Uses This

1279 interviews since 2009

A picture of Andrew Looney

Andrew Looney

Game designer (Fluxx, Chrononauts, Loonacy)

in designer, game, mac

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Andrew Looney, and I invent games, mostly of the tabletop variety. I'm best known for a card game called Fluxx, but I also invented Chrononauts, Loonacy, and the soon-to-be-released Just Desserts. I also created Looney Pyramids, a game system you can use to play hundreds of different abstract strategy board games.

My wife and I started Looney Labs after meeting at NASA and spending a decade working together as computer engineers. Kristin used to design chips, and I was a programmer. Now we just use computers to run our business, making games.

What hardware do you use?

I've been a Mac-guy since 1986, so I'm all about the Apple. I have a big-screen iMac on my desk at the office, a notebook-sized Mac laptop for use at home and on the road, an iPad mini for when the iPhone is a little small, and an iPhone. Everything's a little old, since I tend to be slow about upgrading.

I also use some non-digital tools. I still like to use paper for to-do lists, notes, brainstorming, doodles, etc. I'm a big fan of these tiny disposable notebooks you can make by folding up a standard sheet of paper, called PocketMods. I typically carry 3 or 4 of these around in my back pocket and so I can pull one out to scribble on whenever I have a need.

I also still use regular sketchbooks when I'm drawing. Even though I rarely create final artwork myself anymore, my sketches are sometimes inspirations or starting points.

But perhaps my most important piece of equipment is my pair of scissors. Without scissors you can't cut out prototype cards or build experimental game equipment out of cardboard. Most of my prototypes are made by printing designs onto full-sheet pieces of sticker paper, which I then cut up by hand to apply to old cards and boxes. I have a particular favorite pair of scissors (purchased at Ikea) which I call my Game Design Scissors.

And what software?

I'm all about the Adobe suite: Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. I'm not as involved with the delivery of final production files as I used to be -- time was when I did all the page layout work for our games entirely by myself -- but I still use these tools constantly as I work on creation of new game materials and prototypes.

For writing I prefer the simplicity of TextEdit over more advanced word processors.

On my iPad, my most commonly-used program is the iOS Fluxx app, through which I'm typically playing about 20 games of Fluxx at the same time.

What would be your dream setup?

Setting aside non-existent technology like teleporters and food replicators, I'd have to say that situation I've got now is my dream setup. I'm sitting in my big corner office at the company I started, where I have all the tools and team members necessary to publish and promote whatever I think up next. I'm already living the dream!