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A picture of Julia Minamata

Julia Minamata

Indie game dev, streamer

in developer, game, illustrator, streamer

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Julia Minamata! I'm a solo indie game dev of The Crimson Diamond mainly, but also a streamer of game art dev and game music dev (with musician Dan Policar), and a freelance illustrator.

What hardware do you use?

I'm currently using a Microsoft Surface Pro 2 and an iPad, although in the past couple of weeks I've bought a Microsoft Surface Book 3 (13.5") to upgrade. I'm not sure if I'll return it and go back to the Surface Pro 2 or find something else, because of my dissatisfaction with how the Microsoft Slim Pen works with Photoshop CS2. I've bought a medium Wacom Intuos to test if the cursor jitter I'm experiencing with the Surface Book 3 is exclusively using the Microsoft Slim Pen, and it is.

I was hoping the Surface Book 3 (it has a detachable display) could act as a tablet PC that's good enough to run Photoshop and everything else I use, with a friendly form factor for art and that travels easily, but that hasn't been the case so far. It was a struggle to get the Microsoft Slim Pen to recognize pressure sensitivity in Photoshop CS2. I eventually fixed that, but the jitter I sometimes get when using the Slim Pen has stumped me so far. Fortunately, Microsoft Surface products have a 60-day return period, so I still have time to try to make it work for me.

I also have a ZAX Sound condenser microphone (SF-666) for Twitch streaming. It's decent budget-friendly option, although there seems to be a hum for some viewers that I'm still troubleshooting. The camera I use for streaming is the built-in front-facing camera, whether that's 1.2 MP (Surface Pro 2) or 5 MP (Surface Book 3). I love the higher resolution and better ability to adjust to poor lighting conditions of the Book 3's camera!

And what software?

I'm programming The Crimson Diamond in Adventure Game Studio 3.3.5. I also use Adobe Photoshop CS2, Adobe Illustrator CS2, Aseprite, Medibang Paint (on the iPad), CamStudio, VirtualDub, VLC Media Player, and OBS. I also use Macromedia Dreamweaver to design and maintain my site :D.

I use a lot of older software. Adobe CS2 is 15 years old. I don't even use the latest version of Adventure Game Studio! Upgrading is always a battle between the hardware and software, and it's expensive and time-consuming. I'm perfectly satisfied with the features of older software. I dislike upgrading, actually! But I'm at the stage where the SSD and peripherals I'm using are newer and don't play very well with the Surface Pro 2. It's a real shame, because the SP2's touchscreen is driven by Wacom tech, so Wacom styluses and button configuration utilities work with it. Subsequent models use N-trig, which is inferior, at least for my specific use-case of Photoshop CS2!

What would be your dream setup?

My dream set-up would be a laptop/tablet hybrid with a detachable display and a touch screen that is compatible with Wacom styluses. I've been unable to find a modern equivalent of the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 in that regard. I don't think a tablet pc using Wacom tech currently exists on the market and if it does, someone please tell me! Actually, the Wacom MobileStudio exists, but besides that (it doesn't come with a keyboard and the size I'd buy only has an integrated graphics card).

I'm looking into the Bamboo Ink Plus, which is a Wacom stylus that's compatible with Microsoft products. It remains to be seen if that resolves my issue with the cursor jitter when using the stylus (only an issue when using Photoshop CS2, but that's my main program and I'm unwilling to give it up). I'd also love this dream set-up to have a nice graphics card that would make streaming and video editing faster, as well as the ability to play some 3D games. I need something that travels well, too. I work in different places and I take my work to events etc, so I need that flexibility.