ConsupportConsupport is a tool to help support conventions. A lot of features are available and the managers of each convention can choose which ones they want for their con.
It is designed so that it will either support an entire convention, or just one section of it.
The menus and functions are appropriate. For example, if finance is not enabled for a convention, there will be no financial reports, or financial options to confuse you. Once finance is switched on, all this functionality appears.
It is built based on experience since 1997. It has been fully tested with large events such as Gen Cons in Europe/Indy and smaller events such as Excaliber in the UK. However it is continually being developed and more features appear as they are required.
ConventionsConsupport will support unlimited Conventions.
Conventions can be created and information populated into them before they are published. So, a convention mamager can prepare their convention and be 100% ready before it is published.
Also information on previous conventions is available for reference purposes.
A convention can have one or more managers, who have the ability to manage the convention data and the people signed up for the convention.
A convention can be run using any currency.
On the home page is a "Add to Outlook" facility which allows the viewer to add that convention directly into their outlook calendar. It also includes a hyperlink directly back to that convention on consupport.
SlotsMany conventions run in slots (especially for roleplaying and board games). Consupport allows the creation of any number of slots.
Slots can be created before the convention starts (eg for people who want to volunteer with setup) or after the convention closes (to help with teardown).
Any event can either be assigned to a slot or, for those events that do not run in slots, the event can be assigned a time and date.
ScenariosScenario information can be entered for any scenario in any system, including classics and living campaigns.
The Scenario database is shared across conventions, so a convention rerunning a scenario does not have to enter any of the scenario data.
Scenarios can be uploaded. Then any authorised GMs can download their own scenarios.
EventsAny number of events can be entered for a convention.
The Event codes from the convention (eg Gen Con Indy Event Cards) can be entered and are displayed along with the events.
If an event is run more than once, the event, description etc do not have to be re-entered. Events can be sponsored (eg by AEG), or be part of a campaign. They can then be listed under that sponsor/campaign, along with general information about the sponsor/campaign.
There is support for multi-round events, with flexibility. For example you can set up an event with seven first rounds, two semi-finals and a final (like the Open at Gen Con Indy).
Events can have entry costs, and billing information and financial reports will be produced if this facility is enabled.
Events can have a number of people (eg players) that the event can handle. Also they can allow any number to sign up in advance. For example, an event may have 100 places, but only allow 70 to sign up in advance (because they want to hold back some tickets for sale on the day). Or even have none available for public sale (for a prize event). Event sign-up can be enabled at any time and disabled at any time.
SignupIndividual people can create their own account on consupport.
They can sign up for any convention for which sign-up is open.
They can choose what to do in each slot, including playing, GMing, attending a seminar, volunteering to help, or just leaving the slot free.
If they choose to GM or volunteer, there are facilities for their status to need to be authorised by a convention manager.
They can choose a particular reward package based on the number of slots they want to do.
Signup is automatically limited by the number of places available. Once the last place has gone, no additional people can sign up for an event.
Once submitted, they can view their status, see when events are authorised, and download scenarios when available.
Also they can get a financial report if they have requested events for which there is a cost
Payments and FinancialA convention can allow payments before the convention, or on the door.
For payments in advance, all events that people select (with a cost) are added to their shopping cart. Shopping carts are kept even if they go away from their computer and come back later (they are associated with the username).
Payments are made through a payment gateway. PayPal is provided and works, although the system is set up so that other payment gateways can easily be added.
Payments may be made in any currency.
All orders and payments are recorded, at the price paid. So, if the price changes, the original price that the person paid is still recorded.
Summary reports of lists of payments (by person), total income possible (by event), etc are provided, as well as a full detail report which can be printed and taken to a convention showing everything a person has requested (including free events, GMing, Volunteering etc) and detailing what has been paid for.
Payments can be set up (data prepared but not open to the public), Open (people can pay for events) or Closed (no more payments, but all reports are accessible).
Payment information can be entered. Also Terms and Conditions (such as a refund policy) which must be agreed to before the person can pay.
Administrators can see all orders, mark orders as paid (eg for posted cheques) or cancel orders.
AuthorisationA campaign or convention manager can see how many people have signed up for each of their slots and who they are
They can authorise people, reject people, or move them to another event.
They can see how the GM / Volunteer situation is either in a summary report, or by any slot, or on a person-by-person basis.
Although individuals cannot sign up once an event is full, an administrator can exceed these limits, and over assign. This is useful for convention managers, where you do not want anyone signing up (so you set the number of places at 0) but do have some people pigeon holed for the roles).
Convention SpacesA convention can create "rooms" (eg Hall G, the Refectory) for their events to take place in.
Any run of any event can be assigned to a room. For example round one can be in the Great Hall, whereas the final is in seminar room 2.
There are reports which show how many of your tables are used up in each room in each slot.
MarshallingA convention can create "marshalling areas" for the players to gather for an event. These can be the rooms themselves, parts of the rooms, or just hallways.
Players then know exactly where they should go in order to attend an event
Also a range of marshalling sheets are available, including those used at Gen Con Indy and Winter Fantasy.
As an alternative, there are forms for conventions where the events themselves are free, It shows all pre-booked players and allows people to add their names to the bottom, or to sign up as reserves.
Table AllocationA convention can individually identify every single table it has (eg table "F102" could be Hall F, row 10, table 2).
Individual tables can be assigned to events, and reports produced to show what tables are being used for what.
A limited facility is that people can be assigned to their individual tables, so they can go directly to their table
You can also identify which tables are not in use in a slot.
AccommodationPeople who are working over a certain number of slots (which can be set for each convention) can request accommodation
Accommodation rooms can be created and assigned names (eg "RPGA #1", "AEG #14") and how many people each room will hold.
People can select the date they are intending to arrive and their departure dates so that rooms do not have to be booked for more days than they are needed.
People can request who they would like to share with
People can be assigned to rooms based on the capacity of each room. This can either be done person by person or, if the original list was done outside consupport (eg on paper), the whole list can be put in using just one screen.
Managers have the facility to exceed the capacity of a room if required. For example, it may be agreed that a room with 2 beds will have no more than 2 people. However a couple with a baby can all be assigned to that room.
Reports clearly show which rooms still have spare places, which are full and which are over-filled.
Additional SlotsLet us assume that a person requires 7 slots in order to be allowed to request accommodation.
Some conventions choose to reward their people by giving them slots based on work they do before the convention. For example, if you write a module, that is worth 2 slots. If you help with the brochure that's worth 3 slots.
For some people, a convention may choose to compliment them the full 7 slots (eg a guest).
Consupport allows a manager to assign any number of slots to a person as complimentary. A person can also have several bonus slots allocated to them and they will accumulate towards accommodation
Convention PagesAny number of specific convention-related pages may be created. For example "How to get there", "Accommodation", "Trade Hall". These pages can appear in any menu, and can be classified into sub-menus if required.
Any convention manager has full control over these pages and can even restrict their access (eg during development of the pages).
A powerful page editor is included, which requires nothing more than Internet Explorer 5 (or Netscape 5) to use. This allows formatting, styles, tables, links, special characters and more.
A picture library is available for any convention, and any picture can be included anywhere on any page, with the text flowing round if required. Also pictures can be uploaded from the user's hard disk if required.
Discussion ForumsThere is a discussion forum with facilities for each convention to have its own area.
It supports Complete web based administration, Unlimited Forums, Unlimited moderators, Locking/UnLocking/Deleting of Categories, Forums, Topics and Members by Moderators and/or Admins, Email notification of messages, Post Editing, with optional text to track modifications, Flood Control feature, Private Forums, Forum Code (bold, underline, etc), Printer Friendly Feature, Sticky Topics feature, Topic Sorting feature, Search Topics/Forums, Grouping of Categories, URL postings, show links to other sites/pages, Bad Word Filtering feature
Consupport has support for traders attending a convention. Trader information may be entered, including information on the type of trader, its products, contact information. Attendance information may also be entered, such as booth preferences, costs and payment information. Also dates of booking, payment etc.
Once a trader has been entered, it does not have to be re-entered if it is the same trader attending a future convention.
All users are tracked in a single User Management system.
Users can be identified by their name, email address, username, an event they are assigned to, or a reward (eg all those with accommodation). There is also a search facility.
Contact Information for all users is available and can be changed. Even their username can be changed if required.
Security information, such as their status, which conventions they manage, can be seen. Also their password can be changed (usually when they ask), and they can (if necessary) be locked out of the system.
Information on their attendance in any prior event is shown (with just the events showing that apply to them). For example, if they are thinking of GMing a Living Greyhawk game, you can see if they have done this before.
People can be signed up to GM or Play anything in any future event (with the appropriate permissions). They can be even signed if the event is full, allowing an administrator to override the published limits. All signups here are automatically confirmed (having assigned them to a role, you don't then have to go to Authorise in order to confirm them).
Rewards chosen by volunteers can be seen and they can be assigned rewards. They can also be assigned a hotel room (after seeing who they would like to share with).
A person's slot rewards (see Additional Rewards) is displayed. They can be assigned new ones.
There is a facility to show the status screen of a person, exactly as though they were looking at it. This means an administrator can see what they see.
A person can be emailed a status report. An email is generated, with their basic contact information and a full list of their slots, together with a "Thank you for volunteering" email is generated and put into the users normal email software (eg Outlook) for the user to make any changes or just send with a click of the button.
Because registration is free, occasionally when a person forgets his password, instead of filling in the "forgotten password" form, or sending an administrator an email, what they do is create a new account. Because this new account is sometimes in a new email address, the system treats them as a new person. If it is detected that a person actually has two accounts there is a facility to merge these two accounts. The administrator is asked which name, email address, etc to use (defaulting to whichever the user logged in with most recently). Then all the information from both accounts (play history, GM history, forum posts, accommodation, etc) is automatically merged to form just the one account.
Occasionally there are cases where more than one person will want to sign up with just the one email address. For example a person with young children may want their children to sign up to play events, even the contact email is their father. If a new account is created with an email address that is already in consupport, the user is asked if this is a previous user coming back, or is genuinely a new user with the same email address. If the latter, the additional account can be created.
As with the whole of consupport, all changes are logged.
SecurityApart from the public pages (which can be viewed only), all access is controlled by a security system.
People are required to register to sign up for a convention. However they only need to do this once and this will enable them to sign up for as many conventions as they like.
All passwords are one-way encrypted using a SHA-256 encryption system. It is impossible to find out the real password from the encrypted one.
A site administrator can reset someone's password if they are sure the person is who they claim.
Also there is a lost-password facility
Editing of all features is based on a set of security "roles" and a site administrator can assign or remove roles from people as required.
All changes to the web site are tracked, and there are reports which analyse the log and can identify what changes were made by any individual, what changes they made and when. Also logs of recent activity can be analysed.
ReportsThere are a variety of status reports, analysis, etc including graphical reports, for example the reports required by Gen Con LLC for Gen Cons.
Only reports relevant to your convention are shown. For example, if you have no traders at your convention, the trader reports will not be shown. This means that the reports (and other menu options) only contain the items that are relevant to your convention.
Delegate Organised Games (DOGs)
Delegate Organised Games are those which can be entered by a delegate and they can run the game themselves at the convention.
These events can be entered by delegates and a convention manager can authorise them (making changes in the process if required). Once authorised, they become part of the convention for players to sign up to etc.
It includes entering the event name and description, when it runs and for how many people, and any additional requirements.
A manager can also decide whether events can charge additional money (eg to cover its expenses or for charity) or not. Also whether the DOGs must run in slots or can run at any time.
Future Developmentconsupport is being continually upgraded. You won't always see the changes (some are structural - to prepare for the future, some only apply to one or two conventions). However we are always keen to receive feedback, and suggestions.
We tend to prioritise work depending on which convention it is likely to be used for. However all suggestions are welcome and encouraged. Just remember, if you find something that can be improved just let us know. It may be that lots of people would gain out if it.
Please send in your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org