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PAX Panels!

NefariousJoeNefariousJoe Registered User
edited September 2010 in PAX Archive
I help run all of the Satellite Theaters. We want people to like coming to our theaters. We did PAX Prime 2010, it's 6 months to PAX East and 12 until the next Prime. This is where you come in:

Which panels were awesome? Which were terrible? Which specific panelists did you like? Perhaps you'd like to see them on a different panel?

This is also a place where we can discuss the general sat theater experience. Anything about deciding to go to panel, going to theater, waiting in lines, moving from line into theater, being in theater, and then leaving theater are things I want to hear about and in as much detail as possible.

Edit: Jamspace and The Game Developer Workshop/Lounge are also appropriate things to talk about here.

That said, there's some stuff we don't need to talk about:
Acquisitions Inc panel. We know what happened. We are very sorry. It will almost certainly move to Main.
Of Dice and Men. It will also move to a bigger space if they come back (which they've said they want to).
Lines are long and panels fill.
Jamspace was hot.

NefariousJoe on

Posts

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    This year I had a firm "no waiting in line for panels" policy. I spent a lot of time in panel lines last year, so I decided to hit panels that A) I thought would be enjoyable and B) I felt were in large enough theaters not to worry about lining up.

    I succeeded. And got to catch some enjoyable and lesser-frequented panels.

    A panelist I love, though? Scott Kurtz. The panel description could be "Scott Kurtz reads the phone book" and I'd show up, just in case something awesome happened. Really, he should be cloned and included on every panel.

    Panels I hate? Anything that's straight Q&A. Sure, many panels include Q&A, but in general a panel that is just Q&A will be terrible. There are exceptions. They are few. I avoid these panels like the plague...unless it's "Q&A with Wil Wheaton," I assume it's going to be garbage. Well, that or Scott Kurtz. The phone book, I shit you not.

    I said it in the other thread, I think, but when lining up panels you need to make sure the Enforcers have a plan and (more or less) stick to it. Because being told "we will be doing X at time Y," then coming back at time Y to find out that they changed their minds and oh hey they queue's full now...well, no good. Twitter helps, but really if you've told a hundred or more people that you're not allowing lineups until 4, there should be no lineups until 4 (I had a couple friends almost get screwed on this). Though obviously if you're keeping the ZOMG HUGE panels out of the satellites as much as possible, this shouldn't be an issue that often anyway.

    Aside from a couple hitches, it didn't seem like this year was too bad, though.

    mcdermott on
  • xxhennersxxxxhennersxx Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Lines. Lines going around the main theater. The theater line was wrapped almost aROUND the corner where I was referred to by two enforcers to go ALL THE WAY AROUND when the end was RIGHT there. Not a big deal but...christ.

    anyway, can jamspace be bigger? At one point during the chiptune showcase the performer yelled "I WANT TO SEE EVERYONES HANDS IN THE AIR!" and in a room that small? My friend could not help but yell back "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD NO!"

    xxhennersxx on
  • OmniscientlyMeOmniscientlyMe Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Speaking for the many panels I went to this year:

    Friday
    Hal Halpin & Adam Sessler - Good
    OverClocked Remix - Good
    Memoirs of a Triple Agent - Boring
    Mega64: Panel for Laughs - Not that funny
    Pax 10 Panel #1 - Ok, needs visuals/details of the games for people that haven't seen them all on the floor yet. I personally don't see myself going to another one of these.

    Saturday
    We Study Games...Professionally - Surprisingly good, wish I had stayed to chat with the panelists rather than gone to the next panel
    Evolution of RPGs - not very interesting, should have been called Table Top vs MMO
    Wil Weaton - Great entertainment, needs larger venue

    Sunday
    X-Play LIVE - Great
    Xbox Live Enforcement: Tales from the Din - Good, the half I saw anyway
    Legal Issues in the Game Industry - As expected, interesting at times, boring at others...would probably be a bad panel in years where there's not a Supreme Court case involving games

    Notes
    I heard Of Dice and Men and Acquisitions, Inc. were both good, but wasn't able to get in them myself despite going early. Both, along with the Wil Weaton Panel, need to be in larger venues as they each had hundreds of people turned away. Also, Acquisitions, Inc. should probably be given a large buffer between it and the following event as it ran over time and delayed the panels that followed.

    OmniscientlyMe on
  • ManoaManoa Registered User
    edited September 2010
    I posted the following in Moe's suggestion thread...
    Manoa wrote: »
    I would say my biggest disappointment was how the Q&A lines were handled in Pegasus theater. I arrived at the Sheraton around 4:30pm for Wil Wheaton's panel, line-up wasn't allowed until around 5:00pm...so I hovered around the windows until they allowed people to start lining up. Scored a place towards the front of the line and got a seat in row 6 along the aisle and near the podium. It was my first time attending Wil's panel and I was super excited to have what I *thought* was a decent spot. Had a excellent view for the first 10-15 of the panel, then Q&A started and I found I happen to have picked the wrong side of the aisle. Even though Wil asked at the start of Q&A that those heading to the Q&A lines to please squat/kneel ("Don't Be a Dick"), nobody in the Q&A line listened and the Enforcers didn't enforce Wil's request at all. Those of us suck on the wrong side of the aisle waited in line so increadibly long only to have our view blocked by the Q&A line for 3/4 of Wil's panel. I was so increadibly crushed. :(

    I'd suggest if Pegasus is to be used in the future, the positioning of the Q&A line be given some serious thought as to ensure the view of those seated is not blocked (especially considering that those seats blocked were at the front of the hall...meaning people waited a loooonng time to get those seats). I personally feel that a good solution would be locating the Q&A lines along the walls instead of in the aisles. But if the fire code doesn't allow for this, perhaps you guys could either have the Enforcers ensure that those in the Q&A line squat/kneel...or maybe you can block off 5 or 6 seats along each aisle so those waiting in the Q&A line can sit instead of stand.

    To help put the above into perspective, this was my view pre-Q&A...
    WilWheaton1.jpg

    Now imagine that view transforming into people's heads, backs and bums for 3/4 of the panel. So sad. :(

    Wil puts on such a great panel and is always in such high demand...I too feel that he should be moved to the main theater.

    Waiting a long time in line for Wil's wasn't so bad...actually, I had a lot of fun! The attendees standing in line were pretty awesome and the line entertainers helped keep things intersting and fun. Honestly, the time spent waiting in the line itself flew by because of these two factors. I think my only line suggestion for the longer lines would be to try to get more entertainer volunteers to hit other areas of the line. It'd also be nice to add the status of Pegasus (the other rooms would be handy too) to the @PAX_Lines feed, including the times when the enforcers will start allowing people to line-up.

    The way the Guild Wars 2 panel was handled was also kinda disappointing (which a very, very minor disappointment, as I had a backup panel for that time slot :)). You had to jump through so many hoops *and* rely on chance to get into the panel. The NCSoft reps told us we had to demo the game (huge line), get a bandana from doing the demo, hope one of their reps spotted you in the con to give you a ticket for a trivia game. *If* you got into the trivia, you had to answer your question correctly in order to get a ticket into the panel. You had to dedicate so much time to get into the panel and he odds of getting into the panel were pretty darn slim. I personally don't like the idea of a panel being contest, but YMMV (I'm just glad I was able to see the game in the expo hall...shiny!!).

    In addition, there was an unannounced error with the "Game Mechanics and Mechanism Design" panel in this year's program. The web page and program's events grid showed this panel's time correctly as Saturday at 7:30pm-8:30pm in Unicorn; however, the panel descriptions area of the program indicated that this panel was Sunday at 10:30am in Unicorn. My boyfriend was greatly looking forward to going to this panel, but was relying on the info in the panel descriptions section...he was about to head off to the panel Sunday morning when he discovered that the panel had already occured. :(

    Manoa on
  • MarySueMarySue Registered User
    edited September 2010
    I went to see PAX Late Night Show specifically because Molly Lewis was going to be there.

    I had never listened to the podcast. As a matter of fact, I still don't know what the podcast is. The two guys who run it (I'm assuming were the two guys in the suits who stood around making stupid jokes for a while) never bothered to introduce themselves, their podcast, or tell us where we could listen to it later. Even though they took a brief poll of the audience to see who knew who they were and maybe a dozen hands went up.

    Not that I really want to. They didn't strike me as terribly put together or coherent.

    (Molly was awesome, as usual.)

    The only other panel I managed to get to was Hal Halpin and Adam Sessler Talking Games, which was totally worth it, especially since one of my hobbies is Constitutional Law.

    MarySue on
    Portland, Oregon, and sloe gin fizz. If that ain't love, then tell me what is.
    +++BRONYS BEFORE BROS!+++
  • ArcoArco Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    The Bungie/Reach panel was great. As always, those guys put together top-notch videos and commentary on the game.

    The XBL Enforcement panel was the weirdest mix I've ever seen. The videos were incredibly lame, but whenever they would launch into explanations of the system or take questions, it was amazing. Those guys know what they're doing, and learning a little bit about how XBL enforcement works was genuinely captivating and interesting. Less silly videos, more talking. That panel was incredibly informative. Can we get them on more panels, and can we get more panels like this?

    The Bill Amend panel was very underwhelming. Maybe it's just personal preference, but I don't really care to hear a comic writer/artist narrate his comics for an hour. Talking about the comics was cool, but at least half the panel was him just showing off strips and reading them aloud. I can read ALMOST as well as Bill Amend can, so I don't need him to do it for me. More discussion about the strip, or anything else, would have been cool. I'm sure he's an interesting guy when he's not reading things.

    The Gearbox panel was a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, pizza. Awesome. On the other hand, the Claptrap/Borderlands video was AWESOME. On the other hand, no DNF video. Saaaaadness. But it was good. Randy tearing up was one of those genuine moments that PAX is all about. Get those guys to do more panels.

    The 1UP panel was... weird. It was just a bunch of people partying up on stage with beer. I dunno. I guess that's cool, but I'd rather that time slot be filled with something more... meaningful. I understand it was a last minute thing, so don't read too much into that.

    Acquisitions, Inc. was awesome, and I'm not even a D&D fan. I just like Jerry a lot. Any excuse to get him riffing about this or that is a good panel.

    I didn't see anything that wasn't in Pegasus Theater, because I suck.

    Arco on
    Like this, not like the gas station.
    Organizer of the Post-PAX Party. You should come!
    Satellite Theater for life!
  • CreamsteakCreamsteak Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    The first couple panels I wanted to see were missed due to a flight delay. So I really didn't get started till Noon on Friday. Also had to deal with scheduling conflicts and people wanting to go explore Seattle in places.

    The Evolution of RPGs panel I found interesting, but the title and description for the panel really didn't fit the content. I think it would have been better served if they had gone with a slightly more varied set of panelists. Sadly the Star Wars preview panel was at the same time so it wouldn't have been likely - but the ideal setup to me would have been to take Baker, Pramas and a lead from both Guild Wars 2 and the KOTOR MMO. It also was really only introductory. There were so many things that they didn't expand on, or didn't seem to consider. I enjoyed it though, as I think about the issues they were discussion on a daily basis. I had a bit of a feeling like, "I could have been more useful to that panel" than some of the speakers at times.

    I'm a bit surprised the Geeknights panels were well liked. I had just assumed based on their podcasts and what little I had seen that "they were not the guys to be giving this panel" but it sounds like I missed something decent.

    The 45 second game idea panel was pretty fun. Sucks that going to that meant I exclusively could NOT go to the live D&D game.

    I went to the Late Night with Scott Kurtz and the blaminations in the morning. Wasn't my first pick, but my friends wanted to be there so I went along - and I was definitely not disappointed. Scott Reads a Phone Book is worth waiting in line. It seems like the main Penny-Arcade personnel can be entertaining anywhere with anything.

    I also secretly want a Robert Khoo panel. It can be called "Robert Khoo's nap time". I'll wait in line for hours just to watch him sleep.

    Creamsteak on
  • adesteradester Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Creamsteak wrote: »
    I also secretly want a Robert Khoo panel. It can be called "Robert Khoo's nap time". I'll wait in line for hours just to watch him sleep.

    Creepy Factor hit the max there my friend :)

    adester on
  • AprecheApreche Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    I had never listened to the podcast. As a matter of fact, I still don't know what the podcast is. The two guys who run it (I'm assuming were the two guys in the suits who stood around making stupid jokes for a while) never bothered to introduce themselves, their podcast, or tell us where we could listen to it later. Even though they took a brief poll of the audience to see who knew who they were and maybe a dozen hands went up.
    I am one of those guys making stupid jokes. We purposefully did not self promote very much at all. If you look at the PAX schedule, there are a ton of panels that are basically just "some podcast/internet show, but LIVE!" We were offered to do GeekNights Live! but we didn't want to. Why should we do a panel that only our existing audience would have any interest in? We want to do something for all of the attendees of PAX. It's not about us, it's about you. We're coming to the con for free, it is our duty to make the con better for the attendees. We basically think of ourselves as enforcers with panel running duty. As for the late show itself, it was an experiment. We know.
    I'm a bit surprised the Geeknights panels were well liked. I had just assumed based on their podcasts and what little I had seen that "they were not the guys to be giving this panel" but it sounds like I missed something decent.
    I am just as surprised as you are. We've been doing panels at conventions for 8+ years now, and have done panels at every PAX (including East) since '08. After we do our panel, for the rest of the convention people keep coming up to us and complementing us on a job well done. Even when we repeat the same exact panel, or feel like we did a crappy job, people still seem to like it. It is a complete surprise every time, and we can not give enough thanks to you, PAX, and the enforcers for allowing us to return year after year. We do a lot of conventions, and PAX is the best by a large margin.

    Apreche on
  • MarySueMarySue Registered User
    edited September 2010
    Apreche wrote: »
    I had never listened to the podcast. As a matter of fact, I still don't know what the podcast is. The two guys who run it (I'm assuming were the two guys in the suits who stood around making stupid jokes for a while) never bothered to introduce themselves, their podcast, or tell us where we could listen to it later. Even though they took a brief poll of the audience to see who knew who they were and maybe a dozen hands went up.
    I am one of those guys making stupid jokes. We purposefully did not self promote very much at all. If you look at the PAX schedule, there are a ton of panels that are basically just "some podcast/internet show, but LIVE!" We were offered to do GeekNights Live! but we didn't want to. Why should we do a panel that only our existing audience would have any interest in? We want to do something for all of the attendees of PAX. It's not about us, it's about you. We're coming to the con for free, it is our duty to make the con better for the attendees. We basically think of ourselves as enforcers with panel running duty. As for the late show itself, it was an experiment. We know.

    Props for stepping out on a limb.

    But my suggestion for next time: "Hi, my name is
    " "And my name is
    , and we're your hosts for the evening!"

    MarySue on
    Portland, Oregon, and sloe gin fizz. If that ain't love, then tell me what is.
    +++BRONYS BEFORE BROS!+++
  • AprecheApreche Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    MarySue wrote: »
    Apreche wrote: »
    I had never listened to the podcast. As a matter of fact, I still don't know what the podcast is. The two guys who run it (I'm assuming were the two guys in the suits who stood around making stupid jokes for a while) never bothered to introduce themselves, their podcast, or tell us where we could listen to it later. Even though they took a brief poll of the audience to see who knew who they were and maybe a dozen hands went up.
    I am one of those guys making stupid jokes. We purposefully did not self promote very much at all. If you look at the PAX schedule, there are a ton of panels that are basically just "some podcast/internet show, but LIVE!" We were offered to do GeekNights Live! but we didn't want to. Why should we do a panel that only our existing audience would have any interest in? We want to do something for all of the attendees of PAX. It's not about us, it's about you. We're coming to the con for free, it is our duty to make the con better for the attendees. We basically think of ourselves as enforcers with panel running duty. As for the late show itself, it was an experiment. We know.

    Props for stepping out on a limb.

    But my suggestion for next time: "Hi, my name is
    " "And my name is
    , and we're your hosts for the evening!"
    Good idea!

    Actually I think our major problem was that when we do panels where we talk about topics we know about and are interested in, we can go on stage with slides and an outline, and rock the house. We thought we could do the same in the late show, and that was probably wrong. There's definitely a reason people like Letterman have writers. If we ever attempt a late show again, we will definitely have an actual script.

    Apreche on
  • CrabblesCrabbles Registered User
    edited September 2010
    I attended the Myth of the Gamer Girl panel with my wife. We thought that three out of the four panelists were brilliant and wanted to hear more from them. We thought one of the panelists was immature and didn't know what she was talking about and we wanted to hear less from her. In addition, I think the name was misleading. It's funny, sure, but we all know that female gamers exist. The panel itself was more of an exploration of the roles of women in the industry (both in and out of games), so the title should have reflected that.

    My wife and I also attended the Raising the Geek Generation panel. It took awhile for them to get started (so much geek feather fluffing and backstory), but once they did I thought it was well-structured and informative. I really appreciate their use of a PowerPoint presentation. I feel that it kept them organized and on-task. I love that they gave out free stuff to the children in the audience.

    Of Mice and Men was fabulous, though I couldn't see much from my seat. In addition, I was so pissed that they started late. I like the idea of bringing them to a larger theatre, and perhaps even multiple showings over the weekend, but they gotta stick to a time schedule (I'm saying this not knowing why they were running late).

    You addressed my issue with Acquisitions Inc, I hope to see it next year.

    After all of that, I feel that the Q&A needs to be regulated. I like genuine questions, but listening to people go on and on about their backstory pisses me off. I understand a little from the panelists themselves, but when people come up to the mic, just ask your question. If the panelists need more backstory to understand the question, they will probably ask that. I don't mean to rant, but I would love to watch a Q&A where they get through more than just three questions. Please please please fix this.

    Crabbles on
  • Angel177Angel177 Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    mcdermott wrote: »
    This year I had a firm "no waiting in line for panels" policy. I spent a lot of time in panel lines last year, so I decided to hit panels that A) I thought would be enjoyable and B) I felt were in large enough theaters not to worry about lining up.

    I succeeded. And got to catch some enjoyable and lesser-frequented panels.

    A panelist I love, though? Scott Kurtz. The panel description could be "Scott Kurtz reads the phone book" and I'd show up, just in case something awesome happened. Really, he should be cloned and included on every panel.

    Panels I hate? Anything that's straight Q&A. Sure, many panels include Q&A, but in general a panel that is just Q&A will be terrible. There are exceptions. They are few. I avoid these panels like the plague...unless it's "Q&A with Wil Wheaton," I assume it's going to be garbage. Well, that or Scott Kurtz. The phone book, I shit you not.


    I said it in the other thread, I think, but when lining up panels you need to make sure the Enforcers have a plan and (more or less) stick to it. Because being told "we will be doing X at time Y," then coming back at time Y to find out that they changed their minds and oh hey they queue's full now...well, no good. Twitter helps, but really if you've told a hundred or more people that you're not allowing lineups until 4, there should be no lineups until 4 (I had a couple friends almost get screwed on this). Though obviously if you're keeping the ZOMG HUGE panels out of the satellites as much as possible, this shouldn't be an issue that often anyway.

    Aside from a couple hitches, it didn't seem like this year was too bad, though.

    Scott Kurtz Rules, first thing said at the blamations panel "we're drunk, does anyone have some booze or coffee?" aside from his awesomeness, the Bungie panel was great, well handled by the Enforcers however the reach meetup later in the day was...well shit, the ditzy bitch hosting it nearly caused a riot TWICE:x:evil:, fucking hell love, for free shit some folks would kill there own mother, also if you are willing to give the guys who stood for questions free swag do that first, not annouce free posters at the front as well and then cause a stampede of geeks rushing the front forcing them to huck the swag into the crowd, thank fuck I'm 6'4 and can push my way anywhere....

    Angel177 on
    6103544412_a48002080a.jpg
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Arco wrote: »
    The XBL Enforcement panel was the weirdest mix I've ever seen. The videos were incredibly lame, but whenever they would launch into explanations of the system or take questions, it was amazing. Those guys know what they're doing, and learning a little bit about how XBL enforcement works was genuinely captivating and interesting. Less silly videos, more talking. That panel was incredibly informative. Can we get them on more panels, and can we get more panels like this?

    Yeah, this panel was awesome and I'd love to see Stepto and the game on more panels. The videos were cheesy, and silly, but that was the point; they didn't bother me. Only one of them was long enough that I'd say they should have cut it, the rest were short and moderately amusing. And yeah, the panel (both the presentations and Q&A) were awesomesauce.
    The 45 second game idea panel was pretty fun. Sucks that going to that meant I exclusively could NOT go to the live D&D game.

    Yeah, this was actually what kept me out of the D&D panel; and honestly, I think that this choice kept a lot of people out of the Pitch Your Game Idea panel, depressing turnout...because I had heard fantastic things from last year, and it seemed people had suggested it was popular. And it was also absolutely hilarious.

    mcdermott on
  • tr0tskytr0tsky Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Crabbles wrote: »
    I like the idea of bringing them to a larger theatre, and perhaps even multiple showings over the weekend, but they gotta stick to a time schedule (I'm saying this not knowing why they were running late).

    It was running late because they only had 30 mins (actually a bit less) to strike the previous panel, clear off the stage/set their props, get in costume, get sound set up for music, etc. After that, the audience could be let in, which took a while because we were so full. If they're back next year and in a bigger venue, I imagine they'll also have more setup time directly before the performance, which would mitigate that.

    tr0tsky on
    tr0tsky is correct.
  • KillerMcDeadKillerMcDead Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5y6YsAhuV14

    From the "Make a Strip" Panel Saturday morning. So many funny moments, would definitely recommend the panel to any future PAX-goers.

    KillerMcDead on
  • NefariousJoeNefariousJoe Registered User
    edited September 2010
    Manoa wrote: »
    I would say my biggest disappointment was how the Q&A lines were handled in Pegasus theater.

    We will work on this.
    In addition, there was an unannounced error with the "Game Mechanics and Mechanism Design" panel in this year's program.

    We try to keep everyone as up to date as possible on this. Right now, the best thing I can say to make sure and check paxsite that morning or go to info booth and see what had changed between the programs being printed and PAX's doors opening. I know it's far from a perfect solution, but it's the best we've got right now. We will work on this.

    NefariousJoe on
  • PimpMethodPimpMethod Registered User
    edited September 2010
    The Egregiously Unrealized Potential was the best panel for me. The Panelist had lots of energy all throughout the panel!

    PimpMethod on
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  • ChibipandoraChibipandora Registered User
    edited September 2010
    Due to having to work for swag and stuff being at the same time, only made it to 3 this year.

    :zzz: Myth of the Girl Gamer
    Erm. I mean, it wasn't -bad-, but it could have used a little more organization? Agreeing with Crabbles, it seemed like the talking could have been much more evened out and the title was misleading. I wish I'd gone to the Adam Sessler one instead.

    :whistle: Women Own
    Really, really good. It was well organized, very insightful, very down to Earth about problems in gaming culture and industry without being finger-pointy or depressing. I was really disappointed that so many went to the "Myth of the Girl Gamer" panel and this panel had much fewer people.

    :...: We Research Games ... Professionally!
    As someone who did research video games in college, I had to deal with both the positives and negatives aspects of my choice of topic, so I was really looking forward to this panel. Being that same person, I didn't really feel like this panel was aimed at me. It seemed really informative for those who did research as a hobby or had an interest in it, but I felt like I came away with very little new information. I think my real problem with it is that researching video games in academia is such a broad topic that it couldn't all be successfully squished into one panel other than a light skimming of the surface.

    Chibipandora on
  • Jenga!Jenga! Registered User
    edited September 2010
    I understand that Acquisitions, Inc does not need further discussion, but I'd like to use it to illustrate the panel-challenges I ran into. My group arrived just before the 'official' line-up time, but somehow got directed into the Pitch Your Game Idea panel by the Enforcers. Being sheep (baaaa!), we obliged without ever hearing what the line was for. (our bad >< ) We were seated up front and took a few minutes to realize that the panel setting was all wrong for D&D. Being unfamiliar with panel policies, we had to make a hasty decision: stay & hope they let us stay in for D&D? Or book it and hope to make the line in time? We ditched and just barely made it to the back of the Acquisition line. We made it in! Huzzah! But we saw others that chose to stay and were not allowed in. Sadness! I'm grateful that our gut helped us out here and I recognize that the burden of information and decision-making is on us...but maybe, just maybe, for the con-noobs, could generic rules be printed somewhere? We made the right choice due to a good guess alone, and if I'd missed the panel due to a lack of communication I would have been uber-pissed. I know you guys have a hard job and I appreciate what you do for us, but more transparency would be nice.

    The only panels I care about involve the Greats and don't require a lot of explanation. I skipped a bunch this year because I wasn't confident that I could make it into the new hall and didn't want to invest my time unwisely by walking back and forth unnecessarily.

    Lines are fun!!! I don't mind them! And thank you for doing such a great job managing the cut-off point, I always felt confident I'd get a seat if Enforcers told me I could.

    Of Dice and Men was GREAT, but I was in the last row and wwwwwoooowwwww, did my neck hurt from straining it to see. The had an amazing woman helping us, though - she kept leaning over to explain the funny visual parts we couldn't see. <3

    Jenga! on
  • UCLA_JukeboxUCLA_Jukebox Registered User
    edited September 2010
    I hit on this idea in another thread, but maybe a Ping Pong event? One where it's team PA vs some other team. That other team could be Omeganauts, random sampling of nerds (much like how the omeganauts are chosen), or a game dev team (like Team Bungie from PATV).

    It's strange, obscure, slightly nerdy, and a game. Plus with Team PA, it totally fits PAX. Throw them into the main hall (because having all of Team PA in the same space would demand max capacity), and have the two teams on bleachers up on opposite sides of the main stage with the ping pong table in the middle.


    As for panels I went to:

    1) Keynote was awesome. Spector has some serious geek cred.

    2) Q&A #1 right after the Keynote was fun.

    3) Acquisitions, Inc was amazing, and really needed some more room. Maybe would have been a bit better to have it earlier in the day, that way Wil Wheaton could have been earlier (a panel I sadly missed).

    4) First night of concerts was fun. I personally didn't have any major problems with Baynora hall (was 6 rows from the stage). I sort of missed not having an area to just mosh around with all the other crazies in the front, but I quite liked having a seat that was "mine." I was disappointed when I noticed that there were a lot of empty seats near the end. From what I hear, there were a lot of people who wanted in on later performances, and at the end only about 50% of the hall was filled.

    5) Jamspace could do with a bit more space. I was only there on Saturday night doing the XP thing (which was awesome, btw. Made me see a lot of PAX I would have passed up), when I realized that the group up on the stage singing "Mr Roboto" quite well was actually The Protomen, who were holding an impromptu concert. It was fun, even though they only sang 3 more songs by the time my friend and I showed up. Perhaps having more of these less formal concerts in side rooms? Maybe having individual "standing room only" concerts on top of the "main concerts" might placate some of the numerous complaints I've read about Baynora from others.

    UCLA_Jukebox on
  • SpaceGhost2KSpaceGhost2K Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    I only attended two panels that were not in the convention center.

    Pitch A Game. Second year. Will probably skip it next year. Too much of the same thing - going for outrageous or offensive concepts in the pursuit of humor. I passed up about three other things to go to this, and regret it. As far as the line, the concept of "fill in five wide and make a wide line" was not adequately communicated to the people in line.

    Why Gamers Should Be Interested in Kinect. It was canceled and replaced by a live Major Nelson podcast. I was really bummed about this and never heard why it was canceled.

    In the CC, I went to a number of game design, community manager and marketing panels and enjoyed every one of them. I regret missing the Michael Pachter panel. I heard the turnout was poor, which is too bad because I really like the guy. I had a conflict though and couldn't do both.

    SpaceGhost2K on
  • TeletheusTeletheus Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Why Gamers Should Be Interested in Kinect. It was canceled and replaced by a live Major Nelson podcast. I was really bummed about this and never heard why it was canceled.

    I'm going to avoid making the all-too-obvious joke about them not being able to come up with enough material for a panel on the original subject and merely note that the part of the podcast I did see (I didn't come in until it was nearly over) was pretty interesting. Probably near the bottom in terms of comparison to the other panels I saw this year... but I saw some really good panels.

    Acquisitions, Inc... what can I say that hasn't already been said? Simply outstanding. I'd really love to see them do the follow-up as a videocast instead of a straight audio podcast; the added visual of the board was awesome (but then again, maybe they don't use such awesome boards when they're not in front of a thousand people).

    The keynote, the first PA Q&A, the Rooster Teeth panel... all fantastic. I watched RvB in its early days but stopped watching for quite some time, until one of my friends reintroduced me to the series right before PAX... Those guys have gotten very good at what they do.

    Teletheus on
    PSN/XBL/Steam/Twitter: Teletheus
  • World as MythWorld as Myth Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Panels I hate? Anything that's straight Q&A. Sure, many panels include Q&A, but in general a panel that is just Q&A will be terrible. There are exceptions. They are few. I avoid these panels like the plague...

    this is definitely annoying. I went to a panel on game journalism that had a title and a topic and the guys, though nice, were like "we didn't prepare for this at all, so people should just ask us questions" and it felt like a huge waste of time. at least have a crappy powerpoint or something, jeez.

    World as Myth on
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  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Less lines. I only saw 2 panels last year due the absurd lines. I'd rather not spend the limited time I have at pax stuck in a crammed hallway. At least have a reserve system of some sort so some people can grab numbers and go do whatever for an hour. In some cases I saw people lined up for a panel before the one previous to it started.

    schuss on
  • TeletheusTeletheus Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    While the reserve system (which others have mentioned as well) is, in theory, a nice idea, I'm not sure it would work as well that way. It's been publicly stated that the lines are, in part, by design (to make people choose between awesome things so that the lines aren't oppressive everywhere and to help reduce foot traffic elsewhere to make it feel a little less crowded).

    It'd be nice not to have to wait in line and to be able to reserve your spot in a line without actually having to be there until 45 minutes before the panel or so, but they might have to reduce the ticket sales to make that work, and that means fewer people at PAX (which might not necessarily be a bad thing, overall, but it would make it even harder to get ahold of tickets every year -- not that difficult if you plan ahead right now, but I'm thinking long-term).

    Teletheus on
    PSN/XBL/Steam/Twitter: Teletheus
  • WormdundeeWormdundee Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    The suggestions for less lines are just...I mean think about it. There are 60,000 people there and there are a limited amount of panels. There will be lines, and there is nothing that can be done about it really. The laws of reality prevent any shortening of lines.

    Wormdundee on
  • NullzoneNullzone Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Highlight of the show was easily Acquisitions Inc. That needs more space to allow more people to bear witness; whether you're a hardcore D&D nerd or a fan of one or more of the webcomics that are authored by the people playing the game (which I, and subsequently the rest of you reading this, just lost :P), it truly had something for everybody.

    I liked the general structure of the panels in terms of being able to pick and choose based on the flavorings of the hour; whether it be video games, tabletop, music, or industry news, they were pretty evenly distributed so you could prioritize. The one thing I didn't like was that I had to choose between the Friday concerts and Of Dice And Men! I would much rather see entertainment overlapping with something more srs bsns, instead of having to choose between entertainment and entertainment. I hear the play was excellent, I hope it gets up on youtube or something cause I'd love to see it. Hell, I'd take an audio only reading of it.

    The other panels I went to sort of out of a sense of "first PAX" reaching; Keynote was excellent and I'll probably make a point of doing that in the future, PA Q&A was alright but was far eclipsed by the make-a-strip session, since you get to see them be a little more loose and in their own element instead of just doing a rapid fire series of fan questions. I love Mike and Jerry, and their insight, don't get me wrong; but the addition of watching Mike make PA magic (and, oh god, the dickwolf) really enhances that experience.

    I went to ocremix since I've followed their stuff for a very long time, that was fun. Wil Wheaton was awesome but I was sorry I had to leave to make the Saturday concert wristband line...I know that was more the fault of Acquisitions backing everything else up so there's no real blame there...still a disappointment to miss the latter half of his talk and his QA.

    Nullzone on
  • NeoNeo Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    First of all, I think it shows how awesome PAX is that this thread was created by the Enforcer in charge of the panel rooms asking for input from the community of how things went. Thanks Enforcers!

    I went to the Evolution of RPGs and Beyond Pen & Paper: RPGs, Videogames, and the Mainstream. Thumbs down. They both covered pretty much the same topic in the same boring vanilla way. The questions were the same and the answers completely failed to make the presentation of the topic any more interesting. I felt like both panel's plan for presentation was: "Role-playing is fun, don't you guys have great memories role-playing at the table with your friends!? Well, now there are video games that are called RPGs, but are they really the same as playing with your friends? It is better because you can play whenever you want but it is worse because you don't have to use your imagination and crack silly jokes. THE END."

    The Game Masters vs. Rules Lawyers panel was absolutely excellent. Corvus Elrod was brilliant, funny, and provided useful and incredibly insightful commentary on the topic.

    Another great panel was the Egregiously Unrealized Potential panel. The topic was brilliant and I think if gamers, developers, and publishers will have more conversations along those lines we could see great things in the future of video games.

    Over the last 2 years my most fulfilling panels seem to be in the Raven Theater, coincidence? Props to the Enforcers in charge of that theater.

    I really like the idea of having compelling panels later at night when the concerts are going on (I mean panels that start at 9, 10, or maybe even 11pm). It gives the non-concert attendees something worthwhile to do and for those who are not able to get in to see the concerts there is a viable second choice.

    Lastly, I am noticing a trend where panels are scheduled something like this: That guy you see on TV or the internet, or that website you like, is here for you to see live! Woo-hoo! I don't want to claim that PAX shouldn't be an opportunity for online communities to have gatherings or that PAX shouldn't be a chance to see and maybe talk to the people who do a podcast that you enjoy. But it would be great for all parties if the content of these panels was more compelling for people not familiar with the people and/or website in the title. It is a win-win to actually have a stated topic beyond simply: if you are our fan, you'll want to come see us in a panel room. If the panelists cover an interesting topic they will end up attracting new fans who come for the topic and then could end up following what the presenters are doing outside of PAX.

    A good example of this is what the GeekNights guys do. Their game panels (Game Mechanics, Egregiously Unrealized potential, Beyond D&D, Beyond Candyland, Loosing should be fun, etc...) are enjoyable and interesting even if you don't listen to their podcast. Yet, if you are a fan and come to their panel because you follow them, then you get the opportunity to interact with them like you wanted. It is a win for everyone.

    Neo on
    -- This space for rent --
  • NefariousJoeNefariousJoe Registered User
    edited September 2010
    schuss wrote: »
    Less lines. I only saw 2 panels last year due the absurd lines. I'd rather not spend the limited time I have at pax stuck in a crammed hallway. At least have a reserve system of some sort so some people can grab numbers and go do whatever for an hour. In some cases I saw people lined up for a panel before the one previous to it started.

    A word on this: We've toyed with the idea of a number system (mostly because it's worked so well for Console Freeplay), but the biggest reason why it wouldn't work is that people would line up anyway. We had a problem with people waiting to line up for panels in the far flung future, and when we asked them to clear out, they simply moved to the other side of the room (and this is as good a place as any to mention that we don't let people line up for anything until the previous panel has let in. So, you'll never wait more than 90 minutes for a panel in one of my rooms). There will always be a line. Weather it be for the panel proper or for the numbers we give out. That said, yes, there are lines by design. Yes, we schedule panels in a deliberate way. Yes, we make you choose. It's mean, but it's also very, very practical.
    Neo wrote: »
    I really like the idea of having compelling panels later at night when the concerts are going on (I mean panels that start at 9, 10, or maybe even 11pm). It gives the non-concert attendees something worthwhile to do and for those who are not able to get in to see the concerts there is a viable second choice.

    This is the most talked about subject amongst the enforcers under my purview. We really want to make that late night hours fun. PAX is open until 2am and there should be more than the freeplay areas when the concerts let out. We're constantly experimenting with what to schedule there, but since we only get 4 chances a year (2 for Prime and 2 for East), the progress is slow. We are always open to suggestion. It is for you guys, after all.

    NefariousJoe on
  • AprecheApreche Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    A good example of this is what the GeekNights guys do. Their game panels (Game Mechanics, Egregiously Unrealized potential, Beyond D&D, Beyond Candyland, Loosing should be fun, etc...) are enjoyable and interesting even if you don't listen to their podcast. Yet, if you are a fan and come to their panel because you follow them, then you get the opportunity to interact with them like you wanted. It is a win for everyone.
    Thanks! I'm glad you enjoy our panels. We also wish that more of the other Internet peoples would share our philosophy of making topical panels instead of just having "their show, live!" We've been offered the panel of "GeekNights, Live!" on many occasions, but we turn it down.
    This is the most talked about subject amongst the enforcers under my purview. We really want to make that late night hours fun. PAX is open until 2am and there should be more than the freeplay areas when the concerts let out. We're constantly experimenting with what to schedule there, but since we only get 4 chances a year (2 for Prime and 2 for East), the progress is slow. We are always open to suggestion. It is for you guys, after all.
    I agree this is an issue, I just never realized it before this PAX because I always went to the concerts. It was shocking how the convention center became much emptier once the concerts started and the expo hall closed. It would be cool to have more late night programming, but it's also kind of sad to put really great programs in a time slot when few people will see them.

    I am not suggesting this at all, I think it's a bad idea. I just want to mention that many anime conventions solve this "problem" by putting 18+ programming in the late hours. I strongly oppose PAX having any 18+ programming. I'm just tossing that out there because I think that you have to put some sort of spin on the late night programming to get more attention on it. It's like the convention has to shift gears to maintain the correct speed after dinner.

    Apreche on
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    schuss wrote: »
    Less lines. I only saw 2 panels last year due the absurd lines. I'd rather not spend the limited time I have at pax stuck in a crammed hallway. At least have a reserve system of some sort so some people can grab numbers and go do whatever for an hour. In some cases I saw people lined up for a panel before the one previous to it started.

    A word on this: We've toyed with the idea of a number system (mostly because it's worked so well for Console Freeplay), but the biggest reason why it wouldn't work is that people would line up anyway. We had a problem with people waiting to line up for panels in the far flung future, and when we asked them to clear out, they simply moved to the other side of the room (and this is as good a place as any to mention that we don't let people line up for anything until the previous panel has let in. So, you'll never wait more than 90 minutes for a panel in one of my rooms). There will always be a line. Weather it be for the panel proper or for the numbers we give out. That said, yes, there are lines by design. Yes, we schedule panels in a deliberate way. Yes, we make you choose. It's mean, but it's also very, very practical.

    Good point; all you do with a number system, or any system, is move the line...not get rid of it. Things like the FastPass at Disneyland work because the ride goes all day, so all you're doing is staggering the input end of the queue...or some such. There is only one of any given panel, so that means that no matter what method you choose to let people into it, it will create a huge line at some point.

    Though, in fairness, the one benefit of things like the wristband system is that it moves the line to a time when there's nothing going on anyway. If you were handing out numbers/wristbands/whathaveyou for Wil Wheaton's panel (or any popular panel) at 9:30am, that means nobody has to miss anything trying to get them...well, except sleep.

    Also, I do appreciate how you make us make choices on panels...I'd rather have to make the choice but then be able to get in to some of them than just have it be more of a clusterfuck for every last panel, which is what it would be if you didn't do some of the counterprogramming you guys do.

    mcdermott on
  • NullthreadNullthread Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited September 2010
    I understand that Acquisitions, Inc does not need further discussion, but I'd like to use it to illustrate the panel-challenges I ran into. My group arrived just before the 'official' line-up time, but somehow got directed into the Pitch Your Game Idea panel by the Enforcers. Being sheep (baaaa!), we obliged without ever hearing what the line was for. (our bad >< ) We were seated up front and took a few minutes to realize that the panel setting was all wrong for D&D. Being unfamiliar with panel policies, we had to make a hasty decision: stay & hope they let us stay in for D&D? Or book it and hope to make the line in time? We ditched and just barely made it to the back of the Acquisition line. We made it in! Huzzah! But we saw others that chose to stay and were not allowed in. Sadness! I'm grateful that our gut helped us out here and I recognize that the burden of information and decision-making is on us...but maybe, just maybe, for the con-noobs, could generic rules be printed somewhere? We made the right choice due to a good guess alone, and if I'd missed the panel due to a lack of communication I would have been uber-pissed. I know you guys have a hard job and I appreciate what you do for us, but more transparency would be nice.

    haha, I was with you *creeeeeper

    I was overwhelmed by the amount of things to do at PAX, that my hefty list of panels-to-attend went from 49810483120948 to just....4. The Sunday panels were a sleepy mess on my part, so I won't even mention them.

    The only thing I was disappointed with, was the panels I realllyyyy wanted to see overlapped each other. Perhaps next year someone should go through the schedule and think, "hmm, what panels seem to fit into similar categories?" and then seperate them. For example, We Study Games..Professionally and Online Gaming Communities & "Real Life Relationships" both step into the Sociology / Psychology domain, both which I was interested in seeing, yet overlapped.

    The panel schedule looked great regardless though! I know how hard these are to do-- not everyone will be happy! The big ones I attended, I did not regret at all. Acquisitions Inc. and Of Dice and Men. were. amazing. The only thing that would make them even more amazing would be a double rainbow all the way. (Maybe even a triple rainbow.)

    I agree with having PAX_lines more extensive... it doesn't affect me at all (analog, yo! No smart phone!) but that would be so useful for everyone in general!

    About the sad little story above, yes, that was our bad-- we should have asked the Enforcers if we were in the right line. Tired, tired gamers that we were, we trusted our cattle herd, as everyone else waiting in the margins was there for AI: D&D Live. There was a sign that said "Line for D&D Live starts at 1pm"-- which was very nice of them! I don't even know how this confusing started! At least we got in! (Maybe our games and conversation distracted us...)

    Nullthread on
  • Firestorm88Firestorm88 Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    What Do Fans Want? Fan Feedback on Community was absolutely awesome. It was really free-form and had good back and forth between the panelists and audience. Part of it was how small the audience was I think. Hope to see it back next year.

    The PAX 10 Panel #1 was also handled very well. Liked it a lot and it was entertaining.

    Getting a Game Industry Internship, and So you want to land a marketing job in the game industry? were very educational and great networking opportunities. More like this in the future would be appreciated!

    Twittering for the Man was very entertaining, probably due to the dynamic between the panelists. Having reps from Microsoft and Sony on one side and Activision and EA on the other was pretty cool. Only at PAX! Was also an interesting look at how the game industry is starting to interact with the public.

    So I Have This Website was probably one of my favourites and I got a lot out of that as well. Great information from panelists and really gave me a lot to act on after PAX was over. Very grateful they were there.

    I was super sad that The Brodeo Reunion #2 didn't happen, but I did catch the last episode of Idle Thumbs Podcast and that was entertaining.

    Firestorm88 on
  • AziraAzira Registered User
    edited September 2010
    I really wanted to go to Insomniac Game's Full Moon Show live, and I had a blast. :)

    I wasn't really interested in anything else, probably because I was going to PAX for the first time and only for a day. Maybe next year I'll have more time to check out other panels.

    Azira on
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  • Mr PMSMr PMS Registered User
    edited September 2010
    I only made it to a few panels this year, and the two that stuck out the most were the more artistic ones.

    From CG to Reality was very interesting from the design aspect. The panelists were fun and the videos were cheesily good, but I was fascinated by the creativity and simplicity of how they made the Krogan head work. I really hope that if the panelists come out with another fantastic cosplay, that they do the same and film the creative process.

    From Concept to Cover: The Game Informer Selection Process seems like an easy answer at first: Money. But after fantastic covers such as the Batman Arkham City and Portal 2, I wanted to get a chance to get a glimpse into seeing the process and a chance to see the very artistic BioShock Infinite cover unveiled. Luckily for myself and the few other gamers that bothered to check it out, not listed in the panel description was the fact that there would be a world premier 15 minute demo of the new game in action, which completely blew me away and became my game of the show. Besides the completely unbelievably awesome demo, the art for the covers were fantastic, and recommend checking out GI's bioshock hub on their website to see the early stages and how it evolved. Very cool stuff and hope that next year there is another panel with some cover art that is just as rich.

    Overall, the artistic and creative panels won me over the star wars and comedy panels. Hopefully I will be able to get into other things such as Of Dice and Men and panels such of those I listed will continue and thrive.

    Mr PMS on
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    mcdermott wrote: »
    schuss wrote: »
    Less lines. I only saw 2 panels last year due the absurd lines. I'd rather not spend the limited time I have at pax stuck in a crammed hallway. At least have a reserve system of some sort so some people can grab numbers and go do whatever for an hour. In some cases I saw people lined up for a panel before the one previous to it started.

    A word on this: We've toyed with the idea of a number system (mostly because it's worked so well for Console Freeplay), but the biggest reason why it wouldn't work is that people would line up anyway. We had a problem with people waiting to line up for panels in the far flung future, and when we asked them to clear out, they simply moved to the other side of the room (and this is as good a place as any to mention that we don't let people line up for anything until the previous panel has let in. So, you'll never wait more than 90 minutes for a panel in one of my rooms). There will always be a line. Weather it be for the panel proper or for the numbers we give out. That said, yes, there are lines by design. Yes, we schedule panels in a deliberate way. Yes, we make you choose. It's mean, but it's also very, very practical.

    Good point; all you do with a number system, or any system, is move the line...not get rid of it. Things like the FastPass at Disneyland work because the ride goes all day, so all you're doing is staggering the input end of the queue...or some such. There is only one of any given panel, so that means that no matter what method you choose to let people into it, it will create a huge line at some point.

    Though, in fairness, the one benefit of things like the wristband system is that it moves the line to a time when there's nothing going on anyway. If you were handing out numbers/wristbands/whathaveyou for Wil Wheaton's panel (or any popular panel) at 9:30am, that means nobody has to miss anything trying to get them...well, except sleep.

    Also, I do appreciate how you make us make choices on panels...I'd rather have to make the choice but then be able to get in to some of them than just have it be more of a clusterfuck for every last panel, which is what it would be if you didn't do some of the counterprogramming you guys do.

    I'm not in favor of getting rid of the lines, just having something like a third of the seats available beforehand. I suggested before a "Golden Ticket" system, where each person gets 1-3 "Golden Tickets" with their pass (1 for each day?) that allow them to reserve space in the amount set aside for a panel. This means people won't squat every line, and allows people to prioritize. If not all the seats are used by golden tickets? Open em up come panel time. No lost attendance. It pissed me off that my choice was either burn 2 hours waiting in line for something I wanted, or wander about enjoying the scene in my limited time there.
    Some people are there regardless and endlessly tolerant of waits - that's cool. I have way too much shit going on every weekend and would like my time to be as enjoyable as possible.
    "You would wait if you really wanted to see it" is a dumb argument, as maybe it's impossible to get there prior for some?

    A word of warning on the latenight thing: T is only open till midnight-ish in Boston, so this may automatically crop out a lot of your audience.

    schuss on
This discussion has been closed.