Re:goals - both!
While the game is unreleased, I'd like people to leave wanting to keep up with the game's development and be excited for the release. I might offer a perk for signing up for newsletter from expo or something. After the game is out, I'd like them to go buy it after experiencing the booth.
Getting press would be nice, but that's also dependent on press actually being there, which will vary from expo to expo.
I guess I figured that for the most part, the same efforts would help with getting people excited and getting press alike (provide an attractive booth with a positive experience) -- do you think instead that they need to be targeted more individually? ie, do X to get press and Y to get expo goers excited?
I guess expo goers would benefit more from on-sight competitions/rewards/perks and press would benefit more from having a story to tell about me and the game. Reminds me, need to work on my pitches.
Another goal is to just get good feedback from players. It's incredibly valuable to watch someone play your game for the first time -- you get to see where you're doing a bad job with the learning curve, what makes them smile, when they get bored, etc. Being able to watch them in person is even better -- in the past, this has been the biggest benefit to me showing games at expos.
I think that'd be a lot of work -- pathfinding, having them use the more complex weapons/equip in a way that would be instructive to players, etc. There are third party pathfinding solutions but I'm not sure if I've ever seen one that works in 6dof space so I'd probably have to do a lot of it myself. I'm generally not really a fan of bots anyway.
Could maybe have targets though, so they'd at least have something to shoot at or something. Or I could have simple turrets and turn it into an obstacle course where you have to use shield at some points, for example.
Cool! I wasn't thinking of putting checkpoints -- was gonna leave it more open ended and let them find their own paths (taking the flag and capping it would be the checkpoint/finish line). But maybe I could have 'suggested' routes too.