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Frag-o-Matic (FoM) is a series of gaming tournaments which take place two times a year, organized by E-Events. It's the biggest Belgian gaming LAN-event since quite a few years now. Started in 1999, they counted up till now to 16.1. Brought to the audience for the 16th year in a row up and their second festival in 2014: Frag-o-Matic is an institute in the Belgian gaming world.

Frag-o-Matic

The principle

During FoM each participant brings his own PC/laptop with him/her and logs in on the Frag -o-Matic network. Through this network multiple competitive gaming competitions are organized and sponsors take care of nice prize packages and price money, to attract the gamers and teams. Next to these competitions there are other activities taking place, and each event has his own theme, creating a unique atmosphere: At 16.1, the theme was: “The Roman Empire”.

Some facts

In the honorable history of FoM, there were 34 LAN events for a total of 25.000 participants and with more than €300.000 value of prizes and price money, earned by the best teams in a variety of gaming competitions. E-Events is the organizer of FoM. This is the organization, existing of many volunteers, which every half year manage to bring us - the gamers - a successful and rather unique LAN for 16 years. And they will not hesitate to continue, starting with 17.0 next spring 2015.

Some of the Competitions at FoM 16.1:

  • CS:GO
  • Dota2
  • Fifa
  • League of Legends 
  • Mortal Kombat
  • Startcraft 2
  • Hearthstone

The interview (part 1).

Sunday September 14th, 2014 we shook hands with Koen "Zeon" Burms and Bruno “Nono” Gysels, both members of the board of E-Events. We? Slightly Different Gaming. A young, ambitious Dutch e-sports organization, eager to support the realization of the huge potential of e-sports in Europe.

Koen? A sincere, integer and friendly man who believes that gaming is worthwhile to support, as he spends - more than 10 years already - a lot of his time to do so. Member of the board of E-Events for many years. Profession: Security Architecture.

Bruno? Another intelligent, friendly and well-educated security consultant. Bruno joined the board last year, as he is one of the successors for the resigning board members. Both men are an example of  the fact that most Belgian people are friendly, pleasant and open-minded people.

Koen proposed to do the interview right outside at the backstage door, so we started the interview sitting together comfortably in the sun, enjoying a gentle breeze and a good cup of coffee from their own catering.

Q: Koen, Bruno, would you tell us something about yourself.

(Koen:) Well, i started all with a friend who asked me to assist him with the organization of his home LAN party.  We played games like Strike Force and Unreal Tournament; it was quite common back in those years to organize a LAN at home for 10 to 20 guys, having fun. As a matter of facts, this friend - quite satisfied about the way I supported with the technical part - asked me at that night if I would like to be part of the crew. I answered him that I would sleep on it, but only 3 hours later he persuaded me by serving me a Rib Burger breakfast! I do still enjoy Rib Burgers, but prefer them without extra work to it :-)

(Bruno:) My first LAN experience was while playing the original Red Alert and StarCraft over IPX with a friend at home. This is how my first interest in computer networking developed. Games such as half-life and counter-strike (beta!) got my attention afterwards. A few years later my friend and I decided to organize a LAN event, BWF. Our first edition had about 15 gamers. About four years ago one of these friends invited me to help out in the network department of Frag-O-Matic.

Q: At E-events and FoM exist thanks to volunteers. Is being a volunteer hard to combine with your private life and job?

(Koen:) Yes, it is sometimes hard. At the moment I'm busy with the renovation of my house. That just stopped for a few weeks. I cannot combine it right now.

(Bruno, smiling:) In fact, at FoM 16.0, March this year, I was fully occupied with the renovation of my apartment. I had to stop and was 2 weeks fully occupied with the preparation and realization of the IT & security at FoM 16.0 and after that I was worn out and sick for a week! But it was all worthwhile.

Q: Is there still a life as gamer then for you guys?

(Koen:) No not really. I quit competitive gaming and I am only playing for fun nowadays. Together with some friends or crew I play League of Legends now and then. (Bruno:) in fact, I am not a gamer really but I am quite interested in the tech, as my job is mainly focused on solutions securing the IT environment. I am used to work on a project base, and love to find solutions which balance the needs for security, client-friendliness and cost-effectivity. In the same way I balance at FoM the priorities when it comes to internet access and internet speed. With more than 1,000 eager gamers we experience huge demands for a wide and responsive internet pipe.

Q: We would like to dig a bit deeper on that later. First a question about E-Events/FoM: You changed board, did you?

(Koen:) Correct. From the original board the last old founders and board members left 4 years ago. At this moment our Board exists of 6 members, including me and Bruno, who entered the board this year. We are now focused on a strategic, future orientated approach. But we still meet the old board members at FoM regularly.

(Bruno:) And you can also state easily that the technical demands of nowadays are quite more demanding then it was 10 years ago. Internet has become an essential element in the gaming experience.Therefor we face issues now that didn't exist 10 years ago. One example: Games are using internet. New game functionality might cause problems as we have to discover what kind of internet communication a new functionality uses. Quite often one experience those problems on the spot, when the tournament is started. Another problem is the needed internet access. Speed and band wide grow and grow as games develop e.g. their content size and interaction over the internet. We have a limited internet bandwidth.

Q: There was a big distortion of the game- and event scene in 2006. What happened in Belgium?

(Koen:) Well, summer 2006 the federal police of Belgium sent an investigation team to a local LAN. 2006 was already a period with a lot of noise and buzz going around all over the world regarding illegal downloading. Gamers had illegal music downloaded at their pc's. The shock in Belgium was severe; I think that in 2006 we were the only LAN organized left after this intervention. Of course it was tough for us too. Only a 300 gamers came to our LAN. We decided to take our losses and keep on supporting the gaming community. Compared to the 1.400 gamers who participated the year before it was a very painful situation. But we managed to keep our tournament clean as we prohibited illegal downloading of any material. It is a matter of integrity and we give gamers the opportunity to enjoy gaming in a legal competitive and recreative way.

(Bruno:) As from that day security - which is my specialism and my passion - is an integral part of our event series Frag-o-Matic.

To be continued.

 

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