Insomnia 48. Day 1

At Insomnia 47 I posted about entering the FIFA 1v1 Tournament. I won the 1v1 ‘fun’ tournament and came runners up in the 2v2 on following day. Although they were warm-up tournaments and don’t hold a lot of credibility, I still felt like it was an accomplishment in itself!

(Me shaking hands with Dave Witts upon winning the FIFA fun cup, I beat his son 2-1 in the final so he probably forced that smile. I will be working for /with him this event though!)

After the event me and Jack approached Dave Witts, the organiser of the event and the man who runs SweetpatchTV, offering our video making services. He was quick to reply and sound enthusiastic about our approach, which was extremely pleasing to say the least. We managed to work out a new plan for the FIFA tournament for i48 which involved a crowd seating area and a main casting desk with a PA system alongside what was the main gaming area for the rest of the tournament. In production value terms this in itself was already a massive step up to what insomnia 47 was like. Graphics were suggested, and conversations were passed back and forth between myself and Dave during the build up to i48, and in no time it was here.

It had given snow at midnight on the Thursday, meaning Friday driving would be terrible, so Jack decided he wanted to drive down late Thursday afternoon, we stay in a hotel overnight, then we are there ready for Friday morning with no snow worries whatsoever. Which proved a good thing because the snow became increasingly worse on our drive over, and after 2 hours of driving we found ourselves in a rather large amount of snow. Jack is an excellent driver though and handled the conditions well.

We stayed in the International Centre hotel for £65 between us for one night. Which in the circumstances was an excellent deal, and although we could’ve signed in to the uni accommodation, we didn’t actually know where that was.. And with it being so snowy by the time of arrival it was a journey too much and what we saw as unnecessary hassle. We put on the TV and went to sleep. Housekeeping came in at about 8 in the morning shouting housekeeping.. to which neither of us responded too, until Jack said, ‘Hello?’ but they didn’t reply, so we went back to sleep. Before our alarm call at 9, which meant the day was starting early!

When we first got there we were welcomed by the loud speaker system the main hall usually blasts out, and although it was only my 4th LAN event, it had that same sense of familiarity which I love. I recognised people from the last event, faces that is, it’s the same core group that seem to turn up every time, despite the weather! It makes me wonder what they do in their lives outside of LAN. Myself I try hard to create video content and be productive when time allows. Do they stay at home all the time? Do they have really good tech jobs? I think it’s the latter. People do have a misguided view on some geeks, that they stay at home in their mums basements and that is the end of it. When in reality there are some of the brightest people in the country attended these events. None more so than the Multiplay technicians, who blew me and Jack away with their intelligence and ability to think on the spot and get a problem sorted with the minimum amount of time, effort and fuss possible. Literally every problem, big or small (There were a lot of big problems, the main one being, how is it possible to have the Xbox hooked up to the tv, the pc and be projected on to another TV, whilst at the same time have the sound go through the large PA type speakers and be streamed live online which has the sounds from in game as well as the microphones. Literally I was clueless when this problem was posed to me. We needed help. Although now I can honestly say I respect what these guys do an incredible amount, because problem solving when technology is involved is a very difficult task. Inputs/Outputs, different cables, connecters, splitters. It’s all in my head ready for the next time I need it. And by I that I mean, I still have little idea as to what actually went on, but it was nice to look like I knew what I was doing for those short 5 or so hours whilst everything was being sorted out. There were literally always new problems coming up, if one camera was plugged in it would crash the pc. The Canon 600d’s would not connect to the PC without the correct software, which was impossible to get. The cameras themselves overheat so this is an extremely bad way to have a live picture. That being said we tried everything, but alas we couldn’t get it to work.

(The Streaming area, although full with cables was finally set up and looking good)

I was allowed to enter the 1v1 fun cup, which is what I won at the last event. As the reigning champion I thought I stood a good chance of doing well this time round as well, however the prize was £100 so that instantly attracted a better standard of player, and that coupled with my absence from playing for over 2 months, my 5-1 battering and elimination was humbling and just. That being said when I was at my best and playing well I don’t think I would’ve been able to beat the guy I lost too, he was really quite good, but didn’t make it to the final or anything, which again shows how good the competition was in the fun cup.

We then tried to do some interviews which failed again on the new pc. It was saying it had no audio, or it was extremely quiet. We thought it’d perhaps be the Rode microphone we had just bought, and we had turned the sound off. But we tried it on both of our pc’s (the windows and MAC) and it worked fine as both. We even exported the video as a .mp4 file instead of a .MOV to see if it would accept that but it didn’t seem to want to know. The technicians didn’t have an answer to this which was upsetting as this was our main reason for coming. To do interviews which could be streamed! Anyway, we went back to our desks scratching our heads, but it was about 7pm by this point and the long day had tired us both out. We sat and played 2 games of StarCraft, watched a little bit of Jerry Springer and decided we were way too tired to game, especially when our alarms were set for 7.30am. We had a bit of a treck to get back to the Uni Accommodation however as we had still never been. We went to the car to pick up our bags and saw outside. It was so snowy and cold, literally freezing. There was a van waiting outside the event hall who said he was going to the accommodation, although we knew it would be the slipperiest ride ever, and with that both me and Jack got in to the mini-bus. It was probably one of the most nervous I’ve been on the roads as every corners was a skid or a wheel spin, I gave a worried look to Jack about half way through, he looked pretty calm in fairness almost accepting his fate. Once we arrived, we thanked the driver who was a very nice man indeed and wished us a good time for the rest of our stay. You’d like to think that this is the end of what happened on this day, but no the story doesn’t quite end here!

So we go to check in at Wolverhampton Uni, Telford campus. We were given card keys as well as normal keys, My hands were bright pink and I was shaking pretty dramatically. It was frightfully cold. I stood for about 5 minutes in the cold trying to get my key to work but the door just kept turning red and wouldn’t let me in. By this point I couldn’t feel my fingers, I did call jack to see if he would come down and help me with my key, because I didn’t know whether I was doing it right or not or just being stupid because I was so tired. The security guard then came at about the same time as Jack appeared. He said laughing, ‘We’ve been watching you on the CCTV, you’re not supposed to do it like that, you’re supposed to just hold it until it turns green.’ He tried the door and it instantly failed. His laugh went as he confirmed the card was broken and it infact wasn’t my fault. But at least I got in to my room ok! It was really warm inside and I couldn’t wait to get in to bed. The next day surely must be better.. surely?

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