Forums  /  ESA 2017  /  ESA2017 Feedback Thread
(edited: )

As usual we'd like to offer you the chance to give your feedback on ESA. Without pre-empting feedback too much, it is the feeling of the organisers that this year's event ran well. We started and finished on time using only two setup blocks and had no major technical issues on the streaming side.

When you write your post, please consider if you want to comment on any of the following areas:

Experience as a runner (selection process, experience at the streaming area, satisfaction with tech during setup, and standard of hosting during your run)
Experience as an attendee (finding Fortnox, checking in, venue, cleanliness, etc),
Experience volunteering at tech or hosting,
Experience of side events (arcades, board games, community run tournaments)
Experience of accommodation and distance to/from Fortnox Arena (be it a hotel or mass housing).
Ability to find suitable practice equipment for your game(s)

If you watched at home,

Your experience of the stream,
Your experience of the donation tracker,
Your thoughts on the overall standard of runs on display, any major highlights and any genre or era of runs you thought were underrepresented

And of course any other area you can think of!

If you've already written an event pastebin (rather than a shoutouts to friends pastebin) please just copy it over.

In the coming weeks we'll be reviewing the event and your feedback will help shape next year's ESA.

If there's anything you're unhappy posting here under your name, please contact us privately using our anonymous Google Form. We'll read everything submitted and hold it in equal stature to public posts here.

Private or anonymous feedback option



PS. Here's our Discord reaction wall from the night of the event

NordNord, AlkoAlko and 5 others like this. 

(Copied from pastebin with minor edits)

After ESA 2016 I stated to Edenal and Planks that I wanted to get more involved with the tech side of ESA. I then second-guessed myself, saying i wasn't going to volunteer until the actual sign-ups went live, when I realised that despite the stress of last year's tech debacle I did want to do it again, and that I did indeed want to be more involved.

I was trusted with a senior tech role this year. Whether this was wise beforehand or not, it definitely seems to have gone well from my side of things. The guys I was working with were all capable, and even when their shifts were at ungodly hours they all stuck with it, and for that I am massively grateful. You all have my thanks, as do the rest of the seniors (Planks, Edenal, Oasiz and Zephyyrr)

The workflow for tech was far more intuitive this year, with ESAController being a massive help in setting things up. We had a few issues where we had to manually crop game feeds, but even this wasn't actually too bad, despite my protests at the time. Extron's cropping method is pretty non-intuitive, but I go tmy head around it in the end. Hopefully next event we can have a full set of presets for all the consoles that runs will be on in plenty of time. The mixer was initially a struggle to get used to since I'd never used a multi-layer digital mixer prior to the event, but after a few setups I got the hang of it, and after that point things were a lot smoother. We did notice that the headset on tech gave a very different impression of the audio balance than the speakers, so that will need to be kept in mind. The restream PC falling over a couple of times is obviously a fairly big problem, and will need to be looked at before the next event. Also, 46 hour limit on RTMP sucks.

Onto the rest of the ESA experience. The layout of the room and the tech station was a massive improvement, and Hall B was actually used properly this year, so many thanks to Rasmus for that. Actually having a decent amount of gaming PCs helped tech as well- we could just get runners to install their games on any practice PC they chose and move it over during setup. Much easier than having to deal with just two capable gaming machines. The amount of chairs and tables was far better as well, it never really felt like there weren't enough.

Other than when I was at tech I didn't watch much of the marathon. That said, I was around for a considerably larger number of hours than I actually was on shift for. The schedule was a mixed bag in my mind, though the team were very professional in their handling of it. I feel like there were perhaps too many Final Fantasy and GTA games, but they are very popular so I can see why they were included. I was initially very sceptical of the Super Mario 64 relay, but it ended up being a highlight of the marathon, so thanks to Fuzzy and Chrism for organising that. Hearing the cheering from the second stream room so regularly was fantastic and really added to the atmosphere.

The kiosk was a vast improvement from last year. Yes, the prices for drinks were higher, but the vastly wider choice was very much appreciated from my end. Whilst it was a slight bit frustrating when the card machine was broken and the times it was closed before the advertised time, overall it was a much better experience than the kiosk at ESA 2016 and their (quite frankly awful) hotdogs.

The one area that massively improved my overall experience most is having a bike. It is so much nicer being able to just hop on a bike to get into the centre if Växjö than having to walk 20+ minutes in each direction every time. Whether this is a problem with the location of the venue, I'm not entirely sure, but with a bike it becomes a relative non-issue, at least personally. Despite having my hotel room in the centre of town, I was fine with it.

Overall, this year's ESA was a far better experience from an event point of view. Everything that was a problem last year was at least improved, and while there are still a few issues still, there pretty much always will be and I'm sure the entire team will be working on improving things for ESA Winter and onward. Thank you all for putting on such a fantastic event, it was very much worth my while, both as a volunteer and as an attendee.

One thing I missed from my initial pastebin was the lanyards. They felt way too big and the design was based off of an already dead meme. A clear area for improvement next time. Same goes for the T-shirt design since it was basically the same.

NordNord, AlkoAlko and 3 others like this. 
(edited: )

Hotel distance was bad; I wasn't residing in one this time around but it was pretty annoying when going to room parties. I don't think there's anything that can be done though, since the Fortnox Arena is so good for its price and size afaik.

The hosts could've been less accepting about which donations to read. During one of the runs I commentated, there was a meme going on with the donations, which is usually fine (hell, it's coming from Twitch chat), but it was getting out of hand and the hosts felt obliged to read them I guess. I also read complaints about other issues with various hosts on Twitter, so maybe there could be some more "host training" or something for next year. Not putting the blame on any particular people, but just something that should be improved upon.

Burger King delivery was great. I only used it once but it's one hell of a convenience.
Tech was definitely an improvement on last year as well.
The second stream was done really well (from what I saw) this time around, compared to ESA15. Getting its own room helped a lot. The room in general is pretty cozy too, especially cause of the kitchen in the back.

The arcades were hella fun too, while they were around. Lots of demand on Quick 'n' Crash so I didn't spend much time on that, but I got some quality time on Daytona USA.

All in all, an event well done. Good work, organizers/volunteers.

NordNord, AlkoAlko and MonojiraMonojira like this. 
(edited: )

I wasn't able to attend ESA this year. Last year was great, but I expected to see some changes.

The stream was really great, everything seemed to work great and I enjoyed the Ape Escape runs a lot!

The Donation Tracker did also seem to work fine, however there was a moment where a lot of donations were delayed or not displayed. Definitely something that shouldn't happen but nevermind.

I really want to comment on the things that I wanted to be changed/add, which is more about the event itself.

Longer runs & Stream 2:
8 hours run is boring for me to watch, especially because I don't like Final Fantasy. Alright, 8 hours is fine, I'll survive. But having a 4 hours Final Fantasy run at the Stream 2 at the same time is not okay. They should have something different, this takes so many viewers away from you and could explain why you didn't have more viewers.

Also I was very disappointed that they denied so many runs this year or just moved them to stream 2. Instead of accepting all those long Final Fantasy runs, they should get greater games in and new runners. Also a way of improving, making the event bigger and getting more viewers.

We do really need more food at the venue and especially more healthy food. With the current income (1000 SEK - Also Mass Housing) you guys should be able to have more healthy food in the day times and also in the nights. Last year they did only have a hotdog in the nights, where some would like to have something nice instead of going hungry to bed. They had Burger King this year, I just can't survive on that a whole weekend.

Overall the event was great but I really wanted to see those things change.

I've looked into it, seems like I was wrong about the title. Sorry about that!

It did have a 4 hours long run going on at the same time, and that was really annoying when you just wanted to watch some fast runs instead of waiting 8 hours or 4 hours.

Again, sorry.

MonojiraMonojira likes this. 

Allright. So, this was the third ESA, that Germench has restreamed the ESA-Mainstream for the Germanspeaking Speedrunfans. And all in all, this was the best ESA by far. What we (We means the persons behind Germench) really apprecaited, was the fact, that us restreamers were always informed just in time, if something huge regarding the schedule would happen. That was really awesome. The runs were also perfectly choosen and every day had at least one entertaining highlight.

But there are some things we have to criticise, though this is just some nitpicking.

- Estimates: There were many runs, that went over their estimates. In some cases eben the PB of the runner was just slightly under the estimate, so that it was no wonder, that they went over their time.

- Donation Tracker: Okay, this is the main critic point. There were some things, that just didn't work in this tracker.


1 The Tracker itself. There was some confusion, if this tracker was just two hours behind us, so that the donations were given free with a two hour-delay, or if it was something else. Then the information came up, that the tracker was in fact in another timezone (UTC I think?), which didn't really help. If there would be a possibility that the tracker would adapt to local time zone of the person watching him, that would be awesome.

#2 Bid Wars and Incentives: Germench didn't support any bid wars or incentives this year, which was a first for us. The Problem was, that we had some issues with how things were sorted, or to be more precise, seemingly not sorted. If there was a sortation, we couldn't make sense of it. Also maybe it would be a good idea, to have seperate trackers for the mainstream and the second stream? This would make things a little bit clearer.

- The ads: I can understand, that the ads needed to be run, for various reasons. But the issue with the ads was, that especially the "Save the Children"-Ads were shown so often. Don't ge me wrong, they were well made. But they grew stale very fast and went on our nerves. I don't know, how many times the "Aid - What is it good for"-Advertisment was shown, but the jokes of this ad weren't that funny anymore, when you've heard them for fifth time in a few days.

All in all the Germenchrestream was really satisfied with this year's ESA. And depending on when ESA Winter would happen (I heard something about February?) we would be certainly more than willing, to restream this event also.

Thank you!

AlkoAlko and MageikkMageikk like this. 

The good:

¤ Room layout was much better this time.
¤ More space/rooms
¤ Decent number of TV's
¤ Good practice PC's
¤ Second stream back!
¤ Almost no tech issues 😮 (that I noticed)
¤ We stayed on/close to the schedule
¤ No silly pigs on stream (that I noticed)
¤ Lots of small side streams

The Bad:

¤ Too much "host time". I don't know a better way to put it. I'd much rather see feed from the second stream (or any of the million side streams, like the watermelon stream) than hear some random guys talk about the Emoji movie(??).
¤ Some of the hosts could've paid more attention to the runs that were going on while they were "hosting". Especially if there was an interview afterwards.
¤ Donation incentives/wars that were never suggested popped up on the site for some reason! Like "Rockman vs Forte" or "Low% vs Pacifist" for Ninja Gaiden.
¤ Some attention to detail, like camera angles or clearly marked start/stop buttons. I don't like to be yelled at when I'm on camera, for asking which button to start the timer with for a race, getting no answer and then drawing my own conclusion.
¤ People seemed to have crazy tight estimates (or just bad runs?). There were a lot of runs I watched that went over estimate. Even long runs. We still stayed on schedule thanks to tech though, so that's good.

ZephyyrrZephyyrr, AlkoAlko and 2 others like this. 

Nobody was wearing suits and ties, very unprofessional. This is a professional speedrunning event and we can't have people show themselves in T-Shirts. I've asked one of the attendees for their business card so I could see what kind of slob would even do this, but they didn't have any! Imagine my shock. Thankfully, I was able to contact the twitch chat mods, who let me know that any and all unprofessional behaviour such as having fun or playing video games will be removed.

In all seriousness though, speaking purely as a viewer it was good. Stream 2 was excellent, but it would've been nice if the chat there wasn't in slow mode or follower-only mode, since it didn't have many people in it anyway. I agree with Mhmd_FVC when it comes to the meme donations part, the "wife's son" shit was way overdone and actually made me mute the stream.

For having donations which are meant to be read out on the second stream, a field to tell donation readers which stream the donation should be read out on might be worth considering, since some of them accidentally read out loud "hashtag second stream" or donations meant for the other stream. Having all the donation stuff done through and paypal is nice. Good thing Pac was able to fix his broken website during the event, though hosts reading through old donations was a bit awkward.

Chat mods had a broom up their ass but that's just what you get when you let GDQ people do the modding. At least they didn't ban any emotes this time, just unicode characters and the combination of the letters "cx". Seriously, where do you even find these clowns?

Speaking of the runs, I think it's good that lesser-known runs were featured, and that in some cases (Wind Waker) riskier runs were tried. I've enjoyed a great number of runs from games I've never even heard about. Meme runs like My Summer Car were also amazing. Overall, good variety balanced with interesting speedrunning.

reven_reven_, CongruenceCongruence and 3 others like this. 
(edited: )

Headsets: The broken-in bands + the new ear cups made a massive difference in my comfort while doing a run. I still don't like them for aesthetic and hygienic reasons, but at least I was comfortable this time.

I was able to use a bike this year, and it made my week much more enjoyable. While I didn't need one of the pink rentals, making them available is important.

The main thing that really soured my mood on several occasions was the sheer amount of trash/food lying around everywhere. Mostly-full-but-open soda cans, BK bags, pizza boxes, candy, etc. It's not a big deal for me to do some minor cleanup around where I'm playing, but a more concerted effort to have crew there to clean up during the low-usage hours would be much appreciated. I'm a slob myself but I at least try to keep it together for a week while I'm one of hundreds instead of alone.

The business(es?) soliciting at the venue felt very out of place and awkward at all times. I assume this was either a conceit to Vaxjo or a sponsorship deal, but it really didn't fit with the event.

One of the ads on the wraparound display had a white background. It made it distracting when it came up in the rotation.

Edit: I forgot about this. The schedule on my phone didn't adjust to my time zone properly. It gave me times in EDT so I had to keep adding 6 hours. Either links to horaro schedules or a quick way to fix the timezone in use would have been nice. It's not the biggest deal but when trying to interpolate two schedules, figure out what time to get up for an early morning run, etc was annoying.

ZachoholicZachoholic likes this. 
(edited: )

(Watched from home, also sorry for any errors in spelling)

"Your experience of the stream"

Very good ESA this year compared to last, the stream was very watchable and the setup times were pretty fast. There were some hiccups such as stream going down during peoples runs but it was normally solved fast. The second stream was a good addition, it's a good way to have more runs being shown. I did find it weird that you had to type !donate in the chat to even get a link the the donation page though. So as for watching, it was a nice experience. So congrats to you guys for that. The issue comes from the chat mods and what seems like overly policing on what is and what isn't allowed to be said. I felt a lot of censorship was happening and that isn't good, a lot of people who watch ESA hate the censorship of GDQ "be careful on what you say or you're gone" attitude and I fear it is coming over to ESA. I saw some pretty questionable things being banned that I'm sure you (the staff) saw and heard complaints about. One part I would like to point out is in ryedawg's pastebin at line 40:, now I may be biased because rye is my bud but I saw the run that triggered this message to happen. It wasn't the end of the world on stuff being said, it was just banter for the most part, people having fun, surely this is what ESA is about? I feel once people have a sword next to their name, this kind power trip happens and I think you might need to rethink the mod team because I personally have a dislike when a person is like this. I guess a good way to end this point would be, when you (the staff and people at the event) have to take time and remove the censored shit that the mods caused, then you know there is an issue.

"Your experience of the donation tracker"

I donated during the event and it didn't appear on the tracker so that isn't good at all. This should be fixed before ESA winter which you guys said will be more "charity focused" (hopefully I'm remembering this correctly). I'm wondering though, if the donation didn't appear on the tracker, did it count towards the final goal that was donated? I would also like to mention that a lot donation goals were not met, the one I personally saw not met was the Super Mario Sunshine glitch showcase and I know the reason why. The people who read out donations didn't mention this goal before or during the run, if no one knows about it, it's no wonder it didn't get met. I agree with MH about donations as well btw and I agree with CounterPillow about the "hashtag second stream" stuff.

"Your thoughts on the overall standard of runs on display, any major highlights and any genre or era of runs you thought were underrepresented"

I have to congratulate Chrism and Fuzzyness (and everyone involved) for the 70 player SM64 run for having the best run of the marathon, it was like 2013 all over again, I saw a very good tweet on how I feel about it, . Would really like more of this during the next ESA for sure. It was just a lot of fun to watch. Biased GTA at ESA = good, GDQ has no GTA = bad comment because I run those games. I know Omega submitted both SA and IV but it seems like a lot to me personally. At least GTAIV went well, good to see a nice run of that at a marathon. I saw a few runs go over estimate, that includes the very first run of the marathon and the last, if I was just a casual viewer and wanted to see the first and last run of the marathon, this would really stick out to me. So to the runners submitting, think of the estimate you can get and then up it by 5 minutes.

I ended up writing a little more than I thought, just wanted to say again this ESA was a huge improvement over last year and I hope you all the best to the next one.

CongruenceCongruence, TeleshotTeleshot and MonojiraMonojira like this. 
(edited: )

ESA 2017 Feedback
First of all I want to use my feedback to give a huge shout-out to every helper and volunteer that made 2017 a fantastic event and a huge improvement over last year.

To give my feedback a bit of weight I want to add that I’ve been host/volunteer at both ESA 17 and 16, helped organize several online speedrun marathons and also been attendee at SGDQ 15. I’ve been running two games this year, one on each stream. I’ve spent a fair amount of time talking to people about the event, not only attendees but also other volunteers and also friends (“viewers”) at home to gather as much feedback to give back to you guys as possible.

I’ve grown to like the venue and the city. Coming there for the first time last year, it was a bit of a “diamond in the rough” situation. This has improved drastically this year. The venue space has been optimized to give it an all-around more organic feel. The tables felt less organized and static, the viewer area felt very inviting. Having tech set up the way it was definitely paid off. It was nice to be able to observe tech + hosts while they work and vice-versa, being able to communicate and reply while you were sitting at these stations or needed help from somebody and not feeling super detached (more on this later). The utilization of the B-Hall was absolutely needed. I’ve spend a fair amount there since it felt very different from the dark A-Hall area. A lot of casual play and just generally having fun + messing around, small tournaments, races… everything possible thanks to the additional PCs (more on this later) My favorite addition to the venue was the second stream in the VIP area. This was not only by far the best improvement to the marathon but also a nice place to just hang out and chill out (more on this later). The city itself felt a lot less confusing after having been here the year before. It was much easier to plan out meals and shopping trips and hence I have pretty much no complaints about the general location (other than Swedish Railroads being one big stressful mess sometimes). The new bistro shop was a nice addition although the snacks + drinks were mediocre at best. But still a welcome addition. The Burger King service was also good to have the one time I utilized it but from what I heard they didn’t want to come back because of financial concerns? Maybe that was just a rumor. I haven’t seen any of the promised “food trucks” but I assume that BK was the replacement for that? Anyways, to make it short: It was no issue to pick food options, due to bikes + nice weather it wasn’t too bad to walk around and overall this year I have pretty much nothing to complain about in regard to the venue.

With Scandic being overbooked and the Royal Corner also at its limit, booking a hotel room was somewhat stressful this year. Even though I pretty much booked my Scandic hotel room as early as possible + used the WGW discount code, I ended up paying more than last year for a worse room. Might have been just unlucky, but I definitely will consider booking Scandic twice for next year (if we stay in Växjö). I’ve seen the Royal Corner and the Elite Park from the inside. Both were just marginally more expensive than Scandic but the benefits of both were somewhat equalized by the location. I am looking forward to the ICON hotel right next to the venue and hope it opens until next year + ends up being affordable enough. The additional bike service provided by ESA was a really good idea and I ended up regretting not getting one for myself.

I don’t have to go into detail why last year’s stream was not a good experience. This year improved it on so many levels. The layouts were a lot nicer, Streamdeck helped for a much better viewing experience and also made hosting great and simple. Sure, there are some minor downsides, as you often needed to contact somebody specific for minor changes on the layout or such. Also a big shoutout to tech for no terribly long setup times. Overall, the schedule felt very well thought-out and didn’t keep moving around by too much. On-site viewing experience was fantastic although I hope that next year we may get another 1-2 couches for viewers, especially for night shift viewing 😉 The first couch was a bit too close to the monitor and past the speakers – which was great for console runs happening there, but not ideal to watch PC runs on. Speaking of PC runs, sadly sometimes the commentator was cut off by the camera placement but I feel like that the runner + commentator could have checked that too (or tech could have told them to move around a bit). One minor improvement to the layout would be to maybe make the top bar smaller to provide a bit more room for the game itself as gameplay was still quite small for mobile devices. But it wasn’t nearly as bad as some people online made it look.
Maybe a short mention here as it’s not worth its own category: Mods seemed to do a decent job once again but I’ve felt a lot of unnecessary tension/spam was created in chat by certain mods going a little bit overboard with their “own” agenda. I’ve mostly followed those instances along in the volunteer discord but sometimes a personal agenda was put in place where it really wasn’t the best idea and some mod decisions were followed up by “If this was my charity marathon”, etc… I know that there is a fine line between being too liberal and being too strict but personally I prefer the more open approach.

The new setup allowed for easier communication between all stations. There was very little miscommunication and if there was, it was mostly individual error and not a failure of the system itself. Tech did a great job this year and so did most hosts. It’s pretty hard to be talking as a host while in your ear tech and runners are communicating. But with a bit of practice and will power you learn to filter for the important information. There is always room for improvement here but this new setup worked quite well already. I personally would have liked more direct commands rather than the slightly too much “chatting” you could hear on comms, but it wasn’t too terrible. Some hosts seemed to struggle with the “order of action” whenever a game finished as they forgot to thank the runner and cut to a commercial directly, which caused them to appear for 2 seconds on full screen (automatically), only to fade out again. An example I have of this was the first host shift of Mergy and SevenS1ns (which I both absolutely respect as hosts and who both did a great job despite this):
It just shows how we might need a better communication BEFORE the hosting. During the host meetup we discussed a lot of things that were, despite being important, very redundant. Sure, the talking points are important but they were – or so it felt – barely utilized and we spend a good chunk of time discussing each individual point. Instead, what we really would have needed was a quick introduction to what happens once a run is over and how to use the streamdeck. In general, all hosts learned this from the previous shift but that’s also one way to assure that some sort of miscommunication comes up. In general, this wasn’t a huge issue and pretty much all hosts that struggled with the new control options improved.
Another point would be Ads. In generally, it felt like certain ads were played a lot more often and despite it being mentioned during the host meetup, it didn’t seem like hosts took too much care about what the previous host duo has done in terms of pacing (interviews, ads, talking, etc.). I understand that not everyone has time to spend a bit of time before their hosting shift to talk about what happened before but this would improve the overall selection of ads and such next year if done correctly.

Despite the fact that we were promised far more PCs than we eventually ended up with, the PC gaming situation at the venue was a lot better this year. It’s just a crucial part to be able to practice your games on hardware that is somewhat up to date and even more so important that you aren’t bottlenecked by hardware during your run, allowing you to do all the tricks and show off the run in the best light possible. The gaming PCs, as troublesome as they may sometimes be, were a huge and important improvement to the overall feel of the event but it will mostly be appreciated by PC runners. The Dreamhack PCs, as shitty as they are, were still a nice addition to have in B-Hall to hang out and practice on. I’m just slightly upset how often the 4 (we started with 6 but they kept disappearing :/) good practice PCs were occupied by people doing casual things but it does show how much they add for on-site entertainment either way. I was slightly confused as to where the promised notebooks ended up but to my understanding they’ve never been 100% promised. Overall, although we ended up with much less PCs than first expected, it was still nice to end up with a handful of useful stations and the DH PCs for casual entertainment. The arrangement could be approved a little bit by adding more PCs to the main hall so that 4-man races or similar events can take part with the main event and not get completely excluded in the corner of B-Hall. Although, either way, it worked out fine.

I’ve read a bunch of feedback prior to writing my own, partially to see points that I can agree/disagree on. In Pac’s premature Reddit post one of the most upvoted critizisms of this year was how confusing the second stream was to viewers. How they were upset that some games they wanted to watch ended up on a different channel. How that channel wasn’t even ESA’s own.
Well, as a participant and runner on second stream, I can only stress how absolutely important the second stream was to me, personally. It was not only a much different feel from running on first stream but also an overall nice place to hang out and watch runs in. Sure, the room may have suffered a bit from poor ventilation, but the setup and tech was on point and Liva did one hell of a job to get everything running fine and communicated well with the runners. If it wasn’t for him and the second stream, my favorite run wouldn’t have made it into the marathon at all. Lots of my friends did runs on second stream, I watched, commentated and hosted there a lot and the atmosphere and feel was just even more relaxed. With the exception of one incident I think it was just the right feel of “everybody is just here to have a good time”. Regarding the Silent Hill run, I think lots of factors went wrong – without blaming a specific individual here, runner, host and audience all made mistakes that could have been prevented to make the run not as much of a train wreck. The fact that Liva ended up being insulted by a few upset viewers is, in my opinion, tragic and not justified but also apparently inevitable when you are running a public marathon where people are just grasping on the smallest strain of drama to blow it out of proportions. And I am fairly certain that exactly that happened. If a somewhat awkward crowd/runner/chat interaction is the biggest drama of this year’s event then that’s certainly a good sign overall.
I definitely beg you to keep the second stream for next year, if in any way possible. It’s too important for participants and runners to be dropped just because a few viewers didn’t bother reading the schedule right or were annoyed that they may miss a run and have to watch the VoD.

Oh boy. I am fairly certain that I brought up this exact point last year and I was quite frustrated throughout the event to see that nothing or not much has changed this year. Of course I feel a bit sorry for the people that had to sit at the entrance all day, but I have a textile allergy so I removed my wrist-band on day one. The lanyard was just way too big to carry around your neck and the clip thing in the back was annoying, so I basically had mine lay in the hotel room all week. Despite me not having any visible authentication, I was free to move in-and-out of the venue any given day despite the last Friday. I even entered multiple times through B-Hall’s open exit doors. I understand that the climate justified keeping that door open day + night and the risk of organized crime groups entering the building to steal large quantities of equipment with attendees around is relatively slim, but still.
There were zero ID checks, not just not at the entrance but also not on site.
I also happen to be the guy that reported “Mr. Medge” to Planks – to summarize the incident a bit:
A very peculiar guy showed up at the event in a brown leather trench coat, black glasses and a small handheld photo device. Sure, he looked a bit awkward standing in the corner with his costume but not too out of the ordinary. But then one day he ran up in Hall B yelling out “Mr Walrus” (the Mirrors Edge runner) to engage him in conversation. He asked him very strange questions (but still nothing too weird) but it made it obvious that the guy had zero knowledge about speedrunning and just happened to catch some information about the run either online or via the event itself. Well as we called him out on his pretentious statements he dug himself deeper and deeper into a hole. He refused to give us his name, but argued that he “used to be third in Mirror’s Edge at some point” and “wanted to participate in the event but got beaten by Mr Walrus’ time”. And also that he would want to participate next year. So far, so good. Nothing too weird other than him not being recognized nor actually knowing anything about the game at all when asked a few deeper questions. In general, he did not appear to be a runner nor very knowledgeable about the concept of speedrunning.
Here’s where it gets weird though. The guy went up to several people after their runs, about a meter away, bend down and started taking pictures of their faces. Then asked them if it was ok if they posed for him or to look into his camera. And while he seemed somewhat interested in the runs and generally just socially awkward (which is completely ok and not too uncommon in a large gaming event like this), he ended up becoming relatively creeping when reappearing a few days later, doing the same thing again during Fallout:NV and Battlefield 1. During that run he sat down next to me (you can see it in the first 5 mins of the BF1 run) and started talking some weird things. That’s when I asked him if he streamed (since he didn’t wear a badge that showed his name). He said he wasn’t able to but considered it. So yeah, thought he was just new to everything. As the conversation went on it got more and more apparent that he just wandered into the venue not knowing what was going on. He had a general interest about video games but definitely didn’t sign up. He refused to show me his wrist band or lanyard, so I got planks to remove him. Sure, he later bought admission to the venue via Edenal, but I personally didn’t feel personally save from that point on especially because of an incident I witnessed with Pac (where I am not in the position to go into further detail).
Overall, the security was lacking, I assume we had some more stray people wandering in the venue. I caught a handful of people without lanyard or wristband walking around freely and I myself have never been approached and asked for it once.
I really hope this improves next year. While in general the place felt save enough, you just never know. It’s a definite vulnerability and the only reason it is tolerated is because it hasn’t been abused by anyone yet.

I think I don't have to mention much. I put forward a lot of input at the event and actively helped + worked with Maral & others to get this sorted out. A lot of donations just didn't go through. This was partially Paypal's fault but also to a bigger extend an issue with the tracker. I've heard several different stories but I did a lot of testing with Maral/Save the Children where my transaction numbers were compared, etc.
I came to the conclusion that especially donations with messages while logged in with a account didn't show up. None of my total of 10 donations were ever held by paypal and yet only 4 showed up in the tracker. That's not a great quota. I've had several people complain to me while I was hosting that their donations weren't read when they were donating from the audience. Nothing more awkward than KNOWING somebody donated and having to say "Sorry, no donations" when the runner asks for donations to be read during a downtime. This HAS to be fixed for the sake of the integrity of the event. Sadly, I don't have any more input on this matter due to lack of insight. But all my knowledge as to why things may have broken has already been sent to Maral.

To summarize this quicker than my Mr Medge story, the run of Dark Messiah of Might and Magic wasn’t broadcast because the internet went down during the run on Stream 2. This was addressed and fixed for the next day but to my understanding the uploads during the event were choking the connection throughout the event and some unforeseen issue killed the stream for pretty much the rest of the night (thankfully DMoMM was the last run of the day). Now in regards of the VoDs, I do understand that this is an unthankful and annoying task that you might want to get out of the way whenever possible. But I do not get why we need both Youtube + Twitch Uploads updated during the event if they don’t go up until after the event anyways. Instead, I would suggest to hire/ask a volunteer to do this externally, from home. We’ve been doing youtube uploads + highlights for our biggest online marathon (SFM) and have one guy dedicated to updating + cutting highlights as the event goes on. Uploads are usually up within 24 hours. Of course this does give the “filter” ability into somebody else’s hands but at a certain trust level I think this should be possible. We didn’t have any moments that absolutely shouldn’t be uploaded and even still the volunteer Discord allows for quick communication if that was the case. Again, I am not blaming the fact that DMoMM didn’t stream entirely on the fact of on-site uploading but at the same time this is something that could be improved and everyone would benefit from it.

Well, this is where I may step on somebody’s toes and I want to excuse myself in advance. In general, hosts did a very fine job this year and smaller mishaps like the before mentioned bad transitions and the repetition of ads can be forgiven or fixed on site. I also understand that hosts are volunteers and often with little or no experience, trying it out for the first time. I have been a first-time host before too and hosted again this year on both streams. And while I am no big name, I have a few things to critique regardless. Despite the very welcomed open / laissez-faire approach of ESA, some hosts seemed to be a little bit too unfocused on their job. And to my surprised, this did involve a few “higher profile” hosts. Again, nothing here was too terrible and I’ve already addressed the host lead Maral with actual names but despite that I would like to say that a host should at no point get involved with the commentary of a run when they weren’t asked to and the runner has one or multiple co-commentators present. Especially not when the host has little/no knowledge of the run and may cause the runner to lose focus or get into an awkward situation. Okay, this seems super harsh but it actually happened. As a host, your number one priority in regards of the run should be to communicate with the runner beforehand. I want to admit that I forgot to do this during my host shift too but I certainly didn’t see myself qualified to get involved during that run either. Yes, giving a stale run a bit of flair and helping a runner that seems lost out is definitely a nice move and I’m not worried about those instances. Also if the host knows the runner, a well-placed joke or donation message can add a whole lot to the run. As an example I want to highlight Andy’s ALttP run from this year’s SGDQ. But the number one rule on the host sheet, underlined and at the very top, was to NOT ADVERTISE YOURSELF as the host. And while this mostly addressed people mentioning their own channels while hosting, it might just as well be extended to hosts asking loaded questions during a run. There wasn’t much drama in the particular incident I had in mind because the runner dealt with it quite well and the run wasn’t in the spotlight and overall had very solid commentary but it just felt incredibly odd and even now, a week later, watching the run still makes me cringe a little (what a shitty word but it’s just too accurate). I wouldn’t say it completely ruined the run, but the non-invited co-commentary certainly dragged the run down a whole lot. And it sadly didn’t stay at one incident. Yes, in hindsight I should have talked to the person in question instead of going directly to Maral but I still feel like this can be easily prevented if hosts are more communicative with the runner before the run. Make it a rule that the runner should introduce themselves to the hosts before the run or vice-versa. It just prevents awful moments, clears up confusion and can add a lot more flair to the event too, if the runner welcomes additional questions from the host. Especially in a very close and intimate environment as with stream 2 where the runner and host are just a few meters apart and have direct contact. And yes, please, next year do a tech-walkthrough with Hosts. Explain them what scene is active before their shifts. This may also require that the hosting station and tech used is already setup when the host meeting happens.

The event improved a lot over last year. The venue doesn’t feel as big and empty anymore. PC runners are a lot happier about the setup, the overall feel of the tech/runner/host stations was very professional. There were very little complains about the tech on site, they did a phenomenal job as did most hosts. I would have loved a comfier couch behind the console couch in the audience but the setup with screen + chat was very inviting. The lights were pretty annoying but looking at the actual stream well placed and added a lot of flair. I’m quite ok with the location of the event and would definitely come back. The second stream should definitely stay or not given up without a very good reason (like having no technical options to repeat it next year). Liva, Planks, Edenal, Oasiz and all other volunteers are absolutely amazing and I appreciate everyone’s input, dedication and passion.
❤️ Thanks

AlkoAlko and TeleshotTeleshot like this. 
(edited: )

As a 2nd time attendee I felt the huge improvements over last year.
1) Almost no schedule changes / delays / tech issues
Compared to last year, this is probably the most major and noticeable improvement. good job everyone at tech on this. I think a small part of this is also due to the 2nd stream kind of acting as buffer on the last day in case runs needed to be moved to stay on schedule.

2) 2nd Stream
As someone who's not overly interested in a lot of the 10-30minute runs of megaman (no offense, just personal taste) and the likes I loved the comeback of the 2nd stream this year, not only for the longer runs (like Final Fantasy, which btw Baunsgaard no offense but there was never 2 Final Fantasy games on at the same time, WoFF was mondays, ff8 was tuesdays, ff1 was a 2h run on a different day and 13 was on saturdays so I dont really get your problem as there's other kinda long runs like smgalaxy? but thats beside the point, please dont take offense to this, it's just sad to see FF being critisized every year for the same reason, even last year when FF12 was the only final fantasy in the schedule) but also as a more "chill" variant to the hosting thing. I enjoyed hosting on the 2nd stream quite a lot and might consider doing it on the mainstream next year.

3) The Kiosk / BK Delivery
I personally didnt really use this opportunity much but considering how many people I saw ordering from BK instead of having to walk anywhere to get food was a big improvement too, especially when you were running longer games / just had a long run and just wanted something to eat.

4) Hall B + more practise PCs
Filled with a lot more stuff this year, the new pcs, more TVs, more chairs and generally the layout of both halls were a lot better than the rows last year.

5) Donation Tracker
sadly not everything can be positive and though I know this was on paypal's side of things, it's still unfortunate to see the donation tracker kind of break and donations not being able to be read out.

6) The runs themselves
I feel this year was a pretty good mixup for all people. Some short runs, some longer runs, action, rpgs, platformers, co-op, races, ... I personally liked the schedule a lot more than last year probably also thanks to 2nd stream being a thing again as mentioned above.

7) General Thanks and last words
I'm thankful for everyone making this year possible and even greater than last year: thanks to everyone on tech, hosts, behind the scenes, attendees, runners, donators, viewers - you are all great. ESA wouldn't happen without everyone kind of pulling on the same strings. Hoping next year will be even bigger and better.

EDIT: Small things I forgot to mention
😎 Lanyard
While last year's lanyard was too tiny to read, this year's are too big to wear, hopefully a middle ground can be found next year

9) VODs:
While I understand this is a lot of work and the automatic youtube upload bot...? broke? It's still one of the few points i have to critique as most runs haven't been uploaded to youtube yet, the youtube links arent in the VOD thread on reddit (which is all the more annoying since twitch is incredibly bad to watch VODs on).

EDIT 2 after being reminded of the shirt:
As pac stated, I also really couldn't even care to buy the shirt this year, not because it was badly designed or anything (good job actually on that one) but because the design was a dead meme from 2015. Last year's shirt I still wear when going out in public, this year's shirt i couldn't see myself do that ever and hence considered it a waste to buy it. I like the subtlety of last year's shirt more - just a simple logo with some game related stuff around.

AvisLux_AvisLux_ and MonojiraMonojira like this. 
(edited: )

Breaking this down into three sections;

Tech Volunteer

Much better than last year, but I still couldn't get the hang of it. I'd need far more time with the set-up to learn it - mixer, capture racks etc. My knowledge lies more in PC internals, but even that pales in comparison to the senior techs knowledge.


I really like hosting. I like to think that I'm not too bad at it either, feedback to me personally has been good. The StreamDeck was excellent. I was initially concerned about the camera being that conference cam thing above the TV but of course it was replaced.

The biggest change that I would make is the TV not actually being there in the first place. We only really need a small monitor off to the side just to let us know when we are visible. The way it was set up, when I was talking, I found that I was looking at the TV, not the camera lens, which, due to how close they were to the sofa, makes it look like we were just gazing off into the distance. Sure I could train myself out of that, but would others have the presence of mind to do so?

Yeah also, we could set a $5 floor for donation reading. If people want to make us meme it up, then they can surely cough up the extra to do so.

The donation alert box from last year wasn't a bad idea. I understand it's fully configurable. Maybe we could have just set it to light up, instead of the disco party started when we flicked the switch last time. Runners would have to say in advance whether they would be cool with it though.

I liked the sofa. I also liked the desk setup from last year. Either one is fine next year, do not mind.


I didn't really have a lot to complain about last year. I don't mind walking and I did not want food in the middle of the night. Therefore, I have even fewer things to grumble about this time.

As for the chat, I'm in favour of just straight up turning that shit off. Causes more drama (if you call childish spats "drama") than it's worth. Or make it Sub Only. if people want to pay to attempt to make questionably borderline racist memes, then we've already got your money, and you can just deal with being banned. There are more ways to have fun than seeing how far you can push things. If chat was not heavily moderated, then I guarantee it would just descend into stupidity. "Oh some mods timed you out in a Twitch chat? Allow me to play the worlds smallest violin for you."

Finally; Many hands make light work. When I left on Monday morning, there was still a good few hours worth of work left to do, namely moving boxes and sweeping and rolling up the false floor. And it looked like Planks and Edenal were about the only ones left to do it. If everyone pitched in a little more on the tear down, it could have been finished by the end of Sunday. There were plenty of things to do. Get involved. See people moving tables to the storage area in the back? Grab a couple yourself, they're not heavy. Grab a few of the countless bottles that had been left around, empty them and put them in the bin.

Noone can force you to do anything, I know. Technically it's not your responsibility, and Edenal did occasionally call for a few extra hands when an extra task came up, but I don't think it should be like that. I dunno, maybe i'm just more prone to feeling guilty about just sitting around when I see others working.

NordNord, AlkoAlko and 2 others like this. 

Lets start off with my experience as a runner, it was overall a much more plesureful experienca than that of 2016 because it was way more on target with the scheduled timed, I think even a week in, my run only differed by 3 hours from the time before ESA, which is real good. As for the tech, I found it really surprising second stream had the real convinience of the runner adjusting their own volume, but on first stream this was instead handled by talking to tech you wanted it lowered/raised. I am in all cases in support of people having their own little knobs to turn for their headsets etc. Otherwise, besides me doing a terrible run, the whole run experience was good.

One thing that felt awkward sometimes was how slow (or safe) the switching back to hosts after run was handled, there was a lot of slience and staring into the camera sometimes before the switch was made away from the runner.

Hosting in general seemed okay, but sometimes I'm not sure people got it right. Some hosts was just way too silent and sat there a bit too much without actually filling up the time until the run, but I understand this isn't people with professional experience in any of this.. But perhaps give hosts pointers and ideas what they can talk about if they have ran out of things to say so they are more prepared?

As for check-in, venue, the arcades and the general feel of the venue was great. The dimmed lights was such a necessity.
The amount of chairs was good, the amount of TVs felt enough, even if remotes/TV combo can be a big pain to handle. The layout as a whole was really good. The big screen, the hosts on sofa instead of computer chairs felt better, the kiosk that was open longer (with some troubles) was also great things!

As for cleanliness, next year perhaps a huge barrel, pot or similar for cigarette butts outside the venue might be an idea. People were throwing butts in the thrashcans cause the ashtray was overfilled. In general that's not bad, but worst case its a fire hazard. Also surprised wristband checks didn't happen until very late in the week, also the fact every door was pretty much open, I'm not sure everyone paid to be there.

In any case, the venue felt alive this year, that's the biggest difference from 2016 and I think you done a great job listening to feedback and improving everything.

AlkoAlko likes this. 

Attendee, did not run or commentate.

Really enjoyed the event this year, leaps and bounds better than the previous year. More equipment, better facilities, more food options, really justified the increased price of attending. I spent a lot of time in Hall B, and there was plenty of equipment in that room to go round as well.

Arcades were fun, really happy to see Stream B back, kept a steady flow of viewers for many of the runs and was a nice alternative if Stream A wasn't for you.

The Final Fantasy runs were awesome, and no, there was never a time where there was two Final Fantasy's on at once. As a member of the FF community I have heard lots of positive feedback for all the FF runs showcased at ESA, so I do hope they continue showcasing them. If they want to save time so they can fit in more runs they should do less Ape Escape runs, that game is rubbish.

nova_nova_ likes this. 

I was an attendee this year, and did a run.

So to kick it off i can say i really enjoyed ESA17 more then 16. i have spend alot of time in Hall B and that was so nice, just because constant light there, and more laid back then Hall A. in there it was also a lot more quiet so we could actually enjoy casual stuff, card games ect. For next year i really like it to have it return.

Even Hall B was nice and well it had a little downside, and that was the lack of bins. From what i saw we had just 1 in the corner and it was filled up pretty quickly, so over time Hall B got kinda messy with burger king bags and other things. So maybe consider some more bins in there. like atleast 2 or 3 more.

Now to Hall A, I haven't spend much time there but from what i have seen it was waaay better then at ESA16. the idea for how the tables were set was a good idea and it created much more walking space and it didn't felt that we were so crowded. the arcade looked also nice, even i didn't used it. The projector was a bless from esa heaven, so even from all the way back we could see the runs. The free look at tech was actually nice for the people that were interested in it and jup, we had enough chairs 😛 .

So now to my run. My run took place on the second stream. I could say YES pls keep the second stream, it's really nice to have some longer games in there and there was actually some games that was way more interesting for me then in the first stream. but anyways coming back a bit, the guy that hosted it was nice and set up was nice and quickly so no problems to be found there. A problem for me was that chair, it was a normal chair and i did a longish run so my butt was a bit cramped after the run. Maybe have 1 or 2 softer chairs for the runners next year.
Also a thing and that is also for viewers, The Room were the second stream was held was pretty warm. As a runner i didn't notice it after a little while but sitting there and watching was pretty eh sometimes because of the heat. maybe some way to cool it off there a bit can be nice for next year.

some other minor things, The idea for burger king delivery was good and having the kiosk open for longer is also a good idea. i can say i eat maybe a bit more fast food then last year but oh well, it's a vacation week, so i should not complain about it.

Overall i don't really have much more to say. Thanks all for making this event great 🙂

AlkoAlko likes this. 

First point of criticism I would like to make is more for Save The Children.

Your ads are way too long.
I'll take the aid thing as an example, the ad doesn't really make the point until it's halfway through at which point most people have stopped paying attention. This could lead to some misinterpretation, consider making the ads shorter or play them less often.

I'd also like to complain some about the banners showing ads around the arena, most of them seemed irrellevant to ESA, but more for like an sports event or something.
Were those sponsors of fort knox or part of some deal?

Oh my, this was yet again a problem.
People are pigs, stop throwing your trash around and find the nearest garbage bin.
I haven't been paying attention to what you could sign up for as an volounteer, but I'm assuming cleanup was one of those things?
If not, consider making it so. We can't rely on Tompa every year.

Arena layout
Assigning a floorganizer was an excellent idea. I really enjoyed it being more of a meetup and less like Dreamhack.
Maybe we can get some light next year? Natural or a lamp or whatever, I don't really care which one.
The arcade machines were a nice touch, although maybe a bit too old? The daytona machine had some issues, but nothing too bad.

Streaming tech
Seemed to run much more smoothly this year, I got some hands on experience with the setup at Dreamhack and I must say it's much easier to use.
In general it felt more planned and the hickups were kept minimal.
Well done friends!

Estimates, way too tight in many cases.
It was probably a low estimate submitted but the schedulers could've followed up on that to make sure it's plausible (especially with incentives added in).

Picked Royal Corner this year to be closer to the city, and that was absolutely the correct decision.
Not having to walk for a good while after a night out was a blessing.

Donation tracker
Get it working and stress tested before the event, not halfway through. (looking at you Pac)

Keep the wristbands, I much prefer them to the lanyards.
Speaking of which, I really didn't like them, the design wasn't to my taste and the lanyard itself was too bulky.

All in all it was mostly a positive experience for me, the negatives were overshadowed by the positives.

AlkoAlko and Mhmd_FVCMhmd_FVC like this. 
(edited: )

There was trash everywhere but it didn't bother me all that much - tidy up after yourselves, though. It's not hard.

8 hour Final Fantasy runs are something I complain about every marathon - think how many other, more interesting runs you could fit into those eight hours, ones that aren't just menuing. (^:

Reminder to people that estimates aren't the time you're aiming to get, it's the time you might get if things go wrong, and should have some leeway. How many runs went under estimate this year? Four?

Don't lock the fucking shower door on the last day so that people have to just abandon their belongings in a foreign country.

I liked the aid advert but it is pretty long and we did have to sit through it a million times.

Burger King could have made so much more money if they kept serving for the whole event (them delivering to the venue was absolutely fantastic), and the kiosk selling hot dogs and drinks and shit which "shuts at 2" shut at a different God damn time every single night. Is that just how they do it in Europe? Shut early if you want, but shut at a consistent time, please. One night I was told they just "decided to shut early", which is ridiculous.

Arcades were super cool but again they stopped after like day four which is upsetting

I liked the lanyards

Security only checked me twice

Apart from that it was a fantastic event love you guys mwah xoxo

AlkoAlko likes this. 
(edited: )

Also mass housing was FREEZING (sell blankets you'll make a fortune) and people need to learn that consoles and controllers aren't public property and to ask before you just start a 4 hour run on somebody else's equipment
edit ape escape runs actually have gameplay so they're fine xoxo


I don't want to repeat stuff others said (see posts from AR_Noctis, Flobberworm4, ricyosma) but some points are important to me.

Please keep Final Fantasy runs in the schedule. I don't understand the hate for those games. The FF1 race was nice, WoFF new and pretty short with ~4h. The longer FF13 and FF8 ran on different streams at different days and times.
If anyone wants to complain about Final Fantasy being long, please check the schedules for other long runs (hint: GTA, SMGalaxy).

I'd like to complain about the digital scoreboard in Hall A, behind the big projector screen. It was pretty bright and its brightness bled through the projector screen, making the perceived brightness change every 10-30 seconds when the adverts changed - very distracting.
Idea for next year: either reduce the brightness of the scoreboard or cover the distance between projector and the top of the projector screen with cloth (make a ceiling that blocks light from behind the screen).

There was too much trash in Hall B - there is no excuse for attendees to leave their trash around, even when one bin is full. Get your ass up and walk to the next one.

Props for the endless supply of chairs this year!

AlkoAlko likes this. 

First time attendee, and I was lucky enough to be a runner this year.

The game I ran was World of Final Fantasy, hosted on the 2nd stream and turned out to be the first game on that stream. Because of this I had no issues with delay or anything, and the setup went pretty smoothly. The room was not that bad, but it did get a little bit cramped in there over the course of my run. Also like some others mentioned, having a somewhat softer chair would be nice if you had a "long" run, but apart from that it was fine. Props to the guy who hosted the whole thing though.

The venue itself looked quite nice. There was a lot of space for everyone, and enough tvs to keep everyone satisfied. I mosly hung out in Hall B, cause that's where the Final Fantasy community was. Having sofa's there was awesome btw.

I played about an hour on the arcades. Most of that time was spent on the shooting machine, which was really addicting. Also explains why there were always people at that machine 24/7, cause it's just that fun. Not sure if it broke at a certain time or not, cause it was gone at the end.

Most of my friends decided to stay at Royal Corner, so I did that too. The distance is like fine if you only travel to the venue once a day, but any more than that and it gets a little bit inconvenient. Nothing you guys can do about it though. On the bright side the weather was nice for the entire week so didn't get wet from the rain a single time!

I'm not sure what the usual things are regarding practice equipment. Having to bring your own console is slightly inconvenient, but I understand they can't randomly provide a million of those so that's fine. Tv's were usually plenty to be found, so in that sense I could always practice whenever I wanted. Also note how most people just left their consoles somewhere, and nothing got stolen/used. Maybe everyone respects each other, or maybe I just got lucky 😛

Lanyards were pretty clear, but also a little bit big. Most people stopped wearing them halfway through the event, so maybe some improvement can be made in that area too.

All in all I enjoyed the event a lot, all these points of criticism are just small things, the bigger picture is that people got to gather together and have a great time!