Portal Stories: Mel

Portal Stories: Mel is a community made, free modification for Portal 2 based in the Portal universe. It tells the story of Mel, who meets a new personality core and faces an undiscovered threat to the Aperture facility.

I downloaded this when it came out but have only just gotten around to playing it. It obviously lacks the polish of a multi-million dollar Valve game, but it is still exceptionally good. I particularly liked the Half-Life homage tram ride at the start.

Portal Stories: Mel on Steam →

Portal Stories: Mel is a standalone mod that does not require Portal 2 to be installed to play, though you do need to own Portal 2. The game has 22 levels, with an estimated gameplay time of ~6-10 hours.

See also: The Cabal: Valve’s design process for creating Half-Life and other posts on this blog tagged ‘games’.

Nuclear Fruit, Part One: Mechanical Minds

Stuart Brown’s five part exploration of the Cold War’s effect on video games.

Watch parts two, three, four & five →

Project Apollo Archive
Thousands of high-resolution (3200DPI) Apollo images scanned by NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

Here (in no particular order) are about sixty of my favourites picked from a quick trip through the 9,200 on offer!

See the rest of the Project Apollo Archive that caught my eye →

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Project Apollo Archive

The Project Apollo Archive serves as an online reference source and repository of digital images pertaining to the historic manned lunar landing program.


OXO On 12-Cup Coffee Brewing System

With the thermos carafe, showerhead dripper and a variable temperature kettle that can be used separately, this machine has the potential to be a great coffee maker. I’ve been using a Clever Dripper for a few years now, but I do miss some of the convenience of using a drip machine. This could be the one to take me back.

OXO On 12-Cup Coffee Brewing System

If the clever pump that goes through the handle, over the top and out the spout of the kettle works as well as it seems (without leaking or making a huge amount of noise or anything) then this could well be one of the best coffee makers.

Seattle Coffee Gear overview

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How the BB-8 Sphero Toy Works

Tested: We recently visited the workshop of Mike Senna, a droid builder who has made his own R2-D2 and Wall-E robots. Mike’s next project is recreating the BB-8 droid featured in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens! We discuss what’s known so far about how BB-8 was built for the film, how a remote-controlled model could be built, and take apart a BB-8 Sphero to see if we can learn anything from the small-scale toy!

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Webdesigner Depot: Channel 4 reveals a bizarre rebrand

Channel 4 is today launching a major brand redesign. Masterminded by 4Creative, Channel 4’s in-house creative agency, the new identity is brave, bizarre, and striking.

Shot by Jonathan Glazer, the idents tell the story of the channel’s blocks being discovered in caves, mined from the ground, and refined in labs. They’re natural, elemental curiosities.

“The idents present the blocks as kryptonite-like. They tell the story of their origin and how they have a powerful impact on the world around them. Just as Channel 4 does. It is a story that we shall build on.”

It’s Nice That: New Channel 4 identity by creative dream team of 4Creative, Jonathan Glazer, Neville Brody and DBLG

Two new typefaces have been designed by Neville Brody. The first is Chadwick, a rounded, warm, corporate typeface. Its forms are heavily geometric and designed for readability. The second typeface is Horseferry, an unusual, disruptive display text. Horseferry uses the basic forms of Chadwick, but blends in the blocks from the ‘4‘ logo.

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Channel 4’s surreal new brand identity

“The broadcast media landscape is a much more complicated place than it was ten years ago, so there’s a need to stand out more than ever before.” — John Allison, 4Creative