Good morning fellow gamers, as some of you already know, Scarecrow Studio is going to attend the E3 this year in Los Angeles. In this series of posts (check last week’s one), I’m sharing with you a few words on our behind-the-scenes wrestle with all the preparations for this event. Some advice for inde developers going to the E3.
3 Minutes to Midnight is our first game, and the E3 2018 is going to be our first event we are attending ever, (and probably it’s going to be the only event we will be able to attend this year). Our budget and time are quite limited, and we mainly need to dedicate it to the video game itself. So, this year’s E3 will probably be your only chance to see us in (such) an event.
Last week, after quite expectations on our side, we finally got access to the E3 Exhibitor’s Manual. A 300 pages brick that I had to read in no time (literally, I had to go trough it in 2 days to meet some of the deadlines).
Since I’m not allowed to share the Exhibitor’s Manual, I’ll share a few comments and some advice that I think you’ll find useful if it’s your first time attending the E3 as an Indie Developer.
Preparation of the trip
Hotel: Organizers will give you discounts for hotels when the manual comes out, but the quality of the hotels is so high, that even with discount and Indie developer won’t be able to afford it. So I recommend getting an apartment on AirBnb or similar. You’ll go from rates of $350 per night to $65 per night with the same quality. You should do this no later than February – March (the best deals go faster).
Also plan ahead – use websites like Skyscanner and start playing with the dates around the event. Book the flights so your arrival date is a bit earlier, L.A. is a very crowded tourist destination in the summer months.
Rent a vehicle to move around. The same with hotels and flights, the sooner you’ll do it the better. The car should be big enough to carry your event stuff and the amount of people you are taking with you.
Plan your booth
Make a 3D version of your booth to submit for validation, If you can’t do it in 3D, it’s okey you can do it by hand, just try to put all the elements there. One thing that you must remember, your booth must be setup by one person without tools in less than 30 minutes, otherwise the organizers will force you to hire labor (and that’s quite expensive).
Keep it simple, keep it indie. You are an indie developer anyway, so you can’t compete with Nvidia’s or Konami’s booths (yet, of course). So, instead of being worried about how simple your booth looks, just focus in make sure that your booth shows up all important points of your company and game.
Calculate the sizes and weights of all the elements you will bring. Use the rule of thumb to classify the important stuff that you must bring from “home” and the stuff that you must have manufactured or rented in L.A., and have it ready to pick up prior the event. For example, if you are going to give away some pamflets, bags, cards, …, anything that can be printed or prepared anywhere, just find such companies directly in L.A., and contact them beforehand. It will require advanced payment but it’s definitely worth it.
Again, I can’t share many details, but there are many things to do before the event, many forms to fill in, and a lot of information to process. Basically, you can group all the stuff to do into months: Things to do by February, March, April, and May.
The deadlines are right at the beginning of the manual, so read them carefully, some of them might not apply to you, some of them do, and even those that don’t apply to you will, in a certain way, require you to do something. So make a little timetable. The organizers are really nice people, but contact them the earlier you can, they will be less busy and more easy to help you in those stages.
The important deadlines include: Booth design approval, uniform and costume approval, electric wiring request form, badges to access the event, wristbands to deploy the booth on the move-in / move-out dates, transportation arrangements (in case you are sending your booth), visa papers (in case your country hasn’t an arrangement with the USA).
What you should bring
Yourself, sure you have an impressive personality, but that won’t be enough.
Some computers, at least 2, to show your game to the community and let them play it. Trial by Fire.
Some roll-ups, they are easy to design, cheap to buy, easy to deploy and they will dress your booth perfectly.
Some big banner / poster. Something that calls out people’s attention, give them something to remember.
Are you going to run a Kickstarter campaign? why not showing a sample of the rewards you’ll have for them.
Finally, bring some gifts for the people who will visit your booth, inde’s budget it’s not huge but a little somoething a sticker or a badge might do.
Don’t freak out!
It’s easy to freak out when you receive a 300 page brick, but it’s not as bad as it looks. When I got it, I just gave it a quick look and I couldn’t even sleep that night. I grabbed the car and went back to work to read trough it. It’s not so bad, just a lot of work and many unexpected additional expenses, but anything unachievable.
I’m here to help, if you are going to exhibit at the E3 and have some concerns that you want to share, drop me a line. If you are press, and you want to talk to us at the event, we will be more than happy to share our thoughts about “3 Minutes to Midnight“, for everything else… @jankahuna
Check this cool booth by the @Thimbleweedpark guys | Simple yet awesome