Advice For Newbies
This is a copy of the excellent community maintained guide aimed at people new to Insomnia BYOC from the forums.
Credit to Utghost & Xik for original versions & Ragonz for updated version for Athena
This page aims to collate years of LAN'ing knowledge and experience into one easy place for anyone to find.
If you have anything useful to add or spot something that needs a rewrite, don't be afraid to ask on discord or pm a purple member of the community team
Likewise, if you're new and uncertain about anything LAN related, don't be afraid to ask; I'm sure the community will do our best to answer your questions.
Please also see the FAQ and General Info page for lan-specific information such as opening times, parking etc.
By Train: The station is in the same building so you don't even have to step outside to get to LAN. Aim for Birmingham International (BHI)
By Foot: Don't be silly.
By Helicopter: Save it for StratLAN...
Pay before you arrive! The last thing you want to do is hold up the ever-growing queue of LANners waiting to get down to gaming by having to dig out your wallet and prolong the check-in process. Pay well before the event for discount and a far more speedy check-in.
Check-in before setting up camp! You can't set up your tent until you have checked in and received your lanyard and wrist-band. Make sure you do this before walking all the way to the campsite only to find that you have to come all the way back again.
Grab a drink! If you're early - chances are you'll have to wait about for a bit - so grab a drink, join a circle of people and introduce yourself. What's the worst that can happen?
BYOC aims to open at 1800 but it depends on everything being ready and 'working'
Entirely your choice, but try not to get wasted on Thursday night if you get early access - you'll miss half of Friday's gaming potential! In fact, just try not to get -wasted- at all. That's for StratLAN. Get drunk enough so you can sleep in your tent, and enjoy your games that much more!
Early Arrival check in closes at around 11pm, so aim to get there fairly early but there is room to play.
EAS is basically a paid beta - The power may be unstable, the Internet is not guaranteed and security is going vary from super busy to super chill depending on their mood.
Make sure you EAT HEALTHY. I know, this is blasphemy, but don't totally overload on the junk food. Eat something healthy at least once a day to balance out your system.
Shower. No, really. SHOWER. There is actually nothing worse than enjoying your pizza Saturday night, and then having the smell of someone who hasn't showered since Monday or something walk past. It'll put you off your food and can ruin your evening.
Wash after Pooping/Peeing. This is a given but the amount of people who don't even so much glance at the taps on the way out of the toilets actually makes me feel sick. If you're in such a rush, at the VERY least, rinse your hands. It's less than a few seconds to just turn the tap on and put your hands under it for a few seconds.
Rest Regularly. Again - I know - Blasphemy, but if you burn yourself out Thursday and Friday, you're gonna lose the enjoyment of Saturday Sunday and Monday.
Take breaks from your computer, go for a walk, check out the awesome exhibitions, get some fresh air and most importantly, get at least 4-6 hours sleep a night!
Bring some hand sanitiser gel. Useful after you've used something in the exhibition, because chances are, someone who hasn't washed themselves in a few days has also touched it.
Drink plenty of water!
Have fun!- That's a requirement. If you don't have fun, then why are you here? Enjoy your LAN folks!
Bring lip balm - Not entirely sure why, but some people suffer from very dry lips over the course of the event, I've learnt to either pack some lip balm in advance, or make it top of my list during the first shopping trip. Cracked and sore lips may interfere with drinking and fun.
Food delivery to your desk is done by Qjacker at the NEC.
Just went to my first event this weekend with my son and I'd like to throw some parent specific tips out;
These are events that kids go to but are in no means kids events. The games / staff / events aren't babysitters and shouldn't be treated like they are. If you're expecting to come and drop your kids in like "Cheeky Monkeys" then honesty, I wouldn't bother.
Give your kids realistic expectations... Why are you going? Is it to play games and do cool stuff? Excellent... Your kids will 100% be able to do that all day long. Are they going so they can meet super cool Youtube stars? There's only ever going to be a 50% chance of that happening. Buying a ticket in no way guarantees that they'll be meeting anyone. Kicking off with staff (which I saw some parents do) will not make any difference and will only make everyone else there hate parents and kids even more (Honestly... We're not a popular bunch as it is and its easy to see why when some of you harass hard working volunteers just because you turned up 10 minutes before a "Meet & Greet" started only to find out the queue was closed. With that in mind...
If your "Meet & Greet" starts at 12, get there at 9. We queued for 2 hours and were still pretty lucky to get my son in to meet DanTDM. Some people legitimatley queued for 5 hours. Some people queued for 10 minutes and couldn't understand why their child wasn't being given some sort of priority so started harassing every member of staff they could find.
If you ARE going to meet somebody, ask yourself if your child can cope with standing in a non moving line for 3 hours, maybe more. It's tough on younger kids but it'll be tougher on you (and everyone else) when they're sobbing in a corridor because standing in a line has bored them to tears.
Look at taking your own drinks and snacks if you're on a budget. Bottle of pop and a bar of chocolate? That'll be £5 please. A foam sword as well? Congratulations... You just spent £30.
Don't be that jerk parent who lets their kid hog all the games... Yes, it's the game that they really want to play and yes, they're super good at it but there's also 300 other kids standing behind them who are too polite or shy to ask for a turn. Share or go home.
Kids (mine 100% included) can sometimes be pretty gross what with all their nose picking and such. Nobody wants to touch the keybord / controller after your darling child has got Wotsits, bogies and sweat all over it. Invest in some hand wipes or some hand gel. For reals.
If I'm painting a grim picture then I apologise... My son went and honesty loved every minute of it. He played a tonne of games, ate all the pizza, met some people he wanted to meet, made some friends, dressed up, did some coloring / making and had a genuinely awesome time. There's a million things you can do with your kids there... Just don't let crummy parenting decisions spoil it for you, your kids or anyone else.
There are several pay to use ATMs dotted around the NEC that you can use however if you feel like a walk, there is a Natwest in the Piazza with a free to use ATM.
Camping space is on a First Come, First Serve basis, if you have not purchased your ticket before the event you will likely not be able to sleep indoors.
Earplugs for Sleeping. These are not a luxury; but they are essential! The tuck shop normally has some for sell.
It will be similar to stratlan style community resting, which means hard floors. Bring something to sleep on like a camp cot or airbed.
There are onsite showers for people who are indoor camping.
Don't get so drunk that you fall asleep in someone else's sleeping bag then pee yourself in your sleep. Yes it has happened, and I highly doubt you'd be welcomed back with open arms if you do it.
Love making should not be done in the indoor camping area, seriously don't do it. That goes for any sexual activities. If you want to do that sort of thing, get a room, for everyone's sake.
You can bring both a PC/Laptop and a console to the event but, due to how the power is allocated, you can only have 1 powered up at a time and due to how the interwebs is done, you can only have one connected to the network at a time.
With your computer, console, or laptop, you're only allowed to bring one monitor/TV. This is due to power and space restrictions. If you have a console you can bring a TV up to and including 32". If you have a computer and have a monitor that big, I salute you. But it must all fit within your allocated 3ft of space.
You don't need an Ethernet cable, they are supplied at your desks - you should also be aware that you are not allowed to bring in your own switches/hubs or other network equipment to connect to the network on-site.
Don't forget your surge protected four-way power strip. This is one of the most common things left behind at LANs!
Install all your games at home - Yes we have a steam cache, but the last thing you want to do on arrival is spend ages waiting to play a game because you've got EAS and the Steam Cache still isn't up / is being hammered by the rest of the lan
Offline Gaming - This is getting much less important, but this is a big lan and despite the hardwork of the networking guys sometimes the network / internet fails. This is a great time to go a grab a beer, but in the event the network is down for longer it can sometimes pay to have something to do offline - Prison Architect, Theme Hospital, RCT, TTD all simple games you haven't played in a long time but will keep you occupied for hours.
Disable all File shares and P2P activity - These are banned and have ended up with PCs getting blacklisted and blocked in the past then having to grovel on hands and knees in front of the whole of the network team to let them back on
Close your firewall & Leave any important data at home - Your computer is at risk at lan. Similar to physical security we all hope that nothing happens, but if your PC is broadcasting your entire C drive onto the LAN you can guarantee someone will take a look, copy or even delete those important photos
Make a backup - Lans aren't friendly to your humble PC. They aren't designed for long distance travel on a plane/train/car/bus and the last thing you want is to be unwilling to effect a repair because you don't want to loose that save game / important photos (as above)
Bring your recovery media - We all hope it doesn't happen, but as above there's always someone reinstalling their OS at a lan and it pays to be prepared
UPGRADE/BUILD YOUR PC AT LAN AT YOUR OWN RISK - There's lots of fun and shiny gadgets to be had at lan, and when you see your friends playing at a higher graphics setting than you it's always tempting to hit up the expo for that new graphics card and install it Saturday morning. 1st rule of lan is that if it can go wrong it will go wrong, so if it isn't broke don't fix it... Or be prepared to be ridiculed! Having said that, if something does break at some point there is a wealth of experience in the hall and someone can probably help you out and get you up and going again (Helpdesk have to be "hands-off" customer hardware, but they might be able to give you a nudge in the right direction)
If you want to participate in a tournament, but don't know how, or don't have a team, don't fret!, jump into discord or ask around, there are usually mix/match teams thrown together to participate as well. Just don't be shy - you could land with an epic team and smash the pros into submission!
You're coming to a LAN, so play a LAN game!
"I'm scared I'm not good enough". Don't panic, it's the UK. Nobody's good. We run formats that ensure you'll get games against similarly skilled players after the first day, with Intermediate & Casual tournaments running all weekend for teams that fall out of the prize tournament. And you could always surprise yourself; it wouldn't be the first time a 'pro' team got dumpstered by a new mix on a Friday.
"My game isn't listed". If the game you want to play against other people isn't listed, jump into the Community Games channel on discord. We have an admin or two on hand all weekend to help you find other people who are interested in playing.
Ultimately, remember to have fun. Half the reason to come to LAN is for the people, so dive in & get involved.
If someone is smoking/vaping inside the halls please inform security or ask helpdesk to do so.