The Christian Game Developers Conference (http://www.cgdc.org) announced their third annual expo, to be held in Portland, Oregon, on July 30-31. Christians from all over the country and possibly some from overseas will be attending the event to discuss the future of Christian games, take part in workshops and to have a time of fellowship and prayer for the industry.
"Our sponsors have been very generous this year!" says conference organizer Tim Emmerich of GraceWorks Interactive. Sponsors of this years event include the Intel Bible-based Christian Network (IBCN), providing a 10 workstation PC lab, Micro Forté, hosting the Saturday Dinner and Fellowship and GarageGames providing licenses to their Torque Gaming Engine.
Emmerich comments optimistically on the attendance for the gathering, “The first year, we had 30 attendees, last year we had 90, and if God blesses us and it triples again this year we’ll have almost 300.”
Engaging discussion topics were a focal point of last year’s meeting. Discussion topics included the effectiveness of games as a media to share the Gospel and the technologies that can be used to outpace secular video game projects. The goals of the industry for the sharing of the Gospel and the encouragement of believers is one of the topics to be discussed this July.
The 2004 conference will continue to hold feature discussion sessions but will integrate more hands-on workshops, exhibit areas and press conferences. Two Guys Software, developers of "Eternal War," voted Game of the Year at last year's CGDC will be holding a press conference. Workshops include “Christian Concepts in Games” lead by Charles Matthews and “Sales and Marketing in CBA Market,” will be done by Brenda Huff of Wisdom Tree. The announcement of a new Christian games association is also on the agenda.
Several speakers including Clay Stevens of Keystone Interactive, Jay Moore of GarageGames David Koch of Seraphite Media and representatives from the independent game development community will be presenting discussions this year.
The expo is expanding to include developers of analogue games such as card, board and paper games. "This year's expo will more fully support developers targeting card, paper and board game markets," Emmerich said. "Last year, attendees from those entertainment forms resoundingly agreed to join the CGDC rather than try to set up a separate expo. In addition, we will discuss the goals of Christian gaming, what content we hope to provide and how to fund projects and publish them. We also plan to examine the variety of games currently on the market and successes in other media such as "The Passion of The Christ" and the "Left Behind" series, which proved that Bible-based products can do well in the market if they are well made."
The Christian game industry is still in its early stages and is just beginning to develop.
Currently most Christian content in the video games are minimal in regards to evangelism or edification purposes. “It’s very difficult to do,” commented Tim about video game evangelism. “It’s even hard to evangelize in person, but when you are sitting behind a screen.. it’s a very difficult challenge. We definitely need God to show us the way.” A call for prayer for the game industry is a focal point of the gathering. Tim realizes the need for the guidance of this industry. Sharing the goals of the Video game developers conferences, Tim explained the need for developers to come together in fellowship, build a community, and “mostly, to pray for God to bless us.”