LAN Party II: Griefers

Yesterday saw the second Tokyo Pimp Daddies [TPD] LAN party of 2005. It was held at my apartment, and we managed a new high of 15 gamers playing at once.

I’d definitely like to say a big thanks to everyone who came and took part – each one seems to get bigger and better. Also a big thanks to Kevin, Sean and Jon for the logistical help.

It took me most of Friday night and Saturday morning to move furniture, hide anything breakable, and get all the cabling set up. 3 * 8 port hubs all rigged together, with an uplink to the building hikari fibre internet link which meant that not only did we have a decent 100Mbit switched LAN, but also a nice 10-100Mbit internet link too. The latter was useful for urgent tip site searches, tech support pages due to machine issues, and for relaxing with a beer and reading slashdot, and falling for April Fool’s posts.

It’s often said that the biggest issue for a LAN party is power – and that’s true – we turned off all the lights and generally powered down all non-essential systems to get 15 PCs running, but when we tried to add a 16th, after a few minutes all went dark. It’s an important skill to be able to find your breaker box in the dark, navigating through a crowded room to get to it, though using a mobile phone as a weak torch is also helpful. In the end we cut back to 14 PCs. Another side effect of the power-cuts was that 2 PCs had a few problems though both were back up and functional within an hour – one was a trip switch in the PC waiting to allow itself to come back up, and one was a screwed up config file.

Curse the person who suggested we turn the fridge off – there’s beer in there!! Another thing which nearly became an issue was the heat – it was a cool night and all windows were open, but the back room where four of us were was definitely heating up, but then, turning the aircon on would’ve meant taking a few PCs out of the mix so we decided to just live with it, though there was as a certainly a slight burning smell in the air by the end of the night. I think more people will turn up in shorts to the next one I know I will, especially as Tokyo’s temperature begins to climb.

As far as games go, we got through large amounts of Unreal Tournament, Quake 3 Arena, Counter Strike Classic and Enemy Territory; they’re all old games, but that meant that even older machines got a decent frame rate. I was a bit disappointed it didn’t go all night like the first one, it was only about 11pm when people’s energy started to flag and slowly they headed out. To be fair though, many had been in front of screens since 2pm with very little break. The one break we did have was for a mammoth 22,000yen pizza delivery of 13 pizzas plus side orders courtesy of Dominos Pizza via their web order page.

The coveted ‘Last Man Standing’ award goes to Sean who, despite a later start, was finishing up an epic round of ‘Lord of the Rings’ at 6am this morning.

Other tips we adhere to are encasing everything in cardboard to protect table tops etc. – also, you can make monitor stands out of cardboard boxes quite easily (nod to kevin there). Certainly, when we came to tidy up this morning, whilst it took a few hours, it wasn’t too bad – most of the 70 or so beer cans had found there way into the right bag, the pizza boxes were stacked up, and most other snack wrappers were in assorted rubbish bags. There were no other unpleasant surprises – no spillage, no damage to the apartment itself, so I think that was a good result. A few hours later, the living room was back to normal again, in time for some Nintendo DS and Playstation 2 action.

All in all I think most had a great time, and it’s a good social event; personally, I can’t wait for TPD LAN Party III: Ganking N00bz