This post outlines a series of improvements that Tech Valley Game Space is making to our recurring event schedule. These changes will take effect on June 1st, 2020.
Updated Event Schedule
Updated Event Info
Community Night will be hosted as a monthly gathering on the TVGS Discord every third Wednesday of the month from 6:30pm-9pm. The event format will be updated to focus on fostering connections among community members and encouraging more interaction between attendees. This will be our primary monthly social event for community members and newcomers.
Social Night will be hosted as a weekly gathering on the TVGS Discord every Wednesday from 6:30pm-9pm (except for the third Wednesday of each month, when it will be replaced by Community Night). The main purpose of these gatherings is to provide weekly opportunities for local game makers to interact and stay connected.
Transmissions will be livestreamed via the TVGS Twitch and YouTube channels every Friday from 6:30pm-9:30pm. Streams will typically focus on community members playing games together, and chatting via the TVGS Discord.
Orbit discussion and mentorship groups will be hosted as monthly gatherings on the TVGS Discord, with different group meetups occurring on each Saturday of the month. Beginner Game Design will occur every second Saturday of the month from 11am-12:30pm. The rest of the groups will occur from 1pm-2:30pm on the first, third, and fourth Saturday of each month. The format of recurring Orbit meetups will be more freeform, with an emphasis on group discussions rather than formal presentations.
New Event Evaluation Process
When TVGS was first formed in 2014, our event schedule consisted of informal social gatherings every week and a larger communal event approximately every 1-2 months. In more recent years, our number of community events has expanded into the range of 200-300 per year. Most of these are free public events that rely on volunteer organizers to keep them running.
This increase in event frequency happened gradually, as a direct result of our vibrant and enthusiastic community. Unfortunately, this expanding event schedule eventually began to strain the capacity of our volunteers and event organizers. The more intensive schedule has also spread out our community across a much wider array of events.
To address these challenges, TVGS is introducing a new process for establishing, evaluating, and discontinuing events. This will enable us to manage our event schedule more effectively in the future.
Our event proposal system empowers community members to pitch new event ideas and take the lead on organizing them with support from TVGS. Want to pitch an event? If so, simply fill out the event proposal form.
Proposed events will be evaluated by the Events Coordinator, who will follow up with the person proposing the event to discuss logistics. The Events Coordinator will work with the event organizer to establish the key metrics used to determine each event’s success, as well as target values for these metrics.
Alongside these target metrics, the Events Coordinator will also work with the event organizer to create a set of criteria that can be used to determine when the event should be discontinued. Typical discontinuation criteria will include falling below a minimum level of event attendance, and a lack of sufficient availability on the part of the event organizers.
Once these details have been finalized, they will be sent to the Executive Director for final approval.
The Events Coordinator will meet with the organizers of each recurring event on at least a quarterly basis to check on the status of that event, evaluate the metrics, and discuss potential improvements. Topics of discussion may include format adjustments, plans for increasing event promotion, and proposals for how TVGS can provide additional support.
If a recurring event falls within its established criteria for discontinuation, the Event Coordinator will meet with the organizers to discuss next steps. Based on this discussion, the Event Coordinator will make a recommendation to the Executive Director. The Executive Director will then make a final decision about whether or not to continue the event.
Why Are We Making These Changes?
Since the inception of TVGS, we have hosted a variety of recurring events as a way of growing our community and connecting local game makers. We are always striving to improve these events by adjusting their frequency and format based on your feedback.
Incremental refinements are helpful, but we occasionally need to make larger updates to our event calendar to account for the evolving needs of our community and our region. Now is one of those times.
How Did We Determine These Changes?
Since early 2020, the TVGS Events Team has been working on a plan for improving our recurring event schedule. This plan incorporates feedback from our community members and volunteers, as well as format adjustments resulting from our recent shift to online-only events in response to COVID.
The improvement plan centers on a few key areas of focus that arose during these planning discussions: sustainability, variety, and impact.
One of our major goals is to ensure that all of our recurring events are sustainable, both in terms of the effort they require and the number of attendees they attract. Achieving this goal requires us to decrease the overall workload associated with event organization, and ensure that the frequency of events is appropriately scaled to demand.
In order to improve event sustainability, we have:
- Simplified the format for frequently recurring events to reduce the amount of organizational work required
- Established a process for discontinuing events that do not garner an audience
- Limited the maximum number of separate events run by an individual volunteer
Another important goal is to keep events fresh and interesting for repeat attendees. Achieving this goal entails varying the format of recurring events to increase engagement and spice things up a bit.
In order to improve event variety, we have:
- Adjusted the format of Community Night to include a unique group activity each month
- Added a featured developer for monthly showcase events
- Established a process for evaluating new event proposals from community members
Last but not least, a key goal is to ensure that our approach to events has a positive impact on our organization, our community, and our region as a whole. This means ensuring that we focus our efforts on addressing regional needs, and that we secure the resources needed to run our major events and programs.
In order to improve event impact, we have:
- Streamlined the recurring event schedule to free up volunteer time and energy for larger initiatives
- Focused our online events around ongoing needs like community-building, skill development, and providing visibility for local developers
- Improved the consistency of our recurring event schedule to make events easier to attend