Last weekend we headed up to Columbus, Ohio for the inaugural Ohio Game Developer Expo. We did not have much info on the event, we were not sure if it was the first year or not, and we had no idea how many people would be attending. So we just winged it. Here is our takeaway from the event.
What went right
We held a tournament! People came to the tournament! Awesome! Holding a tournament for Astronaut Kitty Boom Boom was our best decision during the expo. The tournament brought people back to the booth , created a crowd and a lot of laughter/cheers around our booth, and gave us some great photos. We got more time to meet some people and talk about the game in a fun and exiting setting. The tournament was a blast and we hope it left a memory in the attendees mind with Astronaut Kitty somewhere in there. Plus, for us to see people having so much fun playing a game we developed was one of the most rewarding points in the day. Thanks to whoever suggested the idea of a tournament to us!
We have a game that shows really well in an expo setting. Astronaut Kitty is a fast paced multiplayer game with rounds that end in around a minute; which seems to keep people engaged and allows everyone to get a chance to play. Obviously we should not build a game specifically to show well at expos, but it is important to bring this up as understanding the setting and how it impacts the play experience is important.
We had our friends come up and help us out. This one is a bit tricky because we can’t really say we did this one right as we did not ask our friends from RunJumpDev to help out at the booth. It is just the wonderful culture of RunJumpDev, and it made our day easier and the conversations with the expo goers far more fluid.
What Went Wrong
We failed to have a solid system for collecting emails. We have set up a laptop before, why did we not set a laptop up this time? We know it is important, why did we not design a sign? I don’t have any answers other than we were distracted all week leading up to the event with other projects and deadlines for clients. But when you set up your table and the people start coming, it doesn’t matter how much there was to do in the week leading up, all that matters is that we were not collecting emails. We rectified this by laying out a sheet of paper for people to write down their email, however with several hours behind us before we placed a sign up sheet on the table and nothing but a inconspicuous sheet of paper I can only wonder how many emails we missed.
We could have had more eye candy at our booth. Aside from our large TV for playing Astronaut Kitty, we did not have any signs or posters for our booth. We need a banner for Super Soul to hang at all of these events, getting out logo and name out there. We could also create some more elaborate or creative ways of getting peoples attention. Since the expo was on a smaller scale than other expos we have attended, a lack of more eye candy did not seem to affect much for us. We need to have some more going on though, since we want people to remember Super Soul as a company as well as the games we are showing.
We had no info about Astronaut Kitty. This one is a bit tricky. We developed Astronaut Kitty for the Lexitron, with no intention of developing further for other devices. Thing is, [people seem to really enjoy the game and we really like developing the game. So we are going to develop Astronaut Kitty to a full release for certain devices(we will announce this in the future). Right now we are not sure exactly which direction we are going to go, so when people asked us at the event where they could get Astronaut Kitty or when it is coming out, we had no answer for them other than to sign up on our email sheet. This is not that big of an issue, especially if we had our email sign up set up from the get go. Just something we need to always consider moving forward.
The gist of it
We did pretty well for matching the atmosphere and crowd size of the expo. We certainly need to do a better job of collecting emails and getting people to come back to our site, or our games, after leaving. We did great at demoing Astronaut Kitty and getting people engaged. We met some great people, some talented people. Overall we had a blast and it was a success, but we still have a lot to learn in terms of execution to make the most out of these events.