DOTA 2 in-the-round, around the world

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The 2015 Defense of the Ancients 2 (DOTA 2) live world championship headlined as the world’s biggest video game competition. Dubbed ‘The International’, the six day event took place at Seattle’s KeyArena, to sell out audiences, and online viewers reaching into the tens of millions.

“The scope of the audio infrastructure is breathtaking,” said system designer Matt Collins. with the event “More complex than any rock show I’ve been a part of. We have to address two major demands. A huge live audience in the arena who need to hear and feel the visceral intensity of the competition; and an extensive fiber network platform that enables the transport of audio from and to anywhere within the building, in particular the multiple broadcast production suites and high number of locations that require audio I/O.”

Valve Software provides the creative drive and direction of the presentation; Valve’s Nathaniel Blue: “DOTA has many important audio cues, both subtle and intense, that tell the story of what is happening in the game. In addition, at The International we have live audio commentators and analysts representing over eight languages. It’s important that fans can hear all of these audio sources clearly - and feel them in some cases.“

“The system is configured in mono with PA in the four corners, with upper and lower hangs,” explained Collins. “The whole rig is based on d&b’s V-Series; upper systems of V-TOPs at 55 ft, lower trimmed at 30 ft. We hung the wider V12s down low on the long sides of the arena to cover the shorter throws where we had less distance for the horizontal pattern to develop. The narrower V8 cabinets predominate in all of the upper hangs, and in the lower hangs on the long throw ends of the arena. The upper rig is ideally positioned to cover the entire upper bowl and suites, as well as almost half of the lower bowl, with the lower system reaching everything below as well as helping to bring the image down a bit. There is no seated audience within the hockey dasher. Having the corner hangs so positioned means there’s barely a foot between the rigs and, as such, the horizontal coverage is an almost perfect spread. We needed solid low end but also had to keep it off the stage below, so we hung ten V-SUBs at each corner, with additional extended low frequencies coming from B2-SUBs deployed in a Cardioid Subwoofer Array at floor level.

“The viability of this system is a testament to the accuracy and predictability of d&b prediction and control tools. Fidelity and coverage were critical and working with d&b ArrayCalc ensured a smooth, issue free delivery, both physically in the tight confines available for PA rigging between the screens, and audibly in the audience area. There wasn’t a bad seat in the house.”

“As with any sports or entertainment broadcast the atmosphere and excitement within the arena is critical to making the viewer feel like they are actually there,” said Steve Meyer, owner of Meyer Projection, who headed Valve’s broadcast team. “Audio is a huge factor in creating that atmosphere. One of the great things about DOTA is that everyone in the arena is so invested in the teams involved and that creates incredible emotional intensity. We have to make sure that intensity permeates the entire arena and without great audio we would fail in that effort.”

Picture courtesy of Valve Corporation

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