First, I want to thank Rooster Teeth, the Guardians, and Exhibitors for hosting a phenomenal event that was a total blast! Having said that, I figured it would be nice to provide some feedback from the fans' point of view to help them tweak and enhance next year's event.
This is a place to post ideas of how to improve less polished aspects of the event AND to share what worked well.
Please keep in mind that a lot of planning was done for this event and this is not a place to bash RT for things like "the Halo 4 line being longer than you wanted." Keep it clean.
I know I'm going to be the first of many to say this and I can't suggest anyway on how to fix it, but the lines. Me and my friend waited on average of 2 hours to get into the three panels we went to, and two others we didn't get into. Everything else was awesome, especially the food stands, those were a great call. Plus, the mixer with live music was one of the best parts of the con for me.
I knew we would be having a Grifball tournament and panel on Saturday and a Grifball free-play on Sunday, but I was still blown away by how much love and support there was for the sport at the event. All of us from GrifballHub were amazed at how awesome the eSports arena was and how huge the crowd was Saturday morning watching the live event. Every seat was filled, plus rows and rows of people standing! Add that to the hundreds of people watching the live-stream at home, and there might have been a thousand people watching our Grifball tournament!
Tex (the guy who joined Goose on stage to commentate the action) had a funny story from Sunday morning, before the Grifball freeplay: Jack was running an Achievement Horse competition in the eSports Arena, and over 100 people started lining up just off stage. He asked what they were waiting for, and they enthusiastically shouted "Grifball!" Turns out people were waiting to play Grifball on-stage for at least an hour before we were scheduled to begin!
The response to Grifball was overwhelming. I'm so thankful that RT could include us in the festivities and I hope Grifball and GrifballHub can have an even bigger presence next year when we're playing Halo 4!
In the case of the panels perhaps a registration and ticket system (maybe even online, like the ticket sales) would alleviate some of the frustrations that fans were faced with. It could determine quickly who was getting in and who was too late for the panel and free up time for everyone involved. I noticed that they started capping the lines on Sunday once they were full, which eliminated the guesswork before waiting in line.
The live steaming of the panels was brilliant and was a nice alternative to sitting in on the panels. The only way I could think to improve upon this is having and area where people who didn't get in could watch it live at the convention center, rather than going back to the hotel to watch it there.
Really the only way to alleviate the lines is more space. They talked about it when they recorded their live podcast but they were in the small section of the convention center. They need to go to the halls where SXSW has their events and Gus seems to already be on that.
Also I think they should extend the event a day and go from Friday to Sunday. They had a lot of good stuff at RTX, so much that it over lapped and I missed some panels that I would have liked to see because something else that was cool was happening. The Live Stream helped with this a lot. I'm now watching the panels I missed but to help while at the con, another day would be awesome and let fans get to see everything and meet all the RT guys and the other guests.
Besides that though the event was an absolute blast. For running his first big convention Gus, Barbara, and everyone else did amazing
I was not able to attend this years RTX but I do plan on going to next years. One problem I did see from watching the stream was that there were so many good panels there is no way I could have seen what I wanted to see and still have time to so play some of the games and walk the main floor. like team_killer, said I do think making the event a day longer is a good idea. That way the panels could be a bit more spead out and there would be more time to see/do stuff that we would not other wise be able to do because we were at the panel. But other than that the event looked great, sounds like everyone had a lot of fun, and I can not wait to attend next year
The multiple signing booths we an awesome idea and I was very impressed with how patient the staff was with questions and pictures. It was amazing to see how much enthusiasm and interest the staff had for the fans. Props. If I could make any improvements on this set up, I would cap lines for each signer. For instance I got in a "Gus line" and by the time I got to the front it had turned into a "Burnie line". This "problem" came no consequence to me personally, but I could see where someone would be terribly upset if they waited in a "Joel line" one to find that it had unfortunately transitioned into a "Jack/hobo line". Another option would to put together the majority fo the signers at a single booth for a couple of hours in a panel type layout that would also be capped. This would keep people from waiting in various lines all weekend trying to get something signed by the staff.
All in all, I understand that the staff has other obligations that are competing with their attention and that no matter where they spend their time, they will always be neglecting another area. Keep up the good fight!
Item #1 The Panel Discussion should come with a warning "EXPLICIT Language", I saw several parents leave with their children after the RT staff started to use "F***" in every sentence.
Item #2 More technical information on how RT creates online content.
Item #3 Thank the help more. Sunday afternoon I told one of the guardians "Thank You for helping with the event" and she told me that was the first time that weekend someone had thanked her. The RT staff should sign their badges first, high five them in the hall and thank them all weekend long.
Item #4 Why all the spotlights on the main stage? Sometimes it was hard to see the screen from the seating area with a light shining in my face, you guys are on stage playing on a computer, how many foot candles of light do you need?
I agree with you on the "EXPLICIT WARNING" idea. However, I was really surprised to see so many parents bring their YOUNG kids to this convention, considering the vulgarity that is in the bulk of Rooster Teeth's content. Perhaps a nice announcement on the page for ticket sales may help parents avoid this uncomfortable situation all together.
1) Don't bother with "Explicit". This is a convention of a web series with a copious amount of cursing done by a company whose name is a "clean" version of the word cockbite animated in an M-rated FPS game. Put the warning in the program and the ticket letter rather than plastering it in front of the panel in case someone assumes that some panels will not have explicit language. I'd much rather see "Parental Warning: Material at this convention may not be appropriate for all ages. Parents, please use discretion." on the ticket page, ticket letter, and program. Otherwise, we can't have moments like Drunk Joel #BeatTheKid
2) Sort out the panels better. I don't even mean bigger spaces or whatever, they know that's a problem. The problem I had was trying to go to Training Room panels to learn about how to make movies or make money being creative on the internet or basically learning new things from people who are professionals. Instead, the Comedy Writing panel was full of people asking stupid RvB questions to Burnie and the others and I'd bet less than half the Q&A was actually focused on writing. Want to know about RvB? Go to the Red vs Blue panels. Want to learn how to make your own Red vs Blue? THEN you can come to the training panels.
3) Three days.
4) More organization for fan-participant stuff. Have Grifball and HALO tournaments we can sign up for in advance with organization and maybe prizes. This also includes things like HALO 4. I never got to play HALO 4 because the lines were insanely long, yet there were others playing their turn then getting immediately back in line over and over again. This just made the wait longer for people like me. If they had tickets or punched holes in the badges like they did for goodie bags so people couldn't go through multiple times, it would've cut down on wait and let more of us give it a try.
5) Better lighting for the main stage in the exhibition hall. Sure, I was sitting in the Tabletop section watching people play the Penny Arcade card game while watching those events, but I still kept staring up into spotlights and getting blinded just to see what was happening.
6) Water inside the exhibition hall. Drinks were insanely expensive ($3.25 for a 16.9oz bottled soda) and walking outside to get water from one of the water coolers (assuming they were stocked) defeated the purpose of rehydrating after walking around everywhere. I know they're limited by what the convention center offers, but that's kind of crappy.
7) Some sort of website or app or something to track where con people are outside of the convention, similar to FourSquare or the Facebook check-in. That way I can know what restaurants or bars have a large number of fellow RTX attendees so we can hang out more easily.
8) Clearly marked entrances and exits to the exhibition hall. The convention center people were very clear they preferred we used the opened doors rather than opening a new door so people don't "sneak in", yet I spent EVERY TIME I tried to enter or exit the hall dancing with someone who was trying to do exactly the same thing.
I'm sure I'll come up with more, but I want to get back to ComfyCon (a bunch of webcomics artists doing Google Hangouts and live streams from home as an alternative to ComicCon including sales on merch in their stores).
EDIT: Knew I'd think of something and it's an important one...
9) LOWERED BOOTH PRICES! I know at least three people who would've loved to come to RTX (Texans, one blogger and two webcomic guys) if the booths weren't so expensive. Even if you stick them in a separate hall for Artist's Alley or whatever. Cheaper booths would mean more participants and more things to explore and maybe fewer people trying to get into panels because they're busy exploring the hall. Anyway, webcomics guys can't afford to drop a grand or more on a booth, but a hundred dollars for an 8x10 booth and a couple of folding tables (one for merch and one for drawing) would be cool.
10) Positive feedback! The Guardians were quick to put up those nice barricades to organize the lines. On Saturday before noon, I'd gotten into around half a dozen lines by accident just because I was walking around, the person in front of me stopped so I did, and it took me several minutes to realize I was in a line for something. That plus the black tape on the ground for walking aisles were great additions and great for organization.
They're probably going to be popping up on YouTube soon enough. For your particular problem, I'd suggest making sure to turn off any ad-block plug-in you use or at least make sure there's an exception for the video stream itself. Try Chrome/Firefox/Safari - whichever one you haven't tried that's causing the problems. Finally, check to make sure you have a good internet connection with one of the speed test websites, especially if you're on wifi. Constant signal drops or losses can kill any attempts to stream video.
I like your idea about the parental warning label. Regardless of how the message is delivered, making parents aware of what they are bringing their children to is really the goal in the end. 2. I don't know how they could really "sort" people into panels better. They can't stop people from asking dumb questions, I saw this first hand in a few of the panels . 4. Would have liked to have seen some clear and defined sign-ups for tournaments for sure, and I am sure we will next year. As far as Halo 4 was concerned, if someone wants to wait in a two hour line to play a game over and over again then more power to them. Perhaps that is the only reason they come to RTX. Every convention I have been to has had certain games that have absurd waiting lines. You simply have to decide if the wait is worth it for you personally. 8. Never once had this issue, but I could see where a quickly typed up sign would help avoid this next year.
4. Would have liked to have seen some clear and defined sign-ups for tournaments for sure, and I am sure we will next year. As far as Halo 4 was concerned, if someone wants to wait in a two hour line to play a game over and over again then more power to them. Perhaps that is the only reason they come to RTX. Every convention I have been to has had certain games that have absurd waiting lines. You simply have to decide if the wait is worth it for you personally. 8. Never once had this issue, but I could see where a quickly typed up sign would help avoid this next year.
This was my first "big con". I went to Dragon*Con as a kid, but I was too young to care about anything other than the FASA and White Wolf booths at that age. RTX last year was less a convention and more of a massive keg party. Every other con I've been to has been more of one of those "In the conference room of the Holiday Inn off the interstate" type things. So that may have changed my perception. However, I've been to plenty of events where many there were "only once per attendee" attractions. If the idea for 343 was to promote the game, getting as many people to play it as possible would be a good thing. Maybe two lines, one for first timers who haven't had their badge punched and a second "try it again" line for those who haven't. Or like the tours of the RT offices last year, do it by badge number.
And the door thing may have just been a problem that I noticed. I'm 6'3" tall, broad shouldered, and overweight. Basically, a big guy. I'm acutely aware of how much space I take up and I try my best to stay out of people's way. I'm also a smoker so I was going in and out of the convention center and exposition hall a lot. So maybe I noticed the entrance/exit thing more than others would have.
First off, I would just like to commend the RT staff for putting on one of the best weekends I have ever experienced. Every single person I met was extremely nice and courteous, and I can't imagine a better group of people to run a convention like this.
Like everyone else, the lines were the only downside. For the live podcast, we waited close to 3.5 hours (2 in the official line, 1.5 in a "pre-line"). IMHO, besides using bigger rooms, my solution would be to either a) cap the number of attendees at 4,000 or b) extend the convention to 3 days. The vast majority of attendees are there to meet their favorite people: the RT cast and crew. Allowing more time and opportunities to meet RT might keep people from attending panels just to see or meet someone and could keep the panel focused on topic.
One of the big complaints from people watching the stream online was the repetition of questions in different panels (such as asking the same RvB plot questions or why Geoff hasn't been on the podcast). It wasn't because attendees weren't paying attention; it was because more than likely they hadn't attended the other panels. It was wonderful that the panels were streamed, but to watch them at the convention you needed a laptop or a certain phone for that. Maybe there can be an app or some easier way to watch it (I guess that would be Twitch.tv's area). Another thing that could help with the line situation would be to have some screens or stereos to play what was happening inside. While we waited for the podcast, the Achievement Hunter panel was happening in the room right next to us and there was no way to know what was going on. It would have been cool to see or hear what was happening while we waited outside.
On a positive note, RT should DEFINITELY do more live podcasts. They were extremely fun to attend and I think even more entertaining (although they should limit or take out Q&A's). More live podcasts at conventions or even the Alamo Drafthouse would be a blast.
Oh, and definitely keep the tradition of filming with RTX attendees.
Overall, fantastic convention. 10/10 would attend again.
I know there should be more space next year, but I'm also expecting more people so I'm still afraid of the lines next year. There's nothing worse than waiting for hours in line and then getting capped out multiple times a day.
But other than that the only real complaint I had is that during the one panel I was able to get into I wasn't able to ask my question because there were some people ahead of me asking stupid questions and about half of the questions were from the live stream. Hated the live stream almost as much as the guy who asked why there were so many cops in Austin.
But at the end of the day I had most of the cast's signatures on my 360 and I got some great memories and pictures. Can't wait for RTX2013 and the short that we work up at 4:30 to be in!