I have finished my internship at Google (which I do want to post about eventually).

I am now about to start classes at Clarkson University. Everything's going smoothly, except the network to my room is broken and I'm connecting over my shiny new phone (hooray for Android 2.2's “Portable Wi-Fi hotspot”) and so I'm temporarily off several of my Internet activities due to bandwidth/latency/intermittency.

(On the upside of technical issues, I managed to get Apple Mail and my phone to talk to Clarkson's Exchange server, so no more having to remember to check my college email more than once a day. What wasn't obvious: When setting up the account in Mail, put the Outlook Web Access server name in both the “Incoming Mail Server” and “Outlook Web Access Server” fields. I haven't figured out how to send mail from their server; perhaps I need to upgrade to Mac OS X 10.6 for that.)

I designed the new logo for Tahoe-LAFS.

(If anyone has already used this title, that wasn't my intent.)

Screenshot of the game.

“Fire Worms From Outer Space!” was a game I wrote in spring 2009 as my final project for PH115 Science of Multimedia at MVCC.

It was written in Macromedia Adobe Director, and designed as “with the structure of a shoot-em-up and the mechanics of a physics game”; you must defeat the enemies in each of a series of levels — by smashing apart their chains-of-spheresical bodies with your wrecking ball of an inexplicably orbiting asteroid.

Most of the development time was focused on getting the physics right; the graphics, sounds, and level design were all secondary.

(I'm not particularly a fan of Director; it's just what was used in the class. If I ever get around to it, I'll rewrite it in JavaScript.)

Play Fire Worms

  • Play on web (requires Shockwave plugin)

    (Please let me know if this doesn't work; I don't have the Shockwave plugin so I can't test it.)

  • Mac OS X app (standalone)
  • Windows app (standalone?)


The Director file, plain-text copies of the scripts, and all of my saved development history (reconstructed; it was originally a bunch of directory copies) are available in a Git repository at git://switchb.org/fire-worms/. (No web view yet; need to do that.)

Other than the background image, credited in game and in “Title Page” to NASA, all elements of the game are Copyright 2009 Kevin Reid. I haven't gotten around to sticking a license on it; contact me and I'll get around to labeling it MIT or CC — let me know what license would be useful for what you'd like to do with it.

I found out that you can play Portal on a Mac without installing Windows using CrossOver Mac. Yay.

(2010 update: Of course, these days we can run Portal (and Steam, TF2, ...) on Mac. And the visual glitches mentioned have all been fixed in newer versions of Portal and CrossOver, too.)

Glitch and workaround... )

Portal is great.

I especially liked the moments of stare at layout baffled ... OH! ... portal-portal-portal-ding!

A bit of advice: Don't go on YouTube and watch a bunch of videos. There are only 19 levels (25 if you count the advanced maps, which are modifications of 6 of the regular ones), and having several of them spoiled was a bit disappointing.

I haven't tried any third-party maps. (Got recommendations?)

Oh, and one tip: when bouncing through a pair of floor portals and trying to aim at something, be looking straight up or down when you pass through the portal — that way, the game won't reorient you while you're trying to aim.