Professional video gaming — or esports — has become a multi-billion dollar industry, and Kilgore College is on the cutting-edge of training future gamers with the opening of the college’s esports training room.
The practice facility officially opened March 2 in the Devall Student Center on the Kilgore campus.
This state-of-the-art facility features the best available gaming computer stations, powered by Dell, with 27-inch monitors and RTX 2080 TI graphics cards.
“If students want to join the ranks of the professional gamers, they have to hit a very special type of gym,” said Andy Taylor, KC’s Esports coach. “We are extremely proud of our new ‘gym’ that gives our students a place to practice and prepare for competitions.”
The KC Esports program began in the spring of 2019 following the “Clash for College” tournament that awarded $4,000 in KC scholarships to the top finishers.
“Kilgore College is on the cutting-edge, not only by creating an esports team, but also being the first community college in Northeast Texas to offer academic game design courses through our Computer and Information Technology (CIT) program right here at KC,” said Dr. Brenda Kays. “Some of the courses include Introduction to Game Design and Development, and Mobile Applications Development.”
Kays said she was thankful for the leadership Richard Crutcher, CIT Dean; Dr. Ginger Dennis, CIT Department Chair; Dr. Mike Jenkins, Executive Vice President & Chief Student Affairs Officer; and Kilgore College’s Esports coach, Andy Taylor.
“In the multi-billion dollar gaming industry, jobs are available as animators and other artists, writers, video game testers, software developers, computer programmers, audio engineers, producers, marketing managers and sales representatives,” Kays said. “The list goes on and on. Kilgore College is truly preparing these students for the next step and giving them the best chance for their educational success in a booming career field.”
Esports at KC has a 26-member student team that competes across the state with other colleges and universities at gaming tournaments, most recently competing at the Overwatch Masters Tour at the Esports Stadium in Arlington – the largest dedicated esports facility in North America.
KC Esports has competitive teams Overwatch, League of Legends, Rocket League, Call of Duty and Hearthstone.
“Right now our team consists of 26 members but we have a total of 64 students involved in the program,” Taylor said. “And that number will continue to grow as word spreads. Students competing on varsity teams must meet academic requirements and be enrolled full time.”
Gaming tournament at the Longview Mall in April
On April 18, KC and the Longview Mall will host the first gaming tournament ever held at the mall.
Called the “Longview Legends Cup,” it will be a 64-player tournament with winners receiving scholarships to KC and other prizes.
“It’s going to be a huge event and it’s something Longview has never seen,” Taylor said. “Visitors to the mall will be able to watch all of the action live and cheer on their favorite gamers.”
More details on the tournament will be released soon.
For more information on esports at KC, visit www.kilgore.edu/esports.
Game design courses at KC:
Many students on the KC Esports team are also taking game design courses at the college.
For students interested in pursuing a career as a video game developer, the Computer and Information Technology (CIT) department at KC offers courses in computer programming that can lead to a career in game development.
Courses at KC include ITSE1333 (Mobile Applications Development) and GAME1303 (Introduction to Game Design and Development).
These courses are part of a one-year certificate in Software Support and a two-year associate’s degree in Software Development and Support.
“We teach C/C++ heuristics, best practices, and design patterns via graphical and game design,” said Mark Stephens, CIT instructor who teaches software development.
“This approach stokes the students’ passion for software development while also providing them direct experience in the 100+ billion dollar gaming industry.”