It’s into the woods again with Stugan, a Swedish game accelerator that’s in its third year. Stugan announced its 2017 participants earlier today, which includes 15 teams of developers who will head to a cabin in the Swedish countryside.
Unlike other accelerator programs, Stugan is nonprofit and doesn’t take equity from the studios that participate. The seven-week program costs about $120,000 to run. It receives financial support primarily from donations and industry sponsors, such as Oskar Burman (Fast Travel Games), Tommy Palm (Resolution Games), Alexander Ekvall (Snowprint Studios), and more. They also receive support from Falun, the municipality where the program is located.
“Stugan’s format is very different from other accelerators and it allows a unique freedom to bet on more bold and different game initiatives,” says Stugan project manager Jana Palm.
Stugan’s mission statement seems to have sparked the imagination of its industry supporters. Karl Magnus Troedsson, for instance, cited the program as inspiration for leaving the triple-A world of EA and becoming a partner at indie studio Raw Fury (Gonner, Kathy Rain).
Raw Fury and fellow indie studio Coffee Stain Studios (Goat Simulator, Sanctum) are sponsoring two of the teams this year, providing both financial support and mentoring for the program. Other industry mentors involved include VR trailblazers Oculus and Supercell (Clash of Clans, Clash Royale).
Teams accepted into Stugan receive guidance form industry mentors on aspects such as design and marketing. Because the teams are at various stages of development, not everyone who’s graduated the program has shipped their titles.
“So far we have run two years of participants at Stugan and have seen three games launched and another one on Steam early access,” says Palm.
In its first year, Stugan received funding from Vinnova, a Swedish government agency that finances innovation.
Two of the launched games were for mobile — _PRISM from the 2015 class, and Vignettes from the 2016 class — and both got featured spots in the Apple App Store. Stugan 2016 grads Mira Dorthé and Tanja Tankred also recently received funding from the Danish Film Institute for their company Other Tales Interactive, which they built to continue work on their game Tick Tock: A Tale for Two.
Stugan reported a 20 percent increase in the number of applications this past year, including a notable growth in proposals for virtual reality projects. Two of the accepted teams will be working on VR projects.
This year’s teams at Stugan are:
- Team 1: Ben and Cukia & Semblance, a “playdough platformer”
- Team 2: Henry Hoffman & Splitscreen, a first-person puzzle game
- Team 3: Mario Carballo Zama & Pack n’fold (working title), a “rhythm packing simulator”
- Team 4: Lucy Morris & Icebürg (working title), a collaborative multiplayer game
- Team 5: René Rother & RK3000, a 3D action game inspired by Godzilla
- Team 6: Amar and Ivan & The Enchanted World, a puzzle game
- Team 7: Anders Nord & The Lost Light of Sisu, an “atmospheric puzzle platformer”
- Team 8: Kubra and Yunus & Cube3, an “endless” isometric puzzle game
- Team 9: Sos Sosowski & Mosh Pit Simulator, a game about “boneless brainless creatures”
- Team 10: Doanna Neville & Trials of Torden, a mobile strategy role-playing game
- Team 11: Andrea, Marta and Anna & Idearum, a 3D puzzle platformer
- Team 12: Mads Vadsholt & The Forest Quartet, a “musical exploration game”
- Team 13: Karina Popp & Ten Mississippi, a “narrative web game”
- Team 14: Lucas, João, Victor and Thommaz & Dandara, an exploration game
- Team 15: Marcus, Fredrik and Rasmus & Puppet Fever, a VR game with multiplayer mode