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Network Games Idle

Inside the World's Largest LAN Party 199

MrSeb writes "Last weekend, over 12,000 LAN party goers turned up at DreamHack Winter 2011 in Jonkoping, Sweden with a PC under the arm, on their back, or packed carefully in the trunk of their car. Every single attendee is squeezed into just three massive halls — the largest holding 5,000 computers — or four days, only taking brief breaks to sleep or check out one of the many stages (including some of the largest e-sport tournaments of the year). Being the largest LAN party in the world, DreamHack's infrastructure is suitably monumental: it takes days to lay the thousands of cables, and at the heart of the network is tower of Cisco routers that interface with a 120Gbps internet connection provided by Telia."
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Inside the World's Largest LAN Party

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  • by MrSeb ( 471333 ) <`moc.besrm' `ta' `besrm'> on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @09:23PM (#38221672) Homepage

    'or' should be 'for', before 'four days'

  • Re:120 gbps (Score:5, Informative)

    by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @09:33PM (#38221788)
    In America, you couldn't get that kind of internet connection even if you had your LAN party inside a major Time Warner Cable network hub. That's slightly exaggerated but only slightly. Sweden has a small physical area and lots of money so just like England, they run fiber everywhere. A population density like that results in REALLY fast network backbones available in close proximity to anything populated or important because it does pay off financially for the ISP.
  • by MrSeb ( 471333 ) <`moc.besrm' `ta' `besrm'> on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @09:57PM (#38221996) Homepage

    Yep, the best way is to go for a shower in the middle of the day, or very late at night.

    The main thing is that it's completely pot luck. The showers are usually quite far away from the hall/sleeping area. You can trudge all the way over there to find all of the showers occupied.

    It needs a proper, web-based queuing system...

  • Re:120 gbps (Score:5, Informative)

    by RzUpAnmsCwrds ( 262647 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @10:14PM (#38222182)

    You can get that kind of Internet connection in the US, and it's done every year for the ACM/IEEE SC trade show. []

  • by Andrew Lindh ( 137790 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @10:25PM (#38222266)
    One of the photos shows a Cisco 2950T-48 that provides 48 10/100 ethernet ports with 2 GigE uplink ports. This seems like a simple setup for lots of tables. Drop a switch at each table and feed run one cable back to the core switch for the area. If Cisco provided 300 of these switches that gives you 14400 100meg ports for users. Then a few core switches with a stack of non-blocking GigE ports and some 10GB or 40GB uplink ports to the core routers. Easy... I'm sure several companies (or universities) had similar setups. The amazing thing is the built it as a temporary setup. The real job is providing safe power and cooling for all users.... maybe next time they can provide PoE for everyone and require "green" computers! []
  • Re:120 gbps (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @10:27PM (#38222286)

    Well, Sweden is approximately the size of California but with only 9.5 million people, so that brings it to spot 195 in the world when it comes to population density...

  • by Lotana ( 842533 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @11:16PM (#38222620)

    I never was present at any official, large LAN parties, but I have hosted/attended several back in my high school days for just with close circle of friends. Size was never more than 12 people and the length was about three days. It is actually very simple formula with nothing really interesting or sinister about it

    Essentially the host orginised the event based on when his house will be free (ie. Parents out). He would make some space in the living room by moving a couch to the side and getting one or two large tables in with some chairs. Ideally he would also stock up the fridge with drinks and have a hub or a switch (With at least 12 ports).

    Attendees must bring with them their computer, monitor, power strip and all the cabling that goes with it. On very rare ocation we would decide during organisation stage on what games would be installed, but in majority of cases everyone would just bring their entire collection of CDs and external hard drives with pirated games. Some extra cables also come in handy because as a rule at least someone will forget a power strip or a network cable.

    First half of the day would consist of assembling everyone's machines and installing/copying whatever games we decide we will be playing. Normally everyone would have their drives fully shared, so after the software are installed everyone just browses each other's PCs and external drives for anything interesting to copy (Movies, games, music, porn, etc). Once everyone finishes installing the games/had their fill of copying the we start plaing games. Starcraft, Quake 2, Counter Strike, Total Annihilation were very popular choises.

    In terms of food, we would either pool the money for pizzas or car pool to go the nearest shopping centre. In terms of sleeping arrengments everyone just finds a free couch/bed or in worst case on the floor in a sleeping bag. Othervise it is just gaming non-stop with nothing else in the between. That is where the smell comment comes from: By second day of just sitting around eating junk food and gaming everyone starts to smell earthly.

    The party ends at the agreed time (Normally at least half a day before parents of the host come back) and that really is it. Large ones are probably vastly different since with more people further organisation will be needed. Entire thing can be held in a net cafe, but then you need to pay and just lacked certain charm. Certanly there won't be any swapping of pirated materials and porn :-)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @11:59PM (#38222908)

    The taxation in Sweden is significant, but you have to earn a lot of money to cross 50% taxation in Sweden, and it's capped at ~56% on income if you exclude employers extra costs.

    Immigration to Sweden from the EU is extremely simple. From the US it's a bit more work, but should be quite doable. Swedish is from the same language tree as English so written language is doable. The spoken language is one of the few with a song-song intonation and can be quite hard to get right.

  • Lan Parties are Dead (Score:5, Informative)

    by Renraku ( 518261 ) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @01:23AM (#38223364) Homepage

    Back when I was younger, I used to go to LAN parties all the time. Typically with friends, at their place, but twice I went to a big LAN party. In each of the big LAN parties, the drama was almost more overwhelming than the BO. It was like being in a room full of three-days-unbathed tween drama queen girls that were obese and all used to being the center of their own worlds. Tempers flared easily when no one was around to bring everyone snacks and drinks and take away their piss jugs.

    And the thievery. God Jesus did shit ever get stolen. Dozens of people got their shit stolen at both of the big LAN parties I went to. Apparently some shady people would show up with shitty computers, set up a place, and then go around looting. No one would ever think to stop them from walking out with a computer or hardware, because people were doing it all the time. Oh, and the poopsockers. You couldn't play a strategy game without being cheesed to death immediately at the beginning of the game. People with superior skills would send a worker unit over to harass and maybe kill your guys before you could get a soldier out, and then thirty seconds later be in your base with late game units. Oh, and the cheating. People wouldn't admit that their 100% headshot rate and 100:0 kill/death ratio was fake. When they did, cue drama and usually violence.

    In short, fuck big LAN parties. They have none of the charm of the small group gaming sessions, and all of the downsides of playing with a bunch of socially inept nerds with strange senses of humor.

  • Re:120 gbps (Score:3, Informative)

    by linhux ( 104645 ) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @03:18AM (#38223892) Homepage

    I remind you that the Pirate Party is the third-largest party in Sweden

    I'm sorry to tell you that you're very misinformed. The Swedish parliament is made up of 8 parties, and none of them is the Pirate Party. They received 0.65% of the votes in 2006 and 0.63% in 2010, and 4% is required to get a seat in the parliament, making them very far away from that. (check this: [])

    They did however do much better in the 2009 elections for the EU parliament, where they received over 7% of the Swedish votes (making them the fifth largest party). I would speculate that this is largely due to the much lower participation (~45% in the EU election versus ~85% in the national), making the EU parliamentary elections much more prone to small parties getting an disproportionate amount of votes compared to the national parliament elections. (And I'm very happy for that, I think the Pirate Party provides some clue in areas that other parties are completely clueless about - however, in the big EU issues they anyway tend to side with the green parties, who usually also have a similar stance when it comes to tech-related politics.)

  • Re:120 gbps (Score:4, Informative)

    by Alef ( 605149 ) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @03:37AM (#38223958)
    Sweden isn't as small as you think. The average population density is around 20 persons per square kilometer, roughly the same as the US I believe. Sure, much of it is concentrated in southern parts, but people have had fiber to the home for close to a decade even in remote areas in the north, where the population density is one person per square kilometer.
  • by Shinobi ( 19308 ) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @03:43AM (#38223982)

    Actually, monster rigs are discouraged, and in fact, many just bring laptops and a standalone monitor.

    In fact, power consumption is rationed at the event:

    ÃÂÃ 5.3 Each Table Seat may use an average of 275W. Please observe that the effect your power supply can handle is not the same as what it uses! More information on this can be read under the [Information: Electricity and net info] section on DreamHackâ(TM)s website.

    That average covers not just the computer+screen, but also if you charge your cellphone or camera. You're not allowed to bring hot plates, microwave ovens etc.

    Then there's the fire hazard rules....

  • by andersh ( 229403 ) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @04:05AM (#38224040)

    Yet another ignorant liar that knows nothing about Scandinavia.

    The average tax rate is 32% on taxable income, after deductions and a flat rate discount. The tax rate is proportional, with exceptions for the lowest incomes. The highest income groups pay an additional extra tax on income above a certain threshold. This tax gives you an automatic government paid pension. I can only speak for my own Scandinavian country, but it's mostly the same.

    You may deduct interest payments on mortgages, travel expenses if you have to commute a long distance (minimum limits apply), expenses due to your health (special needs equipment) and so on. Too much to list here.

    In addition you receive a monthly cash subsidy for each child below the age of 18, kindergartens and after-school parks are subsidied, schools are free, college is free, healthcare is free, hospitals are free, prenatal clinics offer free, extensive pre/post-birth support, maternity/paternity leave is paid for by the government (1 year at 80% pay). Students are eligble for a student loan from the State Educational Loan Fund, no interest paid while studying, and you only pay when you actually have a job. If you end up sick or disabled you will receive welfare and additional support including housing, caretakers and so on. That's just what I can think of at the moment, there's a lot more.

  • Re:120 gbps (Score:5, Informative)

    by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @08:04AM (#38224862)

    Quoth Wikipedia:

    In terms of membership, it passed the Green Party in December 2008, the Left Party in February 2009, the Liberal Party and the Christian Democrats in April 2009,[4][5] and the Centre Party in May 2009, making it, for the time being, the third largest political party in Sweden by membership.

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