So PAX East was, as always, amazing. I want to give a big THANK YOU to everyone who stopped by the RunJumpDev booth and gave the games there a try. Everyone in our group has been working very hard the past few months to get everything ready for the show, and it was extremely gratifying to see people playing and enjoying our game. We got lots of great feedback, met a ton of really cool people, and learned many important lessons we will carry with us to future conventions. In true postmortem form I will elaborate on those now.
What Went right:
- The booth design was great. Relatively easy to transport, assemble, and disassemble, so long as you have the architect who designed it around (thanks Shylo!). It looked very professional.
- The demo level we had prepared was a good length. It gave people a good taste for the game, but still got people in and out in a timely fashion so no one was taking up the space too long.
- We did shifts at the booth, and I think that worked better as no one seemed to get overly tired or wear out their voices. Also next time I’m just going to hire Jason to pitch my game to people, since he did it better than I did. In appreciation for his herculean efforts, a thank you plug: everyone check out Tales From the Strange Universe!
What went wrong:
- The audio. Not that there was anything wrong with the game audio, but we were about 4 feet away from our neighboring booth’s giant speaker where they had a live musician playing video game music. While we enjoyed his jams, it made it very hard for people to hear the audio of the game. I brought noise cancelling headphones, but unless you actively try to shove them on people’s heads they seem to rarely use them. Next year I will bring some beefier external speakers. Sorry Drew!
- Booth positioning. Our booth is great, don’t get me wrong, but it was a bit difficult to see Railgun Express, Zen Garden, or My Olde Kentucky Home from the main aisle. Railgun had it better than the other two, but if someone was checking out Tales From the Strange Universe it made it especially hard to see it. I think maybe for next time we should look into an alternate layout of the kiosks, or rotating which games are on which televisions so all games get a more even exposure throughout the weekend.
- Fearless Night. Again, Fearless Night was great, but without the developer there (who had to cancel a week before the show on account of needing to move for a new job) I was really lost with what to tell people about the game. We had a few people very very very enthusiastic about it and I could tell they were annoyed we know so little about it. Simple solution though: next time we tie up Chase and ship him to PAX in a crate if we have to.
- Not having anything to sell. I think these things work much better if you can sell someone something right then: a pre-order code, the game itself, etc. We had some group shirts and stuff, but those didn’t sell very well. However offering a copy of the game for a few bucks might have been doable, especially if we had a card reader.
- The demo level was too hard. I’ve already tweaked it a bit, but I think all weekend there were only two players who made it all the way through the level without dying at least once. Some people absolutely could not get past part of it, even with the checkpoint system. I’ll work on adding difficulty levels and maybe setting the current version as hard.
So anyway, there’s my take on PAX. Thanks again to everyone who came out, and don’t forget to follow us on all that social stuff. The series of tubes. Interwebs. Whatever the kids call it these days.