Sign up Calendar Latest Topics
 
 
 


Reply
  Author   Comment   Page 1 of 2      1   2   Next
LawsonThompson

Registered:
Posts: 564
Reply with quote  #1 
Part 1: Opportunity Knocking, or, How to Get Invited to a Con

This all started in 2011, when I saw this little video bumper at a Dragon Con panel.



It contains a still from the Laughpong video of Artemis, plus the question: "Be honest: doesn't this fill your geeky heart with glee?"

Yes. Yes, it did!

In fact, it was right after Dragon Con 2011 that I purchased Artemis. Something about it resonated with me very deeply.

A year or two later, I showed up at the first volunteer meeting for Dragon Con, in hopes of specifically volunteering to run Artemis. However, I got rather lost in the crowd and became somewhat discouraged; I felt that I wasn't really needed and was trying to muscle my way into a group that was pretty much "set".

But I couldn't get past the feeling that Dragon Con needed Artemis, and I'm the guy to bring it!

I started hosting Artemis for friends and family a couple times each year, using recycled and disposed Windows XP laptops from my employer (I'm responsible for disposal of retired assets). My very patience and wonderful wife agreed that I should take this as a hobby, with the understanding that when not in use, the bridge fits in a closet. The gear grew to include a full array of point-of-sale touchscreens. Then my daughter asked for an Artemis party for her 13th birthday. We pulled out all the stops and decked out the living room as much as time and budget could afford. It was a hit!

Later, the folks at the Atlanta-based Southern-Fried Gameroom Expo posted in the forums to ask if someone could bring Artemis to their convention. I eagerly volunteered, and the event went quite well.

While at SFGE, as I was chatting with audience members during a mission, someone asked, "Have you ever considered bringing this to Dragon Con?"

"Well, I would love to, but I tried to volunteer a few years ago and got rather overwhelmed in the crowd. I wasn't really sure who I should talk to!"

"Ah, well, you need to talk to him," she replied, pointing me toward Kevin Stallard, one of the Dragon Con gaming directors!

Apparently, Kevin was quite impressed with how we ran our event, and put in a good word for us with the rest of the Dragon Con staff. 

I went 100% fanboy: could it actually be happening?

YES!

Part 2: Planning for Dragon Con, or, So Much for Starting Out Small!

Within a week we were booked for Dragon Con, with the understanding that this would be a bit of a special case because of how late we were getting on board. Further, Dragon Con was expanding gaming into the Westin and the adjoining Merchandise Mart, a huge gain in available space.

Initially, Artemis was going to be located in the LAN gaming room. After some schedule rework, we were given the Chastain J conference room, which measured about 45 x 28 feet. (The floor plan we submitted to the Westin staff for setup is attached as a PDF.)

Dragon Con staff would ensure the room was prepped with tables, chairs, and a large 60" LCD display. Everything else was ours.

The countdown was on. Every few days, I would randomly turn to my wife and say, "Holy cow, we're taking Artemis to Dragon Con!" I felt like I was 8 years old again, waiting for Christmas!

Part 3: The Gear, or, Bring All The Things!

I started prepping a newer set of hardware for Dragon Con, moving from Windows XP Latitude D630/D830 laptops to Windows Vista and 7 on Latitude E5400/E6400 systems. This newer platform doubled the frame rate and made fighter craft a reality; however I don't have proper docking stations for all the E-class Dells.

I also learned from SFGE that there is no need to bring more than ONE type of spare cable for each cable type. For example, bring one each of VGA, USB, power supply, etc., rather than my ENTIRE BOX of video cables.

I went through my entire stash of patch cables, disposing of each one which didn't immediately connect at gigabit speed.

I reworked the LAN to switch to OpenWRT on a Netgear WNDR router, creating a private LAN and WiFi network.

I started testing touchscreens, only to find out that for a very particular serial number sequence, Planar touchscreen driver software was never released for 64-bit Windows! I had to reformat and reload Windows 7 32-bit on a couple of the laptops to compensate. I guess I know why I got these touchscreens for free!

Through additional asset retirement I managed to scare up an old 42" LCD TV for training videos. Turns out this wasn't as big of a score as I thought...

The final loadout checklist:

  • 9 computers (laptops, HP thin client)
  • 4 LCD 15" touchscreens
  • 3 LCD 17" touchscreens
  • 1 LCD 19" panel
  • 2 LCD 32" touchscreens for Science and Observer
  • 1 LCD 42" TV
Not going to lie to you: there are MANY Artemis players on this forum who have MUCH better looking bridges!  I really envy those with personal workshops and maker spaces, and hope to someday build something both portable and modular.

Our bridge is designed to be temporarily deployed on any table surfaces. The final result is like this:

ltebridge dragon con IMG_8435.JPG 

When you stand at just the right spot, you don't see the tangled mess of power/LAN/USB cables. What I lack in set dressing, I make up for with number of screens! We ended up with 11 screens total, 8 of which are touchscreens.

The two wash lights are only $20 each at Amazon, and are VERY bright compared to my original P38 American DJ lights. This was a massive boost to bridge ambiance.

Finally, my wife obtained a nice set of pipe and drape stage backdrop and some blue rope lights. She teaches drama, so the stage backdrop will be useful elsewhere in our lives...

We were ready! Or thought we were.

Part 4: Pre-Flight Checklists, or, No Plan Survives First Contact with the Enemy

Thursday evening, we loaded up my car and a friend's SUV with all the gear, and headed to downtown Atlanta... along with the 77,000 Dragon Con attendees who were also trying to get into a hotel! 

Our entire expected setup time was consumed just getting all the gear into the room, and we hadn't even started setting up.

Note to self in 2017: go ahead and plan to take Thursday off, and head down to set up Thursday morning. Take your time.

Due to the modular and flexible options on our bridge, we can wait to make final layout decisions until we reach the venue. The wide variation in hardware means that every PC needs to have all drivers for all possible devices preloaded. For example, I have 3 different touchscreen drivers, 2 joystick drivers, and other bits which throw just enough weirdness into the setup that it's very difficult to just ask a fellow computer-savvy friend, "here, plug all this in and it'll work." 

So: it's time to standardize on the gear, or at least stage everything and test with all the different variations in advance to ensure that it's "OK" if a certain touchscreen isn't attached to a certain PC each time!

FINALLY we were done, and headed home for a few hours of sleep.

T minus 8 hours and counting!

To be continued...

 
Attached Files
pdf The_Westin_Peachtree_Plaza-Chastain_J-classroom.pdf (8.16 KB, 18 views)


__________________
----
Visit us at http://www.ltebridge.com

power2084

Avatar / Picture

Registered:
Posts: 64
Reply with quote  #2 
Good job !

Just wanted to ask, is there any way this could have worked using Wifi ?
And how reliable would it have been ?

(I'm asking because using Wifi would certainly remove some of the "cables tangled mess")
janx

Registered:
Posts: 459
Reply with quote  #3 
wifi at conventions is notoriously bad.  hackers try to hack it and everybody's cell phone tries to mate with it.

Going wired cuts interference out, obviously at the cost of more cabling.


For next time:
gaffers tape /duct tape to tape those cable bundles down
zip ties or velcro strips to bind cables together

color code your equipment with paint.  Especially for the equipment that has affinity for each other (paint the cable ends of the joystick blue to go with the laptop that has drivers for it and has a big blue dot on the back).  If you can't make the gear mix and match, at least make it easy to pair things up.


Good luck, I suspect you did fine.
Hyperion Engineer

Avatar / Picture

Registered:
Posts: 91
Reply with quote  #4 
That is beyond awesome! Great work.  

I couldn't make Dragon Con this year but a friend of mine excitedly sent me pictures of your setup!  I'm really glad this has take off!  More artemis in the world is always better. 

If you ever wanted any help in the future I could bring the Hyperion bridge and some crew.  We live in North Carolina, so Atlanta is a short drive compared to going to Armada in Ohio, especially with all that equipment.  We've traveled a few times with our bridge and are getting pretty good at it.    

__________________
Executive Officer and Chief Engineer of the TSN-Hyperion (Concord, NC)

TSN-Hyperion in dry dock at Hephaestus shipyards.
https://artemis.forumchitchat.com/post/tsnhyperion-bridge-build-8068440?pid=1291924499
LawsonThompson

Registered:
Posts: 564
Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hyperion Engineer
That is beyond awesome! Great work.  

I couldn't make Dragon Con this year but a friend of mine excitedly sent me pictures of your setup!  I'm really glad this has take off!  More artemis in the world is always better. 

If you ever wanted any help in the future I could bring the Hyperion bridge and some crew.  We live in North Carolina, so Atlanta is a short drive compared to going to Armada in Ohio, especially with all that equipment.  We've traveled a few times with our bridge and are getting pretty good at it.    


Just took a look at the Hyperion bridge gear: wow! I love the idea of role-specific controls for each station, and those USB arcade buttons look sweet. Time to start budgeting for hardware builds!



__________________
----
Visit us at http://www.ltebridge.com
LawsonThompson

Registered:
Posts: 564
Reply with quote  #6 
Dragon Con 2016 AAR: A Series In Many Small Parts

Summary: LTEBridge.com hosted our "Convention Class" bridge at Dragon Con 2016 in the Westin on Peachtree, Atlanta, GA. 6th floor Chastain J room was reserved exclusively for this event.

Total attendees: 300+ guests were able to play, 50+ missions were performed with 6 to 8 players per mission, with most missions at 30 minutes; late-night sessions were 60 minute and a higher difficulty for experienced crews.

Overall response was very good: all mission slots Friday thru Monday were booked within 12 hours of opening walk-up registration Friday at 9am. In addition, over half the missions had a full audience watching (about 20 guests), and a few were standing-room only.

The attendees included a few who knew about Artemis extensively, some who had heard of it but never played, and some who neither heard of it nor understood until they watched a mission.

The bridge hosts are aware of at least 10 guests who purchased Artemis or indicated they would be doing so. 

At least 50% of bridge guests never heard of Artemis previously. (This surprised me!)



Part 1: What Went Right

  • Location, Location, Location: We were located in the Westin hotel, one of the SIX hotels Dragon Con spans. The Westin is adjacent to the Merchandise Mart. These two buildings contain the Trek track, table top gaming, Mech Warrior simulators, LAN gaming, console gaming, and the war game strategy group. Perfect! Even so, it took a full day for word to reach the Trek area that we had a functional bridge to play on!
  • Room size: Size was spot-on, in that there was sufficient room for audience to observe closely enough to see what was happening. We had seating for 20+, plus additional standing room at the registration table and back of the room.
  • Bridge SFX: The pipe+drape set, lights, large screens, and DMX lighting/strobe effects added visual “pop” which drew in a crowd. I was very impressed with the brightness of these TSSS Super Magic Par LED RGB Effect Light by TSSS (link to Amazon.com). When I bought these lights, they were only $17 each. Hmmm....
  • Lighting: Dimmable lights made it possible to darken the room for SFX pop, and to raise the lights at the end of the mission indicating it was done. I had my daughter hide behind the drape, and as I started the mission, I'd say, "Computer, dim the room to 25%." She'd hit the button, the lights would dim, and I'd quip, "Someone in the audience is wondering how that just happened!"
  • Audio: Room noise levels were such that the crew could hear each other, and bleed from the hallway didn’t interfere too much with the event. Only issue was the known bug of the server music volume going BACK TO 100% EVERY TIME THE MISSION ENDED, oops, sorry, didn't mean to yell, the music was too loud... [rolleyes]
  • Stability: The Artemis application itself was stable, with the exception of two crashes. Apparently there was some monster-related bug, even though we never picked monsters in the missions. The server and one client would crash out, and we'd have to relaunch.
  • Mission setting/timing: 15 minutes of padding around each mission time was crucial to provide flexibility. We guaranteed 30 minutes bridge time, configured to Single Front, Few lethal, Few terrain, No monsters, Many friendlies, Dreadnaught at difficulty 4. We had one crew actually finish in 28 minutes--and they were not an experienced crew. All other crews got VERY close. We had only one crew have to forcibly restart due to accidental suicide, thanks to Helm hitting a mine field, unshielded, warp 1.
  • Walk-by traffic: We were located on a hall with a direct line to the street level exit, near the elevator, stairs, a con information booth, and restrooms. Foot traffic was very, very heavy. So far as we could tell, many people just walking by would stop to watch, and then when invited to sit in the audience area would stay to watch. We made it a point to say, "Come on in, there's audience seating!"
  • Unexpected Guests: We had a PhD in physics (one of the space track panelists) visit the bridge; and well-regarded game designer/astronaut/philanthropist Richard Garriott aka Lord British, unannounced and without fanfare. Geek win!

On Playing to the Audience: Thanks to the massive amount of foot traffic (which we correctly predicted), the number of curious onlookers, and my radio-announcer-esque voice, we took advantage of an emergent pattern...

  • We had audience seating for at least 20, plus standing room for another 20.
  • A new crew would start their mission, usually with a few "non gamer" friends in the audience seating. 
  • During the mission, the next crew, a couple of their friends, and more curious walk-bys would trickle in.
  • When the current mission was complete, the current crew would applaud themselves and congratulate each other.
  • I would then raise the lights and gesture for the crew to “now turn around and see the audience you’ve brought in!” In most cases, every audience seat was filled, and more people would be watching in the doorway.
  • Without prompting, the audience would burst into applause, making the crew the "stars of the show!"

This is something that no other gaming event at the con was providing: a feeling of being part of the show even for a brief moment!


__________________
----
Visit us at http://www.ltebridge.com
LawsonThompson

Registered:
Posts: 564
Reply with quote  #7 

Part 2: What Went... "Meh"

Oh, we didn't nail everything this time, that's for sure! Some things needed some tweakage.

  • Scheduling: We didn't prepare a way to sign up in advance online. You had to send at least one crew member to the room to sign up in-person, indicating how many in your group would participate. Mission scheduling required on-the-fly rework Friday morning due to problems with illegible handwriting, guests not understanding the need to include how many crew members were included, etc. On-line pre-registration or other electronic registration services may resolve this.
  • Training video: Due to the heavy audience traffic and ambient noise from missions in progress, the training video monitor was rarely used. It was more beneficial to actually watch the crew in progress. Training videos would be more useful hosted online for review prior to entering the event. This may be omitted with little functionality loss: in fact it’s quite useful to have mission staff take crew members for a "walkaround" of the mission in progress, showing what’s happening by observing the stations more closely. I'm also going to see if a console-specific video at each station would be useful--though this would require headsets for best results.
  • Overall appearance: Because the LTE Bridge is intended to remain very portable, there are a lot of exposed visible wires and other technical bits laying on the table tops. This was easy to ignore mid-mission of course, but the “walk by” appearance when a mission was not in progress was less than ideal. This will be refined over time as equipment is standardized and made more permanent.
  • Turning away guests: We had to turn away about as many guests as we were able to serve, due to all 50+ scheduled time slots being full within 8 hours of opening!
  • Morning attendance: Attendance was very low in the morning, with a few no-show crews: however, the crews were immediately filled by walk-ups. No crews ran "short handed".
  • Fighter Stations: One fighter station was online Friday, but the second fighter station was not fully on-line until Saturday afternoon due to technical problems. Using a Dreadnaught + 2 fighters raised the crew total to 8, and would have provided additional opportunity for guests.
  • Eager-beaver guests: A handful of very eager guests would "assist" during missions, and if not watched carefully could provide incorrect game play tips or otherwise appear to be commandeering positions from less vocal players. This didn't cause too much trouble, but I can certainly see the need to enforce a neutral zone between the audience and the crew-in-mission.
  • Handling no-shows: By Sunday afternoon, we implemented a tactic to text crew members 5 minutes prior to their time slot, then again when their mission was about to launch. Filling in no-show empty positions was very easy.



__________________
----
Visit us at http://www.ltebridge.com
LawsonThompson

Registered:
Posts: 564
Reply with quote  #8 
Part 3: My Fails. Learn From Them!

And just to prove we're still new at this... 

  • STAFFING! Even though given the opportunity to bring additional Artemis-specific volunteers (due to this being a special first-time situation), I refrained from taking advantage of it and only had me, my wife, my daughter, and one family friend staffing 50+ missions spread across 4 days. 
  • Lodging: we didn't stay on site. The rest of our bridge team would drive home around 9PM, and I'd run a few hour-long high-difficulty border war missions until 12 midnight. It's a 40 minute drive one way. And we'd have to be back to start the bridge in time for 9AM mission the next morning. Bad, bad idea. In fact, one night I stayed in the conference room (hotel staff had given me keys to the room) which provided an additional blessed 45 minutes of sleep.
  • That One Guy... Sorry, sir, can't remember your name, but due to a massive slipup on our part, we over booked and couldn't get him on the bridge. We did have one very unsatisfied customer. However, we refunded what he paid: $0.

__________________
----
Visit us at http://www.ltebridge.com
LawsonThompson

Registered:
Posts: 564
Reply with quote  #9 
Part 4: Next Year, or, Given Unlimited Time and Budget...

We have some ideas for next year--yes, we're already planning! These ideas range from "brilliant" to "HA HA HA HA that's funny! Oh, wait, you're serious? HA HA HA!"

  • Longer Bridge Hours: Dragon Con runs almost 24 hours for 4 days. Given another 3 to 5 staff members, it would be possible to run the bridge 18+ hours per day. We’re fairly confident that the bridge could have run the same hours as the LAN area (9am to 2am) with no lack of interested guests.
  • Pay to Play: One way to reduce the traffic would be to charge for mission time blocks. At the very least, I'm curious to see if the late-night one-hour blocks could charge $10+ per person. We had several guests who played multiple missions, and others who never had a chance. All 50+ mission slots for the entire weekend were booked on the first day. Demand far outstripped the supply! In casual post-mission discussions, players indicated a willingness to pay up to $1 per game minute per player, similar to the BattleTech simulator which charged $7 for 7 minutes, or $25 for 30 minutes. Advanced ticketing would be essential for pay-to-play, if implemented. The other gaming areas charge by the hour ($3 for LAN), by the game ($3 for a 3-4 hour tabletop game session), or are free. We'd be competing against other "free" events: but given the limited supply of Artemis bridge space I suspect we'd have no trouble selling out.
  • Multiple Bridge PvP/PvE: There was an interest among some guests to have multiple bridges for PvP/PvE fleet events. I... just... wow, can't imagine the necessary coordination to make that work for anything less than experienced crews.
  • Bridges in other Hotels: Artemis is very appealing to non-gamers; most of the foot traffic in the Westin was gamers. I think it’s likely the bridge could be located anywhere at Dragon Con and still attract a crowd. Imaging a multi-ship fleet with one bridge in each hotel: "Westin and Sheraton have teamed up, and they're taking out the Hyatt's fighters as the Marriott moves to intercept..."
  • Artemis Crew Passes/Adverts at main registration: Provide one complimentary Artemis crew pass per DC membership; additional plays may be purchased. Provide a way to record/stamp/indicate this on the badge?
  • Donation/Tip Jar for the LTE Bridge: Have a donation or tip jar at the door instead of pay to play.
  • Contact Thom Robertson: Though Dragon Con is not a gamer-primary convention, it might be worthwhile to at least see if Thom would be interested in attending. We know of many guests who purchased Artemis over Labor Day weekend, thanks to seeing the LTE Bridge at Dragon Con.
  • Cross-track promotion: We had several Trek track participants stop in later in the weekend. By then we were booked completely! Maybe this needs to be located in the Trek area?
  • Family bridge for the Kaleidoscope track: Reach out to the family-friendly Kaleidoscope track and see if reserving a few missions for ages 8 to 12 and their parents/guardians would be appreciated.
  • Bridge station training course: Design synchronized training videos which all play at the same time at each console; provide headsets to listen to the video. Any console may be explained in depth in 5 minutes or less. This would provide a way to get in-depth content to each console in a very short time
  • Mission Timer: Display a mission countdown timer visibly to the crew and audience.
  • Recruit volunteers for 2017! Need to recruit volunteers to work Artemis specifically. This WILL be happening!
  • Online signup: Either through existing game track facility, or a third party such as EventBrite.
  • Dragon Con App: Artemis didn’t appear as an event on the app. Is there a way to get it to show up so people can rate it?
  • Sales/Raffles: Can we sell/raffle off copies of the game? Prizes? Patches? How about a merch table?

__________________
----
Visit us at http://www.ltebridge.com
LawsonThompson

Registered:
Posts: 564
Reply with quote  #10 
Final Thoughts, or, Bring Out the Random Feels

Labor Day Vacation? Where?

This was the most exhausting "vacation" weekend I have ever spent; Dragon Con is 70,000+ attendees strong, and the convention runs 24 hours all Labor Day weekend. However, seeing the response of players who were shaking hands and high-fiving after a well-fought mission, and having the random audience applaud for them was wonderful to see and well worth the sleep-deprivation!

As Much Fun to Present as to Play

I have now officially hosted more missions than I have played, by a very wide margin. Yet I feel as if that's how it's supposed to be: share your living room with friends, be a gracious host, and set up an opportunity for everyone to have a good experience. If I could make a career out of hosting bridge events, I'd do it. For now I'll settle for "self-supporting hobby!"

Watching The Light Dawn

This happened, repeatedly: Walk-by spectators would stop in the hallway, then slowly approach the doorway as the mission was in progress. "Wow, what's this?" one would ask.

"This is Artemis, a spaceship bridge simulator," I'd reply. "If you have ever watched--or wanted to be in--Star Trek or other spaceship sci-fi stories, you'll know precisely what's going on!"

"So, are they playing against each other?" someone else would ask.

"No, this is a single bridge in a local simulation," I'd reply, then gesture to each crew member: "This nervous one standing in the middle is the Captain, and clockwise around we have helm, engineering, weapons, two fighter ships, communications, and science. They're currently attempting to defend several Terran deep space stations from an invading alien fleet!"
... silence, for a few seconds... then the sound of the light dawning... [idea] *Insert sound of jaws dropping open*  

Best. Sound. Ever. A new Artemis fan is born!

Let the Kids Be Kids!

My favorite crew was an unexpected one: a father and his family with five pre-teen kids! As the game launched and the consoles started up, I launched into my explanation of what was happening. 60 seconds later, I gave up: the kids were all shouting to each other, ignoring my well-planned pre-flight speech, pushing buttons, and experimenting very, very quickly.

Five minutes later, engineering had almost crippled the ship, helm and weapons had charged into a couple combat scenarios with the shields down, and things were getting almost out of hand.

And five minutes after that... they got it! Here's the only surviving few seconds of the mission video: I wish I'd recorded more!



I just stepped back and watched as the noisy, chaotic process of young, pliable minds--unafraid to make mistakes or breaking anything--dove into the mission with reckless abandon. Did they win? Well, they survived the 30 minutes at least, and based on their response of cheering and jumping up and down, they most DEFINITELY won! 

Step back and let kids be kids--and play! 

Celebrities? Where?

Dragon Con hosts celebrities of all kinds: William Shatner was at Dragon Con this year... Voice actors from many AAA class gaming properties... The MythBusters build team... but seeing normal, every-day people enjoy the dream of being on a spaceship, and being the heroes, was FAR BETTER than meeting any actor! 

Someday I'll meet Thom though. That'll be something!

In Closing...

First, thanks to Thom Robertson for Artemis! It's been precisely the game I've always wanted to play.

Thanks to the community here for sharing your experiences and creativity: it's given me confidence to give it a try myself!

And thanks to all our Dragon Con 2016 guests for participating: see you next year!


__________________
----
Visit us at http://www.ltebridge.com
MarkBell

Avatar / Picture

Administrator
Registered:
Posts: 1,860
Reply with quote  #11 
Brilliant! Fantastic recap, and it sounds like you had a smashing time. Artemis Armada III is coming up this spring, you know.... [wink]
__________________
Note - this is in no way intended to be an official position of Thom or Artemis, as I am not an official representative of the creator or game.
notsabbat

Avatar / Picture

Registered:
Posts: 1,196
Reply with quote  #12 
Very cool! Really was a fantastic recap, thank you for writing it all up

As someone that is interested in the business side of running Artemis, there is a lot for me to respond to here, though I will try to be brief. Im also pretty happy that Dragoncon will have an Artemis presence in the future.

My experience has mostly been with playing with with my own crew, but I have helped run Artemis at a few conventions with a local company called Gaming Nomads (Liberty4all here on the boards). From my experiences I feel like your write up and conclusions are spot on for the Artemis con running experience. Its good to see it so clearly written out. I think this game is always popular at cons; Even the small ones I went to had enough interest to completely pack two bridges all weekend long. People get really inspired by this game and its a great thing to see. You also seem to have a pretty solid setup. Are all of your station touchscreens? I really like the wall you built, looks sharp.

In the future I think that an Artemis bridge at a con will be as common as cosplay. As more people build bridges with the intent of running at convention, either as a "self-sustaining hobby" or as a full blown business, I can see con Artemis becoming a more collaborative affair with multiple people bringing bridges to run. Maybe in the far future there will even be regional "Admirals" that can assist with booking cons and connecting people, though I'm putting the cart before the horse there [biggrin]

A couple things I wanted to respond to directly;

Training videos: its too bad those didn't work out, I thought that was a really good idea
turning away guests: Wow! That's a lot of turn aways; especially since you must have run a TON of missions with a 30 min timeblock.

No Shows: I think you were being more proactive than most people would have been. Often I have seen "we will give you till 5 min after the start time, then we are getting someone else" used as the policy.

eager beaver: yeah, that happens. In the past I generally ask people to stay back a certain distance so people cant break the players immersion.


Staffing: I love Draon-con, but havent gotten a chance to go back for awhile. You can certainly put me on the list of people to tap if your looking for people.

Pay to Play: I really think this is necessary to keep Artemis at cons going and many people that run at cons do charge. While I think if all your doing is bringing 5 laptops and a kind of large monitor, then you should probably run for free and chalk it up to experience building. However, if people are putting real money into making it a good experience for people than pay to play is needed. it is a very tiring experience to design a bridge, build it and especially run at a convention. I know I would get burned out pretty quickly if I was doing all that and didn't have anything to show for it and the end of the day. What to charge is a tricky thing; I think $10-$20 per player per hour is a good start (depending on the con), but I honestly have no idea what kind of value the experience of playing on a con bridge is to people. I have thought to myself how cool it would be to forget everything I know about playing Artemis and experience playing it for the first time on one of the cool con setups people have (I first played it on a cell phone); but after playing hundreds of missions on my own custom bridge and dozens of missions on bridges with touchscreens, full DMX lighting and huge mainscreens, the wow factor has long been lost on me. Hopefully as running Artemis becomes more common we will get a better idea of what prices are reasonable depending on game length/ quality of bridge.

Additional Bridges: I already mentioned working with Gaming Nomads; They have 2 full bridges with 5 big touchscreens and a big plasma TV on each. They also have A LOT of experience with running Artemis at cons. If you contact Libert4All on the boards they may be able to coordinate with you for next year and get some more slots for you to work with. contacting them sooner rather than later would be helpful. I know they are already scheduling things for next year.


I really do have just as much fun teaching people how to play as I do actually playing the game. The moment when they suddenly become a team makes it all worthwhile.


well, I think I have written enough for now. I will watch out for your "recruiting for next year" post [wink]


__________________
-Captain of the TSN Gungnir JN-001
-Eastern Front online group member
-My continuing bridge build:
http://artemis.forumchitchat.com/post/immersion-bridge-build-in-progress-7335195?pid=1290158413
Mike Substelny

Avatar / Picture

Administrator
Registered:
Posts: 2,180
Reply with quote  #13 
Great work, Lawson!

You run such a big event that I recommend reaching out to Thom. Consider bringing your bridge to Artemis Armada III next spring.

Also you might want to reach out to Commodore Erickson from these forums who has done a brilliant job bringing Artemis to Phoenix Comic Con.

__________________
"The Admiralty had demanded six ships; the economists offered four; and we finally compromised on eight."
- Winston Churchill
tpeacock

Registered:
Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #14 
I've been doing DragonCon for over a decade, and I'll say that this year, your Artemis Bridge was the highlight!  My friends and I had 5 people ourselves, and we had a random person fill in the slots for Helm and the 1 fighter pilot.  I can't thank you guys enough for setting it up.  When we finished our 30 minutes, having the whole room applaud (we survived!) was awesome.

I'd hate to see it charge in the future (I'm sure it would cut down on the total # of people that would sign up), but I'd completely understand.  Multiple bridges in multiple Hotels would Rock!


This week, I purchased the full bridge, and my friends and I are planning an Artemis day in just over a week - I was curious about the missions that were played during the day at Dragoncon:

"We guaranteed 30 minutes bridge time, configured to Single Front, Few lethal, Few terrain, No monsters, Many friendlies, Dreadnaught at difficulty 4."


Were you running a specific Mission, or was this "Invasion Mode", using the settings you described?  Just curious, we had a blast and we're trying to put together our plans!




LawsonThompson

Registered:
Posts: 564
Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tpeacock
I've been doing DragonCon for over a decade, and I'll say that this year, your Artemis Bridge was the highlight!  My friends and I had 5 people ourselves, and we had a random person fill in the slots for Helm and the 1 fighter pilot.  I can't thank you guys enough for setting it up.  When we finished our 30 minutes, having the whole room applaud (we survived!) was awesome.



The highlight? Whoa! I'm honored! *blushing*

Quote:
Originally Posted by tpeacock

I'd hate to see it charge in the future (I'm sure it would cut down on the total # of people that would sign up), but I'd completely understand.  Multiple bridges in multiple Hotels would Rock!


This year was our "proof of concept" to show that a) there is a good demand and b) our bridge hosting "method" was con-ready. Giving it away was the best way to max out the player load!

We'll be testing our "pay to play" strategy at MomoCon 2017: more details on that soon.

As far as bridge v. bridge... ah, to dream! However, I know there are a few other local-ish bridges around the southeast, and I bet I could convince a couple of them to join us next year...

Quote:
Originally Posted by tpeacock

This week, I purchased the full bridge, and my friends and I are planning an Artemis day in just over a week - I was curious about the missions that were played during the day at Dragoncon:

"We guaranteed 30 minutes bridge time, configured to Single Front, Few lethal, Few terrain, No monsters, Many friendlies, Dreadnaught at difficulty 4."


Were you running a specific Mission, or was this "Invasion Mode", using the settings you described?  Just curious, we had a blast and we're trying to put together our plans!



We were in Solo invasion mode at those settings; no script. We'd tweak the skill level between 3 and 5 depending on the confidence of the crew. Higher difficulty increases the enemy count and once you hit level 6 or so with Artemis v2.4+ you'll find it gets rather overwhelming if you're not a well-experienced crew.

Note that the Dreadnaught ship has 2 fighter bays: take on level 4 or 5 in a Light Cruiser without fighters and just 2 torpedo tubes, and you're in for a scramble.

One thing I found: the "Monsters" are distracting at a convention. At our previous con, a late-night somewhat inebriated captain decided that the main goal was to "nuke the dragon!" At at Dragon Con, we tried one with monsters set to "few" and found that a swarm of piranha can eat a base very quickly. Ouch!

For large cons where there are less likely to be repeat players, I think I'll be writing my own scripts to keep things consistent. Not sure if I'll go all Game Master-y on it though.

Thanks for stopping in! Maybe see you next year?

__________________
----
Visit us at http://www.ltebridge.com
Previous Topic | Next Topic
Print
Reply

Quick Navigation:

Easily create a Forum Website with Website Toolbox.