Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

A Weekend to Wow the Video Game World

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

A Weekend to Wow the Video Game World

Article excerpt

Sarasota joins host sites around the world for an event that aims to change the games people play

Bring on the 3-D computer animation modelers from the Ringling College of Art and Design, the pizza-flavored Combos, the Monster energy drinks.

For the first time, Sarasota will participate directly this weekend in a 48-hour, video-game-developing marathon, the Global Game Jam.

The hackathon-for-gamers event is slated to start Friday night at the HuB, a collaborative workspace on Fruitville Road in downtown Sarasota, and run straight through until 7 p.m. Sunday.

The HuB will be one of 450 places around the world where game developers gather -- physically and virtually -- to throw together actual working games faster than a Hummer gets lifted in "Grand Theft Auto." The HuB will be the only host on the west coast of Florida, organizers say.

More than two dozen potential video game developers have already signed up to be part of the local event.

When all is said and done, and the Red Bull supply's been exhausted, some 3,000 games are expected to be produced worldwide from more than 60 countries.

Ringling College video producer Joe Granato IV persuaded Rich Swier Jr., the proprietor of the HuB, to let the games unfold in the HuB's third-floor common area.

Granato, 33, is a self-taught specialist in Unity 3-D, a cross- platform game engine used to bring together game components. This will be his fifth Game Jam.

When the gamers gather on Friday, they will split into four or five teams, with the goal of developing a game idea -- and specifics -- that could be a prototype for a new commercial video game.

Because many participants hail from Ringling College, Swier and Granato expect the weekend's results to be very art intensive.

Clayton Bronson Chod, president of the college's game design club, is among those who have signed up. At the school's computer animation department, Chod, a game design major, specializes in 3-D modeling and texturing. …

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