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Anthrocon- programming & advertising deadline approaches

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Anthrocon is the world's largest convention for anthropomorphic animal artwork. The guest of Honor this year is James Gurney (Dinotopia) It is in Pittburgh, PA in June. It had 3700+ attendees last year and will probably break 4000 this year.

I've signed up to demo Phylo in the gaming track. It'll introduce it to the sort of folks that will go crazy for a game filled with animals. it also offers more chances to playtest it Smile

Anyway, it's also chockful of wildlife artists.

The deadline for at con advertising is coming up in a few days. Ad rates range from $20 to $300 depending on size and placement:
http://www.anthrocon.org/advertising

A small ad for the website and forum (the $20 one) might be a sound investment and a good way to get more artists involved.


As I said, I'll be running a demo so will be at the con. (I'll also be in the art show) There's also a media table at the con where flyers may be dropped off for attendees to pick up. So that may be the cheap option if someone is up to designing a black and white flyer, I can get them printed here and physically deliver them to con.


Wikifur has a list of similar conventions by date and location. Anthrocon is just the largest.
http://en.wikifur.com/wiki/WikiFur_Furry_Central
They may also be good spots to demo and get additional playtesters, if any of the board members are inclined to go demo later in the year. (I will also demo at FurFright in October, but their deadline for events isn't for awhile yet)

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Oh, wow. Nice. This could definitely turn out well, but wouldn't anthropomorphic art be something we would want to mostly avoid in illustrations? It seems like although "cartooniness" is good, and could even be good, actually changing the physical nature of the animals depicted would be counterproductive to the game's educational goals.

However, bringing in new people would be nothing but good. The one thing I would want to be cautious about (although I personally have no objections whatsoever of this sort) is that forming strong associations with the furry community, as you seem to suggest at the end of your post, would probably be bad for the game's image, given how the vast majority of people I've met seem to think of said community. This is not to say that furries should be excluded -- that would be even worse -- but if a disproportionate part of the community here are furries, that might be troublesome.

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Thanks so much for doing a demo at that conference (I didn't even know such conferences existed!) Let me know what kind of deadlines you have in terms of having cards, etc necessary for the demo.

I'll also chat with some colleagues about getting an ad. Part of me is reluntant, because I'm also quite interested academically in how the crowd sourcing nature of this project unfolds. Putting money towards advertising at this stage would kind of go against that examination.

It's the same debate we've been having about holding contests, or paying for marquee images to generate publicity, since those use of funds are also going against the ideals of a true crowd sourcing project.

Plus, there's the issue of opening the proverbial floodgates - as in the project will then require some mechanism of deciding when funding is provided versus when it is not, which is something that may add complexity to a project that by nature is trying to be as low maintenance as possible.

I dunno - so many things to think about - what do you think?

--

As far as including or excluding "furries", I'm of the opinion that as with any crowd sourcing project, whatever happens will ultimately happen. It's whats kind of cool about this project already - so many different communities stepping up. Hopefully, regardless of who is contributing, most people will still realize that the central (albeit covert) issue here still addressing familiarity with biodiversity.

Maybe with that mantra, different communities will rein in their biases if it doesn't seem to fit that goal (and if not, my lab can try to diplomatically guide things towards the goal?)

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However, bringing in new people would be nothing but good. The one thing I would want to be cautious about (although I personally have no objections whatsoever of this sort) is that forming strong associations with the furry community, as you seem to suggest at the end of your post, would probably be bad for the game's image, given how the vast majority of people I've met seem to think of said community. This is not to say that furries should be excluded -- that would be even worse -- but if a disproportionate part of the community here are furries, that might be troublesome

I doubt this will be an issue. I think 'furries' (like most people) can follow submission guidelines and understand why we want animal/nature art in a more natural form.

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Forbidding wrote:
However, bringing in new people would be nothing but good. The one thing I would want to be cautious about (although I personally have no objections whatsoever of this sort) is that forming strong associations with the furry community, as you seem to suggest at the end of your post, would probably be bad for the game's image, given how the vast majority of people I've met seem to think of said community. This is not to say that furries should be excluded -- that would be even worse -- but if a disproportionate part of the community here are furries, that might be troublesome

I doubt this will be an issue. I think 'furries' (like most people) can follow submission guidelines and understand why we want animal/nature art in a more natural form.
Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. There's no innate problem with the furries themselves (although most furries I've known have been unusually sensitive -- though, given how people treat them, that's hardly surprising). In fact, there are a lot of really great furry artists who would be amazing additions to the project.

The problem I was trying to highlight is the relatively strong stigma many people have against them. I myself don't have any problem with them. I just wanted to point out that a lot of people do.

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Working over the internet I doubt many will even know their furries unless they announce it.

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As to why target furries, they like animals and they are such enthusiastic fans that they actually go to a convention to see stuff related to their interest. Your average furry con goer has much higher odds of being extremely excited by a biology based game than your average person on the street.

Consider it like the difference between people that own a Mac and those that go to the MacWorld conference. The casual consumer vs the Fan. The Fan will actively spread world of the latest, greatest OMG you must have this NOW thing to other fans AND to casual consumers, talk about it online, tell people about it, show off their latest acquisition, and generally be the best salesman you could want. (or roundly pan it if it sucks. it is a double edged sword)

I've seen at least two different gaming companies send reps to Anthrocon to demo their games for exactly that sort of exposure. If they like, the furries will share it with their friends at home, spread the word, and actively participate.

And there's also a pretty good love of science going on there. There is in fact a chunk of the schedule devoted to Science and Technology topics and how they relate to the topic. (the chairman of the con is an organic chemist with a bunch of patents)


As to negative association with the furries, eh, probably 95% of the public doesn't know what the are in the first place, and the remaining ones largely lump them in with people that dress up as Klingons. They're basically a cross between art nerds and zoology nerds. Smile

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fenrislorsrai wrote:As to why target furries, they like animals and they are such enthusiastic fans that they actually go to a convention to see stuff related to their interest. Your average furry con goer has much higher odds of being extremely excited by a biology based game than your average person on the street.

Eh... somehow I doubt that... *rubs neck*

Ya see... if you noticed my icon (a cute little anthro dolphin), you can guess that I associate with the furry community as well.

2 years ago one of my furry friends and I started a website called 'Cetafurs' which is a forum community that focuses on the cetacean as well as other aquatic furries.

I thought that it would arouse my interest in cetaceans once again because I had fallen into a slump and didn't seem to care anymore.

Unfortunately, it just showed me how much the furry community doesn't care about biology. (And how ignorant some can be about the species they represent.) I know some furries are really passionate about wildlife, but it seems to me like most of them are just in it for the subculture...

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Some think the biology is awesome, some aren't so accurate on the science part. Rather like Star Wars. Some want to know how the science works, some just want to have cool blaster battles.

At any rate, the World Wildlife Fund regularly runs advertisements on one of the largest furry sites, so they clearly think it's a good match.

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A good match for them, maybe. It doesn't take much scientific knowledge to make a donation Wink

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This is true, but since this is supposed to be educational, it has to appeal to those without scientific knowledge. Otherwise you're just preaching to the choir.

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Well, yes, the players shouldn't need much entry level knowledge. But it seems like scientific knowledge would be kind of a prerequisite for people interested in developing the game, which is (unless I missed something) what we need right now.

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Right now we're still dealing with the science. Once there's a base card set written up (in around a month or so) we then need playtesters and a scientific basis is actually not necessary. Then it's a matter of analyzing the feedback coming back in and adjusting the rules and cards.

It's just easier to get people to playtest if they're vaguely interested in the subject. If it was a game about baseball, we'd want baseball fans to playtest it. If you like the subject matter, you'll put up with the grief of screwy rules and bad wording.

Anyway, from doing playtesting here the dream team I'd put together for playtesting:
* an american group
* a British group
* a Canadian group
* an Australian group
* a group of non-native English speakers
* non native english speakers that read right to left in their native language
* a dyslexic
* someone that wear bifocals (surprise, this actually renders some games unplayable)
* an rules lawyer that likes twisting the rules up in order to ruthless exploit legal cheats
* someone that is colorblind (all variations would be great, but most common at least)

That's a pretty scattershot group but if you can get something that is clear to all those groups and flows naturally, that's a good design. This ensures it'll be accessible to the maximum number of kids. If the Brit and the American adults are both reading the same term and thinking it means two very different things, image what'll happen when you hand it to kids. Oof.

The dyslexic and the right to left reader basically cover bases on does the information flow in a way that makes sense both to competent English readers AND to people that don't follow that reading pattern. That makes sure translation is easy and also addresses issue that younger kids may not follow the standard reading pattern you'd have with an adult. It also makes sure it's accessible to kids with any types of reading difficulty or learning English as a second language.


Assembling broad a group takes a pretty big chunk of playtesters. You need a pretty wide net to get all those. Just focusing on people in the sciences probably knocks out a lot of the poor readers that would be useful in dealing with accessibility issues which will crop a lot more in kids learning to read.

Annyway, the current advertising deadline is past, so that particular point in moot right now. I'm on schedule to demo and will bring back playtest reports on the good, the bad, and the confusing.

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