom Clancy's The Division, Assassin's Creed: Revelations and Fable 3.

As a father and technical art director, his focus is to make sure people have the tools and pipeline to overcome the unforeseen challenges in life to achieve their creative ambitions and to set them up for success!

Setting you up for success!

Day 1. 15:30. Hall 1.

Being a creative leader is a common goal of many artist. But what does it mean to be a lead or director? What skillset is needed? Even though this is aimed for an art discipline, a lot of the takeaways can be applied to every leadership/manager role within the game industry.


Andy Touch, UK

Product Evangelist at Unity

Ever since he downloaded Unity, added 3D physics to 100 cubes and watched them bounce around, Andy Touch has been addicted to experimenting with gaming technology.

Having previously taught game development to University students, he is now part of Unity Technologies' Evangelism team helping to spread the word of the game engine and to show off what it can do!

Hands-On with Unity 5's Visual Tools

Day 2. 10:00. Hall 2.


Marc Trudel, JPN

CTO at Wizcorp

Currently CTO at Wizcorp Inc., a smartphone social game development venture based in Tokyo, Japan.

Marc's recent work has focused on defining and implementing affordable and robust infrastructure as well as defining the scope of required technologies in regards to mobile social game applications. His specialities also include datacenter management for smartphone oriented applications.

The Web: Infrastructure, Technology and
why Game Devs should care

Day 2. 12:40. Hall 2.

The game industry is fairly well known for the amazing 3D engines it develops. Today's industry, however, requires a whole lot more of unseens than it used to: from servers interconnecting users, to management tools allowing game content managers to tweak the ecosystem, games now require a whole lot more than, well, a game to release.

The Web can help you tackle this extra work with quite some ease. It provides the technologies for developers to rapidly develop such extra tools. But what if you could develop additional customer-facing tools that show the evolution of your game's ecosystem? Or even crazier, what if you could build your game using Web technologies?

This talk will give an overview of the last four years of evolution, present some show-cases to demonstrate what can be done today, and discuss the opportunities, the challenges and the limitations of the Web for game development.

Wooga special! Twin Talks!


Katia Vara, GER

Senior Project Manager at Wooga

At Wooga there are 6 internal studios, Katia Vara acts as Development Director and oversees every game produced in her studio. She assumes multiple leadership-oriented positions depending on the desired outcome of the projects and the teams: facilitator, project manager, coach, development director, etc.

Her work in various roles and disciplines has helped her getting to the point where she is now and has erased the word "impossible" from her vocabulary.

Eric H. Song, GER

Product Manager at Wooga

Eric was part of the Jelly Splash team from Day 1. In the prototyping phase he used Unity to quickly sketch and evaluate game mechanics and balance configurations.

During production, his broad set of skills proved invaluable, allowing him to hold responsibilities in feature-design, interaction-design and project management.


Twin talks from Wooga!

Day 1. 12:50. Hall 2.

Expectations vs. Realities in Outsourcing

In video games, we are - or will be - working with outsourcers. Possibly even be the outsourcer. Why do so many companies subcontract to third parties? What are the expectations of outsourcing, besides the obvious? At Wooga, I deal with outsourcing on daily basis and will open the doors to an unknown but definitely popular world.

Expectations vs. Realities in Games Design

What does a game designer do on a daily basis? Do you have a dozen brilliant game ideas you want to make? What skills do you need as a game designer?

This is a candid and informal talk will briefly highlight some of the duties of a Product Manager in the Jelly Splash game team at Wooga, and tries to inform eager students about what we think are some of the processes and skills needed to make a hit game on mobile.


Panel


Jussi Autio, FIN

Multitasker in game industry

Jussi is a game industry professional with 8 years of experience. Started with founding and running a game company for almost 6 years. He continued to design, launch and execute a new education programme at Oulu University of Applied Sciences called Oulu Game Lab. Now Jussi holds a position of CEO at Oulu based game start-up Viima Games.

Suvi Latva, FIN

Coordinator at Neogames Finland

Suvi is an energetic organizer and game industry specialist with large industry network. Her special interests are at the game industry development, game business and start-up companies. She has held several positions from the grass-roots of art and media to project management, consulting and regional/national game cluster development.

Veikko Miettinen, FIN

Development Manager at Joensuu Science Park Ltd

Veikko has 10 years of experience in creative industry and was involved with the creation of the first game design curriculum in Finland. At the Joensuu Science Park Veikko currently provides incubator services for game studios.

Teemu Saarelainen, FIN

Head of Games at Playa Game Hub

Teemu's ambition is to develop the game programming education, especially in Southern Finland and in the Kymenlaakso UAS. He is also involved in managing ICT-related projects and arranging funding for new development projects. Currently, in addition to lecturing, he is responsible for Playa Game Industry Hub and LevelUp-development spaces.

Carl Wideman, FIN

Cluster Director - Digitice Finland

DIGITICE is the Finnish national data center and digital business knowledge intensive cluster and Carl is the man steering that massive ship. He's such a funny guy that we have him doing a double duty at NGS 2014 - he's both the MC and a panelist.


"Panel: Does location matter?"

Day 2. 14:00 - 15:00.

Hall 1, Halls 2-3 (streamed).

The panel will explore how the choice of location affects your gaming company, whether it's smack in the middle of an industrial hub or in a small provincial town. What are the strengths and weaknesses of different geographical areas, and are they the same for all companies?

The short ending keynote will begin immediately after the panel.


"Bonus Stage" Party

As our goal is to encourage networking, we will also organize an evening party, "Bonus Stage", where all attendees are welcomed to meet each other, exchange ideas, network and forge new friendships. We also have a real bonus for all of you: Exhibition (recruitment?) Booths!

Have you ever wondered how to get that first contact in a game company or game industry, someone who can tell who you should meet, someone to follow on social media to stay up-to-date on the what's going on in a specific company? In this case it's going to be easy.

So make sure to bring your own calling cards with you, and be generous with them! For the full list of companies bringing representatives to the party, check our sidebar.

That said, it's not all about work! Thanks to the guys of Fingersoft, we will have an open bar and free soft drinks through the evening. There will also be some snacks and finger food so that the drinks aren't the only thing keeping us going!

Entirely separate from the party, we will host a dinner for our speakers, into which we will also gratefully invite all who purchase our benefactor ticket.

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25
25 — 26 September 2014
Thursday — Friday
BioRex Kajaani
Finland,
Kauppakatu 38

Event host

Kajaani University of Applied Sciences

NGS 2014 is organized by
Kajaani University of Applied Sciences
with the support of Kajability cooperative.

For more information please contact

Leili Mård

Event Manager, NGS 2014

leili [at] kajability.fi
+358 45 155 0600




our partners


Microsoft

Fingersoft

Wooga

Wooga



Unity

Critical Force Ent.

Critical Force Ent.



Playstation First

Neogames

Team Jolly Roger

Garde-Party ry

Pelialalle.com

Osuuskauppa Maakunta

Afterlife entertainment

Osuuskauppa Maakunta

Spark-projekti

F-Secure



Exhibitors @
Bonus Stage

Red Lynx

Critical Force Ent.

Unity

Wooga


Master of Ceremonies

Carl Wideman

Carl Wideman


Staff

Leili Mård

Event Manager

leili [at] kajability.fi
+358 45 155 0600

Janne Mustonen

Technical Manager

janne [at] kajability.fi

Ahn Vu Nguyen

Event Coordinator, Social Media

Hanne Pääkkönen

Event Coordinator, Sales & Marketing

Janne Joensuu

Event Coordinator, Design

Juha Keinänen

Technical Coordinator

Saara Nyyssönen

Event Coordinator, Party


The organizers would like to thank

VIDEPE

for providing audiovisual technology

BioRex

for the venue

Kouta Design

for graphic design

Kouta Design

for providing accomodation

Laura Heikkinen

for professional photography



Our little helpers

Aku M. Games

Afterlife Entertainment

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