General info

Open lecture series on game development

Games Now! is an open lecture series on the dominant topics and emerging trends in games.  In Games Now! we dig deeper to what is current at the game scene – and what will happen in the near future. The topics and speaker invitations are curated in collaboration with Finland’s game industry leaders and companies. Our guest speakers are industry leaders and inspiring individuals providing their insights and advise for students and practitioners.

The lecture series is run by Aalto University’s Media Lab and is open for public.

The lecture series has been developed as part of the Aalto University’s A!OLE program.

The lectures will be held on Mondays once a month, see schedule for the exact times and locations.


New lecture once a month!

Mon 17.9.2018, 15:00-17:00 EET
Design Factory (Stage)
Game Design – A Year in Review: Triple A, VR Games, Indie Games, Board Games and Serious Games – Samuli Jääskeläinen (Varjo), Panu Saarenoja (Pelaaja), Sonja Ängeslevä (Zynga), Jouni Jussila (Playmore Games), Reidar Wasenius (Serious Gaming Cluster Finland)



Mon 8.10.2018, 15:00-17:00 EET
Learning Centre/Makerspace (Otaniementie 9, Espoo)
An Introduction to Blockchain Gaming – Jon Jordan (Accidental Gizmo)

In this talk, Jon Jordan will explain the fast-emerging blockchain games sector, looking at how blockchain technology is being integrated into game services and games themselves, and in the process creating new type of gaming experiences.

A key case study will be the rise of #1 blockchain game CryptoKitties, which has spawned a new crypto collectibles genres, while also giving rise to a strong community of committed fans.

Jon Jordan is a writer, speaker, and data fiend, who has been involved in the games industry for 20 years. A co-founder at Steel Media (Pocket Gamer), he now runs game sector consultancy Accidental Gizmo.

His current area of expertise is the fast-emerging blockchain gaming sector where, as well as being editor-at-large at and consulting, Jon has given speeches at Nordic Game, Develop, and Blockchain Game Summit.



Mon 12.11.2018, 15:00-17:00 EET
Design Factory/Stage (Betonimiehenkuja 5C, Espoo)
Idle Games Deep Dive – Tatu Laine (Futureplay)

To the surprise of many, Idle games have become their own formidable genre after their birth as tongue-in-cheek browser games. After multiple adaptations they’ve found a new home on millions of smartphones in the recent years. What makes idle games such a good fit for mobile gaming? We go through key design components of idle games and focus on learnings and observations from multiple design challenges faced at Futureplay while shipping 4 idle game titles.

Tatu Laine is a student-engineer-entrepreneur turned designer who’s worked on games since 2011 starting from educational games and moved on to f2p mobile games. Long history of volunteering in Finnish Game Jam and IGDA Finland associations. Now kicking ass, taking names and creating games at Futureplay.



Mon 10.12.2018, 15:00-17:00 EET
Design Factory/Stage (Otaniementie 9, Espoo)
Gameplay Programming Challenges – Anna Kipnis

Sure, it’s great to learn from one’s own mistakes and failures — but what’s better is to learn from the mistakes of others! Come hear what I learned throughout my 15 years of doing gameplay programming. Hear some harrowing development tales from Psychonauts, The Cave, Broken Age, Headlander, and even some Kinect and VR games. Find out how the team solved the many gameplay and design challenges, and where technology for games might be heading in the future.

Anna Kipnis started her game development career at Double Fine Productions, as a Gameplay Programmer in 2002. At Double Fine, she contributed to various unreleased and top secret projects as well as Psychonauts (2005), Brütal Legend (2009), Costume Quest (2010), Once Upon a Monster (2011), The Cave (2012), Dear Leader (designed and led the prototype, 2014), Broken Age (2015), Headlander (2016), and the upcoming Psychonauts 2. Anna is currently working on prototypes for yet to be announced technologies. She is active in the indie game community and has collaborated with Santa Ragione on Final Candidation (2013) and Wheels of Aurelia (2016). She is also the founding organizer of Molyjam, a game jam inspired by Peter Molyneux and his fake Twitter account, @petermolydeux. Anna has served on the IGF technical jury, the Global Game Jam theme committee, and as an adviser for UCSC’s MS Games & Playable Media program.



11th February 2019, 15:00-17:00 EET
Design Factory/Stage (Otaniementie 9, Espoo)
Games for Quantum Computers – James Wootton, Researcher (IBM)

The first computer games emerged in the early days of computing, and were used to figure out what the new technology could do. Now we are in the early days of quantum computing, and its time for gaming history to repeat itself. In this talk we’ll discuss how quantum games can help people get hands-on with cutting-edge science today, as well how they might be used in the AAA games of the future.

James Wootton is one of the many scientists developing quantum computers at IBM. He is also actively involved in helping people start exploring the world of quantum. This started with the development of a citizen science game in 2016, and continued by making the first experimental games for quantum computers.




11th March 2019, 15:00-17:00 EET
Design Factory/Stage (Otaniementie 9, Espoo)
Check your Assumptions – Making the Most of User Experience Research – Inger Ekman, UX Research Manager (DICE/Electronic Arts)

User research focuses on understanding the behaviors, needs, and motivations of players, through various feedback methodologies. But how does research most benefit a game, and what impact should you expect to see from UXR? The talk will cover equal parts best practices and worst misconceptions, and identify some specific takeaways to help you make the most of research throughout development.

Inger Ekman is a design researcher, UX expert and Excel junkie. Her work on UX research extends back to 2000, when she partook in several successful conspiracies to smuggle studies about playfulness and game design onto academic research projects. Since 2015, she heads up the User Experience Research lab at EA DICE, where her team works om some of EA’s largest franchises to deliver data-driven insights and player research on games throughout development, launch and live service.



1st April 2019, 15:00-17:00 EET
Design Factory/Stage (Otaniementie 9, Espoo)
Playing with Grief: What Participatory Game Design Can Do for Mourners – Sabine Harrer, Maker & Researcher (Copenhagen Game Collective/University of Tampere)

Is it possible to mourn in a playful way? “Playing with grief” unpacks this question by looking at the possible connections between grief and game design. Can making games be a way of addressing unspeakable feelings around loss? Are games capable of featuring dynamics of love, loss, and commemoration in meaningful ways? And what tools have game designers available to work with others who mourn? This interactive lecture is based on the research I have carried out as a game designer working with grieving mothers on the subject of pregnancy loss. Based on this example, it introduces methods and outcomes of grief-based design, relevant to both game designers, players, and health care professionals.

Sabine Harrer is a cultural games researcher and media artist from Vienna, Austria. She is currently affiliated at the Center of Excellence in Games Culture Studies, Tampere (FI), and member of the Copenhagen Game Collective (DK). Their work use (video)games as media to express ordinary feelings with. Sabine has worked on games about love and grief, flirtation, group identity, being white, and even the vague memories of being a lapsed catholic.



6th May 2019, 15:00-17:00 EET
Aalto University Learning Centre, (Otaniementie 9, Espoo)
Why Godot Right Now? – Ariel Manzur, Co-founder (Godot Engine)

This lecture gives an introduction to Godot Engine, its history and its unique philosophy to approach game development, and the current state of its development and tools.

Ariel Manzur is a video game developer and co-creator of Godot Engine.



Check also related GN! Workshop: Godot Workshop with Ariel Manzur

10th May 2019, 16:00-17:00 EET
Aalto University Learning Centre, (Otaniementie 9, Espoo)
Playing a Role in Game Development (panel) – Star Jammers of GN! Jam 2019

On this panel, professional game developers that are about to participate to the Games Now! Jam 2019 will share their experiences with various development roles from game design to programming, audio or graphic design and everything in between. The panelists work in such companies as Epic Games, Varjo, Red Stage Entertainment, Polka Dot Studio and Quicksave Interactive. See the star jammers here.

This lecture will not be streamed.

10th – 12th May 2019
Aalto University Learning Centre, (Otaniementie 9, Espoo)

Games Now! Jam 2019 will bring together students from Aalto University campus as well as other campuses to create small games in one weekend in collaboration with Finnish game developers from the local studios.

Register here:



Prepare for the lectures!

In order to get the best out of Games Now! content, you should take part on the pre-lecture assignments. By participating to the pre-lecture assignments you also help our lecturers to prepare for their sessions. The deadlines for the assignments are usually one week before the lecture and they are published at least one week before the deadline.