Building new Game Design minor with Mikko Tikkanen, Startup Sauna Tampere winner!

Zonear won Startup Sauna Warmup Tampere

My colleagues and I had a meeting with Mikko Tikkanen - our interaction design graduate 2010 - to discuss cooperation implementing our new 30 cr Game Design module next spring. Mikko was full of energy and joy, Zonear had just won Startup Sauna Warmup Tampere arranged by Stream Tampere, New Factory and Aalto Venture Garage.

Mikko Tikkanen

Mikko founded Zonear with another School of Art and Media graduate, Timo Pietilä and some other friends. Zonear started with developing cross-platform mobile apps with custom maps, now they also design middle-ware. Their new project BoilerBuild enables developers to remotely build, optimize and deploy their web applications with just one click.

Startup Sauna Warmups are one day coaching sessions held in the leading startup cities in Northern Europe and Russia. The warmup winners from 15 cities are invited to six-week intensive training. The teams live and work full time at Aalto Venture Garage during the training. During the program, some of the most hard working teams will be taken to Silicon Valley to meet investors, competitors and media.

Ovelin, another team grown up at Demola, won the heatup last year and are at present on tour in Los Angeles and San Fransisco.

Networking really pays back

The topic of our meeting is connected to Mikko's other professional enterprise, he is CEO of High Score, a co-operative society that focuses on Game Development.

Mikko has build excellent connections to Finnish and international game industry players. During his studies he made good use of all possibilities we have arranged for students to network with professionals at MindTrek, Demola and international exchange. But Mikko and his fellow students did not only take advantage of the opportunities the School of Art and Media created, they founded Score, the game development society which opened access to the resources and contacts of IGDA, the International Game Developers Association.

Our Degree Programme in Media has until now arranged some annual courses in game design, but the emergence of some twenty new Game Design companies in Tampere sets a demand of more purposeful education. Thus we start a 30 credit minor in Game Design in cooperation with TAMK Degree Programme in Business Information Systems. The module is also attractive for many of the exchange students we host.

Our meeting with Mikko brought very good results, and our students will have brilliant opportunities to work and network with game design top experts again next spring.

Cai Melakoski
Head of TAMK Degree Programme in Media