"They're estimating huge numbers, which kind of puts Utah on the map for a different target audience," Stinson said. "I think the fact that it's making such a large splash within the Comic Con world, I think that will raise some eyebrows and perhaps interest people (from other states) into coming to future Salt Lake Comic Cons."
The convention has a local flavor, presenting hometown exhibitors like the University of Utah's Entertainment Arts and Engineering program, an area specialist in video games, computer animation, special effects and entertainment art.
Director of Game Design Roger Altizer will speak on a panel Saturday about the U.'s distinct program, and students and educators will spend all three days answering questions on the convention floor.
Cory Haltinner, a first-year master's student in the program, is splitting his time between the program's booth and his own. Haltinner and some classmates are hoping the convention will help them launch their original game, Magnetic By Nature, which recently took top honors at the Utah Game Wars. The team used part of its winnings to pay for a spot at Salt Lake Comic Con.
"We were just really excited to be part of such a big venue and a big audience, to be able to put our game out there in front of so many people," Haltinner said. "There's no better way to market our game than to be here."
Magnetic By Nature is available to play on Xbox, and the students are currently seeking support as they develop the game for PC, Mac and Linux platforms. They are also asking conventiongoers to playtest a new project at their booth.
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