Tech Hates LARP

The more complicated the tech, the more it hates LARP. I have a CD player. It’s an old CD player. Other than a few scratched CDs making it repeat itself creepily and unexpectedly, it works. I also have a Bluetooth Speaker with a USB plug. Sometimes it’ll let me switch between the two USBs. It requires a little fiddling around with. It will always eventually play from at least one USB (so long as the sound formats are correct). It’s not as quick, easy and safe to use as the CD player.

A laptop and a printer sit on bench tops.

However if I decide to go even higher tech and try to use it through Bluetooth, it can be as snarly at the start as using a USB, but even once you get it running it will occasionally stop even though the mobile phone controlling it sitting on top of it.

So what’s the moral of the story?

  • Always have a low-tech back up of key props.  If you have a key audio device, make sure there’s a print out so that a GM or even a player can read it out if the device fails.  Or have a lower-tech backup such as a CD player for when your awesome DJ set fails.  Some music is better than no music, in most situations.
  • Alternatively you could have two of a kind.  Perhaps have two CD players or two laptops, so if one won’t work, you can use the other.
  • Get high-tech props set up earlier and test them on location before the event begins.  This is vital.  For example, I once turned on a laptop that needed to spend an hour updating itself before we could use it for anything.
  • Ideally train up another person on how to use them so that it can still be used if something happens to you (such as needing to go to the toilet or handling another situation elsewhere).
  • Make sure those who aren’t trained to use the device, don’t use it.  Since high-tech props can be a bit fiddly, switching it back on might not be an easy process whereas turning the volume up or down would be a safer option to mimic turning the music off.

So what do you think?  Have you used high-tech solutions in LARP?  How do you make sure it works as intended?  What back up plans have you used?

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