Author Topic: Confuzzled 2015 Pros and Cons  (Read 3032 times)

Offline MorbiusMonster

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Confuzzled 2015 Pros and Cons
« on: May 27, 2015, 08:28:47 »
This year was a pretty good years in terms of attendance and money raised for the charity, and it felt a good year for me, since I got more involved with things. But here are things that stuck out for me;

+The variety of gaming events - Normally, we're limited to just a Smash Bros and maybe a Mario Kart event, but this year saw a few more things show up, which was very welcome.

+New function spaces - In order to make better use of the venue during a rather busy time, the convention had adopted new function spaces. These function spaces were really nice and I do hope we get to use a lot of them again.

+The inclusion of a Thai Food bar in the lobby - I know this was more the hotel's doing, but it meant we had another exotic cuisine to eat which was both tasty and very reasonable.

+TWO arcade machines - I see Confuzzled has noticed how popular the machines are and can swap between the games. Might I suggest a schedule or a system where people can vote for which games can be put on.

-The absence of a dedicated video game room - This one was a bit of a bummer for me, because it gives me somewhere to hang out in the evenings. I understand that staff and crew were very thinly spread, but hopefully, next year would still be good.

-Confuzzled TV - In theory, a very decent concept; in practise, very messy. The PawPets show had such awful sound quality and on the auction, the picture was constantly flickering and hen just cut out along with the sound. I know this was a prototype round, but hopefully this could be improved next year.

-Distribution of events - This was something that I noticed last year; a lack of panels in the latter half of the con (if we place the parade to be the midpoint). Monday was very empty in comparison to previous days. I know the first few days are the ones people want to go to, but a few more events would be nice on the Monday.

-The lifts - The scourge of "Out of Service" struck again this year. The traffic for the lifts was always in demand, which made trying to catch one very annoying, and a lot of guests thought so too (I noticed a number of the times the lifts would stop at floors with no one waiting, probably because they took the stairs).

Personal Praise - As always, the con staff did and amazing job and I was particularly pleased with how the theme was implemented into stuff like the photoshoot and I cannot wait for the pictures, Malamutt always does an amazing job. I think the increased attendance rates just go to show how brilliant Confuzzled is.

Personal Gripe - I had tried to set up an event known as the Mad Hatter's Riddles. I had hoped it to be a little better executed. I know I probably could only have achieved how I envisioned it if I put up the riddles myself, but I didn't want to get in trouble with the hotel staff. However, the riddles were unevenly distributed and, out of 34, I only found 8, one of which was a bonus riddle which could only be solved with the use of the others and the rule sheet. And there was no announcement either at the opening or closing ceremony (I probably should have had alarm bells ringing the moment I heard that you hadn't printed answer sheets). Next year, if I run an event like this, I will start earlier, so it gets a con book mention and perhaps ask for it to be mentioned in the official opening and closing ceremonies. I understand it can be stressful running a con (I've had several exams right next to each other and have been chasing up so much in the run up to the con), but I felt really let down.

Offline wyvern_sieyes

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Re: Confuzzled 2015 Pros and Cons
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2015, 01:07:40 »
hey ya.
glad that you had a fantastic time.
Thought I would just reply to your mention about a dedicated video gaming room.

I totally agree with what you have written. I think this is certainly something that the convention needs, especially for the evenings, as it would give more choice for people who don't dance or drink too much.

In the past they have run into issues with gaming events. Mainly, acquiring equipment, storage and man power.
 
Most of the consoles and games in the past, have been peoples own equipment, and so they had to lug it along with all their other stuff. I know from experience that some consoles really hate being manhandled too much.

Storage of gear whilst at the convention was difficult in the past. I remember back at the Britannia hotel, poor Chrome had to setup and tear down every night so everything could be stored in a secure room. I think it broke him.
In the Hilton i cannot see this being an issue.

Man power was really thin back in the day. As i said above, Chrome was a shattered wreak that year. Now with great facilities and lots of eager people to lend a hand, this should be less of an issue

I was at all the gaming events this year, and I was surprised with how many people came by with their own laptops to the Kerbal Space Program and the Retro gaming events. At the Artemis event, people just came along just to watch how horrendously the players were doing.

So don't worry. With Oculus Rift within our grasp, I foresee the return of the gaming room. Maybe not as console based games though.
I also Hope the Guest of Honor, Yak, will be around next year, so maybe we could have a Llamasoft night.
blowing up more poor Kerbals is a must as well.


P.S These are solely my experiences as a volunteer in the past, and as a knuckle dragging grunt this year. There could have been issues that i'm not aware of.
P.P.S Yes, Elevators are a total bitch. There's a good reason why Anthrocon, in America, is nicknamed "Staircon". Be thankful there was only 5 floors at the Hilton.

Offline Nidonocu

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Re: Confuzzled 2015 Pros and Cons
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2015, 11:50:36 »
Thank you kindly for the feedback!

Regarding the gaming events, we'll definitely be reviewing them and seeing what we can do to improve him.

The problem with a games room is that it is super high in resource requirements:
  • Setting up two Wii U's took about half an hour and tearing down about 15 minutes. Add more consoles and this would get longer meaning we'd need to basically 'take over' a room because sharing it would be a huge effort every start and stop.
  • For all the hours its open, it would need a rotation of at least two members of staff, similar to Ops which has a big team to handle it. Given the cost of the equipment involved, said staff would need to be well trusted.
  • It would require some careful security requirements to prevent theft, including maybe a security guard at the door for all opening hours.
  • We'd need a TV or compatible projector, screen and a sound system for every console. These are items we have but are in high demand by other events with presentations from laptops.
  • Arranging consoles and loaned equipment requires careful planning and the older systems certainly aren't getting any less delicate!

If we were able to solve all these issues then maybe we could bring back the games room! But failing that, let us know specific games you'd like to play and maybe we can add more events next year. :)
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Offline The Dark Knight

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Re: Confuzzled 2015 Pros and Cons
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2015, 16:48:49 »
Thank you kindly for the feedback!

Regarding the gaming events, we'll definitely be reviewing them and seeing what we can do to improve him.

The problem with a games room is that it is super high in resource requirements:
  • Setting up two Wii U's took about half an hour and tearing down about 15 minutes. Add more consoles and this would get longer meaning we'd need to basically 'take over' a room because sharing it would be a huge effort every start and stop.
  • For all the hours its open, it would need a rotation of at least two members of staff, similar to Ops which has a big team to handle it. Given the cost of the equipment involved, said staff would need to be well trusted.
  • It would require some careful security requirements to prevent theft, including maybe a security guard at the door for all opening hours.
  • We'd need a TV or compatible projector, screen and a sound system for every console. These are items we have but are in high demand by other events with presentations from laptops.
  • Arranging consoles and loaned equipment requires careful planning and the older systems certainly aren't getting any less delicate!

If we were able to solve all these issues then maybe we could bring back the games room! But failing that, let us know specific games you'd like to play and maybe we can add more events next year. :)

Not to mention the drain on personal that is required to PAT inspect all consoles/machines that attendees bring it for said games room. It's a legal requirement and it's not something that can be feasibly done "on the fly".
Essentially, as Nido said, we'd need a team of people who are prepared to sit in the games room to monitor it, and the equipment, and perform any PAT inspections required.

TL;DR - If you want a games room we need people to volunteer to run it! ;)

Offline tinka

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Re: Confuzzled 2015 Pros and Cons
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2015, 20:46:19 »
As a first timer at CFz I can only compare this to EF and various smaller cons. It was great, perfect!

I was actually surprised how well everything was organized and yet how relaxed the organizers seemed to be - at least that is how it looked to us the con-goers - everything seemed to run smoothing thoughtout ^^'/

Here's some tips for improvement:

- I would've liked to attend the Tea Party but got conflicting info on the times when the tickets should've been bought and was instructed to come back to reception later. Upon returning I was then told they were no longer selling them. Tickets for separate events should be sold as part of registration or at least at the registration table.

- The smoking outside the main door wasn't nice. I'm especially sensitive to tobacco smell (but expensive cigar or pipe smell is actually nice ^^') - makes me want to vomit which is not good if you're in a fursuit :/ It would perhaps help if the smoking area was clearly marked which large signs pointing to it.

- Minor annoyance was realizing the ice bath was still available past midnight at the dead dog party. Again I was misinformed that it would not be available for the DDP evening dance so I didn't plan on dancing and suiting that late. Arrangements should be made so that it is available througout the con as it does significanly extend your endurance to fursuit.

Tips for the icebath users: please place the packs neatly sideways in rows next to each other. This way everyone can easily insert new packs and find their frozen packs. Perhaps a photo instruction of this should be placed next to the bath.

The hotel should get some serious feedback on quality management: I had issues and heard from others that such basic things like rooms having lights broken, taps and showers not working properly were commonplace. The so-called wellness center had even worse maintenance issues with exactly half their shower heads 'out of order'. It reminded me of the internet meme 'You had one job!' - major hotels like the Hilton should have such simple and cheap fixes made immeadiately.
I'm a mechanic by trade and I could hear and see that the door mechanisms of the lifts needed a throughout overhaul. Again they should have a 24/7 service agreement for them as it is pretty significant part of their business to have working lifts.

Other than that the hotel staff were very helpful and friendly, perhaps little unprepared for our deluge and ability to consume products from their bar ;3 I hope they learn to prepare for next time - it's more business for them ^^'
« Last Edit: May 28, 2015, 20:52:50 by tinka »
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Offline James The Dog

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Re: Confuzzled 2015 Pros and Cons
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2015, 20:50:54 »
P.P.S Yes, Elevators are a total bitch. There's a good reason why Anthrocon, in America, is nicknamed "Staircon". Be thankful there was only 5 floors at the Hilton.

This years FWA was even worse. Waiting ages for a lift (sometimes around 10 minutes!) and half the time it came it was full and you had to wait again! Would have been bad enough normally, but the amount of people "going up to go down" even though they told us not to slowed things down even more. Compounded by the fact that there were also lifts out of action throughout that con too. And the fact my room was on the 29th floor meant the stairs weren't really an option either.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2015, 20:57:47 by James The Dog »

Offline tryst

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Re: Confuzzled 2015 Pros and Cons
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2015, 00:47:09 »
- Minor annoyance was realizing the ice bath was still available past midnight at the dead dog party. Again I was misinformed that it would not be available for the DDP evening dance so I didn't plan on dancing and suiting that late. Arrangements should be made so that it is available througout the con as it does significanly extend your endurance to fursuit.

Tips for the icebath users: please place the packs neatly sideways in rows next to each other. This way everyone can easily insert new packs and find their frozen packs. Perhaps a photo instruction of this should be placed next to the bath.
We had some problems with individuals storing their PCM inserts in the charge cooler. This caused it to ice up as the water inside couldn't move about. Some inserts even became frozen to the pipework! In the end I started pulling the worst offenders' inserts out and dumping them on the side so that the cooler remained usable.

To everyone who uses the fursuit facilities, please, please, please don't monopolize them - they're for everyone.

What else... Ceilson Furblade was an amazing addition this year. Darn thing nearly blew my contact lenses out, but it certainly was refreshing.

Offline Ash Weststar

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Re: Confuzzled 2015 Pros and Cons
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2015, 04:56:19 »
Again I was misinformed that it would not be available for the DDP evening dance so I didn't plan on dancing and suiting that late.
I suspect it wasn't intended to be available and was a mistake.

Arrangements should be made so that it is available througout the con as it does significanly extend your endurance to fursuit.
I think DDP is considered 'after' the con. Other than that, I believe the fursuit lounge is closed between 2am to 6am due a number of reasons - I didn't really see that as unreasonable though?

We had some problems with individuals storing their PCM inserts in the charge cooler. This caused it to ice up as the water inside couldn't move about. Some inserts even became frozen to the pipework! In the end I started pulling the worst offenders' inserts out and dumping them on the side so that the cooler remained usable.
I suspect with some signage, that sort of thing can be mitigated.

It would require some careful security requirements to prevent theft
At my work, we just use cages on consoles and other equipment.

Note: this post only represents the opinion and interests of the user behind it, no other associations are involved.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2015, 15:32:51 by Ash Weststar »

Offline Jencen

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Re: Confuzzled 2015 Pros and Cons
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2015, 20:54:17 »
Thank you kindly for the feedback!

Regarding the gaming events, we'll definitely be reviewing them and seeing what we can do to improve him.

The problem with a games room is that it is super high in resource requirements:
  • Setting up two Wii U's took about half an hour and tearing down about 15 minutes. Add more consoles and this would get longer meaning we'd need to basically 'take over' a room because sharing it would be a huge effort every start and stop.
  • For all the hours its open, it would need a rotation of at least two members of staff, similar to Ops which has a big team to handle it. Given the cost of the equipment involved, said staff would need to be well trusted.
  • It would require some careful security requirements to prevent theft, including maybe a security guard at the door for all opening hours.
  • We'd need a TV or compatible projector, screen and a sound system for every console. These are items we have but are in high demand by other events with presentations from laptops.
  • Arranging consoles and loaned equipment requires careful planning and the older systems certainly aren't getting any less delicate!

If we were able to solve all these issues then maybe we could bring back the games room! But failing that, let us know specific games you'd like to play and maybe we can add more events next year. :)

Not to mention the drain on personal that is required to PAT inspect all consoles/machines that attendees bring it for said games room. It's a legal requirement and it's not something that can be feasibly done "on the fly".
Essentially, as Nido said, we'd need a team of people who are prepared to sit in the games room to monitor it, and the equipment, and perform any PAT inspections required.

TL;DR - If you want a games room we need people to volunteer to run it! ;)


<pedant> PAT is not a legal requirement. It is however a requirement of the hotel and the con insurance policies. </pedant>
Point still stands that it is a major timesink to have this done. As at previous years have had to change plugs on numerous items due to poor wiring.
As a PAT tester in a previous life it's 20 items an hour..... IF all those are laid out in a row, plugs out and have a PERFECT condition.

PAT code of practice also lays out that portable "site" equipment. I.E. the sort that I'd classify as gaming room stuff (as it moves around lots) should be visually inspected before each use. Once again, tying up valuable staff.

So yeah. Join up ^_~
Thanks

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Re: Confuzzled 2015 Pros and Cons
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2015, 12:06:03 »
I used to do PAT Testing in my last two jobs. It is a right pain and I feel for anyone having to do it.

Offline tinka

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Re: Confuzzled 2015 Pros and Cons
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2015, 14:57:51 »

<pedant> PAT is not a legal requirement. It is however a requirement of the hotel and the con insurance policies. </pedant>
Point still stands that it is a major timesink to have this done. As at previous years have had to change plugs on numerous items due to poor wiring.
As a PAT tester in a previous life it's 20 items an hour..... IF all those are laid out in a row, plugs out and have a PERFECT condition.

PAT code of practice also lays out that portable "site" equipment. I.E. the sort that I'd classify as gaming room stuff (as it moves around lots) should be visually inspected before each use. Once again, tying up valuable staff.

So yeah. Join up ^_~

Wow, surprised that this one is a requirement - and for all equipment used at the con? I work at an electronics lab and we do PAT testing for everything that comes thought the door for inspection or repair and again afterwards if we have to service them. But I'd be hesitant to join as I'm concerned as to how that would effect my con experience. What are the TOS for crew?

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Offline Bezel

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Re: Confuzzled 2015 Pros and Cons
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2015, 10:58:22 »
On the whole, a pretty damned good convention. The CFz and hotel staff seem to be meshing together more effectively - hopefully next year will be even better :)

The food was excellent - had the pizza, the tagliatelle and the korma (not all at once !) - tasty, large portions, and they even let us take the plates away with foil over the top when we wanted to eat at a panel event.

Anyway a few comments from me...

The takeaway food stand was a great idea - we had a lovely Thai Green curry from there, but having the same menu options every night was disappointing. I've read in the UKFur forum that this was because this was a new brand trial, so I have hopes for more varied choices next year :) Could they also be asked to show opening/closing times for the stand ? They may have been on display, but I didn't see them.

Rubbish bins. I appreciate that the hotel doesn't want its nice shiny reception area and corridors populated with nasty rubbish bins, but honestly, I shouldn't have to walk from one end of the hotel to the other to dispose of rubbish at ConOps or in the Fursuit Lounge. Can we get a few at appropriate places - maybe outside the Dealers Den/Art Show/NightClub and ConOps ? Surely the hotel would agree that it's better to have rubbish in the bins than left on the floors and tables ?

Could some of the "all attendee" type events - such as the opening and closing ceremonies and the attendee photoshoot be advertised better ? The attendee photoshoot seemed to be down on people because many didn't know (or had forgotten) it was happening. Could we have some large stands dotted around to show the time for these events ? Not all on one sheet - just one sheet per event so it stands out.

EF has a newsletter. Now, I don't expect CFz to have one - it'd mean a whole new department, plus a budget etc., but perhaps a single sheet of A4 with upcoming events, changes to times and locations, major news etc. be printed off last thing each night ? (I can hear ConOps screaming from here ! :)) I'd love to slip a copy under every attendees door so everyone knew about things, but that might be logistically problematic, so a couple of stands with a holder on them would do, allowing people to take them if they wanted.

Include volunteers in the con credits if possible - their work helps make CFz work, and it'd be nice to give them some recognition as well.

Sponsors get a preview of the art show. I was asked if it was possible for dealers to get something similar ? They're basically in the den all the time the art show is open, so don't get a chance to see the art without leaving their tables.

Add more bins to the fursuit lounge, and mark them clearly.

Can we get some mirrors in the fursuit lounge ? I know glass is a hazard, so could Engineering whip up something with perspex, mylar/silvered film and hardboard ? They don't have to be particularly high-quality, just enough to check your head is on straight and your tail isn't leaving an unfortunate gap :) As regards placement, how about one on the end of each arm of the suit dryers - perhaps on a bracket to allow removal and transportation ?

Have a plentiful supply of paper towels in the fursuit lounge.

Issues with the bar - documented well enough elsewhere, so the only thing I'll ask is why there seemed to be a need for four servers to use the same till. Making a drink, walking round to the till to check the price, walking back to get the money, back to the till, back to give the change all seemed very excessive.

CFz TV - a great idea for those unwilling/unable to attend. The issues with quality have already been addressed elsewhere, so all I'd suggest is that the events that will be covered be clearly marked in the conbook (or a separate flyer), and that maybe the static image displayed between shows be modified to show what the next event shown will be, and when.

Great work everyone, everyone who contributed should feel proud :)

Offline Cosmo

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Re: Confuzzled 2015 Pros and Cons
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2015, 13:12:30 »

Rubbish bins. I appreciate that the hotel doesn't want its nice shiny reception area and corridors populated with nasty rubbish bins, but honestly, I shouldn't have to walk from one end of the hotel to the other to dispose of rubbish at ConOps or in the Fursuit Lounge. Can we get a few at appropriate places - maybe outside the Dealers Den/Art Show/NightClub and ConOps ? Surely the hotel would agree that it's better to have rubbish in the bins than left on the floors and tables ?

We did have a bin outside the Den this year, though it was tucked in the corner where security stood so might have been difficult to spot and it did fill up pretty quickly (Having said that, it was kindly provided very last minute by the hotel). There was also a rubbish sack behind the convention table that we were quite happy to let other people use.

Next year we'll request a larger one, though it shouldn't be such a problem as the Den will be more central :)