The beginning of something big

Photo Mats Engfors/Fotographic

A completely new industry and a completely new education – the gaming industry has come to Boden. Meet Sebastian, Dylan and Selma, the indie game developers of the future.

In the autumn, a completely new education started in Sävast, a two-year post-secondary education for indie game developers. Dylan Johansson from Stockholm, Sebastian Ojala from Boden and Selma Einarsdotter from Varberg are now in their second semester together with 22 others.

– We learn to make games by making games, we always have a project in progress, says Dylan.

His teacher Oskar Pettersson, head of education, describes game development as a craft, a discipline that requires practice. Therefore, the basis for the education is fast practical projects with different frameworks and focus areas. Some weeks the focus is extra on design, others on coding or graphics. In the second year, there will also be more entrepreneurship. The students are responsible for the ideas. The three classmates are very happy with the practical course structure where you get to test and make your own mistakes.

– You learn a lot with many small projects, says Selma.

Opportunity to start your own

The word indie comes from independent, which means independent.

– We train professional generalists, we want to give students the opportunity to start their own or work at a small company. They must have sufficient knowledge to run projects from start to finish on their own. We also try to strengthen the students’ entrepreneurship, says Oskar.

Bodensaren Sebastian Ojala had long dreamed of attending a game education, but did not want to move south. When this opportunity arose, the dream education in his own hometown, it was obvious that he took it.

– My goal is to start my own studio up here. It feels very promising, he says.

Dylan and Selma came here because they love to play games, and now they think the dream of a future in the gaming industry is achievable.

The location is optimal

Lars Lundqvist, director of studies at Sunderby Folk High School, is the one who got the idea for the education in 2016 and who managed to make it a reality.

– We had noticed that there was a lot of talk about the gaming industry in the region, but they had not really gotten started. So we felt that what we could do was needed for the industry to grow. Together with Changemaker Education, we quickly got into indie games, it’s a fun idea and the first education of its kind in Sweden. The school already runs a popular basic education in game development in Sunderbyn, where there was no room for a new education. When we met Boden Business Park in the spring of 2017, it just said click, it’s absolutely perfect. We are super happy that we are where we are, says Lars.

A few weeks later, the students were able to apply and Boden Business Park quickly managed to find accommodation nearby for moving-in students before school started this autumn. Sebastian, Selma and Dylan appreciate the location in Sävast, with close to other entrepreneurs, events and Arctic Game Lab upstairs.

– We have many companies nearby that we can work with, it is good for our future. It also allows us to spread what we do, people know about us, says Sebastian.

Many students have received inquiries from companies and games have already been created here that will be released commercially.

The result of cooperation

For this to become a reality, cooperation between several different parties has been required. The owner for the education is Sunderby Folkhögskola, Changemaker Educations is the education provider, Boden Business Park has premises and Arctic Game Lab is a driving force.

– It has been a huge job and a lot of passionate people involved. Without them, this would not have been possible. But the students make the biggest effort, they spend much more than full time on their studies, says Lars.

There will be a new class in the autumn and if you are interested, you can apply until 15 May. There are thoughts of starting another game education too.

– It is an exciting industry that is growing and there is a need for recruitment. I believe a lot in this, says Lars.

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