With the beginning of the Spring semester comes a new beginning for the Griffons Esports team. Last semester Esports members based their operations out of their Murphy Hall training room for matches and practices but as students may have noticed walking through Blum, a new arena is nearing completion.
Director and Coach of Griffon Esports Christian Konczal, explained the plans and the layout of the arena as well as some of the technology they're working on acquiring.
Konczal explained his plans so far for the stadium's opening.
“We're planning a pretty big event for our grand opening around the end of February and we anticipate making a big day out of it,” Konczal explained. “As far as events planned, some of it's still in the air but what you can expect is each of the varsity teams to have at least an hour where we'll bring them and set them up, where we'll have a “stage” where we'll put the winner's brackets when we host events.”
Konczal went on to explain the event will be streamed through TVs being installed outside of the stadium. With some located on the walls of the stadium, inside the trophy case, and some pointed at Starbucks. He believes this will allow “folks to watch and stay socially distant if they just want to watch passively.”
Once students will enter the stadium and immediately be checked in by the front desk that checks students playtime to ensure not one person is getting addicted or forming unhealthy habits as well as checking to see if they are passing all of their classes. Once they have entered students will find two tvs to their left which will be the console centers. Konczal explained that the tv’s will both have a Switch, Xbox, and PS4 playable for students and hopes to upgrade to the newest Xbox and PS5 when they become available for purchase.
The main focus of the stadium is the PC’s for students to use which will line the center of the stadium for physical or streamed use, Konczal stated.
“We will have a total of around 44 PCs, whether all of those can be used at once is another matter entirely. The software management solution that we went with is called GG rock and GG leap. It has the capability for students to remote in.” Konczal explained. “So essentially, you'd be able to use your crummy two year old laptop, log in through our system and remotely use our machine to actually play the game, but you'd be able to play from your dorm or home now.”
Behind the scenes of the main stadium area is a private room that will be used as a broadcasting studio that holds 12 PC’s as well as a shoutcasting desk. In addition is another practice room that Konczal explained could double as a room a workshop class could use and that it would be a multipurpose room. Finally is a staff lounge and Konczals and the graduate assistants office. With just a small amount of time to go the Esports program is wrapping up work on the stadium awaiting the delivery of PC’s and other finishing touches.
Jacob Kuy is a member of the Overwatch Varsity team and has high hopes for the stadium, feeling it will be beneficial for students on campus.
“I'm most excited by the fact that the stadium introduces something to the college community that no one here has really ever seen,” Kuy said. “I know there are people who aren't particularly interested in traditional sports, but don't really have an outlet for other interests like gaming this stadium can sort of open that up.”