First prize to Nasal Nomad!
Three talented game developers are at the beginning of their careers - Axel Sandstedt, Jad Tawbi, and Leo Wognum. The trio won the first prize for their game Nasal Nomad: Sniffer's Delight in the large international e-sports competition Lv. 99 Game Jam 2023.
The trio, known as Tiny Nomads, met during their bachelor's program in game design at the Gotland campus of Uppsala University. Their collaboration started in various study projects, where they quickly realised that their diverse skills in design, programming, 3D, music, and animation complemented each other well. "We have fun experimenting with silly and absurd ideas. If we don't laugh while developing our games, we figure our players won't either," says Axel.
In the Lv. 99 Game Jam competition, the trio created a fully functional game in 9 days with the theme "Take a deep breath". Facing a jury of judges and 350 members of the international gaming community, they pitched their game idea on stage in June in Singapore and won the first prize, competing against over 340 entries from around the world.
The competition provided them with a unique and invaluable opportunity to showcase their talents to the international gaming industry and connect with leading game companies, financiers, and publishers on a global stage.
Now, after the competition, they continue the in-depth work of further developing the game and refining its execution. The trio is also outlining their business model, envisioning their studio in a business-friendly environment, closely connected to the Asian gaming market. The future will reveal where in the world they start their studio, and they have reached out to an incubator for practical advice and business considerations, especially regarding how to strategically handle their intellectual property.
How does the trio think about their intellectual property?
When it comes to copyright issues and avoiding infringement on others' rights, the trio is highly aware. "In principle, we create everything ourselves - design, code, and even music. 99 percent of the content is our own," says Leo. Trademarks, design, and patents are intellectual properties that the trio may need to learn more about, as well as how to think about their intellectual assets on a larger scale, the strategic map.
Building trust and forming connections are recurring themes in the conversation. Trust is crucial in the creative process with others, in exchanging experiences, and in business dealings. A solid foundation of trust is an important intellectual asset needed to navigate the industry.
The gaming community is international, specialised, and interconnected. With talent and good reviews, there's an opportunity to showcase the game idea and forge new connections. It may be risky, relying on trust, but the trio believes there's more to gain than to lose.
Early in their careers, all game developers sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in various contexts, a common practice when visiting studios or getting involved in a new game in development. "Signing an NDA is seen as a symbolic act of mutual respect for the creative work and copyright, but it also has valid legal force", says Jad.
The interview was made in 2024.