Overall the tournament was great. The pools and finals came off without a hitch, and many even finished early–a first in tournament history as far as I know. Most importantly everyone seemed to really be having a lot of fun.
The TV drama: The most important part of this drama is that it did not affect the actual tournament at all. Not one bit. As above, things ran not only smoothly, but AHEAD OF SCHEDULE!
Anyway, we did try and rent regular CRTs (big old tube TVs that never have lag issues). We were informed by our vendor, a few days before EVO East was to begin, that there was good news: we were being “upgraded” to big LCD monitors. Knowing the issues involved with LCDs and Plasmas, we politely declined (we planned to use a plasma at evo2k4 for the finals, and had to replace it with a CRT).
That’s when the vendor told us that the CRT (regular tube TVs) weren’t actually available, and that he could ONLY provide the LCDs. Hrm. We called other places, but couldn’t find any other rental place that had the volume of TVs we needed available on short notice.
So we tried to test the LCD model before even arriving in CT by getting the model # and plugging in a PS2. No luck there- the model is a few years old and wasn’t being sold in stores anymore, so I couldn’t find one locally to test anything on.
When we GOT to the event, we did test them. James Chen, a total combo technician, plugged in and proceeded to bust out several of CVS2 ChunLi’s hardest link combos, no problem. As we learned later, this is a bad way to test for lag, since combos are from muscle memory. Also, as the TVs heated up, the lag appeared to get worse and more noticeable. We had a problem. It was a problem we had tried to anticipate and avoid, but there it was.
We knew we could not run a high-quality tournament on laggy TVs. Doing that was simply unacceptable by our standards and for what our customers and players demand. We also never considered cancelling the tournament. I was amazed by the staff’s resilience here–this was a major suck, but we just sat down and went through our contingency plans (we had three-- A, B, and C).
When plans A and B both fell through, and we were unable to find a secret “game mode” that some TVs have as an undocumented feature, we went to the dreaded plan C (c is for crap!)–drive 70 miles one way in the middle of the night to buy all new TVs from a 24hr WalMart. Were we happy about this? No. Would it mean we would all get zero sleep after hauling them back and setting up? Yes. Would it mean spendin a bunch of money we didn’t have? Yes. But that’s exactly what we did, because that’s what the tournament needed. When players showed up to play on Saturday morning, there were 20 brand new TVs installed and ready to go. The event came off perfectly.
We planned carefully, but had circumstances beyond our control. These created a potential danger, and that worst-case scenario did actually happen. Even then though, we still made plans, and we executed that plan.
We did what it took to get the job done, and EVO East was a great event.
Thanks to everyone for coming out–I saw a lot of old faces I haven’t seen in way too long. See you all in Vegas!