Gen Con On-Line
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Posted by nascragman

Very excited to see this is going to happen.  Gen Con without Nascrag was unimaginable.
Where do we submit events?  We don't want to use the ones from before - we'll save those for next year.  But we've got a treasure trove of modules to revisit.

  

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Posted by qwaserity

Seconded. The sooner we know what we can do or what others want to see, the sooner we can start practicing our game speeches and/or develop the games for online play.

I'm actually looking at this as a run challenge.

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Posted by derekguder

Details about Gen Con Online will be released soon, so be patient on that.

Ultimately, you will be submitting events on the website in a manner almost identical to what normally happens for physical events each year.

Once we have full details, we'll be letting everyone (including established event organizers) know. We're very excited about this, too.

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Derek Guder
Senior Event & Program Manager
Gen Con LLC

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Posted by bwd72

Are there volunteer opportunities?  I am a GM and a software engineer.  I'd like to contribute if I can.  

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Posted by father bloodlust

If we submitted an event for Gen Con, is that event going to roll over to Gen Con Online, or do we need to cancel it manually if we don't plan on participating in the online version?

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Posted by derekguder

Events submitted for physical Gen Con will not be directly imported to an online version - there is no way to assume that every game make that transition in the form it was originally planned, if at all. That may be feasible for many RPGs, but other games will be much more limited.

New events will be submitted, and anyone will be able to run games, just like we would do for the physical convention.

Details will be forthcoming for that, so if you are interested in getting involved, make sure you are signed up for the EO/GM mailing list to get the announcement when everything goes live for that.

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Derek Guder
Senior Program & Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

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Posted by raptorov

Total noob to online gaming here. What system requirements are there? What platforms? Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, I have played on Wargear.net, and watched some Twitch TV gaming with multiple cameras and players interacting, but thats about it gaming wise. Some friends use Discord and Tabletop Simulator, but my computer is a Mac Mini and my monitor has neither a camera, nor microphone so I haven't been able to jump in (assuming my system will even run it). I have never got a definitive answer on how to take part. Everything sort of assumes that I am an IT specialist. I am a microbiology lab technician, so monoclonal antibodies I get, computers not so much.

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Posted by tdb

That's probably still being worked out.  I know Fantasy Grounds will run on a Mac, so that would be an option for RPG's.  Not sure if Tabletop Simulator works on a Mac, but it's a popular platform for board games.

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Posted by qwaserity

>>>Total noob to online gaming here.

That's something to consider. We should consider having a "user requirement" for the games as well. Just as the normal catalog would have "Experience" listed for game play, we could list "Computer requirements".

It is possible to demo and play games using screen sharing programs and a lot of options.

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Posted by nascragman

Can we assume that the platform will be handled by Gen Con?  We don't need to get our own zoom accounts, do we?

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Posted by epuster

Depending on the event, different platforms could be used.

Consider platforms such as Mozilla Hubs and Altspace, which could allow for Graphics Designers to show off their cosplay abilities that never quite made it to the physical con.

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Posted by jillt

I have a Windows 7 custom built PC from 2014 but Steam is no longer compatible on it, and I don't have a web cam or microphone.  However, I do have a last year's generation ipad, so I agree it would be great about experience required (to play a game, obviously not an issue if it's just a demo), and also a device requirements.

 

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Posted by jillt

I just ordered a webcam, yay me

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Posted by derekguder

Just to confirm for the last time: details will be released soon. Speculation on this point will not be particularly helpful before then.

Questions about minimum system requirements are complicated, as are specific platforms. My advice at this point is to take a look at guides on how to play games online. Boardgame Geek has a big guide, for example, and I know plenty of other sites do, too. You tend to be directed back to a consistent list of sites/programs like Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, D20PRO, Astral, Tabletop Simulator, Tabletopia, Boardgame Arena, etc. You may recognize some of those from our exhibit hall in years past.

I'll also say that playing games online is real hard to get engaged in without a microphone and (ideally) a video camera. You'll also need a good internet connection - consider running an ethernet cable to connect to your router instead of running off wifi. And maybe set up a few more lights behind your camera.

We actually broadly discussed both RPGs and board games multiple times on Twitch, so beginners may want to look at some specific videos:


That's my advice for right now:

  • If you're an old hand at playing online, reach out to some friends (or post here in this thread) and offer to bring them up to speed.

  • If you're excited about Gen Con Online but it's mostly new to you, then I'd recommend watching those videos, checking out guides, or asking for advice here. Get used to stuff. Experiment a bit. That will give you a better idea of what will work for you when we release full details for Gen Con Online - and how you can submit and run events.

To answer a few questions already raised in this thread (and, again, remind folks that full details will be coming out soon), Gen Con will not be providing a platform to play, nor equipment to play with. The platform is the responsibility of the event organizer (and players, to some degree). Gen Con will not be providing accounts for Zoom, Discord, or any other service. Everyone involved will need their own, though most will have a free level of account access.

Gen Con will be providing a way to organize players together so they more easily find other people who want to play the same games, but just like at the physical convention you need to bring the game yourself.

Please hold questions for when full details are released. Until then, try to focus on your own experiences with online games - ask questions and help your fellow gamers get used to this new realm. All those deckers need to help their street samurai buddies get used to flying around the Matrix.

One last piece of advice: be patient with online games. I've been very pleasantly surprised with how well they've worked for me, but they're not the same as playing at the table. Some things are faster, some things are slow - and technical problems can always pop up, so you want to be prepared to deal with that.

Leading up to event registration and the convention, we'll certainly be providing more specific tools to help folks get informed and comfortable about various options to play online.

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Derek Guder
Senior Event & Program Manager
Gen Con LLC

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Posted by chaoticneutral262

Having attended two online conventions recently, including GaryCon, I have a few suggestions to help make things go more smoothly:


  1. Online games need more time.  A virtual game takes longer to get set up than a table top event.  A D&D session I played in on Roll20 took nearly an hour to get going.  Characters had to get rolled, tokens assigned, dynamic lighting configured, etc.  Some people needed training on the platform.  Another player was having technical issues configuring his microphone for Discord.  Due to this lost time, the session ran an hour over the scheduled time and the GM had to storyboard a good part of the ending.  I would recommend adding at least 30 minutes to the beginning of each session to account for these things.

  2. A Looking for Players / Looking for Games mechanism is needed.  No-shows are a problem for in-person events, and the weak social contract that comes with the Internet makes matters worse.  Have somewhere (e.g. a Discord channel) that can provide a pool of players that GMs can tap into to fill out their games.

  3. Training sessions would help.  Games would go more smoothly if both players and GMs could receive training on the platforms in advance of the games.  When one game is held on Zoom and Fantasy Grounds, while the next game is held on Discord with Roll20, there are learning curves that need to be overcome.  Having a table full of players battling with the platforms is no fun and detracts from the experience.  Consider some early (e.g. Wednesday evening) training sessions for players and GMs to learn the platforms and get their computers set up -- maybe the platform owners would help out as a way to gain exposure.

  4. Allow players and GMs to communicate before the game.  It would be helpful if GMs could confirm the attendance of their players in advance and provide them with any special instructions (e.g. download something, go to this link to see pre-generated characters, etc.).  Similarly, if players could ask questions in advance ("do you mind if I bring my level 3 paladin with the holy avenger?") then these things could be cleared up before the game.

  5. Players: Learn to use push-to-talk!  Having an always open mic is a problem, because the rest of the group doesn't want to listen to you chomp on pretzels, your dogs barking, or your kids fighting for four hours.  Similarly, when you use push-to-talk, you need to, you know, actually push the button when you are talking.

  6. Give the platforms a heads-up.  GenCon is huge, and platforms need to be prepared for a potentially massive surge in load.  Cloud resources can be added, IT staff can be put on call to watch for issues, etc.  Outages during the convention would be bad for everyone involved.  GMs should think in advance about plan B, in case their preferred platform is offline at game-time.

  7. Clearly account for time zones in the scheduling.  Unlike the in-person convention, people are going to be in different time zones.  If everyone shows up "on-time" in their own times zone, that will be a problem.  Everyone needs to be in sync.

That's my 2-cents worth.  Hopefully it helps.  I'm sure others will have more to add.

 

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Posted by derekguder

Great advice all around, and we have plans to address the things we can of that from our end, as best we can for this year.


Derek Guder
Senior Event & Program Manager
Gen Con LLC

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Posted by nascragman

Will GenCon be providing the platform or will we need to do that ourselves?

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Posted by derekguder nascragman

nascragman wrote:
Will GenCon be providing the platform or will we need to do that ourselves?

Please see my post above - Gen Con is not providing a platform. We will not be creating our own video chat or virtual tabletop platform between now and the convention, nor will we have the resources to buy accounts for everyone who might want to run or play games.

Just like at the physical convention where Gen Con does not provide copies of all games to be played, event organizers and GMs (and sometimes players, depending on the platform) will need to secure their own.

This does not necessarily mean anyone needs to pay for anything, to be clear. There are plenty of free options available.

Some platforms may partner with us to help make that easier for folks to get set up on various platforms, but that is unlikely to be universal.

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Derek Guder
Senior Event & Program Manager
Gen Con LLC

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Posted by nascragman

I didn’t read carefully enough. Dang it

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Posted by qwaserity

This would be an awesome time for the online gaming community to step up. I've been trying to contact Beserk Games about buy a bulk (50ish copies) purchase of Tabletop Simulator but haven't been able to reach them. We have a local convention that will probably end up being virtual as well.

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