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 Ian MacLarty

Ian MacLarty

Indie game developer

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm an independent game designer, artist and programmer from Melbourne. I make a lot of small experimental games often with a visual focus. You can find my portfolio here: I'm currently working on an abstract puzzle game.

What hardware do you use?

I mainly use a MacBook Pro (2017, 13", no touch bar). I don't use any external keyboards, mice or monitors. I dislike having to plug and unplug things and I like working in the kitchen where there's plenty of natural light. I also have an older desktop (Intel i5 CPU, 8GB RAM, GTX660 GPU, 1TB mechanical HDD, 23" monitor) with Linux and Windows 7 that I use less often, mainly for testing or playing games.

I have an iPhone 6 that I use for testing and sometimes for music production. I also have an older iPad and some older iPhones and a cheap Android phone that I use exclusively for testing. I have a pair of KRK KNS-8400 headphones and a Behringer C-1U microphone for audio work.

And what software?

I mostly work in the terminal and use vim as my editor. I use the standard Terminal app on Mac and whatever the default terminal on Linux Mint is. On Windows I use MSYS and rxvt. I often write bash or node.js scripts to automate repetitive tasks.

I use my own game engine called Amulet which is written in C++ and uses GNU make as its build system. I use the Clang, GCC and Visual C++ compilers. I've found Valgrind very useful for tracking down memory errors and leaks. I rarely use a debugger, preferring print statements (this is somewhat ironic, because I did my postgraduate research on debuggers). I write my games in Lua and use LuaJIT on desktop and vanilla Lua on mobile and browser.

For 2D graphics I'm currently using Acorn, but will sometimes use GIMP when I'm working on Linux. For audio I use Audacity on Mac and Linux and on my iPhone I've used Figure to produce music and Animoog to produce sound effects. I've also used SFXR.

I occasionally use Blender for 3D modelling or trailer production. Sometimes I'll also use iMovie for trailers, though it doesn't give as much control as Blender. I use GIF Brewery 3 and QuickTime to record GIFs and gameplay footage respectively and Handbrake to transcode between video formats.

What would be your dream setup?

I'm pretty happy with what I've got. I'd like to get more into music production so if I could afford it I'd purchase Ableton Live and maybe get one of those fancy Ableton Push devices.