UK Games Expo (UKGE) is the UK's largest tabletop gaming event held annually at the National Exhibition Centre and the NEC Hilton Metropole. This year the event was forced to cancel but we did not want the year to pass without an expo, so we decided to take the game online.
Thanks to the vast array of technology solutions available and the continued support of our customers, volunteers, sponsors and show partners, we’re happy to present Virtually Expo.
How does it work?
We’re using a range of different technologies to make as much as possible of the traditional expo available from the comfort of visitors own homes. Using online broadcasting, video and text chat solutions, and different virtual gaming platforms, you will be able to meet, talk to and play with attendees in much the same way you’d expect at the physical expo.
How do I find out more?
We are producing some videos to assist exhibitors in setting up virtual stands.
Setting up and running a Virtual Stand
Your exhibitor portal allows you to
- see what orders you have placed for stands, furniture, power, sponsorship, marketing and advertising.
- You can check what payments you have made and how much is still outstanding.
- You can request furniture and power.
- You can check out your stand number, stand dimensions and add or edit a stand description from the stands tab.
- Note you can't change your logo from your portal. To find out how to do this read further down this page.
- You can also submit entries to the awards.
To access the portal go here.
In order to use the Exhibitor portal you must have an UK Games Expo account with us. If you have one from before this should still work. You can always reset the password if you have forgotten it.
What if I don't have a login or cant remember it?
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Before you can setup a portal you have to book a stand with us. Please first email us to book a stand before proceeding.
If you do not have an account please follow these instructions precisely. Each step is important:
The Virtually Expo Exhibitor Guide will be available on this page by 5th June.
To add details to your virtual stand you login to your exhibitor portal -
Before you can access your Portal you must have booked a Virtual stand or have booked a stand at the cancelled 2020 show in which case we will have allocated you a virtual stand.
One you are in your portal click the Stands tab on the left hand side. That will bring up your Virtual Stand if you have been allocated one. If no stand is visible email Richard.
SETTING UP A VIRTUAL STAND
Click on your virtual stand to enter a stands details page.
Enter the name for your stand as well as short and a longer description. The long description can be formatted and may contain links. Please ensure the description is accurate and appropriate for a family audience to read.
Choose your category
All stands may be allocated up to 3 categories eg Board Games.These cataegories will be used in the Virtual Trade Hall to assist searches by visitors looking for your type of product. You then must choose a primary category which will be used to determine the colour of your stand on the Virtual hall map.
Add some links
LInks are important. This is how the visitor can interact with your stand. You can add links to your online shop, to Twitch Streams and Discord Servers where you might be available to talk to visitors or to any other loctation of relevance.
You can add and delete links LIVE so if you need to be away from your computer you can take down a link.
You can announce events that will run on your stand. These will show both on your stand and on a pooled list of events. Visitors can then plan their day around these events.
Click on Manage Events back on the exhibitor portal main menu (3 lines below Stands).
Then select Submit Event.
Give the Event:
Select the Stand where you want to associate the event.
Add a link to where your event will be hosted.
Add details such as dates and times.
Add a description whihc may contain links.
Add a minimum age if needed.
Technological solutions to running a virtual stand
In its simplest form your trade stand does not need any technology. You can add a link to your website or other online resources e.g. You Tube videos.
We would recommend that traders find a way to interact with the Virtually Expo crowd as this is a better experience for everybody.
You can use whichever technology you feel comfortable with. You should test everything before the weekend.
Testing will ensure that you have less problems on the weekend. Please test, test and test again.
There are a number of platforms and technologies for interacting with the Virtually Expo Visitor.
We will be adding guides and hints here.
The most basic Virtual stand would have just a hyperlink to a website such as an online shop, or a facebook page. This would allow visitors to will be limited You will probably want this link on your site anyway.
Discord is an app designed to help gamers talk to each other in real time. While playing a game on their device, users can log into Discord and enter a group chat with one or more other gamers so they can talk while they play.
You can setup a discord server and add text and audio channels and invite visitors to join you there where you can interact by text or audio. You can even screen share or show videos to a limited number of people allowing you to show products.
Discord can be used to allow you to talk to a visitor whilst playing a game with them in Tabletpia or Board Game Arena.
Zoom is an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars. You may decide to run a presentation or group chat via it. There is a finite time limit for the free vesions but he cost for getting unlimited meeting length is not high.
Twitch is a live streaming platform often used for computer and console gamers, but for Virtually Expo we will be making use of Twitch to broadcast seminars, some live shows and other content. Exhibitor may wish to look at using it game demonstrations.
You Tube/ Facebook
You can pre-record or live stream via these platforms.
Tabletopia is a digital sandbox system for playing board games. As no programming knowldge is needed it is possible for exhibitors to create playable demoes online of their games in just hours and so we recommend this as a platform to demo your games.
As an idea of what can be achieved in a couple of weeks work with no prior knowledge and certianly no skills check our expo director talking through his game Great Fire of London 1666 now available on Tabletopia.
Board Game Arena
Hosting hundreds of digital game conversions complete with AI, thsi platform allows for tournaments and open aming. It is an additional possiblity for online demoes of games for exhibitors who have games on this platform.
We expect that Virtually Expo, like its physical world counter part, UK Games Expo will attract a wide range of Attendees of all ages and the Organisers aim to provide a safe environment in which all Attendees as well as those attending as traders, volunteers, or guests may enjoy the opportunity to see, play and buy the widest range of games.
Please read our Keeping you Safe page
Exhibitors are referred to the terms and conditions that apply to Virtually Expo, the following clause of which covers online content.
Exhibitors are responsible for the safety and appropriateness of all merchandise and promotional and other material displayed and sales activity taking place within their Virtual stand.
a) If the Organisers at their absolute discretion consider that any material displayed or activities undertaken:
i) Pose risks to the health and safety of Visitors, Exhibitors and others attending the Event; and/or
ii) Contravene the terms and conditions of any platform we are using; and/or
iii) break local bylaws and national laws as applicable in the United Kingdom; and/or
iv) are likely to cause offense or distress to other Exhibitors, Expo volunteers or members of the public attending
the Event and/or
v) Are unsuitable for an Event aimed at a family audience and attended by small children. The Organisers will request the Exhibitor to cease any such activities and remove any offending items from the Virtual Stand.
b) If an Exhibitor fails to cease any such activities or remove any such offending items when requested to do so the Organisers may take any one or more of the following actions:
i) Removing the Vitual stand from the show website and all linked platforms.
ii) Blocking or banning the exhibitor from social media platforms,
iii) Refusing any futher booking for future editions of Virtual or offline events run by UK Games Expo
c)The Organisers reserve the right to refuse admission to any Exhibitor or any partner, employee or associate of an Exhibitor if they at their absolute discretion decide the Exhibitor is attempting to display materials of dangerous or objectionable nature.
d) Any Exhibitor who is uncertain as to the appropriateness or acceptability of any materials or activities should discuss his or her concerns with the Organisers in advance of the Event.
What is Tabletopia?
Tabletopia is a digital sandbox system for playing board games with no AI to enforce the rules. This means that you can manipulate the game pieces any way you want, whether it follows the rules or not! Games are played the same as in real life, and you are required to know the rules of the game beforehand.
Tabletopia can be played on most modern browsers, on PC, Mac, iOS, or Android.
Tabletopia is a great way to get visibility and attention to your product. Potential customers can “try before you buy” and see if your game is for them. Games uploaded to this platform have reportedly seen a tangible increase in sales and Kickstarter backers.
Before you start
- First we recommend playing some existing games to figure out how the game client works. Also see Player’s User Guide and FAQ for Players.
- Read the Workshop section of the Help Center or watch Workshop Video tutorials.
- Adapt all graphics for the game for Tabletopia.
- Decide if you will be making your game publicly available or only privately available for playtesting/demoing.
- Now you are ready to start! Follow the special checklist Tabletopia have published for all game designers.
Don’t have time to do it yourself?
Adding your game to Tabletopia will take you just a few hours of work if you have all your graphics ready for print. No programming skills are required, and it’s free for one game with two setups! See below for a detailed process.
However, if you don’t have enough time to add your game yourself, the Tabletopia team can help you with that. Full import of one game costs just $300 USD. They will take care of the rest!
Send an email to [email protected] with your game rules and components description and they will assess if your game would work well on Tabletopia.
How to create and publish game
Full details can be found in the Tabletopia How To Create a Board Game guide.
How to prototype or demo your game
Full details can be found in our How To Start Your Board Game Prototyping guide.
Have more questions?
Please see the Tabletopia Knowledge Base for a complete guide of interacting with specific game objects or creating certain effects. You can also check out our FAQ for game designers. Finally, please contact [email protected] with any further questions.
These notes were provided by Tabletopia and explain how to stream a Tabletopia game demo. Mnay principles apply to streaming in general however.
- It’s preferable to to use a Windows PC if possible
- If you prefer to watch a video than read, this is a good tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3QYJdMafYE
- You can contact Mark( [email protected]) if you have any questions.
- If you need a refresher on the controls for Tabletopia, the Interacting with Game Components guide is right here
- See previous livestreams as examples of what yours could look like!
How to use OBS to stream my game online
- Open your game on Tabletopia.
- Download and install OBS for your computer: https://obsproject.com/ It may try and do a setup wizard on first run - skip this for now.
- We’re going to set up your sources. Locate the sources tab on the bottom of the screen. These dictate what is visible to your audience on the stream. When OBS first installs, it might insert some default sources - if so, click each one and press the “-” button to remove them
- Press the “+” button and select “Window Capture”. Name it “Tabletopia”. On the next screen, drop down the “Window” menu and select the browser window that contains your Tabletopia game session. Click ok.
- Your Tabletopia game should now be visible on the main window of OBS. Click on it in OBS, and make sure the red bounding box is at least the size of the entire black box (this is what is visible to your audience). If you need to resize or move the screen to fit the black box, you can click to select, then click and drag the screen. You can also drag the red squares on any of the four corners of the red bounding box to resize. To crop part of a source, hold the “Alt” key while click-and-dragging on the bounding box. Example video here.
- At this point, repeat steps 4 and 5 as needed to add additional screens to your stream window (such as your webcam or logo).
- To add your webcam, select “Window Capture”, name it, then select your application (Skype, Discord, Zoom etc). Your application will only show up if the video call is already on, so do this step once you’re in the call!
- To add a static image such as a logo, instead of “Window Capture”, select “Image”
- To add text, instead of “Window Capture”, select “Text (GDI+)”
- Make sure your audio from your webcam/other people’s webcams is coming through. By default, the audio mixer will be set to “desktop audio”, and you should see the audio bars move when you talk in your mic. Anything you can hear, it should be able to hear.
- Once your image looks how you want it to, it’s time to connect to the service you’ll be streaming to. To configure your stream, click the “Settings” button on the bottom right. Click the “Stream” tab. Select the service you will use (then click “use stream key” if provided the option). Enter your provided stream key.If you are streaming to your own channel, look up on Google how to find your stream key for your specific service (it’s very easy!).
- On your service of choice, make sure you’ve titled and named what you want your stream to be called. On Twitch, this is in your “Stream Manager”. On Facebook, this is in your “Creator Studio
- You are now ready to stream your game. When you are ready to go live, click “Start Streaming” in the bottom right. When you are done, click “Stop Streaming”. Congratulations!
Example Stream And Sources
- Most platforms have a “connection test” option that lets you stream without going live to make sure it’s working. Twitch uses Inspector, Facebook has “test broadcast” inside their Creator Dashboard.
- It’s best if the browser you’re streaming the game from contains the game as the only tab open. This will prevent you accidentally switching your stream to another window!
- Don’t get paranoid about what people can see when you’re not looking at OBS! If you set your sources, people will ONLY see the windows you set (even if you’re looking at something else). When you’re more confident, this means you can check the live comments or reference something online without worrying that people can’t see the game.
- People are extremely forgiving when it comes to livestreaming, You don’t need to be a perfect video producer with a perfectly curated video! You’re creating an invitation for people to join you and hang out while they experience your game with you. Don’t fret mistakes!
- If you want to expand even wider, services such as Restream.io allow you to simultaneously stream your games to multiple social media networks at once!
One of my sources isn’t visible!
Make sure the “eye” symbol on the right side of the source isn’t greyed out (click to toggle). Also, sources display in a layered fashion from the top down (with your source being visible over sources underneath it). Rearrange your sources in case one of them is covering the other by dragging their order in the source list.
I don’t want random people on the internet seeing all my bookmarks while I stream!
Most browsers allow you to hide your bookmark bar. On Chrome and Firefox, press Ctrl+Shift+B (and again to bring it back once you’re finished). You can also hide features you don’t want seen with the crop function (Alt+drag the corner of the red bounding box).
My browser window is just completely black.
The best solution is to download another browser such as Firefox and run your game through there.
However, if you don’t want to or can’t resort to doing that, check some of the tips in this article.