Uses This

A collection of nerdy interviews asking people from all walks of life what they use to get the job done.

A picture of Nico Disseldorp

Nico Disseldorp

Game developer (House House)

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Nico, part of House House, a four person videogame company from Melbourne. We made a local multiplayer weird wrestling game called Push Me Pull You, which we released in 2016. Now we are making Untitled Goose Game.

At House House we design everything together collaboratively and have a very consensus based approach. Individually, I'm the only programmer on the team, so I do all the programming, and a bunch of the more technical game editor work.

I also make web toys, which I put on my website sciencevsmagic.net. Making these is how I taught myself to program. Since starting House House I've only made stuff for sciencevsmagic.net when House House was in between games. Maybe after Untitled Goose Game is done I'll make another sciencevsmagic project.

What hardware do you use?

I have three computers that I use in different places.

At the House House office I work on an old desktop that I've had since 2010, before I started making games. At some point last year I found my compile times were getting too long and I had to upgrade some parts, but it's still running out of the same old case. I have two monitors that sit side by side on a homemade monitor stand that Stuart (my coworker) built for me. I generally put the editor I'm using on one monitor and have the game view on the other.

At home I use a Mac Mini that I bought a few years back to test Mac builds of Push Me Pull You. Having access to a Mac comes in handy pretty regularly, and I still occasionally bring it in to work to check that the goose game is still working on Mac. It's a bit slow these days, but at home I only use it for web browsing so that's fine.

I have a Surface Laptop that I use when I'm out and about or when I'm traveling. I like that it's got a taller screen than most laptops. I find that having more vertical screen space is more useful than a wider screen.

I use a Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard and an Evoluent VerticalMouse which you hold sideways? They are both a bit non-standard and seem to scare people who borrow my computer, but I find them both very comfortable.

My desk normally has a wired Xbox 360 controller that I use to play Untitled Goose Game. It's not my favorite controller to hold, but it's handy to have something wired so I don't need to worry about pairing or flat batteries, and the Windows driver support is better than most other controllers.

I also use console devkits, but I think you aren't supposed to talk about them publically - sorry!

And what software?

We are making Untitled Goose Game with Unity. So I mainly bounce back and forward between the Unity editor and writing C# code, which I do in Visual Studio Code.

Unity kind of pushes people towards making certain kinds of games. It makes certain things seem easy and other things seem harder, and Untitled Goose Game definitely works "with the grain" in a bunch of ways. Specifically, it has lots of hand made 3D scenes full of rigidbody physics props, and navmesh agents who walk around that world, which are all things that Unity seems pretty good at.

Push Me Pull You was originally made to run in web browsers (and then a standalone web wrapper, before finally being made in Unity) and I think that the unusual choice of technology was part of the reason why that game came out so weird.

I use git for version control, and GitLab to host my repositories.

Outside of working directly with the game, I spend a fair bit of time mucking around in Google Docs and Google Sheets.

For keeping track of our tasks, we use a Google Sheets spreadsheet. We've used a few different production tools, but none seemed as natural as a spreadsheet we made for ourselves. We have one main spreadsheet full of tasks that will need to be completed for the game to be done, and I mainly work from that. Although if something is really urgent I'll write it on a post it note and stick it to my monitor.

For my sciencevsmagic.net stuff I just write everything in straight JavaScript, and have avoided using libraries.

What would be your dream setup?

Maybe better speakers? I'm not really that fussed. I think what I have right now is definitely good enough.