In the Forums...
Posted: August 10, 2000
Written by: Dan "Tweak Monkey" Kennedy
Checklist for Guests
Now that you've got a good idea of your responsibilities as a host, make sure to give your guests a checklist of what to bring. Well you don't really have to GIVE them a list, but they should have a good idea of what to bring. Here's what they usually need:
-Hub or switch (as many as are needed). If you're using a 10BaseT network (the kind that looks like a big phone jack), make sure someone brings a hub or switch that can handle as many people as needed. You can combine hubs/switches with uplink ports or a crossover cable, too. A 10 mb/sec hub will work, but for all games to run without lag (especially with a lot of people on the network), a 100 mb/sec hub or switch is best. If you find yourself serving or attending LAN parties often, make the upgrade to a bigger hub or switch. Remember, hubs are just fine for games usually, but switches come in handy if everyone is transfering files over the network as well, which is likely.
-PC, equipped with a network card, that is functioning properly, and has a 3D card. If someone doesn't have an OS installed, hasn't built their PC yet, or is having major problems that would stop them from playing games, they're not going to have much fun. In fact, they'll probably spend most of the time just fixing up their PC. For this reason make sure all your guests have PCs that are ready to use! Also make sure the people bring their own network cable. "BYOPC"
-Monitor. This is obvious, but we added it for a reason. The biggest monitor size you'll probably want someone bringing to a LAN party is 19". Anything larger (21"+) is not only much harder to transport, but it takes way more room on a desk or table. If someone only has a 21" or larger monitor, try to find someone else that is going that can bring an extra monitor for them. Another option is TV-out, if an adequate TV is available.
-Headphones. There's enough noise at a LAN party without the games, so speakers aren't a practical option. Unless you've got speakers that are really weak, small and easy to transport, consider headphones instead. This also eliminates the problem where everyone can hear everyone else's games, which makes it hard to play.
-Mouse/Mousepad/Keyboard. Since you may be playing on the most awkward or small surfaces, a good mouse and mousepad are definitely key to having fun. We recommend a hard mouse surface like Ratpadz because they can be used in almost any environment and be put on weird surfaces. A good mouse may help you win some more games as you'll have better control, etc. Don't forget to bring a keyboard. :)
Speaking of keyboards and mice, it should be noted that wireless keyboards and mice are NOT recommended for LAN parties. The extra interference makes them very unresponsive and at times, impossible to use. If you've got a cordless desktop at home, buy a cheap mouse and keyboard for LAN parties if you attend them often.
-Powerstrip. If everyone brings their own powerstrip (a surge protector is recommended), there won't be problems finding outlets for everyone. We don't recommend daisy-chaining powerstrips together, but sometimes it's necessary.
-Money. Bring money in case you want to get snacks or food later in the night. $20 should be fine for the night, unless there is a cover charge for the LAN party.
Big LAN parties make a big mess. If you have to, put tape or tags on your
equipment so you're sure you get it all back when the LAN party is finished.
This section is based on our own successes and personal interests, so your favorite games may vary. If you have any suggestions for this section, send 'em in.
Here are some of our favorite games for LAN parties, that work especially well in large groups:
-Unreal Tournament: Since UT has tons of options for multiplayer and various game modes, it is ideal for LAN parties. And if there aren't enough players, we add some bots. Generally, we play UT more than any other game at LAN parties.
Fear my mad UT skillz, biatch! Err...
-Quake3 Arena: Quake3 is very fast paced and it is fun to play. It is also one of the most played games at LAN parties world-wide right now.
-Motocross Madness 2: MCM2 was an instant hit at the LAN parties. Usually we'll play stunts or baja races, sometimes even supercross. This is highly recommended for a LAN party because there are various modes to keep the action going, and when the competition gets too intense, it's funny to crash and mess around. Also, stunt tag mode is really fun at LAN parties.
-Viper Racing: I don't know how it happened, but we almost always end up playing a couple races of Viper Racing at LAN parties. This is probably because the cars can take damage, so we have big wrecks and often times we act like idiots. :)
-Grand Theft Auto / 2: GTA and GTA2 are both usually fun. But there is a serious problem with lag. We have terrible pings even over the 100 mb/sec switch! Even if they're fun games, they get ignored usually.
-Half-Life: Do we really need to explain why Half-Life is a favorite? This game rules! Even though it's been around for a while now, it still keeps us busy and entertained. Deathmatch and teamplay are both really fun.
-Counter-Strike: CS, CS, CS! Although it's quite difficult for the newbies, this is by far one of the best games to play at a LAN party. Counterstrike is a great game because one group of people can play as terrorists and the other can play as counter-terrorists. Most games with teams prove to be interesting, and this one is no exception. It's especially cool to have teams in separate rooms so they can communicate easier. Don't forget the LAN party rule of thumb for CS: dead people can't talk!
-Strategy games: If you're looking for a game to pass the time, try a strategy game like Age of Empires, Starcraft, or Command and Conquer/Red Alert. These take a long time to play, but once you get into the game it's hard to quit.
-Star Wars -- X-Wing Alliance / X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter: Although I was never really into these games, I hear it's a blast to play these games over a LAN.
Kickin' it old school, Dyre hacks up the competition with his chainsaw in Doom II.