Notes from panel discussions mega-thread!

mattropolismattropolis Registered User regular
edited September 2014 in PAX West
Hi all,

I, like many of you, probably found ourselves with conflicting panel talks we wanted to attend or couldn't attend all the days. I took notes, and saw others doing similarly. Perhaps some of you went to some sessions and got some surprises. Maybe we can all post our notes/key findings/exciting tidbits. I know I'd love to hear about the sessions:
  • Be So Good They Can't Ignore You: Tales of Successful Indies
  • Community Impact on Game Development
  • Gaming Your Career: Manage Your Career in the Game Industry
  • Take This: How to be a Friend
  • 3D Printing and the Future of Tabletop Gaming
  • The Future of Online Games -
  • How to build your Twitch community
  • Are Twitch, YouTube, and Podcasts Killing Traditional Games Journalism?
  • Game-Changers: Making Mid-Career Transitions & Awesome Games
  • Bridge to Japan: The Process of Localizing Japanese Media
  • Procedural Generation: Too Much or Too Little?
  • What Does It Take to Be Independent in the Games Industry?

Pax 2014 - Sat 4:00pm - It's Complicated: Developers' Relationship with Backers
  • Kickstarter is hugely better than investment/entrepreneurship of the past. One panelist's parents had to mortgage home to start their projects - which was common. We have a great new tool.
  • Transparency, transparency, transparency to your backers. Make sure you are writing weekly reports and doing weekly playtest with backers.
  • Common thread between several panelists: this keeps you honest and on track.
  • Very common problem new kickstarters have is to get wrapped up in details and features they think are cool, but nobody is going to care about or don't think is fun. It's surprising how often this happens. 2 panelists said: You are not there to make the game you personally want - you're there to make the game that people want to play. (more below)
  • Always strive for amazing amounts of transparency - same as public company: especially financials. Only limitations are they don't talk about active litigation, hiring/firing or other HR matters, employee personal information (individual salaries). Have an employee packet with all this outlined.
  • Lack of transparency or silence at any time is bad and backers get very sensitive/worried at any silence. Don't ever do it.
  • One panelist is moving from crowd funding to crowd forging. They need new tools to do this and managing that interaction can become a black hole if not careful (timebox it in daily schedule - 1-2 hours each morning).
  • They use reddit style forum of up-voting for features. Get over 1000 up-votes? Considered for inclusion in his mmo.
  • Radical switch of design principles: forum members are EQUAL to employee input. You do not make the game you want - you make the game people want to play. This is a whole new way of making games.
  • Sometimes you'll find feedback not on kickstarter but on facebook forums/steam/etc. Be aware of where conversations about your product are happening and follow them.
  • Don't overload updates with overly data only overload - always give just enough details to keep them wanting to follow and put pieces together.
  • Until playable demo ready - keep pictures coming
  • We are now at a turning point where kickstarter backers are finished being fine with just regular updates.
  • They are more interested in deliveries since many support many kickstarters and want to see results.
  • Whats become more important is the interaction - community feedback and input.
  • Post things that actively illicit feedback or responses. You need to make sure you engage them - even to point of driving the conversation since a portion of backers will be quiet unless asked.
  • One panelist does three 10 min dev video diaries a week. If backers are engaged, they generate buzz and user reviews on steam/etc. You must feed them.
  • Advice: Pick and observe a disorganized looking kickstarter project and see what they do wrong and learn from their mistakes
  • Most investors do not volunteer info, you need to actively interact with them and engage them to get feedback.
  • Kickstarter sizes: 5 fulltime and 3 contractors. 2 to get started and get all collateral - then grew to 9 after got funded and will grow to 50. 2 volunteers only.
  • One guy knew they didn't get enough money to do game they wanted - so they took side consulting jobs for a year or two to raise more on own. Almost all panelists didn't get all the money they knew they needed and were creative like this. One kickstarter was staffed completely by volunteers. Other had 2 full-time, unpaid folks that got all the protoyping and everything ready for 1-2 years before kickstarting and then hiring.

mattropolis on


  • mattropolismattropolis Registered User regular
    edited September 2014
    Adding another:
    PAX 2014 - Sunday: Video game collectors tips
    • Knowledge is money. Know what is worth something right off, and what is not. You have to research it a bit every day. You need to be able to tell what something is worth right away.
    • Don't let other people tell you what to buy - you'll burn out. Buy what you want to collect.
    • Do not get emotionally involved. extract yourself from the emotion of buying itself. When you get the one magic thing - but spent too much for it - you will get buyers remorse. Don't just think 'I'll treat myself' and pay too much. Save the emotion for the car ride home with it. Be willing to walk away. 99.9% of time you will find it again.
    • Also true with even with overpriced retailers, you should be able to methodically walk through the shop and find the 1 or 2 titles they did under-price. They might be overpriced on 1000 things, but you only need to find the 1 they got wrong. Don't get worked up over a store that you think 'these guys are way overpriced - fuck them'.
    • thrift shops are dead now. Overdone. Go to flea markets. It's also in peoples garages/attics
    • yard sales are great. But be sure to ASK them - do you have any old video games? But that doesn't work! You must say: do you have any old Atari/Nintendo games? by name.
    • flea markets, flea markets, flea markets!
    • go early, then loop again - people unpack stuff out all day
    • seattle - pink gorilla store
    • one guy sat outside video game stores and bought stuff during their 'buying hours' - was shameful/ugly behavior - but worked
    • get to know the stores - give them your number/list and have them call you if someone brings in something they don't want
    • snipe ebay at the end. bidding early gives information. getting sniped often gets your emotions involved and you start fighting/get emotionally involved
    • use sniping urls that auto-snipe for you. place a bid and forget
    • look for the misspellings too
    • you might consider asking them to buy it now option - sometimes they do it - but must be no bidders
    • verifying ebay scams: google image search for images they post and often you'll find them from other sites. Ask them to send you new pictures with some personal /custom shots of it so you can tell they really own it.
    • invest in nintendo cartridge tools so you can open them and verify the board layouts with lots of people are making fake boards now
    • scammers bait fake lots with name drops and deliberate misspellings - they know what you're doing.
    • be disciplined: verify and pass if they push back on verification
    • paypal gift option - NEVER do it - always a scam. If they're trying to avoid fee, tell them you'll add $5 for the fee. if they still reject - they're 100% scamming
    • always pay for tracking and insurance on shipping.

      values: = ok
      ebay completed listings = best
      cardboard boxes = NEVER stack them - store horizontally, not vertically
      always remove batteries
      get dehumidifier for room
      keep out of direct sunlight

      on amazon - condition ratings are often not followed - so always follow up with photos.

      retro-bright chemical treatment. Seems to work great, but chemists think its damaging.

    mattropolis on
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