Show Us Your Rig: Elder Scrolls Online designer Nick Konkle

NickK Desk

Show us your rig

Each week on Show Us Your Rig, we feature the PC game industry's best and brightest as they show us the systems they use to work and play.

Nick Konkle, Lead Gameplay Designer of The Elder Scrolls Online, is similar to many of the other developers we've featured on Show Us Your Rig by having three different computers. However, Nick ups the ante by cramming them all onto a single desk. He was kind enough to take the time and show off his set-up, including that one monitor he just can't bear to part with.

What's in your PC?

I use three computers for my various activities. They are named Da Cheat, Compy486, and The Biscuit. I've provided several clues in this image to help you determine which computer is which.

Da Cheat:

  • 500gb SSD
  • Intel i7 3.6GHZ
  • 16 GB DDR3 RAM
  • AMD Radeon 7870, 2GB VRAM
  • ASUS P9X79 LE INTEL X79 Motherboard

You'll also notice I have an 24'' Apple Cinema Display monitor from 2003 on my desk. I actually bought a top of the line 30'' monitor, but it died one month after the warranty expired and I've been so traumatized by the experience that I've gone back to my old but sturdy apple monitor. Seriously, this thing is 10 years old, weighs 40 pounds, and still somehow works like the day I borrowed and didn't return it. And yes, I realize my relationship with this monitor is a bit like a farmer with an old truck. I'm not ashamed of it.

The Biscuit:

  • 11 inch Macbook air
  • 1.7 GHZ i7
  • 512 GB Flash Storage

I went on a long search for the right device for me to travel with, write documents, brainstorm, and maybe play the occasional game. Having investigated all the various tablet + keyboard combinations I could find, I finally ended up with an apple laptop. Yeah, it's a little obvious, but it's what works.

Compy 486:

  • 1TB HDD
  • Some other stuff

I keep my old Alienware computer around to act as a server for various media files. Waste not!

Also, let's be honest: my desk area does not usually look this clean. Thank you to PC gamer for making me clean it for the first time this month (year).

What's the most interesting/unique part of your setup?

The Apple Cinema Monitor (like a rock), AnthroCart desk and chair were all things I managed to take with me from my Oddworld days. Also, not pictured loot from Oddworld includes my sofa, printer, silverware, and plates. Maybe it's time for me to grow up and buy my own things, but I don't wanna!

As far as the computer hardware goes, since presumably that's what you want to hear about: the answer is “cooling!” I've put enough cooling power in my computer allow it to double as a beer fridge, not that I have ever done that before (today). My experience has always been that having the computer stay cool has bigger impact on performance than one extra generation of video card or a few more GB of RAM. My rig has 8 fans, liquid cooling, a high-powered external fan, and a nice shady corner away from all heat sources. Am I going overboard? Probably. Am I paranoid about spontaneously melting Da Cheat? Definitely.

What's always within arm's reach on your desk?

My notepad. Also, coffee and a breakfast sandwich. I feel like I do a lot of my best creative stuff during the morning on Saturdays, and while I can't prove that croissant sandwiches are the reason, I'm not going to stop eating them.

I also have a couple of shelves worth of swag nearby. There isn't any particular reason for that, other than that they're cool to look at. I definitely don't ever pretend that the Alduin and Molag Bal statues are fighting.

What are you playing right now?

So many games! I obviously play quite a bit of my own game (ESO), but I've manage to make time for a number of other games as well.

I'm working my way through the new Wolfenstein to satisfy my craving for story-based FPS games. The game has a quirky, over-the-top tone that cracks me up.

I also just picked up Oddworld: New and Tasty. I like to try out the best Indie games (as defined by the number someone comes to my desk and says “have you tried game X?!?”), and this one is particularly special for me because Abe's Exodus was the first video game I worked on. Also, I played each level so many times in my QA days that I can probably do a speed-run of the whole game in an hour.

And just so everyone doesn't think I'm making all homer picks, I've been playing the new content in Hearthstone. Conveniently, this is a game the biscuit can easily handle so I do most of my playing in Airports and Hotels. I travel a lot, so I end up playing quite a bit.

What's your favorite game and why?

Really any Naughty Dog game. My favorite is a toss-up between “Uncharted 2” and “The Last of Us.” I've always loved games where the story and the mechanics work together, and I think these two are really the best examples of this out there. When I played both of these games, I stopped all other activities for two straight days until I was done. And that's quite unusual for me, because in addition to playing games, I love watching movies, reading, playing soccer, and I have been known to frequent the Pub.

Tom Marks
Tom is PC Gamer’s Associate Editor. He enjoys platformers, puzzles and puzzle-platformers. He also enjoys talking about PC games, which he now no longer does alone. Tune in every Wednesday at 1pm Pacific on to see Tom host The PC Gamer Show.