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 Chris Klimas

Chris Klimas

Web developer (Twine)

Posted in developer, game, mac, windows

Who are you, and what do you do?

I work as a web developer, and I'm fascinated by words and interactivity. I created Twine, an open-source application that makes creating storytelling games incredibly easy. Right now, I'm working on creating a browser-based version of Twine. I also collaborate with my best friend Joel on graphical games under the name Twofold Secret; we most recently released a turn-based strategy game, Camp Keepalive.

What hardware do you use?

My main computer is a Dell 15z laptop running Windows 7. I switched from OS X so I could keep up with PC gaming. I have an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse, but I barely use them -- I'm almost always couch computing. I don't use headphones at all. I used to, but I started to worry about my hearing.

I just traded in an original iPad for an iPad Air, which I mainly use for web browsing before bed, and I carry around an iPhone 5C.

My creative process works so much better when I'm writing or sketching longhand on paper, so I've been carrying around spiral notebooks for a long time. Just recently I added a graph-ruled notebook into the mix as well to draw maps and diagrams. I always use mechanical pencils, but I don't really care what kind I use -- I buy whatever's available at the nearest drug store.

And what software?

For programming, I use gVim with the Mustang theme. I converted after learning emacs in my college days -- vim just seems more efficient. Mustang is really clever because it de-emphasizes the connective tissue of code, e.g. the ifs and the elses, so the actual important parts stick out. I also have the NERDTree and CtrlP plugins installed. Otherwise, I try to keep my config as minimal as possible -- that's the whole point of vim, right?

For writing, I use a WriteRoom clone named Q10. Gimp for graphics and Audacity for audio. Actually, I really love screwing around making sounds with Bfxr; Audacity is just for superbasic editing.

I use Mercurial for source control, and TortoiseHg as a nicer interface on top. Mercurial's verbs are just more logical to me than Git's.

I'm waiting for Firefox to win my heart back from Chrome. Each release gets a little bit closer, but it still feels less responsive than Chrome is, and I'm just more familiar with Chrome's developer tools.

What would be your dream setup?

The practical answer would be either a magical version of OS X that could run Windows games without the hassle of VMs, or a magical version of Linux that can sync my phone with iTunes. I miss using a *nix, in short.

More ambitiously, I'd love to replace my paper notebooks with a magical e-ink device. I don't need character recognition or anything like that; I just want something I can write and sketch on and have the result saved digitally. You can do this more or less on a tablet, but it fails the beach test for me on two counts: backlit screens don't do well outdoors, obviously, and I also want something that I don't feel like I have to baby in the great wide world. Paper, on the other hand, is an invisible technology.