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ICON 2009

 
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ICON 2009
 PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 6:49 pm Reply with quote  
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  Morgan
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So I attended the "ICON'S MOVING Q&A" on Saturday night while the rest of this list was handling Federation/Romulan negotitians. Somebody's got to make sure the trains run on time. Wink

As you no doubt saw in the convention program, ICON is moving the 2009 convention to Suffolk Community College's Brentwood Campus. It's not because Stony Brook doesn't want them any more. On the contrary, we were told that the con has very good relationships with most of Stony Brook's facilities and administration. It's moving because the ISC (sport center) is being gutted for much needed renovations (the building has leaked since it opened, the floor of the dealer's room is shot, the running track above it isn't adequately reinforced for the proper weight, etc. The latter point explains why they switched major signings away from there over the years).

So ICON 2009 will be split between three locations -- SCC Brentwood, the Holiday Inn Ronkonkoma that is the current official hotel and the Hyatt at exit 58 of the LIE behind Computer Associates. Registration, the dealers room, war gaming and some panels will be at SCC Brentwood, specifically in the building there that is used for conventions. Supposedly that building has been treated as Suffolk County's primary convention site and unlike the ISC, has easy electric access for vendors, etc. It also has classroom space in the upper level of that building. ICON is currently guaranteed some of that classroom space with an option for more depending upon how Saturday classes fill out. They won't know about that until 2 months before the con, though, so they're going to plan for just what space they have and if more rooms are available, they'll add more programming.

The main floor of the SCC Brentwood building will be split into dealers room space (basically the same size as the current dealers room), war gaming and possibly media guests. War gaming goes there because it's the only large space they have for their needs. Sound, however, is supposed to be a bit better than the old days when they had media guests in part of the dealer's room because the facility has a floor-to-ceiling sound absorbing curtain and they said something about putting up a wall of some sort. They also said carpeting will be put down, too.

Other programming will be held in the two hotels. Which goes with what is as yet undecided but the prevailing theory is to put genres that attract the same people together. The example they gave was to have anime, gaming and films in the same hotel. I don't quite see the strong ties there but whatever.

I did specfically ask about RPGs and they will go in one of the hotels. They hadn't decided which yet but said when the decisions about what goes where are made, they'll post them so, for instances, GMs and gamers can book into the hotel where their events are held. They were touting this as a benefit of being partially held in the hotel because people can come downstairs in their slippers or go to their rooms easily to get stuff they forgot. ICON rates have already been negotiated with both hotels and will be the same or close to this year. They said they thought the Holiday Inn rate would remain $109 but didn't have the paperwork with them to confirm that. The Hyatt will be within about $10 of that price.

Programming in the two hotels can go 24 hours. Programming at SCC is limited to Stony Brook-like hours. Cash bars will be available at the hotels. Weapons, however, will still be banned. They did explain, though, that the weapons ban is not due to Stony Brook but rather NY state laws passed after 9/11 that make it impossible to sell swords, etc. on a college campus. The restriction will still be enforced not only because ICON 2009 will be partially held at a college but due to liability and insurance concerns with alcohol available in the hotels. I can't say I blame them.

Buses will run between all three venues. They were originally saying they'd have 2-3 buses running but as people talked they admitted that they needed consult the bus company to find out how many buses they would need to do the loops and handle the crowd (ICON 2007 drew 6800 people). Attendees encouraged them to have enough buses so that one is always at one stop. They said going from one venue to another would take about 15 minutes but that was just travel time. I don't think they're taking into account loading and unloading time for passengers. Overnight the bus to SCC will stop, of course, but a slower route will still run between hotels since they are anticipating all night events, like all night movies.

They did say they were going to look over their schedule and see about building in some breaks between events, such as having a panel start at 10 a.m., run for an hour and then the next panel starts at 11:15 a.m. They admitted that the ICON schedule has never before taken into account that a person in the ISC needs 10-15 minutes to walk to Javitz and therefore might miss the opening of a panel. By splitting events across three locations, this might very well need to addressed.

They said SCC has ample parking as do both hotels so they know some people might just drive it back and forth. Some at the con, though, complained to me about the parking at SCC so I don't know if they're wrong or she is. Since I'm not sure she attended the convention facility there, I can't tell.

They also said the hotels will hassle people less about bringing food and drink into rooms. The hotels allow for more room flexibility and that they will be able to repurpose some con staff and volunteers to other duties since room set up and changeovers will be handled by the hotel staff.

What happens to ICON 2010 is totally up in the air. It depends on a few factors. First, the timing of construction at Stony Brook. Originally construction was going to start April 1. ICON got them to push back to after the con but in the meantime, the contract still hasn't been signed so no one is sure when construction will start. Until it starts, no one can say when it will end and ICON is wisely assuming it will run late since it's a state contract. Unless Stony Brook can guarantee availability before their deadline to sign a venue contract for 2010, they will play it safe and hold the 2010 convention elsewhere.

Second, they have to reach an agreement in general with Stony Brook. They're not anticipating a problem with this since they said they have a good relationship with the campus and the ICON staff likes the fact that they have a lot of experience with how things work there.

Third, the renovated ISC space has to be able to handle their needs. It's anticipated that they could lose 25 percent of the floor space due to the columns needed to reinforce the running track. On the plus side, as part of the renovations, Stony Brook is looking to make the space more attractive to conventions so floor electrical access will be added, etc. The way they talked, it sounded like they think something might be worked out but it's way too soon to tell.

Fourth, the registration numbers for 2009 and attendee feedback will be a factor. If the con grows and everyone loves the new arrangement, why go back? If everyone hates the new arrangement, going back is more important. They recognize there are pluses and minuses to either arrangement. It's just a question of which one works best. They were actively looking for feedback on this point but really, only so much can happen until the 2009 con.

Fifth, they do draw a lot of Stony Brook students as participants and volunteers. They don't want to lose that base and did discuss possibly having a bus go from Stony Brook to the three venues to transport those people. No programming will be held at Stony Brook, though.

That's all I'm remembering at the moment. Ask questions and I might have answers. The bottom line, though, is that the change is required by circumstances, not any problems between the con or the campus, and might very well be temporary.

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 PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 5:33 pm Reply with quote  
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  Justin Chase
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It's almost here Shocked and I can't wait. Very Happy

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 PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 9:44 pm Reply with quote  
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  Justin Chase
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Shocked Does anyone have the info for this I-CON? Rolling Eyes
Dancing Banana shakng2 Dancing Banana Coffee Break batman dwarf rambo viking geek thumleft puker thumright

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 PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 12:10 am Reply with quote  
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  LukeDev75
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Here is the main site for ICON 28 http://www.iconsf.org/

Here is a PDF version of the schedule, which reflects our games: http://www.iconsf.org/files/I-CON28PocketSchedule.pdf

Here is our "Knights Who Gamealot" only schedule:


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 PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 10:08 pm Reply with quote  
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  LukeDev75
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Thanks to all who came. I had a good time.

I haven

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I'm waitin' for the angels of Avalon,
Waitin' for the eastern glow.


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