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Trenloe
April 16th, 2018, 02:04
Well, the 12th FG Con is over...

We're always looking for constructive feedback on how the convention went for you and any ideas you might have for future conventions.

If you'd like to give feedback, please do so in this thread or PM damned or me if you'd like to keep it private.

Onward to the next FG Con (the 13th time we've ran this), in October 2018!

Note: FG Con is a free, non-profit convention ran by community members for the Fantasy Grounds community. It takes a large amount of our time and energy to organize this twice yearly convention. We welcome feedback, but please be aware that we are not looking to make wholesale changes to what we do now. We know our website and event booking system has some limitations (notably waitlists and communications) and that some communication can be improved upon (which we will try to improve). But we have got the system to a point that it works well (for the most part) for our requirements, and we know what we can and can't do with it.

So, let us know what you thought! Please be honest, please but don't be argumentative and don't be upset if we don't think everything said is a great idea that we need to rush and implement immediately!

For example: what did people think about Discord? Most of the FG Con admins hadn't used this before, so we know we can definitely improve upon how we use it and also provide further guidelines on it's use to GMs and players.

Trenloe
April 16th, 2018, 02:16
Discord

Once past the initial learning curve - the interface, how to do things, etc. - I think that it worked well. Having the persistent text chat for some sessions was good for advertising games with free slots and for detailing any changes or information needed for the events.

We just need to be a bit more organized - especially in terms of channel naming and how to use it.

Unfortunately, the channel list doesn't appear to be able to be resized horizontally (at least I haven't found how to do this), so long channel names simply can't be seen until you actually join the channel itself. This presents problems for people trying to find the channel to their game.

Discord really only have a 2 tier channel list architecture - you can put channels in a category, but that is it - you can't have sub-categories within a category. It would have been nice to have sub-categories to organize voice and text channels in a better for the convention.

Some GM's aren't clearing their voice channel out after their game. I see 22 voice channels that have been left in the Discord server long after the games have finished. This doesn't help players trying to find the right channel for their upcoming game.

Some games were ran on other servers. We ask all GMs to run their events on the same Discord server - the official Fantasy Grounds server. Some GMs and players have asked if they can run on their own voice servers (Discord or some other platform), and we politely ask them to only run on the convention assigned server. This makes it less confusing for players and GMs, allows moderation of problem users and dramatically reduces the admin overhead of the convention.

As an example of the confusion and time wasting that can occur - a player asked 15 minutes before their event was due to start if it was running. I checked around, couldn't see a Discord channel or anything else relating to their game. I searched around a bit more and eventually thought I found a Discord ID for the GM. I pinged them and then found out that they were all fine - but running on another Discord server. Great that they were all fine - but I had just wasted over 20 minutes searching to see if this game was happening. If the session had been on the FG Con server, it would have taken me 10 seconds to find it and know all was well.

Trenloe
April 16th, 2018, 02:16
Placeholder dos.

LordEntrails
April 16th, 2018, 02:24
First, and most importantly, thanks to FG Con admins for organizing this twice a year. I really appreciate it.

Discord vs Teamspeak -No strong feeling from my end (as a GM). I did wish that Discord voice channels allowed for text, but once in the game, FG provides text so very little lost value here. I did find that I think only one player had any issues with getting Discord working. I don't know what the exact details are. And though I think TS is a more capable platform, I usually have more players that have difficulty with TS than I did this time with Discord.

I really appreciated the email on Wednesday with the emails of all the players. That helped make sure I was up to date (at that point in time) with who I had been in contact with.

As you mentioned, there are some shortcomings with the booking system, but nothing that can't be accommodated for.

Finally, had I thought about it, or been prompted, I would have been glad to help contribute to some sorts of player and/or DM thank you gifts. I doubt such would really make a difference for most GMs or players to get them play/run versus not. But some sorts of thank you's might help sooth some of the aches :)

Thanks, appreciate what you and the FG Con team does.

Zacchaeus
April 16th, 2018, 02:54
Discord was a bit of a curates egg for me. I had several late cancellations but was able to fill empty slots quickly due to the number of potential players inhabiting the channels. However when players connected Discord just gave up and until the initial download of material was over I couldn’t communicate at least by voice. I never noticed this on TS. However this issue is really an issue with my crappy internet connection than anything else. There were no such issues in the game I played in as a player.

I don’t see any issues with the booking system at all; it works flawlessly for me.

I absolutely agree with Trenloe’s point about channels. The only ones that should have been visible were the ones in use at that time for games being played at that time. Many channels were set up too early and were not cleared after they were done with.

Trenloe
April 16th, 2018, 02:58
However when players connected Discord just gave up and until the initial download of material was over I couldn’t communicate at least by voice. I never noticed this on TS. However this issue is really an issue with my crappy internet connection than anything else.
Yeah, I think for those GMs with limited upload, the default channel bitrate of 64 kbps may be a bit high. I don't know what the voice quality changes to if you reduce the bitrate, and if this would even help in this situation. If you're saturating your upload link, it may not matter what bitrate Discord is using.

EDIT: Teamspeak uses on average 8 - 15 kbps bitrate. So this may explain why this issue hasn't been seen with Teamspeak. Discord can be set to this level - but I don't know the impact on voice quality. That is something we can look at. Why does Discord set it's default at 64 kbps? Maybe they want the majority of people to have great voice quality? Maybe it doesn't work too well at lower bitrates? I don't know the answer. Maybe something we can investigate before the next FG Con, assuming we stick with Discord (which we probably will).

LordEntrails
April 16th, 2018, 05:37
Oh, maybe a FG Con lobby would help. Rather than people just using the General chat, an FG Lobby or similar would give a dedicated place to hang out waiting for games or to be on hot standby.

JohnD
April 16th, 2018, 05:46
My history of involvement with FG Con is limited; it always seems to take place on a weekend when I have commitments that can't be moved around. Happily, this time I was finally able to wedge out some time and run a C&C game on Saturday night.

This was the first time I've used Discord for voice. I had a bit of trouble getting it to recognize my microphone; I had it working before game, but come game time, it wasn't being recognized again. This caused about 15 minutes of confusion that wouldn't have been the case had I been using TeamSpeak. That said, it is proper to have all Con events hosted in the same place and, when I had a last minute cancellation, I was able to fill the spot in under five minutes via Discord. I guess TeamSpeak would still be my first choice, but I don't shy away from using Discord in the future.

I had the pleasure of having six great players in my game; everyone was great, on time, played nicely in the sandbox, etc.... Rob2e even did a live stream!

I think there might be a place for some guidelines on how to construct a Con game. It is different from simply running a regular game. In hind sight, I would have done a story entry that got the group to the point where the "meat" of the adventure took place. This would cut down on some role play opportunities, but we would have spent more time beating stuff in combat.

The emails from the organizers were a welcomed touch. Those really helped me know when I should be communicating and cut down the learning curve to using the website as a GM.

One thing might be nice is if there were a coordinated effort to stream more Con games and get them out on social media. Then have them all available at the same landing page somewhere.

leozelig
April 16th, 2018, 12:47
Discord was great for me, but everything was already setup for me from previous games. I recall the initial mic setup being a little tricky, but overall I prefer Discord over TS.

Talyn
April 16th, 2018, 17:44
First and foremost, thank you so very much @damned and @Trenloe for the massive amount of work you both do for this convention twice a year! I always have a fantastic time and appreciate every moment of your generosity. Secondly, thank you to every GM who stepped up to run events. None of this would be a thing if it weren't for all of you!

Feedback: I already ran these by @damned yesterday in private but I'll repeat it here:


Advertising. You two have the actual numbers to dispute this, but this one "felt" smaller because I really didn't see any advertising anywhere until just a couple days prior to the con. The internet is a big place, so it's definitely possible that advertising was happening and it just never crossed my path. But the fan-cons over on Roll20 get pushed hard and now that FG is starting to grow a lot more noticeably, it is my belief that the promotion for this event should be prioritized from all parties concerned. That means I have to do my part too as a fan.
Streaming. Turns out there were two livestreams of the final game I played in, but only one streamer bothered to ask our consent to be streamed. Streaming might be new-ish to Fantasy Grounds but it's been A Thing™ for a number of years now, and most of the frequent and/or popular streamers out there know better than to just stream other people without asking first. This definitely needs to be a thing we require of any streamers -- respect others' right to privacy and if they decline, either don't stream the game, find a way to mute their voice(s) from the stream, or some other solution. This wasn't an issue in my game -- everyone gave consent to the one streamer who asked -- but I myself don't always give consent to be streamed.


Additional fg-con.com features I thought of that would be nice:


Ability to sort and/or only display events by ruleset
Ability to only display events that have available players
Ability to be notified if a full event suddenly has an opening
Ability to book a "reserve" slot. The layout on the site currently makes it appear this can happen, but at least from my experiences, once the event hits the player max no one can sign up anymore.
I suppose similar to the above, should there be a way for a GM to basically say "observers are welcome" even if there are no player slots remaining?

Trenloe
April 16th, 2018, 17:56
Yeah, we dropped the ball with advertising this time around. Just not enough free time at the point when we needed to get that organized.

It's also a bit of a quandary - we actually don't want the convention to get to be something huge that saps all of the admin/organizers time. We want to keep it as a free to participate, non-profit, community convention. If it gets too big, we probably couldn't do that as we'd have to invest a lot of time, and some money, in infrastructure, software, etc.. We've kinda seen 100 events as the upper-level of the number of events sweet-spot. We were a little lower this time around, and will definitely try to be better organized for FG Con 13.

Teufelhunde87
April 16th, 2018, 19:51
Discord and booking went smoothly for me. I put my voice channel in early so I could email a direct link to my players and had them locate it a day or so before the game. This may have been a 2 edged sword as you mentioned that some channels were up to early. I did delete it 5 minutes after the game. DM's could have created a link right from their channel to make it easy for players to find instead of using the generic FG server link. Seemed to work well as everyone was in a mic'ed up at least 30 minutes early. I want to thank the organizers for all their efforts, I have a lot going on and struggled to prep for one game, much less coordinate FG CON and run sessions. You guys are the best! Huzzah to the organizers!
Greg

Trenloe
April 16th, 2018, 20:08
I put my voice channel in early so I could email a direct link to my players and had them locate it a day or so before the game.
This is a good idea. There was some reports of invitations expiring (to the main Discord server itself), so we'd need to investigate further and think of a good way to handle all of the channels, links and access.

Baron28
April 16th, 2018, 23:11
I played in 1 game and GM'd another at the last minute because the GM was not able to run their game during the given time slot. I had no issues with Discord. I think the sound quality is better than Teamspeak, but there is a bit of a learning curve when you're using it for the first time. The game I played in was fun. Good GM that I wouldn't mind playing at his table again.

I stepped up to run a game last minute. I sent out an email days in advance with everything I thought the players would need to connect to discord and my FG instance. They were provided date/time when the server would be up and the other typical game details one would expect. I had 5 confirmations. The disappointing thing was only 2 people showed up on time. 2 people were an hour late because one was having issues with Discord and the other miscalculated when to show up. I also had 1 no show.

We only got in 2 hours of gaming, but it was still a fun 2 hours and better than nothing at all.

damned
April 17th, 2018, 00:21
Ive got a big thank you for Baron28. We had five players booked for a session that I couldnt make contact with the GM for.
I had just emailed all the players letting them know and asking if anyone would be interested in GMing.
Baron28 signed up a few hours later and when I explained the situation he jumped right in and took over as GM!
Thanks mate.

damned
April 17th, 2018, 00:27
Ive usually been the one doing the bulk of the advertising on other forums.
I stepped right back on FG commitments after FG Con 10. We had less than 50 events at FG Con 11.
FG Con 12 almost hit 90 sessions again. I still didnt get out and pimp it like 10 and earlier was - but thanks in a large part to the guys and girls from Expedition to Sleeper Island, Pronobis, Savage Mojo and Fantasy Grounds College we had twice as many sessions as FG Con 11. A very big thank you to those teams and to the other fine GMs who give up so much time to run sessions.

The SmiteWorks team have a bunch of social media ambassadors(?) who I will be engaging with far better before FG Con 13.
Discord I think was a good move - feature wise there isnt much difference however a lot of people seem to lurk in Discord and so it was much easier to make up numbers on sessions that were short.

The Hawk and Sparrow
April 17th, 2018, 01:28
Hi all! This was my first Con. Me and another guy from my weekly group created a cool one shot that went really well. We had a full house both nights and even pulled in a last second guy who was looking for a game. We'll see you in October!

LordEntrails
April 17th, 2018, 03:55
This is a good idea. There was some reports of invitations expiring (to the main Discord server itself), so we'd need to investigate further and think of a good way to handle all of the channels, links and access.

When you create/request the link rheir is a switch that you can toggle to make rhe link permanent.

leozelig
April 17th, 2018, 03:57
The lurking factor is definitely more noticeable on Discord, which is good if you are scrambling for players (or a GM, apparently ;)).

In my previous post, I neglected to say thank you to Trenloe and damned for all of their hard work. I seem to always be working on FG Con weekends so I haven't attempted to host a game for awhile, but I have managed to play in a few of them. It's such a great opportunity to try a new system or just game with a new group of people for the night. The community is fortunate to have you guys around!

Ellspeth
April 17th, 2018, 13:47
First I want to thank you guys who organize FG-Con every six months on your own time. You are appreciated and I am sure we don't say it enough given the amount of effort you put in each and every FG-Con.
Since I was working with the Savage Mojo team there were a few things we had extra support in.
As soon as we knew that this FG-Con would be on Discord Savage Mojo went forward with a previously discussed plan to set up their own Discord server, and it greatly amplified our ability to work with the new GM's individually or in groups, for GM's to get their questions answered, and start connecting our various groups on Discord. Because this is the major thing I DO like about Discord, members of multiple servers have a very easy time moving between servers on Discord, something Teamspeak doesn't do at all. So by the time FG-Con arrived our GM's were all familiar with the system (some of us had run or played on Discord before with other groups and we had all of those connections as well). Now Savage Mojo has their own server with most of us linked to both FG and Savage Mojo and quite a few others, and there we offer games, our bi-weekly sessions of the Legends of the Round Table one shots and sometimes just discussion with the Savage Mojo team, new players, anyone who wants to join the server and participate is welcome.
As for promotions, well Savage Mojo is a company, so for weeks they have been promoting FG-Con and the games we ran specifically on all of their social media sites, I spammed all of my personal ones a few times a week, and shared out information anywhere and everywhere we could. The moderators put a LOT of work into FG-Con, and each and everyone of us can do more to help them by promoting on our own behalf. It is everyone's efforts in the end that determine a good FG-Con or bad one, so in addition to running games, we all need to own that and take some responsibiulity for promotion as well. Just my 2 cents.
And thanks again to all of you who put so much effort and passion into making these events a great place to meet new players, GM's and try new things.

Myrdin Potter
April 19th, 2018, 02:07
The last time I ran games at FG-Con (2 or 3 ago) I had a ton of cancellations at the last minute.

I only could run one game this time and it was full and was well attended.

I advertised the Con a little on places like the 5e Facebook group, but I thought that most events looked pretty full and expanding the outreach too much risks having people disappointed that there are no games.

I set up my discord channel the night before (my game started 7 am my time) and I removed it shortly after my game.

I found that the pre-Con email instructions were better this time. I emailed my players several times before the game and had my server up for character choice before the con as well.

Lots of work for the organizers and I did not manage to kill either Trenloe or Zacchaeus in my session. I had several players in my game that were new to FG and I did a little bit of a sales job and with those two as players I had pretty good support.

Discord was fine. I used a VPN in a hotel room and my connection appeared to be fine as well.

Blackfoot
April 21st, 2018, 23:02
I have to say that I experienced the sound quality on Discord to be inferior to both Teamspeak and Skype. I will not be using it for voice for any of my games. It has some nice text chat tools.. similar and superior to Skype.. but.. for voice.. not great.

Topdecker
April 23rd, 2018, 04:18
First, I appreciate all of the hard work of the organizers. Overall, things went very smoothly and I had a pleasant experience as GM.

I appreciated the prompting about when and what to send to my players. Several of them canceled and the timely prompts allowed me find more players and have a full group without any stress. (Better instructions on handling cancellations would be appreciated - I was able to free slots, but not able to re-open them which is almost certainly a lack of understanding on my part.)

I've intended to run an event distantly as a year ago, but this is the first time that I managed to catch wind of the event in time to get involved. Perhaps posting in individual game forums here on FG with a call to GMs 2-4 weeks before opening registrations might help with that. Besides, it would be nice to get more game systems in the mix :)

Top

ShadowMystik
May 21st, 2018, 03:46
To go along with Talyn's comments, By the time I received notice of FG con all games scheduled were listed as being filled up and would not allow me to sign up as a stand by character. I checked an average of every three hours from 7:00 am to 9:30 pm EST on each day, but there were never any open slots. So for me FG con was a lot of wasted time. If I knew the program better, I would DM my own game. However I need to be a player for a while to get used to FG before I take on the task of creating my own module and DMing it.

Trenloe
May 21st, 2018, 03:53
I checked an average of every three hours from 7:00 am to 9:30 pm EST on each day, but there were never any open slots. So for me FG con was a lot of wasted time.
I’m sorry you missed the convention and you feel it was a waste of time for you. We advertise the convention months in advance and each session is on a first-come-first-served basis which is only fair to all those involved.

The next convention will be in October this year, and player registration will being around the middle September, give or take a few days. I suggest you keep on eye on the forums and subscribe to this thread and you will receive a notification when activity for FG Con 13 starts.

LordEntrails
May 21st, 2018, 03:56
To go along with Talyn's comments, By the time I received notice of FG con all games scheduled were listed as being filled up and would not allow me to sign up as a stand by character. I checked an average of every three hours from 7:00 am to 9:30 pm EST on each day, but there were never any open slots. So for me FG con was a lot of wasted time. If I knew the program better, I would DM my own game. However I need to be a player for a while to get used to FG before I take on the task of creating my own module and DMing it.
Sorry to hear that. I think, that once the Con begins the website no longer updates. I had a few people PM/email me and if I had no shows I had them join us.

I know that their is usually a channel on the Discord/Teamspeak server where people can hang out and GMs can post openings for no shows. I've used it in the past (but this time I had a active enough wait list never needed to go there.

Sorry I don't have more and that you didn't find a game last Con. If you subscribe to the last Con's announcement thread, I think they usually tag it with an update when the get ready to announce the next one.

Trenloe
May 21st, 2018, 04:02
Also - make sure you are signed up with a current, valid email on the FG Con website. We send out various newsletters as the upcoming convention approaches.