Back in August, Kcho Studios hosted a tournament for Defense of the Ancients (DotA), known as Cuba DotA 2016. A similar event was held last year, at the Fabrica de Arte Cubano (FAC). This year is a big deal for a few reason: it’s the first time that Cubans have used Steam, a popular gaming platform; it’s the first time Cubans have played DotA online, instead of on a local area network (LAN); it’s the first time that anyone outside Cuba has been able to watch an event like this on the popular streaming site Twitch; and it’s certainly the first online tournament of its kind in Cuba. Most internet connections in Cuba are far too slow to support a game like this, but as we’ve written about in the past, but Google recently collaborated with the Cuban artist Kcho to create an internet hub with “high” speed internet access.
Felix Manuel González Pérez over at Cachivache Media recently covered the event in full. From his article:
Above the spot [the tournament] will be played can be read—in large, colored letters—GOOGLE + Kcho.MOR. The walls are white like doves and inlayed with the logos of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Firefox and other Web 2.0 tools. On the right wall is a Cuban flag and a portrait of Fidel.
Inside the room everything is carefully arranged. The scant eight computers available to DotA Cuba are in a corner, while some tables on which to place them arrive. It takes at least twelve more computers to carry out a competition, not counting those needed so the spectators can watch the game.
Everyone is making phone calls to ask for help borrowing computers. Many players are committed to bringing them and they lower the tensions a bit.
When the first ten computers are connected, the network is enabled and the group prepares to test the connection to Steam. Cuba DotA programmers create accounts and modify the gaming interface. They must prioritize speed over quality. The knowledge they’ve acquired running game servers on networks such as SNET has given them the necessary skills to run code on the platform and adapt it to our connectivity requirements. After a while, and after a few frustrations, programmers manage to trick Steam and the game runs as if it were running from Europe.
Check out his article for more on the event.