Gen Con On-Line
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Posted by grellden chaoticneutral262

chaoticneutral262 wrote:
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. 

That is a lot of good advice I plan to use when I try to run games.

thanks

Posted by tinabear81

Currently playing in Paizo Con games
---Most GMs have a google doc or spreadsheet for you to provide information about character, level, faction, player id# for society games, and emails for chronicle sheets.
---PaizoCon has an official discord channel set up for games.
---Many GMs are requesting that you upload your character sheet into the table-top platform ahead of time.

These things help run games smoothly.

Posted by mu skulls frank

I started running RPGs online a couple of years ago as a way to playtest my RPGs for Gen Con so I've had some practice and found an online set up that works for me. I had a successful Virtual Gary Con and Virtual Con of Champions this year. I keep it simple with using ZOOM and Epic Table for maps but without any player controls (less for them to have to learn). If you like messing with software then for sure check out the full gaming platforms because they're very good but there is a learning curve. My setup for virtual games is the same basic setup for live Gen Cons. To save some work, you might look at options that allow you to replicate your live Gen Con intention. If you already have a cool hand drawn map consider a scan/ camera shot of it rather than rebuilding it in Roll20/ Fantasy Grounds.

I'd recommend that you list the platform(s) you're using in the game description so the savvy player knows what they need to have pre-loaded or how involved they want to be i.e. learning Roll20. I think at a minimum the GM should have a camera. I find it very challenging to engage as a player without the GM on camera. Of course, some folks are amazing off camera but if you don't have experience running online games off camera I wouldn't start with a virtual convention game. Also, expect the online GM experience to be more tiring. The energy returned from my GMing isn't at the same level online. Or maybe it's that I'm less active and sort of locked into the chair to keep the camera in focus?  

Pro-tip: I have some sound effects and visuals with video from a shared desktop from ZOOM. To ensure my experience is broadcast as intended, I log into the event on another computer as an attendee. That way if something glitches on the host computer I can quickly detect if something isn't right for the attendees as I'm sharing their experience. 

Posted by raptorov

Wow, mu skulls frank, that sounds incredible. But I definitely feel like a 1st level character wandering into a 10th level adventure. I think I will have to watch the previously recommended videos to determine if I even belong in the party. I don't want to be the guy on the B League hockey team who is just learning to skate. 

Posted by narzat

Hey raptorov,

Don't be deterred by the online bit.  We've been running our normal in person games online with several folks who have never played that way before, and they are adjusting just fine!  It does take a little bit of prep and coaching, but everyone is having fun.  There will be plenty of people in the same boat, and lots of folks who can help out.

Posted by nascragman

Is on-line badge registration happening today?  I can't find it.

And how is event registration going to work?  If we have events will the players need to contact us for details/passwords?

Posted by llenlleawg

It just became available! If you click on Get a Badge, you'll be directed to the button for the Gen Con Online 2020 badge.

Posted by simranger

Ran two games recently for ZOECON online as a Green Ronin freebooter.  The con used Discord as the server and GMs posted links to their VTT games.  The CON Server had rooms available to use, but lacked a scheduling mechanism.  It worked out as it was a small group and it was a FCFS format.  Moving forward I agree with the previous comments that prior email contact will be preferred, but regardless of the medium, it was a great time and I met cool new players.  Looking forward to more info soon!

Posted by hendelbolaf

I will likely transfer my physical games over to virtual and I will be using d20Pro and Skype like I currently do for my virtual games. Both are available for free to anyone to use unless you want to host games on d20Pro and I already have a full lifetime access package so I am good there.

Posted by dominiclewis nascragman

nascragman wrote:
Is on-line badge registration happening today?  I can't find it.
And how is event registration going to work?  If we have events will the players need to contact us for details/passwords?

We'll have more information coming end of this week, including an updated Event Host Policy just for Gen Con Online, outlining how the entire event process will work. As Derek mentioned previously in this thread, event submission will be happening on the website in a similar manner with a few tweaks to the form.

Additionally, we'll be implementing a new event messaging tool that will allow EO/GMs to communicate with the registered players for their event. Using this tool, you'll be able to share links/passwords and help troubleshoot getting your players into the platforms you using for your event.

Dominic Lewis
Event Coordinator
Gen Con LLC

Posted by envoypv chaoticneutral262

chaoticneutral262 wrote:
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. 

Great stuff!

Posted by envoypv chaoticneutral262

 

Posted by atomreid

So, I read through the Event Host policy and it looks like Gencon is going to charge $2 per player for every online event - including games played on Boardgamearena or TTS. Is this correct or I am misunderstanding something?

Posted by loeil

Does anybody knows if there's gonna be a virtual vendor hall where companies sell their games that they were supposed to sell at regular gencon?

Posted by brumcg loeil

loeil wrote:
Does anybody knows if there's gonna be a virtual vendor hall where companies sell their games that they were supposed to sell at regular gencon?

The original Tweet from Gen Con said "Virtual Exhibit Hall."  That Tweet was deleted and replaced by the much more generic "featuring...your favorite exhibitors."

So... we're waiting for info.

Posted by narzat atomreid

atomreid wrote:
So, I read through the Event Host policy and it looks like Gencon is going to charge $2 per player for every online event - including games played on Boardgamearena or TTS. Is this correct or I am misunderstanding something?

Looks like that is right, barring a few exceptions noted in the policy.  Makes sense to me, because they are offering registration services, etc. and the folks running events need to get paid for their time.   Plus they need to eat and survive until next year's non-virtual Gen Con, and badges are free.  Why wouldn't they charge for events kind of like normal (actually cheaper, IIRC)?

Posted by derekguder

Events for Gen Con Online will have a Gen Con base price of $2. That is indeed cheaper than the base price for events at the convention, at least for longer events, since it's a flat rate instead of $2 per 2 hours.

We released a video about event submission that may provide some additional context for folks.

For a "virtual exhibit hall" or similar experience, some initial information has been sent to exhibitors and we will continue to release more information about all aspects of Gen Con Online. If you have specific questions at this point, you may want to reach out to [email protected] so they can answer directly or pass the details along to Marketing so they know what details they need to help folks get up to speed on.

We'll want to keep this thread (and forum) mainly focused on events, specifically. Off-hand questions are totally fine, but I would recommend the main or customer service forums for longer or more detailed threads.

If anyone has any other questions about event submission or running events during Gen Con Online, let us know.

-
Derek Guder
Senior Event & Program Manager
Gen Con LLC

Posted by squirecam derekguder

derekguder wrote:
Events for Gen Con Online will have a Gen Con base price of $2. That is indeed cheaper than the base price for events at the convention, at least for longer events, since it's a flat rate instead of $2 per 2 hours.
We released a video about event submission that may provide some additional context for folks.
For a "virtual exhibit hall" or similar experience, some initial information has been sent to exhibitors and we will continue to release more information about all aspects of Gen Con Online. If you have specific questions at this point, you may want to reach out to [email protected] so they can answer directly or pass the details along to Marketing so they know what details they need to help folks get up to speed on.
We'll want to keep this thread (and forum) mainly focused on events, specifically. Off-hand questions are totally fine, but I would recommend the main or customer service forums for longer or more detailed threads.
If anyone has any other questions about event submission or running events during Gen Con Online, let us know.
-
Derek Guder
Senior Event & Program Manager
Gen Con LLC
Seems fair to me.

Posted by jpederso

Is there any plans for seminars - related to gaming or writing?   Will there be a cost for these?

Posted by derekguder

We welcome seminars (on both writing and gaming topics) just like we normally would - those can be submitted via the form as usual. We anticipate that many companies will be running seminars through their own Twitch channels and listing those as events in our system so folks can plan their time, for instance.

Events that are subject to the Gen Con base price are the same as the ones that would be at the convention, so seminars are automatically free, as are almost all anime events and many entertainment events, too.

-
Derek Guder
Senior Event & Program Manager
Gen Con LLC

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