Immediate reflection and notes from exhibiting at DreamHack Atlanta 2019


DreamHack Atlanta

DreamHack is a convention that grew from Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC) Local Area Network (LAN) parties into what it calls a “gaming lifestyle festival”. In recent years, they’ve been working to help promote indies. They have several events throughout the year in both the USA and Europe.

Indie Playground

The Indie Playground is the section on the Expo hall where all the indies exhibited, and it featured 48 games. Indies submitted a free application for consideration, and if selected, received a free 10 foot x 10 foot booth with electricity, two chairs, one table and tablecloth, and piping and draping to section off booths and hang up banners. The cost of such a setup usually runs 500-4000USD (depending on the convention), so DreamHack was really helping us out.

Costs

The cost of attendance came in the form of:

Housing and travel

We were able to stay with a local indie dev (Kartik, Smashball Blitz) who was also exhibiting, instead of booking a hotel/AirBnB (80-180USD per night). His location was about 15m drive away from the convention center (rather than in walking distance as with a hotel/AirBnB), so we spent ~10USD per ride between his home and DreamHack. He picked us up from the airport, so we only had to purchase one ride when leaving Atlanta. We also spent ~15-20USD in rideshares to find food, as nothing seemed to be around the convention center (that wasn’t obviously overpriced for location). We spent a bit more than we should have on food-searching rideshares because it was mighty difficult to locate an establishment with an open kitchen at 9:15PM. Roundtrip flights from Seattle-Atlanta ran about 350-400USD (for the two of us).

Booth

We already had most of our supplies from exhibiting at the Seattle Indies Expo. Additional materials purchased included:

We returned the TV and cocktail table before leaving, essentially just loaning them from the store.

dreamhack atlanta booth

The original setup idea was to have two laptops on the table and the TV on the cocktail table, with postcards and business cards sharing the TV. The TV would loop the RE:H OP, and there would be to stations for players. Unfortunately, we misjudged the width of the TV’s feet (measuring from where the feet connected to the TV rather than from where the feet would be placed on the surface), so the TV just barely did not fit. The computer that sat on the cocktail table looped the OP on Day 1, displayed signage that you could purchase the game at the booth on Day 2, and displayed a sign stating that the game is now available on Steam/Itch/Google Play on Day 3.

We had some of the RE:H OST looping quietly on speakers in an attempt to set the atmosphere of the booth. Instead of the Markus posters on the stand, we wanted a large retractable vertical banner, but we were unable to purchase one in time.

Lessons learned

Game

Hardware

Promos

General observations

Additional thoughts

Special thanks

Epilogue

We weren’t able to play all of the indie titles, but if we had to choose our single favourite experiences of the ones we did play, they’d be Cubism (guess whose favorite that is) and My Beautiful Paper Smile. Many of the games are still in development, but several have public demos and betas! Check them out if you have a minute (all information available at the Indie Playground website)

Ask answers

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