Quake Expo was a vivid daydream of surprising color and texture that passed too quickly to process. Fortunately, unlike a dream, we have the ability to revisit this slice of time in leisure to appreciate the wonder more fully.
Curiosity drove this Expo into existence, amplified over time by the stalled hopes of an Expo back in 2014. It’s been so long since 2011, especially in game-development years. Was it too late? Would we find nothing but ruins?
“What I did see was not spectacular, not grotesque or terrifying, yet it removed my last vestige of trust in my consciousness. For the door and windows of the undersea temple hewn from the rocky hill were vividly aglow with a flickering radiance, as from a mighty altar-flame far within.
Later incidents are chaotic. As I stared at the uncannily lighted door and windows, I became subject to the most extravagant visions—visions so extravagant that I cannot even relate them. I fancied that I discerned objects in the temple—objects both stationary and moving—and seemed to hear again the unreal chant that had floated to me when first I awaked.” – H.P. Lovecraft, The Temple
Given that the Quake universe is slowly shrinking, remains separated in various niches, and we’ve lived without a Quake Expo for five years: What is the benefit to an established project or group? What new projects could emerge? In my own corner I had little awareness of beyond. I expected fewer booths than years past. Maybe not much more than a read-through. Out of the silence, I was not prepared for the incredible range, effort, and ingenuity that this cross-section of the community would represent. New stuff we couldn’t imagine, old stuff renewed in epic scale, and still a few classic-style maps and mods. Out-of-the-blue epic Quake novella and Tronyn/Romero discussion. Light on events, not a surprise, but Ionous kept us in-the-loop on Map Jam 7. Passion, effort, and imagination exceeded expectation.
Communication, organization, website- what went right:
- Word about the Expo got out to every Quake community site and every blog. Most posted news, others were forum or blog posts. Folks were spreading the news. Bluesnews gave us a blurb. Social media sites were essential: posts from the Quake Facebook page, Twitter, vk.com, reddit, and others brought visitors.
- Using an off-the-shelf solution for the site worked. It was up and running quickly a few weeks before the Expo and a few early users tested features and provided feedback. By the time the Expo opened, very little time was required to maintain the site, and it had a complete appearance from day one. Creators posted plenty of graphics, videos, updates, and downloads with few issues.
- Thanks to help from writers ArrrCee and Happy Friar, every booth and update got a mention on the news page. I don’t know how much it improved coverage, but having been on the other side last Expo, it’s good to see someone else’s take in a synopsis.
- Comment system – the basic comment on posts- was useful, and we got 120+ mostly valuable comments.
What could have been better:
- After 5 years, the ‘Booth’ concept was unknown to many and took lots of explaining. Another barrier was the posting interface. It’s similar to a forum post… but not quite. Laying more groundwork for that in advance would have smoothed the process.
- Commenting on posts was good but other social gadgets were confusing. “Site wide Activity” seemed redundant with commenting, and was used for booth requests that could have been handled in a less cumbersome way in retrospect. PM was not implemented but PM to admin or editor would have been nice.
- At a certain point planning talk should have moved to a singular forum or chat. Discussion was spread out over a multiple boards and emails, which was fine until final dates and so on were being set. It got muddled (I got muddled…)
- Mixed feelings about the ‘Booth Previews’. It helped build up traffic and said ‘this actually exists’ but the transition was awkward.
As the booths are being packed, a couple of last-minute updates:
PeeweeRotA releases Game of Tomes 1.0! Check out this extensive update and download it now.
Asaki invites you to stop by the Bakery to grab some snacks and “touch any lair”. And it now runs stand-alone!
komagame gives us updated Quake map screenshots, adding Suicide Highway patrols!
Will there ever be another Quake Expo?
If you build it, we will come.
Thank you to everyone who participated with booths, news, interviews, stories, and feedback. I will leave you with Mankrip’s inspirational poster from the Quake Facebook page @quakecommunity.