So you’ve registered for Quakecon and want to know what to expect, and how to get the most out of the experience? You’ve come to the right place.
1. Prepare your Game installs for battle.
Since Most LAN parties won’t have Internet access, and certainly not enough for you to run big update downloads you need to make sure your games and steam network settings are updated.
With Steam powered games this is pretty easy, go to your library, right click on the game you want to play and select properties. Go to the tab labeled “local files” and hit “verify game cache” once this has completed successfully it is not a bad idea to then select “defragment game files”. Once this is completed make sure that before disconnecting from your internet you open steam, and under the “Steam” menu hit “Go Offline” this will allow steam to stay open without an internet connection. Forgetting this step can leave you very frustrated when you want to get your Counter-Strike on at the LAN.
For Blizzard games such as Warcraft III or Starcraft II simply log on to battle.net and before it will let you find a match it will make sure you are patched and up to date.
For other games go to fileforum.com or filehell.com and make sure you have the latest major patch and get the latest major patch and any hot fixes since then in a download folder. It also doesn’t hurt to bring the game discs with you if you have them, though I usually keep them secured in my car.
2. Make sure your OS is patched
With this many people at a LAN so there could be worms and other compatibility issues with unpatched boxen. Go to windows update and make sure you have all security updates installed, reboot, and double check. Wash rinse repeat until there are no more updates. This will protect you and your privacy, as well as provide stability and peace of mind.
3. Get your shields up: AntiVirus, Malware, and Firewall!
Windows security warnings can be annoying, but having your box hosed by a 10 year old worm because you were the joker who didn’t update your antivirus is n00b. At the least stop by Microsoft’s website and get their own security essentials and turn windows firewall on. Again make sure it is up to date, and run a full system scan maybe the night before the LAN while you sleep. If you are sure you have good A/V software installed and it has updated and scanned recently it doesn’t hurt to run housecall from trendmicro for viruses and malware/spyware just in case.
After you are sure your boxen isn’t infected, run a defrag on all disks to ensure the best and fastest load times you can have after all the work you’ve just done.
4. Batton down the hatches!
If you don’t move your system very often it is now time to batton down the hatches. By that I mean take the time to make sure that all drives are screwed in or mounted properly, same with add on cards, and that your cabling is secure and not going to end up in a fan or shorting something out if it gets its salad tossed a bit on the road.
5. Load ‘er up!
Now that your box is ready load it up, it is best to transport the CPU tower laying on the side the motherboard is on, especially if using over-sized tower coolers, this lowers the stress on the motherboard and reduces the possibility of popping that huge heat sink off in transit.
Now that your box is ready it is time to get you ready. There are some simple facts about traffic and navigating a sprawling metropolis with a gaggle of geeks heading the same way you can benefit from.
6. Parking sometimes costs money
Seems simple enough but if you spent every last penny on your BAMF system then you may want to look into car pooling due to both cost of parking and the fact that paid parking also usually indicates limited parking. Be mind full of this fact and it will help you, your ride mates, and the rest of us, too.
7. Your Wireless Device May Fail
Two things can happen to cause your trusty smartphone, tablet, or 3G/4G devices and GPS devices to fail.
Firstly: Tall steel and cement buildings WILL block signal both for data and GPS, Secondly: 50,000 geeks on the same black will overload the wireless providers’ towers.
What does this mean to you? Make sure you have printed copies of any routes, maybe a large zoomed in copy of the parking and adjacent streets for the venue, as well as printed copies too and from any off site places you might visit during the LAN. This may include purveyors of sustenance (food), libations (bars), or spare parts (Microcenter or Fry’s. Find the guy who said Best Buy and help him out of here).
8. Damnit Man, Shower!
Seriously. At the very least shower as close to getting in line to bring your stuff in as possible, if you have access to shower facilities during the event shower at least every 24 hours, this means wash your hair, pits, groin, waste ports, and brush your teeth, with the same brush if needed. USE DEODERIZERS. No son, axe or bod spray one daily doesn’t count, doesn’t last, and if you use it on the LAN floor it will be used by your neighbors to turn you into a human torch. Get a good solid or gel based underarm deodorant and USE IT PROPERLY after showering. If you are allergic then go get you some arm and hammer baking soda from walmart and rub it under there. There are youtube videos which explain how to do all of the above.
9. Show up early, be nice to the check in people as well as courteous and responsive to any security/cops/enforcers. Have fun, see the sights, frag some n00bs, and Enjoy!
10. Go home, wait for registration to begin for next year.