Last week the Swedish non-profit games accelerator Stugan opened its 2016 summer program application process. For a second time, twenty aspiring game developers from around the world will get to spend eight weeks in the Swedish countryside being supported and mentored while building their games.
We reached out to Stugan manager Jana Karlikova to know what she and the team learned from the process and out in the woods last summer:
Video applications proved to work very well
A video is the best way to pitch a concept when you cannot be there in person. Applicants have 90 seconds to present themselves and their projects. Some of the videos we received last year were really good and it was a lot of fun to go through the applications and see all the talent and creativity. Personally, I cannot wait to start reviewing this year’s applications and seeing what new, exciting projects are going to be in Stugan 2016.
Innovation and creativity gets you in the door
What we’re looking for in the applications is innovation and creativity. We also look at the team and try to estimate how likely it is that they will pull (their game) off. Since Stugan is driven non-commercially, we have the luxury of taking in projects that no one else would bet on. We don’t plan to change anything in the reviewing process.
We will get you from Stockholm and back
Last year we arranged transportation for everybody from Stockholm to Stugan in the beginning of the program, and back to Stockholm in the end. Participants (only) had to take care of their trips to and from Sweden. We plan to have the same set-up this year as well. Stugan is a non-profit organisation and thus, our budget is unfortunately not big enough to cover travel expenses for everybody. On the other hand, the participants don’t need to pay for food during their time in Stugan, which can be a significant cost – so we hope they’ll be able to cover their travel expenses to Sweden.
Jana Karlikova, Stugan
Beware of snakes and owls
There were many surprises caused by the wildlife at Stugan (last summer). I got quite astonished when an owl awakened me while trying to get through my bedroom window one night. Another day we found a snake on the road, which scared quite a few people. We also had a problem with an angry bird that had (built) its nest above the door to one of the cabins. The bird would defecate on anybody going in or out. Of course, none of these incidents could be predicted, (so) one had to be prepared for things like this (that) can occur while in the nature.
Teams keep all their rights
Teams stay with us for eight weeks during which we try to help them with their games as much as we can. However, the end of Stugan also means an end to our involvement. The (developers) keep the rights to their games and stand on their own after they leave Stugan. We do keep in touch with them and can for instance help them to share their news via our social media channels. Nevertheless our mutual relationship ends the moment the program ends, and we do not plan to change that.
Making friends is the best and worst thing about Stugan
The best thing about being in Stugan for eight weeks was the friendly atmosphere. We made friends for life. The teams created a very focused environment and inspired each other. To me, that was definitely the best part of Stugan. The worst part was having to leave Stugan in the end. However, it’s very nice to just be able to look back and cherish all the fantastic memories.
Stugan is a non-profit organisation that organises the annual accelerator program for aspiring game developers. Stugan leverages the expertise of the established Swedish game industry and aims to provide opportunities for shepherding up-and-coming game designers and developers through development, publishing, marketing and more for ensuring a successful games launch.
Stugan is supported by individuals including Oskar Burman, general manager of Rovio Stockholm, Tommy Palm, games guru at King Digital Entertainment and Christofer Sundberg, founder and creative director at Avalanche Studios.