And then, it was done…..

Setup

27602259488_025beab92d_zFriday – the day arrived when it was time for the crew to set up.  The Glasgow Funbus containing Psykokow and the tech monkey Simoof left at silly o’clock for the south.  Down on the South coast, one car was being loaded with zombies and another with gaming rigs.  Elsewhere, commanders were boarding planes, packing their games and readying their very best geeky t-shirts.  We received a call from a courier – he had FIFTEEN Noblechairs to deliver for us (thanks Noblechairs!). We mustn’t forget Alvin. He boarded his chariot and asked the driver Snos to go get other people so he could have more minions to boss around.

We arrived at the venue sometime around lunch, met the manager (top chap), the lady from food & bar (crazy lady) and checked that we DID indeed have an Internet.  A whole one. Not just a damp piece of string, but a honest to Alvin high speed wired Internet.  What’s more, we had a 3 phase power supply we could step down to something usable and power the whole thing.

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Afternoon, more and more of the volunteer setup crew arrived, from Jim B and his magic box of networking gear through to the Funbus and the audio and Fletch with the power gubbins. Bill arrived with the rest of the Artemis gear and much beavering away was done.

Quick break for dinner. Buffet all round?  yes?  What’s that? Commander Wotherspoon only had the soup?  The lady in charge of service pretended she hadn’t seen him…. Nope, no Wotherspoons here.

Then – finish rigging and some heavy gaming in the bar until…. 2ish.

 

 

The Day Itself

26601611867_8ca01fb9fc_zThe crew were down for breakfast 7.30 sharp (ok, apart from Fletch) to finish rigging everything, from 8 people started arriving with their own gear.  The Retro area took shape – 10 computers ranging from the late 70’s through to the 90’s.  Names such as BBC Micro, Spectrum, Amiga, TomyTronic, Grandstand plus classic arcades.  The multiplayer Gang Beasts screen was prepped and ready and then onward round the room past the PC’s (four more VR rigs, one indie demo game, a full SpecialEffect setup, the stage, the console corner with Team HOTBOX and their PS4 buddies, the ENORMOUS raffle table, Russ Pitcher and his Epic Etcher, Blastard with a Full Motion VR Rig, a Water Cooled shiny glowing beast of a computer from Dobbo and a pair of full VR rigs that you could walk around in.

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Phew.  Oh, and then there were 10 tables of board games.  Plus another Indie Developer.

 

 

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We opened, people rocked up and we did the obligatory fire notice “if you see the crew running screaming that way” <points at door> “best bet is to follow us”.

Then – we got down to some heavy socialising.

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Before we knew it – LUNCH!  121 hungry gamers queued up patiently.  A few were sent to the back for attempting to blag seconds before everyone had had their firsts.  ATR response was stern with them.

This year we changed the format of the Quiz.  Thanks to the efficiency of the UK Customs operation, we’d received the buzzers for the quiz only SECONDS before we opened the event.  Unfortunately, Commander Wotherspoon’s voice had left the building, so we recruited stunt voices to read the news, so he didn’t have to.  First up was Jon from Spidermind Games (a.k.a. the dude from ED:RPG) who did a sterling turn as quizmaster for the contestants from Slough Remand Centre College and Frontier College Cambridge (no connection to Frontier Developments but it did have Paige as team captain).

 

Quick break for…. more Artemis then round 2, this time compered by the incomparable Baz from SpecialEffect (Ali loaned him to us).  Team HOTBOX took the crown on this one from a motley crew of allcomers from the audience.

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More games. Round 3 of Quiz, the final! Soundly won by Slough College of Blowing things Up, captained by Kate Russell.  Hosted this time by celebrity guest star “The Galactic Intern” – also known as “Ed Lewis”.

The raffle

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248 prizes

60 minutes until dinner

1 Steph Wyeth (the voice of the raffle for years)

5 helpers

15 seconds a prize

We managed – goodies were handed out to the audience (and a small trolley of them for one commander who threw silly amounts of money at charity) with 60 seconds to spare before service

Onward to pie, fish’n’chips (and for our vegetarians, some delicious Gnocci), Hutton Orbital LIVE! then our house band, the rather piratical Boarding Crew, joined by CMDR Splendour on bashy box bass – with a set including “Station’s on Fire”

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Evening shenanigans

We “officially” closed at midnight, stripped half the room ready for a small conference coming in the morning then got down to some seriously heavy gaming.  Plus some Alien Isolation (Kate screamed quite loudly when she was eaten by a Xenomorph).  Last man standing went to bed at around 5am much to the relief of the bar staff.  There was pink gin by this point, probably because everything else had gone.

All in all – our thanks to everyone – and to sign off, I’m going to quote one e-mail we received:

Still recovering from THE amazingest weekend – The first (and still the best) convention of the year!

The most wonderful thing about ECM (Elite Community Meet) is the middle word – It is backed, organised(ish) and run by the Elite COMMUNITY.

Imagine some loonie (not me for once) posting a message that says to everyone on FB (and on THE forums): “Hey I’m chucking a HUGE party, wanna come?”

Except, it’s in a big empty room in a hotel. There’s not enough electric points, no network gear, no PC’s or consoles. If we’re lucky, there might be a few chairs and tables. Oh… and by the way, you’ll have to pay for the privilege, buy your own beer at the hotel, and pay for your own rooms.

Then some peeps say: We’ve got an AV and PA rig that we could bring… Someone else says: Me and a few mates have some consoles. A couple more say: We’ve got some OLD (like 8 bit) computers and consoles that we might be able to get working. Even more say: I’ll bring my gaming PC’s and let others play with my kit (including some awesome VR rigs). Then someone else just “happens” to have some LAN switches hanging around spare. Someone else has some 32amp 3 phase kit that can drop down to 13 amps, so we don’t blow all the gear up. Someone else says: You’ll need some music, me and a few mates (they’re in a proper band) will entertain you. And… And… And… LOADS of RPG and board and card games and ELITE:darts and a brilliant quiz and a live radio show and TONS more.

Those guys then spend months giving up their free time to organise a venue, ticketing, marketing, contacting companies to provide sponsorship and give us stuff to raffle off. Then you say: Let’s not make a single red cent from this gig… and give any money we make away to charities.

To EVERYONE that came along and made the ECM the wonderful little escape from reality that enables us to survive the real world…. Friends old and new. I hope we managed to shake hands, chat, hug, have a beer or even play together. If not, there’s always next year!

My eternal thanks to the original EliteMeet loonies who had this daft idea and have kept it running over the years. No names, no pack drill… You know who you are – You beautifully mad, totally bonkers bunch of dirty filthy mother tuckers!

Our thanks to our sponsors, Noblechairs, ED:RPG, Frontier Developments, HCS VoicePacks, Tinman Games, Jonas Events for helping us put on a wonderful day.  To all the volunteers, people who brought games and prizes for the raffle.  To all 160 of you, you’re a great crowd and…. if you want us to…. we might consider doing it again next year.

Links to “more stuff” you found at the event:

The ENTIRE 13 hour video of the event

Noblechairs

Dr Sinister’s Gallery

Tinman Games

HCS Voice Packs

ED:RPG

The Boarding Crew

Jupiter Hell

Realm’s Edge

Blastard’s VR Rig

The Art of Dave Charlton-Whitaker

 

Rules of the day

Rules of the day:

1. Be excellent to each other.

2. If you want a go at something, just ask the person who owns it nicely. Don’t hog the gaming terminals, let other people have a go.

3. Respect other people’s gear and property. Some people are bringing some truly fantastic technology. Treat it with respect. Don’t put your pint down right next to someone’s water cooled pride and joy.

4. If something’s bothering you, find a member of the admin team and have a chat! We’re there to help.

5. For those that get overwhelmed by busy environments – the hotel has lovely grounds, a great lounge and quiet areas. Make use of them if you need to take five.

6. Remember, the event is run BY the gaming community. Everyone’s a volunteer. Everyone’s paying to be there. People have given up time, skills, enthusiasm and their own pennies to put on a great day. If something needs doing, we would always appreciate a hand from you all – everyone chips in to make it a grand day out.

7. Assistance Dogs are trained to accept food/rewards from their owners. Please, as much as they look soppy, don’t offer treats to the Assistance Dogs present, it ruins their training. Always ask first before approaching an assistance dog – they’re there on a job helping their partner. Say ‘hi’ to the handler first!

Four days to go…..

Right ladies and gentlemen, looks like we have a full house! 162 tickets sold. (We have had 2 confirmed no shows). 121 for lunch, 101 for dinner, 50 coming to the Pizzameet on Sunday. A couple of vegetarians, fully catered for.

Games galore – the multiplayer station has everything from Nidhogg and Stick Fight to Gang Beasts & Lego Batman with a little Hogs of War thrown in for good measure.

We have Elite, Empyrion, Satellite Reign, Invisible Inc, Warlock of Firetop Mountain

We have VR machines. We have Blastard demoing his full motion VR rig.

We have a cornucopia, maybe even a plethora of retro gaming in one corner.

Board games include:
Zombicide, One night ultimate werewolf, carcassonne, space base commander, Star Wars miniatures, Ticket to ride, Tak, Labyrinth, Bananagrams, Chupacabra, Fluxx Monty Python edition, Spyfall, Cards against humanity, Exploding Kittens, Risk, Escape from Colditz…. and many many more

We have sandwiches and pizza for lunch and PIE! (yay pie) or Fish’n’chips for dinner (or gnocci for the vegetarians).

We have ARTEMIS with the most incredible lighting rig you’ve ever seen for a game.

We have (count them) FIFTEEN Noblechairs to sit on whilst playing.

We have a raffle full of epic prizes

SpecialEffect, Hearing Dogs

We have ED:RPG, HCS Voice packs, Frontier, some Indie game developers, Elite app developers (x2). We have an author, some musicians, an artist, a publisher (yes, Dantastic Fan from Fantastic books).

We have the HUTTON TRUCKERS, Hammers of Slough, Pixel Bandits, Canonn Interstellar and many other player groups.

What’s best though is that we have YOU LOT. Remember, this is a social day, it’s about DOING. We’re not there to entertain you *(but we will try) – you’re there to get stuck in and have a laugh.

New Sponsor Confirmation

Just had confirmation through from a new sponsor for the event!

Noblechairs will be sending along a number of their chairs for the day for us to let everyone have a go in whilst gaming and (drumroll) have offered a prize for the raffle!

Our thanks to Steven at Gamersware.

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Raffle box filling up nicely….

Some of you may have seen Arithon’s work on the Frontier Forums – we’re planning a little special something for the raffle prizes…. snippet below (Specially for Goose as we know he loves the Adder)
Also the usual collection of gaming gear, Hutton Truckers goodies, a few bits and bobs from Frontier and a few money can’t buy items already in the list!  More soon….

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Content is filling up fast!

Commander Mindwipe just sent us a picture of the banners for the “Retro Vault” corner of the event

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Commander Pom had the first trial run of Space Base commander last week

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And we’ve had confirmation that Hutton’s own Pirate Band – “The Boarding Crew” – the voices behind one of Hutton’s parody songs will be popping along for the day and might even be bringing an instrument or two

 

Tickets are LIVE

E.C.M. 2018 (Formerly Elitemeet) Tickets are now live!

Details of hotel can be found at Our Accommodation page

Bag your place, come and play games, raise money for charity, meet fellow gamers!

There are options to join us for lunch, or dinner as well – and a special Sunday Event – the Hutton Pizzameet at the Pizza Express in reading. Just put PIZZA in the “notes to seller” if you’re coming along – pay on the day.