Space Engineers and the Joy of Building Stuff

Lighting effects are pretty!

A few weeks ago, I was chatting to a colleague of mine about computer games and that. This, by itself, is not unusual or noteworthy, but after a pleasant period of agreeing that games are pretty great we ran into a sudden difference of opinion.

She asked if I played Minecraft.

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To The Mun: Part 2 – Ground Control to Major Jeb


Space! It’s everywhere and it would probably be a good idea to see what’s in it. These are the continuing adventures of Durkon Kerman, his ongoing mission: To explore strange new worlds just for the hell of it. To seek out new Kerbals willing to be blasted into space. To boldly blast them into space and maybe even bring them back again! Uh… before! Just cue the theme music.

My main activity since putting Orbital Probe of Science I(b) into orbit has been concerned with the program’s personnel. When I was appointed, it seemed like no-one had any clearly defined job title. People just turned up, put on an engineer’s helmet, a labcoat or whatever else was left in the locker room and did that job for the day. We didn’t have any kerbonauts because nobody knew what a kerbonaut would wear. It was like bloody Simcity in here, except that the toilets don’t stop working whenever there’s a traffic jam.

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To the Mun: Adventures in KSP

Space is big. Really big.

Kerbal Space Program is… probably best described as a sandbox space program simulator. Except that doesn’t really tell you everything or even anything. Okay, so KSP is a game where you take control of the space program of an amusingly incompetent race called the Kerbals, build spacecraft of various types, try to get them into space and then try and do things with them. Things you can try to do include getting into a stable orbit of Kerbin (the Kerbals’ home planet), visiting the Mun (that’d be the moon), landing on the Mun, getting back to Kerbin and landing without exploding, crashing or crashing and then exploding. This is often rather hard because PHYSICS DAMN IT.

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A Skyrate’s Life, Part 8: Horrible make-up.

What's Drawception?

A Skyrate’s Life is a series of posts reminiscing about my time in the Skyrates roleplaying community, primarily through posting and talking about my remaining RP channel logs.

It’s been a while since the last one of these, and for that I apologise. I’ve also got some updates to do to previous entries’ notes based on what people in the community (principally Phedre Spitfire and Talon Karrde) have told me. I will get around to that, but I have to find the lurker chat logs first as I didn’t actually make proper notes for the corrections. Whoops.

What’s in this entry, then? Below the cut, you’ll find more Schellen, Kincaid’s birthday (which doesn’t go as well as you’d hope), Rimdar being perplexed at the lack of applause and Burrito Loco emitting a beeping sound. For those of you with accent allergies, this entry contains small quantities of Markus. For previous entries in this series, clicky!

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Crashed in Space: A Sword of the Stars II Diary

I’ve owned Sword of the Stars 2 since it was released about six months ago. I have yet to finish a single game. More than that, I have yet to make contact with another player, even in the smallest size galaxy! The game is incredibly prone to crashing, breaking, not working, working in a way other than intended and closing itself without warning at random intervals. That said, I am very fond of the original Sword of the Stars and the development team have been patching the game an average of two times a week since it was released.

We’re now on Revision 20461c. No, this isn’t a beta, it’s a live game. Yeah, they screwed up quite badly.

I do enjoy giving things a chance though! What follows is my attempt to play a fairly small scale game vs the AI with three players. I shall be the Sol Force, otherwise known as the standard-issue decent at pretty much everything Humans.

Admiral on the Bridge!

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Breaking News: Nothing happens.

Not actually true, strictly speaking – it is the opposite of nothing happening which is causing it to appear as if nothing is happening around here. Real life has been pretty busy, chaotic and mostly unpleasant and this has prevented me from working on any of the 7+ posts in my drafts folder recently. I haven’t forgotten about this place, but nor have I been able to devote any time to working on it (and the time I have had, I haven’t really been able to focus).

It doesn’t seem to be a localised effect though – EVERYTHING seems to have slowed down, at least on the parts of the Internet that I frequent. No-one seems to be updating things very often at the moment. Maybe they’re just updating at the same speed as normal, and I’m just noticing it a little more as I’m relying on the Internet for some light relief every day?

Regardless, here’s the stuff that I’ll probably eventually publish and won’t end up just deleting:

  • A Skyrate’s Life Part 8 and onwards from there. Apologies if you’re following this series, I’ll get on with it when I have some time.
  • Some thoughts on the Cataclysm expansion now that we’re pretty much at the end.
  • The first actual BF3 war story which I’ve been ineffectually working at for bloody ages.
  • More things… at some point.

Anyone who’s still about: Thanks for your patience!


A Skyrate’s Life, Part 7: The Darkness Under The Bar

Not a Schellen deck.

A Skyrate’s Life is a series of posts reminiscing about my time in the Skyrates roleplaying community, primarily through posting and talking about my remaining RP channel logs.

Alternate titles for this entry: “So I sho’ ‘er, tae”; “Enter Manik”; “You obliterated my ten!”

Just when it seems like things are settling down, and maybe we’re done with the violence and shooting it turns out that we’re… not. It seems like after I left the previous evening, at least 2 – possibly 3 people were shot and someone threw knives at Markus. I’d only very recently told someone that it was normally much more quiet and less violent around here and then the very next evening is about as violent as we’ve seen so far.

Also today, we meet Manik who is… certainly a character and Zekkass and I play our first game of Schellen, the Skyrates-universe card game. Today’s notes and chat log are beneath the cut. For previous entries in this series, clicky!

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A Skyrate’s Life, Part 6: Narcolepsy

A Skyrate’s Life is a series of posts reminiscing about my time in the Skyrates roleplaying community, primarily through posting and talking about my remaining RP channel logs.

Still no Mahmoth, so another mundane and easily understandable title today.

This is the final post of the 3 logs taken pretty much sequentially. Between parts 4, 5 and 6 we have the best part of an entire 24-hour R&P day! In pre-lurker times I imagine this was a fairly rare event, particularly with the server occasionally disconnecting you for no adequately explained reason. Anyway, in this entry Mairi explodes, Markus drinks heavily (the two are related), we discover a disturbing fact about the denizens of the R&P aand… we talk about aircraft a bit as usual. Don’t miss the flustered boar sow towards the end!

New Characters:

  • Gunnar Matheson: Male giraffe, blue faction (as of Skyrates 2.5 – he has no DP entry for 2.4 when these events took place). Hails from Reichland, a skyland a significant distance beyond Uurwerk – off the edge of the Skyrates game map in any case. Gunnar is the main connection between Reichland and the rest of Skytopia.
  • Concupiscense: Female boar (sow), yellow faction. Perpetually nervous. Another alt of Knappekat! (Thanks, Phedre)
  • Circle: Female giraffe, blue faction. Was apparently involved with Gunnar at some point.


  • Mairi’s meltdown is complete, and she explodes at Markus for being ‘so damned nice to me’. It turns out that recent events aren’t the only things that went badly for Mai – she has a pretty tragic backstory. The belief that letting people be nice to you causes them (and you) to be hurt is completely irrational, but also quite human.
  • Who’s the friend with brain damage who wants to kill her?
  • There’s a colossal OOC wall in the middle of this. It does explain quite a lot about the behaviour of the bar’s patrons, though…
  • This is the post where Markus refers to Zekkass and I as his apprentices. There are a few people who Alex looked up to in Skyrates – Mairi, Mah, BL and Markus primarily. If I was going to describe one of them as a kind of mentor though, it would likely be Markus. Torn as I was between blue and red, it seems fairly likely that I would’ve joined Zekkass and Markus in the Crimson Armada eventually.
  • What Connie says next is sadly lost to us. We may never know the rest of that conversation.

As you might expect, today’s chat log is below. For previous entries in this series, hie thee.

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A Skyrate’s Life, Part 5: Deus Ex Machina Rain.

A Skyrate’s Life is a series of posts reminiscing about my time in the Skyrates roleplaying community, primarily through posting and talking about my remaining RP channel logs.

First thing’s first: Just in case your browser doesn’t support displaying the title attribute for images, the header today is Captain Remy by the most excellent Tommy Chong, as posted in the Skyrates fan-art thread.

Okay, so part 5 it is. No Mahmoth in this entry, so no Mah-quote in the title sadly. Today doesn’t seem terribly remarkable at first glance, but we see a few more hints of Mairi’s upcoming meltdown (see also: end of Part 4) and discover that her waffles genuinely are “glorious, glorious, glorious!”. Also: Pretty much everyone enters through the Skylight and – surprise – we talk about aircraft and navigators. Again…

New Characters:

  • Jack Cross: Male fox, yellow (Flight School) faction. Seems to be involved in some kind of story with Tommy Chong.
  • Bushido: No DP entry! Apparently has a reputation for explosions.
  • Trystero: Male monkey, blue faction. Ninja! Yet another one of Mairi’s suitors. Markus ends up getting quite competitive with him.
  • Tommy Chong: Confusingly has no entry in DP, but it doesn’t matter. Tommy Chong is as legendary an individual as Skyrates has ever seen. Anyone who spends an extended amount of time around the Skyrates community will have run into at least one bit of Tommy’s incredible fan-art. In character, he’s a male squirrel with a background as a mercenary and pirate. Most recently, he took over a criminal organisation known as the Iron Crescent, although I’m not entirely sure what he was doing back in 2008. The Iron Crescent may be responsible for designing and manufacturing one of the game’s aircraft, the Barashiki.


  • This actually takes place the same day (in reality) as the previous log, 18/07/08. Part 4 was logged at 0300 Zulu – the bar’s evening. This one is around 1700 and covers morning and afternoon. I have another one recorded at 0300 on 19/07, so we effectively have most of an entire day in the R&P.
  • How exactly I managed to log everything before the power failure is a mystery to me. I guess I must’ve been constantly copying things over to the log as they happened, because there was no lurker bot in those days.
  • I’ve just taken delivery of my Vengeance which I am completely obsessed about. I loved my Vengeance. Apparently, so did pretty much everyone else – Zekkass had just acquired one and Markus was a well known Veng pilot. The Vengeance is well known for being a twin-hull aircraft with the second hull being just autocannon. It also features a crazy steam-gas hybrid engine which I spend the next few posts working out.
  • Unfortunately, I have no idea what Tommy and Jack’s story was up to now, or where it went from here – only that most of it didn’t happen while I was about.

Today’s chat log below, as always! For previous entries in this series, navigate here.

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