There is something called Hytten in the state of Denmark. Pardon the bad wordplay on Shakespeare, but to be fair, he hasn’t been to Copenhagen lately. But if he had, he would surely have heard of Simon Stålhandske’s project, “Hytten”.
What began as 14 friends studying in the games program at the IT University in Copenhagen has now turned into an organized initiative called Hytten. The purpose of which is to maximize creativity in a serene environment. Quite similar to Swedish Stugan, Hytten is a place where the environment is meant to nurture the mind, and tap into the otherwise busy parts of the creative mind.
“What intrigued us was the beautiful setting and the isolation from everyday life. However, not everyone has the skills or time to participate in a program like Stugan and we thought that we would be able to have an equally nice and productive experience in a shorter period of time.” Simon Stålhandske says to NordicGameBits.
“We are a group of 14 friends who are all studying in the games program at the IT University. It’s a nice mix of programmers, designers, and sound and visual artists.”, says Simon Stålhandske
The innovative guys behind Hytten had a plan laid out and the operative word was ‘Crowd-sourcing’. As a contraction of the words ‘crowd’ and ‘outsourcing’, Crowd-sourcing entails that tasks are divided among the participants, making greater projects less tiring and heavy.
“Organization at Hytten is crowd sourced among the participants, which means that each participant has to organize some event or practical arrangement for the week. We have different people organizing food, cleaning, workshops, mini game jams, parties, and trips to the local beach.”, Simon Stålhandske explains.
The idea of surrounding yourself with nature, the ocean, and a habitable place to eat and sleep do sound appealing. The problem that most people would encounter, however, is where to find a place that has all of those things. Luckily for Simon Stålhandske, it would seem that that particular problem was only one phone call away.
“The location for Hytten became my parents’ house in Espergærde while they were away on vacation. It fulfills all the criteria we wanted to meet. The house fits all of us, the ocean is just 400 meters away, and the garden has both chickens and a small pond with fish.”
“The participants have been working on as diverse things as writing a short story, play-testing a game, finishing up an exam project, doing an electronic music jam, and of course making a game.”,Simon Stålhandske says
Although this is the first Hytten being put together by the young students, they’re open to do it again in 2016. It seems that many young developers find a mind-clearing trip to open landscape and fresh air very appealing, and for many, it was something they longed for in no time.
According to Stålhandske, this year’s Hytten was basically a group of friends hanging out in a house north of Copenhagen. But for next year, they are open towards organizing the event again, and this time maybe even with different people:
“Really it’s just something anyone can arrange, and I encourage them to do so. The idea is definitely not to make a formal event where participants are handpicked from a number of applicants.”, Simon Stålhandske replies.
After some time surrounded by like-minded, creative, and inspiring people, ones capabilities towards staying focused and on target can certainly have been strengthened.
But for Stålhandske it is also important to emphasize that although Hytten encourages creativity and hopes to foster a perfect place for game development to take place, the purpose of the event is not set in stone.
“The important thing to take away from an event like Hytten is that it’s possible to have a more low-key event, where there isn’t necessarily a particular purpose other than being around like-minded people, sort of like a temporary collective where we help and inspire each other. I know that there are a lot of events already going on in the games industry, but I just think it’s important to remember to connect on a more personal level with your fellow ‘friendevelopers’.”, Simon Stålhandske concludes.