Editor’s note: Ryan Smith is a longtime gamer and freelance writer who lives in Raleigh, NC. A graduate of East Carolina University with a degree in business and marketing, he has written in the past for WRAL Tech Wire and GameArgus.com. He currently plays Xbox 360 and PC as well as Nintendo DS. For story ideas, tips and feedback, he can be reached via e-mail (ryannicksmith@gmail.com)

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – As the Triangle seeks to become the world’s #1 hub for video game development, Cary-based Epic Games has shown that the Triangle has the talent. But billion-dollar Epic (based on $1 billion in sales of its Gears empire) isn’t the only game developer in the region, and the Triangle Game Initiative is hard at work advancing the industry.

As their website states: “Our mission is to build a thriving community of companies and professionals dedicated to the advancement of the interactive entertainment industry in the Triangle region.”

The Triangle is already the nation’s third largest game hub, based on statistics compiled by Wake County Economic Development.

But it’s not just about the business aspect of video games. TGI is also focused on the community as well as overall prosperity. This fall and winter the TGI will be involved with a number of charities and events that seek to accomplish just that.

On Oct. 5 the TGI will be hosting their charity social at Natty Greene’s in downtown Raleigh from 6 pm to 9 pm. There will be a raffle that features prizes from game companies and from Natty Greene’s. In addition, Natty’s and Raleigh Best Brew Masters will be hosting Brew tours. The event is sponsored by Natty Greene’s and Pervisim and is free, but if you buy a raffle ticket it will support the Kids at Make A Wish Foundation of North Carolina. You can register here to attend.

Then, on Oct. 6 will be the TGI 2011 Edition of their Charity Golf Tournament, also benefitting the Make a Wish Foundation. You can play a round of golf and support the kids from Make a Wish all at the same time at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course on the NC State campus at 1pm.

Get more info about the Golf Charity and Registration here.

East Coast Game Conference

The upcoming East Coast Game Conference – the “leading East Coast forum for sharing game industry expertise, networking and career building”- will take place at the Raleigh Convention Center from April 24-25. TGI is seeking volunteers to help run the event. You can direct any questions or interest about participating to john@trianglegameinitative.org.

The TGI also is looking for any and all developers to join its ranks.

If you are interested in hosting a TGI social event, you can direct your inquiries to elisa@trianglegameinitiative.org.

Finally, for any new developers or video game organizations, the TGI is compiling a high quality map of all video game companies in the Triangle . If you aren’t already on it, or are a new developer you can send your information here: samir@joysticklabs.com.

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