Thursday, 28 July 2011

Planning and Setup

Setting up a LAN party can be a complicated and difficult processes i aim to guide you through this a provide a helpful guide for want to be LAN gamers.


The first things to decide when hosting a LAN is the location, time and date, number of gamers and games being played. When deciding a location consider that it will need adequate power supply and enough room for the amount of people you hope to accommodate. A good location can be a garage which can typically fit up to 15 people. Another thing to consider is the time and date of your LAN party, try to find a time when all of your guests will be free and decide whether it will be over night or during the day time. When deciding how many guests will be coming  consider the size of the area you plan to have your LAN and how much money you are willing to spend. Games are also important for a LAN party consider the genre (racing,  first person shooter, real time strategy) and suss out with your guests what kind of games they would like to play and ultimately the guests will decide anyway. 
Setting Up

When setting up a LAN there are three key things to think about, cater for and provide. Power, network connection and food. When setting up a LAN consider separating these three things (no one wants soft drink split on there computer) this could be achieved by having a separate food table and keeping power connections on the floor and network connections on the table- this is one simple step which is guaranteed to make your LAN much more organized. So you have decided you location, time, size and games no is time for the more detailed planing. A good way to do this is by roughly counting the number of power points, LAN connections. power boards, LAN cables, extension cables, tables and network switches that you will need. This can be achieved by taking the number of guests, working out how many ppts and LAN connections they will use ect. After this it is a good idea to draw a small plan of the room and map out your network. Remember to consider dedicated servers. After you have done this check and see if you have the necessary equipment and if you don't consider asking your guests to lend you some. Don't make a purchase unless it is absolutely necessary.

1. Power

A power board
Power is an important part of a LAN party, with out it no computers would run and it wouldn't be a LAN. When setting up the power system make sure you have enough inputs for all the equipment/ computers and setting it up. Remember not to daisy chain multiple power boards together as this may overload your circuit. Consider running power from other parts of your venue to avoid blowing the fuse and remember surge protectors! It is also a good idea to tape cables firmly to the floor (Using duct tape) to avoid people tripping over and pulling out important plugs.

2. The Network

An Ethernet Cable
This is possibly the most important part. Creating the network that the games will be played on. When creating a network remember that it will be based around a series of network switches which can be linked together by simply plugging a LAN cable from one to another. When buying a switch consider the speed 100mb/1000mb? and the number of ports 5/8/16/24? remember that if you by a switch with a large amount of ports it will be hard for it to be reached by everyone and long LAN cables will be needed. After choosing your switch or switches begin placing them on tables so that every computer will be able to plug in and make sure all the switches are connected (a good way to do this is to have one switch which specifically connects all the other switches and the servers together) once this is done you have created your network, consider adding dedicated and file servers. Remember that everyone will need a LAN cable to connect so suggest BYO. Once this is set up run a few test games and check that there is minimal lag and that it is all working well. Remember to only have ONE network adapter running on each computer or else they can get confused. It is also important to tape down crossover cables and set up and test well before the day of the LAN.
3. Food

What would a LAN party be with out food? Food is essential for LAN partys and always make sure there is plenty of it and it is served away from computers. Good foods for LAN partys include Pizza, Sausage rolls, party pies, pancakes, lollies, chips, soft drink, ice cream and Doritos. Consider asking guests to bring something to share and remember, keep food away from computers!


Setting up a LAN is not an easy job and can be quite costly so consider charging a small entry fee. The most important thing is to have fun!


An image from the worlds largest LAN party