Monday, November 14, 2016

AetherCon V (2016) -- The Online RPG Convention

After three hectic days (and a year of preparations) AetherCon V is a wrap! I’m still exhausted, but did take Monday off to recuperate.

By just about every measure, the convention was a resounding success. Attendance to AetherCon doubled this year, and we had so much traffic that our web-server was nearly crashed during several peak hours. We’re already discussing plans to get the convention website on a hosting plan that can handle higher traffic for next year.

I am amazed every year when this convention comes together. It’s entirely non-profit, has zero budget, and depends entirely on a staff of dedicated volunteers and participating vendors – yet all the events manage to come together for a weekend of fun and gaming with a surprising level of organization. 

This year there were more game tables, more guests, more vendors, and more booths! Pathfinder Society and Adventurers League had a major presences at the game tables as well. In every measurable way the convention grew by leaps and bounds, and though we still had some hiccups (mostly schedule related), there were far fewer technical issues despite the dramatic crowd increase.

The new event system I created for the convention was fully utilized, and performed splendidly. Feedback about it has been overwhelmingly positive even if there are a few additional new features that need to be worked into the web application before it is used again next year.

16-20 hour shifts for three days in a row have worn me out, but I had a blast. I was once again too busy this year maintaining the system, setting up events, and assisting attendees to grab a seat at a game table myself, but I did manage to dive into the bazaar in the early morning hours to do some shopping through the booths. I scored several great convention deals on RPG books and fantasy miniatures.

The two professional panels I was invited to speak on were a blast, and I made many great new connections in the gaming industry, and even got to hear from a few fans of my work; which is always a very neat experience.

Here’s to hoping for continued success for the convention at AetherCon VI (2017)!

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