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Games made in Switzerland at the HeroFest

21.09.2018 - The Swiss Game Developers Association SGDA is going to be present at the HeroFest with their SwissGames area. Luca Cannellotto of the SGDA explains to us, why the Association exists, what it does and much more.

What exactly is the SGDA?

We are a professional organisation and represent Swiss game developers. We give them practical advice, push young talents and shine a light on our strong and innovative industry. We bring our relevant topics into political discussions and the public discourse. We organise meet-ups, conferences, panels, presentations, and expositions. Additionally, we reward outstanding Swiss game projects with the Swiss Game Awards and the Junior Swiss Game Award every year.


How do you support game designers?

We offer them a strong and intertwined network of personalities in the industry. At events like the HeroFest, we let them present their work to the public. Another big part of our business is representing the game developers’ interests in Swiss politics. We want to make games an organic cultural and economical factor in Switzerland.


What can we expect from the game designers at the HeroFest?

The most important thing at expos is the exchange between creators and consumers. This way developers get direct feedback about their ongoing projects. Being able to talk about their work with the audience is special and incredibly valuable for game creators. The HeroFest is also a good opportunity for developers to build connections, talk with peers and enhance their social network.


Can I present my game in the SwissGames area?

Yes. All Swiss game developers who are interested can contact us. While you can bring a complete project, your current game does not have to be finished. The early stages of a game are especially interesting to show an audience. Completed games can profit from the publicity at the HeroFest. It is important to us to show the wide variety of games that are being created in Switzerland.


Can everyone design a game? What do I need for it?

Theoretically everyone can design a game. In this day and age there are simple programmes which make it rather easy to find your way into game design. However, a digital game is a multi-layered medium. There are hundreds of factors to consider, which is why the actual production of commercial games cannot be done without proper knowledge, talent, and passion.

There are a lot of different ways to get into game design. Schools like the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK), the SAE Institute, EPAC or HEAD all offer education that can lead to professional game design. If you want to dip your toes into game design without having to commit fully, you should definitely participate in the Swiss Game Academy, which we organise together with the Swiss Game Center. The Swiss Game Academy is once a year during one week in the summer.


What makes people want to create video games?

The variety of reasons to create games is as diverse as the types of games that actually get released. A lot of young creatives enjoy playing games themselves and are inspired by their passion to game. On the other hand we can see career changers of all ages coming from other businesses into the growing game market.


Can Swiss game developers do it fulltime? Can they sustain a life with their salaries?

Definitely! There are countless very successful games that come from Swiss studios. Studios like Giants Software with their “Landwirtschaftssimulator”, Stray Fawn Studio with “Niche”, Okomotive with “FAR: Lone Sails”, Blindflug Studios with “Airheart” or David Stark with “Airships” prove that there is a huge potential in our industry. Next to these commercial games there is a lot of commission work and research projects. Though you have to consider that just making a good game is not enough. The products must be marketed and promoted in the right way to gain a certain amount of popularity. However, Switzerland definitely has no problems finding creative ideas, talented people and an active game design industry.


Where can I find more information?

If you want to know more about us, you can visit our website. There you will – amongst other things – find an event calendar where we list all the gaming related events in Switzerland. Furthermore, we have a newsletter to which you can subscribe online and of course we’re on Facebook and Twitter.
We at the SGDA welcome anyone who is interested in the development of video games. We invite all creators to register as a member, because the more we are, the more power we have in society and in politics.

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