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Community Report: Helping Host My First Online Tournament

I used to host an event called Fight Night, a weekly fighting game tournament that met every Friday in the Inner Circle at UIC. Sadly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all those events were canceled leaving me with nothing to do. That all changed when, on Thursday, Rios announced an online Smash Ultimate tournament for anyone to join. 

I offered to help with the bracket and on the stream. I wanted to see how it feels to run an online tournament on Smash.gg with commentators and a stream. However, there was one problem, none of us have ever hosted an online tournament before. Worst of all, the tournament was going to be held on Friday. We had our job cut out for us to say that very least as Rios, Poof, and I had one day to prepare the tournament page, stream, announcements, and running the bracket.

The main benefit of hosting an online tournament compared to a local one is that we didn’t need to provide any setups since players would already have the game. Smash.gg also handles the bracket on its own. Players are given time to check in to their match. Once the match is done, the players must report their score. This streamlines the process of completing the bracket by having the competitors fulfill tasks that would usually be done by the tournament organizer in local events. We would interfere when a game had to be shown on stream or if players had some issue submitting their score.

Players have to report on their own matches

But remember, this was our first time and I would be lying if I didn’t say there weren’t any issues. First off, since many of our players were new to online tournaments, many of them didn’t know how to check-in. Thankfully we were friends with many of the competitors, so we were able to explain the process quickly. Since this was an online tournament there were a few moments where lag and connection problems were prominent. In Ultimate if there’s too much lag in the arena the game will kick either a spectator or a player out. Thankfully, this was only an issue a few times.

Hugh and Poof in Grand Finals

Another reason I was excited to help out with the tournament was to test out streaming. I have always been used to streaming local events, but this was the first time I streamed an online tournament. In-game, I created an arena for up to five players to join. One for me to stream the match, two for the commentators, and two for the people that are playing. Even though the process was simple there were a few issues since this was our first time. At times there were periods with no games or we would have commentary with a few audio issues. For the future, I hope to fix these issues with better scheduling and more dedicated commentators.

Our arena setup. Two commentators and streamer (left) and two competitors (middle)

The tournament had a decent turnout with 24 attendants with only two players disqualified. Many of the participants were regulars that played in Fight Night tournaments before, but there were some outsiders such as Toad and Hugh. The tournament started at 6:30 PM and ended at 10:30 PM. Overall, I’d say the tournament was a success. Despite several major hiccups, I learned a lot about hosting an online event. At this time the plans to host another online tournament are in the air. If you’d like to know when another tournament or any other online events are coming up be sure to go to the UIC Smash Ultimate or Competitive Gaming Club’s Discord for more info.

The winners side of the bracket


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