With a 16 hour drive I was able to make it from Ohio to Quakecon. I knew that I would be volunteering my time with Quake Live TV, but I didn’t realize how time consuming the opportunity would be. This was my first QuakeCon, so instead of sleeping upon arrival I stayed up and helped setup as much as I could. The first two days were pretty easy going as I did simple tasks and met the staff. The test stream before the event even involved 2gd, Joe, the staff, and random other people singing together. That being said, Murphy was right around the corner with his law ready to be slapped on our faces.
The first morning of QuakeCon itself was comical. My initial (somewhat joking) suggestion for an interview couch came through. We actually had a couch rented, paid for, and delivered! From then on out pretty much everything went wrong. We lost internet periodically, didn’t have access to tourney or BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer network) from the booth, the BYOC was having network issues, we lacked proper communication between the stage and the booth, etc… We basically ended up running around like chickens with our heads cut off looking for our food pans. In between work, though, I had chances to meet some names that I had only dreamt of meeting in person. These people are not the pro players as some would think, but rather personal heros such as the TastySpleen community members. I actually became considerably apathetic toward being adjacent to professional players, moreso than I would have ever expected.
The majority of my time at the event was spent doing odd work. Sometimes I would monitor IRC, but often this was interrupted to do something more important. I moved, set up, tore down, and tested equipment, crimped cables, and at one point even fed Scimech as he was too busy to take the pop tart to eat by himself. I also spent a lot of time coordinating BYOC to try and make sure it was covered, relayed information from all over, and took on most any random task that was available and needed to be done. The best work was always interfacing with new people in all areas of the event, as was the case for acquiring our own crimping equipment and finding spare rigs. Most of what I did involved handfuls and handfuls of small but important tasks, and it turns out there are enough of these to fill up an entire QuakeCon.
When the BYOC casting was available, I jumped on it. After much running and deliberation with many people, Stlava and I pulled together a casting setup in the NOC (big restricted network admin center in the BYOC area). Jehar and I casted a tiny piece of Warsow on the first day of BYOC tourney, but network issues came to slow us down. Delay after delay happened which led to nearly all of the players going to bed. This is probably the saddest moment for myself as I was looking forward to getting Warsow some spotlight. The second day of BYOC casting was more fruitful as Jehar was able to catch the Quake 2 Team Deathmatch with myself showing up at the tail end of the last match. We then caught the finals of the QuakeWorld tournament which was happening at the same time. The QuakeWorld match turned out to be pretty silly, but it worked out by giving Jehar and I time essentially video-logging our experience up to that point.
Quake Live TV is an incredibly dedicated, hard-working, and underpaid (zero dollars) bunch. Seeing everything come together as well as it did was extremely rewarding in a way that money could never be. I had been doing so much random work and helping out at all available moments that I neglected to take a look at the booths or pay attention to the matches being played. That said, I wouldn’t trade the experience for a signed copy of Rage and a brand new rig to play it on. Meeting big names is always cool, but to be honest meeting and strengthening relationships is so much more satisfying. My only hope is that I continue to provide for Quake Live TV in the future like I was able to do at QuakeCon, and I’m certainly looking forward to QuakeCon 2011.