FlightGear Expo Checklist
This section is intended to collect and sum up people's experience demonstrating Flightgear at expos and elsewhere, so as to provide a resource for others planning demos.
As well as simply things like "don't forget to pack the silver screen for the beamer" and "how to prepare multi-display-setups", it is also intended to include proposals on merchandising articles and what to bring for which type of exhibition.
- Merchandising: Have the World Scenery available on DVD for sale.
- Have various versions of FlightGear (source, binaries, scenery, base package) for sale as well.
- Have (a) digital projectors(s), so our graphics look a bit more impressive than on a 17" TFT screen. This is particularly important if you have lots of people trying to see what's going on.
- Bring adaptors to connect real aviation headsets to our equipment - this might prove to become tricky, as the 'real' headset's microphone impedance won't match the usual PC-style stuff.
- It might be a good idea to have printed a few copies of some of the technical reports that have been presented for FlightGear and related or constituent parts. Don't present the papers more than pointing over to a stand with printouts for those interested in the technical details. This will give the necessary background info to the few advanced visitors to the booth and will not overstrain the others...
- Prepare and - if possible - test settings for multiplayer- and/or multiscreen-setups as well as VoIP-equipment before heading for the show.
- Make sure you _really_ know how to disable screen-savers before you head for the show !!
- Make sure you'll have the required hardware for the show, start contacting possible supporters months, not only weeks before the show.
- Bring table clothes that makes your booth look nicer.
- Prepare nameplates for booth staff.
- Bring network and power cable, contact exhibition staff wether public network is available.
- Find someone to design posters and flyers, find someone to print these.
- Check if you are allowed to bring your own water kettle to prepare tea.
- Bring your own mug and probably a plate, so you won't starve or dry up on the booth.
- Check the power consumption of the computers you prepared to bring; see if it matches the expected power supplies - modern multi-CPU machines are rated at up to 1 kW !
- Bring multiple sets of power cords so you'll be able to distribute the load over multiple sockets, if necessary.
- Gaffer/Duck tape is always useful. In particular, taping down power/network cables reduces the chance of someone tripping on them.
Designing an Interactive Demonstration
To make the demo more interesting for the visitors (as opposed to the exhibitor!), you may want to create a simple interactive demonstration that the visitor can try.
Here are some pointers:
- Keep it short - a minute is about right. The means that you can let lots of people try it, and people can try again if they fail.
- Have an objective - landing at the airport, flying under the bridge. But...
- Don't make it too hard. If your target audience is FlightSimmers, then given them full control. If it is Joe Public, then roll and pitch control will be plenty. So that people have a positive experience, you want them to feel they have succeeded.
- Use the tutorial system. By using the tutorial system and some Nasal, you can easily set FG up to run as a "kiosk", displaying instructions on the screen, reseting the simulation once complete, changing views...
- Use an old joystick. You may be used to mouse control, but for most people it is too sensitive and unsual. Children are rough on hardware, and will somehow manage to break your CH Products Yoke.
- Disable all the controls you don't want them to use. Otherwise the user _will_ press the wrong button and mess up your scenario.
- Maximize the A/V experience. Use a digital projector and/or multiple displays if possible. Bigger is better as it allows more people to watch from further away. Use pre-recorded audio to provide instructions (rather than TTS), and big speakers and subwoofers for lots of jet-noise (if appropriate).
- Use the locality to make the demo relevant. Landing an aircraft the user has just seen for real, at the location the demo is taking place is much more interesting than the c172p at KSFO.
- Network, if possible. Two people flying in the MP environment while sitting side-by-side is much more interesting than flying separately.