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 Toby Alden

Toby Alden

Game and web developer

in developer, game, mac

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name's Toby Alden, and I'm a programmer. I mostly make games and websites, which you can find links to at tobyalden.com. I'm currently working on a horror platformer called Love Eternal, which you can follow the development of on Twitter.

What hardware do you use?

I use a 2013 MacBook Pro. I have tendonitis in both wrists, so ergonomics is very important to me. I work standing, using an 23.5-inch monitor I got off Craigslist for 40 bucks (a Dell SE2416H). For a keyboard, I use the Kinesis Advantage2, a funky ergonomic keyboard where the keys are inset in small bowls. It's a bit pricey, but it's helped a lot with the pain in my wrists. For a mouse, I use a wired Anker vertical mouse. These are pretty cheap, and a great investment if you use the mouse a lot. The vertical shape puts your hand in a "handshake" position that feels a lot more natural than a standard mouse. I have everything stacked on boxes to get the monitor at eye level and the keyboard and mouse at a height where my forearms are parallel to the ground while I'm using it. I try to work in increments of 25 minutes, with a five minute break between each one to avoid straining my body.

And what software?

For coding, I use Vim and a Unix shell. I like to work in pure code as much as possible, so I try to use small, code-centric frameworks instead of larger development tools with integrated IDEs like Unity or Unreal. For games, I usually code in Haxe using a framework called HaxePunk, although I've also been experimenting with Lua and LÖVE recently. For websites, I typically use Node.js or just plain JavaScript. Other tools I use for games include Ableton Live 10 (for music and sound effects), Acorn (an image editor), and OGMO Editor (an open source map editor).

What would be your dream setup?

I don't really have a dream setup - the process I have now feels pretty ideal. If there's anything I would change, it would just be to make HaxePunk an active project with a community around it. I enjoy working in it the most of any framework I've tried, but there hasn't been any new development on it for a while and not too many people use it, so its fate is uncertain.

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