Lexington video-game developers to tout city, state in Boston

ssloan@herald-leader.comMarch 20, 2013 

Michael Hartman is president and CEO of Frogdice, a local company that makes free-to-play games.

MARK CORNELISON — Herald-Leader

More than a dozen Lexington-based video game developers are heading to a major gaming convention in Boston to talk up Lexington's and Kentucky's interest in the industry.

The group will have three tables in the independent gaming section of the PAX East event, which was organized by the minds behind the Penny Arcade web comic about video games.

Local companies, including Frogdice, Shobu Games and Super Soul, will offer demos of their titles. Alongside those games will be marketing materials to promote their home base, said Jim Wombles of Lexington gaming group Run Jump Dev.

"Through Run Jump Dev, we've found a lot of people coming out of the woodwork who were interested in developing games, but there wasn't a way for them to learn about developing games," he said.

All of the companies in the independent games section of the expo plan to host a party Thursday night, and Wombles said the group brought a literal taste of Lexington — 10 bottles of Alltech's Town Branch Bourbon — to offer those interested in learning more about the city.

It will be the first trip to PAX East for Michael and Pang Hartman, the couple who are Frogdice's CEO and creative director.

"We really want to meet a lot of members of the gaming press, so we can get to know people who want to write about games like ours," said Michael Hartman.

They plan to show off their newest game, Dungeon of Elements, a dungeon-crawler role-playing game with combat styled after Dr. Mario.

Frogdice's Lexington programming team, led by Collin Brooks, are making more and more changes to the playable demo.

"While people will be able to play Dungeon of Elements, it won't be ready to release for a few more weeks," Hartman said.

The group's trip is sponsored by the Bluegrass Business Development Partnership, which includes the city, Commerce Lexington and the University of Kentucky.

"The BBDP is very excited to support this growing and diverse segment of Lexington's economy," said Warren Nash, director of the Lexington Innovation & Commercialization Center at UK.

Scott Sloan: (859) 231-1447. Twitter: @HeraldLeaderBiz.

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