GDD 013 : PAX East And Kickstarter, Lessons Learned

By April 28, 2014 Podcast No Comments
Game Design Dojo Podcast Episode

Brian shares 15 tips from his experiences at PAX East 2104, the Indie Megabooth, and launching a Kickstarter campaign.

Source is live and doing great on Kickstarter! So far it’s 16% funded after about 6 days. The game received an awesome response at PAX and now just waiting and hoping to reach 100% funding by May 11th. Source Kickstarter 

PAX East 2014 – IndieMEGABOOTH

Brian gives an inside, behind the scenes, detailed recap of what it was like showing his game at PAX East this past weekend April 11-13.  He includes his struggles with starting a Kickstarter campaign at the same time, working through computer glitches, and updating the build while in Boston to make the demo of the game go much smoother. So sit back and get ready to hear about the drama of being in the IndieMEGABOOTH.

Getting Prepared

First step was to submit an application with a video, a write-up and screenshots to the IndieMEGABOOTH. Then around January we received the email that we were accepted! After that it, there was paperwork to fill out and hats off to the MEGABOOTH for making it really easy to fill out the scary paperwork that PAX was requiring.  Next came ordering the prints and the buttons. All this was a good month to month and a half of intense deadlines while also putting together a Kickstarter campaign at the same time.

The biggest reason why Brian and Anna decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign at the same time as PAX was to have a clear call to action with the audience. They didn’t want Source to become forgotten among the craziness of PAX. Of coarse, nothing can go as planned so the Kickstarter launch had some set backs.  Just when Brian though he could hit the green button to make the campaign live, he gets an email saying it will take another 3-5 days for verification. This is Thursday night, PAX starts in the morning! So, naturally he was really upset then wrote tech support a sob story email and by the end of PAX on Friday, the Kickstarter campaign was live. Can you sense the drama yet?

Expo Tips

Here are some useful tips Brian came up with to help your Expo experience go more smoothly. He elaborates on them in more detail, but here are the bullet points of each tip.

  1. Stick to one game  – we showed Source and Gates of Osiris, but really only focused on Source
  2. Bring your own hardware – this will prevent computer issues and crashes
  3. When you arrive at your booth, Don’t wait – seek people out or you might never get what your equipment or devices that you need for your booth
  4. Have a Call to Action
  5. When launching a Kickstarter campaign, go through all the verification one month before you want to launch – this will eliminate stress and worry if more verification is needed
  6. Have a quick pitch ready
  7. Wear neon orange shirts with your logo – this helps identifies who to talk to about the game
  8. Engage with people coming to the booth, interact with fans and treat them like gold
  9. The Build of the game should be tailored to put action up front – important to get people in the meat of the game quickly
  10. Make sure you have ability to make last second adjustments to the Build
  11. Have a bunch of hot key on the keyboard – reset, kill, etc.
  12. Have back-ups of your Build
  13. If you have a network game, be prepared to handle network problems unless you can get a direct connection
  14. Make the game the large banner going across your booth – it prevents confusion
  15. A side tip not mentioned on the podcast is to have hand sanitizer at the booth – people really appreciate this and it’s good for you to have too

The Cost

Brian gives a breakdown of the costs to consider:

  • The 10 x 10 space with the base package includes 1 TV, 1 Computer, a table with 2 chairs, base carpeting with no padding and a wastebasket – $1750
  • Prints – 2 7-foot tall banners – $125 each
  • Prints – 10 x 3 Logo Banner – $250
  • Buttons – 1,000 – $250
  • Travel – including hotel, airfare and a rental car – $2,000
  • Grand total – about $5,000 with food, etc.

The Experience of PAX East IndieMEGABOOTH

So the question is, Was it worth it? Well, Brian definitely wants to do it again! There were many benefits of showing at PAX like making connections with fans and play testing, getting new contacts with press and just being out there for people to see.

We do have to give a shout out to Danielle that came up to Brian on Sunday and completely made his day! Thank you Danielle! It was great meeting and talking with so many interesting and nice people, just that alone was worth it.


Listen now to Game Design Dojo Episode #013



About Deanna McRae