Uses This

Interview

What do people use to get the job done?

David Fox

David Fox

Game designer (Zak McKracken, Maniac Mansion)

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hey, I'm David Fox, long-time game designer and more recently, app developer. Back in 1977, my wife, Annie Fox, and I started the first public access microcomputer center, Marin Computer Center. We reviewed games from new publishers like Brøderbund and Adventure International for Creative Computing magazine. Then I created my first game, Mix and Match Muppets for Children's Television Workshop. Right around the time I completed my book, Computer Animation Primer, I heard that Lucasfilm was starting a new Games Group. I got an interview, showed them my manuscript, and was hired as their first game designer (employee #3).

During my 10 years there, the name changed from Lucasfilm Games to LucasArts, and I designed/programmed/project led a bunch of games. My favorites were my first, Rescue on Fractalus! and Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders. I also worked on Maniac Mansion and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure. I took a hiatus from games, and just released my first game in 20 years, Rube Works: The Official Rube Goldberg Invention Game for iOS, Android, Mac, PC, Linux.

What hardware do you use?

I'm a Mac guy from way back. Our first Mac was a 128KB Mac Plus. First hard drive was a whopping 20MB (figured that would be more than enough storage for years!). Now I'm on a MacBook Pro with a 23" Cinema Display, an iPad Air, and an iPhone 4s (I update about every 3 years). We also have various Android tablets (Nook, Kindle Fire, Nexus) for testing.

But back at the Marin Computer Center, we had 9 Processor Technology Sol-20s with 16K-24K of RAM connected to audio tape recorders so you could load in BASIC and other programs, 1 Equibox with dual 8" floppy drives, 5 Apple ][s connected to a single shared 10MB hard drive, 30 Atari 800s and 400s, a TRS-80, Commodore PET, an Apple 1 in a briefcase (on loan from Mitch Waite), a VCS 2600 on a video projector, and probably a few more... I like my MacBook Pro better!

And what software?

On my Mac, I run the current OS X (currently Mavericks). I spend most of my time using Photoshop, BBEdit, Dreamweaver, Adobe Premiere, QuickTime 7 and QuickTime Player, InDesign, GarageBand, Audacity, Podcast Maker, Keynote, iPhoto, iMovie, iTunes, Word, Excel, Quicken, Pages, Numbers, Preview, Interarchy, Skype, Messages. I use Corona SDK and Unity 3D for app development along with Xcode, AppViz 2 to track our apps on the App Store, and ScreenFlow for video screen capture. For social media, lots of Twitter (using Twitter's app on Mac and iPad), some Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+.

My favorite browser is Safari, but I also use Chrome and Firefox. Firebug on Firefox is great for debugging/testing CSS code.

What would be your dream setup?

I'd love a newer MacBook Pro... or maybe a Mac Pro, but I haven't used a desktop Mac for about 7 years. A larger monitor would be awesome, as would infinitely fast Internet (50Mbs is nice but...) Other than that, I pretty much have what I want. Oh, how about a Tesla while I'm dreaming.