Big Day In 2003
Myself and 999 other participants attended the southern hemisphereís largest lan to date over the weekend of 11th-12th January 2003. The Big Day In was held at the Telstra Dome (in the victory room) and was hosted by the Shafted crew.
People came from all over Australia (I myself came down from Brisbane) just to attend the event and Overclockers Australia had the largest group booking there! With our numbers exceeding 30 our aisle was easily one of the friendliest and most fun places to be.
Upon arrival we had our tickets checked and id tags allocated. Then came the arduous task of unpacking what weíd just spent so much time pre-packing just hours before. It didnít take long before we were all up and running. Unfortunately things didnít run as smoothly as that. During the first stages of the event, just after the majority of people had setup their equipment, network issues rained down like hellfire. Even with multiple warnings and reminders by admins, some people still had their dhcp servers running. This was shortly followed by the failure of the main dhcp server; not a problem for the people who didnít need to reboot for whatever reason, but it was ~20mins of sitting with nothing to do for the rest of us. But network problems didnít end there. Games competitions were scheduled to start at 12.30pm; it was never going to happen. Despite trying, it was impossible to game because the gaming servers were having major brain farts (yes, that is a technical term). It was at somewhere between 2pm and 3pm before any official matches could begin.
Problems werenít just limited to the computers either. It wasnít very long into the event before we all noticed that the air conditioning wasnít working. A/C is normally just a luxury, but when you have 1000 people and all their computers packed into a room it becomes a necessity. The admin crew were fast to act by brining in dozens of industrial sized fans. Strategically placed around the room, they managed to prevent anyone from dying of bad smells (which there were plenty of).
The first game comp that the Overclockers participated in was the 5 vs 5 CS comp. We completely obliterated our opponents in the first round. So from 32 teams down to 16 we were still in there. Until round 2. We were next pitted against an actively practising clan (you know the type that has strategies and know what theyíre doing and stuff). We stood no chance, but went down fighting regardless (in the last round being the sole survivor, I committed suicide by charging the opposition with knife drawn).
The next team game was the Battlefield 1942 8 vs 8 comp. We did rather well in this. We made it all the way to the semi-finals. Of course this was due to a few drop-outs and disqualifications, regardless of which we DID win some matches before that. But for a team that was thrown together at the last moment (only the 2nd time ever that I had played of it) we did very well.
Other games that had plenty of action were UT2K3 and WC3 but as far as Iím aware, there was no official registered team for overclockers in either (we had some people in the 1 vs 1 comps however).
Gaming fun wasnít just limited to our computers either. Just outside the main room were several free arcade machines! I held the 1st and 4th highest scores on Police Trainer. For those inclined, Melbourne Wireless had their stand set up with demonstrations of equipment and tools. As a Brismesh participant, I stopped by on a few occasions to chat. Disappointingly though, I was only one of a few people that had a wireless device operating in the main room. I expected there to be much more than that.
As the night wore on it all became a bit much for some people. Bodies began to drop like flies. By 4am it looked more like a hospital, floors littered with war casualties. The rest of us who hadnít gone soft yet kept on and continued with the action (it was action enough just trying to walk down the darkened aisle without stepping on someone).
By late afternoon people were getting tired and feeling dirty. Comps were coming to a close and people were already leaving. At around 4.30pm the raffle, case modding comp (*cough* rice modding *cough* Iíll say nothing more about the judge who ignored all worthwhile mods and went straight to cases with pre-fab windows and neons) and door prizes were being announced. Congratulations go to Cape_Horn and catalyst on their prize winnings.
There were problems that persisted but being the first time around for such a large scale event, I believe the Shafted admins did a very good job in pulling off a largely successful lan. It gave me the opportunity to meet lots of new and friendly people and play a few games (which remarkably enough I donít do that often). If they decide to hold BigDayIn 2004, I would definitely consider coming back to Melbourne for it.
Personal thanks go to Cape_Horn and s4nd0x. Without the combination of these guysí efforts my attendance would have been extremely difficult if not entirely impossible.
Ed: Why no pictures, you wonder? According to FoderMe, there was a ban on all photography due to legal issues with Telstra dome. Shafted as a precaution then said any photos taken belonged to them and couldn't be used without explicit permission.
Update: Some comments from Alex/Shogun from Shafted: #1) rogue DHCP servers were only causing isolated problems (they were being filtered in the core), and were only affecting people in the same table/table group. Yes it was still an issue for those affected though.
#2) The DHCP server never failed, a device was attached to the network with the same IP as that server which confused every single device on the network trying to gain or renew DHCP leases. That was resolved as soon as we discovered it and removed it.
#3) The game servers were all working fine as far as I was aware except for a BeeF server or two, during the time period where they appeared to be non-working it was actually a network issue with STP (Spanning Tree Protocol) which kept kicking people off.
#4) You can post photos if you want, just tell us when you do, I don't think you are likely to be posting anything dodgy, but please take anything down that we ask you to. It will help all future LANs to have a good general image of all such events.
But in general thats a good writeup you have there. BTW we were having major flashbacks to the last BDI, exactly the same a/c issues, and fans being hired going on for that one too, seems a lot of venues can't live up to their AC promises or don't know just how much heat can come out of a lot of PC's...
There's some comments on this article in this forum thread also.
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