If you are a serious gamer, then you do not want to skip this post. Who doesn’t love a little clan war during a LAN party? If not properly organized, a night of fun can easily turn into a nightmare. Hours of scheduled fun can turn into hours of troubleshooting hell. No connectivity, not the right sockets or plugs, lack of space and food, uninvited guests – these are just a few of the setbacks that can and will happen.
If you are planning to host your own LAN party, then here are some LAN party tips on how to go about it to make your night a hassle-free and enjoyable one.
1. Planning the Event
This is something that you want to get right before you begin sending out your invites to your friends. Planning is crucial. There is a quote by George Hewell, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail”, and I know that you don’t want to embarrass yourself with all your mates over at your house. So here are some LAN party tips to help with your planning.
Determine who is coming
If you live in a small apartment, you don’t want to be overcrowded, so carefully select who you invite. Try not to do what Australian Corey Worthington did. Carefully select who you want game with, and make sure you don’t invite your mates that may worry you.
What equipment is required?
One thing that you don’t want to happen on the night is to invite 20 people over when you only have 10 computers. What will the other 10 people do? If people come for a night of gaming, they expect that they will play until the early morning light. They surely don’t want to be sitting around watching chick flicks on TV if there is nothing else on. So make sure you have enough computers set up, and make sure you have enough LAN ports and desk space for the people bringing their own computers.
The basic equipment that you need are:
- 1 x modem/router – this is so you can surf the internet or game online
- 1 x Switch – make sure you have a network switch that has enough ports to cater for the amount of computers you are going to have
- Ethernet Cables – if this is your first time hosting a LAN Party, make sure you have enough Ethernet cables so you can connect everyone’s desktop computers for faster gaming. Remember, you need 1 per computer. Also try and have a few spare, just in case. If you are short on these, get your friends to bring some with them, and tell them how their night might be if the don’t.Try not to use wireless as this might slow down the game for everyone, and we don’t really want a slow game.
- Game Software – Make sure everybody has a copy of the game, and make sure you have a few copies to install on everyone’s PCs.
- 2 x Fuse – Having a lot of computers on the same power circuit may overload it and blow a fuse. So make sure you have some spare and someone with the knowledge to change one.
Tell your neighbours about your night
A lot of people = a lot of noise and loud music. So be courteous to the people your neighbours and tell them that there might be a bit of noise at night. Try your best to keep the volume down and shut the windows and doors to insulate the noise.
2. Setting Up A LAN Party
Here are a few LAN party tips for properly setting up for the event.
It is best to try and keep everyone in the same room, but this may not be possible. Just make sure everyone is close together and the distance between the two rooms are close together. This to make sure the mess doesn’t spread around your house.
This is very important as you do not want to overload your power circuit or break fuses. So make sure that you don’t connect a lot of computers on the same circuit in your house. Use extension cords from different power circuits of your home. DO NOT use double adapters, or connect two or more powerboards together. DO USE powerboards that have inbuilt surge protectors, just in case something goes wrong. Remember to look around for the powerboards that you use as some may warranty of up $100,000 in damages if they fail and destroy your computer.
If people are bringing their laptops, make sure you have wireless. It might be a hassle to give your encryption key to everyone, but what you can do is temporarily change your key so everybody can connect to it. Then after the party, change it back so they can’t hide outside your house at night and download movies while you’re sleeping. If you want to restrict access to certain people as (word of mouth of the wireless key can spread) then remove it and enable MAC filtering on your Router or Access Point. This allows you to control individually which computers have access to your network.
Make sure that cables are out of the way, bundled or under rugs. We don’t want anyone to trip over the power cables and cut half the people of their game.
Also ensure that you have enough Internet bandwidth remaining on your account so that you don’t get shaped during the night, making the nights online gaming experience hell, and portraying yourself as a bad host.
Securing your computer
If you are a bit like me, you might have shared folders on your home network that is available to everyone. Before your guests arrive make sure you disable the sharing of folders on your computer so no one can access them. Also remember to password-protect your computer on that night, or make another user account so people can’t snoop around your files.
3. Running the Night
Food and Drinks
Remember to be very careful with the drinks. Very expensive equipment can be instantly ruined if someone spills a drink over a computer. Since the night has already costed some money, ask your friends to bring some food and drinks along with them. Maybe put BYO on their invite. Advice them to bring along finger foods such as, chips, biscuits, dips. As for drinks, make sure you supply water and softdrinks. Stay away from alcohol (as you can probably see why). Also, have a big table with all the food available so people can take food for themselves and you’re not forced to be anyone’s servant. Maybe charge money for this if you want. Turn the night into profit.
Just like laserforce, have sessions and make sure you break them up with some other activity. Have a variety of games to play as well, in different sessions. This is also to make sure you don’t get square eyes (or rectangle eyes which are more likely now)
Have a recovery action plan
Not everything goes as planned, so make sure you have a backup plan in case something happens such as the internet or the power going out. You don’t want to waste all this planning and organisation if a fuse blows as soon as you start playing. Having nothing to do will make you a bad host and people may not come to your party nights anymore. If all else fails and you are still in the mood for gaming, why don’t you go to back to the olden day style of gaming and grab the Monopoly, Guess Who or Scrabble?
Turn the aircon on
Make sure that you keep the computers cool by having the aircon on. Nothing is worse than frying your computer as it overheats.
Well I hope that these tips help you to have a successful night. And good luck with your LAN party, you’ll need it.
If you have any other tips for a successful gaming occasion, please do share them with us.
Image Credit: John Williams RUS via Shutterstock.com