LAN parties can be an awesome experience with your friends! Or a frustrating exercise in computer failure or software installation problems. Today were going to talk about how to have the best experience and be the most prepared to have fun with friends and meet new people that play games you enjoy.
This will cover:
- What to bring.
- How to setup your computer.
- What games to bring.
- What to do if disaster strikes!
- Tips for LONG LANs
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Step 1: What to Bring!?! (READ IT! People Screw This Part Up SOOOooo Much)
Wither your bringing a desktop, Laptop, or just your game console these basis steps.
- MAKE A LIST! First look at your gaming setup. Now make a list and write down EVERYTHING that you will need to bring to set it up at the LAN party. Don't disconnect anything until you write it down on the list.
- Network Cable. BRING IT!!! WiFi IS NO WAY TO CONNECT TO A LAN PARTY! Many others will use the WiFi connection and it will slow down and crumble under any high gaming load, even with the new ABGN access points. Cables are ALWAYS faster, with more throughput, far more RELIABLE, and you will get a better ping. There enough problems at a LAN without throwing WiFi into the mix. I recommend a CAT 6 Network Cable that's at least 12 to 20 feet long or longer. Take two or three sizes use the one that fits. You can let your noob friend use the longer one when his wont reach. You can identify a cable, it's marked on the side in fine print: Cat 5, Cat 5e or Cat 6. Cat 5 works for 100 Mbps networks and Cat 5e and 6 for Gigabit networks. USING CAT 5 on a gigabit switch can cause problems!
- CABLES AND ADAPTERS! Remember those little cables and adapters! Nearly every time I go to a LAN someone always has to borrow a DVI to VGA adaptor, or a CAT 6 cable. Everything is important especially those little cables and adapters.
- Game Controllers/Mouse & Keyboard. Remember your gamepads and joystick if you're going to play games that need them. Gaming on a laptop is always better with an optical mouse, remember it.
- POWER CABLES and Surge Strip. Your gaming device does not run on your 1337 skills it will need power. And your fully charged laptop battery will be dead very quickly under the load of your games, so bring the charger.
- Speakers or Headphones. Are speakers allowed? How big and loud can they be? Can you ONLY use headphones. Find out ahead of time. Make sure you can hear others when they talk or yell to you when you're wearing headphones it's part of the experience.
- Monitor or TV. Are you taking your usual monitor or a smaller more portable one. Do you have any adapters or cables you need to hook it up?
- Your Computer. Duh right. Is it updated? Are your games installed?DON'T TURN A LAN PARTY INTO AN INSTALL PARTY! Don't have a computer Computer just broke down. Bring it to the LAN and ask for some help or advice, don’t demand. Many people MAY be willing to lend a hand and the problem may have a quick and simple solution, or a part from the comp store. More about your computer in the next slide. REMEMBER TO DUST YOUR MACHINE BEFORE GOING TO THE LAN!
- Game Console. Is it updated? Are your games updated? Don't have a new game console. Bring your OLD one!!! EVERYONE LOVES a game of STREET FIGHTER 2 on Genesis or a round of Mario Kart 64.
Step 2: Is Your Computer or Console POWERFUL?!?
So you've finished your ULITMATE computer build with two 8 core i7 processors, and a pair of GTX 980 Video cards! A 1500 Watt power supply hooks up to the grid as your beast roars to life ready to pown all that stand in your way. Get WRECKED NOOBS!!! But wait.... Your 50 inch 4K display goes dark, along with the rest of the LAN. You apologize and plug into a different outlet. And as soon as you start a game BOOM power outage.
EVERYONE IS PISSED!!! AT YOU!!!!
Make sure you know how many Watts your computer draws and make sure that the LAN your going to can handle the load of your machine. The RULE is 1800 watts for a 15 amp breaker (2400 for a 20 amp). And that adds up for all devices AND monitors on the circuit. If your computer and monitor draw 1500 watts you had better be the ONLY one using the circuit breaker, NO MATTER HOW MANY OTHER OUTLETS ARE CONNECTED TO IT.
You may consider building a power efficient gaming computer. Intel makes the i5 4690s Quad Core that runs at 60 watts, and the GeForce GTX 750ti and GTX 960 video card runs at 60/90 watts respectfully.
If your main gaming rig cost 2 to 5 thousand dollars, takes two friends and a U-haul truck to move, then building a $600 portable system should be on your to do list if you want to frequent LAN parties.
Also Game Consoles and TVs use power as well. Plasma TVs are well know for there high power consumption. You can use a device called a Kill-a-Watt or Belkin Conserve Insight to check the power usage of your device while its gaming.
If you're planning to stream the event to Twitch or another Live service, chances are that the LAN will NOT have enough upload bandwidth for you to stream. Check with the people running the event to find out if you can stream. If not plan to save the feed to a hard disk and upload the footage the next day.
Step 3: GAMES GAMES GAMES!
The games you play always depend on your friends and how many are at the LAN. Try to decide ahead of time so your fully prepared. Two of the most popular games are League of Legends and DOTA2 however, dont come to a LAN expecting to only play one game. Try to be diverse and try new things we have over 100 LAN and internet games at VIPER!NET and some of the most fun is had with games we can play over the network or are way passed there prime.
Have as many of your LAN games installed and updated BEFORE you get to the LAN. This way you avoid turining a LAN party into an INSTALL PARTY! Internet access may be SLOW and/or nonexsistent, due to EVERYONE else trying to use it.
A few games we recommend checking out are.
- Counter Strike Source - Its OLD and GOOD and plays easily on LAN it has over 32 players on a match so scales to even the biggest LANs. Even my Netbook runs this game. CS:GO is also great however is more difficult to run with more than 10 people, this can lead to people being left out of the game.
- Half-Life 2 Deathmatch - When CS gets old throw a toilet at your friends!! This game IS A LAN PARTY BLAST!
- Garys Mod - This game has many user made modes and mods like Trouble in Terrorist Town, and Prop hunt its very cheap on sale and is tons of fun while on LAN
- SkyDrift with Gladiator Multiplayer Pack - Mario Kart with racing planes and DEATHMATCH! its an intense battle with machine guns and missiles. 8 player max. XBOX 360 gamepad recommended.
- Chivalry Medieval Warfare & Deadliest Warrior - Grab your sword, shield, or spear, or long bow, or a battle axe, perhaps a pike or crossbow. And KILL THE ENEMY! Theres no leveling or stats to pad here just skills and tactics. This game even features a button just for YELLING!!! Seriously you hold down the key and your guy SCREAMS as your run into the fray! We have 10 copies and PLAY THIS OFTEN!
- Company of Heroes - A great cheap game on Steam featuring intense multiplayer WWII battles with troops, tanks and armored cars. A RTS not for the weak.
- FlatOut 2 - Full contact destruction racing and demolition derby. This is about as good as it gets! 8 player max.
- Team Fortress 2 - ITS FREE! Its plays online or over LAN! Its a great fun game!
- BattleField 1942 & BF 2 - Both are great games to play on a LAN if you can get them working. Last I tried it you can still enter a BF1942 CD Key in to Origin and Play the updated game. Multiplayer only works over LAN as the servers are down. However you can find a patch that allows online play!
- Retro games from your childhood are always a welcome favirote especially if they allow hotseat or multiplayer!
- Too many others to list!!! Talk to you friends and get with other people that seem to be playing similar games that you like suggest you play a new title or an older title that was epic back in its day.
The purpose of a LAN party is SOCIAL GAMING!!! Making friends, trying new and classic games and have gaming experiences you cant have by yourself or online.
Step 4: DISASTER!
OK you got to the LAN and your computer wont BOOT!?!?
WTF it was working FINE when you left this morning!!!!!!!
If your not tech savvy enough to open your computer and make changes ask some one there for assistance or go to a trained professional.
When you move your system and transport it in your car things can get disconnected.
- Find a place with plenty of light to work and a power outlet.
- Remember to use a anti-static wrest strap or keep one hand one a metal part of the case.
- Bring your computer and monitor there and open the side panel.
- Look for any loose connections, check power cables on your motherboard, hard drives, to your video card. even if it looks connected it may be just slightly out of place.
- Re-seat your video card, your RAM, SATA Cable on your hard drive and motherboard.
- Ask a technician present for assistance. If your not sure they know what they are doing ask them where they have worked on computers. Dont get a crowd around your wounded commuter it is most likely better to only have 1 or 2 people work on a problem at a time.
- If no one can figure it out, all is not lost, a trip to a computer store may solve the issue, but it will cost to take a look at it.
Step 5: Tips for the LONG LANs!
When attending a LAN over 12 or 16 hours, things get difficult. Here are some tips:
- Take a bath or shower just before the LAN (You did this anyway. Right?)
- Bring a stick or deodorant, and a wash cloth with you. You can use a restroom and wash your face and feel more human.
- Play new games to keep things interesting
- Talk to new people, discuss the NEXT LAN event, see there gaming setups and hardware
- Walk around and get some exercise
- Get plenty of sleep before the LAN.
- Drink cold water, it can wake you up more than sodas and energy drinks
- Eating good healthy food is important to give your body the energy to push on
- Know your limits if your exhausted and not having fun it may be time to call it a night
- IF YOUR FEELING TO TIRED TO DRIVE HOME
- Call a cab
- Ask a friend for a ride home
- Take a nap - ask a friend to watch your stuff (Always leave your computer and monitor ON to avoid theft)
- Remember sleep driving is worse than driving drunk (Trust me on this)