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 Nathan Hoad

Nathan Hoad

Interactive developer, artist

Posted in artist, developer, mac, windows

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Nathan Hoad and I'm an interactive developer and artist. I work on the Story Lab team at ABC News as well as doing various creative stuff with Lilly Piri.

I like to always be learning something interesting and my current challenge is to start an indie game studio. I've been writing a game engine and have a couple of games in the works (we've competed in and occasionally won a few hackathons in the past).

A couple of years ago I did one of those 365 projects where I challenged myself to complete a painting each day, every day. I learnt a lot from the experience.

It was around that time that some friends and I started playing Dungeons & Dragons. D&D ended up featuring quite heavily in my paintings and our party's adventures continue to be a source of inspiration and creativity to this day.

What hardware do you use?

I use a 15" MacBook Pro with a Gavin Belson Signature Edition Box 3 eGPU attached (custom built by Ben Hoad). The desk in my office at home is made from a bunch of parts from IKEA.

My Bose QC35 headphones help me focus.

I enjoy composing music (mostly game stuff) and have an M-Audio KeyStudio to help with that. It might not have many features but its simplicity is what I like most about it.

When I paint I use a Windsor & Newton pocket watercolour set.

I love to play games on my Nintendo Switch. That thing really is the perfect console AND portable gaming machine.

My iPhone 6S is getting quite old now but I'm not overly interested in phones so I'll probably only replace this if it gets abandoned by iOS or if I break it.

And what software?

When I'm working on games I spend most of my time in Visual Studio and Aseprite. Visual Studio for the coding and Aseprite because I use mostly pixel art in my games and Aseprite is the best and most fun editor there is. The game engine I'm working on is built on top of the MonoGame framework.

I write my game music using LMMS. I used to use GarageBand but now that I find myself in Windows more often than macOS I needed something that would work in both (and, to be honest, I actually feel like I'm more productive in LMMS even though it's harder to use).

It is for the same reason that I use Inkscape for any vector graphics stuff (though I do still use Sketch at lot at the ABC).

I used to use Final Cut Pro and Motion to cut together videos but I've recently started using DaVinci Resolve and, while there is a new learning curve to get up to speed, it's been fun and meets my need for it to run on both Windows and macOS.

When I'm working on web stuff I use VS Code. While I do use Chrome occasionally (it currently has a better debugger) my main browser of choice is Firefox. I use LastPass for all of my passwords and Notion for all of my note taking.

I've been having a great time learning German in Duolingo.

My favourite games to play at the moment are Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Celeste, and Final Fantasy IX (which I've now bought on two separate release days almost 20 years apart).

What would be your dream setup?

I kind of already have my dream setup (except maybe with the inclusion of a Surface Studio 2 for no other reason than they look interesting). I mostly prefer doing over having so I end up just using whatever is available to get stuff done.