If this is you first LAN with FragSoc, we recommend you read through the following basic information to make sure you are up to speed with everything.
What do I need to bring?
If you have received one of our flyers, checked our website or attended a LAN party before you will probably have a good idea of what you will need for the event. It should come as no surprise that the item of most critical importance will be your PC (be it a desktop or a laptop) which is necessary, unsurprisingly, for the actual playing of games.
In terms of hardware in this regard, you need simply bring all the peripherals for gameplay, such as a monitor, keyboard, mouse and anything extra you may deem necessary. Please note however that speakers are not permitted and so headphones are required if you wish to experience sound. It would be even better if you bring a headset or microphone so that you can communicate with your fellow attendees across the room. Also note that we can only accommodate space for one monitor per person.
You should also bring a 4-way power lead if you need to supply power to multiple devices, though if you are planning on bringing a single device such as a laptop this is not strictly necessary.
Any disks for games that you would like to play should be brought if required and it is recommended that you bring your OS disk in case of emergencies, although the chances of this being necessary are slim.
The list can look a little daunting your first time, but generally it is possible to fit most of your kit into a reusable shopping bag or suitcase along with your desktop itself, which makes transport more than manageable.
In summary, remember the following for each Fragsoc Event:
- Your gaming PC or laptop
- 1 monitor (no more than one monitor generally allowed)
- Video cable for monitor
- 4-way power lead
- Headphones (Speakers not allowed!)
- Mouse (+ mouse mat if you have one, in case the tables don’t co-operate)
- Kettle leads
- Entrance fee
- Money for pizza or fish and chips, plus change for the vending machine/local store/extra meals
- Snacks and drinks (No alcoholic drinks allowed, no meals/messy food either, light snacks allowed)
How do I get there?
For our events on Heslington East in the Law and Management Building you can get a trolley from the porters on campus or carry your gear by hand if you’re lucky enough to live in the swanky accommodation there.
For our events in the Physics Exhibition Centre, if you are a fresher living on Heslington West, bringing your equipment to the event should be simple enough as you are mere walking distance from the location, requiring only one or two trips carrying your gear by hand. Alternatively, if you feel you cannot carry your gear, trollies are available from the porters to bring your gear directly from your accommodation. You can acquire a trolley for your gear by asking at your nearest porter’s station and giving them your university card. You’ll get your card back when you return the trolley. If you’re not far from the exhibition centre or are coming by car we usually have a couple of trolleys in the venue to help over short distances. However, please do not run off with these as someone will need to take it to get their university card back!
If you’re coming to an event and live either on the other campus or off campus, transport can be a little trickier – particularly if you live on the other side of York. In this scenario, many options are available to you. Either you can call for a taxi, obtain a lift from a friend, or look on the Fragsoc forums for a carpool.
The taxi service in York is rather well priced and reliable, so this is certainly a very viable option and many Fragsoc members have positive experiences when transporting their PC in this way. Essentially a PC is no different from a suitcase or other luggage so any taxi you get will be well equipped to transport it, although we recommend telling the operator about your situation while ordering. Obviously if you share a taxi with another individual attending the event it means you can share the fare, a mutually beneficial arrangement and a good excuse to convince your friends to come along too!
It is also worth noting that several current members have cars and are really eager for you to attend, in this regard they will be running carpools where they will either pick people up during their journey or make multiple trips for a small fee. This is generally cheaper than taking a taxi and you will get to meet people before the event; however it is obviously subject to availability and will require you to find and make contact with the person in question.
The best place to find carpools is on the forums (www.fragsoc.co.uk/forums), where there will be topics posted in the “Events” section. The committee will start a forum thread for those looking for transport to discuss the matter. Alternatively, if you cannot find a carpool there, you can always ask for a lift and you will likely be obliged, although I cannot guarantee that you will meet with success.
Lastly, it should also be noted that we are actively trying to arrange free transport for our members to the events so watch this space!
If you absolutely cannot find a way to move your desktop and are fortunate enough to own a laptop of some kind, bring your laptop anyway. You might be surprised what games you can run and it won’t be much of a hassle for you to leave should you find it not up to scratch and need your desktop to have fun.
What do I do once I arrive?
When you arrive you should be met by the treasurer or another member of committee. They will take your entry fee and register you for the event before giving you a wristband and sending you on your way. It is important that you keep your wristband on until the end of the event so that we can keep the premises, and your equipment, secure.
Due to health and safety, all mains powered electronics that you bring to a FragSoc LAN (such as PC, monitor, 4-way, kettle leads, etc) must be PAT tested by one of FragSoc’s PAT testers. These PAT testers will be available during all events, so if you haven’t had your stuff tested by them, please make a committee member aware upon your arrival if they do not already check this for you.
Now that you are at the event with your PAT tested gear, it’s time to set up. Simply take your gear to one of the tables set up by your wonderful committee before your arrival and set up your pc as you would at home. Plug your 4 way into one of the provided power sockets on your nearest 8-way, and the network cable you are provided with on your desk into your system and the nearest network switch. As ever, help is available from anyone wearing a hi-vis vest, Fragsoc shirt, or someone generally looking like they know what they are doing.
It is then recommended that you introduce yourself to the people around you, for you will be sitting with them for quite a while and it is a social event after all.
Finally, open up your browser of choice and direct yourself to “http://fragsoc”, which will bring you to the main page of the event. This page will list the upcoming tournaments and allow you to sign up for them, as well as giving information about the event and provide links to useful software.
How do I have fun?
If you have completed the earlier step of talking to your neighbours this goal will be achieved much more easily, simply ask what people are playing and join in. Most of the event will be non-structured which means you can arrange games between yourselves depending upon what people have access to or what servers are currently running. Any servers that are up will be viewable on Steam with any long running server details communicated as needed. You should join the Fragsoc TeamSpeak3 server to talk to people playing with you, the details of which will be given at events or can be found on the forums. There will also be announcements over the PA and people yelling out for games to be played.
If you would like a game announcing over the PA talk to JLH either in person (he’ll be wearing a hi-vis jacket with “JLH” on the back, will have a huge monitor and other gizmos that take up an entire desk, and will probably be armed with a box of his homemade flapjack. You’ll get to know him soon enough!), over steam (jonathanlh), or via skype (jlh.jlh) and he’ll be happy to help.
What if I don’t own copies of a particular game?
Most games played will be widely owned, however this does not mean that everyone has them. A few games will be free to play (e.g. TF2 or Trackmania), which could be all that you need, however some games will require a purchase if you do not own them already. If you do not already use Valve’s Steam client it is strongly recommended that you create an account though of course other download services are available. Some older games may also be available in other ways.
Having said this, please try to make sure any games you plan on playing are installed before you arrive at the event, as it is a waste of your own time to sit around waiting for a download or install when other people are having fun and may hinder tournament progress.
I want to play ______, can we play ______?
The short answer is yes.
The long answer is that generally if you want to play something there will be other people who will want to play it with you, it is simply a matter of making contact with them. Some games that require servers may need a bit more set-up time, but lobby based games such as StarCraft 2, League of Legends or Forged Alliance will be readily available to play. If you want to make it happen, speak to someone in a hi-vis vest or Fragsoc shirt and they will oblige, either by helping you find people and setting up a server or by making an announcement on the PA.
How do I play in a tournament?
The tournaments are usually the biggest and best part of the event, provided you have signed up you should be aware what is running at the event. Typically we hold two or three tournaments an event which will likely have prizes to be won. We will advertise details of the tournament games prior to the events on the forums and through email. The tournaments are a great way of getting to know other Fragsoc members and to have fun!
Some tournaments will be run throughout the event if they are suited to that (e.g. creative Minecraft or OpenTTD), however most will be run from around 8pm with any team picking occurring earlier in the evening.
In your first team-picking you are unlikely to be picked first, unless you have managed to spread your reputation particularly effectively, most people who are picked early on have been attending for years and are usually pretty damn good at the respective game, a legacy which you can also build for yourself in the coming years. However, by the time team picking ends most teams will be fairly evenly matched with some statistical variation so you need not worry about being out classed and you will almost certainly be able to play multiple games with your comrades in arms.
I am hungry, when do we eat?
In terms of food it is generally recommended that you bring some kind of snacks/ lunch to keep you going through the event. You can purchase food on Heslington West at costcutters or your:shop. However, later on in the evening it will be time for pizza and fish and chips. At some point during the event, our Press and Publicity Officer or another member of the committee will come round and ask you if you would like to order pizza. They will take your name, your money and your food of choice and order the food for later in the evening (usually around 7pm), where it will be presented to you. The pizza we order is from domino’s and you get a large pizza for only 7 of your English pounds! If you do not feel like eating pizza a fish and chip order will also be taken via the same method.
We must make a clear point here that we cannot allow members to eat food at their PC desks. We have designated eating areas at each event in which you can eat your pizza or fish and chips. Light snacks and drinks are permitted at the desks but please try to keep any mess to a minimum or it means your poor committee has to clean it up later and that’s no fun. We provide bin bags at the end of rows of desks and there should be plenty in the eating areas.
Do I stay overnight?
Some of our members choose to sleep at the event for which we have a designated sleeping room. If you choose to sleep at the event remember to bring bedding (especially in winter as it can get very cold!) to make sleeping on the floor comfortable. Nothing larger than a single air bed, please. Some members play all through the night but in the interests of health and safety we can’t encourage this, though we aren’t going to stop you either! Of course, you can go home to sleep, particularly if your accommodation is nearby. We will lock the building during the event so that you can only leave, however when you return in the morning there will be a doorbell you can ring and either a member or our house robot will permit you entry.
Will my computer be secure?
The building the event is taking place in is locked overnight and only those attending the event can gain access. People will be in the room guarding the PCs at all times though it is worth noting we have a track record of zero incidents with stolen equipment in our entire history as a society.
It’s over. Now what?
Turn your computer off and go to sleep. Revel in the glory of what a wonderful bunch of people we are and await the next event which will be along soon for you to repeat the mad fun times you had at Fragsoc. Outside of events our forums is very active and of course you’re welcome to arrange to play games with other members at any time, utilizing the Fragsoc game servers and TeamSpeak3 server (ts.goldencrater.net).
The Fragsoc TeamSpeak3 server is kindly provided by GoldenCrater.