GTPlanet’s UK LAN Parties: Getting Social with Gran Turismo

October 31st, 2012 by Andrew Evans

As hobbies go, gaming tends to attract the stigma of being solitary, sedentary and for geeks. The image of the slacker playing games in his mom’s basement is tough to shake off and online gaming doesn’t do much to help.

However a group of European gamers have been using Gran Turismo as a social mechanism for nearly a decade. Started back in May 2004 and organised using the GT3 forum Gran Turismo by the Numbers (GTBN), the first UKGTP events used Gran Turismo 3’s iLink feature to allow six gamers to race each other – with a baying crowd watching on – at a model shop in Wycombe. 2005 saw a move to GT4 and its dedicated Local Area Network (LAN) mode, but also a loss of both the venue and the original lead organiser WasteGate. With so many attendees being GTPlanet members, GTP’s administrator Famine took on the role of organising the events.

Over the intervening years one UKGTP event was held every six months, with school halls, pub function rooms, attendee bedrooms and even a garage converted just for Gran Turismo LANs serving as venues. The events took place in Sheffield, Newark, Banbury, Fleet and Middlesbrough – even exporting the format to California after GTP supermoderator Smallhorses attended an event while in the UK. Like GT3, GT4 was limited to 6 cars on track (for six simultaneous players), necessitating two sets of LANs running alongside – or three in the case of the Banbury event.

GT5’s arrival in 2010 caused a minor issue, with a dedicated LAN mode absent from the game. However, gamers quickly discovered that consoles connected to each other through a local switch could play GT5’s online lobbies so long as a single connection was maintained to the internet to keep the consoles logged into PSN. Using this method, UKGTP’s first “iLAN” was held in Middlesbrough – though it nearly didn’t take place at all thanks to the PlayStation Network outage in April 2011.

The fifteenth biannual UKGTP event (UKGTPXV) took place in GTP member Sureboss’s front room last weekend, with the usual group of ever-presents (only GTP supermoderator daan and Famine have been to every event), frequent flyers and fresh meat (this time GTPlanet member dhandeh, with his own theme tune). It proved its usual, bleary-eyed mix of camaraderie – some far too rude to print – and high-spirits with 22 hours of Gran Turismo fun, including a 30 lap endurance of the Spa-Francorchamps DLC track using MX-5 TC DLC cars.

Of course UKGTP is neither unique nor the first regularly held Gran Turismo LAN event – some of our number were invited to the Netherlands to a similar existing setup after six Dutch and Belgian members attended our Banbury event. GTPlanet’s Local Gatherings forum provides a mechanism for nearby members to locate each other and organise and participate their own events.

In-game videos of races from UKGTPXV can be found in daan’s video thread.

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  1. Nov. 1, 3:34pm

    “A cabal of British GTPlanet members prove that gaming doesn’t have to be a reclusive pastime.”

    Because I for one haven’t been at a LAN/demo-scene event with over thirty thousand visitors, ever. I know you have to come up with something for the blurb, but that’s just silly.

    • Nov. 2, 6:56am

      Socialising with 30,000 people is a neat trick – outside of Facebook, of course.

  2. Nov. 1, 3:07pm

    Was fun to attend 2 of them.
    It’s been a while though. The Ocho was the last one I attended :p

    • Nov. 2, 6:57am

      Always good to have you over. UKGTP16 might be a little sooner than the usual gap, but we’ll get an invite out to you and Sjaak either way.

  3. Nov. 1, 2:14pm

    Too bad the the GTP Lan event in Northern California died out. :-(

  4. Nov. 1, 11:00am
    Mac K

    That’s still pretty cool.

  5. Nov. 1, 7:59am

    It’s very sad no current GT and Forza has System Link/LAN support :(.

  6. Nov. 1, 12:44am

    Famine must be the guy with the beard and pony tail XD.

    • Nov. 1, 6:08am

      Nope, that’ll be the Devon Ninja

  7. Oct. 31, 10:51pm

    Awesome guys great job

  8. Oct. 31, 9:32pm

    Wish i knew about the Newark one. :( Where in Newark was it held?

    • Nov. 1, 6:07am

      We have been in 2 different places in Newark (on Trent. Not Newark NJ) The first couple there were in a school hall, and the next time we were there, it was held in a glorified shed out the back of the Rutland Arms.

  9. Oct. 31, 8:26pm

    We used to have a fantastic LAN setup in my basement for GT4. We had lots of fun getting slowly drunk and watching how the driving degraded :) We even had friends “waiting in line” to get to one of the 6? (was 6 the maximum, I can’t remember it’s been so long) units. Everyone had a wheel, headphones to keep the audio separate, and screens that varied from 14″ all the way up to DLP Projector. It was just a great time. Unfortunately GT5 took too long to get here, and then when it did arrive it pretty much sucked (the biggest single disappointment for the group was that only 1 of our favorite circuits (the ring) made it into GT5. When they saw that all the tracks we loved were missing that was the last nail in GT5’s coffin). I already had the PS3, so I stuck with it, but everyone else decided to move to XBox since it was, at that point, much more popular.

    I really miss those days; it was 10x as much fun as driving online.

  10. Oct. 31, 8:11pm

    looks like my house setup but with out lcds..its a pitty gt5 requires internet connection

  11. Oct. 31, 8:01pm

    Gr8 stuff, anything beats GT5 A.I.

    Where do I sign up :)??

  12. Oct. 31, 6:03pm

    Wow I’d love to do a GT5 LAN, so cool to actually see your competitors.. don’t know anyone else who play GT5 though…

  13. Oct. 31, 5:23pm

    I just looked at those TV’s. GASP, No HDMI cord… NO HD!!!!

    • Oct. 31, 7:48pm

      The pictures cover nine years and three Gran Turismos, two of which weren’t HD. There’s only two photographs there of GT5 LANs and all the TVs are connected by HDMI in those shots.

  14. Oct. 31, 4:04pm

    Swore to Allah that was my freinds Masada TC League at spa the other day…. Ahhh, Eau Rouge… stuff….

    • Oct. 31, 4:04pm

      Mazda….stupid auto correct

  15. Oct. 31, 4:00pm

    let me guess…

    Famine is the large fellow with the duct-taped rig. : )

    • Oct. 31, 7:52pm

      Guess again :D

    • Nov. 1, 12:30pm

      hahaha! Gotta mess with ya, man. Rules is rules.

  16. Oct. 31, 4:59am

    flimone – somewhere in the UK. Venues are harder to find nowadays as a broadband Internet connection is needed for GT5, whereas previously we just needed a largeish room with power. We usually try to find somewhere in the middle of the country, although the latest event was in Worthing after UKGTP13 in Fleet when daan – who lives in Scotland – sarcastically asked if we could hold one any further south :D

    Usually Mayish and Octoberish. Keep an eye on the Local Gatherings subforum.

    Sasek – you can see how the technology has moved on from UKGTP2 (1st and 6th pictures) to 15 (5th picture) – no more CRTs.

  17. Oct. 31, 4:19am

    For me it’s impossible to play on such TV’s with BoX behind monitor.

  18. Oct. 31, 4:14am

    when and where?

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