Historicon 2021? There’s an app for that

Greetings, HISTORICON 2021 attendees. I’ve been tasked by Joby to put together a guidebook app for the show, as I did in 2019 and years previous. To remind you of what that is, exactly, I’m writing this post to re-acquaint you with Guidebook with an overview about the app’s functionality how it works. Given the global situation, it’s been a while since we’ve all been together and I’m guessing we’ve forgotten a lot of this stuff.

Background: Guidebook, LLC is an event planning company in California (Bay area). They have programmed an app and server combination where they basically provide code and hosting infrastructure for an event scheduling app that resides on the web, on mobile devices like Android and Apple phones, and larger tablets running either Android, Windows or Apple IOS. In essence, for a fee, they provide us with the technology to transfer much of the information that we publish in paper convention directories into electronic format. That’s the part where I have come in, since roughly 2011 or so. The most important elements of a guidebook app supporting HMGS conventions are (in my opinion, but I bet you’ll agree) an EVENTS schedule, a PERSONAL Schedule where you create you own schedule for what you want to do in the convention, a TOURNAMENTS schedule (mixed in with the events schedule but marked differently), a SEMINARS schedule (in its own list), an EXHIBITOR list and maps to where things are and how to get there. That’s the default minimal data we need to make a show “go” on Guidebook. Again, my opinion, but I’ve been doing this for a decade, so it’s an informed opinion.

Technology (platforms, software, etc): Guidebook basically exists as a standalone app on Android and IOS (apple) mobile devices– your smart phone if you have one, also a tablet in either OS, if you have them. If you’ve seen me looking things up on Guidebook at an events desk, it is likely I’m using my Ipad, as I like that layout the best. You can also view the guide with the same information courtesy of a website that Guidebook publishes for our convention. It has the same information on it, but in all three cases, the layout is subtly different. If you have a windows tablet, or an OS that is neither android nor apple, but CAN access the internet, you can use the website in a browser on your phone to access the same information.

Please note: I will be using screenshots for this blog post, they are taken from the WEBSITE version of the Guide, the Iphone, Ipad, and Android versions will look different, but the layout is basically the same.

Also note, I sent the Guidebook to PUBLISH about four hours ago (Saturday). The company isn’t in on weekends usually but someone might notice it in Queue and have it done by tomorrow. I realize this is close to the convention but the Guidebook people had to get paid. We don’t get this service for free. So you should be able to download it by Monday latest.

SCREENSHOTS and explanation

So, remember I’m capturing these from the website as the client wasn’t published yet while I was writing this.

Main Screen

This is the main screen. The Top Menu. It will have the “Convention Info” as the default screen (which is minimal I admit). However, the Main Screen is important in that you choose all the features from here.

MAPS function

Maps is where all images of room layouts go. I always include maps to assist convention attendees to find their tables.

This is a map with a room layout. Not the table codes. GB for Grand Ballroom, get it? I include a list of Room Codes in the map section for you to decode that with.

This is the room code chart, in case you get confused.

That’s it for Maps. Now for probably the most important feature, the Schedule. This is a listing of all events, Games and Tournaments.

See the red arrow pointing to the red outlined text? Red means GAMING events.. basically anything not a tournament or seminar. See the bright purple line pointing to the purple outlined text? That means Tournament. Basically the code for a tournament is T#### (T four numbers, leading zeros starting with T001). A tournament event will basically always have the word “tournament” in the title.

This is what an event looks like in detail. Note the Red Dot meaning it’s in the GAMING TRACK?

One thing I think I should mention.. we’re looking at the web, unpublished version up above. In the published digital device version, there should be a PLUS sign to add this event to your personal schedule of things you’re going to do at the convention. You can’t see it here because the web client doesn’t create personal schedules. Only the phone and tablet client can do that.

SPEAKERS basically is a list of War College seminars, the description and the speaker bio information, along with the who, what, when, and where. The “Where” part is pretty easy, as all War College events are in the Magnolia Room. See the Casino Tower Main Floor Table Layout map for directions.

CONTACTS is a simple list of primary staff members.

EXHIBITORS is a listing of show vendor/exhibitors. They cluster in the Exhibitor

I would like to get a vendor room layout but I couldn’t find one in time. See Casino Tower Lower Level Table Layout map– That’s the best we have.

SOCIAL MEDIA INTEGRATION: Facebook links to the HMGS INC. page on Facebook– https://www.facebook.com/HMGS.Inc The Twitter link primarily uses the hashtags: HMGSEast, HMGS, Historicon21, HISTORICON, and HISTORICON2021. The primary Twitter account is on https://twitter.com/HMGS_Inc. If you post something to twitter with these tags during the convention, the guidebook app will be able to see that. Same with Facebook.

Other Menu Items

FAQS are a list of Convention Policies in effect for HISTORICON 2021. I will also likely put a list of cancelled events there. To-Do list is a list of non-gaming event schedule items.. like “Go talk to this guy” and “Buy 15mm Napoleonics” etc. Photo Albums is pretty much what you think. I strongly encourage you to upload photos here during the convention. Notifications are messages from me, the guy updating Guidebook during the con, to anyone who has the client updating.

How to get GUIDEBOOK

While I was typing this, Guidebook sent me a notification that the Guide is published. That means the guidebook schedule I created is done and available on the guidebook server for download. First get the Guidebook app downloaded from either the App store or Google Play. THEN, using the little magnifying glass search icon, Search for Active Guides. Type in Historicon 2021. It will download for you and install on to of Guidebook. Then you are off to the races!

Updates to Guidebook

The global situation being what it is, we are getting some schedule adjustments. I will attempt to keep the schedule updated leading up to and during the show. If an update occurs, the app will tell you to “download the update” anywhere you have a wireless connection.

That’s about all you need to know to get started. I look forward to seeing you at the convention, please feel free to reach out if you have problems.


QR Code for direct download.