Space Death website is live!

Check it out…


You can also follow the devblog here

Space Death

My latest project, currently in development. A game of starship design and the many ways to accidentally kill your crew.

See the Space Death Devblog for all the latest updates.

Some sneak preview screenshots to whet your appetite…



Flight deck

Flight deck





Landing gear


To the Moon and beyond!


In the works…



Whack-a-mole, with potatoes…

This is what happens if you buy a MaKey MaKey interface board for your kids, find a lack of suitable games, and want an excuse to hack something together with the Loom game engine. The game is just a tweaked version of one of the Loom demos (added keyboard support, added sound, modified gameplay).


Displaying orbits and trajectories

A rather stylish online Solar System Orrery.

It is written in Flash I’m afraid, so if you are on iOS you’ll just have to look at the screenshot and imagine the moving planets. Perhaps I will write an HTML5 version using D3.js when I get a chance…


If your tastes are more retro, check out orrery in the marvellous ZX Spectrum Astronomy, including the whole 24-line BASIC program!


It is a great reminder of what you can do with a low-resolution display and a few tens of lines of code. Here is another example showing different trajectories.


Vostok 1

A nice Russian Vostok 1 documentary.

Fancy being a Cosmonaut? Check out the centrifuge and ejection testing from 1:00.


When did computer operators stop wearing labcoats?


Rotate spacecraft to align arrows with direction of Earth before reentry!


Basics of Spaceflight

Does this kind of thing get you excited?

Launch Phase Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to describe the role launch sites play in total launch energy, state the characteristics of various launch vehicles, and list factors contributing to determination of launch windows. You will be able to describe how the launch day of the year and hour of the day affect interplanetary launch energy and list the major factors involved in preparations for launch.

Or how about this…?

Interplanetary Trajectories Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to describe the use of Hohmann transfer orbits in general terms and how spacecraft use them for interplanetary travel. You will be able to describe the general concept of exchanging angular momentum between planets and spacecraft to achieve gravity assist trajectories.

If so, you need to read the fabulous Basics of Spaceflight by Dave Doody, a JPL engineer. You can browse it online, but a free PDF version is also available which has much nicer formatting.

It is very clearly written and has a broad scope, covering all aspects of space travel and exploration.

Highly recommended.


SpaceX Grasshopper tests

Impressive videos of SpaceX’s Grasshopper vertical takeoff/landing rocket.

Nice touches having a cowboy going along for the ride and a Johnny Cash soundtrack.

I do hope they are working on a retractable swimming pool.



Vintage NASA Project Mercury documentaries

They don’t make documentaries like these any more.

Men in silver spacesuits.  Scientists in white labcoats.  Giant rockets.  Pointing engineers.


Bizarre soundtracks.

You can see where Gerry Anderson got his inspiration from for Thunderbirds.  Not least the fact that he named the Thunderbirds pilots after five of the Mercury 7 astronauts (bad luck Deke and Wally!).

Project Mercury (1963)


Blunt body

Freedom 7 (1961)

Micro meteorites

Flight path

Essential reading for Oculus Rift developers

Michael Abrash and John Carmack are both 3D graphics living legends. Both massively experienced and super-bright. When they say that VR has very difficult challenges, you’d better believe them!

From Abrash’s recent Game Developers Conference talk…

I’ve just spent 25 minutes telling you how hard VR is – and that’s certainly true. But realtime 3D was equally hard – just check out Chapter 64 in my Black Book about the lengths John went to in order to solve the potentially visible set problem, or think about how crude the early 3D accelerators were – and over time all that has worked out amazingly well.

This is the kind of opportunity that everyone in the gaming industry should dream of; if you want to do challenging work that has the potential to affect almost every game written in five or ten years, VR is a great place to be right now.

It really is like when I was working on Quake – a new world is emerging.

Both have written some great articles that describe VR implementation challenges in detail. If you are developing for the Oculus Rift you really need to read and understand these.

Michael Abrash

John Carmack

Oculus Rift first impressions (

A top quality Oculus Rift first impressions review here by Oliver Kreylos, a very smart and experienced VR/3D developer.

It is interesting to note how highly he rates the Rift lenses. I have been surprised at how much people have written about the display and head-tracker compared to how little has been written about the optics. The very wide field-of-view (FOV) is the key factor that provides the immersion that makes the Rift stand out from other low cost HMDs – similar FOVs were previously only available in high-end systems. To get such good optical performance in such a low cost device is a major achievement.

It is definitely worth spending time looking through his blog and YouTube channel and homepage.

You may well have seen his cool Kinect hack from a couple of years ago (it has had 2.5 million views!).