We just got back from MAGFest and let me tell you it was one hell of an experience. For those that don’t know MAGFest is a convention in Maryland that runs 72 hours straight. They have music, board games, a whole hall dedicated to arcade machines, a whole hall dedicated to consoles, a vendor hall, and lastly a whole hall dedicated to indie developers showing off their game.
We spent 10-12 hours a day talking, showing, and walking through the game with hundreds if not thousands of people over the weekend. All of us there perfected our pitch and really enjoyed meeting everyone. It was tiring but well worth it.
We decided to showcase the game for the full 72 hours of the con. Meaning that even if we weren’t physically there, the game would continue to run. We had 4 setups that con goers could play at, we had a TV showing slides and gameplay all day, we ran a leaderboard challenge and also gave away some awesome swag. Check out what we did below and at the very end check out our infographic that I made showing off some of the stats we gathered while at the con.
Before the con I had created a demo build of The Last Hex. A demo build that locked users out of exiting the game and getting at the settings menu. This ensured that no one could accidentally exit out of the game and get access to the desktop. I had also created a script that automatically launched the game if it every closed. Thankfully the game never did close but better safe than sorry.
As for the actual setup we tend to bring a ton of stuff. Some of the basics include:
We did have some special things that we brought to run the entire con. I built a home made box that could hold our electronics over night and that locked. It is a box that had slots to hold laptops, and 5 fans to circulate air flow. It was made out of wood and pegboard. It was stupid heavy, stupid overkill and well worth it. See the picture below. I don’t have a plan for this, just kind of built it. It holds all of our electronic equipment when we travel now. Aside from the box we needed a couple of other things to make sure that nothing walked off. We picked up monitor locks, a bike lock and some normal locks to secure our monitors, box and TV stand to the tables.
We brought our usual marketing material. 2 vertical banners and our mailing list sign ups. But we decided to step up our game this year. We brought some home made pins. They were made with shrink film and then used an epoxy to give a nice shine and bubble effect. Check out the basics to create them here. These were given out to people who made it to the final boss, and then we had a separate pin for those who defeated the final boss.
The other promotional item we brought where name ribbons. These were a huge hit with people. We gave ribbons out to everyone that played, in the base class that they played. It was awesome seeing so many people wearing them around the con, and we even had some tribal mentality around the classes which was pretty awesome.
The other thing we did was to bring a TV. We had some basic slides talking about the game, our social media, things that we were doing during the con, our trailer and gameplay footage. We noticed that many people were stopping to watch the TV and we were able to have time to walk over and chat with them. I definitely think the TV was beyond helpful as people did not need to hover over users and were able to see it from a further distance.
We decided to try a leaderboard challenge while at MAGFest based around speed running. We managed to get some fierce competition through out the con, and we even had a specific meta pop up that everyone was trying. We ran the challenge during the core hours that we were there, we had to be present to record name and time. Through out the con we updated the leaderboard and displayed it on the TV so people could always check it. On Saturday we decided to dedicate one of our setups purely for the challenge and it went over fairly well. People attempting to speed run it were civil and governed themselves for the most part which was greatly appreciated. We also decided to show only the leaderboard challenge image for most of the day on the TV, to build hype. We decided that the top 5 would get the game, the top 5 would also get some amount of MAGbucks that MAGFest provided us with (money for the merch area) and the top person would win the MAGFest exclusive winner pin. So congratulations Red Mage Frank with a time of 25:24!
MAGFest has been by far the best convention that we have shown at. A huge amount of people attended, we had quite a number of people stop by, talk and play. We got some really amazing feedback and it has really lifted our spirits. I feel like we could of done with another setup or 2 but we live and learn. We met some great people in the industry and saw some amazing games. So thank you MAGFest and MAGFest attendees for making this our most successful con to date.
If anyone has any questions about our setup or want to know any other info please feel free to email me – firstname.lastname@example.org