This year, I attended the RDC London Viewing Party. I was unable to travel to San Francisco for the main conference, so I thought it would be better than just sitting at home watching although it was only a viewing party and not a proper RDC. This is my review of the event, and at the end will be a final conclusion and thoughts on how to improve for next year. European developers are encouraged to share their views below.
This year’s RDC EU offerings were met with disappointment and criticism from the start by many EU developers - and for good reason. However, with myself being lucky living an hour from London on the train, I felt it was still an opportunity not to be missed, as, if anything, I’d be able to meet with local Roblox developers and staff.
Hosted at 30 Euston Square, the home of the Royal College of General Practitioners, the location was ideal for Developers arriving from Euston Station and King’s Cross St Pancras. I got there first, so check-in was a breeze (however, many developers were held up in long queues to get in) and soon enough I was inside, beginning the Ice Breaker Event. Unfortunately, there weren’t enough people in order to obtain all of the pieces, which meant that for some time, we were unable to win the virtual prize. However, event staff later fixed up the game to award the commando to those with all but one piece. (thanks Brad!)
woot3 telling us the secret to get 999,999,999 Robux // Ice breaker in full swing
Soon after the Ice Breaker, it was time to assemble in the main room to watch the Live Stream from San Francisco. Tami Bhaumik (VP of Marketing & Digital Civility) dialed into the live-cast from the London event. Apart from when it cut out at one point, and later began buffering (hey, it’s live), all went smoothly!
After the presentations ended, and whilst the US attendees were watching their Breakout Sessions, we got two presentations from Claus Moberg and Nathan Griffin (nsgriff) on internalization and Studio. As the keynotes had run over schedule, these presentations were delayed, which began to eat into party time at the end. This was unfortunate for those who like me, who were unable to take up the late Hotel offer and had to leave early.
Once the party started, we were offered a wide array of delicious food, soft drinks and candy. The only issue I had here was that the music was really loud, making it hard to hear or chat with others. I understand it was meant to be a party, but having the DJ in the same room as where the food was didn’t really make sense.
Then it was time for the raffle. The tickets earned via the Ice Breaker were ready, and so were we. Prizes up for grabs included quality Bose headphones, a keyboard, exclusive Roblox toys, and the limited edition Bloxopoly game, which @Webmotion and I both won! The grand prize was an “all-expenses-paid” package for next year’s Europe RDC. If there’s any positive to take away from the low turnout, it was that there was a better chance of winning a prize.
Overall, the event was good, but nowhere near as good as last year’s full RDC in Amsterdam and 2017’s London RDC. I enjoyed meeting other developers and hanging out, however, I felt that the event was way too short, just over 6 hours is nowhere near long enough. I asked a security guard how many attended in total, who told me around 60 people. (including chaperones). This was really disappointing compared to last year’s RDC in Amsterdam, which brought together over 200 developers. This year’s RDC Viewing Party was not worth it or justifiable for many devs from across the continent, which prevented them from attending.
At the event, I was approached by a Roblox staff member who had viewed my previous post where I shared mine and the European community’s views on the event. It was clear that they hear us and want more feedback to shape future European RDC events. I hope Roblox can take on board this feedback and bring back the old RDC format for 2020.
RDC Europe Improvements
Make the event longer and return to the old format over a weekend. Even a day-long viewing party would not be long enough nor justifiable for developers from across the continent to travel to, let alone a 6 hour one. RDC needs to span over a weekend, like the previous format. For many, the time it would take to travel to RDC would be near to or longer than the event itself.
Announce RDC earlier. This year, the RDC announcement was late (middle of March compared to February), invite information came out late (beginning of May compared to April) and the UK hotel block was announced just a month before the viewing party was supposed to begin - after most attendees had already purchased transport and other hotels. All of these delays are not helpful for attendees who want to book hotels/transport in advance - especially for RDC US attendees traveling from outside America, as plane fares and hotel costs can get very expensive.
Be more transparent and communicative with the wave ticketing system. We’ve all seen the posts of worried devs thinking they’re not going to be able to come after Wave 1 goes out. Developers were kept in the dark, unknown of which wave they would be in, or when the next wave of invites would be sent out. Roblox should notify developers of which wave they’re in from the start, or tell us exactly when each wave will be released, so that we don’t have to constantly be checking our emails. This would make the invite system much easier and less stressful for developers.
Don’t run RDC EU and RDC US at the same time - Although the viewing party was said to be better as it wouldn’t involve repeated content, this means that less staff are able to travel over to RDC EU, and there would be less of a focus on the event. Alternative content can be shown, or different aspects of the event can be changed to allow for more social interaction & learning, for example Q&A sessions. This also means that attendees can’t be in both places at the same time.
To conclude, I must say - I had fun at the viewing party. It was nice to catch up with some of my dev friends, but to also meet some new faces. However, it’s unfortunate that the turnout was so low, because of the number of developers that felt that this event was not worth it. I still agree, this event would not have been worth travelling to for developers across the UK and from other European countries. The cost of travel and accommodation for the short event duration just do not make sense. I had to leave 15 minutes early, but still, I was struggling for time to meet people and take part in all the fun activites going on during the event. Next year, I’d like to see a return of a weekend-long RDC so that I can connect and have fun with even more developers from across the continent.
Roblox, take a look at what a success RDC 2018 Amsterdam was with nearly 4x attendees - and replicate it for 2020.
^ Pictured above: 200+ attendees at RDC Amsterdam, August 2018
Pros: Good food, ping pong table, ice breaker raffle, merch, central location
Cons: Event duration, low turnout, late announcements / lack of communication, not enough time to socialise / party