Gamedev-club guidelines

What is the Gamedev-club?

  • Gamedev-club is a club for all 15- 25 years old young people who share a passion for game development and want to make games. Gamedev-club is considered as a hobby activity. Young people have support available from volunteer professional game developers. We use Finnish and English languages in the Gamedev-club.

What can you do at the Gamedev-club?

  • If you are a newcomer, you will learn some basics in a couple of meetings from a program called GameMaker via a tutorial (link coming later). It’s very important that all new club members learn how to use GameMaker, because:
    • You learn also some basic game development related things
    • All club members know the basics of at least one common game development tool so it’s easier to form teams later.
  • After the tutorial, you are free to use the software / programming language you want, but we recommend that you make at least one or two games with GameMaker.
  • You can choose to do graphics, audio or game design etc if you like. Those are also very important things when you are making a game. You don’t need to do any programming after the tutorial if that is not your cup of tea. You can have two or more roles if you wish (just keep it simple though!).
  • You can make any kind of game: digital game, board game, card game etc.
  • You can’t play games in gamedev-club unless it’s meant for playtesting purposes or it is scheduled in the calendar.

What kind of software and tools you can use?

  • Club members can use GameMaker-professional and Photoshop.
  • All free software, like Unity, Blender, Paint.net or Gimp.
  • We have computers and graphics tablets available.
  • We have some tools and material for board games too!

How often Gamedev-club happens?

  • Gamedev-club meetings are held weekly on Wednesdays. There is a calendar for that in the homepage. All club members should attend to this weekly Wednesday meeting. Volunteer professionals are present in these meetings to help with the game development process
  • There is also a weekly extra meeting on Mondays. This provides the club members plenty of extra time to actually make their games and there can be some additional programs, like workshops or board game nights. One programmer volunteer is usually present in the extra night to help with programming related things.
  • Both meetings are held at 18.00 – 20.30.
  • There are sometimes weekend happenings too! For more info on them, check the calendar.

How do you make games in gamedev-club?

  • You can choose to make a game with a team (3-4 people max recommended), with a pair, or alone. Teams should be formed based on people’s interests (tools, art-style “2D or 3D”, scope, experience level). You should come open minded, be ready to work with other people, and make compromises. You can make your first project with your friends, but after that you are encouraged to make game projects with other people. If you are making a game with a team, mostly there are one or two coders and one or two graphic- or audio designers.
  • First development meeting is dedicated to team / group forming, game ideation and design. This is a very important stage in game development process.
  • After the first meeting there are 5 mandatory development meetings, where you make the actual game. Your team / you have also all the voluntary meetings available to make your game. You can choose to make a minimum amount of work or you can use several development sessions to make your game. You can make stuff at home too if you want, but still don’t skip the mandatory meetings.
  • After these 6 mandatory Gamedev-meetings there is a demo-night where all the games are presented to others. Groups can choose to make their presentations in Finnish or in English.
  • You can choose to make your game further after the demo, but only if your group agrees to do so. Mostly new groups are formed after each demo.

Can you make any kind of game in Gamedev-club?

  • Basically yes, but with the time given, you cannot make huge and complicated projects! Instead, we recommend, that you should keep your design simple and aim for the “minimum viable product”, which means that basically you have only the very basic elements in your game. Remember you have only about 15 hours (or 30 if you come to the extra meetings) to do your game.
  • For learning perspective, choose only one goal (like learn how to use GameMaker, how to make simple animation, how to make one good level for the game etc.). This helps you actually follow what you have learned in the previous projects.
  • You can make also simple 3D game, but we recommend that you learn to make simple 2D games first, just to make sure that you learn some basic concepts of game development. Board games, card games, even table role playing games are also a good and viable options.
  • In the beginning of each project a game theme is given. The theme can be something like Mario-style platformer game, Bomberman-style environment changing game, a driving game etc. You can make a game that fits to the given theme, or you can make your own theme. If you choose your own theme, you should make a plan for it and show it to the volunteers. They are more than happy to give you support and tips in your design.

Who runs the gamedev-club?

  • Gamedev-club is organised by Pelitalo, in the Helsinki city Youth Department. There are two youth leaders, who run the activity.
  • There is a wonderful group of volunteer professionals, who provide support and guidance to young people with their game projects. Without these fantastic people there couldn’t be this kind of activity going on!
  • Most importantly there is a group of club members (democracy group) who are the voice of the club members when it comes to developing this activity. They are there to make sure, that the perspectives of the youth is taken into account and they are there to make the final decisions to which direction the club will go. If you are a club member you can apply to join this group too!

What are the most important things to remember in the Gamedev-club?

  • Be present in the mandatory Wednesday meetings and be on time (before 18.00).
  • If you have unsolved problems with some Game development issue, google it. It helps. Usually. There are some very instructive Youtube videos too. If you cannot find a solution, your gamedev peers and the volunteer professionals are happy to help you!
  • Remember that you are going to fail at some point (and many times), and it’s ok! If you learn something when you fail, you basically win! So be happy to fail at some point.
  • Be nice to people. That’s the golden rule for everything basically.
  • Use your time in Gamedev-club to do games. You’re doing it for yourself, not for volunteers, the gamedev-club or anyone else.