Expo Ideas

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I know we all had a great time at this years expo. Let's brainstorm about what we'd like to see for next year! I know, as with all first time things, there were some problems.
1) Signs and Maps to direct people to where things are taking place, especially when it's not taking place within the convention center. This may have to get permission from the city of Durham. The signs labeling the rooms need to be bigger, perhaps over the doors?
2) A larger room for the Saturday night party (or at least open up the air walls to create more space?)
3) a general communication system between workers within the Expo. Perhaps walkies-talkies w/headsets? I don't think it would be hard to get some cheap ones or ask volunteers to bring one with them that can be set to a general frequency. On that note, perhaps set up someone in a room to act as a "oracle" or general communications manager to help coordinate. This way information can be found quickly when people ask questions. This would help out poor, poor Susan Arendt who was running around and looking generally worn out by the time the Expo was over. I think she was dealing with every problem that came up instead of major ones. (BTW, thank you again Susan for helping me with my lost badge problem)
4)Everyone was generally cool and friendly at the con! No changes there!
Any other suggestions anyone else might have? Panels you would like to see? Special guests?

It's actually tough for me to think of suggestions in the traditional sense. I can't think of anything I'd personally complain about since there was always a reason for anything that didn't work out quite as well as planned. The only things I had any trouble with were trying to find the way down into the theater for the anime, which Nasrin helped me with, and the schedule not being made fully available earlier on the website (not to mention things like the anime room and D20 Burlesque being left out altogether).

Otherwise, the only other recommendation or suggestion or feedback or what have you lies largely with the Hotel itself. As I was part of the floor that kept getting told to hush down I'm actually worried the Hotel won't be so eager to be as cooperative with The Escapist next year. However, if the money brought to the hotel pleases them a lot more, then I'd see about trying to organize Escapists on the same floor. If the hotel reservation has a spot for additional comments, try and get attendees to note "Escapist Expo" in the comments so the hotel can put them all on one floor. It's not exactly a good solution, but it should help prevent further issues like a guy camping in front of the room of the D20 Girls as if they were delinquents (or scaring the daylights out of me by asking me who was renting the room. I thought I was about to have to sleep in my car for the rest of the expo).

That's not exactly something The Escapist can help, though. It just depends on how willing the hotel is, and is also assuming the next expo occurs at the same location (which doesn't seem plausible if they want to increase attendance next year).

Zhara:
This would help out poor, poor Susan Arendt who was running around and looking generally worn out by the time the Expo was over.

I'm in favor of ANYthing that helps out Susan. The poor woman looked positively done-in by the end of it all. I wanted to give her a mug of cocoa and pat her on the head.

I do strongly agree on the communication aspect, though. Those volunteers were running themselves just about as ragged as the staff were, and some way to at least talk remotely between groups would probably have eased things significantly. Aside from that, I'm sure that at least some of the issues were first-time problems that can be ironed out.

If we could see more things aimed towards prospective content creators (especially writers), I'd be thrilled. And if C. J. Cherryh showed up I'd just squee my damn face off.

I'm very sure most of the problems were first-time problems. As with anything, the first time you do something problems will occur. I just think brainstorming here will help iron out problems for next year by letting us (the fans) put in our input in a constructive manner. Also, we can put in ideas for what we would like to see in next year's event! I know i would like to see some of the local authors (like Mark L. Van Name) coming back. Maybe another movie snarked at by MovieBob too.

Zhara:

2) A larger room for the Saturday night party (or at least open up the air walls to create more space?

This is the one thing I disagree with. I thought there was plenty of room overall. It was a bit more crowded during the cosplay contest, mostly because of the fact that half the room was 'off-limits,' but the actual concert seemed open enough to allow many more people in actually. At least when I was in there.

More power and Internet for the gaming tournaments!!! Lol setting up all the consoles and computers Friday morning was all good until we found out that the computers didnt have NEAR enough power, and the hotels subnets had about 100 IP addresses to hand out to over 200 machines. Next time, we will bring our own router to subnet ourselves!

I for one would have liked to see more studios or games there, newer that is. Maybe it's not indicative (I hope I'm using that word right, sorry if I'm not) of the Expo, but seeing some more previews, or studios show up would be cool. Actually got interested in Future Soldier because got to play it there and talk with Red Storm. Maybe even a lesser known studio coming would be pretty cool...that's just my idea

A whole week next time instead of 3 days :D

Also more live stuff. For example a live No Right Answer like their most recent PAX one.

I would have liked to seen more game variety in the tournaments. All the games they had (while awesome), require skill (for lack of a better term) and can be intimidating to anyone who has just played casually. For example, I would have loved to have seen Mario Kart, SSB, etc. Not saying those games don't require skill, but they are a little more casual friendly.

I loved the night events they had going on, those were a big plus.

Also would like to see more booths, but I think that will come as the Expo gains more popularity.

It was very well put together and a great time.

I mentioned this in another thread, but I think running chest high walls for only a few hours at midday was a mistake - I would expect it to be more popular in the evening, between the panels and the nighttime events, since the only other things still open were the m:tg room and the board game room. Running it later in the day when it's a bit cooler would also reduce the hesitation of people to play in costume. In fact, a scheduled cosplay firefight might be a fun idea.

CheckD3:
I for one would have liked to see more studios or games there, newer that is. Maybe it's not indicative (I hope I'm using that word right, sorry if I'm not) of the Expo, but seeing some more previews, or studios show up would be cool. Actually got interested in Future Soldier because got to play it there and talk with Red Storm. Maybe even a lesser known studio coming would be pretty cool...that's just my idea

I don't hold this against Escapist at all, but I was really disappointed that Epic Games didn't have more of a presence than an employee or two helping to run the Gears tournament. Yeah, giving Escapist money or prizes or something is nice, but it seems like panels and such would have been nice to see. It's not like they aren't right around the corner after all.

Twyce:
I would have liked to seen more game variety in the tournaments. All the games they had (while awesome), require skill (for lack of a better term) and can be intimidating to anyone who has just played casually. For example, I would have loved to have seen Mario Kart, SSB, etc. Not saying those games don't require skill, but they are a little more casual friendly.

As someone who has had to run competitive Super Smash Bros. tournaments from each game, no. No you don't want to run that, because those people are fucking insane.

ccesarano:

As someone who has had to run competitive Super Smash Bros. tournaments from each game, no. No you don't want to run that, because those people are fucking insane.

So what you are saying is that they would be COMPLETELY AWESOME TO WATCH!

In response to your comments, first of all, thank you - the feedback is helpful. But secondly...we wanted most of these things, too. Stuff like signs over the doors? Not allowed. The convention center wouldn't let us to put anything on walls. We'd have loved to have had more game devs there, too, but many were understandably hesitant to commit to a first-year con that was two weeks after PAX Prime. Shipping that stuff around the country is *really* expensive, and coming to Expo would've been a gamble. Which just makes the ones who took that gamble even more awesome. :)

Many of the issues were caused by us underestimating how many people would actually show up! Take Saturday night for example - we originally had chairs for everyone, but a chair counts as a person according to the fire marshall, so we had to move them all out to allow everyone inside.

There are plenty of little details we didn't think of, though, like trying to get everyone on the same floor, or having name tags for your screen name, or having a meet-up...and for some things, we just plain didn't have the money (like the radios. We thought of 'em, but didn't have the budget).

Keep the feedback coming, though, because we want to make the next one even better for you guys!

Twyce:

ccesarano:

As someone who has had to run competitive Super Smash Bros. tournaments from each game, no. No you don't want to run that, because those people are fucking insane.

So what you are saying is that they would be COMPLETELY AWESOME TO WATCH!

Only if you really like hearing people scream about whether items require more skill because it's chaotic or ruins the balance, or what glitchy Mortal-Kombat-Passwordy manuevers should be banned, what characters should be banned, so on and so forth. :|

I mean these discussions occur for other fighting games as well, but Smash Bros...dear God, Smash Bros...

Glad to give the feedback, Susan. :)

I agree with some of the previous statements saying PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF JESUS'S FLAMING HEMORRHOIDS, GIVE BETTER INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO GET THE THE CENTER. Durham is a very confusing place under the best of circumstances, and it's much worse when there is also a Cancer March and a street festival going on at the same time. I'm not saying that I didn't enjoy running around downtown in full costume, it's just that I could have done without doing it multiple times.

Harry Mason:
I agree with some of the previous statements saying PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF JESUS'S FLAMING HEMORRHOIDS, GIVE BETTER INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO GET THE THE CENTER. Durham is a very confusing place under the best of circumstances, and it's much worse when there is also a Cancer March and a street festival going on at the same time. I'm not saying that I didn't enjoy running around downtown in full costume, it's just that I could have done without doing it multiple times.

That festival and whatnot was a bit of a pain, but I don't think they would've done much about it.

Just out of curiosity, what did you cosplay as?

EDIT: I just thought of something.

Maybe have people help out the Staff and take some of the stress and burden off of them since I say a lot of them running around trying to get things done while talking with people.

If I remember correctly, I don't think they had enough volunteers signed up for the amount of work they needed to get done. Also in regards of the Saturday night party - not enough space, really? There was tons of floor space that wasn't even used during the party, even when the cosplay contest was taking up half of the room.

Harry Mason:
I agree with some of the previous statements saying PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF JESUS'S FLAMING HEMORRHOIDS, GIVE BETTER INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO GET THE THE CENTER. Durham is a very confusing place under the best of circumstances, and it's much worse when there is also a Cancer March and a street festival going on at the same time. I'm not saying that I didn't enjoy running around downtown in full costume, it's just that I could have done without doing it multiple times.

We originally had volunteer stations to help direct people around, but a lot of volunteers didn't show up for their shifts, so we had to pull those spots. It was more important to have registration and the panels going. :(

The vast majority of our volunteers went sooooooo far above and beyond the call, but some just plain bailed on us. And it's silly, but it really hurt my feelings.

I'm sorry you got your feelings hurt, Susan! If you had had a volunteer sign up (or a sign up that you needed some help), I would have stepped up. As for the radio thing, i can understand not having the budget for it! Maybe, we can get a project going to design a radio app for smartphones that everyone who has one can just install (and use with a bluetooth) to use as the coms system next year? That way you won't have to pay for a radio system? (I'll get some people i know on it). We did love the Expo though!

For informational type stuff like directions, even if just to check before you head out, please don't be afraid to ask any volunteer! "How do I get to X?" is honestly my favorite question because it's easy and I know I'm helping somebody get to something fun they really want to do.

Hopefully next year, we'll have the staff for those info booths, but even if it looks like we're doing something, we're ALL Expo information, all there to help, and "paid" to handle more than one thing at a time.

And if you happen to ask something we don't know, we'll find you somebody who does, so please, get our attention and ask away!

Susan Arendt:
...but a chair counts as a person according to the fire marshall....

Is it wrong of me to imagine the fire marshall saying "Chairs are people, my friend" while offering a smug smile?

If those folks with the classic arcade games come back, could we persuade them to bring some pinball machines? I haven't played pinball in so long.

The Rogue Wolf:

Susan Arendt:
...but a chair counts as a person according to the fire marshall....

Is it wrong of me to imagine the fire marshall saying "Chairs are people, my friend" while offering a smug smile?

If those folks with the classic arcade games come back, could we persuade them to bring some pinball machines? I haven't played pinball in so long.

We went back and forth about pinball. Pinball machines are a real pain to transport, and they oftentimes end up sitting there, neglected, as everyone hangs around the Primal Rage machine. So it's tricky to know whether to bring them or not.

Zhara:
I'm sorry you got your feelings hurt, Susan! If you had had a volunteer sign up (or a sign up that you needed some help), I would have stepped up. As for the radio thing, i can understand not having the budget for it! Maybe, we can get a project going to design a radio app for smartphones that everyone who has one can just install (and use with a bluetooth) to use as the coms system next year? That way you won't have to pay for a radio system? (I'll get some people i know on it). We did love the Expo though!

Wow, that would be awwwweeeesome, for sure!

I think that there should be an event where the contributors and the audience can both participate. I think the costume contest was a perfect example of this. Where, like maybe, you could have a talent show, or karaoke, or battle of the bands that's judged by the contributors. More stuff like that would be totally rad.

Susan Arendt:

We originally had volunteer stations to help direct people around, but a lot of volunteers didn't show up for their shifts, so we had to pull those spots. It was more important to have registration and the panels going. :(

The vast majority of our volunteers went sooooooo far above and beyond the call, but some just plain bailed on us. And it's silly, but it really hurt my feelings.

Yeah, all of the volunteers I came into contact with were wonderful and looked like they were working their rumps off.

I've worked sound design on a lot of large music festivals, and one thing I've always found to be a godsend being on festival staff is having a walkie talkie. I think someone mentioned this earlier, but the difference between staff and volunteer staff carrying walkie talkies Vs. NOT carrying walkie talkies is the difference between complete chaos and relative order.

I once worked for this brand new festival that was just getting off the ground and they had somewhere in the neighborhood of 5,000 attendees and 300 volunteers, and they decided to skip walkie talkies in the budget. The result was completely absent volunteers because they were all running to hell and back just to ask a question or get something delivered. The other result was that the festival only had a one year run even though The Wailers and I believe Leo Kottke were there.

Anyway, the only reason I was so upset about not being able to find the Expo is because I WANTED TO BE THERE SO BADLY! Because it was kick ass.

Fiz_The_Toaster:

Just out of curiosity, what did you cosplay as?

I was Eddie Riggs in the trio of Brutal Legend characters, I had no idea you were there, Fiz, did you dress up?

Fiz_The_Toaster:

Maybe have people help out the Staff and take some of the stress and burden off of them since I say a lot of them running around trying to get things done while talking with people.

I agree. I tried to help them out a little, and I know for a fact I saw volunteers sending their non-volunteer friends on fetch quests on multiple occasions. Other than a little moaning in the Cosplay Line That Reached Into Forever, there were really great attitudes all around as far as I could see.

Harry Mason:
SNIP!

Oooooh, I think I know who you are now.

I didn't dress up, but I was the one carrying the Okami plushy that was Daystar's representative.

It had a sign and everything! :D

Yeah, I tried to help as much as I could and wondered about the walkie talkie thing, I know I love those things in my line of work.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: T-SHIRT CANNONS!

Susan Arendt:
There are plenty of little details we didn't think of, though, like trying to get everyone on the same floor, or having name tags for your screen name, or having a meet-up...and for some things, we just plain didn't have the money (like the radios. We thought of 'em, but didn't have the budget).
!

You could handle the nametags thing by having more sturdy badges (which I assume weren't so for money reasons, so s'cool).

This is what they had on one side of Magfest badges this year:

Other than that, my only suggestion would be MOAR EVERYTHING!

Susan Arendt:
*snip!*

Can it be in December next year? You know, when my military conscription ends? =D

OT: I think wider tables would be nice. I've been watching the panel videos, and it seems like poor Corey gets tacked on at the end and doesn't have a nice comfy table.

I would suggest printing both sides of the badges so the wind can spin them around all it wants without obscuring your identity.

I'm going to put on my planner hat here...

There needed to be an actual delegation of power. I stood in line for an hour watching them do registration and badge pick up set up...and Just wanted to walk over and started being the Emergency Planner I am. Having a chart and following it, playing to people's strengths, and communications lists are absolutely key. Didn't have radios? Well honestly there were so many of you that speaking on a radio channel would have been flooged. Everyone should have had a group made on their phone of key contacts and other volunteers within their designated section.

Other than that I loved it! I hope that it can grow and with it you guys can take the lessons and apply them! I would love to see some more developer and vendor participation(my LGS was sad they didn't know about it), but these are other things that can change and adapt with time.

Personally I think the event was an absolute success with so much to offer and so few hiccups compared to over similar first year events. It was a pleasure to volunteer for. The most amazing thing about this con is that every one of the staff members and volunteers no matter how stressed they may have seemed were all very kind to the con attendees which is really important.

The only thing I would REALLY love is more of Yahtzee wearing cat ears. I mean, who wouldn't love that?

Zhara:
Maybe, we can get a project going to design a radio app for smartphones that everyone who has one can just install (and use with a bluetooth) to use as the coms system next year? That way you won't have to pay for a radio system? (I'll get some people i know on it). We did love the Expo though!

To further support that, how about some public wifi APs scattered around the convention center, to help those from out of town (coughCANADAcough) avoid stupid roaming data charges, but still be able to contact their friends for plans and such?

I found myself standing outside near the YMCA across the street to leech off their public wifi a couple times. XD

Buzz kill, is an art too. Just like video games, and the people who spew about them.

I feel I have not been represented in this EXPO, and that's probably a good thing, eh?

EDIT: Oh Yeah, The Escapist Expo, this not an accurate representation of girls and or women in gaming, eh? Did ya see the turn out?

lol

We need more feminism. Cuz fembots are hot, yo.

Sober Thal:
-Snip-

A large majority of the people there were not forum regulars. They were simply fans of the site's content (primarily Yahtzee). I wouldn't really expect those kinds of questions.

Plus, a lot of people were probably networking and didn't want to piss anyone off.

Could the following be provided?
Better communication about what having a VIP badge allows you to do.
I was not notified about the cocktail party time or location. (No e-mail) Asked a Volunteer.....they told me no such this was going on. Still bummed because I brought a formal kimono and my best manners to attend hoping to interact with the staff and content contributors in less hurried more relaxed setting.
It would have been great to thank your team for providing such an interesting site in person. Sadly, I found out hours later...after the party had already happened.

Was there a VIP badge line?
I got to wait in line quietly following the volunteers direction watching rude people push past me flip off the volunteers and run into the convention on the first morning.
This got better as more volunteers were stationed at the beginning of the con.

More Night time events.... Burlesque was fantastic.
Please, please invite them back next year.
They were phenomenal and on target to their audience.

A second miracle of sound concert...if possible?
An award for the Volunteer who ran Kings Landing all weekend - he was a pleasure to talk with.
Was POLITE and knew how to work a room full of people to get then seated orderly and in to the event quickly!

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