Otronicon 2017. Many months of preparation have led up to this convention. There was anticipation, a bit of anxiety, and a hope that it would be as successful as Orlando iX.
So what happened? How did it go? Did Doombrowski achieve all of the goals that he shot to achieve?
Here's the breakdown of the weekend of Otronicon. January 14th and 15th.
We (being myself, Sandra, and Kale) arrived at the Orlando Science center at our assigned load in time and the assigned load in location; 8:45 at loading dock 1. The loading docks were closed. We looped around the building a few times to see if we may have been mistaken. No. That was definitely the spot. I went into the nearest open door to speak with somebody involved with the convention. They sent somebody over to open the loading dock and gave me all of the passes for my team. I was surprised that the passes were given to me so easily since their registration process said that we would each have to show our confirmation emails on arrival. It was a pleasant surprise to have that expedited.
I helped unload the equipment then left to find the parking area, which was 1 mile away from the convention center. That was a bit strange, but ended up being no issue. It was easy to find and there was a shuttle running from the lot to the convention center.
I returned to the center and was able to see the indie expo space for the first time. My first impression was, "This is much smaller than I expected." The indie game space was roughly half the size of Orlando iX. What I was told previously was that Otronicon has many times the traffic of Orlando iX which is why I thought the space to be larger. When it all boiled down to it, I was not upset in the least. The setup was pretty good and accommodated my needs better than I had hoped.
Our booth was not set up the same as Orlando iX. Instead of having a table with chairs behind it, the chairs were in the front and the back of the table was on the wall side. The wall side space was enough to fit the banner stand, which I was worried would take up a lot of space. The booth also has a 50 inch TV already on it! whaaaat?! That wasn't supposed to be there but was amazing to have. I ended up using the 32" screen that I brought to set up the latest game I've worked on, Response. I'm very glad I was able to do so since the game and concept was received quite well.
The day begins slowly. I recognize other people from Indienomicon and Orlando iX and say my hellos. After a few hours the crowds start rolling in. That pretty much didn't stop. It was pretty awesome.
As I was told by a friend from Indienomicon, there were lots of small children. Having Mall Santa in Suburban Scavengers was definitely a plus. Santa is recognizable to all ages.
I played a few games with people that stopped by the booth alone, but generally sat back and helped people learn the controls as they played against their friends or other convention patrons.
Many of the kids played Response as well. Since the game is easy to pick up and play and had multiple endings, many of them would play multiple times. To my surprise, they enjoyed the game even in the crazy early state that it was in, being a 2 day game jam game. They enjoyed it without being able to fully experience the adaptive soundtrack as well.
Oh yeah, about the sound in Response. I was having to explain that the music changed based on your decisions to the people that were playing. Sandra was talking to other exhibitors and ended up find a pair of over ear headphones that we were able to use for the entire day. Thanks a bunch to Brian Luft for letting us use his gear. It let more people experience the game as intended. Next time, I'll bring headphones. The only reason that I didn't, is that Orlando iX showed me that people didn't want to wear headphones. I didn't consider the nature of the games. Response is much different than Suburban Scavengers and people were usually sitting by themselves and focused. It's not a game where you get excited with your friends. It's a more relaxing game played with a keyboard. Next time, I'll have headphones with me.
There was an amazing response (no pun intended) on the first day and I could see that my goals were met already. It was a success.
Day 2 was a shorter day, but no less amazing.
It was basically the same as day 1 with the explaining of controls and mechanics, pointing people to the newsletter sign up, and watching people crack up and feel the intensity of Suburban Scavengers and the depth of Response.
My favorite moment was from day 2. This one was out of left field.
Early in the day, a very enthusiastic teenager stopped by and played Suburban Scavengers. He gave the game tons of praise and was very excited to sign up for the mailing list to receive a copy of the game. Little did I know that he would later come back with 5 friends in tow.
They crowded around the booth, all took turns playing, then made tournament brackets and started to play the first Suburban Scavengers tournament. XD It was so awesome!
There was also a father with 2 sons, 6 and 9 years old, that returned from day 1 to play many games of Suburban Scavengers and Response. The kids were very smart and well behaved. It was surprising how good they were at both of the games. They could have easily beaten most of the people the stopped by the booth.
Weekend Wrap Up
Everything went amazingly well. People were overall very respectful and enjoyed both games that I brought. My team was very helpful which I very much appreciated. Saturday was a long day, but we pulled through and had a great weekend.
I'll definitely be attending future cons, hopefully having some games available for sale.
The dream is to do game development full time. To make enough from making games to support myself. By the way people have responded to my games, I feel like that's a very real possibility. It's just a very long and rough road to walk.
I supposed this would be a good time for some shameless self-promotion. I have a Patreon up and running for people who wish to help support Doombrowski. It's an easy way to help out and receive special perks for doing so. Patrons all receive early access to podcast episodes as well as shoutouts, and free copies of my games. You can click the link below to learn more about Patreon and become a Patron of Doombrowski.
Thanks for reading. This next week will have some sweet new updates. Keep your eyes open.
Until next time.