PAX East starts this Friday, and with it comes almost a full week of exciting things; a veritable Rock Band blitz of information descending upon us. Whether you are on the ground in Boston, or channeling the news through the internet at home, below is a list of all the events that Rock Band fans should know about.
While not directly related to PAX East, Harmonix will be making an announcement debuting a NEW TITLE on tomorrow night’s episode of X-Play. Be sure to catch the 6:30 PM (Eastern) episode for a very special announcement that you will not want to miss. And in typical PAX East fashion, we will publish our story asking for people to submit questions, but we figured we would wait until AFTER the big reveal for you to submit your queries for Harmonix.
Then we move on to the Wednesday before PAX East, where Harmonix will be showing off gameplay previews from the NEW TITLE on their PAX East Preview Livestream from the Harmonix offices. Exact time TBD.
On Thursday, PAX East eve, if you will, the night is being kicked off with the Pre-PAX East Game Swap. Starting at 5:30 PM at the Middlesex Lounge in Cambridge, you can exchange or purchase some hidden treasures from people’s video game libraries, while networking (and drinking) with other friends throughout the gaming and Rock Band community.
The night also includes a double feature, of sorts, at the Brattle Theatre with a 6:00 PM showing of Scott Pilgrim vs The World, followed by Rock Band Night (featuring appearances/judging from the fine folks at Giantbomb) at 9:00 PM. Tickets for Scott Pilgrim are $6.75 to $9.75, tickets to Rock Band Night are $7, and combo tickets to both are $13.
The following day kicks off the official start of PAX East, and if you want/need a map of the event, we’ve got that (in PDF form)!
See the full list of all the Harmonix-related PAX East events after the jump!
Talkin’ ’bout My (Content) Generation
Naga Theatre – Friday 10:00am – 11:00am
It’s not just Doom and Halo maps anymore. The Rock Band Network, and the many other user-generated content platforms out there, have built up a whole world of dedicated gamers producing and selling high-quality content right inside games. Not only does user-generated content keep games alive even longer, it can make rock stars out of diehard fans. And while it’s not easy being (or working with) rock stars, the crazy idea and crazy people behind the Network have changed what user-generated content can be, and not just for rhythm gaming. Join Rock Band Network authors and some Harmonix staff as they look back at over two years of content and discuss the lessons they’ve learned, the hurdles they’ve faced, and what it all means for bringing more user-generated content to even more games.
Panelists include: Rob Witko [Owner, Fairwood Studios], Carolyn VanEseltine [Associate Producer, Harmonix], Owen Douglass [Owner, Ozone Entertainment], Jeff Webster [Musician/Author, independent], Erich Sherman [Author/Podcaster, Rhythm Authors]
Finding the Soul of your Game
Manticore Theatre – Friday 10:30am – 11:30am
After 3+ years in development, Shoot Many Robots is finally done. Stick a fork in it. But man, if you saw the game when it was a gawky preteen you might not even recognize it (we might not either). Come listen to Demiurge’s designers talk about key decision points, our biggest influences, and how a certain fruit-loving robot got way too intimate with your melon. Somewhere along the way in those three years, we found the soul of our game. This is how it happened.
Panelists include: Matt Boch [Project Director, Harmonix], Dan Chretien [Game Designer, Demiurge Studios], Josh Glavine [Game Designer, Demiurge Studios], Andrew Ziegler [Game Designer, ImaginEngine], Tom Lin [Creative Director, Demiurge Studios]
Fitocracy Presents: Gaming and Fitness – A Surprisingly Awesome Marriage
Wyvern Theatre – Friday 12:00pm – 1:00pm
“Oh, he’s a gamer. He must be a fat slob who hasn’t seen his feet in years.” Do you know anyone who thinks that? Of course you do – everyone thinks that! Unfortunately, gamers often think that fitness and gaming are mutually exclusive. We’ll show you that not only can you achieve both, but people with the gamer mentality can actually be the fittest, sexiest people out there. Our panel consists of two WoW-nerds-turned-ripped, a Guinness Book of World Record gamer who deadlifts over 300 lbs, and Dance Central’s superfit representative. Come learn about the newest revolution in fitness from this Fitocracy-sponsored panel!
Panelists include: Richard Talens [Co-Founder, Fitocracy], Roger Lawson [Founder, RogLaw Fitness], Matt Siegfried [Founder, mattblitzgaming.com], Annette Gonzalez [Fitness Community Manager, Harmonix Music]
Harmonix and the Evolution of Beatmatch Gameplay
Manticore Theatre – Saturday 10:30am – 11:30am
Join Harmonix developers as they discuss and dissect ten years of beatmatch gameplay creation, tracking their long and glorious tradition of designing music rhythm games like Frequency and Amplitude right up to the first public reveal of a brand new title! [Editor's note: We HIGHLY recommend going to this panel!] The panel will include gameplay examples from internal prototypes, honest discussion of our design process successes and failures, insight into how we create and test our games in development, and a synopsis of the design history of a title on public display for the very first time at the Harmonix booth. Q & A to follow.
Panelists include: Matthew Nordhaus [Project Director, Harmonix], Chris Foster [Design Director, Harmonix], Brian Chan [Senior Designer, Harmonix], Jyllian Thibodeau [User Experience Specialist, Harmonix]
Healthy Games: Lose Weight, Live Longer, and Level Up
Wyvern Theatre – Saturday 3:00pm – 4:00pm
Are you a gamer who wants to get healthier? Or a game dev who wants to access a massive new market? This panel will highlight the work of companies that are making going to the gym as exciting as a trip to the World of Warcraft. Learn about new products, services, and communities dedicated to making fitness more fun. There are hundreds of apps and tools for gamers to use and hundreds of billions of dollars in opportunity for developers, this panel will help you learn more about both.
Panelists include: Joseph Flaherty [Sr. Manager, Strategic Marketing, AgaMatrix], Matt Boch [Lead Design/Director, Dance Central, Harmonix], Michael Sheeley [COO/Founder, RunKeeper], Nina Walia [Experience Producer, Nike Fuel Band, Nike], Alex Gourley [CEO/Founder, Bit Gym]
The Harmonix Podcast – LIVE!
Arachnid Theatre – Sunday 11:30am – 12:30pm
The Good Time Charlies at Harmonix have been producing a regular podcast for years now, bringing you the latest in Rock Band and Dance Central news, mixed with a healthy dose of irreverent banter. For the first time ever, we’re bringing you the Harmonix Podcast LIVE at PAX East! That’s right, now you can see all the stupid hand motions Eric Pope (Harmonix Community Manager) makes when describing things! You’ll also be able to feel like you’re part of the show, sharing knowing glances with John Drake (Director of Brand Management) when Aaron Trites (HMXHenry, Manager of Community Development) talks about pogs and M*A*S*H. We’ll be bringing special guests and maybe even SOME SECRETS?
Panelists include: Eric Pope [Community Manager, Harmonix], Aaron Trites [Manager of Community Development, Harmonix], John Drake [Director of Communications and Brand Management, Harmonix], Annette Gonzalez [Community Manager, Harmonix], Nick Chester [Publicist, Harmonix]