Re-Examining Event Types
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Posted by brotherbock derekguder

derekguder wrote:
There are lowest common denominator questions on both side of the equation, but the fundamental question here is "Are the current event type categories the best way to divide up events? Do some of the categories end up just too big to be really useful or meaningful?" and if the answer to the latter is "yes," you have to come up with some way to carve things up.
Further, since part of the point of the event types is communication, "catering" to just about everyone we can is probably a good idea, yeah :) We want to make things as simple, clear, and useful as we can.
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Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

Agreed about communication.

But when communicating, trying to cater to someone who won't read what you're communicating isn't a good idea.

I was just commenting on the general notion of escalation I was seeing. RPG vs LARP. But also Western RPG vs Space RPG vs Urban RPG vs Fantasy RPG vs etc. But also Western Living RPG vs Western One-Off RPG. But also Western Living RPGA RPG vs Western Living Other Company RPG.

So we have

Western Living RPGA RPG
Western Living Other Company A RPG
Western Living Other Company B RPG
.
.
.
Western One-Off RPGA RPG
Western One-Off Other Company A RPG
Western One-Off Other Company B RPG
.
.
.
Space Living RPGA RPG
and etc.

And we haven't even left RPGs yet, the same would be in store for LARPs.

I'm not saying anyone is suggesting exactly that. But the usefulness of categories is that they have multiple members. Categories are ideally useful when they find the balance of largest size categories and least confusion when browsing a single category.

Simply snowballing the number of categories won't lead to a more useful system. The end of the slippery slope, which you wouldn't reach in reality but highlights the point, is a category for every single event. Whatever-Thousand categories. Of course that's hyperbole. But categories get more useless as we approach that end without the need to approach it.

I know you know that, I get the project here as speculative. I'm just throwing in this point about essentially an Occam's Razor of event logistics: never multiply event categories unnecessarily. :)
 

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Posted by derekguder

Correct, which is why some of my opening questions were:


  • How many event categories should there be, overall?
  • What is the minimum number of events to justify a unique category?
  • What is the maximum number of events a category should have before it gets broken up?

-
Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

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Posted by alphastream

I would tend to think that you want a few really big silos to act as filters. Seminars is a great one - I'm either looking for that or not. 

Board Games vs RPGs is great too. 

Then, what I really want is to have far more effective ways to filter what I want inside a category. I'm in RPGs, now I want to filter on genre, or on organized play, or on a specific company, or on a rule edition, etc. And I want to be able to favorite those and set up searches so I can do that across the years. 

So, what I want is:
- Few categories to act as sort of absolute silos
- lots of new filtering functionality

If I can't have that, then I really do want to keep RPGA as a category, because for me it totally lets me find a lot of what I want. It solves 1/2 to 3/4 of my scheduling needs, because D&D org play is what I play. If I lost RPGA as a category, of if a ton of things join it, then I now have a hard time just like I do with other event searches.

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Posted by derekguder

Considering a broader OP/Living Campaign category would still have both game system and company name to filter and search by, I don't see much argument for not broadening out RPGA - or for keeping it as it is (other than historical inertia).

And more search options are great and I fully support them, but we also need divisions that work just as well in a relatively static environment, like the program guide or a spreadsheet.

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Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

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Posted by brotherbock

So is it just custom that suggests separating the RPGA (aside from 'living/nonliving' issue)? Honest question, I haven't played one of their events since Mecca. How big are they, event ticket wise? Bigger than NASCRAG? From my outsider perspective, RPGA seems like just one among many companies now. I think someone said that same above, forgive my brain fog. Just finished a long run, carb starvation something something.

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Posted by bpunkert derekguder

derekguder wrote:
Correct, which is why some of my opening questions were:

  • How many event categories should there be, overall?
  • What is the minimum number of events to justify a unique category?
  • What is the maximum number of events a category should have before it gets broken up?

-
Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

Looking at the list, the minimum threshhold probably needs to be about 50 to capture events and seminars effectively.

Most of the issues of contention in this coversation seem to be the over two thousand mark. Even so, things like collectible trading card games are over 1000 and that might still be too large to be able to take in at a sitting. Perhaps 500? Really, the issue here is effective search and filter, and for that subcategories ratther than top level categories may work better. Is there a logistical or programming reason for them mostly being three letter codes?

As for #1, I'm guessing if it gets much more than 50 categories, nobody would listen any more. It's at 19. You could probably take it to 30 or so without it getting too unweildy, especially as some of those are obviously breaking up much larger areas.

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Posted by brotherbock bpunkert

bpunkert wrote:
Really, the issue here is effective search and filter, and for that subcategories ratther than top level categories may work better. Is there a logistical or programming reason for them mostly being three letter codes?
As for #1, I'm guessing if it gets much more than 50 categories, nobody would listen any more. It's at 19. You could probably take it to 30 or so without it getting too unweildy, especially as some of those are obviously breaking up much larger areas.

The subcategories are a good idea for online, and I don't mean to dismiss that at all.

I'm wondering what that will do for those people searching through the print book?

To expand--it's already a little unwieldy to sort through the categories in the event book as it is. Each of the icons is a square aren't they? And while they all have different icons, they aren't as immediately visually distinguishable as they could be. They aren't awful, but they could be better. The colors are all generally the same shade of the different hues, for example.

If I'm looking for the LARP games--little green goblin/orc head--it takes me a bit of time to find where that category starts on a given day. And the icons aren't all very intuitive. Why is the LARP icon the image that it is? (I'm not bashing anyone...I have no idea at the moment what icon I would choose if I was in charge, and I suspect some of it was probably just grabbing from some clipart, which I have done before in my own design work.)

If we then have subcategories--a good idea when dealing with dynamic tables or differently formatted lists--are we going to have slightly different versions of the same icons? Or entirely new icons for the subgroups (not a good idea)? Given the sort of icons already in use, I'm not sure what a good method would look like to do different versions of each icon to reflect subgroups.

It could help to reformat the listings in the book, even just using something like indenting. The goals there is to quickly be able to find the group you're looking for, and quickly tell which group you're currently looking at. Indenting below each major category could do wonders.

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Posted by braewe

At first I was going to argue that the Shadowrun stuff isn't confusing (SRM being a Shadowrun Mission and CMP being a convention special with everything else either a tournament, LARP, or beginner intro but you can actually bring a Missions character into the LARP and beginner games, and there is that whole separate seasons thing, but it would still be nice, imo, to separate out those pesky Living adventures from the rest.

In addendum, I both play AND run D&D and I find determining those difficult too. There are regions and Epics and that thing I think of as Ravenloft, and Ashes of Ashas(which I miss) and bringing someone new, yes, absolutely stark raving never-before-played-an-actual-rpg new into a living campaign can be so tricky!

(We are, btw, bringing one of those folks this year. They do exist. He has never played an rpg except via a computer game, ie Elder Scrolls, and has never been to a con or a FLGS. I...can't wait. He's either going to realize why his life was so empty before or he's going to think we're all crazy. One or the other. :D He's getting assigned a 'gencon buddy' to pick events to do together and be joined at the hip with, trying a little of everything from rpg's to mini painting and mmmmaybe a LARP. We showed him last years events and he was utterly unable to search for anything. Dividing things up for him is pointless, he has no clue what he's looking for.

However, NEXT year, assuming he gets addicted, different categories other than glopping them all in RPG would be grand. I do wish the things were easier to sort. Like, if we could have tags. So you could click...horror, nonliving, beginner, rpg, no materials necessary, 6pm to midnight start time. Go.

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Posted by glory

I've not run an event so I'm not sure how events are submitted by the GMs, but what might help is having drop down menus for the name of the Game System.

Generally, when I search the catalog (through the excel sheet), I'll filter out anything I am not interested in (LARPs, KID, TCG, etc...) and then sort by Game System and then Rules Edition. 

When D&D is spelled out 12 different ways, it can make searching for it difficult - even though I've already filtered on RPGs. I've seen DnD, D&D, Dungeons & Dragons, Dungeons and Dragons.

I think utilizing the fields you do have in a better manner would actually be more valuble then re-organizing things. 

 

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Posted by derekguder

I manually go through and standardize stuff like Dungeons & Dragons as best I can. If it's not consistent, that means I haven't had the time to do it, really.

Can you go into more details about using existing fields better? Other than the game system, what other fields could be leveraged better?

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Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

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