OnFOSS LAN organization
The idea is to bring players together to play multiplayer open source games that may not be widely known. The event is about inclusion so the games should be available on all 3 major platforms (Linux, macOS, Windows). An event will take multiple hours, or span over days, depending on the schedule.
- Test the games you want to play!
- Choose your organization team
- Set a date
- Choose games to play
- (Optional) Get somebody to stream
- Public presence
- Schedule the event
- Advertise event
- (Optional) Tournament registrations
- Server preparation
- Managing event
- After the event is be before the event
Test your games!
All onFOSS-LAN games needs to be tested beforehand! Like, setting up a server and try to connect to it. Also check if there is a release for Linux/macOS/Windows, because self-compiling should not be mandatory.
Choose your team
You can totally do a onFOSS-LAN on your own, however, you are limited to your own resources! For example, you can not manage players and also do a live-stream. If you plan a tournament you need somebody to help out organizing the groups and peoples. Get a dedicated streamer, advertiser, helping hands or anything else to accomplish bigger events.
A suggestion how a team could be structured:
- Interviewee (Game dev)
- Group/Team/People organizer
Set a date
Choose a date that suits you, the hoster! You have to organize the event, so you should be totally free! Also check if there are major holiday seasons that may reduce the number of attendances. An event should ideally be announced well in advance (at least two weeks, for bigger events even a month) so that people can keep their schedule clear. Optionally, times can be polled in the main Matrix/XMPP channel.
Choose the games
The list of games to be played can be up to the host, but good ideas can be had by asking the community. That is the Matrix/XMPP channel again but also FreeGameDev.net is a good place.
Live-streaming is a great addition to the event. Some players don't want to play a particular game or not at all, but want to "be part of the event". So streaming suits perfectly for those cases. Also, if you plan a tournament it is highly recommended to stream it! If you have a dedicated streamer, you may check if you get some game developers to have an interview or talk about the games they developed.
Ideally, the event would have a webpage with the details about the event with most importantly, the means of communication during the event. Also check out that you get listed on onfoss.libregaming.org. The website can be on the event server itself or hosted somewhere else. A ready-made page is available, see "Server preparation" below.
Schedule the event
There should be a schedule with which games are played at what time so that participants will have the time to install the games beforehand. There can also be time set aside for free play where everybody decides on the spot which game they'd like to play. It would be one of the games already installed on the server. Also plan for breaks! It is highly recommended to do a 15-30 min break at least every 4 hours!
Once a time and list of games is set, advertise this in multiple places. Make sure the time is in UTC since people will join from many different time zones. Example of places to advertise:
- Main Matrix/XMPP channel
- Libre Gaming matrix channel
- Opensourcegames subreddit
- Opensourcegames Lemmy
- Mastodon with the #FOSS and #opensource tag
It is also very important to send a reminder one week, 3 days and the day before the event.
First you have to get a VPS to host the servers on. This can be accomplish by either having one, renting it hourly for the time of the event (plus preparation-time) or get a sponsor to give you access to a server! A single CPU with 2 GB of RAM. Total cost will be less than €1 for even multiple days Hosting on a server at home is not recommended due to the bandwidth and latency requirements.
A ready-made configuration script is available to build a server hosting various game servers. It sets up a website listing all of the games and also downloads, installs and configures the game servers. It was created for a freshly installed Debian 11 machine. The script can be downloaded here:
Both repositories are in sync. It doesn't matter which one is used. Running the
deploy.sh script installs the game servers as listed in the repository. Every server will have the same randomly generated admin password. Some servers can also be controlled from the Admin section of the website.
For running games that do not have a deploy script, create one and ideally submit it back to one of the repositories so that it can be reused for future events. You'll also need to create a help page for that game for the website so that participants can join easily.
During the event
Check that everything is working before the event starts.
Mumble is very good for communicating during the event. A dedicated instance for this is available at mumble://hribhrib.at. As the host, make sure you have joined the Mumble channel early and that the server is up and running. Make sure to also monitor the main Matrix/XMPP channel as people may appear there as well, especially if they have issues joining Mumble.
Try to stick to the schedule as people may skip games they do not enjoy.
New games can be a bit experimental and might not work, so it is generally not recommended if you are new to hosting events. If that happens, simply pick a different another game or just the next one in the schedule.
This event can take several hours or span over days.
It's great if you can get someone to stream the event live. This is especially fun if part of the event is a tournament.
After the event
Plan for the next one!
After the event is be before the event
Gratefully thank people for joining and console the people, that didn't manage to join, that there will be a next event! Also sharing pictures or videos of the event afterwards is very helpful to bond the community together.