Gamers showcase skills at iFEST in Lafayette - KLFY News 10

Gamers showcase skills at iFEST in Lafayette

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Technology is becoming a big industry in Acadiana and last weekend video game lovers, developers and technology experts enjoyed a free one day festival at the Lite Center on UL Lafayette's campus.

Experts say gaming is a multi billion dollar industry and has come a long way since the days of the Atari and it's evident by taking a look around Lafayette's Lite Center.

"We have independent game developers from all across the state. From here in Lafayette, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Shreveport, showcasing games that they have developed," said Josh Brannen.

The Academy of Interactive Entertainment put on the second annual iFEST, or Independent Games Festival, to showcase beta mode game and give vendors a chance to network. Michael Taranto says while it may look like fun and games, hard work is key.

"It's very challenging, very time consuming. It takes a lot of talent, but anyone can really accomplish it if you're willing to put forth the time and effort." said Taranto.

Matthew Williamson, a software developer for Lite and a video game design student at UL Lafayette, helped develop the game, Audio Defender, and says the technology and festival isn't just for the video game elite.

This type of education here is not just used for making games, you can use it for anything like making any types of software," said Williamson. And one main goal to iFEST is creating a strong interest in independent gaming to help.

"We do have a lot of developers in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, but we wanted to develop the economy in Lafayette as far as gaming goes." said Josh Brannen.

Williamson credited UL Lafayette for having a strong computer science program and says creating an equally as strong gaming industry locally can open up a world of opportunity.

"Whenever those kids finish they are really good students. They know what they are doing and if we can keep those kid in Lafayette, then we can definitely develop a catalyst for growth which is what we want here at Lite." said Williamson.

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