Toronto hosts World Cyber Games

This weekend, top video gaming talents from around the world will converge in Toronto for the 2007 World Cyber Games Canadian Championships.

It’s no small feat considering the 200 gamers will duke it out in eight tournaments that will keep 50 computers running, under the watchful eye of an estimated 50,000 spectators.

But Stephane Richard, executive director for World Cyber Games Canada, isn’t concerned.

This particular gaming event is less complex compared to others he’s organized, where attendance is higher and gamers bring their own equipment, he said.

In addition, the video games this year are not so resource-demanding on the network as previous ones. “We didn’t go full high-end gaming systems this year,” he said.

They’ve got the bandwidth to handle the load, said Richard, specifically for up to 96 gigabits of traffic. “For 50 computers, it’s more than enough.”

Further adding to the fray, the World Cyber Games will be broadcasting live on the Web in collaboration with the event’s online partner, Frag Hype, an online gaming network.

The onsite IT support team comprises 25 administrators, including network and system admins, and video and audio support.

To ensure the event goes on without a hitch, the team has installed backups for the switches and servers, explained Alexandre Barrette, technical director for World Cyber Games Canada.

“If we have problems with the Linux server, we have backup servers available and ready to take over whenever we need, or if any issue arises with a hard drive, or whatever,” said Barrette (otherwise known by his gaming name, ‘Anox’).

Like Richard, Barrette doesn’t anticipate technical hiccups as the event will be a stringently controlled environment, where system configurations are set up and locked by event administrators – as opposed to ‘LAN parties’ where gamers connect their own computers and run the risk of introducing viruses to the network. “Basically, we control the computers that we’re going to install on the network,” said Barrette.

But just in case, Richard has a standby team, ready to jump in at a moment’s beckoning. “If all else fail, we are going to call our firemen of the network to help us out,” he laughed.

Those firemen of the network, Zero Ping Events Inc., an Aurora, Ont.-based cyber game event management company, organize other similar LAN tournaments.

Securing IT infrastructure was not where the challenges lay, according to Richard, who surprisingly found the logistical planning of video and multimedia the tough part.

“We’ve been at it for so long that we know what we’re doing and what’s required for these sort of events.”

The Games take place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from Friday to Sunday.

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