Sitting in the front row as Evan and the team took stage in the Sunset Ballroom, you could sense that this was the big moment for them. After a year of planning, hype-building and securing some of the biggest names in the community to attend – it all came down to this. Calm, cool and relaxed, Evan and Phil welcomed everyone to FSExpo 2018 – North America’s community driven event. The introduction was short, sweet and to the point. The exciting and well executed introduction video welcomed everyone to the start of an exciting weekend. The most impressive thing of that introduction speech: seeing that over 1100 people were going to attend over the coming weekend. For a brand new event, that figure blows my mind.
As the cheers settled down, my nerves began to reach critical point as I knew mine and David’s 5 minutes of fame was soon to begin with our announcement of DCTRY (‘Directory’). As the mic was passed to me, we took to the stage and DCTRY was met with a roaring success. Soon enough, I knew that bringing an exciting announcement to the event would be met with a good reception and I was super proud of us as a media site to pull of what developers have been doing for years. Small teases and a well executed announcement = great reception and lots of talk!
Very soon, I was out in the crowds of people all there to celebrate their love for simulation. Whether someone was there to learn more about the hobby or to simply socialise, everyone was there in great spirits. The floor was buzzing with people running around, trying the newest simulators, meeting their favourite developer or getting their hands on some of our amazing T-Shirts. The atmosphere, the energy and the enthusiasm shared was magical – moreso than any event I’ve been to before.
As a team, we had 7 of us there in total. I am really proud of how we worked as a team during the event. Whether it was Seth and Will manning the stand, or David and Patrick running about doing interviews. Greg was also a key partner of mine to ensure that DCTRY was being given the love and care it deserved to the developers who expressed huge support for the product. I am also really happy with our team who remained at home reporting the news for the community at a rapid pace. I was really impressed that when I got back to my room at the end of the night, I was reading a whole bunch of stuff I didn’t even see myself at the event! Furthermore, a few of our partners came out for the trip with us and gave their support also. A huge shout out to them as well for their help and support. It can’t be easy sitting at a stand with little to no clue on how nerdy we are, but they came away with a massive appreciation for just how important and big our hobby is.
Although I didn’t attend many of the seminars, I know that those that did enjoyed each one for their own personal reasons. Patrick really enjoyed meeting FlightChops and I know many people learned a lot from the Streamers. It was also fantastic to meet some of the people who we spend countless hours flying around and seeing what they’re like in person.
As usual, Saturday was spent manically running around interviewing different developers, asking them loads of questions and more. We hope to have all interviews up and on YouTube by the end of next week. In total, you can expect the following:
- Lockheed Martin
- QualityWings Simulation
- Just Flight
- Infinite Flight
- TFDi Design
- 1C Game Studios
I appreciate that some of these we promised to live stream, but we ran into quite a few issues with it. Despite spending a significant amount of money trying to achieve this vision, it sadly didn’t work as we hoped. Rest assured, we will learn from this and use this to support the idea in the future. Thanks for your feedback on it so we can improve in the future. My primary feedback to the teams will be how we can make sure that those streaming are given the tools to make it easier and improve the quality.
Further to the interviews, I’ll be also offering some first impressions on GSX Level 2 by FSDT, the new simulator Deadstick and POSCON. There was so much to see and do at the event, it’s hard to find the time to cover it all.
I’ve made comments in the past about how coverage should be done at these types of events. I know that other media sites did a good job at covering the event and I hope the community also appreciates the efforts we made this year. I feel this year was incredible for announcements and first looks. This is exactly how I imagine this event taking place and appreciate the efforts developers put into their reveals this year. I am really humbled to have met so many of the community members at the show this year and your kind comments will always stay with me. On top of that, a huge shout out to the developers as well. Everyone was so open to suggestions, conversations and letting you try their products. Everyone was a pleasure to meet and to see their interaction with the community was equally as exciting.
Whilst the show itself was excellent, Las Vegas was also an excellent choice of location. Regardless of age, I don’t believe anyone had any issues or complaints with the location or hotel. Yes, Vegas is known for its party culture, but equally, there is plenty of family-fun entertainment also. I took the time to take a helicopter ride down the strip (Sergio – if you’re reading – I was impressed!) and also spent ages in multiple attractions around the city. Compared to other locations other events are held in, Vegas certainly made the trip even more exciting than it already was. The amount of variety also made it easy to have meet ups, arrange social visits and engage with the community a lot more. Orbx were generous enough to sponsor a couple of social gatherings during the event, which extended the show and continued with that community spirit.
I think I can speak for everyone on my team and beyond when I say how excellent the event was. From the initial planning meetings to the pre-event meeting, everything was well arranged and organised. I am so proud to have been part of the event and I know that all the lessons from this year will be considered for next year.
So again, from me, thank you to the event organisers, the sponsors, the exhibitors and of course our fellow media partners for helping to support this widely successful event. The slogan of it being a community driven event is well and truly deserved and I’m already excited to see what next year looks like.
Now back to bed to catch up on the lost sleep from the past 2 weeks!