Crimefighter, on Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:44 PM, said:
Well...I dunno how many people NEED to attend...it's very crowded as it is which is why I didn't like the move from the more spacious Oconomowoc but Big Bang may get as big as MGC soon now that it has gotten established and is now more attractive to vendors.
Kind of like what Marty said, I thought I had addressed this mostly last year but I'll do so now...
If you take the vendor hall at the Sheraton with the hallway outside, it is the same size if not slightly bigger than the Olympia. But, we can fit in more vendors thanks to our layout. After that, everything gets way bigger...
Just as examples from 2009 to 2011 (and it was very similar last year), VGEvo was two tables at the Olympia, I think they used about 40 this year (and there were 12 arcade machines there too). Ben Heck was one at the Olympia, he used about five this year. No NES Developers or Pokemon Podcast at the Olympia, no where we could have put them. No Mario room. We didn't have enough power at the Olympia to power the about 180 games that showed up, the most we ever had there was about 100. The Sheraton let us do a power upgrade that lets us power up to about 225. The Family Game Room was four tables, is now 10. The Underdog Chamber was about four tables, is now 10. Jagfest was one table, is now three. Turbofest didn't exist. Zimm's area didn't exist. The Versus room didn't exist. The two other museum areas both gained minimal space in the move (something like two or three tables), but there was still some gain there. The speaking area at the Olympia could sit 40. The speaking area now sits over 120. The tournament area hasn't actually grown, but is in a much better position for actually having people see stuff. The tabletop gaming area didn't exist.
Our option with the Olympia would have been to rent one other room, which would have meant sending people all the way through the hotel to get to it and would have added a space about the same size as the Mario room.
I think that people don't remember just how small and packed the Olympia space was because we both did a good job of figuring out a layout there, and we also just limited people and what they could do. We really wanted to be able to expand everything, and thus the move -- the thing is that people expanded everything so well that we actually ran out of space and had to pack it all in the first year at the Sheraton, which makes it appear that the space is smaller. It's not -- when you include the hallways where we had additional stuff this year, we're actually probably now pushing 40,000 feet of used space at the Sheraton, about double what we would have used at the Olympia.
The other thing, the Olympia had a lot of things we couldn't change. We paid for power in a totally different way, whereas the Sheraton allowed us to build Doc Ock and run our own stuff. While the cost was cheaper for the Olympia in the short term (Doc Ock was a $10k investment last year), the power situation is better now than it ever has been. Pinball machines in particular are very finicky and if they don't get good, regulated power they tend to get issues. We've now had two years where a lot of the pinball folk have been amazed by how well everything holds up, I'm guessing in huge part due to that.
Also, the layout now allows us to 'give the keys' to the rooms to a lot of people and let them do whatever. For instance, the Retroids / VGEvo room does an afterparty. At the Olympia, with their couple tables in the museum, there was no way to do this unless all the museum folks hung around to ensure their stuff was safe. Now, they can do it in their area at the show without anyone worrying.
There are SO many positives of using the Sheraton for how the show is set up, like these last two that aren't even about size that even if we do bust the walls of the location with people, it's going to be very hard to figure out a better place to move to. There are not many larger venues in the Milwaukee area that are also hotels, and moving to a convention center would be a ridiculous cost.
Here's a perfect number to highlight the differences between the two places -- at the Olympia, the most number of tables that we ever used was 108. Total. Between everything.
This year with the Sheraton, we used *nearly* 400.
Hope that explains it pretty well
From an organizational standpoint, there is no question with any of us about which one is better.