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Conventions and Timeslots

posted May 20, 2013 21:49:31 by MichaelMesich
Some of us are running the convention circuit and I wanted to chat about length of timeslots.

The one I ran a couple months ago and the one I'm doing this weekend (as well as my pay-to-play events) are all running two-hour timeslots.

The reason being that it seems the average Incursion mission length is about 40 minutes and this allows the crew to swap positions twice and perhaps more importantly, allows them to train THEMSELVES a fair bit with the switchover.

I feel that the hour session ends just when they're pulling things together.

Now, only half as many people get to go through, but I think I'd rather they get a great experience while they're there.

Two hour slots still allow me to push through about 80-90 people over a Fri-Sun.

How many repeats do you see with one-hour slots?
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18 replies
ErikBergman said May 22, 2013 14:55:03
Two hours is a long time, especially at a con. Are there any missions which start with a station by station tutorial?
MichaelMesich said May 22, 2013 16:07:40
Maybe it's different at RPG-heavy cons where everything is scheduled fairly intensely.
badgeguy said May 23, 2013 15:17:31
You could also possibly drop off some of the training time by having the crew watch Thom's 15 minute training video at: (this assumes that you will have internet access).

I personally am running 30 minutes missions (25 minutes + 5 minutes of crew change), with a training session before the mission starts (concurrent with the previous crew's mission, but in the ante room). This would allow for training, getting the feel, and then coming back to play another mission if they want more. This allows for a greater turn over, gets them nearly long enough to finish an Invasion, and whets their appetite for more. Additionally, once trained, they can come back without the need to train again.
Charlie said May 23, 2013 18:57:02
This is a Training Map I put together.

It can be played with 1 ship against enemies. It usually takes us 20 to 30 minutes to play through and has none of the side missions of the usual invasions, so comms is not as crucial as the other stations.

My thoughts on the 2 hour time slots is...Can you do a 1 1/2 hour? This would IMO be enough to get 10 to 15 minutes of the game, and an hour to an hour and 15 minutes can be exhausting at times. I do like the 2 hour opening cause time also flies when playing.
MichaelMesich said May 24, 2013 02:41:37
I log in with Excalibur and kill then at 15 minutes til, so it's not exactly 2 hours. This gives them a nice high to end on and then I use that 10 minutes to get people in and out and started on training.

The time does fly. :) I council them about wasting time trying to wait out luring fleets into mine-fields and black-holes (can't wait for smarter AI pathing!) because I want to make sure people get to play different positions.

Plus it's just easier on ME during a full weekend of hosting. :)
Charlie said May 24, 2013 06:06:01
I can't imagine the work load! Bravo!
lucas99801 said May 24, 2013 06:08:02
I'd suggest an event with a timer that spawns an extremely large Torgoth/Arvonian Carrier fleet in a complete circle around the player ship.

As for training, I'd suggest the community work together to make a short training video for the stations. While players can be actively controlling their station during the video.
Hosting a Mumble (Murmur) server @
Having trouble connecting to the TeamSpeak channel:
Helm Script for Numerical heading input:
Twitter: @lucas99801
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MichaelMesich said May 24, 2013 18:03:57
It's so pretty!

MichaelMesich said May 26, 2013 01:49:27
I'm still going to stand by two-hour timeslots. They're pretty much perfect.

Oh, and ....

Charlie said May 26, 2013 07:44:59

two-hour timeslot

I agree! This does seem like a good choice.

Looks awesome!!!
JamesDunnem said May 26, 2013 18:30:56
Beautiful and clean looking setup, the tablets should work well for terminals, but I hope you're opting for a PC as the server/viewscreen so that they can be properly awestruck with DMX lighting.

Please tell me Stormtrooper isn't at a weapons console, they have a certain "reputation" for their weapons accuracy. razz
"There is an old Celtic saying: "Coimhéad fearg fhear na foighde."
-Beware of the anger of a patient man.
MichaelMesich said May 26, 2013 19:38:30
It's like you don't reads any on my posts! :)

PC server in lower left...

MichaelMesich said May 26, 2013 19:39:40
Plenty more pictures at if you're interested.
Brett said May 29, 2013 03:05:37
Michael, I was at Berserkon (I was the guy that stayed all night Saturday). Your use of two hour time slots was a good plan. It gave time to really get the feel for the sim and then feel like you had time to have at least one run where you actually knew what you were doing. Hope to see you next year too. It was IMO the highlight of the whole con.
MichaelMesich said May 29, 2013 05:27:09
Thanks for the feedback, Brett!

I know Kevin's already been putting thought into how NOT to put my floor rumbling simulator next-door to the RPG tables! (In the first image above that's light from the room next door coming from the giant crack along the dividing wall at the floor!)

I think I developed a pretty goot training patter too. I would first tell the Captain to listen in as I trained each station. Then I'd start at weapons, go through the ordinance types, how to load/unload them, STRESS STRESS STRESS how important it is to target enemies, how to change beam frequencies, shields and then run through the views so the Captain knows what he can request and the lastly point out the Torp to Ene and Ene to Torp buttons.

Then I'd move to Helm showing them how the trigger-warp and warp buttons work then go through all the other buttons for shields/docking/reverse/all-stop then I'd point them at the nearest star-base and tell them to dock there while I move on to ...

Engineering. Explain the power sliders and how heat builds up, show how to distribute coolant and that it is finite, run through the systems quick explaining the benefit of cranking them up, then a quick point-out to manually nudging the Damage Control teams to where you might want them.

Science get's an explanation of what it is they've been looking at, shown the double-scan and explain they need to give helm bearings and count-down distances and give weapons frequencies while helping the Captain determine which base is most in need of defense.

Then pull up the Comms console and first tell them how stupid the allied fleet captains are and that they need to be micromanaged with help from the LRS screen, how to demand surrender and taunt enemies, base status and you may as well start by asking for nukes and by then there's plenty of waterfall to talk about attack notifications and side missions.

I'm pretty sure that all takes only about 10 minutes. The crew is usually already in combat with an Executor at this point and so I walk over and reset the simulator wishing them luck and I step away.

I think the hardest thing to learn was to keep strategies to myself and let the crew figure things out. That's where a lot of the awesome is. :)
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