How to attend or host a LAN party
Attending a LAN party
Visiting a LAN party can be one of the most gratifying experiences for people who enjoy the challenge of playing with or against other human players. At LAN parties, you'll have the opportunity to meet with like minded people, to boast after a kill, view other gaming rigs, and learn new games. Some of the bigger LAN parties with sponsorship may even have prizes and awards for the top players.
Most LAN parties require you to BYOC (bring your own computer). Before going to a LAN party, make sure your computer has a working NIC (network card). A network card is what enables your computer to connect with other computers to play games.
Below is a short list of things you should bring to a LAN party to make it a more enjoyable experience.
- As mentioned above, you need to bring your computer, this includes your monitor, keyboard, and mouse (may even want to bring a mouse pad).
- Network cable - To connect your computer to the network you are going to need to have a straight through network cable.
- Network hub, Switch, or Router - If you have an extra network hub, switch, or router bring that to the party just in case.
- Power Strip and Surge protector - With everyone at the network party requiring at least two power plugs, always make sure to bring a power strip or surge protector. If you have extras also bring those, you may save someone else's day.
- Headphones - Make sure you bring a good pair of headphones as nobody likes to hear other computers with their speakers playing. Another thing to consider is that sound can often give away your position or strategy if other players can hear it.
- Virus protection program - Who knows what may be on other people's computers who attend the LAN party. Make sure you have an up-to-date antivirus program on your computer.
- Games - If you plan on playing games at the LAN party, make sure you have all games you plan on playing and you bring any CDs the games require.
- Update - Make sure you have all the latest updates for all games you plan on playing and that the drivers are up-to-date.
- Network shares - If you have a home network and have any network shares or anything shared out you might not want shared, make sure to close the shares. Additionally, make sure you are not granting full access to your share unless you also want people to send you files.
- Drink and Food - If the person hosting the party is permitting you to bring food or drinks, make sure to bring something to snack on or help keep you awake.
- Chair and table - Most LAN parties have enough chairs and table space for everyone. However, it is always a good idea to make sure you verify this before going. Also, some people may not want to sit on a folding chair, and want to bring a comfortable chair.
Hosting a LAN party
Hosting a network LAN party can be as gratifying as going to a LAN party. However, to help make sure your experience is as good as everyone else's, some required setup should be done before the LAN party starts.
Advanced notice - If you want a good crowd to show up to your LAN party, give plenty of notice to everyone you would like to show up. Send an e-mail a few weeks before the LAN party with information about the LAN party. Include the day, time, and address of the party, the games you plan to play, your contact information, and anything people need to bring to the party. You may even want to link everyone you invite to this page for a listing of what they should be bring to your party.
You should request a reply for anyone planning and not planning on attending to get an idea of how many people to expect. Also, let others know if they can invite their friends if you need more people.
Network setup - Once you have scheduled the LAN party, you need to begin preparing your network so people can connect their computer without having to wait for you to troubleshoot the network. If you have broadband access, we recommend having a router that's capable of sharing your Internet broadband access. There is always someone who needs to get on the Internet to browse, read their e-mail, and download updates. If you don't have broadband but still want to share your dial-up access, you can set up a proxy to share your dial-up Internet access. If you don't have Internet access, make sure people are aware of this before they come to the party expecting Internet access to be available or wanting to download game updates.
Make sure you have enough connections for your network. If you do not have enough ports, you need to add another router, switch, or hub to your network setup. If you do not have a spare network router, switch, or hub request that someone else attending the party bring one.
Tables and chairs - Make sure you have enough chairs and table space to accommodate everyone who plans on attending your LAN party. If you think you need additional tables or chairs, make sure to have people bring some.
Additional hardware - Get out any additional hardware to share with anyone who doesn't bring everything they need. For example, make available any extra monitors, headphones, network cables, power strips, and surge protectors you might have.
Game updates share - Download the latest game updates for all games you plan on playing and create a share on your computer containing all the updates, allowing you and everyone else to play games faster. Anyone who does not already have the game updates can download and install them from your network share.
Virus protection program - Who knows what may be on the other peoples computers who are attending the party. Make sure you have an up-to-date antivirus protection program on all your computers connected to your network.
Network shares - If you already have a home network and have network shares or anything shared out, make sure to close the shares if you do not want anyone leaching. Additionally, make sure you are not granting full access to your shares unless you want people to send you files.
Sponsors - If you plan on hosting a big LAN party (25+ people), try to get local computer or gaming companies to sponsor your event. If you have a huge network party (50+ people), try to get computer manufacturers, hardware manufacturers, software developers, or food and beverage companies to sponsor your network party. Sponsors often help with the cost of the LAN party and may send you gifts (swag) to give out at the event.
As much as we would like to support your LAN party, Computer Hope does not have the financial resources to sponsor a LAN party.