Quakecon First-Time Attendee Guide

Your Setup Space
You will have half of a 6-foot table. That is 3 feet of space, 29" deep. This is NOT a lot of space! Pre-plan your setup. Test it out on your desk at home. Yes, get out a tape-measure and limit your self to 36"x29" and see how your stuff will fit. Here are some considerations and tips on making this work:

  • If you have one, bring a compact keyboard (Tenkeyless, 60%, etc)
  • Try putting your tower behind your monitor. This means your monitor will be 8-10" closer to your face than normal, but gives you a lot more space horizontally.
  • Please, for the love of all that is good, don't try to bring more than one monitor.
  • Be ready and willing to work with the people next to you in regards to space.

Traveling and Storage
Did you keep your PC/Case's box? That's the best way to transport it. It already has foam inserts to secure your rig. You might even get lucky and be able to wrap your monitor in some cloth and stick it in with it between the foam inserts. If you don't have the original box, or even if you do, you might be interested in a COLLAPSIBLE luggage dolly. Collapsible is key here, you don't to deal with having to store a big dolly that doesn't break down. Protip: LCD displays are fragile. Cover the screen side of the monitor with something that has some padding and is soft to avoid breakage and scratching.

Security
Quakecon is pretty good about their security. All bags are searched coming in AND out of the BYOC area. However, you should take your own precautions to ensure your stuff doesn't get swiped. That could mean a number of things for you, but here are a few general tips:

  • If you have a nice (mechanical) keyboard with a detachable cable, take it with you when you're walking around.
  • It wouldn't hurt to take your mouse with you too, especially if it's worth a lot.
  • Most modern cases have a lock hole on the side panel(s). Make use of it.
  • Don't leave your crap laying around...like your phone, wallet, keys, etc. This is common sense stuff, people.

Food
Gamers work hard and burn a lot of calories with thousands of finger and forearm movements, and we need to replenish our energy with edibles. Quakecon happens to be during the height of baseball season, and in Dallas where the Texas Rangers reside. Typically, when the Rangers score 7 or more runs, Papa Johns offers 50% off pizza the next day... in other words, you better become a baseball fan real quick when July 17th comes around. The best food deals are typically announced in one way or another, so keep a weather eye. It's not a bad idea to bring some snacks with you, like trail mix and other things that won't easily melt/spoil.

Braving the Blizzard
If I had to realistically estimate, the temperature inside the BYOC is near 60 F. It's COLD, almost half the temperature outside...it gets hot in Texas in the summer. Don't let the 100 F weather forecasts fool you, bring pants and at least one jacket, maybe even a blanket or snuggie (yeah I got one, wanna fight about it?). Don't wear flip-flops or TOMS, bring actual shoes with socks. Did I mention that it's cold? 'Cause it's pretty frickin' cold, bro.

IRL
The real world, or as I like to call it, the 'Outernet', is what you will be experiencing at Quakecon. You will find other creatures exist, like yourself, and have physical bodies that exist in real space and time. You might find that your Quakecon experience will be enhanced if you properly interact with these creatures. Be sure you join the QC IRC channel and Mumble. You'll be able to find LAN matches, see who is doing what that night, and -- stick with me here -- you might even make a new friend. Be brave, young ones. Be brave.

How does check-in work?
They will check your stuff in the line for the BYOC and likely barcode your tower and monitor (not your peripherals) so that everything can be tracked and secured. This line is long, and will probably stay long most of the day. Be patient. There are 3000 people trying to get their rigs checked in and a lot less volunteers trying to do it all. You'll receive a lanyard with a tag on it that has your name and a few other details, you'll need to wear this around while you're at the Hilton Anatole. This is your pass to get into the BYOC and the exhibit halls.

The schedule is out...what events should I plan on attending?
The PC Perspective event is my personal favorite, mostly because they give out a bunch of stuff. Last year they were giving away entire builds (from case to CPU). Master Pancake is a comedy group that has been a staple of Quakecon, and there is a reason for it. If you're into Quake itself, plan on attending the finals (at least). Download the Quakecon app to your phone for a full list.

Do I REALLY need to be there at 10 AM on Thursday?
No, you don't. BUT, remember what I said about the check-in process taking a while...the longer you wait to show up, the less time you have to game! This year they will not give away your seat if you don't show up on Thursday or Friday morning, your seat is yours alone for the entirety of the 'con because there is no First-Come First-Serve seating anymore. I, personally, will arrive around 10:30 or 11 AM so that I avoid the rush hour morning traffic in Dallas.

Desk Arrangement Tips

  • Get some luggage locks -> Lock a backpack to the desk -> Lock the backpack itself. Congrats, you just made your own personal locker that you can leave at the BYOC.
  • Bring a dang water bottle, you can't live on BAWLs all weekend.
  • Try putting your tower on the floor in a place that it won't easily be kicked. Desk space is limited.
  • Pack your stuff ahead of time, as with any trip, to avoid leaving behind important items. Haha, who am I kidding, you're all gonna wait until the morning-of anyway.

1 Simple Trick for Getting Kicked Out of Quakecon!
Attendees hate him! Find out how he did it! -- eh okay that joke is old.

  1. Make Polecat mad.
  2. See #1.
  3. Start a fight.
  4. Encourage a fight.
  5. Bring something on the 'Do Not Bring' list.
  6. Walk up to Polecat and be like, "Kick me out. Do it, nerd, you won't."

The Basics
Here is a checklist of the things the EVERYONE needs, but doesn't include everything YOU will need:

  • Computer
  • Monitor (1 only)
  • Monitor and Power Cables
  • Keyboard and mouse
  • Deoderant, toothpaste, and other hygiene products (for the love of Carmack, wear deoderant)
  • Money for food
  • Any medication you might require (no, this doesn't include weed)

And things that I RECOMMEND you bring:

  • Small flashlight (it can get dark while trying to setup/takedown)
  • Small backpack/drawstring bag to carry your valuables (don't leave them at your desk)
  • Luggage Dolly, you're gonna be standing in line for a while
  • Snacks that wont melt or go bad
  • Water bottle
  • HOODIES, BLANKETS, PANTS, SHOES BECAUSE HOLY CRAP ITS COLD IN THERE.
  • Flash drive...because you never know

Things You Shouldn't Bring

  • Network cables
  • Network hardware of any kind
  • Surge protectors, power strips, or Uninterrupted Power Supplies (UPS)
  • Projectile toys or weapons
  • Noisemakers (this means Vuvuzelas, morons)
  • Alcohol or illegal substances
  • Speakers
  • Glass containers
  • Any basin of water or ice (no coolers allowed)

There Will Be Waiting
You're gonna be standing in line for a while. Like...2-3 hours, probably. Bring something to entertain yourself, like your phone or a 3DS (find me and we can trade Pokemon!). Just prepare yourself mentally. BE PATIENT. There are 3000 of us and a whole lot less volunteers to check us all in.

The Hilton is Properly Posted for 30.06
I am a CHL holder in the state of Texas, so this is something that I realize will be a factor for approximately 1 out of every 28 of you. Concealed carry of a firearm is prohibited, legally, by the Hilton Anatole. 30.06 signs ARE posted properly. I'll leave the politics out of this, but Polecat has informed me that armed officers will be working security for the event this year. For those outside the state of Texas: within Texas, you car is an extension of your house, so you are free to carry a firearm in your car and in any parking lot. Just leave it in your car.

Let the Fun Begin
Won't be long until we get our WHOOP on. Have fun, don't be a jerk, and follow the rules. Other than that...go nuts, kid.