Game developers support organization, GameDev Estonia, organized a two-day Summer Conference in Tartu and it’s nearby Elva in June 2022. On the 17th of June Estonian GameDev Summer Summit took place in Tartu at SPARK Demo and on the 18th of June AegCon 2022 in Elva, at a local sports center called Tartumaa tervisespordikeskus. This article concentrates on the Summer Summit part of the conference.
The GameDev Summer Summit happened in Estonia but was very international by its nature. Alongside Estonian companies like Ringtail Studios, Placeholder Gameworks and Mister Morris Games, there were participants and presenters from Finland (XAMK and LAB University of Applied Sciences), Latvia (Latvian Technological center), and Lithuania (Lithuanian Game Developers Association). The event gathered together over 80 people working in the industry (GameDev Estonia 2022a, GameDev Estonia 2022b.)
GameDev Estonia was founded in 2021. It is a non-profit organization, working in a similar way as Neogames in Finland. They support, coordinate and advocate the development of the video games industry in Estonia. They represent both the individuals working around games and game companies, as well as research centers and educational organizations related to the games industry. (GameDev Estonia 2021.)
Summer Summit highlights
Program of the Summer Summit was inspiring and diverse. There were two talks about marketing Indie Games: Jordan Morris from Mister Morris showed his experience with different marketing efforts during development and release of “Haiku the Robot” and Katre Tiku presented the Guide to Indie Game Social Media Marketing she made as part of her Bachelor thesis for the University of Tartu. (GameDev Estonia 2022b.)
There were also two talks related to game design. Sergei Dragunov from Not Bad, Fat Snail, talked about the experience, learnings and unforeseen obstacles of designing a new mobile game. Jaanus Jaggo dived deep in to the technology side of game development and shared technological tools and tricks he’s used while creating the PC game and procedural world of Blastronaut. (GameDev Estonia 2022b.)
All the presentations were recorded and can be watched for free from GameDev Estonia Video Gallery. External link to the ink to the GameDev Estonia Video Gallery.
Education is the key to future success
Estonia is a small country competing to source talented workforce from the global talent pool of game developers. As Estonia is not, yet, that well known in the world as a game developer country they have emphasis on game education. Both in the private and public sector. At the University of Tartu, students can enroll to a bachelor’s degree in video game development. They also offer smaller online courses on game development for everyone and upkeep a YouTube channel of relevant educational material. (CGVR Lab. 2022a, CGVR Lab 2022b, GameDev Estonia 2022b.) There are also similar studies available in Tallinn University (2022) and Estonian Entrepreneurship University of Applied Sciences (2022).
In the private sector Ringtail Academy in Tallinn is concentrating in teaching how to make simple assets for games by using Blender, Substance Painter and Marmoset toolbag. Full Cycle Game Academy in Pärnu focuses on the use of Unreal Engine in game development (GameDev Estonia 2022b).
Ria Gynther works as a RDI Specialist at the LAB University of Applied Sciences and as a Project Manager in the Baltic Explorers Project.
CGVR Lab. 2022b. YouTube Channel. Cited 23 Jun 2022. Available at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsLznArbKEiZB1uwZ054HjQ
Estonian Entrepreneurship University of Applied Sciences. 2022. Game Design and Development. Cited 23 Jun 2022. Available at https://www.euas.eu/study%20programs/program/game_design_and_development
GameDev Estonia. 2021. Who we are. Cited 27 Jun 2022. Available at https://gamedevestonia.ee/about-us/
GameDev Estonia. 2022b. Linkedin Post 22.6.2022. LinkedIn. Cited 23 Jun 2022. Available at https://www.linkedin.com/posts/gamedev-estonia_gamedevestonia-community-activity-6945352451780714496-VyO7?utm_source=linkedin_share&utm_medium=member_desktop_web
GameDev Estonia. 2022c. Estonian GameDev Summer Conference Gallery. Cited 23 Jun 2022. Available at https://gamedevestonia.ee/news/estonian-gamedev-summer-summit/
GameDev Estonia. 2022d. Elevating the Game Industry in Estonia. Cited 23 Jun 2022. Available at https://gamedevestonia.ee/
Tallinn University. 2022. Digital Learning Games. Cited 23 Jun 2022. Available at https://www.tlu.ee/en/dlg
Link 1. GameDev Estonia. 2022. Video Category. Cited 23 Jun 2022. Available at https://gamedevestonia.ee/video-category/
Link 2. Baltic Explorers. 2022. Project. Cited 22 Jun 2022. Available at https://balticexplorers.eu/