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Author Topic: GenCon booth construction  (Read 8127 times)
Jasper the Mimbo
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Posts: 110


« on: October 04, 2004, 01:47:49 PM »

If someone could get me space layout and a few specifics (two story or not, arch/frame, open from howmany sides, ect.) I could build a booth that could be put up and taken down fairly easily. The problems are going to be transportation and cost.

I live in california. Transporting the booth across the country will be a problem.

Who's going to pay for the materials cost. Do I send someone a bill? Will there be a money pool to draw from? I'm willing to do the labor for free, but there will be other costs to consider

Also, If I build the booth to specific specs that means that we will need to have the same size booth every year. Is that realistic?

Storage? Where's the booth going to go for the rest of the year.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2004, 02:03:52 PM »

Hiya,

Jasper, you're talking about GenCon SoCal, right? If so, then the people to talk to are Clinton Nixon and Alexander Cherry.

It'd be great if this effort could be a rehearsal for construction ideas for next year in Indianapolis.

Best,
Ron
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Jasper the Mimbo
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Posts: 110


« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2004, 01:56:47 PM »

Actually, I was talking about Indie, for next year's con. That's the big one. I'm going to try to make it to SoCal, but it'll be by the skin of my teeth. There's no way I'd have enough time to build a booth and transport it before December. Calder and I are in a production of Romeo and Juliet right now and it's eating all our time.

So to clarify, I can build a booth for Indie, but only if I can get the information I need at least 3 months before the compleation deadline.

So here's the process I've outlined

Step 1: Send me the dimentions of the space we will have, including hight restrictions, and what type of booth it will be (end, corner, middle. ect.) Also give me a yes or no on the 2nd story option.

Step 2: Draft 1 and materials list with a proposed budget is sent to whoever has the final say

Step 3: Feedback/ Revision process and amending of budgetary problems
(a.k.a. Everyone argues about what they want and I let them know if it's realistic or not.)

Step 4: I draw out a second draft

Step 5: More arguing. Final concensus/ revision

Step 6: Final Draft

Step 7: Approval of governing bodies

Step 8: Construction

Step 9: Transportation and storage


As you can see, the process is very long, SoCal would be impossible. I need to be through to step 7 with at least 3 months to spare before the convention to make room for the inevitable hicups that always happen during construction. The ammount of time is based on my estimate of how much assistance I think I'll have (not much) and how much time a day I'll be able to spend on it.
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5. Ron Edwards (once isn't enough)

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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2004, 08:19:27 PM »

Hi there,

I get it now. And thanks, Jasper, for spearheading this effort with enough lead time actually to get it done.

Trouble is, the booth dimensions for next year are completely up in the air. I do think the steps you've outlined are absolutely correct, so I suppose we can initiate a discussion about it.

You were there - what do you think? Remember, the core of the booth is actual play, with sales emerging from that. More than anything, we want an environment that says "Forge." As a member of that culture (remember our discussion at the Italian restaraunt?), you know what that should feel like - so what kind of physical space would work best for it?

Best,
Ron
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Ben Lehman
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« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2004, 09:21:08 PM »

As I understand it, there are two possibilities for both size next year -- 20x10 and 20x20.  If this isn't right, please correct me, but it seemed that was the upshot of the recent conversations.  I can't really see going down to 10x10, or going above 20x20, though if someone else can, I'd like to hear how that might come to pass.

So, hey, Jasper, guess what?  More work for you!  Yay!  Why don't you give us two preliminary designs -- one for 20x20 and one for 20x10? (honestly, they don't necessarily have to be all that different.)  Furthermore, go into the kitchen and make me a sandwich!  And one for Ron!  And stop complaining about having to lie dead on the stage for a long scene because you're playing Tybalt!  And get Calder to run another session of Nocturne Imperium!

yrs--
--Ben

P.S.  Having exhausted my supply of imperatives for the evening, I'd like to note that since Jasper and I are old friends, I get to talk shit to him, but none of the rest of you do.
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Jasper the Mimbo
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Posts: 110


« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2004, 01:52:20 PM »

Right, so here I go.

I think that 10x20 is enough, especially if we add the second story. 20x20 with a second story would create a cave-like ground floor that would deter customers. Open space is important.

So, what I'd like to see is an isle-end booth so that we could be open from three directions, just like the last one. The main diffrence would be the second story which would effectively triple play space.

The ground floor would have a 9 foot celing held aloft by four main corner posts and possably one central post. I'd like to stear clear of the center post (for the same reasons that the tower shelf was decided to be a bad idea) but it may not be possible. I'd like the 2nd floor to have a 2000 lb dispersed load bearing capacity. This may mean working in metal.

The four posts would also create the "framed" look that I talked about earlier. The 9 ft. celing would create the illusion of open space and lift the 2nd story to a point that it could be seen from nearly anywhere in the hall.

the 2nd story would be an open platform with a 3 1/2 ft. retaining bar or wall.

the stairs would be a switch back with one landing set in one of the far corners. This will increase stability, optimize space and create a handy storage space.

This basic design could work for nearly any spacing or placement possibilities.

the main difference between 10x20 and 20x20 will be support. Supporting a 20x20 celing/floor will require probably 4 interior posts to distribute weight.

I really need someone to find out if the 2nd story is an option.
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Jasper the Mimbo
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Posts: 110


« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2004, 01:53:04 PM »

Ben, your sandwich is in the mail.
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List of people to kill. (So far.)

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5. Ron Edwards (once isn't enough)

If you're on the list, you know why.
Ben Lehman
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« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2004, 02:23:06 PM »

I don't think that a central post is a bad idea as long as it can also be used as a display space.  While I'm aware that some people weren't fond of Paul's awesome display shelf, it would fit perfectly around a support post (it is hollow in the center.)  So a central post would not necessarily be a terrible idea.

I'm definitely with you about the cavelike atmosphere in the 20x20 dowstairs.  I think that, if we end up with a 20x20 booth (because of, say, a lot of interest) we will probably want to consider a 20x10 "loft" structure as a second story rather than covering the entire booth area.

Okay.  Here are some considerations:

1) Lighting.  We are going to want a *lot* of light in the downstairs, and we're going to want it to be attractive light.  Lamps (either covered table, standing, or hanging) might give a nice "coffeehouse" feel.  If we get our 'game menu' together and some nice wooden panelling we could get a very cool "coffee house" sort of feel.  In short, though, we need light, and we need lighting to work with our aesthetic, whatever that is.

1a) Lighting means electricity.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it means that Greg Porter's car battery may not be enough.  We might want to bring several, or look into other electricity solutions.  It also means that, if we're going to have a lot of electricity, we can do computerized things with both demos and credit cards.  What is the situation for internet access in the distributor's hall?  Wireless?
  Also, I think we should be working electrical access into our design plans.  Last year's set up, which blocked off a whole area that only the computer guys could use, was not so good.  Let's design for it this time.

2) Fat gamers.  Some of the people at GenCon are going to be well in excess of 300 pounds.  First of all, we need to understand that having them upstairs may be a structural hazard.  Second of all, they probably won't want to climb stairs, and we're going to need to make the stairs wide enough for them.  Either that, or we only seat them downstairs, which restricts somewhat what we can do upstairs.

3) Storage.  Where?

4) Checkout.  Also where?

5)  Also, just as a note, the structure of the booth gives us a lot of banner space -- we can hang wide, short banners off of the second story railing.  Let's keep that in mind, and be sure we bring a lot.

I have some thoughts about set up.  These are just brainstorming.

A) Upstairs is pure gaming space, downstairs has a little bit of gaming space, display, checkout, and storage.

Advantages: Those who want to just buy can just buy.
Disadvantages: Actual play is less visible (I think.)  Possible cluttered feel to the downstairs.

B) Downstairs is purely gaming / display.  Upstairs is storage and checkout, with a little bit of gaming space.

Advantages: Play is easy to see, lack of commercial presence may make the downstairs space seem more comfortable.
Disadvantages: People have to walk upstairs to check out.  Lack of commercial space downstairs.

C) Downstairs is a little bit of display, gaming and a checkout.  Upstairs is just storage.

Advantages: Only booth staff need go upstairs.  Play space is still prioritized.
Disadvantages: Upstairs space is underutilized.

Also, Jasper, we're going to have to discuss how we're going to get this stuff from California to Indianapolis.  I assume that driving is the only way.

yrs--
--Ben
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Blankshield
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« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2004, 02:58:04 PM »

I don't have a whole lot of input as to whys and wherefors, but someone should really *really* check with local state ordinances as well as the group that runs the Indy trade center as to if it's legal to nine places.  Also check with the Gen*Con crew - you may find by poring over the dealer's agreement that it's not allowed - or if it is, if you spring it on them, it'll almost certainly be illegal next year (Or they have to consider the possibility of big game companies competing by expanding up.).

I don't know about Indiana, but I know if you tried to do this in Alberta, CA, you'd be breaking at least a couple laws/local ordinances.  Like the rather esotaric one requiring *anyone* on a temporary openwork structure in excess of 6 feet to be wearing a fall protection harness and trained in its use.

I'd really recommend looking into that kind of "whaddya mean we can't put it up without a journeyman scaffolder on hand?"* kind of problem before you spend money/time/effort on it.

James
*Not a law hereabouts, but it is mandatory at some of the industrial sites I've worked at for a journeyman scaffolder to be in charge of any erection or disassembly of a temporary multilevel openwork structure (aka: scaffold).
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Ben Lehman
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« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2004, 02:59:44 PM »

Quote from: Jasper the Mimbo
Ben, your sandwich is in the mail.


Mmm... tasty.
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Andy Kitkowski
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« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2004, 06:43:35 AM »

Agree with above- I love the idea of expanding upwards, but after thinking about it a minute, and the Fat Gamers thing, and the possibility that, if something goes wrong, then all this timber and flesh tumble onto some brilliant designers and... well... the hobby couldn't cope with that loss :-)

Plus, the instant some Big Booth sees you doing that, they'll start waving and pointing fingers to management to see if it's allowed, and even if it otherwise would be, I'm still betting that they'll find a loophole... not to be a naysayer or anything, but it's just a LOT of work to build a sturdy and functional second story, only to have it smacked down by The Law.

However, having said that, I DO believe that the Third Dimension CAN be used.  However, I'm thinking more of a long, flat platform raised high that:

1) You can hang banners or posters from, or color copies of the covers of all the books that are sold there, etc.

2) Better yet, can be used as a storage platform to house all the merchandise that isnt on the shelves, which can be retreived by a simple footstool.  That way, it frees up all those tables underneath that we used as displays and "merchandise storage covers" (we can organize displays in a more efficient manner which allows for more gaming tables).

3) I think the best way we can attract more people to the booth next year is to create a Romance RPG of a few pages, maybe even using Paul's girlfriend's design as a base. Next, we make a color cover design for that game. Finally, we make 2 8x10 foot color posters of the cover of that game, which are, of course, Jasper himself seductively staring at the viewer, wearing pantaloons/loincloth/briefs/'TRON Shorts' (depending on the genre), oiled, with a single rose clenched in his teeth.

-Andy

EDIT: Note, in the above situation, there STILL may be rules against having some sort of "roof structure" that "bears a load" and the like.  So again, Step One in the "3rd dimension planning" is to check with GenCon rules and the like.
Because, now that I think about it, out of all the GenCons I've attended, I don't recall anyone in the dealer's hall using a roofed structure... and I'm not sure if it's just a "No one else thought of it" thing, or a "They read the fine print and knew it wouldn't fly" thing.
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Michael S. Miller
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« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2004, 08:54:34 AM »

I've also got to side with Andy's reservations about a 2nd story. When Jasper first proposed the idea of "if you want to make something look important, put a frame around around it" I thought we'd be talking about something that wouldn't hold more than a bunch of banners. A kind of archway.

Jasper, since you're more ambitious, how about two pillars that sit on the two outer corners of the booth. Each piller  18-24 in. square. The outsides can hold all kinds of signs, and the one side is a door. Inside are shelves where we keep stock. They're effectively freestanding closets, but they look cooler. Some sort of light archway can connect the two pillars to make the frame you initially spoke of.

BTW, electricity at the con site IIRC, is really, really expensive. Paying hundreds of dollars for mood lighting doesn't seem very cost effective to me.
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Jasper the Mimbo
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« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2004, 04:19:17 PM »

Andy, you're not going to have to worry about beeing crushed under timber and fat gamers. I'm going to kill you myself. Slowly.

I like the two closets and the high shelf idea. combining these we get
a Frame!!

I find it hard to believe that any state would have a problem with with a raised platform with a safty railing. In any collage campus in the country you'll find theatre sets built by unlicenced students being used in fairly unsafe ways and no one has a problem with that. More likely, if there is a restriction, it's imposed by the commercial enterprise of the situation. I find it hard to believe that we're the first people to think of this. If we are, than by 2006 we're going to have the tower of WotC.

Who wants to take charge of getting the details, like I've been asking for all week. A little research will clear all this up. I just don't have the time. Romeo and Juliet opens tomorrow, time is a myth.
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List of people to kill. (So far.)

1. Andy Kitowski
2. Vincent Baker
3. Ben Lehman
4. Ron Edwards
5. Ron Edwards (once isn't enough)

If you're on the list, you know why.
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2004, 07:56:47 PM »

Hiya,

I'll be looking into the details of this and other GenCon notions over the next two weeks.

Best,
Ron
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LordSmerf
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« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2004, 07:03:48 AM »

I have sent an email to the GenCon staff asking specifically about the second story.  I will let you know what I find out.

Thomas
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