At this year's Sweden Game Conference in Skövde, a Swedish Game Development Teachers’ Symposium will be held for the first time. The purpose is to create a closer relationship between academia and the games industry. “It is a strength for game companies to understand what they can expect from a university-educated game developer,” says Per Backlund, Professor at the University of Skövde.
On October 13-14, Sweden Game Conference (SGC) will be held in Skövde. With the theme "Strengthen the Swedish Games Industry", SGC invites politicians, representatives from the Swedish innovation system and participants from all corners of the games industry – and that includes academia. Therefore, for the first time, a symposium is arranged for game development teachers, with the aim of discussing educational issues regarding Sweden's game education.
“Sweden Game Conference has focused on the development of games for over ten years. Our ambition with the conference, is to gather the Swedish games industry to talk about opportunities, development and research in games, across the borders between academia and business,” says Per Backlund, Professor in Informatics at the University of Skövde, and organiser of the symposium.
During the morning session, the participants will discuss educational issues. What are the major challenges in teaching game development, and in what ways can the education programmes be further developed to keep up with the fluctuations of the games industry?
“I hope that the discussion will be on a fairly concrete level. That we, as teaching colleagues, can share experiences and see what was successful and why,” says Per Backlund.
Create a good relationship between academia and the industry
One purpose of holding a symposium of this kind is to create a good relationship between industry and academia. It can be perceived that there is a gap between the two – a gap that should now be reduced. One way to reduce the distance is to try to give the companies better knowledge about academic education in game development.
“It is important that the games industry understands what academic education is and what requirements and expectations the companies can have of people who have graduated in game development, says Per Backlund.
The University of Skövde carried out a major restructuring of the game development programmes just a couple of years ago. Can you tell us something about that?
“What we did then was an educational development with the ambition to develop further. It will be exciting to see how it goes when the first group of students has made it through the programme. I think that we at the Division of Game Development here in Skövde quite often have educational discussions about this. We are not standing still.”
The universities' need for collaboration is also important.
“We want to be able to meet in research projects and we would very much like to collaborate with game studios in students’ final projects, to give the students the best conditions to take the step into working life after graduation. There are lots of questions to discuss, in both directions,“ concludes Per Backlund.
All Swedish universities that offer education in game development are invited and the participants come, in addition to the University of Skövde, from Luleå University of Technology, Jönköping University and Uppsala University, among others. The Swedish Game Development Teachers’ Symposium is arranged in collaboration with the Swedish Game Research Council, the University of Skövde and Science Park Skövde.