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PAX 04: The Good, The Bad & Making It Better

FrowbakkFrowbakk Registered User regular
edited March 2005 in PAX Archive
I hope this thread will be the place for constructive criticism about PAX, and offer helpul suggestions for making PAX '05 even better.

When this thread gets to 10 Pages or so, I'll cull through the suggestions and add them to this post for summary's sake.

If you know of somethign that went wrong, or have a gripe then this is the place to put it down. AS LONG AS you offer a realistic way to fix the problem.

SIGNS:
The Good: The re-labelling of the buttons in the elevators.

I really liked hitting floor 4 knowing I was getting to the exhibition room, PC room, or console room all in one glance.

The Bad: lack of other signs, especially during the initial check-in. Not being able to know where to go except by word of mouth was frustrating.

A solution would be to post signs high on walls (8 feet up or more) that are big and legible and able to be seen fromthe back of a crowd.

STUFF TO DO:
The Good: I spent a lot of time in the tabletop game area, and it was full or mostly full all of the time. Events were well run, as on-time as could be expected, and Many Demos of Diceland and other games were run.

The Bad: I heard a lot of omplaints from people who didn't pre-register that there was nothing for them to do since most of the PC & Console tournaments had filled before they had a chance to sign up. People were left to wander the halls, or line up for events in the Theater (coincidentally congesting the hwalkways) since they had nothing else to do.

A solution is to plan more 'pick-up' events for next year. If the current location of the Tabletop Games held nothing but Demos for tabletop Games (One per Cheapass Games title, for example) available for anyone to walk up and play, move either the PC or Console room to a larger space and put the Tabletop Games on the 4th floor (you can move a tabletop game out to the balcony, unlike a Console setup), move the Console Games to the PC area, and the PC gaming to the current Exhbition Hall, and make the large unused area the Exhibition Hall, that would probably work out.

So, let's hear your Good, Bad, and suggestions to make it better...

Your sig was too tall.
Frowbakk on
«134567

Posts

  • LegacyLegacy SCP Of The Digital Frontier The Grid(Seattle)Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited August 2004
    BADGES!

    Legacy on
    Can we get the chemicals in. 'Cause anything's better than this.
  • FrowbakkFrowbakk Registered User regular
    edited August 2004
    Actually, I didn't mind the hand-stamp instead of badges.

    Plus there's the expense of badges, and the extra set-up it takes to have them ready to go for pre-registered and at-the-door attendees. Would paying an extra 1 or 2 bucks be worth it for a badge most folks will never wear again?

    CONSOLE SPACE:

    The Good: The set-ups for the console room was good, each systenm was well organized with its TV so that all players could see the screens, chairs wer provided, etc.

    The Bad: No 'Free play' consoles during time monopolized by Tournaments. A rumor of expensive items from the Console Room going 'Walking With Jesus...' , and people hogging the consoles during free time.

    A solution would be to have more open-play only console set-ups, perhaps at different areas of the convention. Also have such high-tech gadgetry as Egg Timers set up on the consoles so that when the allotted time is up (20, 30 minutes) as the saying goes, you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here.

    As for anybody scummy enough to steal during an event like this... you've got a serious mental mutation. Hope they catch you and tick you in a jail cell with 300-pound Bubba who likes to play 'House'.

    Frowbakk on
    Your sig was too tall.
  • Fo0dNippl4Fo0dNippl4 Registered User
    edited August 2004
    The group I was in went into the Development Process panel, not knowing that it would leave us high and dry when we wanted to see the musical performances. I think, if there are musical performances and they are in the theatre again, next year they should post about the ticket system on the website, and/or have signs and people advertising it. I was dissappointed about not being able to see the performances.

    Fo0dNippl4 on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • TheMountieTheMountie Registered User
    edited August 2004
    most the tournaments for console had plenty of spots open till mid-day saturday, if people wanted to sign up they could.

    honestly, i ran out of stuff to do, so i volunteered, everywhere i could.
    and you know what, its fucking fun.

    volunteering for tournament help, is the most fun thing i have ever done for a tourny.

    the power...THE POWER.

    TheMountie on
    Dear PAX, next year may i have an enforcer shirt instead of just a staff badge. Love, Tyler.
  • FrowbakkFrowbakk Registered User regular
    edited August 2004
    Motto for next year (heard over the loud speaker system):

    More Signs, Less Lines.

    Frowbakk on
    Your sig was too tall.
  • TaramoorTaramoor Storyteller Registered User regular
    edited August 2004
    Fewer tournaments, more free play.

    There shouldn't have been two different Guilty Gear tournaments. The consoles not being used while tournaments were going should've been usable for whatever, or the room should've been completely divided, half free play machines, half tournament machines, for the duration of PAX. People shouldn't have been dicks and walked off with a PS2 (or stolen the awesome Gabe/Tycho banner. We'll find you, fuckstick.)

    Zig did his damnedest, and I admire the guy for trying, but he was understaffed and underequipped for the MASSIVE throngs of people that inhabited the console room.

    Halo 2 was pretty awesome for the ten minutes I got to play. Felt pretty much the same as the original just... you know... BIGGER.

    The PC room I didn't really see much of, though I looked in from time to time. It seemed very empty the few times I glanced in there. I'd recommend that pre-registrants for the Bring You Own Computer thing actually, you know, show up next time. Five HOURS of Counterstrike? Good lord...

    The West Coast Supertrip people were all pretty awesome, and it was admirable that they got some special treatment for some of the theater events.

    The Minibosses need to become an absolute fixture at PAX. They MUST perform at Every. Single. One. Mega Man, Metroid, Double Dragon, Ninja Gaiden, Goonies II, Blaster Master, Punch-Out, every single thing they played just rocked the roof off the theater. My second favorite thing at PAX.

    My first favorite thing was Conney Lyn and her awesome Pianist skills, however. I only wish she'd performed for another ten hours or so.

    I didn't get to go to either of the PA Q&As but I watched them on the outside TVs (another absolutely excellent idea). I only attended one panel in person (breaking into the industry) and the panels were handled very well. Though I wish that they'd been a little more interactive with the first few industry panels rather than reading prewritten questions. Remember, this is a giant congregation of dorks, there WILL be questions.

    I wish there'd been a little bit more PS2 or Cube representation in the exhibition hall, but that's up to Sony and Nintendo, not G&T, so...

    One great suggestion I have is to let pre-registrants in a couple of hours before non-registered attendees. That way you don't reach the point where it'd be two or three hours faster to pay $25 cash. Underestimating the number of people who would arrive for the very second the doors opened was a mistake, and one that I'm certain will be rectified next time.

    Overall, I think it went far better than anyone could ever have expected. I think doing the same thing next year just, you know, BIGGER, would be incredibly awesome.

    Taramoor on
    nUzGRMY.gif
    twitch.tv/Taramoor
    @TaramoorPlays
  • DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
    edited August 2004
    Good:
    -Lots of people showing the strength of this community.

    Bad:
    -Meydenbauer Center is one of the worst venues in Bellevue for an event with roving crowds, the building just isn't designed for it. (I've held conferences at the Double Tree down the street and it was much more suitable for

    -Preregistration line twice as long as the line for drop-in registration, and moved slower as well. (I had to leave before I even got inside on day 1 when I was hoping to check some stuff out first)

    Suggested Improvements:
    -Badges, the cost is about 25-50 cents each for 2000 people, not 1-2 dollars, but they are more expensive than ink for stamps.

    -Staff should be friendly and knowledgeable enought to be able to tell someone walking in the door at least on thing that's currently going on that they should check out before it's over.

    -Give exhibitors instructions to fill their space (i liked seeing a giant table with only 2 seats available for Men of Valor)

    -Mail passes to preregistrants so they may enter without a hassle (it's not nice to hassle the people that were nice enough to send you money weeks ago)

    -Use projectors instead of tv's for displaying video feeds to crowds

    -Don't put chairs at the top of escalators

    -Pick a venue that has room for spectators at all of the events, even the LAN and console gaming rooms

    Worst:
    -Pitch your game ideas panel discussion. The worst advice on getting into the gaming industry I've ever heard: make mods instead of games. This perpetuates the sales of their games while not benefiting you except for having a mod of someone else's work to claim as yours. Other than stating that visual aids and a working title are good to have, little useful advise for a successful pitch was given. They did note that publishers care about sales and your idea needs to take into consideration the cost of licensing ideas taken from someone else. I believe that they failed to notice developers can publish games themselves (and fairly easily) and that idea pitches can be directed at development studios as opposed to publishers.

    Overall:
    I enjoyed PAX, don't get me wrong, but the execution was poor, and the venue didn't help. Looking forward to next year and I hope much was learned from the first run.

    Oh yeah, can you require people to bathe within a week of arrival next year.

    Unknown User on
  • Xenocide GeekXenocide Geek Registered User regular
    edited August 2004
    I thought PAX was pretty damn good, but I do agree that the Meydenbauer convention center = a very bad place. It needs MUCH better ventilation. :O

    Xenocide Geek on
    i wanted love, i needed love
    most of all, most of all
    someone said true love was dead
    but i'm bound to fall
    bound to fall for you
    oh what can i do
  • TheMountieTheMountie Registered User
    edited August 2004
    yeah, stairs by the escalators, wtf...

    Umm...maydenbauer is actually badass for HUGE crowds.
    Think DECA state....if you ever were in it for highschool in washington.
    PA didnt use the MASSIVELY HUGE ballroom on the main floor, just the little rooms.

    More freeplay...less tournies...
    The amount of tournies was good.
    The organization for them was not.
    most were an hour behind. seriously.

    nothing we could do, people sign up, and literally, 5 minutes later when their names are called, they leave.

    nothing we can do about it.

    if anything, dont sign up for shit you wont do :P

    The isuka tournament never happened :(

    at sakura, they used one half for free play, one half for tourny, umm...with 32 tvs...not gonna happen.
    if we had 64 tv's on the other hand...

    so...we just need more TVs :)

    or shit, just have a free play room ONLY and a tournament room ONLY
    that would be ideal.

    TheMountie on
    Dear PAX, next year may i have an enforcer shirt instead of just a staff badge. Love, Tyler.
  • doczerodoczero Registered User regular
    edited August 2004
    I thought PAX was pretty damn good, but I do agree that the Meydenbauer convention center = a very bad place. It needs MUCH better ventilation. :O

    I think we need to get a deoderant sponcer up in here


    Edit: I did not post this. WTF?

    doczero on
    =
    Where there is no love,
    Nothing is possible.
    =
  • DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
    edited August 2004
    Good:
    * Community - Lots of people showed up, and for the most part they where nice.
    * Exhibition room was great.
    * the guests where outstanding ! !!!

    Suggested Improvements:
    * Projectors for the concel room - What the hell, when i wanted to see the last match of Soul Calibur 2 i had to crowed around this one screen with dozens of others, And for goodness sakes there was projector screens in every room.
    * Crap venue, it was small getting in to the PC gamming room was hell.
    * Longer Q&A for all the panels - i found that i still had lots of questions left unanswered by the end of an 1hr.

    Unknown User on
  • TaramoorTaramoor Storyteller Registered User regular
    edited August 2004
    A suggestion I would have for the next Omegathon (should there be one) would be to just make it a far more grueling, intensive test of gaming ambition. If PAX starts at 8:30am on Saturday and goes until Midnight on Sunday, then that's how long the Omegathon should go. Maybe take a ten-hour sleep break, but the Omeganauts should be shuffled immediately from one competition to the next. Start with more of them, and just eliminate a few every hour or so.

    Taramoor on
    nUzGRMY.gif
    twitch.tv/Taramoor
    @TaramoorPlays
  • Xenocide GeekXenocide Geek Registered User regular
    edited August 2004
    Hey, since this thread is active, would somebody tell me what the hell the surprise event was? I didn't manage to catch ANY of the Omegathon events, due to tournaments.

    Xenocide Geek on
    i wanted love, i needed love
    most of all, most of all
    someone said true love was dead
    but i'm bound to fall
    bound to fall for you
    oh what can i do
  • TaramoorTaramoor Storyteller Registered User regular
    edited August 2004
    Hey, since this thread is active, would somebody tell me what the hell the surprise event was? I didn't manage to catch ANY of the Omegathon events, due to tournaments.

    Two people.

    In front of an audience of five hundred.

    Engaged in the most nerve-wracking one on one game of Pong I've ever heard about.

    Taramoor on
    nUzGRMY.gif
    twitch.tv/Taramoor
    @TaramoorPlays
  • LegacyLegacy SCP Of The Digital Frontier The Grid(Seattle)Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited August 2004
    Taramoor wrote:
    Hey, since this thread is active, would somebody tell me what the hell the surprise event was? I didn't manage to catch ANY of the Omegathon events, due to tournaments.

    Two people.

    In front of an audience of five hundred.

    Engaged in the most nerve-wracking one on one game of Pong I've ever heard about.

    It was beautiful.

    And then Mike and Jerry went at it.

    Legacy on
    Can we get the chemicals in. 'Cause anything's better than this.
  • duderdude2duderdude2 Registered User regular
    edited August 2004
    Hey, since this thread is active, would somebody tell me what the hell the surprise event was? I didn't manage to catch ANY of the Omegathon events, due to tournaments.

    Pong. The very original, that is. I was hoping for Mario Bros 3 myself, would have fit nicely with the Wizard theme.

    Edit: Hot Damn, took me 30 seconds to write that and yet people still beat me to it. impressive.

    duderdude2 on
  • Xenocide GeekXenocide Geek Registered User regular
    edited August 2004
    Who won? :O

    Edit: OH GOD THE TWO MINUTES OF SUSPENSE IS KILLING ME

    Xenocide Geek on
    i wanted love, i needed love
    most of all, most of all
    someone said true love was dead
    but i'm bound to fall
    bound to fall for you
    oh what can i do
  • GnarTotheNthGnarTotheNth Registered User
    edited August 2004
    I thought PAX was pretty damn good, but I do agree that the Meydenbauer convention center = a very bad place. It needs MUCH better ventilation. :O

    Hey! how about instead of ventilation ALL YOU FUCKERS TAKE A FUCKING SHOWER AND BRING DEODERANT?!?! GGNOREKTHXGTFO

    GnarTotheNth on
    warcraft 3 is the best game ever!
  • LegacyLegacy SCP Of The Digital Frontier The Grid(Seattle)Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited August 2004
    Who won? :O

    Edit: OH GOD THE TWO MINUTES OF SUSPENSE IS KILLING ME

    I forget. Sean? I dunno.

    Legacy on
    Can we get the chemicals in. 'Cause anything's better than this.
  • NightingaleNightingale Registered User
    edited August 2004
    Can't tell you who the winner is but I'm sure we'll hear later. As it is, I'm moving this thread back to on-topic.

    I thought the community was great, the people were friendly, and for being the first exposition this ran rather surprisingly smoothly. There's generally more bumps along the way.

    I think the limitation for theater seating for the concerts, PA Q&A, and Red vs. Blue Q&A were really a shame. A lot of people were left out on these, and though the television set stations were a great idea, there needs to almost be another room filled with surround sound and a large projection tv for spill over of more such fans.

    Another idea, is get Tycho & Gabe up one of those balcony areas, like where they had the DDR machine. Have Q&A slips dropped off earlier and they can draw them from a hat and go through them where everyone can see somehow. I really think that the big pull to the convention is Penny Arcade itself and simply watching those two is hilarious.

    What else I'd have to say I will simply second, such as larger console rooms and more free play time. The line that did exist for the first day wasn't that hard to get through. At least, it wasn't for me personally. It gave us the opportunity to stand around and meet some very nice people.

    On a more community level I think we could use more cosplayers, even without some sort of official event. And more girls *nods nods*.

    Nightingale on
    finalnightsig.jpg
  • Mr.Sci-FiMr.Sci-Fi Registered User
    edited August 2004
    First , PAX was great, I enjoyed myself.

    Here are some of my suggestions:

    pass lanyards , get a company to donate promotional lanyards. Badges are out for cons, lanyards are in.

    Pre mailing registration packs.

    More free swag from promoters, try to make this show the NW E3. Booth BABES!
    Bring in more vendors, not only companies that want displays and demos but small businesses and such that actually have stuff for sale like that anime booth did (toys,movies, games).


    Room door security, they can check for everyone's pass and do bag checking ( a simple visual open bag check or physical bag check hold) for sensitive rooms.


    A full schedule posted at each room doorway, the schedule would show all the events for just that specific room.


    Better Line handling, inside and out- the con began with a ridiculous chaotic gathering infront of the registration area doors. Mob control starts outside.


    Some INTERNET wired computers and live webcams, so that attendees can post and chat with forum users that couldn't attend.


    Contests like case modding

    A dedicated movie room, that people who don't have something to do can waste some time in waiting for an event to start.


    Seperate console open gaming and tourney rooms.

    Color zip tie console game room items to help identify any pieces. Whenever I lan party xboxs I always make sure every cord and item has a green ziptie on it so I can automaticly determine if I'm the owner or not.


    I have some more thoughts asnd such but I'll post them later.

    Mr.Sci-Fi on
  • LegacyLegacy SCP Of The Digital Frontier The Grid(Seattle)Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited August 2004
    Mr.Sci-Fi wrote:
    pass lanyards , get a company to donate promotional lanyards. Badges are out for cons, lanyards are in.

    No, Badges aren't out/Lanyards in. Badges ON Lanyards are in.

    Legacy on
    Can we get the chemicals in. 'Cause anything's better than this.
  • ThatOneGuyThatOneGuy Registered User regular
    edited August 2004
    Sean won. His gf was quite happy.

    ThatOneGuy on
  • SquallSeeD31SquallSeeD31 Registered User regular
    edited August 2004
    First and foremost, CONGRATULATIONS to Gabe and Tycho for throwing an immensely popular party, Robert for organizing the monster, and the dedicated "Enforcer" staff for helping with the execution. Everyone did a marvelous job and it will only get better.

    BACKGROUND
    ==========
    To begin, I've worked cons, this was an impressive show. I've done a lot of con jobs out there, from door guard gophering to hotel. Typically speaking, a smaller convention (Read: less than 3000 attendees) doesn't have the income to rent out a convention center, and will instead keep everything within the space of one hotel, using that hotel's conference space. This is sufficient even for the more popular Sci-Fi cons, so getting a space as big as Meydenbauer was impressive, to say the absolute least.
    For being the first PAX ever with (to the best of my knowledge) Robert's first con ever, he is a business machine to get $79 per night from that hotel, considering most established conventions have a problem getting $89 from DoubleTree properties. His hire is the best move Gabe and Tycho have made with Penny Arcade as a business.

    THE GOOD
    ==========
    * The Penny Arcade community came together for what is essentially the first time on an international level. I know they have promoted various other events, and run a popular booth at Comic Con International San Diego (cheap plug), but this was truly their show, and their readership came to meet with them and each other.
    * Cheap! With even smaller Sci-Fi/Fantasy cons selling memberships at $40 or more in pre-reg, PAX was a steal at $25 at-door. It's unbelievable that they were able to offer so much for such a small fee. I would have sold memberships at $50 or more in pre-reg, but PAX was not for profit and won't have a problem running a show next year.
    * Great hotel! I love working with DoubleTree properties, they have the perfect size to host most convention groups, and the Bellevue Doubletree is very convenient for the location. I'd also like to add on a side note that Shuttle Express is the most well-managed ground transportation solution I've ever had the pleasure of using.
    * Awesome facility! The Meydenbauer Center is an amazingly cool facility, every bit as impressive as Tycho described it. The facility is not "too small" to host PAX, but I'll cover that in the bad.
    * Excellent programming! The industry professionals that PAX invited represented a wonderful cross section of the gaming industry, with a representative from nearly every section of the industry (except sales, salespeople often aren't as interested in games as developers and even publishers, and geeks don't typically like to talk about the numbers of games, that's what E3 is for). If you wanted to know anything about any part of the process, they had a panel and a guy to ask, with very open Q&A sessions.
    * Exclusive Exhibitions! I am really not sure how PAX booked the exhibition hall that they did, but needless to say it was awesome to the max. Ubisoft showed off some new games and brought their team of "Frag Dolls" to beat the crap out of "hardcore" gamers, NCSoft showed us that free MMO gaming still exists and that it doesn't have to be level based to be fun, Sabretooth continued to capture the tabletop market, Bradygames?I know strategy guides seem like a waste of money with the availability of information (GameFaqs.com), but I swear by hard copy of detailed reference charts and screenshots that I can keep right in front of my TV. Nvidia was there, Gameskins kept us well clothed, but with all due respect, Microsoft (as usual) stole the show. For the public that can't get into E3, they brought some awesome unreleased games for our consuming pleasure.
    * Halo 2. Not even E3 attendees could play Halo 2 unless they had a special invitation (press, VIP), and E3 is an industry show. PAX got Microsoft to bring their game titan and let the public play it before the Nov. 9 release. It'll be hard for PAX to top this act, but it's reasonable to expect that Microsoft's step forward into the community will prod the rest of the industry to consider following suit next year.
    * The Omegathon. Obviously a game prize of that level cannot be given away again with the same force, but maybe the concept of such a well-rounded competition could be repeated with a considerable prize for the eventual victor. Maybe include some more people for the smaller prize, too. It would be easy to just add another event and include 20 more players.
    * Diversity of tournaments. They obviously couldn't provide every popular game in tournament form, but they certainly presented a vast array of tournaments for the avid gamer to participate in. Zig did an excellent job keeping that machine as well oiled as it could conceivably be.

    THE BAD
    =========
    PROBLEM: Welcome to LineCon '04. Yeah, there were a lot of lines. Most of them were unorganized messes with no sense of scheduling. However, that really lends itself to the success of PAX, which I don't think they could have anticipated.
    SOLUTION: Assign a staffer to moderate lines. It's a simple thing, but at least it will offer an info point for newcomes to the line to understand what it's for, where it ends, and how long the wait from that point is. It will also serve to keep people from getting in line for an event that will be full before they get in.

    PROBLEM: Entry madness. It was an even more unorganized mess when the 1400+ attendees were all at the door at 8:00 AM on Saturday trying to get in.
    SOLUTION: Larger registration desk, early admission for pre-reg, clear labelling of line segments? The best change in my opinion is to give out badges next year. They have a bit of extra expense tagged to them, and are a little harder to manage, but a few more staffers, a bit more equipment, and pre-processing (maybe even shipping?) of pre-reg badges will shuffle the line through quickly. Plus, a badge is a collectible item as proof of your dedication to a specific event, a trophy closet if you will.

    PROBLEM: Security! People have heard tell that there was a specific security incident involving equipment, but in general I don't feel there was much security. There were plenty of staffers, that was not a problem, there just weren't any door guards. I intentionally pocketed the hand bearing my PAX stamp whenever I entered a room, and not once for the duration of the convention was I asked to show my stamp. Obviously, members of PAX have a certain tell-tale "look" to them, and one wouldn't be gaining much to ditch a $25 registration fee, but next year the show will be even bigger.
    SOLUTION: Badges. Steenking Badges. Badges could be used not just for security purposes, but also to ensure your admission to a tournament or panel, and could be used to regulate which freebies you've already collected.

    PROBLEM: Cramped space. Again, there's really no way they could anticipate that PAX would be so successful, so it really isn't their fault. Also again, the Meydenbauer Center isn't that small to the best of my understanding.
    SOLUTION: It's already been solved, next year they've said they plan to use the entire facility. It would be wise to have a panel room or even a few in addition to the main extravaganza room.

    PROBLEM: Tournament Registration. A lot of people missed out on registering for their favorite tournaments, and some people who did register didn't show up.
    SOLUTION: It's a hell of a lot easier to manage a tournament that has already been seeded based on pre-registration, so that needs to continue. However, it would be prudent to leave 10-25% of the tournament registration open for on-site registration, so that people who pre-registered late or were unable to pre-register still have a chance to get into even the biggest tournaments.

    PROBLEM: Limited event space. Yeah, it sucked that only 500 people could get into the theater, and yeah it sucked that people who were in a panel before a big event missed the line for the even bigger event after.
    SOLUTION: Once again, more facility next year is already lined up. However, for the big events, and I mean the really big ones (concert, halo 2, omegathon finals), it would be wise to learn from the Anime Expo model. Anime Expo announces that the line for an extravaganza forms at a specific time, in their program book. No line is allowed to form for that event before that time, and tickets are given out on an availability basis until the room is full. All PAX needs to do is announce when the lines form for various events, and maybe have cool printed tickets ready to give out to people who line up. This model could even be used to offer up tickets as prizes for other events.

    PROBLEM: Free time in game rooms. A lot of people who just wanted to get their game on outside of a competitive environment weren't able to do so because of the cramped tournaments.
    SOLUTION: The tournaments ran as smooth as they could for being as large as they were with the equipment they had. In short, the convention was huge. The only real solution to this would be to have a segregated free play room versus tournament room, unless they find a way to block free time in with the tournament time. A segregated free play room would almost inevitably lead to more cost and organization, so that seems like a business decision.

    SUMMARY
    =========
    Astounding success, unbelievable execution, limited fires for being such a unique event. The success of PAX ensures an annual PAX for at least a few years, and the support of the community will only help it grow more.

    SquallSeeD31 on
    FFXIV: Alchemy Stuff Character:
    8229_48d6215903dff562.png
  • BandeckoBandecko Registered User
    edited August 2004
    The only thing that dissappointed me was finding out I needed a ticket to get into the concert. I had no idea, I guess it was announced over the loud speaker or something, but there are places in that hall where all you can here "mmffff mmmm mwaaf ffffmmm ffa zzmmm!" I don't remember reading that I needed a ticket anywhere.

    Not being able to snag a spot in the console or LAN rooms was kinda annoying too, but there were a lot of good exhibits, the Panels were all entertaining, and I can't wait for the next one.

    Oh yeah, and one of you snagged my PAX book that was signed by Gabe and Tycho. I set it down at the coffee stand and forgot about it :(

    Bandecko on
  • Optimus WangOptimus Wang Registered User
    edited August 2004
    3000-ish people, in it's first year... wowee.

    My biggest beef was the people who got shot down from seeing the musical performances, just because there wasn't enough room in the theatre... it sucked for them, because it rocked so fuckin hard.

    oh, and LESS LINES, MORE SIGNS

    Optimus Wang on
    Din wrote:
    I'd be Optimus Wang, and come out with just a bathrobe on and drink maple syrup out of a coffee mug.
    ani-me.jpg
  • Optimus WangOptimus Wang Registered User
    edited August 2004
    Bandecko wrote:
    The only thing that dissappointed me was finding out I needed a ticket to get into the concert. I had no idea, I guess it was announced over the loud speaker or something, but there are places in that hall where all you can here "mmffff mmmm mwaaf ffffmmm ffa zzmmm!" I don't remember reading that I needed a ticket anywhere
    Well, I was waiting in line since about 5-ish, for the concert. Around 6-ish they walked along the line, handing out tickets, then announced that they were handing out tickets so that people didn't have to wait in line, and could go get some eats, and such.

    Me... I was just fine with my Bawls.... oh man, there was Bawls everywhere...

    Yeah, next PAX needs more Bawls.

    Optimus Wang on
    Din wrote:
    I'd be Optimus Wang, and come out with just a bathrobe on and drink maple syrup out of a coffee mug.
    ani-me.jpg
  • FrowbakkFrowbakk Registered User regular
    edited August 2004
    LINES, LINES, LINES...

    Maybe we could borrow a page from Disney parks and have an area of switch-backs for the line-ups. Considering the Meydenbauer's layout and Washington State Weather, setting up the registration line in an area of the parking garage could work.

    There's an elevator which could be used to ferry up 10 people at a time, and with the switchbacks you've got line control handled.

    Registration could be set up with six staff handing out badges under signs on top of poles marked A-E, F-J, K-O, P-T, and U-Z also handling some at the door registrants right next to a dedicated at the door staff person.

    That way the pre-registration lines would go much faster, and after they all got in the staff would switch over to alphabetically handling at-the-door attendees with one staff managing any pre-registered stragglers.

    Also, I noticed that there were few bored Tabletop gamers. Perhaps it was that tabletop games are more inclusive than video games, but also I think that more tabletop players Brought a game to share with them. Some of the most vocal complaints I overheard were from gamers that had essentially shown up 'naked'.... No gameboy or game of their own to share, not pre-registered at any touornament, and forced to stand and wait for any other entertainment available.

    The Exhibition Room:
    The GOOD: lots of exhibitors, showing lots of interesting stuff. I liked seing Warmachine's setup complete with expertly painted miniatures and pre-release models in a well-lit display case, products for sale (gasp! selling gaming stuff at a gaming convention... how bizarre!) and even two tiny terrain boardss to run super quick demos with those same expertly painted miniatures

    The BAD: I'm not into shooting games, and hoped to see a strategy or puzzle game as strongly represented as a shooter. Crowds were to be expected, so so beef there. However the Sabretooth Games/Games Workshop booth was eerily underpopulated. As one of the larger booth setups, most of their space went unused - bare table tops, a large back banner with three signs that looked tiny amidst all the blank space, and having the sole evidence that their games come from a miniatures background being the phone book sized catalog of figures available.

    For a first time look at the two booths, it would seem that Warmachine was the industry colossus and Games Workshop was a tiny struggling offshoot of a card game company.

    Plus there was no mention or presence of the Warhammer 40k game currently undergoing an Open Beta. None. What a missed opportunity...

    Frowbakk on
    Your sig was too tall.
  • mojomonkeemojomonkee Registered User
    edited August 2004
    The Good:

    -The vendors were really helpful. Dunno if that was anyone's doing, but all of the exhibitions were easy to get a spot for at least 15 minutes and there was always someone to ask "How the fuck do I do this?".

    -The Q&A-style Mike and Jerry panel. That worked very very well. It felt like a lax conversation. Too bad there is no way to screen out boring/lame/stupid questions, though.

    -The people in attendance. No one was really rude or mean at all (I was probably the rudest person there.) Even though these people were far geekier and weirder than I would usually hang out with, they are (gasp!) people too and very nice people at that.

    -The wealth of games and exhibitions I hadn't seen before. There was some cool NEW stuff (TMO, Conker, Forza) that I hadn't played/seen before and it was really cool to have a first-look at those things. It was like our own mini-E3.

    -Lots of cool PA-themed merch available and it wasn't too exorbitantly priced either. I was hoping for a Twisp and Catsby print, but it was cool to see a lot of shirts/hats/hoodies for sale so people could have a souvenir.

    The Bad:

    -Too much tabletop and card gaming space. I mean, I know there are a lot of guys who play Warhammer40K and CarWars but these people obviously weren't in full effect. The huge table for the card gaming company in the exhibition room could have been used for a CvSNK or GGX machine on freeplay or a large slip n slide. Possibilities at this point seem endless. Furthermore, the bottom floor had a fuckton of space for tabletop gaming while the console gaming room was packed tighter than... well something that is very tight. I never even got to SEE the inside of the console gaming room.

    -Staff being... well less than friendly. I'm not talking about organizers or people actually doing things but the people who were there to make sure I wasn't "in the way of traffic" and such. I find it difficult to take orders from someone telling me I'm "in the way" (while watching a LIVE FEED MONITOR) while she herself is sitting in a chair. I'm more mobile than she is so why am I being scolded?

    -The lines. Dear god the lines. I read in another thread that Robert said pre-regs will get badges/wristbands beforehand in the mail for 05. This is a good idea. I thought it ridiculous that if you stood in the "pay cash" line, you didn't really have to stand in the second line (for registrants which was, coincidentally, long as hell) because you got your hand stamped when you paid up front.

    -The theatre size. Not much else to say because you guys know about this one. Too small for such an event. Furthermore, if you're going to have music at an event, try to pick an area that is large and open for people to stand up in (sitting at a concert is only for people going through menopause and/or erectile dysfunction). The sitting setup was good for the panels, however.

    -"Seating Reservations" for West Coast Super Trip. I went to the first Q&A panel on saturday and there was almost an entire row (stage left) roped off and I was told that it was reserved for WCST members. I had no clue who these people were at the time (but by the way I was told, I cetainly SHOULD have known) but it kind of annoyed me that there were people being turned away because of fire codes but there were seats being reserved for these other people.

    -The "import merch" table. What was that about? They just sold overpriced wall scrolls and import OST's and Pocky. That space could have been used for another exhibition or maybe a PAX-staffed concession table that didn't charge 2 dollars for a soda (although I'm not sure if you're allowed to circumvent the convention center's concessions or not).

    The Making It Better:

    -Booth babes!

    -Bigger space.

    -Less price for pre-regs

    -Monitors on-site (from LanWerx) for BYOC so more people can bring their pc but not have to haul a monitor along with them.

    -Pick less popular games for tourneys. I know this sounds dumb but it makes more sense for an event this large. EVERYONE plays/played Halo and Soul Calibur II so why not pick a game that is just as fun but not as saturated on the market? I saw that there was a GGX tourney and that's really cool. Now just do that five more times.

    -More arcade games. DDR is cool and all, but I hate that game like whoa.


    Conclusion:

    Great event all in all. It takes time to learn these sorts of things and I have no doubt that next year's PAX will be 1000x better (and this one was really damn good!).

    mojomonkee on
    Q: Mac or PC?

    A: Um, we like to play games.
  • FrowbakkFrowbakk Registered User regular
    edited August 2004
    Since getting into the theater sucked, it had fixed seating,etc...

    MAKE THE THEATER THE CONSOLE ROOM

    Alternate rows: First row seating for projection screen game at front of theater. (tounament finals/pre-release demos)

    2nd Row: put down a plank across some seats to support a TV, have the system set up right next to it, and the controllers reaching back to...

    3rd Row: seating for those playing the games set up in the 2nd row.

    Keep alternating rows as far back as you have consoles & TVs.

    The only downside would be running the necessary power cords, those could be snaked through and taped down underneath the seats.

    With security at the door, and Staff admin space on the stage you could have 200+ people playing console games, and not have to set up chairs.

    This would free up the Console Room for Tabletop Games or for all Tournament PC games.

    Frowbakk on
    Your sig was too tall.
  • DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
    edited August 2004
    Mr.Sci-Fi wrote:
    Booth BABES!

    Dude... I registered just to reply to this post. I spent like an hour typing up a reply, but by the time I submitted it, I had already been logged off.

    Anyway, this time I'll just try to summarize what I typed before.


    Penny Arcade and PAX are purely about games. PAX does not exist so that companies can use shameless sex appeal to promote their products.

    PAX appeals to all people who are proud to call themselves gamers.

    Girls in skimpy clothing who have their pictures taken appeal to a certain type of a gamer: the type that wishes they were a handsome, muscular jock so that they could have a ditzy girlfriend with fake breasts. If this type of gamer wants to come to PAX, that's great.

    Come to PAX to play the newest games, meet people with similar interests to your own, and celebrate your identity as a gamer.
    But don't try to dilute it with sex. It drives away girl gamers who either feel alienated, or don't want to be treated as a sexual ojects (most likely, both). It drives away guy gamer who don't want to feel like goons.

    Unknown User on
  • DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
    edited August 2004
    Relevant links:

    http://www.gamecritics.com/feature/report/e3expo2004_babes/page01.php

    http://www.cs.northwestern.edu/~hunicke/blog/040411.html


    I didn't expect booth babes at PAX, and was releived to find that there were none.

    Unknown User on
  • TinMan1997TinMan1997 Registered User
    edited August 2004
    mojomonkee wrote:
    The Good:
    -The Q&A-style Mike and Jerry panel. That worked very very well. It felt like a lax conversation. Too bad there is no way to screen out boring/lame/stupid questions, though.

    Tip: If going to any Q&A event (especially one that doesn't have anything else on the agenda), plan a question ahead of time. Mine was on the "Call of Duty" (I think) article that never got run, and it seemed to inspire some interesting thoughts.
    -Lots of cool PA-themed merch available and it wasn't too exorbitantly priced either. I was hoping for a Twisp and Catsby print, but it was cool to see a lot of shirts/hats/hoodies for sale so people could have a souvenir.

    Where was this stuff? That was going to be one of my gripes, that I came with the intention of spending money on PA swag and couldn't find any (I was also lusting for the T&C print).

    At any gaming convention, there should be a table selling deodarant. I didn't notice this as a problem, but apparently others did.

    TVs for the panel discussions were nice, but another way of doing the same thing would have been to have a gi-nor-mous projection screen on the outside of the East wall of the theater, so that people in the tabletop area could look up and see, and people on those catwalk areas could also get a good look. Given the layout of the facility, this probably wouldn't have interfered with anything other than maybe DDR (the console and PC rooms being a hallway down from that area). It should be relatively cheap to hire a typist person to caption the wall so that you don't have to have booming speakers bugging people who are just wandering around.

    That would also be a convenient place to be able to instantly put up announcement type info (updated schedules, stuff sold out, etc). Anyhow, just a thought.

    Not starting some events as early as they did might also help the scheduling thing. The Halo tourney started at 10, and I found myself in line from 10:30 to noon. Not that I was in the tourney, but if I'd gotten there and hour early for it and found myself sweating the line, that would have been pretty annoying.

    The musical lineup looked great, darn shame I couldn't get in. :)

    Oh and... given that there were multiple (official?) cameras recording everything- will any of this be released? Y'know, PAX '04 special edition? I'd shell out some bucks for videos of the panels and musical acts.

    TinMan1997 on
    logo_top.gif
  • DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
    edited August 2004
    > Staff being... well less than friendly. I'm not talking about organizers or
    > people actually doing things but the people who were there to make
    > sure I wasn't "in the way of traffic" and such. I find it difficult to take
    > orders from someone telling me I'm "in the way" (while watching a LIVE
    > FEED MONITOR) while she herself is sitting in a chair. I'm more mobile
    > than she is so why am I being scolded?

    The reason she was sitting there is that she was supposedly checking hand-stamps and acting as rudimentary security.

    The Live Feed Monitors were poorly placed, as they totally hijacked the flow of smooth traffic, especially when something everybody wanted to see was on them. However, as I understand it, there wasn't much the people running the convention (opposed to the convention hall staff) could do about that.

    Unknown User on
  • Zig21Zig21 Registered User regular
    edited August 2004
    MAKE THE THEATER THE CONSOLE ROOM

    Hell no.

    Zig21 on
    Born to Duck
  • mojomonkeemojomonkee Registered User
    edited August 2004
    forcas wrote:
    Mr.Sci-Fi wrote:
    Booth BABES!

    Dude... I registered just to reply to this post. I spent like an hour typing up a reply, but by the time I submitted it, I had already been logged off.

    Anyway, this time I'll just try to summarize what I typed before.


    Penny Arcade and PAX are purely about games. PAX does not exist so that companies can use shameless sex appeal to promote their products.

    PAX appeals to all people who are proud to call themselves gamers.

    Girls in skimpy clothing who have their pictures taken appeal to a certain type of a gamer: the type that wishes they were a handsome, muscular jock so that they could have a ditzy girlfriend with fake breasts. If this type of gamer wants to come to PAX, that's great.

    Come to PAX to play the newest games, meet people with similar interests to your own, and celebrate your identity as a gamer.
    But don't try to dilute it with sex. It drives away girl gamers who either feel alienated, or don't want to be treated as a sexual ojects (most likely, both). It drives away guy gamer who don't want to feel like goons.

    but you see, i like boobs. boobs on girls. manboobs don't do it for me.

    mojomonkee on
    Q: Mac or PC?

    A: Um, we like to play games.
  • DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
    edited August 2004
    Anyhow, one of my general recommendations for next year is an orientation session or two at the start of the con. These have been at other cons I've attended and include useful tips like:

    Please do two of the three while here: Eat, Sleep, and Shower. Eating can substitute for sleeping, and vice versa, but neither can substitute for showering.

    It's also a good place to discuss anticipated crowding situations and lineups and so forth. Also a good place to display beloved hosts to people who will not make it into other events.

    Unknown User on
  • mojomonkeemojomonkee Registered User
    edited August 2004
    furthermore, after reading the link from gamecritic.com... i realize that the only screening process for being a booth babe is that you have a vagina... yech... PUKESgiving.

    mojomonkee on
    Q: Mac or PC?

    A: Um, we like to play games.
  • DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
    edited August 2004
    Dude... I registered just to reply to this post. I spent like an hour typing up a reply, but by the time I submitted it, I had already been logged off.

    Heh I registered just to reply to that too. Its about the games, not hot girls paid to talk to you.

    Oh yeah and...

    The Good:

    RvB Panel: Was like second to last in line for this heh ended up with decent seats too. I saw them outside awhile before the showing, I wonder if they get recognized alot? It was cool that they could walk around and enjoy the convention without getting mobbed, I even got to play some halo against Caboose :)

    No booth babes!

    Minibosses: Lucked out again and got like one of the last 10 tickets, awesome show, dear god it was fantastic.

    Halo 2: I didn't get to play it, but who cares, Just watching people shoot tires and making them roll, kicking people out of purple things, its enough to bring tears to your eyes. I just hope I have all my affairs in order when its released so I can remove myself from society.

    Tournaments: I had fun, what can I say? I never really had problems getting a station during free play, and the tournaments were killer to watch, especially smash.


    The bad...

    All of my pictures are of lines :) but yeah, what can you do when that many people show up? I think the crowds were handled as good as can be expected. Especially when you're dealing with the demographic that camps out days to see movies, the lines would form early and they'd form often. Wish more people could've gotten in for the minibosses...

    The lanwerx PC room (though questionably run) was very well ventalated. They had some fans I'd seen used for drying paint, I was sitting near the back and still felt a breeze. The BYO PC room had a stench that escaped the doors, I went in once to register for a tournament and that was too much.

    Free play after hours... I dunno I'm a little miffed about it. We had a great 8 on 8 halo game going, and it got zoned off for smash brothers. It's free play right? I dunno maybe its easier in the long run that way, but it seemed weird to have regulated free play.

    Argh and the 8 am Pandora Tomorrow tournament, I slept through it... I think my name was first on the reg list too... Next year... next year...


    Mercurato
    AKA
    Pengo

    Unknown User on
  • DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
    edited August 2004
    mojomonkee wrote:
    but you see, i like boobs. boobs on girls. manboobs don't do it for me.

    Well... you're looking in the wrong place. Subscribe to Maxim or something. Or go to E3.

    Unknown User on
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