Looking to get the most out of your tournament software? We all know that tio tournament organizer is your best friend when running a tournament, but you almost certainly don't know about all of its really cool features. This article explores the multi-monitor support of tio, which may sound intimidating to some but actually provides a wealth of opportunities for increasing your tournament's efficiency and decreasing your stress load.
The idea: most laptops have an optional video-out port that lets you display your laptop on a monitor. The standard process for doing this involves a special keystroke -- usually Function + F5 or similar -- which forces the laptop to only send display information to the attached monitor. By fiddling with your laptop's display settings, you can convince it to display the same thing on both the laptop screen and the computer monitor. This lets you run a bracket on your laptop and have a computer monitor facing away from you, allowing entrants to review the bracket without crowding around your machine.
You can use this setup with any program, but tio tournament organizer goes beyond the call of duty with extensive and powerful multi-monitor support that gives you tremendous flexibility with what information you want to show the public. By telling your laptop to treat the second monitor as an extension of the first, you can run tio on your laptop and put a secondary view screen on the public monitor, choosing what information to show to the public and what to hide.
The practice: plug in a monitor to your laptop and force your computer to display your desktop on both the laptop screen and the external monitor (process will vary by laptop). Once you can see an image on the monitor, right-click on your desktop and choose Properties. This will bring up the Display Properties dialog. Navigate to the Advanced tab, where you should see two display icons (one for the laptop, one for the monitor). Select the second display by clicking the large monitor icon labeled "2"; then check the box "Extend my desktop to this monitor" and apply + close the window.
You should now see an empty desktop on your monitor, with your normal desktop view on your laptop. Here's what's going on: Windows is treating your two display as if they were side-by-side, which allows you to drag a window from your laptop screen onto your monitor to show it on only one window. Just drag it off the right side of the screen!
Now that our screens are set up, it's time to get tio involved in the two-monitor situation. Launch the program, load your tournament, and position tio in your primary monitor screen. You now have two powerful options for what to show on the other screen:
- Any event bracket viewer will have a "launch in a new window" button at the top of the bracket. This will create a new window that contains an image of your bracket that is updated as the event progresses. You can drag this window to the other monitor to provide an easy way for people to track the bracket without showing them important, private information, like the total pot size or how entrants were seeded. You can also mess around with other events without showing the unfinished event info to the public, saving yourself lots of complaints like "HEY I'M RIGHT NEXT TO MY FRIEND!!!", when you cleary aren't finished creating the event.
The secondary bracket viewer can be "linked" to your main window so that moving the bracket around on your screen also moves the bracket on the second screen. This makes it easier to scroll a bracket so people can see where they're currently positioned. The "Find Player" feature (Control + F) will also move the secondary viewer!
This option gives you an easy way to keep the public updated on bracket progress without feeling crowded and without having to worry about displaying private information.
- If you're using the Station Manager -- and you should be!!! -- you can use the Tools -> Launch Station Viewer menu item to create a secondary window showing the status of all your stations. You'll get a simple grid (which you can reconfigure to make smaller or larger) that shows each station with a match assigned to it, who's currently playing on that station, and when the match was called. No more questions of "Wait, where am I playing?" Just have them look at the station viewer and figure it out themselves! The viewer will automatically update as you assign new matches and can be shrunk later in the bracket when you aren't using as many stations.
- Round robin brackets can be difficult to administer because of problems communicating which pool each entrant is in. Shouting "POOL FIVE: CHAMP, NEAL, JOE, AND KEN!!!!" in a crowded room is not an ideal solution to this problem. Enter the "Launch Station Assignments Window" button from the Details section of a Round Robin event, which creates a secondary window that slowly scrolls through each pool and displays the entrants in that pool. You can configure how fast the display should change, and the viewer automatically updates when you change pool assignments on your laptop screen. Pop this baby on your monitor for twenty minutes prior to the start of a round robin event and all your communication problems will disappear.
Taking it further: you can acquire the same benefits on a much larger scale (literally) by hooking your laptop into a projector. They're expensive and sometimes hard to get ahold of, but the benefits are obvious: instead of showing your bracket on a 17 inch monitor, project it 10 feet wide on a wall! Any excuse for not knowing a station or pool assignment will disappear, and you can even use the projector towards the end of the bracket to broadcast the final matches so everyone can see.
Conclusion: these features are obviously geared towards larger tournaments; your average 32 person basement Brawl probably won't need to run a multi-monitor setup like this. But larger events should definitely look into using some of these power features. The more questions your entrants can answer themselves, the less they'll have to bother you and the more time you'll be able to spend running the actual tournament. So spend an hour playing with tio's features and see if you can't shave some time and hassle from your next tournament!