Thursday, 14 November 2019 09:04

“It is a good start if you like playing games” – Working as a game developer in the Baltic Sea region

Written by  "Cohesion through EUSBSR" project

There is no business as usual when it comes to game design, I am told when having a tour in DE:HIVE, a game design centre in Berlin. My guide, Friedrich Schadow, works as a game developer in Baltic Game Industry, an EU funded project that raises awareness of the game industry in the Baltic Sea region.

In addition, the project is developing a game for health care purposes. He is giving a glimpse of how games are designed and what it is like to be a game developer in the Baltic Sea region. I am soon to discover that no day is similar at least in this game laboratory.

Before Friedrich joined the project, he worked with virtual reality (VR) movies after finishing his game design studies. He was interested in joining the project as he wanted to focus on research and work with more serious games.

The Baltic Game Industry project is definitely dealing with serious games as the game the project is working on is targeted at people suffering from alcohol addiction. It utilizes virtual reality to give a realistic feeling of situations, such as bars or stores, and the player can practice refusing alcohol and reinforce choosing non-alcoholic drinks. When it comes to using games for health care, even small details matter: “In the project, I create real looking bars for the addiction treatment game. We also get valuable feedback from the hospital we cooperate with. For example, I am currently redesigning the looks of a bartender as he looks to friendly!”

 

 

For someone coming outside the industry and experiencing the world of game design for the first time, it is very impressive to see the work in practice. Friedrich and his colleagues demonstrate the use of VR glasses and how the game looks at this point of the project. In their offices, there are also boxes full of little figures and objects whose purpose I quickly learn: they are used for prototyping and for visualizing abstract ideas.

Friedrich seems happy with the shift to more research oriented work: “For me, the best part of being involved in Baltic Game Industry has been the involvement in research projects and thinking differently about game design. Doing research takes more time and the pace is slower than it other game design fields. Every step needs to be thought carefully. I have definitely gained new experience from the project.”

During my visit at DE:HIVE and by chatting with the people involved in Baltic Game Industry, it is clear that the Baltic Sea region has the potential to become a hot spot in game industry. But what kind of opportunities does it offer for game developers?

“For researchers there are many opportunities as many companies, universities and institutions are currently working with VR and game related topics,” Friedrich tells. He also describes the change of the industry that used to be quite isolated but nowadays is much more involved in other industries. In the Baltic Sea region, Friedrich takes Poland as one example of places where there are good facilities and many things going on that could interest developers in the region.

 

As the game industry is growing, it is becoming more and more attractive as a career option, too. Working as a game designer sounds ideal for those who like playing games, but what else is needed to work with games?

“It is a good start if you like playing games. But it is also important to step away a bit from your own preferences, and think what makes games fun and engaging in general, and what you would like the players to experience. Then think how to mix your own ideas with this,” Friedrich advices.

Read more about Baltic Game Industry!

 

 

The article is part of an European Union funded project "Cohesion through EUSBSR" promoting positive results of EU Cohesion policy in the Baltic Sea macro-region (EUSBSR). 

The article reflects only the author's view and the European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains. 

 

With financial support from the European Union

 

 

        
Read 413 times Last modified on Thursday, 14 November 2019 09:31

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