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Lantana’s Top 10 Tips for Events

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This past weekend, we attended the MassDigi Game Challenge and had an excellent time! We’ve learned a lot about how to run a table at an event in the past, but the small environment really let us hone in on those lessons and gave us time to reflect on them. Here they are in clickbait-ready Top 10 form:

1. There is always money in the banana stand.

The first day we made enough to pay for parking. The second day, we made nearly the same amount. This was just from codes and leftover posters! People love buying stuff, and if you have goods that are worth selling, they are also worth buying.

2. Advertise everything an attendee can do at your table.

Your primary Call to Action is the most important part of your booth. Play the game? Watch the trailers? Meet the team? Buy stuff? Find some way to get the message out about your call to action. You should have two goals:

  • Your Primary Call to Action is the one thing you want every attendee who visits your booth to do.
  • Your Secondary Call to Action is the thing you want attendees who like your game to do.

Attendees who like your game are likely to want to play it again and/or find out about its updates. Welcome them into your community! Tell them about codes, swag, your forums, newsletter, survey, Kickstarter, and anything else you do. Someone who likes your game is likely to want to support you as a developer, either through spreading the word or monetarily.

3. Make your code cards look significant.

Attendees thought our code cards were free. This may be because they are standard business card size and weight. They look too small to be worth money, and the paper they are printed on is light. The intrinsic value of a tangible good is based on what a person can see and feel, not based on anything in the digital realm it may link to. If you’re going to be selling game codes, either put them on more significantly sized and weighted paper, or protect them in some way. We’ll be putting our current game codes in a protective, though clear, case (my old iPod Shuffle packaging, believe it or not), so they give off a more important vibe, and they can’t just be picked up off the table like a business card.

“10005 zip code” by Brianga – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:10005_zip_code.jpg

 

4. Swag is super duper important, but have it a month in advance or don’t count on having it at all.

UPS was supposed to get us new posters two days before the show. Due to it blizzarding like crazy in the Boston area, they did not arrive until the day after the show. It took 10 days for 5 day shipping. This is a reminder that if you are going to need swag for an event, have it ready to go long before the event itself.

5. Have a variety of swag, free and paid, and have one piece of swag that people won’t be able to get anywhere else.

Paid swag is great to put a bit more cash into your account, but sometimes people don’t want to pay for swag. In this instance, they should still be willing to take a pin and clip it to their shirt or bag, to help advertise your game to the world. Be ready to also make a kind of swag that no other booth could have. For instance, Riot Games brings League of Legends Teemo hats to PAX, and these are in high demand because they are so unique.

6. Come up with special deals that can only be used at your booth.

The Game Challenge was the first time we implemented a 20% Newsletter Subscriber discount. This discount was a huge incentive for attendees to spend money AND sign up for news about the game! That is absolutely staying. We also included the ability to get swag at half price when you purchase a code. This also worked great! So while attendees of course can get your game on Steam, the App Store, or wherever you’ve uploaded it, getting it with extra stuff they can’t get online, at discount, is huge.

7. Popup banner, popup banner, popup banner.

Popup banners are kind of expensive since they need to be on a banner stand or tripod. There’s not always room to hang up a horizontal banner, for whatever reason. In our case, it’s because Microsoft doesn’t like you taping things to their walls. So sadly we had no way to include some Z-Axis advertisement for our booth. In a small space like the Game Challenge, this isn’t a huge issue, but at a major event like PAX or BostonFIG, it could spell doom. Keep a vertical banner handy to take advantage of your floor space.

8. Vertical orientation is key! 

Like I mentioned before, Z-Axis action is important. If you can’t get a vertical banner, get some stands for flyers or posters to stand up on your table. This is also a good way to post up a “menu” of sorts, to spell out your Primary Call to Action and show the prices of things you have for sale. Don’t make anyone look down at your table to get a sense of what’s going on. Everyone’s eyes are UP at an event, and their eyes should catch what you have going on.

“North by Northwest movie trailer screenshot (33)”. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:North_by_Northwest_movie_trailer_screenshot_(33).jpg

 

9. Make sure all your trailers are at the same or similar volume level.

This was one that slipped our minds the first day of the Game Challenge. We had two news videos on display, and hadn’t checked the volume of them compared to our previous two videos. So we had to either raise and lower the volume all day, or mute the TV. By day two we had leveled out the volume of all videos with quick rerenders (and lucky for us that each video is around 1 minute long or we may not have had time for this). If you have multiple TV’s running, make sure that they are also at the same volume level (particularly say if one is running trailers and one is running the game, you don’t want either to get drowned out).

10. Always be ready to describe your game, your Primary Call To Action, and your latest news in one sentence each.

People’s time is precious is to them, but they as a customer are precious to you. Find that middle ground and be worth their time! First, give them the game pitch in one sentence. Then tell them why you’re at this particular event, also in one sentence. Pause for any questions, and answer them. Ask them if they would be interested in taking part in your primary CTA. If they say yes, you can easily follow up with the secondary CTA. If they say no, thank them for their time, point them toward the swag, and tell them to send their friends over.

Bonus Tip: Buy the most fun office supplies you can find!

There are always unexpected office supplies you never knew existed that can make great additions to any table space! For the Game Challenge, we found Dry Erase Tape. This was great for putting a strip at the top of our TV and writing out swag prices. It can also be used in a pinch for any impromptu sign, label, or really anything you need to write. We’ve put a strip on our new code card container to write the price on there AND be able to change it for sales or different games. This is just the smallest tip of the iceberg though! Get creative and drop a couple extra bucks to make your space your own.

2015-02-19T21:05:04+00:00 February 13th, 2015|

Early Access Updates Trailer

Greetings, Patriots! We have finished up our brand new, Early Access Updates trailer. This trailer covers just a few highlights from our Early Access period so far. Check it out here!

As always, thank you for your feedback, comments, and critiques! Big things are on the way.

– Dan

Via:: Children of Liberty News

2015-02-19T21:06:07+00:00 February 12th, 2015|

Community Update: Lantana Games headed to MassDigi Game Challenge This Weekend!

Greetings, Patriots! We have a new video for you to check out this week, filled with incoming art from the talented students at the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute! Check out our first Artbook video right here. Many thanks to the hard work of Chenylle, Yuka, and Karen throughout the fall semester, and to the Videri String Quartet for their performance of Children of Liberty’s music for the video!

http://youtu.be/OzsTCgL5eL4

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MassDigi Game Challenge

This week, the team is heading out to Cambridge for Mass DiGi’s[www.massdigi.org] Game Challenge of 2015! Contestants have registered and the developers are coming – let the games begin! Lantana Games has been selected to attend as part of the event’s featured companies.[www.massdigi.org] We will be exhibiting trailers of our game and selling awesome merch at our table! We’ve got posters for sale (see above) as well as IndieGameStand keys for access to the full game on Steam, Desura, and as standalone builds. Luckily for you subscribers, anyone who is signed up to our mailing list[eepurl.com] will receive a 20% discount on their purchase at the booth! Just give us your e-mail address and you’re good to go! That being said, for those you may know who want to get a sweet deal, anyone who signs up for the newsletter at our booth with also receive the discount. We can’t wait to see the amazing games this weekend, and we hope to see you there as well!

Via:: Children of Liberty News

2015-02-19T21:06:33+00:00 February 5th, 2015|

Children of Liberty at MassDigi Game Challenge

Poster_Small_2015_flattened

This week, the team is heading out to Cambridge for Mass DiGi’s Game Challenge of 2015! Contestants have registered and the developers are coming – let the games begin! Lantana Games has been selected to attend as part of the event’s featured companies. We will be exhibiting trailers of our game and selling awesome merch at our table! We’ve got posters for sale (see above) as well as IndieGameStand keys for access to the full game on Steam, Desura, and as standalone builds. Luckily for you subscribers, anyone who is signed up to our mailing list will receive a 20% discount on any one item at the booth! Just give us your e-mail address and you’re good to go! That being said, for those you may know who want to get a sweet deal, anyone who signs up for the newsletter at our booth with also receive the discount. We can’t wait to see the amazing games this weekend, and we hope to see you there as well!

2015-02-19T21:07:00+00:00 February 5th, 2015|

America’s Foods: Mulligan Stew

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This week’s warm winter soup is Mulligan Stew, a classic recipe from early America brought across the sea from Ireland that combines vegetables, potatoes, and meat (sorry to you vegetarians out there!) in boiling water. Known as a peasant’s food, there is no traditional way of making the stew, because it can be created with many different ingredient combinations. A hearty recipe we’ve found could include:

  • 1/2 cup onions
  • 1/2 cup carrots
  • 1/2 cup celery
  • 1/2 cup turnips
  • 4 potatoes
  • 2 pounds of meat, including pork, venison, or chicken (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pint of water or chicken stock
Cook the meat for one hour ahead of time, adding salt and pepper occasionally to spice things up. Add all of the other ingredients and let that cook in the water for another hour. Feel free to add any other vegetables you want to the soup – you never know what you’ll like until you try! We’ve even heard of such ingredients in Mulligan Stew like tomato soup, mushrooms, garlic, parsley, beans, and rice!
With Winter Storm Juno having just passed, the people of New England are settling in and getting ready for some time inside, away from the cold. If you have any heartwarming recipes you’d like to suggest for the winter months, send a message over to cburki@lantanagames.com and get your recipe featured in our newsletter!

Stay warm, patriots!

2015-02-19T21:03:59+00:00 January 29th, 2015|

Development Update: Programming and Gameplay

Here’s a quick update on programming and gameplay. Brian has just finished the core of the final version of Children of Liberty’s movement and camera code. The core of the code is all math: we get to define paths in 3D space which define movement and boundaries for entities in our scenes. Before, the only movement tracks we could easily implement were linear. Now, Brian has made new functions available for more complex path types, like Catmull-Rom and Bezier curves, and made them all easy for us to work with.

In particular, these curves will help solve a lot of problems we had with our old camera. In-game, Brian will use them to make particular transitions smoother than they currently are, like turning around a corner. The test case for these curves was to write the code for a video fly-through system that would accept keyframe locations and generate a smoothly curved path for the camera to take. As a result, it’s now very easy for us to make videos of our new scenes from within Unity.

The rest of the new code lets us be much less reliant on Unity physics to determine certain interactions. The result is a game that is much less vulnerable to unexpected physics behavior. There will still be bugs for now, but there will be fewer of them, and they will be easier to solve. Overall, it’s a major improvement in the stability of our gameplay.

The core of the new movement and camera code is finished, but there are many more features that could be added for our building convenience. Those will be added when there’s time. Meanwhile, Brian will be quickly converting our existing scripts to use the new movement system and testing, as well as managing the rest of the project. Once everything is stable, we’ll be able to start making videos of our scenes, putting together gameplay test chambers, and hooking up our scenes for playable preview! We can’t wait to show you what we’ve been working on!

Via:: Children of Liberty News

2015-02-19T21:07:37+00:00 January 29th, 2015|

EX11.1 Quickfix – Missing Textures Restored!

Children of Liberty has been updated to version EX11.1. In this update are fixes to the missing or broken sprites in the Warehouse. We don’t know why these textures keep breaking, but the new versions that will appear in the new Warehouse don’t have this problem.

Thanks for your bug reports, Patriots; keep them coming!

Fixed
  • Missing textures in Warehouse

Via:: Children of Liberty News

2015-02-19T21:08:00+00:00 January 22nd, 2015|

MassDigi Semester 2 Begins!

Greetings, Patriots! Just a quick update this week to let you know that with school back in session we are putting things back in gear! We have a new MassDigi student joining the team, Max, who will be helping us with sound! Karen is also returning, and among her usual art duties, she will be taking on a new Student Producer role, and she’ll be in charge of the student crew.

Speaking of MassDigi, we’ll be at the upcoming MassDigi Game Challenge on February 6 and 7 at the Microsoft NERD Center in Cambridge. We’ll be showing off new videos we’re working on, including an EX12 trailer, flythroughs of our work-in-progress levels, and we’ll have codes and posters available. If you’re planning on coming to the Game Challenge, stop on by and say hi!

Back soon with more news, Patriots!

Via:: Children of Liberty News

2015-02-19T21:08:48+00:00 January 22nd, 2015|

America’s Foods: Hot Chocolate

It’s cold out there, Patriots! With winter in full swing, we thought it might be nice for us to suggest some of our favorite recipes from America’s history. What better way to start and stay warm than with Hot Chocolate! This recipe is based on Maria Rundell’s 1814 cookbook A New System of Domestic Cookery. To see this recipe in action, check out this video from Jas. Townsend and Son, Inc.

  1. Bring a pint of water to a boil. In a separate pot, bring a pint of milk to a boil. Let the milk simmer once boiled.
  2. Slowly add 6-7oz of powdered chocolate to the boiling water, while stirring.
  3. Bring the chocolate mixture back up to a boil while continuing to stir. It should get syrupy!
  4. Pour ~3 tablespoons of chocolate syrup to the simmering milk.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar to the hot chocolate, and stir.

But wait! Before you go chugging that sugary deliciousness, what about something on top? Well, we’re gonna break from the historical accuracy for a bit, and recommend these fine cocoa toppers:

  • Marshmallows
  • Whipped Cream
  • Cinnamon Stick
  • Nutmeg
  • Peppermint Stick
  • Shaved Chocolate
  • Cookies!

Stay warm! More recipes are on the way.

2015-02-19T21:09:05+00:00 January 22nd, 2015|

MassDigi Game Challenge

massDigiGameChallenge

The MassDiGI Game Challenge is a one-of-a-kind pitch competition and event that helps aspiring game developers launch new games. The 2015 Game Challenge will be held on February 6 & 7 at the Microsoft NERD Center in Cambridge, Mass. featuring industry mentors, panel discussions, keynote talks and great prizes – you won’t want to miss this!  There are only a few slots available enter here http://www.massdigi.org/gamechallenge/

 

2015-02-19T21:09:26+00:00 January 8th, 2015|