Evo2k4 Post Mortem


I took a few minutes to write down my thoughts on Evo2k4 from an organizer’s point of view. Here’s my list of some of the new things we tried to do, what went right, what went wrong, and what we might try to do for next year. If you have any thoughts on these issues, I’d love to hear from you (just followup in this thread).

This year we tried something new with registration. We used an account system on evo2k.com so people could log in at any time and change which tournaments they planned to sign up for. We also tried to build the brackets dynamically as signups were occuring. This let us tell you the exact time you were playing, so you wouldn’t have to wait around all day Friday.

What Went Right
The printouts telling people when and where to play seemed to work well. I’m not aware of any incidents of players getting lost from a bracket, which is a good thing.

What Went Wrong
Registration took WAY WAY too long. The line was up to 4 hours at one point. There are a few reasons for this. First of all, the printer provided by CalPoly could not be made to work with the Ethernet setup, which meant we could only have 1 computer running at a time. This doubled the registration time. Secondly, almost everyone showing up at the tournament either didn’t register online or wanted to change their games. The person who registered correctly online usually took about 20 seconds to process (2 clicks on the website and printer lag). Everyone else too over a minute to tweak their game preferences.

What To Do For Next Year
Registration at the event clearly doesn’t scale. In the future, we’ll probably do what other large conventions do and take registrations online, via credit-card or PayPal. Once you register, we’ll snail mail your your badge, registration information, and bracket assignments. If we accomplish all this, we’ll completely eliminate the registration process for people who care to do so.

The reason we used consoles this year is really quite simple. The writing is on the wall: competitive fighting games of the future will EITHER move to console OR die. Upcoming games like GGXX #Reloaded and Capcom Fighting Jam will either have very very limited US arcade release or no release at all. By Evo2k7, none of the premier games in our lineup will have arcade releases state-side. By moving to console now, we can help iron out the bugs in our system for next year.

What Went Right
Consoles let us move to round-robin, which was a great thing. We also learned a lot about how a console tournament needs to be run, which will help a great deal for next year. Console tournament which were run on PS/2’s had very few issues and finished mostly on-time, with the exception of VF4 which started late.

The velcro system worked well for keeping stick from moving, although many people elected to sit on the floor.

Console are designed to drive an NTSC signal. This made capturing easy as pie. We got an awsome, crystal clear image on the recording equipment, which will make for a really slick DVD. This year’s DVD should be the best ever with regard to the capture quality.

What Went Wrong
Dreamcasts or horrible, horrible pieces of equipment to deal with. All SRK Dreamcasts (the ones with the blue tops) were prepped with the resistor-mod in an attempt to prevent the bluebox issues. Unfortunately, we still ran into many of these. I don’t think there’s a good solution to this problem. What you basically have is components made by 4 different vendors (Dreamcast, Convertor, P1, P2). All of those components are designed to be manufactured as cheaply as possible, and therefore contain the minimum spec’ed parts to get the job done. When you combine them all, there’s no hope in getting them to work with any amount of reliability.

Superguns are almost as bad as Dreamcasts. They’re sensitive pieces of equipment and people cannot bring their own joysticks. Future tournaments won’t use Superguns.

I remember reading someone complaining that consoles were horrible because people were missing their moves, giving several missed dive-kicks by KO in the finals as an example. I found this one hilarious, as (1) 3s was on a supergun, not a consle and (2) the joystick we gave to the japanese players for 3s was a cabinet setup ripped up and wired to the supergun. It was arcade perfect. Just shows that people will complain about anything.

The height of the tables with respect to the chairs could have been better. It would have been nice to have chairs about 4" higher, IMHO.

What To Do For Next Year
Don’t use Dreamcasts. Period. The cannot be made to run correctly.
If anyone has any suggestions on how to make better use of consoles or how we can improve the console setup for next year, please followup on this thread. Your input is very important. Please don’t responde with “use an arcade cabinet”. That is not an option we’re interested in pursing.

Brackets (RoundRobin + SemiFinals)
This year we tried a new system: round robin brackets moving into a semi-final
double elimination bracket.

What Went Right
Round robin brackets were a huge win in 2 ways. First, it let us schedule people’s matches at a specific time so they could play all their matches together. Secondly, it gave people and opportunity to play against more people then they would have in a double elimination bracket. I saw one poster complain that round robin sucked because he only got to play 3-4 matches for his $30. In a bracket system, you would have only gotten 2. Peace out. :slight_smile:

Many people have commented that their bracket was unbalanced or unfair in some way. With nearly 1000 people to fit into a bracket, it’s impossible to hand-tweak everything, especially when giving out people’s bracket assignments as they register. At any rate, the round robin bracket assignments are posted at http://www.evo2k.com/evoSoft/?root=results. If someone can find a bracket that’s significantly more broken than the rest, please point it out for me. I believe those brackets are near optimal.

What Went Wrong
We had some amount of trouble keeping the schedule. There are lots of reasons for this. Even though we gave people the exact time they should play, lots of people were still late. This holds up the bracket. Some games like CvS2 took so long to complete that it was pretty much impossible to stay on schedule. The hardware problems caused by Dreamcasts made this even more difficult (more on that later). Finally, even if everything was done to prefection, there’s no way to stay 100% on schedule using a bracket system. You can’t simply stop the 3:00 PM bracket at 3:50 PM to get ready for the 4:00 PM one. You have to finish it.

What To Do For Next Year
I’m currently brainstorming ideas on a new tournament format which would guarantee we could stay on-time and give people an opportunity to play more games. Round robin is a step in the right direction, IMHO, but we need a way to cut it off if it’s running over and a way to start the tournament even though some people might not be there. One such system (although probably not the one we’ll use) is one where everyone plays “arcade style” winner-stays for 2 hours and the 2 people with the most wins move onto the next round in the tournament. In that system, people who show up late simply don’t have as large of an opportunity to accumulate wins, and you can stop the bracket at any time. If you have ideas on this subject, please follow up in this thread.

Bring Your Own Console Hall
I only visited the BYOC room twice, but it seemed like players were having a lot of fun.

What Went Right
BYOC gave people something to do when they weren’t in the actual tournament. As far as I’ve heard, almost everyone had a good time there.

What Went Wrong
Nothing, AFAIK. If you think there was something wrong with the BYOC room, please reply to this thread with the specifics.

What To Do For Next Year
Obviously continue BYOC. What did people think of the exhibitors setup there? Do you want to see more? Less?

Tournament Finals
The finals this year were the same format we used last year. The Top-8 players in each bracket played on the bigscreen with a WWE style introduction. We added some extra stuff, too.

What Went Right
The intros went off well, again.

People seemed to really enjoy the video-game trailers we played between matches; especially those that didn’t make it to E3. We’ll definitely do that again next year.

Ode to the 2-Hit Combo. Nuff said.

What Went Wrong
We didn’t have pictures for some of the people being introduced, so they didn’t get an overlay on the bigscreen while making their walk to the cabinets.

The Soul Calibur 2 finals were staged, boring, and a complete letdown. Mick and RTD did that without consulting anyone on the SRK staff as to whether or not it would be a good idea (or even legal). We have a rule on the books which could be enforced to revoke their prize money, but it was written too vaguely to be implemented.

Marvel vs Capcom 2 finals were subdued compared to the other finals. I blame this mostly on the fact that the game hasn’t matured in over a year and everyone knew that no one had a shot to beat Justin.

What To Do For Next Year
Resolve the introduction problems. We need to take people’s pictures in advance to make sure we have them for the finals.

More mini-games! Paper/Scissors/Rock for prizes was fun. A lot of people seemed to enjoy 2 random people playing Tekken @ Evo2k3, but Tekken Bowl @ Evo2k4 didn’t go off as well. We need to invent some more, fun minigames that the crowd can participate in so everyone has fun.

Consider splitting the Finals up into a 3d section and a 2d section. I noticed many of the 2d games were bored during the 3d finals and vice versa. Grouping all the together makes it easier for people to watch only the finals they’re interested in and skip the rest.

Overall, I think this year’s Evolution was a great success. Only 2 large problems stand out in my mind:

First of all, Dreamcasts are a nightmare to deal with. There’s not much we can do about this aside from simply not using them. We also learned a lot about things you have to do differently when running a console tournament instead of an arcade one, and that should help make next year’s event all the better.

Secondly, Evo2k4 was basically a complete repeat of Evo2k3. No new games have come out. This one isn’t our fault. :slight_smile: Some people have commented that the excitement level wasn’t as great as it was @ Evo2k3. This is the biggest reason, IMHO (plus the lack of innovation from the MvC2 front). I wholly expect this to be rectified in Evo2k5, which should feature an all new lineup of games like Tekken 5, GGXX #Reloaded, Capcom Fighting Jam, and maybe even Sammy vs Capcom (if they ever get around to writing it).

That’s about all i have. If you got this far, you have more stamina than most readers. :smiley: Please post any comments you might have to this thread, and I’ll be sure to read them. Thanks once again to all the staff who worked hard to make Evo a success, and to the players who came out to support us!

The winner stays opening bracket idea sound cool…if nothing else it emulates the good old days of arcades. I would think the main issue there would be accurately keeping track of wins, you would have to be pretty diligent and no third party watchers are going to remember whether some guy won 8 or 9 matches.

Great post showing that you guys are analyzing what worked and what didn’t, and are thinking about the players and the event.

I hope to see what improvements and suprises you guys have in store for next year after reading that :smiley:

"More mini-games! Paper/Scissors/Rock for prizes was fun. A lot of people seemed to enjoy 2 random people playing Tekken @ Evo2k3, but Tekken Bowl @ Evo2k4 didn’t go off as well. We need to invent some more, fun minigames that the crowd can participate in so everyone has fun.

Consider splitting the Finals up into a 3d section and a 2d section. I noticed many of the 2d games were bored during the 3d finals and vice versa. Grouping all the together makes it easier for people to watch only the finals they’re interested in and skip the rest."

Good ideas I really like them both. Especially the idea of splitting up the finals into two sections, 2d and 3d. Looks like the majority won’t have their ways by having the next evo go back to arcades but I’m sure there should be better ways to emulate the arcade experience as close as possible than this year.

Ponder&Inkblot and To all of EVo2k4: I loved Evo…so many great memories from this year. So many good matches…I think it topped last year’s Evo and that was on arcade!!! Don get me wrong I like arcade too and last year’s Evo as well but this year things were different.

Just the kickin it at Shilo and all the groups of people at 409…everyone came together that night and had too much fun…egos aside…just chillin. Thats what I feel Evo is truly about…players coming together…new rivals are made…friends that you havent seen in so long…new friends that just pop up.

And the reation of the crowd was intense this year…people really love this fighting game shit. I know i do…so i’ll be back…

I really think the CvS2.Team tourney should have a rematch next year when everyone is into it.I heard no team showed up on time .and maybe big screen or something…just a thought…

The console room was a great idea…

Thats about it from the Doc…Peace to all those players that I met and kicked it with…and to all I already knew…


if no DC, so what about mvc2 ?? would it be on x-box ??? or ps2??? no way …


No Dreamcast or Arcade? Does that mean no MvC2 at all?

There’s the PS2 or Xbox version…

Not being able to CAHVB > random blue boxes

Jason Wilson used to run 3rd Strike King of the Machine tourneys at AA. They are fast, and much harder to win than a regular tourney. If you do King of the Machine for an hour, you need at least 10 people in the pool.

Round Robin is excellent for the first round start. The only thing I can think of to make this system better is that you go back to the first year EVO set up. So when you get to the final 8, the bracket should reset. All 8 players who make it are the current top players, and people wanna see them play.

Going from round robin and into a double elmin brack still holding a lost is kind of silly too. What about the person who lost twice or 3 times and still won his round robin pool, technically he should be out of the tournament. They should either reset the brackets at this point, or during the final 8.

Just my thoughts.


ps. Also, I think you guys should have a set up like you gave the japanese. They had these perfect arcade like set up controllers where they got to sit side by side and still had a good arcade feel if you put it at the right hieght. Where were these set ups for american players? It may be better next year to “NOT” let people bring there own controllers and just have a universal set up for all players. It is true, you just cant play as aggressive sitting on the floor then you can with a arcade set up. Everyone was missing something, and nobody played 100%.

Im sure to get that set up for all your systems next year will be by far cheaper then getting arcades. It may have been easier for you guys by having console this year, and im sure a lot cheaper for you…but for the players…playing on a controller on the damn floor sucks bad. You have to re-create that arcade feel with console, or this just can not work.

Hey! you better replace ST with AE fool.

The only versions of Marvel vs Capcom 2 that are acceptable for tournament play are Arcade and Dreamcast. No MvC2 next year?

If they choose to use the Xbox version, they better damn well let me use the black and white buttons for auto wave dashing and supering, as they are already the default setting and part of the xbox version of the game. :smiley:

You mention that the playstation games were rock solid compared to the dreamcast ones, and I can easily see why that would be the case; but dismissing the DC is the wrong route to take. The PS2 games were TTag, T4, VF4E, and SC2. Most of the people who brought their own sticks were playing on Hori’s, Namco’s, and even original controllers. Most of the folks playing on DC were playing with Mas sticks and customs;the 2D’ers were using P360’s, and the 3D’ers in general weren’t. Now that I know that you folks used a resister in the DC, I’m seriously wondering whether or not it was to blame for my stick not working properly.

I honestly think you will have similar hardware problems if the 2D games are moved to another platform, and a lot of people will be unhappy about the changes (no roll cancelling, exiting characters are vulnerable, etc). If you want more innovation in the games, don’t change the games. I’m all for having third strike on other platforms, but cvs2 and mvc2 are best on dreamcast.

This may be none of my buisness but how did the sponsers help you guys financially?Did you do better than breaking even.

Obviously sponsers can do a huge part in this.Is there any way evo can be sponsered by a cabinet dealer?or maybe sponser by mass and then have ppl make psuedo cabinets?Like if we had enough mass controllers and hollow cabinets we could simply put the system and the controllers in there making it alot cheaper, and also eliminating the need to bring controllers, these skelleton cabinents can also be reused on evo’s.I think this is the ultimite answer but I am not sure how much money this would consume.It would be an arcade cabinet with no guts just the system, not stck wobbles either.What do you think??And do you guys have any further ideas on how this can be acomplished…

evolution definitely went well, it was amusing being out there, and cool meeting/chillin with people

in terms of areas of improvement, you might want to have more speakers around, for calling brackets, making announcements, etc.

for those who were just walking into the tournament hall, one could barely hear announcements.

so if you guys can get some speakers near the entrance and possibly in the byoc room, that could probably help announcements.

If you guys are going with the Paypal idea…

AND are contemplating using it for on-site registrations also…

You should set up some sort of deal with Paypal first.

I was at Anime eXpo 2004, and Paypal shut down the on-site registration accounts due to too many transactions. It SUCKED for those trying to register with that method :frowning:

I have never, ever heard of a problem using any stick on the PS/2. Any. Ever. Certainly nothing like the DC bluescreen problems.

Several people have already posted, “not using DC’s isn’t the answer.” I’m not interested in what isn’t the answer is. That’s not at all helpful. I’m interested in what you think the answer is. We’ve tried the state of the art in Dreamcast modification, and it didn’t fix the problem. Is your solution to simply tolerate the bluescreen issue?

Can anyone tell me what happened exactly during the SC2 finals?