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 and updated versions
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 pm Ragonz on discord
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.
http://www.thenec.co.uk/visiting-us/getting-here <-- seems like a good start
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 stupid.
By Helicopter: Save it for StratLAN... Or talk to BHX.
Don't leave it to the last minute! It's stressful! You don't want to reach LAN and be tired for the first night. So, plan in advance, make sure you arrive with plenty of time to spare, don't rush and you'll be able to enjoy your LAN that much more.
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?
Thursday and EAS
Check-in! Check in always aims to open for 0900 on Thursday to keep that queue to a minimum, with indoor camping opening at 1300.
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 anal to super chill depending on their mood.
Personal Care, Health & Safety, and Well-Being
LAN-DEATH is a real thing. It affects thousands of gamers every year and we need your support. LAN-DEATH is the terrible feeling of pure death you get after a particularly action-packed and fun LAN. Its general symptoms include: Blocked Nose, Oversleeping, Headaches, Generally feeling Down. It's not generally a bad illness or anything, and can last a few days - but it CAN develop into a full blown man-flu, or LAN-flu, as Henners has dubbed it. You need to make sure you prepare yourself for this.
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.
Drinking & Food
Booze at LAN can be a tad expensive to a dirty student or someone from an area that has higher drinking populations, so prepare to dig a tiny bit deeper than some of you are used to. Mostly though, the prices are average and the range is great.
Food delivery to your desk is done by Qjacker at the NEC.
Join the Steam Group: We have a steam group set up for community games and meetups at the event. You can find it at: Insomnia Community Games Steam Group
Don't keep to yourself - you're at a LAN! Everyone is there for pretty much the same reason as you, so go talk, argue, have a pint, and have a laugh. Pretty much everyone is friendly. Much friendlier than they act online. Go figure.
Use Discord! There is now a permanent discord for Insomnia Events which can be found at: http://discord.gg/ePxEYqm
Don't know anyone? Find the community team (purple folk on discord) Or join the Discord at the event - someone's always around for a chat, and you can usually go annoy them (or get annoyed by them..). Also tagging down any member of the volunteer crew will get you started (other than blue team, in the rare occasion you can actually find one).
Still stuck for a drinking partner? Find one of the many clans around. Most are usually looking for new members, and folks to have a laugh with.
Advice to Parents
Quote Originally Posted by MartMart
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.
Bring enough money to last you the weekend. People have tried to survive on small amounts of money. It doesn't usually work out. You can budget it if you're careful, but the food is a tad more expensive on venue. So come prepared.
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.
Indoor Camping tickets are done PER PERSON, not per plot. Each person planning to stay in a tent will need to buy a ticket.
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.
Pitch your tent correctly. No one enjoys their erection collapsing in a stiff breeze.
It will similar to stratlan style community resting, which means hard floors and cold rooms. Bring something to sleep on like a camp cot or airbed.
There are onsite showers for people who are camping or resting onsite.
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 community resting 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.
Quote Originally Posted by Bobmich
I'd consider adding that if you're doing the indoor camping - it might be worth taking something like a few yoga mats to stick under your tent/camp mat; the floor is rock hard, not to mention dusty, just so its a bit more comfortable
Ouch!'s Ode to the humble earplugs
Quote Originally Posted by Ouch
Oh, the mighty earplug!
When first I came to the i-series, fair,
I was old and grizzled
and losing my hair,
I pitched camp at Newb'ry
and then I confess,
I gamed until morning, til I was a mess.
I drank lots of beer,
and played lots of COD 4,
the room span around and I vom'd on the floor!
I got into bed,
all warm and all snug,
But neglected to insert my humble earplugs.
The noise was terrific,
there was burping and farting,
and a bloke with a peugeot thought he was go-karting.
I got really angry,
no sleep was forthcoming,
as rain wind and snow, on my tent, began drumming.
I tossed and I turned,
I cursed and I swore,
I even knelt up and pissed out of the door.
Until I remembered,
my luminous friends,
my earplugs would save me, and so in the end.
I put them in snugly and
slept like the dead
yes, you should wear earplugs when you go to bed!
So when you go back to your tent in the night,
if you want to sleep soundly,
you must get it right.
Dont do it with w4nking,
or strong sleeping pills,
some earplugs will solve all your LAN party ills!
Secure your gear! The price of a kensington lock is far less than the cost of half your rig going missing. If you don't know who you're sitting with/around, take your peripherals back to your tent/hotel with you. My experience with LAN so far has been pretty good, and nothing that I know of or anyone around me has lost anything, but this is -just in case-. There's usually some LANners willing to sell locks and security gear at discounted prices at LAN, so look out for threads!
Computers & Console
If you're a console gamer, don't be afraid to bring your console along with you. A lot of people bring their consoles and we have a large area set-out especially for you guys!
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.
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 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 (I remember a certain DDOS attack not too long ago) 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 Blue 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 overclockers 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, hit up IRC, or anyone around and they can probably help you out and get you up and going again (Helpdesk/Yellowshirts have to be "hands-off" customer hardware, but they might be able to give you a nudge in the right direction)
Tournaments and Other Help
If you don't know something to do with tourneys, events or other such things, jump onto the discord and hop into the channel set up for your game, there your answers shall be answered! If you’re not sure which channel you need, it'll be listed on the tournament page on the website, you could also walk over to the help desk. They're always happy to answer your questions, point you in the right direction or just give you a hug.
If you want to participate in a tournament, but don't know how, or don't have a team, don't fret! Post a thread, 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!
Dwarfy always approves of this thread. Think about that for a second.
Quote Originally Posted by VocTer
Tournaments & Other Help
"I need some information".
If you're at the event, you can either jump into the Discord channel written on your desksheet and drop a message in the help chat or to one of the people listed as MPUK Staff (Or a few of them, as it's rare we're all looking at Discord at the same time).
If you want to participate in a tournament, but don't have a team, don't worry! Our tournament system, Battlefy, allows you to sign up as a Free Agent & be drafted into teams at the event. It's also worth posting on the forums, or in the UK subreddit for your game, as there are often LFT threads in the weeks before the event.
"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 Request chat. We have an admin or two on hand all weekend to help you find other people who are interested in playing, and can even set you up a tournament page on the Battlefy account.
Ultimately, remember to have fun. Half the reason to come to LAN is for the people, so dive in & get involved.
A lot of credit for this thread goes to noms
Naturally this list will be ever-growing up-to and during the event - so be sure to check back regularly, ask questions and they'll be answered, or even suggest your own things from your own experiences!