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Thread: LAN Event Help

  1. #1
    SG Enthusiast Joel's Avatar
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    LAN Event Help

    Hey,

    The company my brother and I started a while back has grown quite a bit, but one of the things we always said we'd do was to hold public LAN events. We've got the facilities and what's not, and some great ideas on advertising and so on, but what I need help first and foremost is..

    What games do people play? Also, how many people would ideally be on a team / in a room on the games you say.
    What things do other LAN parties usually do / have that I should know about?
    What ideas do you have for the ideal LAN event?

    Any information / tips / ideas you've got, let me know. We want to do this thing right. We've talked to many people in the area, and are fairly certain we can get as many people as we want.

    TIA

  2. #2
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    //rubs hands together

    Ahh....here's something I used to be involved in quite a bit.....did quite a few of them with the ZombieBattalion guys that hang around here sometimes (Sidewinder, Grimm, etc).

    Lots of fun!

    We did some big ones...one really fun one, we rented out a conference room at a Marriot...had nearly a hundred people for a weekend, peeps from Canada, Maine, Florida, Georgia...great time.

    Anyways..some hints....
    *Server...if you're going to be doing some regular LAN events, build a real server. This means a real server grade network card..they can handle the concurrent traffic a lot better than your desktop grade network card. Also go with SCSI drives..same reason..concurrent traffic. Yeah SATA drives have evolved...but they still can't compete with lots of heavy traffic at the same time. A real server operating system too...handles concurrent loads a lot better than a desktop OS..desktop OS's are designed for really up to just 10 concurrent connections..past that..they lose efficiency. Lock down your server..you'll have every wanna be hacker trying to show his buddies how he can get into machines and mess with them. All windows updates on it. Do not have a blank Admin password, and make only "read only" shares if you want to host patches/maps/whatever for people. If using a remote admin program other than RD...don't leave it unpassworded either.

    Run DHCP on your server, or router, for the network..keep it easy.

    Run a good quality antivirus on your server, and on your rig. It's guaranteed that at least some 'tard will show up with a machine infested with trojans and worms.

    When advertising the LAN party...make it easy on yourself and more fun for others to begin playing right away. Tell them to have their machines all set before arriving..that is, functional NIC, TCP set to obtain auto, we'll be playing THIS game and THAT game..at THIS patch level. I can't tall ya how many LANs I've been to...where you spend 1/2 the day installing games, patches, etc, and/or installing some no-name NIC on some kids machine that's already wobbly, where installing a NIC pushes it over the edge..arghhh..sometimes it's 2 or 3 oclock before things begin.

    Switches..run the server and as much as you can into a good switch at the top level. Have plenty of patch cables, but don't advertise that you have plenty of patch cables..encourage people to bring their own. And encourage them to bring their own surge strips.

    Run your server and router/switches on battery backup units...maybe your own workstation also. Many LAN parties will pop breakers depending on where you are. We even popped them at the huge Marriot conference room a few times. Nothing worse than have the power dump a few times, and the server, which was busy, suddently won't boot up anymore cuz the hard drive's tanked or OS corrupted.

    Tables/chairs....the overall layout. People will be carrying lots of gear...picture how the foot traffic will be, keep the traffic away from cables. Spread out the electrical load best you can with extension cords hopefully going to different circuits.

    If you're playing any games out on the internet connection, say at smaller LAN parties, you'll want to be very strict about "no P2P programs allowed". one kid fires up Kazaa or whatever...and everyone trying to game and have a good time suddenly watches pings go through the roof cuz the internet connection and the router are bogged down. Be strict about it...anyone caught, gets their PC unplugged and told to leave.

    Encourage headphones or smaller speakers. No need for someone to try to show the whole LAN party just how loud their Klippy speaker set is for 10 hours.

    As for what games to play...try to have votes or something. LAN parties usually come together from a group of peeps who are already sort of in a clan like environment, or play together already online somewhere..with some shared games. So you probably already have your core games that you play.

    Line up some food at least twice...lunch, dinner...plan on collecting a good kitty fund for pizza or something. Have a cooler with lots of drinks like soda 'n stuff. Not knowing the age of your group...if older, peeps will bring their own beer 'n what not.

    End of current train of thought...
    MORNING WOOD Lumber Company
    Guinness for Strength!!!

  3. #3
    SG Enthusiast Joel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YeOldeStonecat
    *Snip*
    Sweet; I was hoping someone here would have some experience. (:

    Alrighty..

    Server: We're going to start off with just a decent computer converted over to a server with a decent NIC and Windows Server 2003. We don't want to blow the bank before we know if people are actually going to come. If they do come however, we'll certainly be upgrading to server hardware. The dedicated LAN server box will also have DHCP running on it, to make that all simpler. In addition, it will have appropriate Server AV (as well as on all of our computers).

    Switch: We'll have mostly everyone running through a business-grade switch (20 ports), and if it turns out that more people arrive, we will make use branches, and then proceed to buy a larger switch for the following event (again, don't wanna blow the money before we see if people actually want to come).

    UPS: Great point.. We always run our servers on UPSs, and I'll make sure that at the LAN events, we have the server running on one as well.

    P2P: Definitely out the window. The strictness is a good idea, will remember. Like you said, this is mostly for smaller LANs, at medium to large, the internet will be disabled during gameplay.

    Layout: Thanks to the great way our office is set up, we'll be able to have a couple rooms for different teams that can each hold a good 15 people, or less very comfortably. I'm personally a nazi about preperation and wiring, so we'll do some pre-wiring to get everything set up (especially since we are going to and do this as a monthly event, the more things we can get set up that can be put up and taken down easily each month, the better). Distributing the power is definitely a concern, will keep an eye on that.

    Sound: Headphones, methinks. Perhaps small speakers. Being that it is a LAN party hosted by a company (Fusion), we'll have things there such as headsets available for sale (along with other things.. Will note that in a bit).

    Food: We're going to do a door entry fee, with free food and beverages. So, you pay a certain amount, and you're good for the event.

    Cables: We'll have spools of cat5 and ends onsite, so we should be prepared for whatever.

    Advertising: It's a good idea that you mentioned points to hit on with the advertising. I will keep in mind wha tyou've recommended when I go to create the posters / advertisements / website. Making sure everyone's computer is up and running at a certain time is a veyr high priority (experience says that even with just a couple computers, if one is having problems, everyone may have to wait hours before they can play).

    Ultimately, the goal of the events will be just to have fun. Everyone that works at Fusion, including myself, well we basically just love this kind of thing. We will have things for sale (video cards, RAM, accessories, for example), incase people want to upgrade their PCs on the spot. We'll have technicians onsite incase someone wants a computer tune up or whatever. The thing is though, that's not the main point of the event. Again, we just want it to pay for itself, and people to have fun. If we make a few bucks off of it, more power to it, and the bigger the next one will be.

    The games issue is probably the biggest one. I'm still trying to figure out what people around here play. Any of you guys care to let me in on what you and your buddies like to play? Once we get the website going, we're going to have a poll of sorts that we advertise, and also a calendar of events, and a place you can register for events (even pay the entry online if you'd like). Because it'll be a monthly thing, if people come, we'll be able to make it better every time, and hopefully relaly have something good going.

    Keep the tips coming!

  4. #4
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    A place to advertise
    http://www.lanparty.com/
    MORNING WOOD Lumber Company
    Guinness for Strength!!!

  5. #5
    SG Enthusiast Joel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YeOldeStonecat
    A place to advertise
    http://www.lanparty.com/
    Yeah, I was reading through a bunch of their stuff the other day. Wanna do this thing right.

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