Quite a few people don't know what DRAGONCON is so we should probably cover that first.
Since 1987 people have been coming to Atlanta, Georgia (roughly 8 hours drive from The Secret Underground Lab) for DragonCon which has become one of the largest Sci-Fi, Fantasy conventions in the world. They say that they get about 40,000-45,000 people every year but it's closer to 65,000 or 70,000 and every year, it keeps growing.
There is so much to see that it can actually short out your brain. it happened to my on my first year.When I got back my friends asked me how it was and I actually needed a few days to process all that I had seen and done, heard and tasted, battled and escaped from before I could talk to them about it.
There are panels about everything from making your own functional steampunk R2-D2, to meet-and-greets with some of the biggest names in TVs, Movies, Gaming and Books. There are thousands of people dressed up as their favorite characters, movie marathons, a sea of tables for table top games like Dungeons and Dragons, card games like Pokémon, Magic and Yu-Gi-Oh, board games like Risk, Settlers of Catan and King of Tokyo. There are several WAREHOUSE sized rooms stocked to the gills with Attack On Titan Jackets and titan skinsuits, Lightsabers, Steampunk Goggles, Nerdy T-shirts, Comic Books, Video Games, Card Games, Board Games and other types of game, Art and anything else you can imagine for sale. There are nightly raves, Firefly themed shindigs, vampire masquerade balls and a constant stream of Concerts featuring people like Voltaire, I Fight Dragons, and One-Eyed Doll... and, of course, our own Artix Entertainment Fan Panel.
We are a small company with a small but loyal fan base who keep showing up no matter how awful the panel was the year before. In fact, they keep giving us bigger rooms and better time-slots every single year. This year, we still get the big room but our normal Saturday time slot was taken by Felicia Day so we got bumped back a day. If we had to be bumped back by anyone I'm glad it was her.
At the panel we get to meet and hang out with some of our biggest fans, we talk about what is coming up, have a question and answer session, and Artix usually shows some movies that he's made over the past year. In the past we've had some amazing panels including a fight between Artix, Chairman Platinum and Sepulchure himself fighting surrounded by screaming AE fans cheering Artix on. A few people even stepped in front of our friendly paladin to protect him from the DoomKnight. The people running the room were AMAZED by how excited our players got compared to the other panels on the Gaming and MMO tracks.
This year we wanted to try something different so it will just be Artix and I on the stage (With Stryche and Zazul running the merch table in the back). It will be an intimate gathering of our most insanely loyal fans. I've already promised that whomever attends (assuming I have battery power and a signal) can use my phone to be the FIRST to try out AQ3D in it's intended mobile state!
They will also get the inside scoop on our other mobile projects including AQ3D, BioBeasts, UndeadAssault and more!
Every year we make a special item for those who have come from all over the globe just to hang out with us. Usually there is also an Artix Entertainment Flyer that we hand out that has a code for another DragonCon item for everyone. If you can't make it, just talk to one of your friends who goes to get the code.
This year the Artix Entertainment Panel:
The time will be Sunday at 2:30PM. (1 hour panel)
The hotel will be the Hilton Atlanta
The room will be the "Grand Salon D" or possibly the "Grand Salon E". They don't know yet but they are right next to each other so no big deal.
There will be no fan table again this year, but we'll be running around the con so don't be afraid to say hi and give us a high five in the hallway.
A LOT of the famous people at con will sign something for you if you pay them, but lucky for YOU we're NOT FAMOUS AT ALL! All you have to do is give us a marker. We will sign ANYTHING. I mean that. Artix and I signed a dude's neck back in 2011.
NOTE: WE DO NOT RUN DRAGONCON! AE has nothing to do with the set-up or funding of the convention. We just attend like everyone else. It's an institution in Atlanta and has been held there for the last quarter century so asking us to have it in YOUR hometown next year is impossible on every level.
This is also the closest, biggest convention that we can get to. We would LOVE to come to the convention in your town or in your country but we simply can't afford to travel that far.
If this is your first Con, then you should carefully read...
DragonCon starts THIS WEEKEND and as has become tradition I am imparting my knowledge and experience to you all. This is Cysero's Con Survival Guide '15!
WHAT TO BRING
You're going to to be carrying a LOT of stuff around with you and picking up a lot of stuff as you con so a large bag is necessary. And when I say bag I DO NOT mean a large plastic grocery bag. I mean a sturdy courrier bag or backpack. I will be bringing my N7 Canvas courrier bag, hardered for con survival.
Your hotel room will probably come equipped with these but I always prefer to bring a large, beach-sized towel with me wherever I go. Hitchikers listed most of the uses, but for a more practical example: I have fallen asleep in the hallways of more than one convention hotel and it's always nice to have a towel for a blanket or pillow.
Meals come unpredictably during con and staying alive can be hard. You never know when you'll be stuck at a table-top gaming session that lasts 14 hours straight... and if you leave the brutal GM will just kill you.
See above. Also good for waking up wierdos who are sleeping in the hallways of your hotel under beach towels. I speak from experience. Note: There are plenty of free places to fill up your bottle in the hallways of the various Con hotels, but
You know, those little bottles of energy booster that they sell everywhere. These things are not great for you, but caffeine and sugar have no effect on MY metabolism unless delivered in MASSIVE doses and you might be built the same way. Con goes day and night, all weekend long. And it's a holiday weekend. I consider them a necessity during Con.
There are thousands of people from all over the world at con and many of them have brought strange, exotic diseases with them. All these diseases mingle together and become some sort of super-flu affectionately called "Con Rot" that WILL infect you. Keeping your body's defenses up during con severely reduces the time and number of limbs you will lose to the Con Rot after you leave the convention.
As you explore the convention you WILL encounter some stuff you NEED to own. Swords, pithy shirts, novels, William Shattner selling autographs... and there is a 50% chance that the thing you want to buy, you can't buy with plastic. If you plan on falling asleep in a hall somewhere, be sure that your cash is in your sock or in the secret pocket in your boxers, or cloak... you don't want to wake up broke.
Most modern smartphones will do fine, but you might not get a signal in the underground mazes that connect the convention hotels. Having a wireless card in a small laptop is handy but no longer necessary. A smartphone attached to a 3G, 4G or LTE network will do (con-tested my iPhone in 2009, worked like a dream). You might or might not Tweet or Vine. You might or might not need to check your Facebook and Twitter but your FRIENDS will NEED to contact you about something that you HAVE TO SEE RIGHT NOW! This also covers CAMERA (which you will need) and PORTABLE GAME DEVICE (to use in case of very long lines).
A VERY large bonus to a smartphone is the DragonCon App. it has schedules, maps and gets updated on the fly unlike your paper schedule.
You will eventually lose your paper one but so does everyone else so there are an endless supply of them in every corner BUT this way you don't have to get your hands sticky and wonder why the last person ditched it.
It has maps, schedules for panels and speakers, concert times... everything you need to plan your Con experience. I'm happy to report that this app is available for both iOS and Android devices is year! Well done, app guys.
Everyone has something to charge now so finding an open power outlet can be a real challenge but just like you never know when you will get to eat, the same goes for your phone. If you have an emergency battery boost for your phone, bring that but at the very least make sure that your phone charger is close at hand.
In 2010 Alces and I accidentally found ourselves in a mobile rave. One guy was wearing the sound system and power supply on his back and his two friends were each wearing giant speakers converted into backpacks. The party never stopped moving. Alces and I took a chance, caught a cab, went to an all night market and bought $44 worth of glowsticks to give to share with our fellow mobile partiers. We were gone about 4 minutes, but when we returned to the street corner, they had moved on. We spent the next hour following the sound of those booming speakers until we caught up. If on'y we'd had the glow sticks on us!
The buddy system is always a good idea. That's why I usually bring Alces. He's my best friend and I've known him since middle school. He's part Dr. Gonzo, part Chief Medical Officer and part Tech Support. If you have a friend who has been before and can show you around the ever changing paths of the convention, bonus.
It's the ultimate ice-breaker. "Can I get a picture of you holding this guy, please?" "Sure... what is he?".
In 2011 the Venture Brothers panel line was long enough that it went outside the hotel and Alces and I found ourselves in the middle of a rain storm. With all of the weather coming from Tropical Storm Isaac headed toward Atlanta just in time for con. I suggest packing weather protection. A poncho will fit in your bag but an unmbrella makes you look swanky if you rock it right.
This is just something you should have all the time anyway, BUT there are a LOT of people in a LOT of costumes and things start falling apart on day one. A well timed piece of duct tape can make you a lot of friends very quickly.
That should be, more or less, everything that you need to pack. Other options include: clean clothes, costumes, things you want autographed, video camera, your Battleon Battle Card deck (teach a stranger how to play!), a map of the con (some of us like getting lost), a pair of scissors (for a lock of Kevin Sorbo's hair while he's passed out in a fountain somewhere), a sketchbook (for ideas), a steampunk R2 unit, 8 channel programmable remote control, Sonic Screwdriver, or grappling hook... just cause.
It always seems that we have a TON of fans at our panel but they represent a tiny fraction of you guys and we really do which you could ALL be there. I'm going to try really hard to keep a contact stream of Twitter, Facebook and Vine spam coming your way so you can come with me and live DragonCon through my eyes (camera).
Artix and I will be hopping in the car late on Thursday night, so be packed and ready to ride to Atlanta with us!