Running a LAN?


So the chances are if you play computer games, you’ve probably been classed as the antisocial nerd! However, now you can be a bit more social and break the stereotype. Experience all the joys of sleeping at chairs and drinking over the top amounts of energy drinks, and seeing the satisfying look on you’re enemy’s face as you send your forces in for the final push.

Now chances are you are wondering where do you start with running a LAN? Follow the guidelines below and you are set for victory and a great weekend.. We’ve tried to make this  a quick read, as in reality? Running a LAN Party? There is only so much preparation you can go into!

Decide how big your LAN party will be

You can host an event of any size it all depends on the space that you have at your disposal. It also allows you to work out how much equipment you need, so think very long and hard about these main points! Because the truth is quite simple, to sum up LAN parties..

  • They involve lot’s of work! Not something you can just wing together (although you can, it just won’t be good).
  • Money will be hard to come by, so don’t plan on doing this as a second job!
  • You will be showered with love if the event goes to plan.. Or hate if it does not go to plan.
  • You’ll meet people from the LAN going community who could be friends for life!
  • You’ll learn what they teach you in business degrees… and also LAN Gaming degree.
  • You’ll have a good time if you sort everything and everything goes to plan.
  • Nothing goes to plan @ LAN :D
  • What makes a good LAN?

Find a good venue

Space is your main concern, you want there to be plenty to provide a decent amount of space for the attendees of the event. Although you could cram more people in that’s when events become dangerous and uncomfortable for those attending.

You should try asking around local village halls, friends and even hotels to see if they have any large space that they would be willing to rent out to you. However keep in mind that these options will cost money so prepare to invest in finding a decent venue. A good idea if you are looking to host a large event is a building that is aimed at running these sort of events (like a hotel, or business center).

Some desirable things at events that some people don’t think about when finding a venue you can solve with the following questions:

  • Is there enough car parking space? Allow 1 space per person attending as a rough guideline, as not everyone will be arriving together.
  • Are there female / male toilets? Humans need to empty the caffeine on occasion so toilets are a must! They must be clean and be close to the venue (for larger events you will need to get someone to clean these regularly).
  • Air conditioning & cooling? Equipment get’s hot and you can soon find yourself sweating ALOT on a sunny day, so think about how you would keep the venue to an acceptable heat to keep your guests as comfortable as possible.
  • Tables & chairs? Computers need a place to sit on, does the venue come with these or will you have to find some? Are they free or are they rented. What is the quality of the desks (people would most likely be very upset if there computer broke because of a bad desk).
  • Showers? If you are running a long event or even charging a lot for tickets you should look into whether the facility has showers, most gamers will usually game through it but even having a shower adds a little more comfort to your event.
  • Kitchen / Food prep? Not all gamers eat takeaway and people might want to reheat food, is there access to kettles toasters and microwaves? Or even an oven? Space for a fridge etc.
  • Security? Don’t choose a venue in a bad area look for somewhere nice that has good security so you can keep everyone safe for the weekend. Equally we have a good article on LAN security here!

Some suggestions for good locations:

  • Schools (High School, College, University). LSUCS / FRAGSOC / SLUGSOC all run there events from within University buildings!
  • Community spaces. These are great for running non profit events in, and you can usually ask for some free advertisement! We also suggest offering help / contributions towards anything that needs doing around the center.. this will most likely get you awesome discounts. E.g. If you need faster internet, pay for it. If you need a shower, pay for it.
  • Warehouses, although slightly creepy Multiplay used to do there LAN in a large warehouse!
  • Local Businesses with spare space (not all offices are open over weekends :D )
  • Hotels. Although expensive can be pretty nice…

What makes a good LAN?

This is a question that I ask myself a lot.. after attending quite a few events and running one myself I wonder, what actually makes a good LAN Party? At the end of the day what does it boil down to?

The simple answer is.. Somewhere I enjoy myself, the venue could be awful.. we could play NO games. But as long as I have a good time? Then I consider it a good LAN Party.

People often lose sight of what a LAN Party is, it’s a social gathering where people of like minded nature can confide with others who generally.. understand what you are talking about, it’s the perfect recipe for a good weekend of conversation. Kind of like sticking a bunch of chefs in a kitchen, they will make amazing food.. Stick a bunch of gamers in a room? Who’s main reading material is reddit and 4chan.. there is bound to be some interesting conversation.

So when we take all the planning etc down, running an event is simple. Make it fun!

Too many rules!

Too many games!

Too many things!

Once you start overcomplicating something that is simple you lose sight of the bigger picture, it’s a club where you can hang out with your friends! Not a business. And that’s not to say it can’t be.. but don’t try to make it into one! Else you will fail at the first hurdle.

I’ve been to lot’s of events.. the company was amazing, but the host was on some sort of hype to create the best biggest event known to man with non stop games and crazy strobe lights. It’s cool.. but take your time, don’t expect miracles or the ability to run a large event until you are at least 10 profitable LANS deep… and you’ll need that amount of experience to even start!

So what makes a good LAN? People who are fun, and a host who hasn’t overcomplicated something so simple.

Venue + Internet + Microwave + Power + guests = LAN.

Venue + Prizes + Internet + Servers + Food Service + Tuckshop + PA system + Power + Guests = Great LAN but not needed (at least not for a small LAN).

So my point is really simple, don’t overcomplicate! (Have you picked up on the hint yet?)

Hope you enjoyed my post! And have a great LAN party!

Networking equipment and power requirements 

Networks are required to have a LAN party, this is one of the most expensive startup costs so ask around for spares .. and make do until you can afford something nice.

You will need a port on a switch for each of the attendees and some sort of router to connect the switch too, the switch will split the internet between all those attending and let you game, however use the below as a baseline as a guide to setting up your network.

  • 1-10 computers – if you have a few attendees you can use an 8 port switch (with one reserved for connecting to the router) however a 12 port is recommended in case you need to plug in extra goodies.
  • 11-40 ccomputers –  multiple switches will be required to split the load across them, 2 x 24 port 10/100 switches is pretty cheap and allows you a few extra ports for hooking up servers. If you have the money a 48 port switch would make the domain setup a bit easier.
  • 41-200 computers –  multiple switches of which should be gigabit+ to free up network congestion

The above is a really simple network that we built for a few of the LANS although it’s been decommissioned due to the obvious factor, the cables are pretty long on the inside (mainly because we had the patch panel elsewhere). But basically we pre wired the “Patch Panel” with 24 cables and put them into groups.. and numbered the patch / cable accordingly. Simply plugging a cable from 1 to 1 (panel – switch) meant we knew who had what cable and could quickly identify it, also made changing cables easy. If the patch cable didn’t work we’d patch straight into the switch for good measure!

For power requirements you are looking at roughly 15 amp between 4 gamers (standard plugs) so make sure you don’t have more than four people using the same plug. Use extension cables where necessary.

Remember when planning out the network, to think about the layout as this will change everything regarding how you need to proceed. For instance, the above layout is for a 24 player LAN. Everything has been taken into consideration like walking space and where to place the power reels (one per 4) and the cables are numbered and pre rolled to go to the correct desks.. The server and lan party networking equipment are in the bottom left corner safely locked.

Having the event?

Once you have this setup you are pretty much good to go, check the attendees and get them to pay in advance if you are charging to cover the costs of the venue beforehand and then fragon! Check out some of our other guides for more advice, and GLHF !

(Remember to keep the room clean!) :D

Some credit to this article goes to http://www.wikihow.com/Host-a-LAN-Party

If you need more advice, please feel free to check out any of the relevant articles (if you get stuck for ideas):

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