One of the most frequent questions I get from people--other than how I got my job writing about games--is how do I get involved in game development. The Research Triangle is fast emerging as one of the hubs of game development in the U.S. While it's still behind San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin and Dallas, it is growing. Anyone interested in getting a job with a local company can show up between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday, November 17 at the Videogame Technology Showcase and Career Fair at One Eleven Place 111 Realtors Way in Cary. (www.trianglegameinitiative.com)
Admission is free and over a dozen game companies will be at the fair, including Icarus Studios, The Themis Group, Destineer, Funcom, Red Storm Entertainment, Emergent Game Technologies, and Vicious Cycle Software. There will also be schools like Wake Tech, NCSU Digital Games Research Center and The School of COmmunication Arts. The only companies not represented are Virtual Heroes, Epic Games and Electronic Arts--established companies that are much harder to break into.
With the growth in game development, there are over 100 jobs open here in the area. With the low cost of living and amenities of the area, creating games here in the Triangle is much more afforable than other gaming hotbeds across the country. Even if you're not looking for a job, there's a social hour between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. where you can meet some of the makers of local games. I've seen other areas grow with game development around the U.S. and this area, especially with EA moving in and the success of Epic and Red Storm, is poised to follow that path. As more local schools focus on game development, there will be more talent available to these companies.
Of course, game development is one area where a college degree is not needed. Picking up a copy of the new PC Gears of War or Unreal Tournament 3 games will give anyone the complete Unreal Engine 3 toolset. With that technology, anyone with the time and talent can focus on specific game creation techniques and potentially get a job at Epic or another game company. Epic has already hired over a dozen modders who learned how to make games using the same retail technology. Although the hours are long, the pay is very good and the rewards of making games--the fastest-growing form of entertainment--are great.