If you missed my last post, Bytemark have built a dedicated Team Fortress 2 multiplayer gaming rack on wheels featuring a server, 16 diskless PCs and zero copies of Windows. It’s almost as convenient as a Playstation, only it needs about 5 square metres to deploy and weighs 200 kilos. Did I say it has wheels? And it’s ready for action, so we’ll be hard at work testing it in the office the next couple of days.
Why have we built it?
We’re sponsoring the last ever LUGRadio Live event this year in Wolverhampton which, if previous years were anything to go by, will be riotous fun interspersed by some interesting talks. We will be debuting the rig there from the 18th– 19thJuly.
Unfortunately, it’s a little on the slow side to boot due to Steam needing a little ‘thinking time’ before it lets you start the game properly. But it boots unattended, and you can just sit down and play. I will probably be tweaking things right up to the last minute to get better performance, faster booting and so on, but thanks to some slog from everyone in the office it works.
On the Day
We will be running a rolling game throughout the day where anyone can just sit down and play. We’ll also be running 2 x 1-hour prize tournaments scheduled on both days where you can compete for fabulous (probably quite beer-centred) prizes for the winning teams. So if you’re coming to LUGRadio and fancy fragging for prizes, you could really help me out by emailing matthew [at] bytemark.co.uk. Let me know your name and email address in advance, as well as which days you’ll be there. Even better, if you have up to 7 friends and want to compete as a team, let me know their details too and I’ll try to get it scheduled in advance. Of course, I’ll be taking registrations on the day but if I get a lot of advance interest, there might not be so many places left for the tournament.
If you already have Team Fortress 2 and laptop, you can also bring it along, plug in and join the fray (sorry no space for full-size desktop PCs – one oversized rig is enough!). We’ll have 16 PCs but 24 game slots so it would be awesome to have a full house.
Update: how did the rig do?
The Bytemark annual visit to LUGRadio Live worked out as the best yet – our gaming rig got a hammering from tens of newly converted engineers, spies, pyros and soldiers.
The computers didn’t need too much attention to keep running, but enemy number one was (I think) some cheap PS/2 extension leads which caused the systems to need a complete reboot once every few hours. I think only one person got interrupted by that problem, and a few stayed for a whole morning or afternoon without interruption.
Personally, I got shot up quite a lot, had to take many few breaks, but got on best as a sneaky spy. Additionally, If anyone playing with us would like a copy of the Orange Box, almost fully Linux compatible (apart from being written for Windows and all) – Valve software were kind enough to send a few freebies but a bit late so we have a free copy! Sorry, that’s as far as we got with prizes but I hadn’t really got the hang of administering a tournament and didn’t want to stop the game when we had a full house enjoying themselves.