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 Holly Gramazio

Holly Gramazio

Game designer (Matheson Marcault)

Posted in designer, game, mac

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Holly Gramazio. I'm a game designer - sometimes on my own, but usually as half of Matheson Marcault. I also direct Now Play This, which is an annual festival of experimental game design which runs at Somerset House as part of London Games Week.

What hardware do you use?

I have a MacBook Air from 2015; the trackpad is slightly broken so I also have a wired mouse that was lying around the house. My phone is an iPhone SE. I like 'em both, although the replacement screen on the phone can be a bit glitchy; I seem to drop phones a lot so it's not really worth getting anything but the cheapest replacement.

My work involves reading a lot, so I have a Kindle Oasis for that which I like so much. I do still read paper books but it's just so transformative to be able to not have to lug a backpack of twelve books around.

That said, I like paper! I ike sticking paper notes in notebooks, so I print a lot of stuff out on our HP ENVY 4504, and photocopy things on library photocopiers. I'm also doing a little bit of work with projectors at the moment, and using one I borrowed from a friend. It's one of those mysterious generic objects that don't seem to have a brand name or a visible manufacturer, but it has RD-804 written on the underside somewhere...

And what software?

I mostly write in TextWrangler and then copy things into Word or Pages. Digital games: mostly Twine (still 1 rather than 2) for writing-based work; for other things, Haxegon (a little Haxe game-making library) with Sublime Text 2. Slack for work chat.

Much less frequently: InDesign for print prep, though mostly Sophie (the other half of Matheson Marcault) does that; Audacity for sound editing; Phocus for image processing (Hasselblad's free image editing software, which you can use with any photos - just to be clear, I extremely don't own a Hasselblad).

Also, importantly: Freedom to turn off the bits of the internet that distract me.

My todo lists are all paper, and I need a new overengineered system every few months. At the moment I've got a tiny notebook that fits about 10 to-do items per page, and then when I've finished everything on a page I fold it in half so I can see which pages have things left - that helps to force me to finish the one or two things I've been putting off that are stopping me from declaring a page done. Before that I had a weekly grid where I allocated tasks to different days in advance and moved them around with arrows a lot, and before that I had a hex grid of clustered tasks. Basically anything overcomplicated that I can use to trick myself into procrastinating less for a month or two.

What would be your dream setup?

A nice big studio at the top of the house with good light and plenty of desk space and a little coffee machine in the corner. A projector I can connect to without cables. Someone on retainer to come in every month and swap out my newly-broken phone screen for a top-quality replacement.