With last years FiringSquad Computex Industry Invitational Tournament still fresh in our minds, this year’s event was not nearly as difficult to plan and execute. Whereas last year on the eve of Computex we only had 3 systems fully tested, this year the manufacturers were expecting us, and by the eve of Computex, three days before the event, we had already received 8 ultimate gaming systems. Of course there were a few stragglers and by the time the tournament date rolled around, we had a full 13 companies technology and efforts represented.
No event of this size would be complete without a few hitches. Last year it was the event pictures that were inadvertently destroyed. This year Brandon’s flash disk with all our custom demos we use for testing and other benchmarking software had conveniently erased itself somewhere on the 12,000-mile trek from Austin, TX to Taipei. So, before we could even start benchmarking we had to spend several hours re-downloading all the software (ultimately, we had to rely solely on 3Dmark 05 and SiSoft Sandra for testing).
Event day and everything was going smoothly until we discovered to our horror that many of the systems were “missing” power cables….so this meant a hectic trip throughout the smoggy and traffic choked streets of Taipei via taxi to the computer store closest to the event to get power cables…but of course Murphy, wherever he is, was laughing at our plight: the computer store was all sold out of power cables! This meant another trip halfway across town to another computer store, racing against the clock. The irony is that we were 33 stories above the 2nd largest computer trade show in the world, and couldn’t scrounge up a couple of extra power cables to save our lives.
Once we got all the systems connected, it was EA’s turn to install Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth; fortunately there was plenty of Heineken and a great DJ playing laid back hip hop, so everyone was in a good mood and mixing and mingling, which is one of the main objectives of the tournament. Computex is such a hectic time that a lot of people appreciated having a place to come hang out and have a drink with out being forced to discuss too much business. The whole tournament format was really designed to be this way, and in future years we hope to make the gaming part an even more casual affair where anyone is invited to stop by in the afternoon, hang out, play a few games and meet some people, just the way a good LAN is supposed to be. Having the manufacturers compete against each other would be far too political, and frankly, would be a headache for almost everybody.
However, the business of hardware is another matter entirely; the awards are meant to be competitive designed to let the manufacturers strut their stuff and show off their latest innovations.