657-admin - 05.04.18

This city is the self-proclaimed gaming capital of The North

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) spits out thousands of digital problem solvers every year. Although many move down to Oslo or further afield, an increasing number seem to be making their own careers in Trondheim in the field of gaming. So we put together this runddown of the city’s most promising gaming prospects.

Testing games at the bar

Bertheussen IT continues to make significant revenue almost seven years after the launch of their hit Scrabble-like app WordFeud. They have since released other games and are now part of the gaming community at Work-Work. The concept provides a space for people to collaborate in the co-working office space and test out their creations in the public gaming bar.

“The bar has been embraced quickly and it’s gone a lot smoother than we had expected”, co-founder Marius Thorvaldsen told Life in Norway. “Alongside that there has been a push from Government for the creative industries in the last year. As a lot of our co-workers are running creative businesses, we’ve seen a lot of interest and momentum in our office space too. After being in business for a little over a year, things are looking really good.”

Other Work-Work tenants include several VR companies and the rapidly-expanding Pineleaf Studio, who are currently alpha testing their cooperative multiplayer strategy game Dwarfheim. The young team recently raised 900,000kr on Norwegian crowdfunding platform Folkeinvest.no in only four days. Developer Fredrik Chrislock told The List they are “implementing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning into Dwarfheim – taking technology from other fields and bringing it into the gaming industry”.

Student-driven industry

The founders met at the Norwegian Game Awards, held every year in Trondheim. The student competition is organised by Start NTNU, a voluntary student organisation that promotes innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the university.

Speaking of the University, Computer Science students can take a Specialisation in Game Technology, while Industrial Design students have the option of a course in Game Design.

Riding the tabletop wave

Trondheim’s gaming industry isn’t just about the computer-based variety. YouTube channels, podcasts and even print magazines devoted to tabletop gaming just show how far the humble board game has come since the days of Monopoly.

Tompet Games persuaded 317 backers to pledge a total of NOK 91,135 to help bring their first game Kill The King to life in 2016. Small change by Kickstarter standards, but their success has helped to inspire other local game developers, and the company itself, who recently launched another campaign for their second game, Donning the Purple.

While the city lacks any standout successes in tabletop gaming, established groups such as Spillmakerlauget Trondheim and the Hexagon Spillklubb along with the high number of students suggest this could be a sector to watch.

Where tech meets gaming?

Back in 2014, local prototyping firm Norwegian Creations teamed up with HK advertising agency and Trondheim Makers to put a Pac-Man game in a busy bus shelter. Norwegian Creations shared the creative process on their blog.

Perhaps the future of Trondheim’s fledgling gaming industry lies in the crossover with the vibrant technology scene. Events such as the annual Trondheim Developer Conference and the very public Trondheim Maker Faire show the diversity of this small city’s potential.