Here are some pics of the event (Names of players are left-to-right):
bomajoe and FNG_Josh couldn't make the party, so they joined our tournament online.
LAN Party Recap:
The party started at 6:30pm, with gamers trickling in for the next hour or so. I was stoked as I'd been able to spend about 4 hours or so prepping an app that would communicate with the TrackMania dedicated server in hopes of having an automated way of tracking tournament stats. I programmed the tracker app to report the current tournament stats back into the game (through the in-game chat) at the end of each race. This would be our first test-run, to find bugs so I could work them out and perhaps use it at GEEX this year during their TrackMania tournament.
We ordered pizza at 8:00 and were chowing down at 8:30pm. Many thanks to Papa Johns that night for some excellently fresh pizza; especially the pepperoni and jalapeno. (They were probably thanking us as well, since we placed two orders with them that night!)
9:00pm hit and it was time for the Turkey Bowl 2009 rematch tournament. We made sure we had bomajoe and FNG_Josh in the server with us... the next track loaded, I started the tracker app, and we were off-to-the-races.
There were many jeers and cheers as we all met with our successes and failures during each round. There were also many laughs shared, especially when my son, FNG_d6Amefath3r stumbled on the pronunciation of bomajoe's name (bow-muh-joe)... he laughed and said, "What?! It sounds like Barack Obama-Joe!!!" I'm pretty sure my car slammed into a wall and flipped off the track at that moment. It was a good thing we were in Time Attack mode instead of Rounds... We laughed a long time, and I'm pretty sure Joe has a new nickname that will stick for a while.
More humor flew our way with our FNG LAN Party new-comer, MockObject. He was certainly living up to his name when we'd hear groans about how bad he thought he sucked at the game, how "unpossible" it was to finish some of the tracks and how much fun it was to finally discover what the Finish gate looks like.
After the 9th track, my app got WAY behind on writing out the XML responses from the TrackMania server (my bad for not turning those off before launching the app... since we didn't really need them.) It got so back-logged, that it took another 30 minutes after the tournament ended for the app to finally get everything written out so I could go copy the XML and later analyze it so I could find out the final scores. Looks like I have some work to do on the tracker, yet... (Did I mention I only got 4 hours to invest in it before the party?!) :) Incidentally, the night before the party, I found a cool TrackMania Server Plugin System that I may be able to use to put an in-game UI piece in that will have the tourney stats constantly up... we're discussing ideas about that currently... we'll see how it goes.
A good time was had by all; with the potential exception of ricowan and MockObject who might have a permanent hatred for me for putting him through the ringer with our brutal choice of tracks. All I can say is that I tried to hook up with you both early enough to give you some time to practice before you came. ;)
Seriously though, I do hope everyone had a good time... I know I did. It's always a great time to get good friends together for some LAN gaming. I certainly hope the game developers out there don't seriously switch their models to this "always-connected" BS we keep hearing about in the latest games. I want to keep LAN gaming around for a lot longer, without the fear of us all getting dumped out of our games when my internect connection decides to hiccup.
We finished the party off by playing some other potential GEEX tournament tracks, and then revisiting some old-school TrackMania Nations maps... some of the ones that made FNG fall in love with the game when we first discovered it.
This LAN party was good for helping me solidify ideas for the TrackMania tournament coming up at GEEX in July. I hope to have the track pack compiled and available online in April, as well as the tournament rules and sign-up available on the GEEX site soon. (I'm still looking for sponsors for prizes so we won't have to charge a tournament fee... so if you know of anyone, please get in touch with me!)
I hope to see you all at GEEX for the TrackMania tournament in July!
PS: All that attended, please take some time to leave your thoughts about the party here on the blog! Much appreciated.