Shared posts

18 Dec 05:48

A retrospective on the making of Tie Fighter

by John Struan

It's a good thing that TIE Fighter collector's CD-ROM came out way before Steam and the "this is how many hours you've spent on it" counters... %)

Writing for PCGamer, Alex Kane takes a long look at the creation of the video game Tie Fighter, where the player becomes an ace in the Imperial Navy between the Battle of Hoth and Battle of Endor. Supposedly, this was Lucas's reaction when he saw the copy on the package:

As the story goes, George Lucas was shown the packaging for TIE Fighter in a board meeting shortly after the game had come out and had started performing well financially and earning acclaim. Lucas picked up the box, examined the cover, and then turned it over to read the copy on the back. "'Imperial Navy'?" he said. "There's no navy in Star Wars." A moment later: "Well, I guess it doesn't matter."

A key moment in the marketing of the game came when a deal was reached to co-promote the game along the Dodge Neon:

"I think what really helped the game is that we were approached by Dodge, the car company," Gleason says. "I wasn't in much of a bargaining position; I didn't have a whole lot to give in return, other than they get to use Star Wars in their advertising. For the Dodge Neon, which was nothing like a sci-fi or futuristic car. It was from Michigan. There was nothing sexy about it; it looked like a family car. But it was a big win, because we couldn't afford to distribute 400,000 demos on our own, or do a TV commercial."

With an unlikely marketing companion in Dodge, Gleason got a TIE Fighter demo onto the PCs of thousands of gamers. In early 1994, Computer Gaming World magazine released a single-mission demo of the game on a pair of 3.5-inch floppy disks. After clicking their way through an ad for the then-brand-new Neon compact, players were rewarded with an early, rough build of the game.

You can see that demo in this video:

My personal favorite mission was Battle 12, Mission 6: Recon Military Summit, which takes place just before the Battle of Endor. You're given two tasks. Jump into the system where the rebel fleet is amassed, scan the capital ships, and jump back out before being destroyed. Along the way, locate and assassinate a Bothan who has grown suspicious the rebels might be walking into a trap. Just make sure you don't destroy so many fighters that the rebels might abandon the assault on Endor! Here's a no commentary playthrough:

02 Dec 08:33

Spinner from Blade Runner takes off in a blast of steam

by Daniel

That's cool 8)

The gritty vision of a major metropolitan city after a mass-migration off-world is just one of the stunning visual elements in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. What is left behind is a world filled with the poor and downtrodden remnants of humanity struggling to eke out a living among crumbling infrastructures, lawlessness and an everyone-for-themselves dystopia. But at least they have flying cars, as depicted in this wonderfully detailed LEGO scene built by Keiichi Kamei. Keiichi’s scene features the classic flying car more commonly referred to as the Spinner, which is how the few police that are still around get a bird’s eye view of the city. It’s also perfect for dropping in and out of potentially dangerous situations.


The builder uses custom stickers to give the police vehicle it’s signature details, and I love the brick-and-slope-built steam clouds that really give the scene a dynamic aesthetic.


The post Spinner from Blade Runner takes off in a blast of steam appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

04 Nov 05:18

I scream, you scream, we all scream for Starscream!

by Edwinder

He's quite Masterpiece-y indeed! :o

The character attributes that I’ll always remember Starscream for are being whiny, always going around his boss’s plans, and frequently retreating when things go wrong. I guess those are also his best attributes that make him memorable after all these decades. What’s more interesting, however, is YouTuber Starscreamer’s creation of his namesake, the Transformers Generation 1 Decepticon Starscream. It’s created with an uncanny likeness, with the signature colors and parts that give it the perfect shaping.

The best part of the build is really to see how it transforms with ease and demonstrated in the YouTube video below. Trust me, it’s not something you’d want to miss. At this point, I think I’m just gonna scream for some instructions pretty please! Do note that if you’re attempting to replicate this build, the wings include a part with studs on the outer slope that’s no longer in production since 1999 and the only source would be from the aftermarket offerings from Bricklink.

The post I scream, you scream, we all scream for Starscream! appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

30 Oct 06:37

Blast to the past with Generation 1 Transformers

by Edwinder

I remember trying to make my own lego transformers back in the day. In all honesty some of these bits used didn't even exist then :D

Builder Alex Jones (Orion Pax) has a laser-focused talent to bring our favorite Transformers to life. They not only look great and recognizable in their humanoid form, but it takes skill to also make the same builds look fabulous in their alternate vehicle modes using LEGO bricks. This is not an easy task indeed and would likely take tons of hours of experimentation. These sets of builds feature; Autobots Ironhide, Cosmos, Mirage, and Powerglide each decorated with the unmistakable patterns and prints from the original box designs from the 80s. They certainly don’t make morning cartoons like they used to!

Autobot Ironhide

Autobot Cosmos

Autobot Powerglide

Autobot Mirage

The post Blast to the past with Generation 1 Transformers appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

24 Oct 08:33

V is for Visitor, and Virtual, and Very Nice

by Chris Doyle

Nostalgia time! Let’s travel back to the early 1980s and the classic sci-fi TV mini-series V. If you’re unfamiliar, the basic plot is that friendly human-looking aliens visit Earth. Yep. Just some run-of-the-mill totally benign alien pals. Totally legit. The fact that any more summary would require a “spoiler warning” tag should give you an idea that things go downhill from there. But I digress. We’re here to look at a great LEGO creation, after all. Huw Gwilliam has recreated the iconic Visitor Tanker Shuttle. This sleek craft has lines very similar to the Eagle-One from 1975’s Space: 1999. What? You haven’t seen that show either? *sigh* It’s probably streaming somewhere. Go watch it. You’ll be glad you did. Even if 1999 didn’t play out quite the same way in our reality.
Anyway. Huw’s model. It’s cool. Check out the Technic toothed plates in white on the cargo pods and in grey in the landing gear. The custom graphic work on the windows, Visitor logos, and minifigures is also top-notch.

Visitor Tanker Shuttle

Retro-TV-Space is totally a theme, right? Because I could sure use more of this sort of thing.

The post V is for Visitor, and Virtual, and Very Nice appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

14 Oct 05:16

A plugin to force Twitter to respect your settings and stop showing you "top" tweets

by Cory Doctorow

Twitter's habit of forcing the "top garbage first" over the preferred latest first is apparently annoying people enough :D

Twitter has a setting that (nominally) allows you to turn off its default of showing you "top" tweets (as selected by its engagement-maximizing, conflict-seeking algorithm), but periodically, Twitter just ignores that setting and starts nonconsensually eyeball-fucking you with inflammatory headlines.

Kent Brewster has created a free/open plugin for Chrome and Firefox that undoes this reversion and shows you the Twitter you've expressly asked for.

09 Oct 06:16

Twitter admits two-factor login phone numbers were used for advertising

by Rob Beschizza

Just as believable as fecesbook's "oops, I'm sorry we got caught, we'll work on this!" garbage.

Twitter reports that email address and phone numbers added for security reasons such as two-factor authorization "may have inadvertently been used for advertising purposes."

When an advertiser uploaded their marketing list, we may have matched people on Twitter to their list based on the email or phone number the Twitter account holder provided for safety and security purposes. This was an error and we apologize.

We cannot say with certainty how many people were impacted by this, but in an effort to be transparent, we wanted to make everyone aware. No personal data was ever shared externally with our partners or any other third parties.

User data that Twitter cannot sell ended up in an advertising product that lets Twitter monetize such data without revealing it directly to third parties. Inadvertantly.

04 Sep 03:59

Announcing the winner of TBB’s Stranger Things “Darker Hawkins” building contest [News]

by Andrew

The things people are capable of building... :o

To celebrate the launch of the third season of Netflix’s sci-fi drama Stranger Things, TBB kicked off a contest on the Fourth of July, challenging our readers to build other locations from Hawkins, Indiana not featured in the LEGO Stranger Things 75810 The Upside Down. The challenge was actually quite simple — the LEGO creation needed to feature both the normal world and its “Upside Down” counterpart location, as we showed in our own free instructions to build a LEGO Castle Byers. It’s been great to see builders interpret this design brief in so many different ways, through the contest entries on Flickr. Today, we’re happy to announce the clear winner of our contest — “Barb’s Disappearing” by talented German builder Jonas Kramm.

Barb's Disappearing

Jonas interpreted the contest’s concept perfectly with his recreation of Steve Harrington’s house, where Barb Holland rejects the immature behavior of her best friend Nancy Wheeler, Nancy’s boyfriend Steve Harrington, and Steve’s awful friends. After injuring her hand, Barb sits quietly on the pool’s diving board awaiting her terrible fate at the hands of the Demogorgon. The Harrington residence in the real world is captured wonderfully, with vertical siding on the house, shingle roof tiles, an irregularly shaped pool, and trees surrounding the home. Jonas has added to the atmosphere in this photo with some excellent lighting flowing from inside the house.

Justice for Barb

Like the official LEGO set, the Upside Down version of the Harrington house is a mirror image of the real-world version, but built in darker colors, covered in slime and overgrowth, with the human structures in a dilapidated state. Most terrifying of all, the Demogorgon approaches the diving board from behind…

The Upside Down

When we say that Jonas executed the concept perfectly, it’s not just that he built two excellent scenes that are real-world and Upside Down mirrors of each other. Also like the official set, Jonas’ model flips upside down, and can carry the weight of the entire model on the trees and the house’s chimney. Click the animated GIF to watch a slightly longer video, where you can get a peek at Jonas’ LEGO studio.

By choosing an unexpected location shown briefly in Season 1, Jonas has made us pause and think about this fateful moment when Nancy made the wrong choice, setting up her character’s growth throughout the rest of the series. We’ll be contacting Jonas to arrange shipment of 75810 The Upside Down and Castle Byers soon!

Honorable mentions

Despite running shortly after a more general Stranger Things contest directly from LEGO, the TBB contest generated numerous original entries that also captured the spirit of what we were looking for, even if they didn’t quite live up to Jonas’ amazing Harrington house. Let’s take a quick look at several honorable mentions.

Jonathan Fictorie is new to Flickr, but brought a strong dose of talent for the first LEGO creation he shared there. He’s recreated the Soviet lab under Starcourt Mall, with the Mindflayer just on the other side of the wall. The highly detailed laser device is excellent, with the addition of some nice Photoshop effects on both the real-world and Upside Down sides of the LEGO creation.

Starcourt Laser Lab/Mind Flayer

The laser device is worth a closer look as it tries to open a gate to the Upside Down. Jonathan’s LEGO version incorporates actual lighting, and the entire lab is highly detailed.


“Scoops Ahoy! at the Starcourt Mall” by Josh captures an idyllic 1980’s summer scene when everybody goes to shop and eat at the mall. Josh says, “After you’re done picking out your new outfit at the GAP, head on over for a Banana Split Sail-Boat Surprise! But this is Hawkins… so watch out for the deadly flavors scooped out in the Upside Down.” Be sure to click through to Josh’s Flickr for more photos of the interior and the Upside Down.

Scoops Ahoy! at the Starcourt Mall

Entries didn’t have to be huge or flippable like the official LEGO set to be great, as KevFett2011 shows with this vignette, showing Jonathan Byers pulling Nancy Wheeler through a hole in a tree that leads to the Upside Down. This is just one in a great series of Stranger Things vignettes that covers all three seasons of the TV show.

Stranger Things Season 1 - The Monster

A huge thank you to each of the builders who contributed an entry to the contest — it was especially great to see so many young builders share their LEGO creations for the first time. Keep building, asking for feedback, and improving, and you could reach Jonas’ level someday too!

The post Announcing the winner of TBB’s Stranger Things “Darker Hawkins” building contest [News] appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

22 Aug 07:06

Enormous Imperial hangar is the perfect place to fine-tune your AT-AT

by Rod

That is beautiful :o

Back in 2017, tastenmann77 took inspiration from The Empire Strikes Back and built an impressive Imperial AT-AT Walker. However, now he’s taken things to a whole new level and put together a huge maintenance hangar diorama to surround it. This LEGO creation is enormous – the walker itself is 45cm tall and 50cm long, which should give some impression of just how big the hangar is.


Sometimes larger LEGO creations rely on their sheer scale to impress, but this one is also filled with a frankly astonishing amount of detail. We’ve got Darth Vader arriving to carry out an inspection welcomed by a formation of Stormtroopers, there are Imperial officers overlooking the maintenance efforts from a gantry, there’s welding going on inside the AT-AT’s hold, and the floor is marked with realistic-looking warning stripes and is covered in interesting cargo and equipment. There’s even a mouse droid tootling around!

LEGO Star Wars AT-AT Imperial Dioram - Details

However, my favourite section has to be the crew room area. From its shiny floor to the detailed ceiling, this is an excellent piece of Star Wars modeling, and it’s been beautifully photographed too. I’m struck once more by the builder’s attention to detail — check out the time that’s been spent getting the design of those lockers just right! The crew room would be an impressive enough creation on its own, yet it forms only one small part of this excellent diorama. This is LEGO Star Wars building at its absolute best.

LEGO Star Wars Imperial Crew Room

The post Enormous Imperial hangar is the perfect place to fine-tune your AT-AT appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

08 Aug 04:48

Skype, Slack, other Electron-based apps can be easily backdoored

by Sean Gallagher
No need to knock, Electron left the code unlocked.

Enlarge / No need to knock, Electron left the code unlocked. (credit: Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS—The Electron development platform is a key part of many applications, thanks to its cross-platform capabilities. Based on JavaScript and Node.js, Electron has been used to create client applications for Internet communications tools (including Skype, WhatsApp, and Slack) and even Microsoft's Visual Studio Code development tool. But Electron can also pose a significant security risk because of how easily Electron-based applications can be modified without triggering warnings.

At the BSides LV security conference on Tuesday, Pavel Tsakalidis demonstrated a tool he created called BEEMKA, a Python-based tool that allows someone to unpack Electron ASAR archive files and inject new code into Electron's JavaScript libraries and built-in Chrome browser extensions. The vulnerability is not part of the applications themselves but of the underlying Electron framework—and that vulnerability allows malicious activities to be hidden within processes that appear to be benign. Tsakalidis said that he had contacted Electron about the vulnerability but that he had gotten no response—and the vulnerability remains.

While making these changes required administrator access on Linux and MacOS, it only requires local access on Windows. Those modifications can create new event-based "features" that can access the file system, activate a Web cam, and exfiltrate information from systems using the functionality of trusted applications—including user credentials and sensitive data. In his demonstration, Tsakalidis showed a backdoored version of Microsoft Visual Studio Code that sent the contents of every code tab opened to a remote website.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

26 Jul 03:41

The cutest creature of the underground – Krtek

by Luka

Readers from eastern Europe will instantly recognize this adorable critter from the Czech cartoon Krtek (which means “little mole” in Czech). Having read books and seen cartoons of Krtek’s adventures throughout my childhood, I never thought to see the character built out of LEGO. But when I saw this perfect recreation by Eero Okkonen, I went full “aww-mode”.

The Mole

The pose on the image is so iconic that one would hardly notice this is LEGO, were it not for a jagged edge here and there. Curved pieces capture the character’s shape very well, but my favourite parts are the red nose and the three long hairs on the mole’s head. As a master character builder, Eero has explored many different source materials and themes, but none quite as iconic as this one. Thanks for the nostalgia trip, Eero!

The post The cutest creature of the underground – Krtek appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

26 Jun 07:20

What lies beneath the waves?

by Benjamin Stenlund

That's so very cool :)

Every year for the past few summers, right around now talented castle builders start coming out of the woodwork and displaying their creations for the Summer Joust. One such talented castle builder is Carter Witz, who has built the ruins of some ancient civilization on the edge of a tropical island. Unlike most such builds, however, Carter has set most of the building beneath the waves, implying either that the level of the sea has risen or that the level of the land has sunk. Or were the original inhabitants merfolk? Our only clue is that the builder has titled the work “Flooded…”. Whatever the events were that befell the now-ruined tower, it is an impressive build.


Large sections of rocks often get to be tedious, but Carter has kept the rocks looking interesting by varying the pieces and techniques on the way up. Minifigure arms on the submerged trees make for effective branches, and the tan gears look like nice corals. There are even ball joint pieces used as some sort of sponge, perhaps. The nicest detail, though, is the fish hiding in the hole in the tower. They don’t mind at all that the place is flooded.


The post What lies beneath the waves? appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

20 Jun 13:09

1.21 Gigawatts!?! How am I going to generate that kinda power?

by Edwinder

Dave Slater has an amazing talent for recreating vehicles with an utmost level of accuracy that just makes my jaw drop not once but repeatedly. His previous build of the 1989 Tim Burton Batmobile was a huge hit with the LEGO community, and now he’s back with the sleek modified DeLorean from Back to the Future II.

BTTF2 DeLorean - Sitting pretty

Coming in just above 2000 pieces, it’s a real marvel and feat in capturing all those angled lines that are pretty hard to recreate to get that indistinguishable look of this vehicle. I can’t get over how snugly those gullwing doors fit into place with the doors shut almost as if the parts were made for this design in mind.

BTTF2 Delorean - Hovering low

The wheels do transform into flight mode. And thanks to Mr.Fusion, the fusion generator for the power generation of the 1.21 “Gigawatts” is not going to be a showstopper any longer.

BTTF2 DeLorean - Climb in

The dashboard and interior are all decked out with parts that resemble the actual vehicle as closely as possible to enable time-travel.

BTTF2 DeLorean - Time circuits

Of course, no Delorean is complete without its crucial Flux Capacitor. I can’t get over how accurate it looks with the great part usage of the minifigure hands to represent the complex wiring of the time machine.

BTTF2 DeLorean - Flux capacitor

The post 1.21 Gigawatts!?! How am I going to generate that kinda power? appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

12 Jun 06:10

Stardock and Star Control creators settle lawsuits—with mead and honey

by Lee Hutchinson
"HELLO HUMAN, Umgah Court sentences you to TEN MILLION YEARS OF HARD LABOR!... Oh, you settled? But... what Umgah supposed to do with three gavels if Umgah can't sentence anyone?!"

Enlarge / "HELLO HUMAN, Umgah Court sentences you to TEN MILLION YEARS OF HARD LABOR!... Oh, you settled? But... what Umgah supposed to do with three gavels if Umgah can't sentence anyone?!" (credit: Star Control / Aurich)

Stardock's Brad Wardell and original Star Control creators Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III announced over the weekend that all parties have reached an amicable settlement in the tangled web of lawsuits between them and Stardock, which stretch back almost two years.

(To very briefly recap, Stardock and Ford & Reiche were at legal odds over who owns the copyrights and trademarks for the Star Control series of games from the 1990s. To give any more details would require a massive amount of explanation and discussion—which we already wrote a couple of years ago with this story right here. If you aren't familiar with the disagreement—or if you want to refresh your memory—that piece will give you a good, solid grounding on the mess that got us to now.)

The settlement's details are public, and Ford & Reiche have a blog post on their site explaining things. In summary, though, the terms are simple and straightforward:

Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

04 Jun 04:16

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Asleep


Pretty much, yeah... D:

Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Later, it turns out the toddler is upset because its socks aren't the right color.

Today's News:

Thanks, geeks! Btw, if you're planning to buy, we'd appreciate if you consider one of the non-amazon sources, since they often help sustain local bookstores.

15 May 04:19

The five best Bob Ross pep talks

by Mark Frauenfelder

Bob Ross was awesome

The best thing about being sick as a kid was staying home from school and watching Bob Ross's The Joy of Painting. I'm as impressed by Ross's skill and as entranced by his rap today as I was when I was 8 years old.

Karen Corday of Hyperallergic combed through all 403 episodes of The Joy of Painting on YouTube and found five episodes with inspiring Bob Ross pep talks.

A couple of examples:

“Let your imagination run wild, let your heart be your guide … In the time you sit around worrying about it, you could have completed a painting already. Let it happen.”

“People continually say, ‘I don’t have the talent to do what you’re doing.’ That’s baloney. Talent is a pursued interest. In other words, anything you’re willing to practice, you can do. And this is no exception.”

“If you have light on light, you have nothing. If you have dark on dark, you have nothing. It’s like in life. You gotta have a little sadness once in a while, so you know when the good times are coming. I’m waiting on the good times now.” Ross’s wife died shortly before this episode was shot. In his darkest hour, he still made time to spread the word of hope.

Image: YouTube

10 May 07:26

Emperor Palpatine watches his plans fall into place.

by David Guedes

Cool :)

Spoiler warning for a series of movies that came out between 1999 and 2005. The Star Wars Prequel Trilogy make it pretty clear that Senator, later Chancellor, Palpatine was the puppet master behind the Clone Wars, leading to his accession to Emperor and the formation of the Galactic Empire. ZiO Chao‘s latest creation captures this idea perfectly. The bust of the Emperor works well on its own, as does the vignette of Anakin and Obi-Wan dueling over the lava, but the hands really tie the whole thing together – they frame the fighting Jedi as something that Palpatine is playing with. The size of the three characters really emphasizes how big of an impact each character had on the war. Even as generals, Obi-Wan and Anakin were merely pawns in a larger game of chess they weren’t aware of. The expression on the Emperor’s face is priceless, as he subtly yet gleefully stares at the scene, grinning as the final pieces of his plan fall into place.

The man behind the war

The post Emperor Palpatine watches his plans fall into place. appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

10 Jan 05:47

Free-to-play “Classic Space Adventure” game – interview with programmer Johan Alexanderson [Exclusive Feature]

by Edwinder

Adult fans of LEGO sometimes have skills that go beyond building masterpieces with bricks. Once in a while, we discover great gems that showcase a different talent combined with the love for LEGO, like the amazing handcrafted wooden LEGO we recently featured. Not too long ago, while scouring the web for great creations to feature here at The Brothers Brick, I came across something that didn’t strike me as worth exploring at first glance. But something compelled me to take a closer look, and I’m glad I did! The effort behind the creation of what I uncovered is astounding! Over 400 pages of programming and 2 years in the making, LEGO enthusiast Johan Alexanderson coded a full-blown game in honor of the LEGO Classic Space theme in retro-classic gaming styles from the 80s.

Johan Alexanderson (who also goes by the online handle LegoJalex) will be familiar to readers of The Brothers Brick — we’ve showcased more than a few of his excellent builds in the past (including his E.T Phone Home movie classic), and we featured an exclusive interview with him about his his LEGO creations. This article continues from where our last interview ended, when Johan mentioned a programming project to be revealed later. Before we speak to him again on his 2-year journey creating “Classic Space Adventures,” let’s take a quick look at the game itself.

Gameplay & navigation

“Classic Space Adventure” is a 2D side-scrolling game just like the old days. You advance to new areas by heading right or left. Navigation to take you to and from different rooms is controlled by the “Up” and “Down” keys via door entrances. The world you can explore in Chapter 1 isn’t large, but just large enough to get you to bump into characters and events that will trigger a tutorial on control keys and to set up the main storyline. Three major action keys are the fire button, a jump action button and hitting Enter will let you interact with objects around you.

The Adventure Begins – Chapter 1 walkthrough

You start your day at work late (as usual) as the Red Spaceman. For obvious reasons, the Classic Space theme is blue and the Red Spaceman stands out a little more amongst the backgrounds and themes. You soon learn that your mundane daily job is to drill in the caves below, looking for new lifeforms. Random chat at the office will include some humor on responses from the Non-Playable Characters (NPCs). You grab your drilling equipment and keycard to start your vehicle.

Your adventure begins as you go underground and your space colleagues find a deactivated Alien Robot during their drilling. You’re tasked to go look at the location where the Alien was found. Eventually, you find a hidden passage and fall into a chasm…Chapter 2 begins. We’d rather you discover what happens from here and not let us spoil all the fun that Johan intended. All I can say is that things are not what they seem…

Staying alive

The Red Spaceman can get injured and you lose your life energy when you bump into enemies or get shot by random bullets. Your life meter is indicated by red 1×1 plates on the top left of the screen. On the upper right-hand side of the screen, you have green studs for each gem that you collect. Both red and green elements are strewn across the various levels in the game and will assist in keeping you alive throughout the levels – or in this case 11 Chapters in total. Collecting 6 green studs will gain you an extra red plate. What I do like about this is that falling from a high platform or ladder does not injure you. However, there are instances where falling into a dead zone will end the game instantly. It simplifies the gameplay but still forces you to get the keystrokes for jumps to get where you need to.

Game saves

To ensure you maintain progress in the game, there’s basically nothing to do as games are auto-saved in sub-sections within a Chapter, and if you happen to lose your life, it’s automatically reloaded at the beginning of each subsection. However, closing your browser and starting your game another day will always bring you back to the beginning of the chapter where you last left off. You can only proceed to the next chapter if you’ve completed the previous one successfully if you come back a day later.

Easter eggs

In the style of a true LEGO Classic Space fan, Johan openly used references to actual LEGO sets in the game. If you’re really hardcore about Classic Space, this will probably make you pee a little in your pants.

And there’s a lot more. You can jump right to the website to have a peek, or you can play the game to enjoy the discoveries on your own. (Trust us, you’ll want to read all the way to  the end of this article — we’ll make it worth your time before you actually start the game.)

We decided to speak to Johan himself, as we had some burning questions after a couple of hours of non-stop gameplay.

How long did it take you to code the whole game, and when did you begin?

It is hard to say exactly how long since I wasn’t coding constantly on it, but it was about 2 years ago I started working on the game. I made everything myself so that involved coding, designing and making the graphics and composing all the music and sounds. I’m not a trained musician/composer, so there was a lot of trial and error when composing it. I used Famitracker for it (which is a program that can create NES music). But it was really fun to come up with music and try to make it fit into the environment in the game. For scale, the code is on about 400 pages in total.

Two whole years. That’s pretty amazing! What do you do as your day job?

I’m a computer engineer and I’ve been working with web development for many years (though now I have a break from that and mainly work as a freelance illustrator and artist). I think it is really fun and creative to program so I coded the game from scratch in Javascript using HTML5, and I chose HTML5 because the game can be run easily in just a web browser.

When I first fired up the game, it reminded me of the 80’s 2D adventure games by Sierra. Was that what inspired you?

I think I know the Sierra games. Was it games like King´s Quest? Cool! I loved those games by Sierra, and a friend and I actually started making one during high school, but it never finished. I played some of those point-and-click games on my PC, but my main inspiration has been the NES games. Games like Mega Man, Metroid, and Super Mario Bros. Those were the games I grew up with.

My first game console was an MSX but I only had two games on it. Then I got an NES. But a funny thing was that my first game Super Mario Bros. had some error in it which made the graphics completely wrong, I gave it no thought that the game should look that bad and never realized it until years later.

Early development of Classic Space Adventure which had a lower resolution and less complex shading

Regarding inspiration for making the game – I have ever since I was a kid loved to create my own games. The feeling of creating your own world and being able to then walk around in it is great! And when programming a game you often have to take part in so many creative areas such as coding, making the graphics, music, story and deciding what your world should look like. For this game, at first it started as another kind of platform game, but as a huge fan of Classic Space, I wondered how a game based on this theme would look like if it was made back in the 80s. And then I started creating some pixelated graphics based on some of the Classic Space sets and I felt that this retro game style worked well in the Classic Space theme.

Is this the first game you’ve ever created?

I made many games in a game program called Klick n Play for the PC, but they are all gone now. I also made several games in Java, during my spare time, that could be run as an applet in a web browser, but now applets are kind of banned from all browsers since they pose a security risk. So those games cannot be played anymore unless I take the time to convert them to HTML5. I also made a few smaller games in HTML5, but nothing as big and well made as this game.

Early development of Classic Space Adventure which had a lower resolution and less complex shading

Coming up with a game idea is one thing, but how did you work out the details? I believe this is where the hard work really is!

Actually a lot of the ideas for the game I got when doing something else other than creating the game, such as taking a walk, doing the dishes etc. But for the planning, some of it is just in my head, but I often use pen and paper for sketching the enemies, buildings and the level design. Also for different types of algorithms, I often sketch them first on paper. I also had to make a game editor before making the game, so in that editor, it is easy to sketch up the levels and build everything. Here’s a screenshot of the editor I built and the creative process of a level.

The enemies that you see moving across the screen exist in proper LEGO modeling before they were made 2D sprites. Here’s a few of them that you will encounter – see if you can recognize them during gameplay.

How did it evolve? Are you able to share some of your early versions of the game? Anything like sketches on a napkin over a lazy Sunday? (Ed: Johan responds with his finds after digging through a few days…)

I did manage to find some raw and uncut sketches from when I made the game! I don’t know what you think of them, but they look a hundred years old! When I make a level, I sketch them up briefly like this. And for things that need to be done, like bugs or functions, I write them down in a list. (And in case you’re wondering, I sometimes draw other stuff that’s not related to the game. That mouse is from a children’s book I wrote, authored and illustrated and was published last year.)

Tell us a bit about yourself, the LEGO side of things.

Let’s see, I have been an AFOL for about 7 years now and live in Sweden. At first, my MOC’s were really simple, but it is great when you feel you start to become better at it, much like in painting which I also enjoy doing. I have my MOCs uploaded on my Flickr

My favorite genre is probably Classic Space, but I also like Classic Town. I think though that the Classic Space sets were really cool since they all had a great design, and also often included some kind of functionality. I also love the scenes they have created of this theme that you can see in catalogs from that time. Those scenes have been an inspiration for the game I’d say.

Thanks again Johan for taking the time to speak with us and sharing the details behind what you do. I’m sure your fans are already dying to have a go at the game so we shall not hold them any longer!

Getting Started:

By now you’re probably already screaming at the top of your lungs to give us the damned URL so we can actually play the game! Ok! Ok! All you need is a browser — Chrome is the recommended browser. My tests on Safari on MacOS gave me the full gameplay but no audio at all. As a final note, “Classic Space Adventure” was built without any profit in mind, just as a pure fan-created game. It is not sponsored nor created by LEGO.

The link to Classic Space Adventure is here:
and the official page for the game can be found here:

Exclusive TBB Cheat Code (Yes, you read that right!)
And as a bonus for reading through this article all the way to the end, there’s an exclusive TBB cheat code in the game! Once you’re in Chapter 3 or above, type in TBBENERGY, and you’ll be awarded a one time 5-red studs health to get you through your adventures. Remember to tell all your friends about it!

Image Credit:
IBM PC XT image by: Ruben de Rijcke – TBB Author has modified and added visuals to include LEGO elements in the image under the Creative Commons license.

The post Free-to-play “Classic Space Adventure” game – interview with programmer Johan Alexanderson [Exclusive Feature] appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

23 Oct 05:06

Watch this once-lost 'Empire Strikes Back' doc-film from 1980

by Rusty Blazenhoff

"Watch it while you can" is a good advice indeed, as you can almost hear the DMCA takedown notice heading towards youtube...

The Making of "The Empire Strikes Back", the rare 1980 French TV movie documentary about the second film in the Star Wars trilogy, was considered lost until recently. Since clips surfaced a few years ago, it's been considered the "Holy Grail" for Star Wars fans. Directed by late director Michel Parbot, the hour-long film has now been found and posted on YouTube. Watch it while you can.

11 Sep 04:04

Do the Technicolor Yawn with this Technic theme park thrill ride [Video]

by Edwinder


Builder Shadow Elenter dubbed this the “3D Dizzy” and subjected Technic figures to do the Technicolor Yawn (aka barf). This is an imagined thrill ride at a theme park that spins ever so smoothly like a gyroscope and will surely induce nausea and leave anyone vertiginous with the constant spinning and rotation.

This feat took 14 motors that spans from Power Functions to custom SBrick controllers. It weighs almost 115.8 lbs (7.2kg) and measures 54x24x19 inches (90x59x47cm) in its dimensions.

Don’t let the spinning structure steal the show. The ride actually takes you through the full experience from buying tickets to access paths and ramps for the figures. The safety bars are programmed to secure the adrenaline-hungry humans just like in a real-world ride, and the ramp access automatically moves out of the way. Perhaps this will indeed inspire a real-world theme park ride!

Check out the full video here:

The post Do the Technicolor Yawn with this Technic theme park thrill ride [Video] appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

23 Aug 05:53

Street artists subvertise Facebook bus stop ads in London

by Rusty Blazenhoff

Honestifying fb "ads" is maybe the best thing I've seen in a good long while :D

Thanks to the members of a street art project, some bus shelter adverts for Facebook in London were improved by a good ol' fashioned culture jam.

The Protest Stencil is taking credit for these subvertising efforts which altered Facebook's messaging to say, "Fake news is not our friend, it’s a great revenue source," and "Data misuse is not our friend, it’s our business model."

They refer to their work as "honest Facebook ads," writing, "To facebook, you’re not a ‘friend’, you’re the product on sale." Preach it!

(Design You Trust)

image via Protest Stencil

19 Jun 07:56

Nostalgic tour of an endangered institution: the model shop

by Andrea James

The dude claims there's "another" model shop in HEL but within walking distance to the "no videos here" one there's another and a tram-ride towards Pasila/Vallila takes you to another. Those four are the ones I know quickly at least :P

Lindybeige takes viewers on a wistful tour of a Helsinki model shop while remembering the now-closed shop of his youth. (more…)

05 Jun 10:23


Dear Microsoft:

Don't fuck up GitHub the same way you fucked up Skype.

04 Jun 11:01

Microsoft Has Reportedly Reached A Deal To Acquire GitHub

On Friday a news report suggested Microsoft and GitHub were furthering along talks to acquire the popular code hosting site and now a deal has reportedly been reached...
22 Jan 07:12

1:50-scale LEGO U-Boat VIIc is ready to hunt Allied shipping

by Jonathan

It's amazing :o

The destruction of Allied shipping by German U-boats was a spectacular and tragic feature of both World Wars I and II. Luis Peña has recreated the much-dreaded underwater menace and scourge of Allied sailors at 1:50 scale with U-Boat VIIc, the most common class of German submarine.

U-Boat type VIIc 1:50 Scale LEGO Model

The contouring of the ship is beautiful, she looks like a long slender species of whale without flippers. Featuring all things you’d expect on a submarine plus a few extras.

U-Boat type VIIc 1:50 Scale LEGO Model U-Boat type VIIc 1:50 Scale LEGO Model

Small details like the life preserver and the fire extinguisher really help bring this silent predator to life. Most of all I love the humour and character Luis has put into the various scenes throughout the ship.

U-Boat type VIIc 1:50 Scale LEGO Model U-Boat type VIIc 1:50 Scale LEGO Model

The post 1:50-scale LEGO U-Boat VIIc is ready to hunt Allied shipping appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

01 Dec 06:44

What do you get when you cross an X-Wing, a Y-Wing, and an A-Wing?

by Edwinder

This Onith-Wing Starfighter by Ted Andes is so sweet that I think it should be woven into a Star Wars movie. It’s seriously that good — it has all the right elements that make it believable, with both the contours and the lovely muted grey, dark red, and white theme. It reminds me of a cross between a Y-wing with the modified engines of X-Wings with some A-Wings thrown in for good looks. The build is almost without any visible studs to give it smooth and clean lines.

Onith-Wing Starfighter

While it seems that this beauty would not pack sufficient firepower to bring anything down, the underbelly sports a couple more hidden cannons.

Onith-Wing Starfighter

And last but not least, how would a pilot ever be a hero without an astromech companion? Taking a page from the X-Wing playbook, a nice spot for an R2 droid to snuggle in.

Onith-Wing Starfighter

The post What do you get when you cross an X-Wing, a Y-Wing, and an A-Wing? appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

20 Nov 07:02

'Stranger Things 2' episodes imagined as vintage paperback book covers

by Rusty Blazenhoff

Brazilian artist Butcher Billy describes himself as a "pop culture butcher obsessively looking for the perfect cut." I think he's found just that with his latest artworks.

The nine-piece series imagines each episode of Stranger Things 2, from "MADMAX" to "The Gate," as the cover of an 80s-style paperback book. So cool!

Billy's work has been featured several times here on Boing Boing. If his work is your kind of thing, his Instagram is definitely worth following.

(Design Taxi)

03 Nov 06:23

A reel-to-reel tape recorder that’s not really real

by Elspeth De Montes

The digital era has pushed a lot of state-of-the-art technology into vintage obscurity, and one such piece of audio equipment is the reel-to-reel tape recorder. Imagine the tape removed from a tape cassette and wound onto a reel, press a button and twiddle some knobs and voilà, your slightly crackly audio recording will be transferred onto the reel.  Yul Burman has built a great looking LEGO version complete with reels, buttons, twiddly knobs and some bygone bling!

LEGO MOC Reel to Reel Tape Recorder

I want this on my shelf next to Carl Merriam’s vintage LEGO movie projector.

The post A reel-to-reel tape recorder that’s not really real appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

31 Oct 05:51

Digital Resource Lifespan

I spent a long time thinking about how to design a system for long-term organization and storage of subject-specific informational resources without needing ongoing work from the experts who created them, only to realized I'd just reinvented libraries.
30 Oct 06:11

LEGO Ideas 21312 Women of Nasa [Review]

by Andrew

LEGO recently unveiled its latest LEGO Ideas set, 21312 Women of Nasa. The set includes four minifigures depicting women astronauts, scientists, and engineers from throughout the US space program’s history. LEGO sent The Brothers Brick an early review copy of the set, which is due out on November 1st.

21312 Women of NASA

While the minifigures are certainly the heroes of the set, the set also includes three mini-builds, with 231 pieces. When released, the set will retail for $24.99. Given the science-oriented, minifig-centric nature of both LEGO Ideas sets, comparisons to 21110 Research Institute will be inevitable among LEGO fans, and we’ll do our best to compare and contrast them along the way.

The box and instructions

21312 Women of Nasa returns to the traditional LEGO Ideas packaging that 21310 Old Fishing Store did not use — a sturdy box that can safely store the mini-models, minifigs, and their stands after you’ve built them.

The back of the box shows the real-life women with their minifigure counterparts.

21312 Women of NASA

The parts for all three mini-models come in three unnumbered bags. Despite the lack of numbered bags, I was able to comfortably build each part of the set with all the parts dumped back into the box, though a younger builder might get frustrated fishing around in the black box for the right black piece.

21312 Women of NASA

21312 is a slightly larger set than 21110, so the box is correspondingly larger.

21312 Women of NASA

The instruction booklet includes several pages of biographical information about the four scientists and engineers, as well as information about fan designer Maia Weinstock and the team of LEGO set designers who turned Maia’s idea into an official LEGO set.

21312 Women of NASA

The build & mini-models

Each of the mini-builds serves as a stand for one or more of the minifigures. The first backdrop creates a small scene for computer scientist Margaret Hamilton, whose software was used in the Apollo, Skylab, and Space Shuttle programs. The stand uses some surprisingly elegant techniques for what amounts to a small backdrop — the whiteboard attaches vertically with clips.

21312 Women of NASA

The nameplate attaches to brackets on a light gray 3×4 collectible minifigure stand built into the base. This creates a sturdy attachment that might detach more easily if it were built with the more-obvious solution using a 1×4 tile under the nameplate.

21312 Women of NASA

The second mini-model is a rather nice Space Shuttle, complete with Solid Rocket Boosters and External Tank.

21312 Women of NASA

The Shuttle is the latest in a long line of LEGO Space Shuttles, including several mini-models like this one, and it serves as the stand for astronauts Mae Jemison (the first woman of color in space) and Sally Ride (the first American woman in space). However, this is the first Space Shuttle mini-model that includes the boosters and fuel tank.

21312 Women of NASA

Nevertheless, I have to quibble with the color choice for the External Tank, which LEGO has produced at larger scales several times. On sets like 10231/10213 and even the LEGO City 60080 Spaceport, the color of the External Tank is dark orange. It’s a deeply nerdy, nit-picky quibble, to be sure, but I don’t think the bright orange works nearly as well as dark orange would have.

The third and final stand is for astronomer Nancy G. Roman, who was instrumental in planning and designing the Hubble Space Telescope. Naturally, the stand features a mini-model of Hubble.

21312 Women of NASA

The backdrop also includes a printed panel with an image of the Cone Nebula captured in 2002 by Hubble. It’s a fantastic printed piece that would look right at home on a spaceship’s bridge. Hubble itself also includes two 1×4 tiles printed with a solar panel pattern.

21312 Women of NASA

Like the Space Shuttle, the Hubble Space Telescope mini-model captures the shape of the real-life spacecraft wonderfully. The little LEGO Hubble incorporates a garbage can piece, and the aperture door attaches to one of the trash can’s handles.

21312 Women of NASA

The minifigures

As enjoyable as the three mini-builds may be, the main focus of this set is the four people represented by their minifigures. The set includes minifigs depicting four real-life women who’ve contributed to the American space program — astronomer Nancy Grace Roman; computer scientist Margaret Hamilton; astronaut physicist Sally Ride; and astronaut physician Mae Jemison.

Unlike Research Institute from 2014, each of the minifigures includes brand new printed elements. Nancy G. Roman wears fantastic cat eye glasses and a colorful necklace. Sally Ride and Mae Jemison both wear NASA flight suits (Dr. Ride in light blue and Dr. Jemison in orange). Margaret Hamilton wears a black knitted dress.

21312 Women of NASA

All of the minifigs also have double-sided heads, with alternate expressions. I like to think that the “determined” expressions (above) reflect a passion for the scientific method while the “happy” expressions (below) capture the moment of discovery or breakthrough.

21312 Women of NASA

A noteworthy omission is Katherine Johnson, who chose not to participate in the project, though she was included as a fifth minifigure in the original project proposal by fan designer Maia Weinstock. There could be any number of completely understandable reasons why Ms. Johnson chose not to have herself portrayed as a LEGO minifig, ranging from not wanting to be singled out among the amazing, pioneering women she worked with during her career to having no real interest in LEGO, since she’s nearly a hundred years old! But as disappointing as this role model’s omission is, speculating about her motives for not wanting to be included is just that — speculation.

Conclusions & recommendation

In many schools and for many children — myself included, growing up back in the 70’s and 80’s — LEGO plays a pivotal role in fostering a passion not just for creativity more generally but for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) specifically. I feel a deep debt of gratitude toward LEGO for the role it played in inspiring my twenty-year career in technology today. Perhaps caused by past decisions about the default gender for minifigs in professional roles, compounded by continued market success with boys aged 5-12, LEGO continues to have a perception as a “boy’s toy.” The company has made huge strides toward greater diversity in key themes like LEGO City — the current 60141 Police Station features an evenly split police force and even a female burglar! Nevertheless, the company still has a long way to go to level the playing field and attract girls to the toy outside the “pink aisles” with LEGO Friends.

Thus, I wholeheartedly endorse LEGO’s specific attention to the achievements of women in STEM with this LEGO Ideas set, and I hope that it will inspire more young women to choose education and careers that will lead to the next great breakthroughs for humanity. But setting aside the subject matter, this is still an excellent LEGO set on its own merits, with some great printed parts, fantastic minifigs, and fun little display models of the Shuttle and Hubble especially.

21312 Women of NASA

At $24.99 for 4 minifigs and 231 pieces, it’s also a pretty good deal (even better than the $20 for 165 pieces for Research Institute). We highly recommend this set, and hope that LEGO is better able to predict the demand for this set than they did for Research Institute — it deserves to get into the hands of many more people than the very limited run of that earlier set.

LEGO Ideas 21312 Women of Nasa will be available from the LEGO Shop online starting November 1st for $24.99.

The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

The post LEGO Ideas 21312 Women of Nasa [Review] appeared first on The Brothers Brick.