This Thursday we've had the first 'official' gamedev meetup in v01d, after the 'zeroth' experiment last autumn.
My expectations of too few or too many people ended up being unsubstantiated; we had a slightly larger attendance than last time, but we were 'just full', without being cramped. Mandatory registration of attendees would add some certainty here, but i'm reluctant to introduce it, as walking in is the most 'user friendly' way to attend. We still have a problem there as our substitute for a doorbell is 'knocking at the window with a Snowden poster'.
We've started on time (not without technical problems, but those were solved ahead) with Peter Adamondy's talk, which introduced Triple Hill's recently released game Clumzee, and morphed through Triple Hill's game design philosophy to a preview of concepts behind their current, as of yet unannounced project.
While the talk was a success, by the time it was over, we ran through most of time expected for the entire meetup. I had to cut off discussion to give space to the next guest/contributor, Martin Baco. Communication with contributors is an area I need to work on overall; I only mentioned time allocation once in months-long conversations with contributors and I didn't sufficiently communicate some details, e.g. Martin had expected at first to show a completely different project on the assumption that the meetup was not open to public.
Martin's 'talk' was no talk; it was a live human experiment where I took the role of the guinea pig. Fishcow has apparently spent a chunk of their time trying to create the 'Next Weird Thing' in the footsteps of such hits as Goat Simulator. It is perhaps unfortunate that the concept I played as a part of the experiment did not come to fruition; it was one of those extremely frustrating games that do not let go, and it's 'physics so bad it was good' might make for some interesting YouTube memes if noticed.
Overall, compared to the zeroth experimental meetup the first was a major success, even though it was still far from perfect and there is still a lot of space for improvement.
Takeaways for the next meetup
- Explicitly work out the amount of time allocated for every talk/demo/etc. with guests/contributors.
- Make sure all contributors are aware in detail of the format, e.g. the fact that it's a public meetup.
- Non-mandatory registration of interest (e.g. on v01d's website) could still be helpful, at least to get a lower bound on the number of attendees.
- Don't bother that much with making the space look clean beforehand... it won't look much better either way and there'll be a lot to clean after, especially now in winter.
For future, especially assuming we get more people, we're going to need more space than possible in v01d. Even with some creative arrangement (e.g. tabourettes in front of higher chairs) we can probably only accomodate <25 people.
I'm hoping to move the meetup to UPJS, where we should be able to get enough space for around 50 people worst-case. This will likely require some compromises, e.g. earlier starting time as we'd be required to be done by 19:00.
My current plan for the near-future meetups is as follows:
- 19. March: ~ v01d
- May: ~ UPJS
- July: ~ v01d (summer holidays)
- September: ~ UPJS (if possible; may be early)
Note: the dates at UPJS are only my plan; they're not secured yet and may move to v01d. Everything may still change.