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 Dan Bruno

Dan Bruno

Game designer (Harmonix)

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Dan Bruno, and I'm a video game designer. I currently work at the music game developer Harmonix, and I'm working on a side project game as well. I also play music and write.

What hardware do you use?

I'm mostly an Apple guy. I have two computers, a new 5K iMac and an old refurbished MacBook Air. I also have two iOS devices, a new iPad Pro and an old iPhone 6S (whose battery I just replaced - gonna put off buying a big phone as long as possible!).

That said, I also write by hand a lot. I tend to use Pigma Micron pens and Field Notes notebooks. Most importantly I use Hobonichi Techos for journaling, which I've done every day for about three years now. If my apartment building was burning down and I could only get one armful of stuff out the door, I'd grab the Techos and leave everything else.

As for audio hardware, I have a Scarlett 2i2 USB audio interface, a few miscellaneous microphones, and a bunch of instruments: two guitars, two basses, a mandolin, and a digital piano.

And what software?

I use the game engine Unity for the aforementioned side project. (Though I'm still running an old version from 2015, because upgrading is expensive!) I do the C# work in Visual Studio Code, although honestly I'm not a proficient enough programmer to have strong opinions about source code editors.

When messing with music, I use Logic Pro X for recording and Sibelius for notation. (I'm also running an old version of Sibelius because upgrading is expensive.) For more general audio shenanigans, I sometimes use Audacity or Audio Hijack.

I recently started blogging again. To support that, I use the static site generator Hugo and the FTP client Transmit. Relatedly, I've been getting back into reading RSS with NetNewsWire, which Brent Simmons recently reacquired. The current iteration is still early in development, but it does everything I need already.

I usually just do my writing in Notes or TextEdit (or Visual Studio Code, if I want Markdown), but when I'm working on something longer I'll use Scrivener. Most of my Scrivener writing to date has been for National Novel Writing Month, but I'm currently experimenting with using it as a game development tool as well.

I'm not a big film or television person, but I use MakeMKV and Handbrake to get digital versions of the physical media I do own and then store it all in Plex.

A grab bag of other things I see while rifling through my Applications folder: I use Acorn for image editing, Quicksilver for app launching, and 1Password for password managing. I use Backblaze and SuperDuper for backups. I'm not all-in on GTD quite yet, but I use Things for to-do lists. I use Versions for source control on my game.

As for iOS, I find that I can get pretty far with the stock apps. The third-party ones I use the most are the podcast player Overcast, the library ebook manager Libby, and the iPad drawing app Procreate. I recently stopped using Twitter in favor of Mastodon (hello!), but I was a big fan of Tweetbot as well.

What would be your dream setup?

I'm happy with what I've got, really. If money were no object, I'd probably just upgrade the things I already have - I could keep up with newer pro hardware, maybe, or buy up-to-date versions of software instead of clinging to old releases until they're deprecated. I need time and mental energy more than I need a better setup, I think!