Last week Loki explained the pool structure for the official tournament games and the process of sourcing the setups required. This week Loki gets stuck into the task of allocating staff to the tournament pools and details the registration process used by the SS2k12 team.
STAFF, SEEDS AND SCHEDULES
With enough setups organised, we now faced the interesting task of getting enough volunteers to make it all work. Since we were running at most 8 pools at a time for AE, we’d need at least 8 volunteers for that game, one for each pool. Unfortunately it wouldn’t be quite that simple as volunteers are generally also players, so having them run brackets one after another for 6-12 hours in a row is not only cruel and unusual punishment, it also doesn’t tend to work as it clashes with the games they’re planning to compete in.
So how did we ensure we always had volunteers? Well thankfully this year the inclusion of so many small pools did allowed me to implement a brand new registration system where I could place players directly into their pools upon signup and almost guarantee that none of their games would overlap.
Sounds nice right? But apart from being convenient for the players, this also allowed me to (in most cases) introduce a system of check-in for each pool where players would turn up to a set location at a set time and have their name checked off by the pool runner. After this was done the player would simply stay put for the duration of their pool. This only works because, in theory, players have no other pools to run off to, allowing them to stay right where they are and always be ready to play whenever their match comes up.
“But that sounds boring,” I hear you say. “What will the players do between their matches?” Well the convenience of this system is that because we limit the pool sizes to 16 players, and have at least 3 setups for each pool, the time between matches is very minimal. At most there’ll likely be a 5 to 10 minute wait before your next match and the whole pool will be over within the hour so you can get it done and get on with enjoying the weekend. By being strict and enforcing that players must stay by their stations and not wander off to play casuals, the whole tournament runs better for everyone.
The tricky point here is that while we have to do this pool scheduling with players, it’s important to remember that we also have to do it with staff. A volunteer cannot be running a pool in King of Fighters at the same time as they are playing a match in Arcade Edition, it just doesn’t work.
The letdown of this system is that because of the pool allocations I had to painstakingly timetable each player individually, repeating the process for each staff member as well. A very time consuming experience I guarantee, but one that is completely crucial to making this system work.
To mitigate the amount of time required I think the next logical step is to create some software to do all of this for me. I’ve got some ideas in my head as to how to make it work, but I still need to put them to paper and work them out. Perhaps by next year I’ll have a better approach that will take up less of my time. At the point of writing this I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Taking an Early Lead
Apart from the equipment, the pools, the tournament format and the schedule, there are of course plenty of other things to organise. Coming up to the event I tried to implement the format that CouchWarriors uses when running events. As an organising committee we met each week or two and covered topics like the room layout, registration and so forth, but if I went through all of those things this article would be twice as long as it already is. Perhaps I’ll revisit this concept with some of the other topics in the future if there is any interest, but for now let’s jump forward to the event itself and see how everything went. Of course all of this sounds good in theory when I list it like this, but you know what they say about battle plans: they’re all great until the first shot is fired. So how did all of this actually pan out in practice?
I mentioned at the beginning of this article that the biggest problem last year was being caught out by our own success. This issue trickled down and caused problems through all areas of the tournament, but it affected registration the most.
Part of the solution this year, apart from organising our registration process better, was running an exhibition evening on Friday night to allow players to drop in and pick up their passes (at a small additional fee to stay and cover the cost of this extra venue time). It was no surprise then that this helped us tremendously in terms of registration. We still had the usual jitters with starting it up, getting everything in place and getting the first people in line moving and sorted out, but once it was in place we managed to clear the much smaller initial line and deal with the drabs coming in over the few hours we were open on Friday night at our own pace. The added benefit here was that we also had a lot of our walk-in “on the day rego” turn up on Friday night as well. This allowed us to add those people into the system, get them allocated to pools and have more entrants ready to play for the first pools of Saturday morning than we otherwise would have.
Now when I say we allocated signups to pools, I literally sat on the registration desk throughout most of the weekend allocating people to pools. As I mentioned, the downside of my system and the time it takes was that between doing that, printing brackets and updating results online, it basically took up my entire weekend. Again, this is a good case for trying to automate more of this process in the future.
- Brendon “Loki” Watson
Check back soon for part 5 of this series in which Loki gives us a review of how the schedule for the tournament pools at SS2k12 went down. This will include useful tips on how the team will seek to improve the pool runtimes in the future.
Feedback and Future Articles
If you have any feedback about this article, or would like to request a subject for a future Bracketed article, you can send me a PM or an email, or make a post in the Bracketed Feedback thread on the OzHadou forums.
]– Ziggy –[