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QuakeCon

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Quakecon is a bring-your-own-computer computer gaming event held every year in Dallas, Texas, USA. The event, which is named after id Software's game Quake, sees thousands of gamers from all over the world attend every year to celebrate the company's gaming dynasty. It is North America's largest LAN party, the largest free LAN party in the world, and usually runs over a period of four days.

Now more than a multiplayer gaming event, QuakeCon is also a venue to showcase the newest games and hardware being developed by companies involved with id Software and their publisher, Activision, including booths selling clothing, computer peripherals, and software.

However, the core element that separates QuakeCon from most other events of its kind is the volunteer aspect. Each year the event is planned, setup, and managed by a team of almost a thousand volunteers providing over two man-years of labor in a single week. This is most often expressed by describing QuakeCon as the "woodstock of gaming", a week of "peace, love, and rockets!"

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[edit] Origin

QuakeCon originally grew out of a group of people on the EFnet IRC network, in channel #quake. As various regular visitors to the channel began expressing a desire to meet and game together in person, Jim Elson, a.k.a. "H2H", a gamer from the Dallas, Texas area with ties to the local Dallas-area gaming community, and Wikipedia editor Yossarian Holmberg, a.k.a "yossman", a computer consultant from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada (yossman.net), came up with the idea of collecting at a hotel. The original event name was actually '#quakecon', named after the IRC channel, though this quickly evolved into just 'QuakeCon'. Mr. Elson organized the bulk of the event for the first two years, until the number of people attending each year demanded a more organized approach, volunteers grouped into teams to assist in the setup, troubleshooting, and tear down of the event's equipment and network.

[edit] Past events

The first event, in August 1996, was held at the Best Western in Garland, Texas, a mile or two away from the id Software company offices. Starting with just 30 people, by the end of the weekend the number of people had grown to 100, as news of the gathering began to spread on Internet chat networks.

Attendees who had brought their computers along to the event set up a small, impromptu network, in one of the hotel meeting rooms, playing mostly Quake I and Doom, testing deathmatching skills. A small tournament was held, with winners taking home T-Shirts as prizes.

The highlight of this first gathering came on the eve of the last day, when the entire id Software team showed up at the event in a surprise and most-welcome visit, stopping by to chat with the participants. John Carmack, lead programmer for Doom/Quake, participated in a 30-45 minute group chat with attendees on the porch of the hotel. Some ideas discussed during that chat eventually made it into Quake's future public releases. This "Carmack's Talk" has now grown into a yearly keynote speech.

Quakecon 1997 brought an estimated 650 attendees to the Holiday Inn in Plano, Texas. It was covered by numerous Internet and broadcast media outlets, and was sponsored in part by id Software and Activision.

QuakeCon 1998 was held in conjunction with the Cyberathlete Professional League. Due to poor planning and the lack of people who had helped make the first two events a success, QuakeCon 1998 is regarded by many as being only partially a QuakeCon event. However, it was instrumental in motivating a group of people to start planning Quakecon 1999 early.

  • Total Attendance: 800
  • BYOC Size: 300
  • Location: Infomart, Dallas, Texas, USA

Quakecon 1999 was the first event in which id Software played a major role in the organisation. Recognising that major sponsors were needed, David Miller a.k.a. "Wino" & Paul Horoky a.k.a "devilseye", both original QuakeCon 1996 people, contacted id Software and convinced them to become the main sponsor, and to help out with finding more sponsors. Together with Anna Kang (then id Software employee, now John Carmack's wife) and a team of volunteers, Mr. Miller & Mr. Horoky set out to build QuakeCon 1999, which became the template for later years.

  • Total Attendance: 1,100
  • BYOC Size: 500
  • Location: Mesquite Convention Center, Mesquite, Texas, USA
  • Highlights: A change of venue allowed the convention to grow larger than it had ever been before, and, this time, just down the street from id Software headquarters in Mesquite. id Software employees, including John Carmack, participated in various tournaments with attendees on-site as well. A large number of companies sponsored the event for the first time, including Activision, AMD, Apple Computer, ATI Technologies, Logitech, Linksys, and Lucent Technologies.
  • 1999 marked the year that the event was designed in a way clearly recognizable to any later Quakecon attendee. In fact, this design, largely attributable to David Miller's leadership, would be widely copied by other lan parties in later years, and would be significantly expanded on and perfected in later events. But this event, with it's distinct layout, could readily bve considered the foundation of the modern lan party, and continues to be used to great effect even today.

Quakecon 2000

  • Total Attendance: 3,000
  • BYOC Size: 900
  • Location: Mesquite Convention Center
  • Highlights: 2000 saw a greatly expanded convention space, allowing for vendors to bring E³-quality displays to the convention. Conferences and seminars were also added, creating places for gamers and developers to trade notes and discuss the industry and community in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. 2000 also saw a significant change in leadership of the event, as the retirement of David Miller and Paul Horokey caused the event to be passed to John "Eviljohn" Carney as Executive Director, and Brian "Tapper" Davis as the Director of Operations. 2000 marked the first year of the modern Quakecon format, wherein the original design fostered by Wino was greatly expanded by Eviljohn and Tapper, as the BYOC encompassed the exhibition hall at the Hampton.

Quakecon 2001

  • Total Attendance: 3,000+
  • BYOC Size: 1,250
  • Location: Mesquite Convention Center
  • Highlights: 2001 saw Quakecon continue to flower and grow, as the event began to strain the confines of the Hampton inn, and the event began to attract national acclaim and attention. Quakecon began to appear on national media this year, and reservations for placement in the BYOC nearly quadrupled the actual capacity.

Quakecon 2002

  • Total Attendance: 3,250+
  • BYOC Size: 1,300
  • Location: Mesquite Convention Center
  • Highlights: 2002 saw the retirement of John Carney, and Brian Davis assumed stewardship of the event as Executive Director. 2002 was also the first year id assumed a very active role in the pre-event activities, with the arrival of Marty Stratton a year earlier. Added Return to Castle Wolfenstein to the tournament lineup in a Team-based tournament. First un-official Ms. Quakecon event, also the first appearance of The Sinus Show (then known as the Mister Sinus Theater), an Austin, Texas-based MST3K troupe, lambasting Britney Spears' movie Crossroads.
  • Date was announced February 19, 2002. (unconfirmed)
  • 2002 is often considered the last year of the truly "grassroots" Quakecon, since id Software assumed a much more dominant role in planning and booking the event in later years. 99-02 are often called the "Golden years" of the event by old timers, and marked the days when the event had a distinct flavor to it all its own, and most of the event venue booking and sponsor contacts were done by volunteers. 2002 also marked the year when the Internet "bubble" fully burst, and caused the decline of a great many gaming websites as viable businesses. Future events saw much less interest and emphasis on websites and web companies, and more focus on established hardware vendors.

Quakecon 2003

  • Total Attendance: 4,000+
  • BYOC Size: 2,000
  • Location: Adam's Mark Hotel, Dallas, Texas, USA.
  • Hightlights: First change in venue since the convention moved to Mesquite, Texas, USA, 4 years prior. Tapper continued to coordinate volunteer activity, while id assumed much more of the pre-event planning through the capable hands of Marty Stratton. Ms. Quakecon evolved into a tournament based event with a sponsor, id unveiled Doom 3 deathmatch.
  • Date was announced April 8, 2003. (unconfirmed)

Quakecon 2004

  • Total Attendance: 5,000+
  • BYOC Size: 3,000
  • Location: Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center, Grapevine, Texas, USA.
  • Highlights: Yet another change of venue brought Quakecon into the record books as the largest LAN party in North America, with over 3000 BYOC attendees. Tournaments prizes totaled over $150,000 and saw the world's "first" Doom 3 Tournament (Actually second; the Assembly demoparty held their own Doom 3 tournament on August 6-7 [1], one week prior to the Quakecon tournament), won by Johnathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel. The event also had a live performances by The Sinus Show, and Tweaker, featuring Chris Vrenna, former Nine Inch Nails drummer. This year also saw another significant change in leadership, as a result of an injury to Brian Davis just weeks before the event. Aaron "Alric" Ferguson was appointed to fill in for Tapper at the last minute.
  • Date was announced March 15, 2004. (unconfirmed)

Quakecon 2005

  • Total Attendance: 6,000+
  • BYOC Size: 3,200
  • Location: Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center, Grapevine, Texas, USA.
  • Highlights: Another large event which saw the unveiling of Quake 4 multiplayer. 2004 marked Aaron Fergusons first complete year as Executive Director.
  • Date took place: August 11-14, 2005.
  • Date was announced March 22, 2005. (unconfirmed)

Quakecon 2006

  • Total Attendance: tbd
  • BYOC Size: 1,800
  • Location: Hilton Anatole Hotel, Dallas, Texas, USA.
  • Highlights: Enemy Territory: Quake Wars.
  • Date to take place: August 3-6, 2006.
  • Date was announced June 23, 2006. 9:09pm EDT.

[edit] QuakeCon 2006

On June 23, 2006, QuakeCon 2006 was officially announced to the public. The event will be held from August 3–6 in Dallas, TX at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in their Trinity Exhibition Center. BYOC attendance will be capped at 1,800 compared to 3,000+ in prior years.

It has been officially confirmed that QuakeCon 2006 will be the first time Enemy Territory: Quake Wars will be playable by the general public.

Longer than normal delays leading up to the official event announcement fueled Internet speculation that the event was actually cancelled for the first time ever. It was also discussed publicly earlier in the year by id Software executives that the event had a possibility of not being held inside Texas, breaking a 10-year tradition since the convention's beginning.

[edit] Statistics

For Quakecon 2004, the following was current:

  • Over 200,000 ft² (19,000 m²) of BYOC, vendor, and convention floor space
  • BYOC utilized over 1,200 power strips
  • Network composed of over 80,000 feet (24 km) of Cat5/Cat5e cable
  • Table switching infrastructure: 144 Linksys managed switches
  • Core switching infrastructure: Cisco Systems 6509 switch with 7 48 port Gigabit ethernet blades, dual Supervisor 720 modules and dual 4000Watt power supplies
  • Setup of all components of the BYOC (network plant, servers, tournament, NOC, etc) was completed with a staff of over 500 unpaid volunteers over a 2-day period. The vendor areas were set up by contractors.

[edit] Popular games

  • Battlefield 2
  • Call of Duty
  • Counter-Strike
  • Doom
  • Doom 3
  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein
  • Quake II
  • Quake III Arena
  • Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory

[edit] Community

The Quakecon community primarily organizes itself online, through IRC. The main channel for everything related to the event is #quakecon on EnterTheGame. Here you can find people discussing not only the event but also chatting almost every hour of every day with their friends.

The Quakecon website also hosts the Quakecon Forums, a common place for new members to introduce themselves to the community, ask questions about the event, organize for rides to the convention, and discuss event developments. Membership on the forums is open to all and is a requirement of registration for the event.

[edit] Sponsors

QuakeCon is primarily paid for by id Software in conjunction with the sponsorship of leading technology companies. Often companies will forego a large monetary sponsorship and will instead elect to lend equipment to the event as a promotional measure.

Past sponsors of the event include Activision, nVidia, AMD, Aspyr, Apple Computer, ATI Technologies, Alienware, FragArcade, Intel, Logitech, Linksys, and Lucent Technologies

[edit] External links

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