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 Mat Dickie

Mat Dickie

Game developer

Who are you, and what do you do?

Under the abbreviated signature of "MDickie", I've been making games on my own terms since 2000. Originally for the PC, but in 2012 I reinvented myself as a mobile developer - which proved to be a better fit for my retro brand of gaming. My low-poly, low-resolution visuals are easy to criticize, but the performance I get out of a smaller download has allowed me to push a lot of boundaries. I've managed to release 10 different mobile apps in a row that have surpassed a million downloads, and maintained a 4-star review average under that scrutiny. The most popular is Wrestling Revolution 3D, which recently became the first game of its kind to reach the milestone of 50 million downloads.

What hardware do you use?

I've always preferred to use laptops as I travel quite often and need to take my work with me. When I talk about being a "mobile developer", it refers to the games being made on the move as well as played on the move! My current laptop is a high-end Microsoft Surface Book because I liked the idea of it being touch-screen (although that has yet to manifest itself in any meaningful way). As a developer of touch-screen apps, I'm a firm believer in that technology - so much so that my car is even touch-screen since I got a Tesla!

I also grudgingly keep a MacBook Air for uploading iOS apps, but I wouldn't choose to use it for anything else as I find Apple products to be a "closed system". Of course, I also keep a wide range of mobiles and tablets to test my apps on. My preferred one for daily use would be something in the Samsung Galaxy S range. I developed my first app on a Samsung Galaxy S II, so my career has grown alongside that range.

And what software?

My mobile apps are developed in Flash, which is now known as "Animate CC". As much as I like it personally, it seems to be falling behind the rest of the industry and is not widely supported anymore - so I may need to jump to a more stable platform like Unity eventually. I will do so grudgingly, however, as I've been getting good results out of Flash in 2D - and even in 3D with extensions like Flare 3D. I use 3ds Max for my modelling, whereas any 2D art tends to come together in Painter or Paint.NET. For my sound engineering, I use WavePad Sound Editor. I even used to make my own music in programs like Magix Music Maker, but it has been a while since I did that! I prefer to buy in music from professionals now. Not only is the quality better, but I get just as much pleasure from "discovering" new music as I did from making my own.

The software I use isn't necessarily the best there is. They're mainly old programs that I got into the habit of using and couldn't leave behind. My brand of game development is old-fashioned in every way, but I'm a pragmatist who sticks to what works.

What would be your dream setup?

I'm fortunate enough to be able to turn my dreams into reality, so I have my own studio in my own house and whatever technology I feel would be useful. I'm something of a minimalist with it, though, so my office is very streamlined and tidy to keep my mind clear. My garage is where all the old laptops go to die! I try to keep them all just in case there's the occasional file that I wish I still had access to. I only have problems when I leave my bubble. I just wish countries like China had a truly free internet, as it's tiresome to navigate around everything being blocked or censored. It's one of the reasons I don't live there anymore.