Shorter for Science

I've been using pretty much the same rocket design for trips to Kerbin's moons for a while now, but, especially with the extra science components for career mode, I finally got exasperated with its gangly instability.

This new rocket uses the same layout for most of its stages, but has a much shorter and broader lander. I wasn't convinced that the extra engines and reduced fuel capacity weren't a compromise too far, but Jebediah successfully took it to the Mun's Farside Crater and back.


Strangers in Orbit

I threw together a slightly monstrous rocket to do a rescue contract.

Actually synchronising with the poor lost kerbonaut ate most of its fuel, but then it was just a short trip back down to the surface...


Sacrificial Kerbot

Oh, hello.

I've been playing Kerbal Space Program's career mode since the version 0.24 update. My best achievement so far has been crash-landing a probe onto one of Duna's ice caps, where it sent back temperature and pressure readings for juicy science points.


I Made Another Thing

This thing is about a bunch of weirdoes who talk at you.

Here it is.


Further Adventures in What's Happening

Once again, I volunteered to write examinations of the nominations for the XYZZY Awards' best character award, which you can find here, if you're into that kind of thing.


What's Happening

So yesterday I attended the XYZZY Awards Ceremony on ye olde ifMud.

Castle of the Red Prince was a nominee for Best Use of Innovation.


Change of plan...

Actually, there's something unseemly about dumping a load of images on a Blogger blog, so I'm going to post my failures at isuckatmetalslug.tumblr.com

Tumblr also lets me easily queue my failures up to post over the oncoming days and it doesn't compress the crap out of the screenshots (which are admittedly from a port that distorts the game's graphics anyway...)

I'll probably add a little post here if I manage to make any significant progress. Like it would be nice to make it to the mission 2 boss one day. :-/


Credit where credit's due.

The third instalment in SNK's classic run 'n' gun series Metal Slug is now available on Steam. It's perhaps best described as a "passable" port - it works for most people, stutters very occasionally (for me, more frequently for others) and displays some of the best pixel art of all time at an almost-but-not-quite-right resolution.

If you can forgive those faults, it's still a delightfully exaggerated bunch of explosive madness. And when I'm not working on my current project (which has hopefully passed the point where I'd be prepared to give up before finishing it), I'm currently seeing how far I can get into the game on a single credit (medium difficulty). The answer is probably not far, but I'm going to post my progress here until I give up.


2013: Stuff I Found and Liked


A Cat in Paris
A short and delightful film about a cat's friendships with a grieving little girl and a professional thief.

Charting the party political broadcasts that aired against Pinochet during the referendum that ended his dictatorship, this film alternates between moments of levity and vulnerability, all filmed in a gloriously ugly-beautiful video cassette style.

Thor: The Dark World
It made me laugh, it used its London locations well and by now the Marvel Cinematic Universe has me hook, line and sinker.


Ready Player One - Ernest Cline
Relentless retro nostalgia can't hide the fact that this book cares for its characters, even as it puts them through virtual reality hell.

King of Air Fighters - Ira Jones
This hagiography of Edward "Mick" Mannock is as interesting for its undisguised bias as its charting of the life of one of the most important airmen of the First World War.

Blue Remembered Earth - Alastair Reynolds
A solid work of science fiction by one of my favourite authors in the genre.


Gunnerkrigg Court - Thomas Siddell
I caught up on the hard-copy editions of this webcomic a few months ago, and it's as imaginative and winsome as ever.

21st Century Boys - Naoki Urasawa
This two volume conclusion to Urasawa's 20th Century Boys wraps up what is probably one of my all-time favourite stories - a genre-spanning epic which always has more surprises up its sleeve.

Knights of Sidonia - Tsutomu Nihei
To some this is the comic where Nihei sold out, but in applying his strange blend of M.C. Escher and H.R. Giger to the space opera genre he's created something I find appealingly strange.


Is this a sitcom, or one long, carefully choreographed battle against genre, tropes and expectations? Inventive, imaginative and - beneath its cynical and sarcastic exterior - heartfelt and compassionate.

The fifth and final season was by far the weakest, but it's hard to hold a grudge against such a genuine effort to bid fond farewell to this likeable cast of oddballs.

Adventure Time
Genuine characters experience mind-blowingly unreal situations across a bizarre fantasy land. What's not to like?

Video Games

I may be a bit late to the party, but this really is the game that has everything. Build a home, explore strange and dangerous countryside, fight monsters. Imagination is both encouraged and rewarded.

Kerbal Space Program
No shit, if you've visited here over the past year. Fun, challenging and open-ended.

A Dark Room
This game starts out simply enough that I dismissed it out of hand when I first encountered it. The next time, I lingered a little longer and quickly found a game that consistently ramps up the scale each time you think you've got a handle on it. Also a superlative example of minimalist world-building.