NAG LAN @ rAge 2012 survival guide
It’s nearly time for SA’s biggest LAN at the rAge expo; is your PC ready for it?
The NAG LAN @ rAge is nearly upon us (5-7 October 2012), and you’ve got one more weekend to prepare your equipment and make sure you have all your necessities in order.
The event can be tough on your hardware, and many first-timers don’t quite know what to expect from such a large LAN. Below we have some tips to make sure your hardware and body survives the journey there, queuing to get in, and the mega-gaming session that will follow.
The right power cable
If you’re going to LAN at rAge, you need the right gear. This includes flat head power plugs, the only type that will work with the provided power sources. If you don’t have one of these, you won’t be allowed to power up at the LAN.
These are a specific type of power plug required to use the dedicated power circuits provided. This plug is usually red, but the important bit is the flattened earth-pin, which you can see below.
This plug is required for both PC’s and monitors, which will be tested at the door to see if they will trip the power due to damaged components.
Have one of these plugs with you, or risk spending your first rAge hours scurrying around in search of a new power cable.
Check everything the night before
Seems simple doesn’t it? You’d be surprised at just how many people forget to do this, and suffer as a result.
Open up your case, clean all the dust out and make sure everything is secure.
Tighten the screws holding the graphics card and CPU cooler in place, and pay particular attention to hard drives and optical drives that can slide out and damage your motherboard.
For those who have managed the cables in the system to fit perfectly, loosen these accommodate for some sway during transport; particularly the graphics card power.
Ensure that your OS is installed correctly, and definitely ensure you have an up-to-date antivirus program installed. Consider bringing along your important software, such as OS and game install discs. Best to leave these locked in a car for the duration unless required.
Among the list of things that won’t be tolerated are desktop speakers, UPS’s, multi-plugs, personal switches, or additional power draining devices.
Because of the flat earth-pin plug scenario, two-pin plugs won’t find a home, so external drive users should bear this in mind. One brings and uses their own adapters at risk of raising the ire of event organizers.
A good set of comfortable headphones are a must. In-ear headphones will quickly become a painful irritant. A noise cancelling microphone is recommended, as many games feature VOIP, and it is likely that TeamSpeak servers will be running.
Make sure you have plenty of free HDD space because you are likely to find a whole range of legal, public license software, Linux distros, and creative commons media on share. There will be a DC++ server set up for sharing purposes. This is the preferred method, as the LAN organisers can ensure that network bandwidth is utilised optimally. If you don’t know what DC++ is, there will usually be help on hand, in the form of a LAN organiser or helpful participant.
Personal DC++ servers, port scanning and hacking won’t be tolerated, and will get you ejected from the LAN.
Exercise some common sense, and unshare anything you don’t want out in public, and if you do share, make sure things are set to “read only.” Nothing worse than having your 1TB anime collection cut, forever to be pasted on a stranger’s HDD.
Pack your car properly
When you come through to the event, make sure your hardware has as little room to move as possible.
Use your sleeping gear to wedge things in if you have to, otherwise get a friend to hold everything in place – especially the monitor!
The official NAG LAN times are Friday 09:00 – Sunday 15:00.
However, queueing starts in the early hours of the morning, so be sure to keep an eye on your gear. Not because gamers are greasy fingered thieves, but when you start moving forward in the queue it’s very easy to miss out a stray monitor or bag, particularly if you’re part of a large group and are in charge of other peoples’ gear.
If you’ve LANned at rAge before, you’ll know about the stairs. For those that haven’t, welcome to the worst of the queuing phase of the event.
You’ll have to negotiate two descending flights of stairs into the event, and with security checking for tickets and groups rushing to get good seats; things can get very cramped, very quickly.
A considerate attitude towards others will ensure everyone gets through security without any damaged equipment.
Unpacking and setting up
No need to rush, you have the whole event to look forward to. I’ve seen LCDs knocked off tablets and cables ripped out of PCs as gamers rush to get set up.
Chill out and remember to try keep the area around you clean; no one can setup when there are boxes, bags and sleeping gear strewn across various tables.
Keep a watchful eye
Gamers are (for the most part) pleasant people that wouldn’t try to rob each other of hardware. However, as with any public event, keep a watchful eye over your hardware, particularly if you arrive with an easy-to-steal gaming laptop or Bluetooth mouse/keyboard.
While rAge security will ensure that no large items can leave the LAN without the owner presenting their proof of ownership stickers (issued at the door), smaller items can easily go walking.
Cellphones, wallets and show purchases shouldn’t be left lying around. Rather lock these things in your vehicle or tuck them in the bottom of your sleeping bag when you are catching some sleep.
Rest and recuperation
The official word is that the Coca-cola Dome won’t allow people to set up shanty towns inside the venue, but it is unlikely that anyone will complain if you have a snooze in one of the chill areas or at your gaming station. A pillow, eye shades, ear plugs and some warm clothes will augment your downtime. Sleeping in a car for a few hours isn’t a bad idea, but try to do this during the cool evening hours, or you’ll be rudely awakened by the African sun.
Other practices can help reduce your fatigue for the duration. A wrist rest goes a long way – if you don’t have one, a small folded towel or a roll of socks can substitute. The usual advice about taking frequent breaks has never been more poignant. Perhaps setting a cell phone alarm for every couple of hours is a good idea. Get up, stretch your legs, get some fresh air, and refill water bottles. Don’t become another statistic. Headache pills are a must-have item.
Hygiene usually suffers at rAge, but there’s nothing stopping you from using deodorant, washing your face, brushing your teeth, and changing your socks.
James: On this last point, some foot powder might not be a bad idea, even if it isn’t for yourself. My nasal passages have previously been assaulted by a malevolent odour whose source was the sweaty feet of a fellow gamer who decided to air out his shoes. Let’s maintain standards, people.
Those lucky enough to have a Virgin Active gym contract that grants them access to gyms countrywide can capitalise and take a shower at the nearby Virgin Active across the parking lot.
Food and drink
Whilst LANning, gamers are undoubtedly going to consume a large amount of energy boosting drinks. Bear in mind that these types of beverages will also dehydrate and fatigue – nothing can substitute for good ol’ H2O. A plastic squeezy bottle can probably be snuck in amongst LAN kits, and often exhibitors hand them out for free. An empty soft drink bottle is also a fine substitute – it pays to keep your water bottle refreshed and at hand throughout the event.
Unfortunately, LAN attendees are usually not allowed to bring in their own food and beverages, since the venue wishes to flog their own foodstuffs. Fair enough, but over the course of three days, the same old burger, chips, pizza and hotdog offerings become unpalatable.
Luckily, the North Gate shopping centre has a number of restaurants and a supermarket to offer variety. Gamers will have to consume their food outside of the venue, but a short break to refuel is never a bad idea. Delivery services have also been known to bring food to the Dome.
- PC equipment (everything installed and up to date).
- Red power plug with flat earth-pin (for monitor and PC).
- rAge LAN ticket.
- Lots of HDD space.
- Accommodation details (if staying at a hotel).
- Plenty of money.
- Headache pills.
- Eye drops.
- Eye shades and ear plugs (for catching 40 winks).
- Warm clothes – the Coca-Cola Dome has industrial strength air-conditioners.
- Basic toiletries (will go a long way to keeping nearby LANners on your good side).
- Breath mints.
- Itchy mouse finger.
- Happy gaming attitude.
Do you have any further advice for gamers hitting the NAG LAN @ rAge? Share them with us in the comments below and on the MyGaming forum.