Back from PAX! I've actually been back since Monday night around 2am, but I spent all day Tuesday trying to get caught up, as usual. This finally ends the "summer gauntlet" of conventions, although there are murmurs of checking out the Tokyo Game Show.
I was happy to see that response to the new ads wasn't too bad while I was away! There is a definite problem with point and click shooters being surrounded by the ads, so we'll need to address that.
It was exciting to find a tiny change to the forums that I had been nit-picking over. It was one of those things that was extremely low priority compared to everything else, but the guys decided to surprise me. I technically COULD have dug into the code and tried making a change like that myself, but I'm staying hands off with Bob's CSS so as not to make a mess of things.
We're still playing catch-up on previously existing features that didn't launch with the redesign. The "secrets" returned over a week ago and the "reviews by author" pages should be returning in the next week. The portal buddies system is still in limbo, although I know people have been using the old management form that still exists on the server. Bringing back portal buddies under the new layout is the next priority.
I plan to front page Corey Stuck In Purgatory, but I front paged so much stuff yesterday that now I have to wait. Check it out, it's a visual treat. I have high hopes for the Corey series, but regret that NG hasn't mustered up more views for it. The NG front page really vexes me sometimes... If I put up something that looks "sexy", it might get 30-40,000 views per day. Something with sprites will get 15-25,000 views per day. Something unknown will get 5-15,000 views per day... Sometimes less. Having sprite movies or sexy looking movies on the front page doesn't seem to hurt the views of the submissions around them; if I put nothing but "underdogs" on the front page, everything performs equally bad... If anything, the mainstream content does seem to help lift everything up around it.
It makes me wonder, where do people go who would have watched the sprite movie or the sexy looking movie if one had been there? Do they just leave the site because they didn't find something that appealed to them? Or do they just look elsewhere on the site? I really need to get more into analytics. What I really want, though, is a general shift in the web browsing public. People need to stop looking for sexy and/or familiar and take a lot more interest in discovering new things. We already have a lot of great users here on NG who love to look under rocks and see what's crawling underneath, I just want MORE of that. There's so much awesome stuff on the site that is just slipping by every day. I get a chuckle out of iPhone every time I watch it, but I could have easily missed it and never have front paged it. We'll need to do another treasure hunt contest some time soon.
Anyway, I should probably talk about my trip to PAX! PAX is the Penny Arcade Expo, now possibly the largest video game convention in the US, now that E3 is downsizing. It's kinda surreal, because we're buddies with the Penny Arcade crew. It's like, you grow up feeling like such a nobody in such a big industry, then suddenly the people you were growing up with start becoming the power players - so you become totally embedded in the emerging power structure. I look at NG the same way... We're a bunch of outsiders, but we're growing up and building something huge, and all the old guys are gonna eventually die or retire. Over the years, NG contributors are landing jobs at big companies (not to mention jobs at NG) or starting companies of their own. It's crazy to think what another ten years will reveal.
So back to the post... PAX was a lot of fun! We had a 10x30' booth with two Xbox 360 test units running Castle Crashers and maintaining a constant crowd the entire weekend. We sold hundreds of t-shirts and figurines, which covers the expenses of the trip (booth fees, merchandise production costs, hotels, flights, etc.) and helps keep the Behemoth chugging along. I'm going into military mode with finishing CC (I might even shave my head to set the tone), as development has gone on for too long and my stomach hurts when people ask about a release date. It will be a special day when the game hits Live Arcade! There are so many games I want to make, it's giving me an ulcer.
My PAX and Comic-Con picture/story pages are forthcoming... For now, you can read Emil's coverage from our Comic-Con booth!