GGJ Archives 2009-2012

Venue: Hardware

Participants can either bring their own computers from home or you can provide computers on-site. Even if people bring their own computers, you still have to provide certain hardware-services.

Stationary computer requires at least two power-outlets: one for the computer and one for the monitor. Some times people bring other peripheral objects, so calculate at least 3 power outlets pr. workspace.

Laptops runs on batteries but still need a power-outlet. Don't assume that laptops can survive on batteries during the whole event.

The best to set up the electricity is with plug-boxes under the tables. One EU-plugbox has 6 power-outlets and can provide for 2 computers. Don't daisy chain power strips. You risk to over laod the power strips, they can melt (I've seen it happen, it's scary). This can also cause fires or cause power surges. It's important that all the computers don't draw power over the same fuse; it might short out. The best way of insuring that you don't overload the electricity circuits is to have help from an electrical professional while the setting up. It's not fun when fuse box shorts out and someone's computer shorts out or just crashes with all their work.

The teams need a IP-network to function effectively. If you want to use an LAN, make sure that you have sufficient routers & switches for all the participants. These should be distributed under that tables alongside with the plug-boxes (Duct tape them to the floor, so people won't trip or fall over them and pull the computers off the table). Make sure that you have access to the LAN (access password and all). The best idea is to test the access to LAN prior to the event to insure that it's working with “outside” computers; do it 2 weeks prior so you have time to fix it before the event if it's not working.

You can avoid the wires with a wireless LAN (wifi). Most laptops can use it and many stationary computers can be fitted to it. However, you have to watch the bandwidth. People will be swapping some fairly large files during the jam and this can give issues with bandwidth, - especially when all the groups are handing in the games at the same time.

Specialized Hardware
You need to inform the participants of the available hardware before the GGJ to give them time to prepare and learn the tools. We will provide you a list of the freebies that we obtain from sponsors. You also need to inform people that if they require specialized hardware (eyecams, Iphones, keyboards), they should bring it themselves.

Experiences from NGJ:
We've been using the game labs and the hardware there at ITU for the NGJs. The equipment is maintained by the SysAdm at ITU and works excellently. However, this doesn't mean that we haven't had had issues.

The electricity setup in the game labs are made specifically for the computers in there with no redundant power-plugs, so we've had to rewire stuff to get electricity and internet access for people's laptops.

In 2008 we relied on the WiFi for internet-access. Unfortunaly the signal was dampened in certain parts of the building and people had to suspend a LAN-cable two floors up to get online.

And as for specialized hardware: we've had webcams, microphones, Nintendo Wii dev kits & OLPC-computers (One Laptop Per Child) and probably others.

Have you:
Found out how many computers are available at the venue?
Found out how many people you need to bring computers for the event?
Set up electricity for all the computers?
Set up online access for all the computers?
On the website and in the registration-mail, have you:
Informed the participants that what computers are available at the venue?
Informed he participants that it would be appreciated if they bring their own computers?
Informed the participants that they have to bring any other specialized hardware themselves?


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