Monday, July 30, 2007

Reader WoWspace: the "Trog room"

This week on Reader WoWspace, we've got a really wild and interesting setup for you! This one comes to us courtesy of J. who has actually demolished and semi-rebuilt the room that his and his wife's WoWspace is in, just to fit in with what he calls the "troglodyte mode" style. Whatever you'd call this particular bunker, I know that this is one of the most absolutely unique WoWspaces I've seen to date! If you're curious to learn more about J. and his wife R.'s setup, check out all the details of this week's Reader WoWspace after the jump!

When I saw the pictures for this one, I couldn't resist contacting J. about this imaginative WoWspace! According to J., what these pictures don't actually show you is that there are 2 more computers up against the other walls, and were you to be in the hallway leading up to this room, you'd find a server closet with an additional two machines. However, as they are only file servers, he didn't figure that they qualified as part of the actual WoWspace.

J. was kind enough to give us something of a virtual "tour" of the WoWspace bunker that he and his wife share, so if you're curious as to what the specific items are, be sure to click on the photo below and check out the labels on the full-size image.

Beyond what you can see in the picture, I was able to catch up with J. to get the Insider scoop on this WoWspace for all the rest of us who can only experience it through photos --

WoW Insider: So what inspired this unique WoWspace?

J.: I first encountered the phrase "troglodyte mode" back in 1993 and have been aching to build an appropriate space ever since. While the room goes by many names in my circle, "the Trog Room" is by far its most common moniker. Also, it was relatively cheap.

WI: What did the room look like before you built your Trog Room?

J.: The room was actually unused and in disrepair when we moved in -- a little demolition work and I had it down to the bare studs. We originally thought of putting in artificial skylights and unicorn wallpaper, but ultimately decided to decorate in early Hacker-Militia Bunker. :)

WI: How do people react when they see your computer room?

J.: [People's reactions] run the gamut from "This is the coolest thing I've ever seen!" to "And your wife let you do this?" to "Huh."

WI: I could totally see that. What kind of materials did you use to put this whole thing together? Is there a lot of echo in there when you've got the music/game sounds going, are on the phone, etc?

J.: The walls are actually a mixture of aluminum flashing, silicone caulk, plastic sheeting, and old circuit boards. The aluminum flashing is available in rolls at your local home improvement hut. The flashing was cut to size, then simply stapled to the studs and each other. The edges were then sealed with silicone caulking for both effect and safety (aluminum flashing tends to be a bit sharp). The wire "shelf" is actually a garage wall organizer from the same home improvement hut. The floor is perforated rubber matting, commonly found in garages and workshops. The ceiling is open to the floor joists, but loosely covered with a spiderweb of spare cable. All of which is to say, it's not strictly a "metal box" so there's no echo whatsoever.

WI: Any particular reason for the choice of rubber mats on the floor?

J.: Keeps everything (including us) off the floor on the odd occasions when the basement still sees water. Yes, there is a drain in my gaming area.

WI: You have quite a few machines. What kind of specs do your primary machines have?

J.: They are nothing of consequence, but we try to make up for the lack of quality with quantity. There are a total of seven operational machines in the area (three pictured). Both workstations run Windows XP for gaming purposes; the center machine runs Gentoo Linux and serves as our music/print server and web browser. It's KVMed to my secondary workstation monitor for quick research and such.

WI: I can't remember seeing a solid stainless steel desk when I was shopping for one about a year ago. Where did you get yours?

J.: Both workstation desks and the center thrust are stainless steel kitchen stations I got from a local wholesaler for much cheaper than you could ever manage for the same "look" in a computer desk. They are C-clamped together.

WI: And I have to ask... Where do all those cables go? (note: this was before I had the labeled photo)

J.: Like any good geek, we hadn't been in the house long before I stumbled across "The Box of Cables" that belonged to equipment I no longer owned (or equipment I did own but that no longer functioned). Most of the aerial cable design goes nowhere and does nothing, but not all of it -- you can see one of my four routers in the upper left corner, sitting on the I-beam.

WI: Well, I definitely have to say it's the most unique space I've seen to date. Thanks so much for sharing it with us!

J.: No problem!

If you'd like to show the rest of us just how totally cool and unique your gaming bunker is, send a mail to us at with some pictures, information, and a note of whether you're willing to be interviewed about your space. Much like J. and R., you could be contacted next to give us the scoop on your own unique WoWspace for an upcoming column!

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