Reflections on SotA’s Launch Event, SXSW Exhibit and Why Austin is Weird, March 14-15, 2018

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Bayard, Mar 19, 2018.

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  1. Bayard

    Bayard Avatar

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    Greetings Fellow Avatars,

    I thought I would share my reflections from Shroud's Launch Event and SXSW exhibit like I did for SotACon East in 2016. I only flew in for about 30 hours but managed to have a variety of rich experiences, two of which were indeed weird and support Austin’s unofficial motto of, “Keep Austin Weird.”

    Upon arriving, I learned that Winfield had scheduled a lunch near Portalarium’s office for anyone who could attend. 12-15 people showed up over the next few hours and we brought a bit of Taberna Novia festiveness to the afternoon (Taberna Novia was the decorated hospitality suite at SotA Con East in 2016). I was fortunate to meet Stephan and Andrej from Travian Games and we had a great Q&A dialog while munching on pizza and avocado toast.

    The Launch Event was attended by ~150 developers, community members, press and other guests who mingled and snapped photos with old, and new, friends alike. Attendee dress ranged from casual to formal and included many in garb, to include armor. Lord British and Darkstarr attended in their garb which produced excellent photo opportunities for both attendees and press. There were several areas to take photos with Shroud backgrounds and the main screen was playing fantastic game videos produced by Travian Games in coordination with Portalarium.

    My goal for the evening was to meet as many developers as I could and personally thank them for their hard work. I managed to thank many of them and a common theme was that they love what they do and feel fortunate to be involved. I think their passion, dedication and professional skills are reasons they’ve been able to create an incredible experience with limited resources. For those devs I missed, I hope to meet you the next time I’m in Austin. I also met many community members who I’ve been in-game with but never met face-to-face. There were many new friendships made and a few reunions with past SotA Con friends as well. I was so busy meeting people I only took a few photos so I refer you to the forum posts of photos and videos instead of showing my paltry effort. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone and it would be folly to try and mention you all by name but you know who you are. :)

    Lord British and Darkstarr made formal remarks amid cheers from the audience and then we got ready for a mini-concert by Shooter Jennings and his band. I was fortunate to meet Shooter beforehand and told him, “My daddy used to listen to your daddy’s music”. He got a kick out of that and we chatted briefly before he went to prepare.

    The concert was fun and one song was dedicated to Starr Long (Darkstarr) and another, “I'm Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone”, is actually in-game on a pink wax cylinder as part of Breast Cancer Awareness. After the concert, Shooter mingled with the attendees until we had to vacate the venue. He was friendly and engaging which contrasted with his reputation as an ‘Outlaw Country’ musician. :cool:

    The Launch Event ran smoothly and was professional as well as fun. I was disappointed when the evening concluded. Thank you to all those who planned, prepared and made the event happen!

    On Thursday, I was able to attend SXSW Gaming for a few hours and was impressed by Portalarium’s Shroud exhibit. I saw the display of physical goods (Wow!) that will ship out soon and tried not to drool on the display case. There were a steady stream of people playing SotA on the computers in the exhibit and I’ve already seen some of them in the New Player Welcome area on the forum. I am biased of course, but remember looking at other games and not seeing anything that appealed to me as much as Shroud. You can see the pictures and videos on the SotA website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

    This concludes the Launch Event and SXSW portion but read on if you want to hear about my two experiences that support the reputation Austin has for being weird.

    The first was Thursday morning when I was having breakfast in the hotel. My voice was recovering from all the cheering at the concert and was much lower than usual. It had so much bass, I thought of calling my wife and giving her the Big Bopper’s, “Hello, baby” from 1958’s “Chantilly Lace”. Not more than five seconds after I thought that, “Chantilly Lace” played on the hotel restaurant radio. That was the first time in more than 20+ years I’ve heard that song on the radio. Now it may have been a total coincidence or perhaps something on the radio triggered my thought beforehand but there were no announcers, it was one retro song after the other. The bottom line is, it was weird and I was in Austin! :eek:

    Weird and tragic trivia – In 1959, Waylon Jennings was scheduled to fly on the plane that crashed and killed Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and the pilot but gave his seat to the Big Bopper, who was suffering from a cold. 20 years later, Waylon had a son, Shooter Jennings.

    The second one was even weirder. I’m from Michigan and follow University of Michigan football. Since the sports page also has basketball coverage, I know that Moritz Wagner is the center on the basketball team and one of the reasons the Wolverines are doing well. He is the only college basketball player I know by name. I was having lunch with Stefan, who is with Travian Games in Germany, in a sports bar that was playing the NCAA tournament games. He asked if I had a team I was cheering for and I told him, but admitted being too busy to follow them closely. In fact, I could only name one player in all of college basketball, Moritz Wagner, and that was only because of the coverage I mentioned earlier. He asked if I had a picture of him and I pulled one up on my phone. He looked at it and told me, “I coached him when he was a teenager in Germany.” I almost fell out of my chair! We both laughed at the odds of him coaching the only college player I knew and chalked it up to the fact that (once again) it was weird and we were in Austin! :eek::eek:

    I look forward to the years and decades (?) ahead to meet many more of you. Until then, see you in New Britannia!

    Cheers,
    Johnkirk Bayard
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018
  2. Kain Darkmoor

    Kain Darkmoor Avatar

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    Great stuff, thank you for sharing!

    I've heard this story a thousand times but even still I never knew it was Waylon Jennings who gave up the seat to the Big Bopper.
     
  3. Sir Frank

    Sir Frank Master of the Mint

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    Good summary!
    I was glad to meet you, and hope we cross paths again.
     
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