Last edited on April 10th, 2012 by gnat
At your LAN Party!
So your LAN party is underway! Congratulations, but don't drop the ball! It's easy to get distracted once people start showing up. Your goal for arriving attendees should be to make them feel at home and self sufficient as quickly as possible as described in the previous section.
Be an attendee yourself! Get in there.
Remember that it's a LAN PARTY, keyword PARTY. If people aren't having fun, they won't come back. Getting feedback can help, but perspective is everything: you can address a random party-killing issue much easier if you're experiencing it first hand.
- Make an effort to know everybody. This will make your guests feel more comfortable approaching you if there is an issue and in turn your event will go far more smoothly. They'll remember that you cared for them long after the party is over.
- Set up in the crowd. Setting up your rig and gaming in the crowd with the rest of your guests is a great way of making you more approachable. Try to eliminate the need for a seperate "admin section".
- Do a walk around every hour. Every so often, you should do a walk around the party. Take this time to meet your guests, ask them if they need anything, and soak up the atmosphere in general.
Your hourly checklist.
If your party is going along smoothly, you should be enjoying yourself. When you're performing your walk arounds, make sure that everything is getting done.
- Does everyone have power and a network connection?
- Is everyone gaming? Are the mix of games still fresh?
- Are there snacks and drinks for people? Are the drinks cold?
- Is the garbage under control?
- Are photos and video being taken?
- Are the toilets working? (Have a plunger on hand!)
- Does everyone feel at home? Is anybody wandering aimlessly?
- Are the activities and tournaments running smoothly?
Be sure to talk to every attendee a few times during the event. "Take their temperature" and find out what they are hot and cold on.
Be the Man.
This is your event, your guests will look up to you. Be the announcer, the mover, the master of ceremonies! A microphone hooked up to a large sound system is ideal for this, but you can also use a bullhorn. Have fun with it and remember to play lots of games!
Value everyones time.
If your event features door prizes or tournament prizes, do not wait until the end of the event to award them. Many attendees will not want to stay until closing, or may not be able to due to work or other commitments. Mid-event is ideal for a prize ceremony.
Even all-nighter LAN parties can seem too short. As soon as people are finished with a game, ask around as to what people would like to do or play next. Gathering your guests for a simple hand-vote is a fast and effective way of polling your crowd. Be decisive and get to it! Your goal is to have as much game time on as many different games as possible.
If you have a setup for voice, it's a great idea to set the tone of your party with some music. Nobody likes a morgue-like atmosphere. The tone you'd like to convey is largely up to you. If you do not have a hard drive full of music try some of the internet stations below. Keeping it as non-lyrical can help it from being distracting or audibly obtrusive to the gaming experience.
- Kohina - Old school game and demo scene music.
- Micromusic.net - Low tech music for high tech people.
- 8-Bit Peoples - More 8-Bit music.
- Shoutcast.com - Anything you can think of.
Simply: Do not bother with a DJ. If they regularly attend LAN parties for their own enjoyment. If they are not aware of what makes a good LAN party, their audio will break the tone and enjoyability of your event.
Food and drink.
You're in charge of the food. Make certain you either provide the leadership (such as ordering pizza) or you let everyone know where they can get food easily. Having vegitables, chips, pretzels or other party food sitting out is a big plus.
Since pizza is a LAN party staple, here are a few guidelines. This is where a dedicated food king will shine.
- As tempting as it can be, don't go meat on all pizzas. You're bound to have a vegetarian in your group.
- Have a list of everyones order before you call.
- Ask what the specials are. Ask if they have a 2 for 1 special.
- If you are ordering more than 10 pizzas ask for the manager and find out what kind of deal they are willing to make.
- Call at least two hours in advance if you're placing a large order.
- Having your food king pick up your pizzas can save you a lot of money. But if you're getting delivery, tip the driver well.
- Have paper plates and napkins.
- Get a table with some space ready for the pizzas.
What to do if the power goes out.
Keep your cool, keep your guests informed, and suggest a drink break. Bring in your host managing the power, as he'll know how each circuit is laid out. Analyze where you lost power in order to figure out whether you either tripped a circuit breaker, blew a fuse in a power strip or someone kicked a plug out. It's not a party-ender, so don't fly off the handle. Just analyze the situation and attempt to correct it ASAP.
If you've tripped a circuit breaker, do not just turn everything back on and hope for the best. That circuit will trip again, so you must take action.
Is someone plugged into the wrong circuit?
Take a look at which systems are down and adjust your cables accordingly. It's better to have computers powered down for this rather than powering them back up just to have them shut down again.
While you make your new arrangements, keep in mind whether or not you're simply unloading one circuit and overloading another. Figure out if you're loading up other circuits too far. Once you've made new arrangements, then turn the power back on.
If you have more outages, your power guy will have to look at the setup and track down exactly what's overloading the circuit. Guests may be plugging into an outlet that was taped off, or perhaps additional equipment has been placed on the circuit such as a coffee maker or mini fridge which will need to be removed.
What to do if people are too crowded.
If you're tight for table space, remember to follow a few simple guidelines:
- All towers on the floor.
- Speakers get shoved in the back if needed.
What to do if someone is breaking the rules.
Simply let them know in a non-public, non-threatening manner what the problem is. In the unlikely scenario that they continue, it's best to let them know they won't be invited back and that you'd like them to leave if they won't make amends. Anyone with tendencies in this area should not be invited back, and perhaps barred from the event.
If someone does not have a computer, they should not be at your event.
People at your event who are not there to play games can cause a ton of trouble. This is doubly important at large events with lots of expensive equipment. Keep an eye out for strangers who are not part of your LAN party. Having only one non-emergency entrance/exit can help you and your staff keep track. Keep a few bigger trusted friends around to enforce this rule if needed.
A note on spouses.
Significant others may not cause havoc, but will be bored out of their minds. Nobody likes talking on facebook all day. Try to get them into the action. Trading off between rounds with their partner can be great fun. Who knows, they may turn into a hardcore lanner themselves!
Dealing with other emergencies.
Keep emergency numbers handy just in case. Having a small emergency medical kit on hand is ideal for handling minor injuries such as small scrapes and cuts.