Meet the Norwegian Game Makers Guild – Spillmakerlauget

spillmakerlauget

Made up of five separate chapters, the Norwegian Game Makers Guild is fighting for a better Norwegian Game Industry

Most of us have probably tried to be members of a guild when trying our luck as Paladins, Thieves, or Mages in the multitude of digital Role Playing Games available. But fewer have probably tried to be a member of a guild in this, the real, physical life. But for game developers in Norway, being a member of a guild has become a very real possibility, ever since a group of volunteers set up the first chapter of the Norwegian Game Developers Guild (or Spilmakerlauget, as it is known in Norway) in 2010.

Seeking to strengthen the local game industry and improve the ties between the businesses and educations, the guild has already come far sine the inception in 2010 in a classroom at the Bergen University College. Since then, the movement has spread across the Norwegian landscape, and today the Game Developers Guild has five different chapters in the different parts of the country. Each one an independent unit with it’s own goals and activities.

 

Spillmakerlauget Board member Dag-Erling Jensen

Spillmakerlauget Board Member Dag-Erling Jensen

According to board member of the Norwegian Game Developers Guild, Dag-Erling Jensen, having the guild split into separate independent units was not a specific plan from the beginning. “It was not really a conscious choice to work towards having local chapters, but it came as a natural thing, when new guilds appeared,” he tells Nordic Game Bits. But in hindsight, it seems to have worked out really well.

We can see that the local chapters can adapt to the needs in the local area, and they can also leverage opportunities in their environment.

Jensen underlines, however, that any member is eligible to participate in meetings or workshops, even if they belong to a different chapter than the one organizing the specific event.

 

The long term goal of the Guild is to help create a healthy games industry in Norway, as their official mission statement points out.

Our vision is to push towards a sustainable gaming industry in Norway. We will do this through facilitating communication between educational institutes and industries, and creating an arena for everyone interested in game development. We aim to be an non-profit and transparent organization.

“We believe this kind of work will be able to strengthen the Norwegian game development scene over time, and create studios, that makes good games,” Dag-Erling Jensen explains Nordic Game Bits.

 

Jensen tells Nordic Game Bits that one of the challenges that the Game Developers Guild faces is the limited number of Norwegian game developers who have been able to secure a stable income. “This makes the studios dependent on support and funding from the state,” Jensen explains.

“When a studio is in this situation, it makes it very stressful to develop games, because it could be your last. This in turn creates fear and insecurity among developers, who should rather be focusing on creating a great game. The fear of creating a flop and failing financially even after having worked on a game for a long time is frightening, and I think a lot of people choose more regular income instead.”

 

If you want to know more about the Norwegian Game Developers Guild (Spilmakerlauget), you can visit their website here.

Jesper K. Kristiansen

Multi-passionate game developer and journalist. Has been writing about the Danish games industry for more than ten years, and creating audio design for both Danish and International games for almost as long.

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