02/07/10 — Convention gathers gamers

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Convention gathers gamers

By Steve Herring
Published in News on February 7, 2010 1:50 AM

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Gabriel Santiago traveled from Fayetteville Saturday to attend the sixth annual Carolina Games Summit at Wayne Community College. The event offered 19 video game tournaments, exhibitors and a series of speakers who addressed different aspects of the video game industry.

Close to 1,300 people, some from as far away as Texas, Alabama and Michigan, were expected Saturday for the sixth annual Carolina Game Summit at Wayne Community College.

By the 10 a.m. start, a line, three to four across, snaked from the registration table in lobby of the Learning Center to the driveway in front of the building. An hour later it appeared the line had not shrunk at all.

"I am definitely not surprised by the turnout," said Mike Everett, creative director of Carolina Game Summit and instructor at Wayne Community College. "We have a lot of sponsors, speakers, bands and all kinds of video games tournaments going on today. As you know, gamers are all about the indoors, not what is going on outdoors. We have had lines in sleet and rain.

"I am not surprised (at the turnout), but I am happy though. We preregisterd over 400, but we will probably double that at the door for a total of about 1,200 to 1,300 people."

The event lasted until 9 p.m. with an awards ceremony at 8 p.m. where the winners of the video game tournaments, costume contest and trading card contest were honored.

About 65 percent of the attendees were at the event to compete in the video game tournaments, Everett said. Another 35 to 40 percent were there to learn about game design and how video games are actually created, Everett said.

"We have a whole speakers series for those participants and we have a lot of great exhibitors from game design companies and support companies that design software that makes games and colleges that can actually get you a degree in game design," he said.

Those vendors included EA Games and The Escapist magazine that sponsored the summit. The Escapist is a Web-based magazine in Cary that receives 7 million hits a day on average, Everett said.

The event is fundraiser for Wayne Community College's chapter of Phi Beta Lambda. The money is used to send its student members to state and national leadership conferences.

It is also a great recruitment event for the Simulation and Game Design program at WCC, organizers said.

"The Triangle area is kind of a hub for the eastern United States for game development," he said. "Three out of the top five game design engines are made right here in North Carolina. The game engine is that part that actually makes the game work. You can buy the game engine and make your own completely different game than someone else who is using that exact same engine.

"Wayne has a game design and simulation program that has been going on for about two years. We are also looking to expand it. We are doing a survey of the attendees to see how interested they might be in a full two-year program. Right now it is a one-year transfer program. You come to Wayne for one year get your basics down then you go to Wake Tech and finish up there."

Some of the vendors and attendees have been coming to the event since year one, he said.

"Our top games are usually the team-based games," he said. "We have teams from Texas, Michigan, Alabama all across the country. People actually fly in to play on the team-based video games like Left for Dead 2, Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 2, Gears of War 2, Halo 3.

"There are 19 video game tournaments here today. This year we also added card gaming, traditional non-video based trading card games."

For more information check the Web site at www.carolinagamessummit. com.