Google engineer builds ultimate LAN party house


December 13, 2011

A Google software engineer built a house designed specifically for hosting LAN parties

A Google software engineer built a house designed specifically for hosting LAN parties

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Anyone who has a attended a LAN party - where people connect their computers on one network in one location to play multiplayer games together - can tell you that they can be both very fun but also kind of a hassle. Playing games with your friends all in the same room: fun. Having to organize all your friends to each haul their usually-oversized gaming rigs to one person's house, ensuring they all have the same software, and inevitably dealing with one or more people having trouble connecting: not fun. With that in mind, it makes sense that one Google employee decided to bypass all that inconvenience and just build a house specifically for LAN parties, complete with multiple networked computers and TVs connected to game consoles.

Kenton Varda, a software engineer with Google, moved into his dream home in March but has just now revealed some of the inner workings of the gaming-centered house. On the surface the house appears pretty typical, but when guests are over the space transforms into a haven for gamers. Twelve fold-out PC stations are built into the walls for easy storage and are split between two rooms for team vs. team matches. The stations themselves only contain a monitor with a mouse and keyboard, while the actual computers are housed in a different room and connected to a server machine. When putting together the computers, Varda went for a hardware configuration that balanced price and performance. However, since he does not own multiple copies of each game, guests still need to log into their personal Steam,, etc. accounts to play using their own licensed copies.

Just setting up computers on a network isn't going to automatically ensure a LAN party-ready home though. Those machines are each going to need software updates for the operating system and games constantly, which would be time consuming to do on every individual PC. Luckily, Varda thought of this and had the server machine host a master disk, which can be used to sync all the machines with the latest updates all at once.

In addition to the stations, the house contains two large TVs connected to various game consoles, though Varda says those are usually just used to stream pro Starcraft matches. The house also has a security setup with cameras and motion detectors, along with some custom software of Varda's own design that sends picture updates to his email and phone and can stream a real-time video feed. The actual design of the living areas (this is his home after all) was handled by his father, Richard Vardas. In the future, Kenton hopes to improve on the tech in his home further by installing whole-house audio, solar panels, and Dance Dance Revolution using Google TV.

About the Author
Jonathan Fincher Jonathan grew up in Norway, China, and Trinidad before graduating film school and becoming an online writer covering green technology, history and design, as well as contributing to video game news sites like Filefront and 1Up. He currently resides in Texas, where his passions include video games, comics, and boring people who don't want to talk about either of those things. All articles by Jonathan Fincher

Internet Cafe? Just saying

Gary Ashby

Yeah, they look like they\'re having a real BLAST.

Chuck Anziulewicz

Nerds unite!

Christian Howe

Interesting that this article mentions Dance Dance Revolution. I guess this is how people will \"party\" in our increasingly solitary digital culture. People will just dance in front of their computer screens, but no one will actually dance with one another.

Chuck Anziulewicz

i wish i had a friend like him! is there a way to be adopted at age 39?

Mexoplex 5 Million

I am surprised that this has been given any notice what so ever. My friends and I did this sort of thing 20 years ago when we used to all get together for LAN parties. We had a much better setup however where our systems would be placed in a ring so that we could see our oponents reactions when we would compete. That way you coldn\'t spy on each other\'s screens unlike this side by side design which doesn\'t let you see their your oponents faces easily and allows the person sitting next to you to spy on your screen.

What a looser.


Foxy1968, you had a setup like this 20 years ago? What kind of LAN games were you playing at your parties in 1991? This gentleman set up a dozen high end gaming stations, some 50\" plasma screens, security system, imaging software, etc. I\'m curious about how much better your setup was. Where did you get all those large screens in 1991? Did you post an article about it with pictures? Seems to me the guy is taking his hobby and running with it. Hanging out with a bunch of his friends and having fun. And you\'re calling him a \"looser\" [sic] because you disagree with the seating arrangement? Seems odd.




Yes...and while you are spying you\'re getting fragged. That may be why he\'s streaming on the two large monitors. At any rate...this is kewl. It\'s always nice to have other gamers around gaming...and not looking over your shoulder while you are gaming.

I like Tiger Woods on my projector with others...shooting 18 holes. Not quite a LAN party; however, same difference!

That\'s what\'s needed...a projector room so one can study others\' movements and tactics...then go and try to snuff them, if possible.


Donald Byrd

StarCraft2! F*CKING YEAH!!!

Giovanni Giacobbi
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