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09/30/2005 - GameFest Lite Scores a Win

GameFest Lite was pronounced a success by all. GameFest Lite -- held on September 24, at the CenterPlace grand opening and part of Spokane Valley’s ValleyFest -- was the precursor of the upcoming GameFest scheduled for the Terabyte Triangle in spring 2006. GameFest – not Lite – will use VPnet to provide massive multi-player on-line games (MMOG) competition among students from all of the region's colleges and universities. The integration of VPnet with the TT fiber infrastructure and the community's wireless network will allow for a very successful "distributed" event for Spokane. GamerZunion, a local company who has developed a portal for MMOGs for subscribers, will be the domain technology partner.

GameFest Lite was a scaled down version of the larger project, and provided participants the opportunity to play the feature-rich, graphic-rich dynamic game, Uru, with ten other on-line participants using gamerZunion’s newly developed MMOG portal. The Great Room at CenterPlace was set up with ten state-of-the-art computers on loan to VPnet from Eastern Washington University. The computers were connected by a local area network (LAN), which was, in turn, connected over T-1 lines to gamerZunion’s servers at LLIX in Liberty Lake.

Nate Brantingham, gamerZunion CEO says, “We pride ourselves in the development of the gamerZunion portal because of its elegant design. From the ground up, it was built with bandwidth concerns in mind. Still, with messages going all over the country from thousands of players at once, it will require quite a big pipeline. While the core software generates very little bandwidth the community features that we plan to implement at, or just before GameFest, are as yet unknown, but one could assume, substantial. For the GameFest Lite event we ran tests to watch the performance of the software and servers while running ten connections at once.”

After GameFest Lite, Austin Brantingham, head of marketing, said, “Indeed, we are pleased. We got a lot accomplished, not just for gamerZunion, but for GameFest as well. It was a great trial run to showcase the potential.”

Besides gamerZunion and VPnet, GameFest Lite was spearheaded by the Spokane Regional Economic Development Council. The event “outdrew” the 5-tier milk chocolate fountain with strawberries, marshmallows, and cookies for dipping -- only 20 feet away from the GameFest computers. The kids – from 10 to 15 years – were more attracted by the cool graphics, smooth play, and custom characters of Uru, an on-line game created by Spokane’s own Cyan, Inc.

If you want to play Uru on-line you will be happiest if you have the following system. Windows XP, 1.4Ghz Pentium IV or AMD Athlon. Recommended is 512 Mb RAM, 4x CD ROM or faster, and a Nividia GeForce 3 or ATI Radeon 8500 or higher Video Card. The system should have a DirectX 9.0 compatible Audio Card, Sound Blaster Audigy 2 series, EAX Advanced HD. The system will need 2 GB hard disk space free, 1024 x 768 32 bit displays, a mouse and keyboard, and for “live” Uru, a broadband connection.

Billie Moreland
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