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Monaco And SpyParty, On The Road To PAX
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Monaco And SpyParty, On The Road To PAX

August 20, 2010 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 4 Next

Booth Layout. Early on, we decided how we would split up the booth. We would have two stations for SpyParty, which requires two computers and two screens back-to-back, so the players can't see each other's views, and one station for Monaco with a comfy couch from Ikea so four people could play co-op.

Originally, Chris thought he would have a third SpyParty machine running in a spectator mode (which would require implementing a spectator mode!) that would display on a large 50+ inch HDTV behind the two players, but he eventually realized he could use both display outputs from one machine to power the big monitor, as long as the other player couldn't see it. Hopefully no one from the crowd will yell out spoilers.

Because the Monaco players on the couch are going to need the TV low down, there will be a second HDTV on one of the 7' stands behind, also running dual monitor from the playing machine. We are printing two pop-up banners, one for each game, at about $200 each, and we figure we can move these in response to crowd flow on site.

Computers. We knew we were going to need three or four fast computers. Again, renting them is prohibitively expensive, but so is buying them. We decided to pitch Intel on loaning us some machines in exchange for some sponsorship materials in the booth and the association with two high-profile indie games.

They said yes and sent us four killer PCs. Not only was not having to pay for the machines great, but they sent them to us early enough to debug the inevitable problems, and so we won't have any surprises when we set up on the show floor (knock on wood).

Electrical. You don't really have any choice about where to get your electrical connections, so the only decision is "how much power?" We consulted with a bunch of other people, and talked to the contractor.

The contractor recommended three 2000W/20A drops for our setup, which seemed excessive, and the other indies were all over the map, including this from one very experienced indie, "Dunno. We just show up and plug shit in." (PAX supplies a single 500W power drop by default) So, we did a little research ourselves, using sites like this and this, and decided two 20A drops should be more than enough. If we're wrong, we'll pay a surcharge of 50 percent onsite!

Internet. Net access is so expensive that we're just not bothering. We aren't selling anything, and so don't need credit card handling, and our games can work locally, so we're just saving the money. Some folks try to share net access with neighbors.

Schwag and Merch. We decided not to sell anything this year. A lot of the more established indies sell a lot of T-shirts and whatnot, but from talking to people, it looks like it's a break-even proposition unless you have a seriously well-oiled operation, it's a large up-front cost, and it seemed like we needed to eliminate variables. Also, SpyParty does not yet have an established aesthetic, and so it seemed unwise to print up a bunch of T-shirts with temporary art on them.

Travel. We're very lucky, because we both have friends and family in Seattle, and we're both on the West Coast, and so Southwest Airlines makes it really cheap to get to and from Seattle. This is saving us a lot of money. We originally thought we were going to drive a rented minivan up from Oakland to Seattle, but at the last minute we reevaluated and it was cheaper (and more sanity-preserving) to fly, so we shipped some stuff to friends and we're hoping it's not damaged in transit.

This is only part of the logistics we have to deal with. There are just a lot of moving parts in getting a booth, and we're really glad we're sharing the load instead of having to do it alone.

Article Start Previous Page 3 of 4 Next

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