PAX East Postmortem

Written on March 12, 2015

I am writing about my experiences at PAX East 2015, while working as a volunteer at a MassDigi booth showcasing my fellow classmate’s Wooplex game.

MassDigi Wooplex booth.

The most I learned from PAX East (Not strictly in any order): ##### Volunteering and pursuing an opportunity to be able to come to PAX East is really rewarding. I started off with asking for volunteer work at PAX East booth. Then, I bought myself one Friday 1-day ticket badge, went to the booth and did some volunteering, as well as attend some important panel talks. At very end of the day, before I sleep, I was notified that I have a second opportunity to volunteer at PAX again. Took it, upgraded to 3-day ticket badge. At end of second day, I let them know I will be kicked out if I am not an exhibitor. Got upgraded to Exhibitor afterwards. Finally, ended the third day as Exhibitor. PAX East 2015 ##### Interesting games at bay! I saw a bunch of interesting games being showcased in many different booths, with each game using different variants of similar game mechanics or genres. Each of the game mechanics implemented in their games add small twists (subtle but consistent changes to the game mechanics themselves) to the themes, making them very unique and appealing. (Examples include: Chariot, Bastion, Brawlhalla, TinyBuild's time paradoxical gameplay, etc.) However, some may not be as appealing as expected. I wasn't really interested or attracted to some of the games, mostly competitive games. Just look at how many showcasing games there are. ##### Retro games galore! There were some areas in the Boston Exhibition and Convention Center where they allow visitors to play retro games on past-generation consoles, such as Sega Genesis, and Apple Macintosh. Me and my classmates were able to play Prince of Persia on an old computer, as well as play with a shooting game published by Sega for arcade shooting. Unused Sega Genesis. Yes, it's Prince of Persia. Punch-out! ##### Panels The one thing I feel it is useful is to always record sessions of the panel talks of important value. Rarely do small panel talks are publicly released for public viewing on Youtube, so having the talk be recorded for personal use is very noteworthy. But, maybe the recordings are not allowed at all, so I don't know. Good thing I moved very close to them. ##### Trouble. Do not run at PAX East. Ever. Never again, forever. It is something I got into trouble for, so that is terrifying. ##### Castle Story I met with Sauropod Studio, who worked on Castle Story. Had an interview about what the game development is going on right now. Also, tried my best to dispel rumors and provide a leeway to communicate with their community, such as letting the community know about the future development roadmap, overhaul planning stages of development, and future video announcements. Posted my findings ont subreddit, and Jeb's Law applies there. I received a free Castle Story game for helping the studio to communicate better with the community. So, thank you, Sauropod Studio! Their booth near us. ##### Autograph! I was very lucky to be able to meet with Casey Muratori of Handmade Hero. Good thing I requested for an autograph, obtained one, and made a few more connections with other game developers. One notable developer had worked on the original DotA map for Warcraft III, lead by Icefrog. He gave insights in behind the scenes of the DotA development, as well as some harsh realities he had to face back then. It was an interesting story for me, if only I knew more about the DotA scene. I shall continue to work more in this area. I took some photos of myself with cosplayers. Would recommend taking more pictures and do poses next time. Also regret that I didn't post the pictures online for karma! Should've really posted this. Isn't she pretty? ##### Requests I requested to Dinosaur Polo Club for a mod position to mod the official forums. Have sent an email, and is now waiting for a reply. Probably might take a while, since the developers need to travel back to New Zealand... ##### Most important of all: Lessons I tried asking to speak with a Blizzard dev on RTS game design. Was declined due to press media swarming the dev team, booking up the schedule. Would not recommend to speak to popular devs again. You probably won't be able to get a chance to talk with them, let alone have a decent conversation that was not about Overwatch. Then again, I am probably a jerk for trying to discuss about different subjects the team does not want to talk about. I spoke with an indie game dev who worked on minimalist game, called Lonely Island. Learned some key advice on game designs based on minimalism, sticking to the simplistic theme of solid colors, understand flaws of using said theme (such as enemies and background color being inseparatable), and knowing how simple a game should go (KISS principle limitations, knowing how playtesters know of the object just by letting them name the object drawn/printed/created on a paper, and knowing what to add to the game elements before it becomes too complicated). I should make sure to keep note of it, by putting it online for everyone to view. Am I smart or dumb? I also spoke with a fellow college student of a different institute about sending out resumes and internships. Learned that I have to be "very proactive" in sending emails and responses. Do not be lazy, else it will be too late. For him, he has sent out 500 resumes, and only very few responded back. For me, I sent out a few resumes and applications, and got 1 response as well as a phone interview. Things may be turning out okay, but I'm a bit skeptical about it. I should keep up the hard work I have done. Standing and walking for 3 days straight while wearing boots irritates my feet. I would not recommend to wear boots again if knowing I need to stand/walk for long durations ahead of time. Would prefer using running shoes instead. I was so afraid of having calluses on my feet, for fear of having corns again (Back then, I had a corn on my right foot, causing immense pain. Cutting the corn is really knee-jerking painful.) I really, really need a business card. Everyone is doing it, and that is how they keep in touch with one another. Probably will need to spend $150, but I feel it is worth to buy some for myself. Or perhaps have just enough bundle that I can put in my thin wallet for now... --- That's it for my postmortem. I hoped to have more in the future, if I can really get motivated to do another one. See ya!