Uses This

Interview

What do people use to get the job done?

Luke Crane
Photo by Silja Rheingans.

Luke Crane

Game designer (The Burning Wheel), Games Lead (Kickstarter)

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Luke. I lead two separate but intertwined lives. By day, I'm the Games Lead at Kickstarter. I talk to games creators all day and help them get funding for their projects. By night, I design and publish games myself under my imprint The Burning Wheel. I've published 17 titles all together (if I'm counting correctly). I started with my fantasy RPG Burning Wheel in 2002 and I'm about to publish my first board game, Swords & Strongholds. My best known game is probably the Mouse Guard RPG.

What hardware do you use?

For Kickstarter, I'm hunched over a 13" MacBook Air. But for my own stuff, I have a beautiful 27" iMac (late 2013 model) with the 3.2ghz i5, 32GB of RAM and 3TB of storage on the hybrid drive with the Apple extended keyboard. I love it. I call it the view screen to the Starship Enterprise. My first computer was a Macintosh SE/30 - I still have it! - so I deeply appreciate how far we've come and how much I can do on this machine.

Also, I couldn't work at the desk top without my Steelcase chair. Working on a shitty office chair fucks up my back and wrists. Having a chair with real support has preserved my delicate Liche-like frame so I can continue to write my arcane tomes.

And what software?

I am deeply embedded in Creative Suite, particularly InDesign. I taught myself how to do pre-press using QuarkXpress 3 in order to get work in print production. Quark was an amazing piece of software. In fact, my first few books were laid out using Quark. But they supported it badly, so when InDesign came along, I made the jump. I'm currently running CS5, so I'm at least a generation behind.

Also, I should note, that I do 90% of my writing in InDesign. It's a terrible word processor, but after doing layout for so many years, I can't really think about a text unless I can see how it's going to look in its final form. I do all my own writing and layout, so at least I'm not passing hellacious files to a poor designer in production somewhere.

I'm also proficient in Photoshop and Illustrator, but at an advanced beginner level. I can't actually create any art, but I can pull apart what other folks have done and at least understand what's going on.

What would be your dream setup?

My favorite machine was probably the 12" G4 PowerBook. It had such a great tactile aspect to it, and despite it being a brick of metal, it was very portable. I know they're making 12"s again, but I'll wait until they give them features and power before I jump in. I also kit-bashed around with a G5 tower for a while and was able to pack it full of hard drives. Unfortunately, it was unstable and would crash all the time. But that leads me to my dream set up: It allows me to have multiple internal drives that I can dedicate to system, storage and scratch. I have a history of wrecking hard drives (and crying a lot over lost files), so I like to have everything physically partitioned and backed up. Not very dreamy, I know.

I have most everything I need...

But I guess if we're dreaming, I'd love to have a super high-end scanner, an HP Indigo machine and a bindery on hand. Would be so nice to prototype my books or even do short runs.