Nine am in the ESWC Press Affiliate room, sees the park opening in an hour, breakfast starting ninety minutes ago and the opening ceremony in eight hours time from now.

This year, all of the gaming is going to take place inside the park, in various venues usually used for attractions here. This means that there's a lot of room for everything, not to mention a little exercise for those of us flitting between stages.

Talking of stages, the big screen and theatre are back, except a little bigger... When we saw it yesterday at Imagic, they had already set up, and were fiddling with the software that splits the main screen into the logo, player screens, pictures and potentially heart rates.

All of the showmatches and ceremonies are to be held there, starting with the opening, then exhibition matches. Tonight we have the opening ceremony, a group photo (of all 700 people here), then the opening game of Team 9 vs... Well, that depends on the draw.

To get to any of the other tournaments, you have to head to another arena. All the masters games are held in one building (Painkiller, Quake 3 and UT2K4), called La Cascade, which has a small amount of seating setup facing big screens, and what look like a lot of practice machines nearby.

Console tournaments are held in Cite Numerique, which already contains the consoles as part of an exhibit here. This is where Pro Evolution Soccer 3 is to be held, and lots of other smaller events we don't have the details of yet.

Warcraft 3 is in a surround-cinema called Pavillon Du Brasil. There are screens around the sides of the domed building, with computers arranged in two circles around the outside (presumably for practice), and the inside for the games.

We haven't been to look at the Counter-Strike area yet (Kadelicescope), as it's miles away from everything else... Ok, and we're lazy. Carmac will of course be taking a look instead.

We are all sleeping in the players hotel, which means no air conditioning and no facilities of any kind really, so we'll definately have no excuse not to be in the park throughout the day. The only problem with this, is that there's no focal point for the players to meet up, although there are plenty of events organised by ESWC, notably 'parties' every night.

Not everyone has arrived yet, but we're quite close, and should have everyone here in the next couple of hours. Then it's time to force people to write diaries, take a look around Futuroscope, and... Well, sit around I guess.

So, we'll bring you the groups and some predictions when the drawing is done, reports on the ceremony, and whether Carmac is wearing that suspicious luminous orange tshirt as soon as possible.
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