Robin Todd

in the tradition of Uses This

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hi! I'm Robin—I'm passionate about telling stories and making games (also obscure foreign action films!). I was a developer on Wing Commander 3, a writer on the original Deus Ex, and helped launch Star Wars: The Old Republic. Most recently I was the Senior Narrative Producer for Destiny 2 at Bungie, and currently I'm a Senior Technical Program Manager for Amazon Game Studios working on the Lumberyard game engine here in Austin.

By day, I've been a programmer, designer, writer, project manager, and producer; by night I write screenplays, work on my own game projects, and plan. Oh yes, I do.

What hardware do you use?

I currently use a refurbed ASUS ROG GL551 15" gaming laptop called the CrowBox as my main machine. It's transportable if necessary and fits my discontinued Booq backpack (steel reinforced sides and black ballistic nylon for that extra touch of cyberpunk). Sitting on my desk, it's hooked up to a nice big Dell U2715H monitor and a wall-mounted Toshiba flat screen for videos and games, plus a Vizio soundbar. I just got my first mechanical keyboard, a TKL Ducky One RGB LED with Brown Cherry MX switches, and I have to admit that I'm grooving on it.

For mobile writing, light dev, and interactive fiction, I've got a scuffed Microsoft Surface Pro 2 that I picked up off eBay from a wildlife photographer. It's a decent bit of Windows kit for the size/weight ratio. The Surface and a Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Mouse 3600 both go into a super-hot magenta backpack.

I use a Nexus 7 for reading and a Nexus 5x as my second brain. An old PowerGen juice bar gives me some extra charge when running around.

Video files (aka the previously mentioned obscure foreign action films) get stored on a pair of mirrored Seagate 1.5TB pocket drives.

I'm generally not big on quiet so I use Bluetooth speakers from Anker and MagicBox to stream sound wherever I need it around the house or elsewhere. When in public, I've got a pair of small, foldable JVC FLATS headphones (I prefer over-the-ear versus in-ear).

I like jewel tones; all the rooms in my house are different colors: the office is ruby red with cheap colored Ikea lights and LED strings among the hanging shelves (fairy lights make everything better). I've got a blurry pocket projector for throwing things on walls.

In the main room, which is a brass color, a PS4 handles all of my couch needs.

And what software?

Cloud: I'm a data rat and spent way too much of my life evaluating what to hoard and what to discard so I finally invested in a 1TB Dropbox account and Evernote Pro. No more evaluation—files go into Dropbox; notes and clippings into Evernote; and temporary to-do lists into Workflowy. Gmail and Gcal keep my life in order, along with an instance of Notepad++ on my desktop to jot down random stuff and a smattering of stickies around the house.

All of my Chrome instances sync and I've usually got some large number of tabs open between them at any one time; I'll frequently use Instapaper to archive off long articles or short fiction for reading at a bar or on a plane. Twitter and Facebook handle all of my social media and most of my messaging.

Windows: For writing screenplays it has to be Final Draft, otherwise I use LibreOffice or Google Docs. Playing around with dev projects in Unity/Visual Studio 2015, Ink, and Twine. VLC and IrfanView have been my preferred video and picture viewers for years. I switch up file transfer programs a bit more frequently, currently qBittorrent is my default.

KeePass stores my passwords locally while DropSync keeps them synced between Windows and Android apps.

Nexus 7: Comixology and PerfectView for comics; Kindle for books; muPDF for screenplays. The N7 is pretty much stuffed with content and nothing else.

Nexus 5x: Spotify for streaming music; GoneMAD for my offline music collection and BBC radio plays; and Pocket Casts for podcasts. I don't play many mobile games, but I always keep DroidFish ChessGoDroidCarcassonne, a PixelDungeon variant, and Spell Tower installed just in case.

What would be your dream setup?

For my kit it probably involves Kevlar and carbon fiber in a black/magenta combo. But aside from that: fast, cheap, omnipresent wifi; a nice sunlit room; no fluorescents; a big whiteboard; and some people around working on cool projects. A homey, slightly divey, bar in walking distance for brainstorming and reading. Good local restaurants to talk with friends over chips and salsa.