The QuakeCon Files: Day 1

August 7, 2008

With both Jared ‘jRAD’ Hefty and Dave ‘ducks’ Johnston out at QuakeCon 2008, we’ll try and bring you regular coverage from the event in form of riveting and highly emotional blog updates and photo galleries. Find below the pile of excitement that was Day 1 of QuakeCon 2008!

Captain ducks’ log, stardate 123456789111!!11eleven. At about 08:20 GMT on Wednesday, myself and Jared ‘jRad’ Hefty left for Gatwick airport, and despite some attempted stunt-driving on the part of other road users (skilfully avoided by our cabbie), we got there in one piece and set off on our 16 hour journey to Dallas. We can only say one thing about it: discovering there’s in-flight entertainment is the best news anyone boarding a 757 for a trans-atlantic 8-hour flight could possibly ask for.

We arrived at Dallas Fort Worth at about 19:00, in a pretty blistering, humid heat of 36C, yelled for a cab, and were soon delivered to the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, this year’s QuakeCon host.

So, Splash Damage are at QuakeCon 2008. Sort of.

Image courtesy of

The BYOC hall is pretty huge – a capacity of around 2500 machines I believe, in all sorts and sizes. During our wanders we’ve seen an impressive Quake Live-styled cube, a machine made from Lego, a machine made from cardboard, several completely-transparent machines, and a machine even taller than Jared.

There’s a good variety of games being played too: from ETQW to Quake Live (everyone has a beta pass for attending), through to COD4 and TF2, CS1.6 and CS:S, W:ET and Urban Terror, Crysis and Battlefield, Warcraft 3 and Red Alert 2, even a variety of PopCap games and various early Sonic and Mario games running on emulators. There are loads more I just can’t even recognise, but suffice to say, the QuakeCon BYOC’ers have a pretty good taste! There’s not a MMORPG in sight – after all, this is a LAN party, not a WAN party.

Just next to the BYOC hall is the vendor’s exhibition area, where not only are there a bunch of vendors showing off their cool new stuff (PSUs to GPUs to RPGs), but holding competitions and offering prizes and free swag. So far we’ve seen id’s Todd Hollenstead unveiling of the Corvette that Ventrilo have sponsored to be given away to a random QuakeCon attendee from a 250-entry tombola (a poor chap had his head shaved on stage just to be one of those 250), various t-shirts tossed into the audience by the QuakeCon girls, a boxed 1GB graphics card tossed 10m into the air and landing amongst a crowd of GPU-hungry attendees to fight over, and a long line of people trying to play GH3 on Expert against one of the world’s foremost GH3 players, Tipperqueen (is that right?). Needless to say, she never loses…

At the other end of the exhibition hall is the tournament area, where the ETQW PC and 360 tournaments are going to be played tomorrow, along with Quake Live. We’ve already been helping out where we can with this, along with id’s TTimo, to get the Linux tournament server up and running after a couple startup issues.

The day finished with id’s keynote, and Carmack’s famous speech. The keynote has been covered everywhere already, and he went through pretty much everything anyone could want to know, but it was 9pm by the time it finished – 3am GMT to us – and jetlag was tapping on our shoulders once more…

Hello to all the people we met just today – from the various id staffers here, Activision-ers, website operators and pro-players…

If anyone is at QuakeCon, look about for 2 guys with t-shirts saying ‘Splash Damage’ on the front and back, numbered 5 and 6. They’re bright near-flourescent orange shirts, which not only is visible from across the BYOC hall, but also double up as emergency lighting in the case of power failure. Safety first.

Oh, and hey guys!

More pictures can be found in ducks’s QuakeCon photo gallery on Flickr!

Click here to read the day 2 update!