image: 2hnoqow TosspoT is the face of Crossfire and Cash the brains, but what role does the third part of this unlikely trio, United Kingdom Adam "Adacore" Oddy fulfill?

Adacore initially joined the administrative side of gaming in the Summer of 2004, gradually working his way through the hierarchy of ClanBase. He has since coordinated LAN events across the globe, hosted several Eurocups and attained the title of Crossfire Challenge Tournament Director. Adacore sits down to talk the past, the present and the future with Crossfire.

But first what does his associate Netherlands Cash make of the man himself?

Adacore is by far the best colleague I have had in running gaming tournaments. I know that running gaming tournaments, especially LANs always results in trouble, but for 4 editions in a row I have never seen him slip up. He is a person that is so well-composed, stress-resistant, polite yet tough and fair that he remains on top of his game.

He is one of the few admins that anticipates on what will come rather than what has happened or happening. I am sure that TosspoT will agree with me on this that Adacore has been one of the key success factors of the Crossfire Challenges just because of his sheer intelligence, work ethic and dedication to succeed.

Welcome Adam, Tournament Director of the Crossfire Challenge events. What does this job entail? Is it a time consuming job prior to the event?

The role of Tournament Director is one of the three crucial positions in the Crossfire team – the others being Stuart’s PR/marketing and overall management and Remao’s logistics management.

My job as Tournament Director has two main phases: the first is to advise the rest of the team on what can be done with the capacity we have available and plan the tournament structures and schedule; the second is to run the planned tournaments at the event. In addition, prior to the event I need to manage any qualification or seeding tournament and work on the rules and match configs with the individual game admins.

Both of the stages I mentioned are hugely demanding on time. I probably spend over 100 hours before the event planning the schedule and tournaments. This event has probably been more than double that, as we’ve had a high level of uncertainty on both attendance and PC numbers that I’ve had to build contingencies for.

At the event itself, my key responsibility is to get all the tournaments finished on time. In the case where we have big technical problems, which can cause serious delays, this involves creative rescheduling of the event on the fly. At the first Crossfire Challenge we realized that ET was falling way behind while CoD was on track – the solution I reached was to push the CoD ahead of schedule in order to release their PCs to help catch up the ET tournament.

There have been times in the past when I’ve been very close to making major changes to the event structures in order to ensure we got all the games played. At CPC2 we featured RtCW, which gave us massive unexpected delays. I arrived at noon Saturday after running the late shift on Friday to find that the tournament – supposed to kick off at 9am – hadn’t even started yet. By 6pm we were over 4 hours behind, and if the schedule slipped any further the double elimination bracket structure for ET would have to be cut. Fortunately it didn’t come to that, but I came very close to making the call.

Providing I don’t have this sort of crisis to deal with, most of what I do is ensuring that the game admins are getting all their matches started on time and coming up with solutions to any problems that might cause delays. Stuart, Remao and I also arbitrate any rule violation issues that come up with the tournaments. In addition, I advise the coverage team on any interesting matches coming up in the schedule in order to ensure we get the best games broadcast on QuadV.

You originally came to Rotterdam for the Crossfire PrizeFight Challenge not as tournament admin, but as a spectator, how did you end up running the tournament and why do you think you where originally overlooked, given your experience at Quakecon 2005?

Having helped run the QuakeCon ET tournament a year previously in Dallas, I was certainly interested in admining the ET side of the first Crossfire Challenge LAN. I contacted Stuart [“Tosspot” Saw] and he was positive about the idea, but I didn’t follow it up, and presumably he decided I was no longer interested, so Nellie got the job. [ed. Will I ever live this down?!]

I decided to come to the event anyway, and was going to offer to help out when or if needed. I arrived in Rotterdam on Friday evening and managed to completely miss all the fun of Friday night, not coming to the LAN centre until bright and early Saturday. An hour passed and there was no sign of our illustrious ET admin, so I approached Remao [“Cash” Tummers] and offered to run the tournament until Nellie reappeared. Around two hours later the tournament was in full swing when we received news that Nellie had flown back to the UK, so I officially became the ET admin.

Do you approach the Challenge events as a job, with merriment once the work is done, or are they one big party?

For me, Challenge events are very much a job. It’s a job I tremendously enjoy, and I get to work with an amazing team, but for the four days of the event (for the admin team Thursday is an event day as well, as we have to do all the setup) I’m very focused on the task at hand, working solidly 16 hours a day. Come late Sunday night, when the last sponsored machine is packed away in its box ready to be returned, we can relax, get a pitcher of beer and be merry.

But it's a high pressure environment… does the stress not get to you?

I have the fortunate disposition of thriving under pressure. I’m also a very easy going person; I’m rarely if ever stressed, so generally can take the pressure in my stride and do the job. The physical exertion, more than the stress, can hit me after the event if I’m not careful. I’ve run LANs in the past where I’ve been ill for over a month after the event ended.

Are the Crossfire Challenge events chaos theory at its best?

They are, shall we say, ‘organised chaos’. Although we are doing a lot to fix the chaotic elements for the future, there are certain things that will never be eliminated. If we have a major power failure or a couple of games that last an unexpectedly long time (say, two games of ET that both go to four maps) then even the most robust plan will start needing some alterations. We have to run these events on a tight budget and limited timescale, so even if everything is going fine we’re always going to be running relatively close to the line.

What improvements have there been over the years at the Challenge events? Do you have any specific goals for this years event?

We’ve learnt a lot from every event we’ve run. In the original Crossfire Challenge, we barely even had a schedule, and what we did have was inadequate as it failed to account for the time taken for teams to set up. This has been improved in subsequent events – we realized after CDC3 that it was critical to have a stock of spare machines, so we could swap them out rather than having to attempt in situ repairs.

One big thing we’ve learnt this time around is that we need to streamline the payment system. Bank transfers are messy and lead to confusion and mistakes, so we’ll definitely be switching to other methods – such as Google Checkout and Paypal – in future.

My big goal for this event is to prove that we can run entirely to schedule without delays. This allows a myriad of things – it allows teams to plan around set playing times, and it lets us preschedule some of the coverage, rather than doing it all unannounced, which should give a much better experience for the spectators, both at the event and online.

It’s a cyclical problem – if the event runs on time, it’s easy to keep it on time, but as soon as we have delays it becomes a real challenge to get back on track. So the key is making sure every match starts on time – we’ll be being much stricter on the teams in this regard at CC5.

Will the Crossfire Challenge 5 be the best event yet?

Yes! We’ll have more coverage than ever before and, as I indicated previously, I’m a lot more confident that we’ll run to time, meaning a much better experience for both players and spectators. We’ve also got more high-calibre teams, at least in ET, than I’ve ever seen at any event. It looks to be an amazing three days.

What has Crossfire done to prevent any confrontations or fighting inside the venue given the “mama incident”?

We will have a full set of rules (to be released over the next couple of days) with clauses specifically included to cover such incidents. Any repeat of the disgraceful events seen at the last LAN will result in immediate expulsion from the venue for all involved parties, and may result in teams being ejected from the tournaments.

Are you paid for your work at the Crossfire events?

Previously I’ve received minimal expenses (a spot in the cabins, a contribution towards my travel and a meal) – for this event I’m getting some additional payment for my time – it’s not a huge amount of money, but it’s nice to have.

TosspoT has outlined his vision for the future, what involvement do you have with this, what influence can you impose in carving this image and where do you envisage the future of Crossfire, Enemy Territory and Call of Duty?

I will be heavily involved in the eSports Heaven events Stuart is planning going forward – I expect to be Tournament Director for these, which will involve a massive expansion in the scope of my work. While I have some influence in the direction this is taken, most of that is in his domain, as Stuart is the one who talks to the sponsors and top level management and, of course, they have a significant say in where we take the tournaments. I can promise that we’ll continue to provide the same atmosphere and style of tournaments that teams in both ET and CoD have come to expect from the Crossfire Challenge series – in fact, I expect that our tournaments in both of these games will be bigger and better with Heaven Media behind us.

Are you now also an employee of Heaven Media, or will you continue to work under the guise of Crossfire?

I'm not an employee of Heaven Media. I expect my work for future events will be directly for Stuart in his position of eSports Director there (and, by extension, my work will also be for and, but for the moment I am a Crossfire team member.

To your knowledge, are the Crossfire Challenge events sustainable?

They’re sustainable in the medium term, certainly. The Crossfire Challenge events rely on a lot of community spirit – from the teams and players that attend to meet up with their friends from to the huge amount of volunteer work put in by the whole of the admin and coverage team, and such community spirit can be fickle and fade over time. To be completely honest, I’m pleasantly surprised we continue to have such great turnout for ET, and I see no reason for this to drop off in the near future, but it may – I can’t imagine it would continue forever, though. I think it’s important that we move to a more secure model, especially for those of us, such as Stuart, who have invested our futures in eSports. But more important than that, growing from the Challenge style events gives us the opportunity to do much bigger things – more money for prizes, more attendees and support for other games while still maintaining the great community game atmosphere of the original events.

You've mentioned previously your work with the Crossfire LANs has helped gain you employment. How did your interviewee react to the concept of a LAN event? Was it a hard sell to a non-gamer?

As my only major extra-curricular activity in University, and something I feel has been tremendously beneficial to my personal development, there was really no choice but to use my experience running LAN events as a key aspect of my job applications. I got the feeling in my job applications that this aspect either got my CV binned immediately or was generally positively received. I highlighted the high-pressure, time critical leadership, project planning and management aspects of what I do, linking it to work I might be doing for the companies I was applying for.

Interviewers certainly approached the subject with some trepidation, but were generally impressed with the commitment I’d shown to running the events, I think. The main concern raised was actually whether my commitments to future events in far flung locales would impact my work for the company; I assured them that any responsibility to my employer would, obviously, come first.

There's not many players with the confidence for such honesty about their involvement in gaming, do you think gaming, in our vision, can ever be attained?

Yes, but it’s still a long way off. If I’m completely honest, I expect gaming as we know it – with a keyboard and mouse – may well have largely disappeared by the time eSports are accepted on the same level as traditional sports such as soccer or golf (at least in the west). I have a very firm belief that electronic gaming will reach that level eventually, in some form or other, however.

And if not, will it ever in someone else's vision?

I don’t really see any vision in which competitive gaming is a completely accepted activity being much different from my own, in fundamental terms.

You've a wealth of management experience be it ClanBase, GamesTV, Crossfire or Quakecon. What one piece of advice would you give the inexperienced admin? Any golden rules?

Honesty and impartiality is the one thing that I think is most important for an admin. Always act in a completely professional manner, never take sides in a dispute between teams and if anything involves a team you are involved with or a player who you are good friends with, remove yourself from the process and let someone else make the decision. Don’t ever insult the teams or players, even if they are complete jackasses – if they insult you then use the proper procedures rather than responding in kind.

It's been noted that the seeding tournament, being seeded in itself, offers little tangible benefit to the competition, arguably a smokescreen invoked to create the façade of impartiality, why was the decision made to run a seeding tournament?

The seeding tournament may be a formality for the best teams (although, given the recent results, with 8bits Friends in Force Green beating both Impact and Buttonbashers, and Excel's performance against mamut, even this is not certain), but I think it will be invaluable in allowing us to rank the teams in the mid-range. We have an exceptionally high calibre of teams in attendance for this event. Some are good teams which have never attended a LAN before - such as Replay Sleepers - others have past attendance records but are newly reformed and untested - for example TAG and Overload. The online seeding tournament will give us a good indication of the relative strengths of these teams and allow us to build fairer groups for the tournaments. It's also a nice buildup to the LAN event, and provides us with some valuable pre-event coverage.

Was it the right decision to remove the old Overload team from the competition and refuse them admittance to the event, given they're LAN veterans?

The original Belgian Overload team were caught using cheats, and we at Crossfire have a very clearly stated policy on cheating and what it means for teams entering our online and offline events. There can be no doubt whatsoever that removing them from the tournament was the correct decision. The Overload management found another team and was naturally permitted to use their prepaid entry spots to send this team to CC5 instead.

Looking back over two years of events and many good memories, is there one highlight that jumps to mind?

Finishing CPC2 was probably, for me, the highlight of my LAN admin career. It was the first tournament which I planned myself, there were numerous hiccups and problems, but we got it done and we had some amazing matches along the way. It was immensely satisfying to sit back in the WZZRD bar with the rest of the crew after all the teams had left, drink some beers and celebrate a job well done.

Finally predictions for the event itself, the winners and the losers, the highlights and the low points? (Don’t invoke the Adam “Gordon Brown” Oddy curse!)

This will probably come as a surprise to many, but for the CC5 ET tournament, my money is firmly on Impact. They have an amazing lineup, filled with LAN performers – toxic, notably, has a record for amazing play on LAN – and have been putting in a huge amount of preparation for the event. To some extent it depends on their untested LAN players wiadro and syK, but if they’re on par then that’s my ‘team to beat’. Their online official results so far do them no justice.

I’m afraid I don’t know enough about CoD to predict a winner, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Dignitas take it. I’m not going to say much about losers, except perhaps to say that Team Randoms’ chances of victory are slim – sorry Ana.

With the caliber of teams attending, both the ET and CoD tournaments look certain to throw up some amazing games. There will be highlights too numerous to mention, but any match between the ET big five of Mamut, ButtonBashers, Vicious & Evil, Impact and Epsilon is sure to be a thrilling experience. Also with a slightly unusual structure for the ET tourney this time, the second group stage – played on Saturday afternoon – will be very intense. The low point, of course, is that our favourite vagrant Nellie won’t be there!