In the interests of getting as much playing done as possible, I was intending for players to generate their own characters, ideally in the course of a Skype or telephone conversation with me, before the event.
I'm quite happy not to use a tactical map, as I've never done so before. I do like players to bring minis, though, because I have a system whereby, if a player wants to talk "in character" they touch their mini (calm down at the back! - "I'd have to touch my MAXI!" Etc etc). Saves a certain amount of confusion. It can also be helpful to set a scene on a sketch map ("You're here, here and here. They're here, here, here, here, here and, oh yes, right here, behind you, because you failed that Awareness test earlier...").