March 19th Wrapup!

Posted: 29th March 2011 by admin in Events

We had another very successful LAN Party on the 19th. In fact, the parties may be becoming a little too successful because we are definitely pushing the limits of the electrical system we have available at the library. To avoid another flipped breaker and the possibility of being punched in the face by a librarian, we ran an extension cord to an outlet outside the building next to the coffee shop. When the computers connected to that outlet went down I figured we were going to have to fend off an angry barista army. Fortunately it was just the surge protector that flipped off but we didn’t find that out until I notified the librarian. She was warming up on the heavy bag when I came back to tell her it wasn’t a problem on their end. And then, an hour later, we actually did flip a breaker and the librarian tried to bludgeon me to death with the Dewey decimal system.

As far as games go we ended up playing a lot of Monday Night Combat (a weird TF2, DOTA hybrid), which was free for the weekend. My laptop was chugging a little on the graphics but overall it was a lot of fun. Of course we also had some StarCraft 2, League of Legends and TF2. I got to play a custom map in TF2 where you ride whales! Honest to goodness whales! There was even some UT2004 action going on. Kevin wrote up a solution to the UT2004 windows firewall problem and posted it to our blog.

Finally, I’m about to send off $75 to The Bozeman Help Center! Thank you so much to everyone that contributed! And since I don’t think we’ve put it anywhere else we have sent $40 to the Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter, $30 to the Human Resource Development Council, $50 to Eagle Mount and $100 to Thrive all from the Digital Engine LAN group. Almost $300 to our local non-profits – you guys are awesome. Unfortunately the LAN parties may be on a bit of a hiatus until next fall unless there is interest in doing them on a Friday or if someone knows of a different venue we can use. Hopefully we’ll be seeing you all again really soon!

Last Saturday LAN until next fall on 3-19-2011!

Posted: 17th February 2011 by admin in Events

The really great thing about the library is that it is free. The really bad thing about the library is that it books up fast (ha!). I just got back from the library and there are no full Saturdays left until after memorial day. Unfortunately, in the summer, the library is closed on Sundays and that means we can only use the room until 5:00 p.m. Fortunately, a group is only using the big room until 11:15 a.m. on March 19th so I went ahead and booked (ha!) the rest of the day. Theoretically this shouldn’t mean anything to you folks – just don’t be really angry if we’re not completely set up by 1:00 p.m. (it should be close).

So details

Date: Saturday March 19th, 2011

Time: 1:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Games: League of Legends, SC2, Left4Dead 2, Team Fortress 2, CounterStrike: Source, Alien Swarm, Quake 3, UT2004 and anything that is either awesome or super awesome.

Those of you not members of the Facebook group who would like to (only 5 more and we get our own pretty url!) visit: Facebook

Lots o’ fun!

Posted: 14th February 2011 by admin in General

Our LAN party on February 5th was probably our best ever! We had an amazing turnout, right around 30 people. We even flipped our first breaker. Thankfully one of the librarians got it taken care of quickly and we were back up and going in no time. This most recent event made me think about how far we’ve come since our first event in May of last year.

The idea behind the LAN party was simple – I had three goals:

  1. I wanted a way to advertise Digital Engine Software that allowed us to meet people. We had tried a couple of different advertising methods up to that point that weren’t particularly successful – we had the most success with word-of-mouth.
  2. I wanted to incorporate a charity into the event because it bugs me how much companies spend on advertising compared to their altruistic endeavors when they can easily be paired together.
  3. I wanted to do something that was fun, that we knew about and that would attract similar minded folks.

The first LAN party was…tough. I spent a ton of time getting companies to lend us hardware, lining up donated drinks, looking for donors for raffle prizes, getting posters, looking for host sites, organizing food and attempting to figure out how to set up the room without having any access to it before the day of the LAN. Not having any experience we decided to meet up at 8:00 a.m. so that we could be sure that everything was set up before our 3:00 p.m. start time. It was snowing of course. I had something like 18 loads of equipment which required two full vehicles to transport. None of the ethernet jacks in the room connected us to the internet so Kevin had to bridge the wireless and for people looking to update their games this was a little slow. Fortunately we had a single gigabit router so we did alright hosting recent game version backups on our server. Unfortunately most of our games we played that day required a connection to Steam, a connection that was sketchy at best. We spent almost our full 8 hours setting up. We ended up with a total of about 15 people. For those 15 people we had 14 12 packs of pop (kindly donated by Pepsi) and 30 pizzas (which I ordered early so that I could get a good deal) – OVERKILL. Tear down and clean up took another 2.5 hours and I wasn’t done putting everything away until 3:00 a.m. – a 19 hour day. Now that’s not to say everything was bad, we had a lot of fun, I still can’t believe we got Richard Stallman to sign an XKCD comic (I’m going to have our e-mail correspondence framed, it was awesomely bizarre) and we learned a ton.

Following the first LAN we knew we were on the right track but we definitely needed to make adjustments. I convinced Peter and Kevin to let me buy our own equipment. We had all the ethernet cable and most of the power strips we needed so it was just a matter of buying the networking equipment. All said and done it cost us about $300 and it was worth every penny. We had to find a free place to hold the events otherwise cost would have inhibited future events. For our first LAN the TechRanch donated the money to cover our room which was heavily discounted by the good folks at the Hilton ($200). Everywhere else I checked was at least $100 more expensive (in some cases much more than that). Thankfully we found the library which has been perfect and completely free. Finally we decided to do away with any entrance fee (which is a requirement for using the library room anyway) and just take orders for pizza. We do still buy drinks but the cost is a whopping $30  a time and the library has a refrigerator so we don’t even have to worry about bringing coolers.

This most recent LAN party was the third we have held at the library. We started setup when the library opened (10:00 a.m.). I have consolidated all of our equipment into two tubs and a garbage can (so much nicer than two vehicles worth). We had a fully functional network at 11:00 a.m. – we were completely set up at 11:30 a.m. People started showing up about then playing without interruption (minus the breaker) until the library internet shut off at 10:00 p.m. thanks largely to the awesome library internet and our full gigabit network. Everyone helped pick up and we were out of there by 10:30 p.m. I was completely put away by 11:00 p.m. Over four LAN parties we have increased our play time by 2 hours and cut our setup/tear down time by 8 hours. Honestly I don’t know if we have gotten any work from the events but we have met a ton of cool people, been able to donate money to several charities and learned a lot about setting up large scale networks quickly. Despite not being exactly what I envisioned I am very happy with the way the events have evolved and I can’t wait to put on the next one…stay tuned!

LAN Party is on

Posted: 5th February 2011 by admin in Uncategorized

We’re all set up and going at the library. A couple of seats still available.

Next LAN is happening February 5th, 2011

Posted: 22nd December 2010 by admin in General

Same story, different date! We will be holding a LAN Saturday February 5th from 1:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. at the Bozeman Public Library. Everyone is welcome. Our charity this time around will be the Heart of the Valley Humane Society. I’m forgoing any pretense of saving seats and just asking that if you appreciate what we do to consider contributing $5 or $10 to our website here (buy from the products page), donate directly via the Humane Society site or drop off any of the needed supplies at the LAN and I will make sure they get delivered. Donations are not required but are certainly appreciated.

If you haven’t already consider joining our Facebook group. I will continue to update both places but it is a little easier to interact with people via Facebook. Hope to see everyone there!

LAN Aftermath Part 3

Posted: 11th October 2010 by admin in Events

The LAN party on Saturday was great fun once again.  I got my first taste of Minecraft and now I’m hooked.  We had a lot of League of Legends going on, a little bit of StarCraft II, a smidgen of Counter-Strike: Source and some sweet Team Fortress 2 games.  The library has been the perfect spot to hold these events.  The space is free, the internet is fast and they have lots of tables and chairs.  We’ve even gotten much better at setting up.  It took us about 7 hours to setup at our first LAN.  This LAN took two hours to setup and only 30 minutes or so to tear down.  Thanks to everyone that came!  Hopefully we’ll be able to get one more in before the end of the year.  Stay tuned.

Lost Sweater + Glasses

Posted: 11th October 2010 by admin in General

We had someone leave their black sweater and sunglasses at the LAN on Saturday.  If they’re yours let me know and I’ll get them back to you.

10-9-2010 12:30 and we’re up and running

Posted: 9th October 2010 by admin in Uncategorized

The network and tables are setup ready to go.  Stop by any time!

New reserved seat option is now available for purchase

Posted: 28th September 2010 by admin in Events

I have added a new product to the store, a reserved seat for the LAN on October 9th.  This month proceeds from the sale of reserved seats will go to the HRDC who, among lots of other projects, run the Gallatin Valley Food Bank.  If you can manage it please consider purchasing a reserved seat for only $5 and helping out a great non-profit organization in our community.

LAN Version 1.2

Posted: 27th August 2010 by admin in Events

We will be holding our next LAN festivities on Saturday October 9th at the Bozeman Public Library.  We will be starting a little earlier this time around to compensate for the internet shutting off at 10:00 p.m.  Stop by with your computers around 1:00 p.m. and we should be ready to go.