BLOXcon New York in Retrospect
We did it.
We hosted three separate BLOXcons in three separate sprawling cities around the world – all in the space of five weeks. We interacted with thousands of our intrepid gamers, builders and fans, in-person. We laughed with you. Shared stories and feedback. Signed posters and trading cards. Showed off new and innovative developments in the ROBLOX pipeline. You inspired us to be better, and we hope our presentations and feedback inspired you to keep exploring ROBLOX. While “we did it” is something of a self-serving statement, and I’m proud of our tireless staff for their incredibly hard work (to say we didn’t get much sleep is an understatement about as massive as the total distance we’ve traveled this last month), the BLOXcon experience wouldn’t be anything without you.
The real secret to BLOXcon isn’t that it’s your chance to see us. It’s really that it’s our opportunity to talk to you–get your feedback, and feel your passion and commitment to what ROBLOX is, and where it’s going. In-person interaction is what made all three BLOXcons incredible.
Each of the BLOXcon retrospective pieces so far have been very different – Alan’s piece was frenzied, as he was tasked with being everywhere, talking to pretty much everyone. John’s piece was methodical – he was tasked with running certain aspects BLOXcon in London, and he certainly found creative avenues to explore with the space that he had. I was at each of our three BLOXcons (way to rack up the frequent flier miles, Brad!), and went out of my way to try and spend time at each part of every BLOXcon to take in the experience the best I could.
We finished “real world” BLOXcon season this past weekend in New York, and the energy, excitement, and sheer fun was totally on par with what we already experienced in Chicago and London. Hey, we were on an aircraft carrier! You just can’t beat that (though it gives us a tough act to follow for next year–what to do, what to do?). A few observations from the helm of BLOXcon NYC:
Setting Up: Efficient. You know us — we love building. So building this massive event on a massive ship, surrounded by jets and planes in a gigantic hangar, was a welcome challenge. Many of us arrived in New York in the middle of Friday – after splitting up to grab a bite, we were off and running, setting up shop at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, which was conveniently (or strategically – way to go ReeseMcBlox!) only a few blocks away from our hotel. Because this is the third time we’ve done this, we’ve become really good at it. As soon as our roughly 20-person team entered, everyone organized themselves to build BLOXcon. Boxes were unpacked. Banners were hung. Merchandise was bagged. Cameras were set. Stage sound levels were balanced. Presentations were rehearsed. Everyone knew exactly what to do, and where to do it.
Main Stage Presentation: Electric. We laughed together (watch some of our BLOXY Award winners and try not to grin). We learned from each other. Each Q&A session was a learning experience – questions about dynamic lighting, account settings, chat, physics, and your ideas have already helped us prioritize our development pipeline moving forward. It was your energy and raw enthusiasm that kept me in the zone during each presentation session. (Even the Intrepid’s security and staff people kept sneaking in to partake in the fun.)
R&D Lab/Hackathon: Incredible. Imagine this: a room full of scripters, builders, and enthusiast gamers gathered around in packs, each person focused on either building or testing things on ROBLOX. Kevin’s (GongFuTiger) 18-wheeler physics demonstration was a huge hit –essentially, we gave attendees an exclusive chance to experiment with a new articulated physics simulation system. I was also awe-struck by the sheer number of participants – wave after wave of builders poured into the lab area all day long. I am continuously amazed at the tenacity, focus, and skill-set of our users. Some of the more advanced scripting challenges I glanced at during the hackathon had me thinking, “no way.” In only a few minutes, many of our builders answered back with unbelievable builds that symbolically said back, “way.”
The Experience: Interactive. Constant human contact, with people and builders from all walks of life. Parents who were thrilled that their kids have learned so much. (I talked with as many parents as I did ROBLOXians – they were as excited as their kids!) Builders of all ages with questions and feedback about everything ROBLOX. Autographs, pictures, on-camera interviews, questions, concerns, ideas, feedback (the frenzy at the merchandise table was particularly impressive) – the energy alone would power the entire vessel if the generator failed. Like with every BLOXcon this year, the end of the day came in the blink of an eye. You were amazing, New York City. We truly feel that if we were able to pull BLOXcon off at the Intrepid, we can pull it off anywhere.
Above all: Humbled. ROBLOX isn’t just our vision; it’s yours too. While we develop the tools, it’s up to you to challenge yourself to leverage them and create great and inspiring content. All of you constantly remind us that there’s work to be done, and that ROBLOX has a future that’s as radiant as the mid-summer New York sun. So to everyone who made the journey, thank you.
And to those of you who couldn’t make it to Chicago, London, or New York—hold tight! There’s still one more journey to make, and it’s one that everyone can get on board. Virtual BLOXcon is September 21st, it’s free, and it’s going to be amazing. That day will be chock-full of ROBLOX goodness– you’ll get to see highlights from each of the BLOXcon cities, tons of cool stuff that no one outside of ROBLOX HQ has laid eyes on, a dynamic live streaming program, and more. Details will be coming soon, so keep an eye out.
Stay tuned to the blog for more coverage from some of the big developments we announced at BLOXcon, as well as some really exciting releases in the coming weeks and months, and the scoop on Virtual BLOXcon. Oh, and I’ve seen the thousands of suggestions for BLOXcon locations next year—we’re not ready to say where we’re going or what exactly we’re doing, but we can promise you this: BLOXcon 2014 will be incredible.