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Archived news

These are all the old news posts I could find.


Well hello there! If you're reading this, you have the honour of being one of the first people to stumble across my site. I'm currently trying to get my head around the Keenspace uploading and site maintenence stuff. I have a little experience with HTML - as you can see ;) - so expect bright new colours in the future! I'll have to - the comic is black and white...

2002|07|04 11:12pm:

So school is now officially over for ever. All my exams are finished and now I just have to sit tight until August 15th when my results come through. In the meantime I bought myself a GameCube in town on Saturday, and I've been playing Super Monkey Ball and Super Smash Brothers Melee, arguably the best two games available for it. For the console, two pads, memory card, two games and an RGB SCART cable, I paid £241. A bargain, in my opinion, just be warned: the free vouchers you get at Virgin are somewhat useless. Example: £2 off a £25 joypad. So shop around. Now, back to the game. Expert Floor 7 will die soon.

2002|07|09 11:44pm:

You wait all week for a news update and then two come along at once... Yeah, I've got a little mystery I want unravelling. For some reason I keep getting hits from a site called I can't work out who, or why, but I want to know, because I'm nosy. So if you are this mystery guest, kindly pop over to the forum and tell me all about it. And everyone else who reads this should be posting on the forum too. Even if it's "I don't understand today's strip". I'm looking in somebody's direction... you know who you are... ;)

2002|07|24 5:04pm:

Check out the new links page! And somebody give me a job! I'm running out of money... *runs off to play frisbee*

2002|07|30 9:27pm:

Another excellent online comic which is deserving of more recognition: NoCash and Rei is a great little stickman-based comic which I found very entertaining. Go read, it deserves the readers.

2002|08|02 7:28pm:

We have a new BuR hunter! Good going for Boter or whatever he wants to be known as.

2002|10|08 4:30pm:

Mmmmm, University is pretty good. Formal dinners, the Penny Game, gowns, Matriculation (which sounds filthy but isn't), bread, milk, crisps, beer. There are five mathematicians up here at Corpus, which is typical as it's a relatively small College, but one of them is female which is supposed to be pretty unusual. My email address will probably change pretty soon. Bonus points to anyone (who doesn't know me personally) who can figure out what it is before I announce it publicly... I have given you all the information you need, the info is on the Web somewhere! I think.

PC is close to being reconnected after my hilarious reformatting/Product Key escapades. Will fix the massive GAP at the bottom of all these pages on the site soon after that, just a missing html file, nothing major. I'm not allowed to download music or play games using the College internet connection... and I don't think I'll say any more than that...

There is a Comic and Animation Society here, as well as societies for every sport, hobby, or political or religious stance under the sun and then some. I somehow missed it at the Freshers' fair (think a massive hall full of tiny stalls with people thrusting bits of paper into your hands), so I guess I'll have to go along later and teach 'em what's what. :) But to my utter HORROR, there seem to be no gaming/N64-related societies of ANY kind at all. You'd think, on a zero-ping network like this, that at least there'd be a Cambridge University Quake Clan. This appalls me. Something should be done. My other idea for new Soc (as they're known) was the CU Minimalist Society - "No membership fee, no meetings, no emails, nothing. Sign up today!"

I signed up for Ultimate Frisbee. What HAVE I done??

2002|10|11 1:44pm:

StickManStickMan is 250 strips old today.

Thanks to my lack of foresight, I have nothing special planned. Sorry.

2002|10|19 10:30pm:

Life at uni is settling down to a relatively nice routine. Bread, butter, peanut butter, cornflakes, sugar, milk, biscuits, crips - these are all of my favourite things. Hall food is adequate - well, I'm not dead - but my flippin' network connection STILL isn't done. It would appear I need some network drivers. It would appear the ones that came with my comp are the wrong ones. Aaaaarghhh. Of course I could download the relevant drivers, but to do that I need to be on the network. Which requires drivers. Nice little logic box, would be easier to solve if I had a time machine...

Comic-wise, I haven't done much work in the last fortnight although a number of new drafts are in the works. Buffer now down to eight months, my target is one year. Lots of work to be done. Not to mention the mathematics.

Speaking of which, I've joined a maths help forum as a volunteer helper. Got any problems? Post them, and if you're lucky I might be one of the ones who replies. Anything from primary school to university considered. No abuse, though, folks. I hope I can trust you.

2002|10|23 2:21pm:

Look down and left. Hardly the most scintillating topic for a poll but it's something I'd like to get my viewers' views on. Post a comment while you're there. New polls may appear from time to time.

2002|10|25 12:10am:

I stand corrected. By the way, don't forget to add comments on the poll. I'm considering it as a replacement for the message board.

2002|11|03 12:41am:

It's the end of the month again. Ignore the big bars, I'm interested in the little yellow ones to the side: this is average daily Visits and is the best representation of StickManStickMan's popularity. Not too bad so far. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't want more readers :-P I draw your attention to the banners page, designed for that very purpose...

2002|11|06 1:15pm:

Well, I've got to say thanks for all the feedback. I'm pretty pleased with the new layout now. The top banner will be a permanent fixture but the buttons will one day become a little more snazzy while remaining as legible as they are now. Now the index and archive pages are done I can start to upgrade the other pages, which at the moment draw a striking contrast with the new layout. That's a thought... how come people always stick with one layout for an entire site? Why not make every page in a completely new and different style? Maybe it would irritate the user, but maybe it would be a bit refreshing too. Something to think about.

A few new movements have been detected over on the BuR rankings. Jim Miles now holds joint second place, and a single well-placed new find could easily untie that, provided Slayer - if that is his real name - doesn't spot it first. Oops! Did I just announce that publicly? Oh, bad luck, Jim.

2002|11|08 4:17pm:

A further 80 comics were uploaded yesterday, extending my buffer to almost exactly ten months. One of those was inspired by a friend of mine, Dan - pity he'll have to wait until September 4th to see it.

2002|11|13 9:17am:

Yesterday (12th) marked the successful completion of my nineteenth consecutive year spent alive, and the beginning of my twentieth. My parents gave me (among other things) a cool drawing pen kinda thing, so some of that gallery art might start looking a bit better soon. Cheers, folks.

2002|11|14 8:30pm:

With viewer figures spiralling down the toilet (sigh) I've come across another reasonably entertaining comic strip - Digital War traces the British Telecom-destroying enterprises of Ewan "War" Baird and his friends. Currently celebrating his 50th strip, a worthwhile achievement indeed. I foresee great things for War if he can keep up the humour ratio. Take a quick browse through his archives.

2002|11|15 8:16pm:

And I thought I'd made it up. But no, people agree with the stickmen: Tetris is the key to all power. Witness the Cult Of Tetris!

2002|11|20 9:44am:

Keenspace, your Autokeen script is powerless before me, for I have discovered the secret of time travel! In other words, I figured out how to upload comics into the past (and future, actually). This means I can go back through my archives and plug a few gaps in the list - notably, May 12th, which was missed due to a numbering error of all things. However, I have other, marginally more entertaining applications in mind. Check the first comic in the archives again. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Heh heh heh... of course, next time someone searches the Keenspace Guide by "earliest comic", I'm well in there!

2002|11|26 10:55pm:

Yes! It's official! When faced with the choice between fabulous online comicry and obscure branches of group theory, the world prefers StickManStickMan! "|G(x)|.|Gx|=|G|"? Don't make me laugh.

On a related note which was only one link from the first one, sleep-walking REALLY fast will only net you one match on Google. I found that after five minutes: Go to and join the search for more two-word search strings with exactly one result.

2003|01|05 7:01pm:

Just a quick BuR update with Boter crawling up to joint 10th and back onto the charts.

2003|01|06 9:19pm:

Waaaaaayne reports an extra five BuRs to move up to a threatening fourth position, while Macbeat makes it three and dumps three of his rivals off the bottom of the Top Ten in the process!

2003|01|06 9:19pm:

Thanks to the recent James Bond references and the current storyline, there are a bundle of new BuR reports coming in recently. Waaaaaayne adds a sixth to his tally while Jim Miles finds another two. Can either of them snatch the top spot away? Will anything more interesting happen over the next week?

2003|01|08 10:41am:

Year of the Evil l33t? In case you didn't know, 666+1337=2003. Gotta love base ten arithmetic quirks.

Okay, here's how it is. The forum is empty. Nobody goes there because nobody else goes there, know what I mean? And I don't post enough (or indeed at all) to start conversations on my own. So my community is pretty empty.

At the same time, the semi-secret forum where I spend most of my time - PDC - while relatively busy, is in danger of becoming stale. So here's my idea: why don't I make PDC the StickManStickMan forum? I get a reasonably active forum (and one less forum to check), my - ahem - "fans" get somewhere worth posting, and PDC gets rejuvenated perhaps thanks to some new members.

Now, PDC is technically a Perfect Dark forum, but don't let that put you off. Almost nobody talks about PD anymore, the game is dead. Just start posting in the General Smack forum and we'll see where it goes from there, yeah? Here's hoping. Now remember, I don't have mod powers at PDC, so I'm relying on you guys to be well-behaved, right?

In other news, after days of dull, minor BuR updates, it seems the Big One has hit. Undisputed champion Jymbob has increased his tally of 19 BuRs to a mind-boggling 32, including several previously unnoticed references. Who will step up to challenge his insurmountable lead now?

2003|01|13 13:13am:

I got bored of adding them up manually so the Super_Happy_Fun_BuRs_List.txt file on my computer has been eradicated in favour of a new, leaner, meaner MS Excel version which counts them up automatically. Now if only I can make it add up individual scores automatically too... that might be something worth having.

In the meantime, the rash of recent Half-life related (oh come on, don't tell me you didn't know?) plot has spawned a huge number of new references. Comes of not being able to think up my own gags, I suppose. Ah well.

I've also rearranged the links above and retooled the site considerably. Everything's properly updated to the "new" red-link scheme, which has actually been around for ages really. There were still some odd pages using the button links. What a mess. Navigational links are now in a separate page for ease of updating if and when they need doing. Splendid!

2003|01|18 4:06pm:

We all knew Corpus hall food was bad, but never this bad. I just recovered from an abominable bout of chicken-induced food poisoning. I spent almost all of yesterday in bed, except for the parts where I was throwing up into the toilet. I don't think I've ever felt so ill. It also meant I missed three lectures that day, so that's a good start to the term.

When I coined the term "Super-Tetris", I didn't mean people to take it so literally. Click here, open "Tetris Finals" and download the video. It's 12.7MB so I'll understand if you have a dial-up and you don't fancy getting the whole thing, but the contents are closer to my idea of what going ST would be like than anything else I've seen. This guy plays Tetris at the speed of light, folks. He's quite astoundingly fast, landing two or three pieces every second! Respect is due.

2003|01|25 12:24pm:


On behalf of Keenspace I must apologise for the recent server disruptions. They're not my fault, honestly. I'd also like to welcome to the fold the above quote from the ancient NES game "Bad Dudes"; possibly the most contagious videogaming meme since "All Your Base Are Belong To Us". Copy it, circulate it, put it in your signature, tell it to your friends. It could rule the world! Remember, you saw it here first!

2003|02|05 8:49am:

*looks around furtively* You, know the number of people not interested in joining the Illuminati disturbs me. I mean, the entry test isn't that hard. Or is it? Have I stumped you guys?

StickManStickMan has its first birthday on... *checks* ACK! Well, now I look at it, StickManStickMan was one year old on 1st February, i.e. four days ago. I completely missed it! Well I'd be doing something special for the occasion, if only I'd remembered. But I forgot. Oh well.

Must extend buffer to 2004.

2003|02|10 9:53pm:

Did somebody mention a StickManStickMan videogame?

A new large banner springs forth. It's one that people might even consider clicking on, so I guess that's a step forward. Use it wherever you like. Please. I need this.

On a positive note it looks like StickManStickMan now accounts for over a thousandth of all the page views that Keenspace receives. See here. Of course, the fact that there are two iframes on every single webpage on the site may have something to do with this, but who's complaining? Target: the top 100...

2003|02|13 3:55pm:

You know, I never really realised how much I've come to rely upon my logs these days. Considering the amount of email I get from my readers (none, unless you count spam - "stop paying for porn today!" they say. I've never paid for porn in my life, for all the RIGHT reasons), I'd be forgiven for thinking that I was the only person who actually read my own comic. Logs are kind of comforting in that kind of situation. Looks to me like I get roughly 100 individual visits every day, which is actually fairly cool. You lot - whoever you are - are really quiet. Speak up! We have a message board, you know.

But it does seem that people out there are quietly spreading the word. I get linked to from the weirdest places. A Thundercats fan site, would you believe? Not to mention all the sick people looking for "Tetris porn" on their search engines. I mean. Tetris. Pornography. Where's the crossover market there?

One day. One day Real Life, or Mac Hall, or one of the other major web comics, or even (God willing) Slashdot will link to me. On that day my life wil be complete.

In the meantime, a moment of silence, please, for the passing of The 'Top.

2003|02|18 8:14pm:

A further 60-odd comics uploaded today extends the buffer to 11th November; another fifty will push me into 2004. That would be pretty insane. If only I can come up with fifty original jokes before then. After 600 strips, nothing is easy anymore. Though you might not be able to tell now, (or then again, maybe you can, what do I know,) as time progresses each comic takes longer to think up than the previous one. I figure this time next year I may well be scraping the barrel. But on the other hand, maybe not. We'll see.

My criteria for a funny joke is one that makes me laugh. There are many webcomics which, though I feel they are amusing, have never actually elicited anything like a chuckle from me. I'm trying to avoid slipping into that category, but seriously, now and then...

You ever actually sat down and tried to come up with a new joke? For a long while it worked for me, but now, it just doesn't happen. You have to let them come to you during your sleep, during your conversations, during your gaming sessions. It's the best guarantee of quality, but it's sure unpunctual.

2003|02|23 7:20pm:

One more new gallery pic today...

2003|03|02 3:05pm:

Log day again. Ignore the results from January; the logs were messed up for most of that month, unfortunately. Pesky hobbitses. Gonna go and get Sonic Mega Collection tomorrow :)

2003|03|02 10:00pm:

Of course, when I said "tomorrow", I meant "Friday", because I'm an idiot and can't read the release date list in Game. Hey ho.

2003|03|11 12:21am:

Lots to say today. Firstly and most importantly, I'm proud to say that StickManStickMan received its first fan art today. Joy! Four entertaining strips from the very same guy who runs that Thundercats site I was telling you about. This has necessitated the creation of a new page on the StickManStickMan site - the fanart page. Thanks, Silvercat!

After that is the update on Sonic Mega Collection - aww, what do you care about my videogaming life? All I'll say is that it's pretty excellent, and Sonic is everything I remember. Ah, nostalgia. I seem to remember being really good at these games, but for some reason I can't even beat Sonic 3 anymore. The skillz have faded. Term ends in less than a week, though, so plenty of time to brush up.

Finally, there are the excellent and typical Nike "stickman" adverts that I'm sure you must have seen on the television, if you're in the UK at least. If you haven't, try here. Fun! The thing that strikes me most about the ads is how much the stickman looks like the ones I draw. Same shoulders... same thickness... same black head. Of course, there are only so many ways to draw a stickman, but still. It also offers a new window to attract readers. Here's hoping ;)

2003|03|19 5:40pm:

I'm told that the Nike Stickman can be found here. For some reason, I am unable to access it, but maybe you'll have better luck. The resemblence really is uncanny.

You will also notice a new counter, bottom left. It is broadly speaking useless for the recording of statistics compared to the mighty Webalizer logs that Keenspace automatically records. However, as we all know, the logs have been known to go down, and I like celebrating meaningless milestones, so I hope you enjoy the new counter as much as I do.

2003|03|22 2:34pm:

I finally committed a few of my advertising ideas to paper, so today sees three new large banners and one new small one. Use them as you wish.

2003|03|28 2:13am:

You have probably all seen the Illuminati page but been unable to fathom the challenge (those of you who found it). I figure it was too hard, so I added some clues and another challenge. Can I request here that anybody with ideas for rewards or further challenges email me.

Sonic Mega Collection is proving remarkably entertaining. By far the best multiplayer game in the collection is Doctor Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, which is probably the best Tetris clone ever created. Oh, it's amazing. The single-player opponents are hellishly difficult to beat, too, and I'm only playing on Normal mode.

As is now the tradition when new games are released with built-in scoring or timing systems, The Elite have branched out to cover Sonic Mega Collection, recording best times for Sonic 1, 2, 3, and Sonic & Knuckles. Our official place of competition and best records can be found here, while my best times are stored here. Currently I'm leading in number of records held, but only because I've been going for total completion while my rivals are concentrating on Sonic 1. Go here for our forum. We're always looking out for new members, so you're welcome to join. More importantly, if anyone knows where I can get hold of some level maps for these games, they would be very helpful for planning speed strategies!

2003|05|05 5:05pm:

Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is out. It's classic Zelda. I really don't need to say any more.

But I will... it's Zelda just like in the old days with Ocarina. It's a near-perfect game. Flawless game mechanics, delightful new surprises, same old control system, couple of new moves, lots of nifty hardware, joyous dungeons, and forget ANY and ALL qualms you had about the graphics - the game is flat-out STUNNING. Just jump in the water. Sail your boat across the ocean, dodging octopi. Watch Link's facial expressions as he makes the decision to leave his grandmother and sails across the ocean.

I've heard complaints about it being far too easy or short. I find the difficulty curve seems to be judged about right. If this isn't your first Zelda game, then you will breeze through many of the puzzles (which are nevertheless brilliantly concocted - the solutions to some of them are so elegant that they really make me smile), but combat can occasionally be extremely dangerous, and I HAVE died on more than one occasion. As for length, I've been taking my time over this game in order to savour it, so we'll see when I finish it.

Today (May 5th) is allegedly Webcomic Awareness Day. Well, what better day to make StickManStickMan known to as many of your friends, relatives and internet acquaintances as possible? We have banners, you know. I hope you'll all be crowding around for StickManStickMan's 40,000,000th second, as well. That happens in just a couple of days, just watch the counter (bottom left).

2003|05|08 11:16pm:

X2, the second X-men movie, is better than the first one. And the first one wasn't all that bad, either. I'll try not to spoil any of it here, but I will say: Nightcrawler owns, Wolverine kills MANY people, characters that were minor in the previous movie get bigger parts this time around (which is a good thing), and cameos from Colossus, Beast and Shadowcat really add to the movie. The first movie was tied down somewhat, having to explain which character is which and who can do what, whereas this time they leap right in with the action in a particularly funky manner. I liked the various references back to the last movie, and the occasional jokes made the movie more entertaining rather than breaking the flow. Overall I rate it A-. I recommend it, but only if you've seen the first movie (and relatively recently at that). You will also get much more out of it if you have any knowledge of the comic books or the cartoons.

On that subject, have you seen the theatrical trailer for The Matrix Reloaded? Now that is just jaw-dropping. How many people can one guy kick in the face without touching the ground? Sixteen, seventeen? Should be good. Got my ticket reserved :)

The fourth and final free Animatrix episode is also available now. Although I've heard a lot of people raving about the Animatrix, my personal reaction to the whole series has been very much a resounding "meh". It's all basically stuff we already know. Only the Detective Story one was any good, and that was only because of the cool animation. In my opinion, the whole point of turning the Matrix universe over to these animators was that it provided a framework in which they could build new stories, not retell old ones. Sure, strengthening the history behind the movie is all well and good, but having Morpheus say "It was us that scorched the sky" is all the explanation that is required. Nobody needs to see the planes and black smoke.

Still, the DVD has five other non-free episodes, which I haven't seen yet, so maybe they make up for it.

Can't talk. Playing Zelda. Using pears to control seagulls.

2003|05|09 6:26pm:

After spotting the feature on another website, I've added a "TagBoard" thing to the right. Have fun.

2003|05|05 10:12pm:

There is stick death... and then, there is stick death. There are only so many times one can be entertained by a stick-figure being ripped apart in a spurt of badly-drawn, badly-animated pixellated blood. (In my case, zero times.) But this is in another league altogether. It's like a super-awesome kung fu action movie. Only in Flash. With stickmen. Fluid movement, smooth moves which look realistic (if unfeasible), special effects. Possibly the best use of stickmen I've ever seen.

But wait! There's more!!

More here!

2003|05|22 1:25pm:

Sam's The Matrix Reloaded run-down

The following has been coloured white to protect those who do not wish to see spoilers. Click and drag to highlight.

Bad Stuff

~Repetition of 101 (Neo's room # in the first movie). <- bleh.
~Morpheus' "jump miles in the air, slo-mo crane move, drop with knee in someone's face" move never works, in this movie or the previous one.
~Really awkward George Lucas-style dialogue during the first half of the movie.
~Hated the French guy. Will he ever shut up? Talks rubbish, at length. Ditto Oracle. I can't decide if they were being deep or just stupid. I vote the latter.
~Lines in the previous movie became memes. Lines which were obviously intended to become memes in this movie, did not. I can't even remember any. That's how much they sucked.
~"Hello, I am a Chinese guy in white whom you've never met. We shall fight for no reason! ... All done. Now, to continue with the plot."
~Mixed feelings about the rather literal interpretation of "back doors".
~Didn't like the obvious God figure. He could not have been more cliched. I kinda wanted him to introduce himself as "I am root". Never mind.
~The bad guy you could tell was bad from the VERY FIRST FRAME HE APPEARED ON SCREEN <- didn't like this much either.
~"We seek the Keymaker." "I am the Architect." What is this, an RPG? Terrible.
~Sex scene SUCKED. Morpheus' speech in the temple SUCKED EVEN WORSE.
~So there IS a spoon.

Good stuff

~Enjoyed the way the Matrix looked like when you look at it in code.
~Calling the new operator Link <- appreciated this.
~Incredible fight scene with Neo - "Level 1: fight six Smiths. Level 2: fight fifteen. Level 3: fight forty. Level 4: fight a hundred." Couldn't you just SEE the way it sped up, like it does when you play Tetris at higher and higher levels? A videogame. Great moves.
~Niiiiiiiiice car chase, particularly the lorry collision and Morpheus totalling the Twins' car.
~SUPERB use of slow motion and bullet-time.
~Notice the monitors in the room with The Architect are the same one we watch Neo through when he's in the interrogation room in the first movie?
~Trinity logging in as root, yeaaaaah
~Enjoyed the extended shots of the Nebuchadnezzar and surroundings. Rather skipped over this in the last movie.
~References to "Final Flight Of The Osiris" and "The Kid's Story", both on the Animatrix DVD.
~Liked "the Superman thing" at the end with the sonic boom. Also liked Link's "Yess!" reaction.
~Braille on the doors in Zion?
~Neo = EMP? Three possibilities - one, he is still connected to the computers and they are connected to the Sentinels even while he's outside, and disregard the light show. Two, Matrix within Matrix. Three, pure fluke, somebody totalled them on his behalf.
~Terminator 3 trailer. Gotta see that.

Score: 811/1000. Go see it. It's awesome. If you need the toilet halfway through, go while the French guy is talking.

If you're anything like me, you'll be pining for a Matrix Code screensaver, but you'll also find that the one on the official website a) has annoying screen-burster things and b) only fills about 640x480 of your screen. Therefore I suggest using this one instead. Turn off the messages and you're set.

2003|05|28 12:40pm:

Well, I've seen the rest of The Animatrix now, and I've had a slight change of heart. The remaining five episodes more than complement the first four. Final Flight Of The Osiris, 100% CGI animation from the folks who brought us the Final Fantasy movie, is a very slick piece of work. The acrobatics are nice (though the shooty bits are kinda dull). Kid's Story and Beyond are both pretty reasonable. World Record and Matriculated both feature some amazing artwork, very stylish. Of the bunch, I'd call World Record my favourite.

Overall, the whole run of nine episodes is pretty enjoyable. If you enjoyed the first four and want more of the same, but don't feel like infringing on the Wachowksi brothers' copyright, then there are some more free Matrix stories available in comic format. You can find them here.

2003|05|31 11:43pm:

Shiny toy!!!

StickManStickMan welcomes all readers diverted here from! If the current strip doesn't make sense, please read all the comics starting at the beginning. Don't forget to check out the BuR and Illuminati sections... And remember, nobody has EVER died while reading StickManStickMan!

2003|06|04 4:59pm:

Exams = finished. Most of the other people I know have about a week until they finish theirs, so it's point-and-laugh time.

How did I think they went? I'm so glad you asked! Average. I think I might get a 2-1, but probably not a first. Some of the papers were really nasty - Analysis paper consisted almost entirely of integration-related things, Dynamics paper was INCREDIBLY hard (which just isn't fair, Dynamics is meant to be easy!), Algebra and Geometry asked nothing about any of the important group theory-related proofs. On the other hand, Numbers and Sets was relatively easy and so was Vector Calculus. Differential Equations went okay, and as for Probability... well, Probability always stinks.

Having reserved Zelda and bought it on release day, I managed one week of play before I had to stop to revise. So now I'm back with a vengeance, gonna pwn this thing before the term is out or die trying.

There are several more prospective illuminati waiting in my email inbox, and they've been there for quite some time. I'm sorry it's taking so long for me to get round to it, but I haven't forgotten, you WILL be added! Now I have plenty of time on my hands, that's one of the top things to do on my list. Alongside "draw five more months' worth of comics".

2003|06|05 3:15pm:

And lo, the new illuminati have been added to the tally. Well done, chaps.

And lo also, reader Sonic Fruit has sent in some fan art!

And finally, lo, the month of May is finished and the logs are up. May represents a hefty decrease in visits compared with April, but June looks pretty sunny.

(I need a new watch)

2003|06|07 6:40pm:


StickManStickMan is actually listed on at least half a dozen different comic listings sites, and has been linked to from roughly two (count 'em) other web comics (although one of them was, admittedly, The Polymer City Chronicles, for five straight months), but despite this I get relatively few external hits except from where I promote myself. However, this particular listing is run by the author of Cup Of Suffering, which seems to be pretty popular at the moment, so it's likely to receive at least some publicity, so who knows. Thanks, whoever it was who nominated me. Have a pizza.

(I have a new watch!)

2003|06|29 2:53am:

And so a luxurious four months of staying up until 2am and getting up at noon begins. Lazy though I may be, I am using this free time to make a much-needed extension to the StickManStickMan comics buffer. I've outlined over five weeks of new comics in the last few days, pushing me (at least in theory) into the start of 2004. I shall not rest until my buffer reaches a year! Well, except at night.

Kudos are due to my uncle John, who came over from Melbourne, Australia to visit the family and I for a few weeks, and left for home mere seconds ago. A really great guy, more generous than you can imagine.

In the meantime, having finished Wind Waker I made a start on a second pass of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I just finished the Shadow (ooooh! spooky) Temple today. Yes, although I'm using the GameCube I am playing the original version of OoT, not the Master Quest - see, I only ever beat it once before, and that was by consulting a walkthrough EVERY STEP OF THE WAY from about the first tentacle in Jabu-Jabu's belly right to the end of the game. Anyone who's played the game (widely regarded as one of, if not the greatest videogames ever) will know that such actions are a truly CRIMINAL waste of enjoyment and accomplishment. (I even did the exact same thing with Majora's Mask a year or two later. I should be locked up for my crimes against gaming.) So this time, though I am relying on my hazy memories of that rental copy four years ago, it's all my own work. Should be good.

I have to go now; it's nearly 3am and I'm not entirely sure if I'm meant to be getting up for church today...

2003|06|30 7:50pm:

I've made a moderate change to this front page. I hope you like it. It may be a short while before I can propagate these changes through to the rest of the site, so for now just bear with me. Tell me what you think.

2003|07|03 8:57pm:

After some strange activity on the hit counter recently - lulls of forty, spikes of two hundred - June turned out to be the best month yet. Now if only I can persuade my readers to entice a few thousand more readers, I might stand a chance at world fame. If you all manage to attract ten more readers, and THEY manage ten more each, and then...

I can dream.

Sealed myself a (relatively high-paying) job for a few weeks over summer, and finished OoT. All I need now for a complete game is a ridiculous number of heart pieces and a hundred Skulltulas. And the ice arrows, Farore's Wind, some magic beans and other things... After that I'm considering going for a speed completion - the world record is allegedly six hours, forty-five minutes, seventeen seconds. Beatable? I'll have to think about it.

I'm also considering a return to Perfect Dark. Just considering, mind you. You heard it here first... ;)

2003|07|07 6:01pm:


2003|07|09 9:03pm:

Makar the Korok, Link-upstaging co-star of Legend of Zelda: the Wind Waker, and my favourite videogaming character since Sonic the Hedgehog, has finally had some fanart done of him. By me. Yes. Oh, and well done to Boter for being the first to complete the fifth Illuminati test. Hail Makar.

2003|07|10 8:15pm:

The Surrealist is one of the funniest sites I've seen in a good while. Who could say no to the awesome advertising slogan "Snap! Crackle! Pain!"? Enjoy.

2003|07|14 6:00pm:

After a hefty spell of inactivity on the "permanent links" front I've come up with a couple of other interesting comics which I suggest you might enjoy.

General Protection Fault has been running for donkeys' years and has a remarkably intricate and exciting storyline. Not quite as funny as I think it would like to be, but the good art and characters more than make up for it. It's worth braving their archive.

Yahtzee Takes On The World finished running in September of last year. It is rather more PG-rated than StickManStickMan, but while it did run, it ran seven days a week and for the most part in full colour, which I deeply respect. Pretty neatly drawn, pretty funny, British author, too. Ching!

Antihero For Hire is relatively new on the block, but already off to a very promising start. Having very passable artwork (it's no Mac Hall, but still well-drawn, uncluttered, and in full colour too), genuinely funny gags, and some nice action sequences is good, but the thing that struck me most about this comic was the storyline. Instead of going like StickManStickMan and wandering randomly, or like Megatokyo and confusing every single reader at great length, or requiring you to pick up on every detail and work stuff out yourself, Antihero's plot (such as it is thus far) unfolds smoothly, clearly and without fuss or ambiguity - ideal for the web comic audience. One to watch.

And Sluggy Freelance is nothing less than the greatest web comic ever created. Ignore the lame "Dimension of Pain" Saturday strips, and what we have here is some brilliant story-telling, great characters and pretty clever humour. The original and best - all other comics are but shadows of this one.

2003|07|19 1:24am:

Digi is back. This is the greatest videogaming magazine ever created, bar none. I was among the million British Teletext readers who enjoyed it back in the old days before it was axed. It's been a long time and Mr. Biffo's alarmingly surreal brand of humour has been sorely, sorely missed in these parts. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

2003|07|22 10:03pm:

I cannot recommend this site enough. If you're suffering from spyware, adware, popups, redirected browser links, reset homepages, mysterious new desktop links or other infuriating software that was installed behind your back, then this is the place to go if you want to get rid of them. It even tells you when stuff is installed on your computer, and offers very simple-to-follow removal instructions for every variant known. A superb job.

Some folks were asking to see that "Super-Tetris" video again, so here is a quick link, and if that doesn't work, there's always *hwaaark ptui* FilePlanet.

July has been a relatively slow month, but despite this we're going on ten thousand hits, so milestones++ and all that. I now have a *fully* fully complete save file on Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time now, those of you who were even mildly interested, and I have picked up an N64 joypad and started playing Perfect Dark again. It feels good to be playing again, but it's depressing how my PRs are so worthless these days. They seemed hard to get at the time...

2003|07|23 11:23pm:


There are update schedules, and then again, there are update schedules. There are the Penny Arcades of this world. Penny Arcade updates three times a week, come rain or shine or huge comics convention or Armageddon. I cannot remember the last time PA failed to meet an update. And these guys aren't working ahead of time, or with some kind of backup archive, like the StickManStickMen (?) of this world, which don't really count, being that if I were to drop dead at the keyboard shortly after uploading this newspost, it would still update seven days a week until approximately my 20th birthday.

There are comics which are regular as clockwork. And then, there is Megatokyo.

Megatokyo also updates three times a week, if you can call them updates. It seems like 50% of the time, it's either filler material or Shirt Guy Dom. Filler material we've all had enough of. If I wanted to see Piro's art then I'd be at Fredart, not here. Shirt Guy Dom is also something I've had enough of. Re-read the MT archive sometime and you'll be shocked at quite how many there have been. There are more than 30 of them, which wouldn't be so bad if it didn't completely wreck the flow of the story. I've not even counted the ones where Piro and Seraphim play their real life selves and talk about what it's like babysitting their neices and other irrelevance which belongs in the news column. Between them, these non-story-developing comics seem to occur more often than not. You check the day - ah, it's Wednesday, Megatokyo has updated, but no, it's yet more filler. Arrgh.

And this is from a guy who apparently quit his day job to work solely on Megatokyo! From someone for whom a comic strip is their full time job, I expect much more. If it's difficult to keep up, Piro, then scale the updates back to twice or once a week. But don't insult me by offering non-comics instead of what I really came to see.


(Ranting is good for relieving aggression.)

2003|07|25 4:40pm:

GAAAH! You see what I mean? That's THREE UPDATES IN A ROW without a proper, story-developing comic. Unacceptable.

I'll move on. A sixth illuminati test is now available. If it proves to be too easy, then I'll replace it with something slightly harder.

2003|07|29 5:13pm:

So my new game of the moment is Ikaruga on the GameCube. This is a vertically scrolling shoot-em-up; a very fast, very difficult one. At the moment the furthest I've reached is the boss of chapter four, out of five chapters, and that's using a ridiculous number of credits (continues) to get there. Let me reiterate. This is a VERY difficult game.

Basically, the game has black enemies (which fire black projectiles) and white enemies (which fire white ones). Your ship can change to black or white at any time. If you're white, you can absorb white bullets safely, but a single black bullet will kill you instantly, and the reverse applies. A hail of black bullets coming towards you? Simply switch to black and you can move through them easily. And obviously, shooting black bullets is more effective against white enemies, and vice versa. Oh, and you die if you crash.

Thus we end up at the following situation. We have a wheel-shaped boss with about sixteen alternate black and white turrets arrayed around the rim, firing inwards constantly. There is no spot inside the wheel which is free of bullets, except for the solid central hub, and four sets of solid, inert platforms revolving around it, both of which must be dodged. In addition to which, four MASSIVE beam lasers are periodically firing solid streams of black or white energy outwards from the hub. So you have to navigate, inside this claustrophobic circular arena, making sure that you stay the same colour as the local turret's bullets AND also turning to the correct colour as a black or white beam laser sweeps over you, trying to not to crash into the walls or the revolving platforms, while simultaneously attempting to individually take out the sixteen turrets, preferably using the opposite colour ammo. In under 100 seconds. Without dying more times than however many ships you have left - usually roughly zero at this point. And that's the boss of chapter three.

Needless to say, taking out all the turrets and triggering the stunning, screen-wrecking whiteout that heralds the boss's destruction requires concentration like you never knew before in a videogame. High speed Tetris is one thing, but to keep track of everything onscreen in Ikaruga, you'll need a third eye.

Ikaruga is definitely an adult game, and not in the gratuitous nudity/swearing/gore manner of, for example, BMX XXX or Conker's Bad Fur Day. Ikaruga is an adult game in the same way that Super Monkey Ball is an adult game; because it is too hard for kids to play. This I salute and respect.

2003|08|22 8:26pm:

So we had the epic 10,000th hit just recently - well done to whoever it was kept hitting refresh through the last ten. :) Also got a minor Illuminati update and a VERY minor, as in spot the difference, BuR update. There was one other thing, now, what was it? Oh yeah. Completely revamped the entire site. Wheeeeee!

My Ikaruga Arcade high score, for those of you playing at home, is now 4,398,210. The official world rankings make me feel miserable in this respect.

2003|09|06 4:38pm:

As yet more HTML is outsourced to a single cascading stylesheet, meaning site-wide changes are now even easier to implement, as further members of the Illuminati pass their initiation, and as Boter steams past two other reders to take a threatening #2 spot on the BuR rankings, one question remains unanswered... what are the two stickmen's names?

Yes, believe it or not, within the next six months you will learn the true names of our hitherto anonymous heroic protagonists. I can't set a date until I upload the relevant comic, but believe me, it's coming. Let the speculation begin! and let's see if we can make the grand revelation any more anti-climactic than it already will be.

There's also a new poll today, and at some point I will be uploading to a secret location a table of Illuminati members in order of seniority, which should make interesting reading.

2003|09|11 10:59pm:

*gasp*! Replaced the entire Seconds Since Comic #1 (middle box in the Statistics chunk, down and left) JavaScript program with the one-liner "function s() { = Math.floor((new Date()-new Date(2002, 1, 1))/1000); setTimeout('s()',1000); }". Boy do I feel an idiot considering how large and buggy the original program was. Never mind. Those of you for whom it still doesn't work - and it's been busted for pretty much everybody for the last month or so, since I moronically deleted the first <script> tag - let me know and I'll see what I can do to fix it up further, but this page is no longer generating JavaScript errors each time I load it, which can't be a bad thing. Whatever happens, it's no big deal anyway. You don't read this comic just for that second-by-second counter. Do you?

In the interim period, it looks like we all missed the big 50,000,000 second mark. :( Lots and lots to do on this site soon. Shame about the huge quantities of university work also needing doing.

In other news, I got another video of a different guy going Super-Tetris. More details when I can get them.

2003|09|11 12:50pm:

I'd like to share with you something which occurred to me just recently about character info pages. There are a bunch of other web comics whose authors seem to have worked out an awful lot of detail about their characters ahead of time. These details are then presented in the Characters section of the site, which is often uploaded BEFORE the comic even begins. (StickManStickMan does not have one of these, by the way, so stop looking.)

Now, it's not necessarily a bad thing to do, but when I see details like "blood type" and "star sign" and "preferred food" and really detailed personality backgrounds, as well as a complete life story, I begin to get sceptical about the usefulness of this. Unless you're going to remember and make use of all this detail at some point in the future, or you have the entire plot of the strip worked out to the last detail, you will certainly find one of the following things happens:

  • Trying to be consistent, you find that all this data too restrictive when trying to come up with new storylines etc.
  • You forget details and begin to contradict yourself. This is especially possible in the Personality section, when, e.g., someone who's supposed to be shy ends up acting all noisy.
  • You never use any of the data and it turns out superfluous.

I've had this problem with a really convoluted forum RPG I was orchestrating. I ended up with some really rigorously defined characters, and had to keep changing their (fortunately unseen) profiles to fit the story. In my opinion, it's better to start out with just a rough idea of what each character is going to be like (and make them DIFFERENT! Not all cut from the same mould, if you know what I mean), and let them develop under their own steam for a couple of months. I find details about their background just sort of turn up after a while, and then, when you're good and ready, you can put it all together and make a Characters page. Don't pick a favourite food just yet - you can assign it much later, when it turns out that having THAT particular favourite food could be an extremely important plot point.

There's another reason why having character bios isn't such a good idea early on. For a new reader, it's very intimidating if they feel it's necessary to assimilate lots of information about new characters in one burst, and then remember it all as they begin reading the comic. In my opinion, it's better to let these details come out in the course of the story itself. The same goes for written work. Don't fill the first page and a half with a description of exactly what your character looks like, is wearing, is carrying, and feels inside. That's dull. Keep it tight. Keep it fast. Get the story moving. You have exactly three sentences to capture my interest.

After a few months and people have become used to your characters, and you have a few regular readers, then you can tabulate all the data where people can see it and refer to it, making sure of course that the bio page doesn't give away half a dozen vital plot points. This is what I intend to do for StickManStickMan at some time in the future. (A year and a half late but oh well.)

2003|09|13 6:51pm:

Something which has been vaguely irritating me recently is people who do sponsored parachute jumps for charity. See, if you were going to walk all the way across Europe, or cycle up the Himalayas or run a marathon for charity, I'd be happy to sponsor you, and fair play. But a parachute jump? That's not exactly hard work, is it? Some people would - and do - pay hundreds of pounds for the experience of doing a parachute jump. A parachute jump is FUN. It's almost like doing a sponsored holiday-to-Florida.

2003|09|20 5:05pm:

Some internet buddies of mine named X and Wackypants have been drawing comics recently, but find themselves without a host. I've seen their work and I found some of it pretty funny, so, against my better judgement, I agreed to help them out. Starting on 2003|09|21 and every Sunday from then onwards, your regular dose of StickManStickMan will be supplemented (not replaced!) by a full-colour piece of comickry by X and Wacky, for as long as they can keep up with their weekly schedule.

As the ancient Babylonians once said, be afraid, be very afraid. (By the way, Hellanet - for that is the comic's name - contains some mild swearing. This will raise StickManStickMan's Language rating from U(niversal) to around a P(arental)G(uidance). That is all.)

2003|09|23 12:08pm:

I added a new comic to the list of links below. Saturnalia is a manga-style ongoing story which, I'm glad to say, a) has very good production values, b) doesn't introduce lots of identical-looking characters at once, c) offers explanations as and when they are necessary instead of you having to read the background and character bio pages to figure stuff out, and d) is actually pretty good.

I stumbled across another video of a guy going Super-Tetris. As you know, the game of choice needn't necessarily be Tetris - you just have to demonstrate extraordinary, inhuman skill at any game. Here, it's an arcade machine named Pop 'N' Mix which is basically Dance Dance Revolution only played on 10 buttons, and with your hands. It's 15MB, right-click and save to download it. Be patient. It's quite insane.

2003|10|02 11:48pm:

Another month has flashed past and I'm off back to college this Saturday. It's almost time for another yearly format of my computer. I now have a 20GB hard drive and a 160GB one: I'll stick Windows on the 160GB since I fear change, while a compsci mate of mine is even as I speak plotting to install Linux on the other one, in the hopes of bringing me around to the operating system that was (apparently) designed by penguins. I fear the worst. Meantime I have an awful, awful lot of MP3s and gaming videos to back up onto CD-Rs.

I have a question which I suspect the more computer-literate among you might be able to answer. Up at the top of the window of any archived comic is the phrase "StickManStickMan - in glorious 2D". I'd like to set up some kind of script or something so that each time you load a new comic, this header phrase randomly changes or cycles. It'd make the header less boring. I might extend it to other pages too. But I don't know how it could be done. Does anybody have any idea how I'd do this, short of using PHP?

PHP... now there's an abbreviation to roll around. I'm considering purchasing a domain name. Oddly enough, seems to be free! I don't fancy going for since I'll be wanting to host things other than this comic on there. Any intelligent domain name ideas?

(How can comic artist Xie Minggeng waste so much artistic ability on a terrible webcomic like this? I read the entire archive and I didn't even crack a smile. Get a writer, man. Such a shame.)

2003|10|08 9:17am:

Attention Jim Miles! I have received your fine fanart in the post! Thanks also to Julian Pulman who has also given me some fanart. Both of these have now been uploaded and should be available to read. Particular thanks to Jim who has been trying to get his comics to me for a long time, and finally pulled through with some quality StickManStickMan action.

Today also sees a single piece of Sonic the Hedgehog artwork added to the gallery.

2003|10|11 6:59pm:

Whoo! I have uploaded a new cartload of comics to the archive which will now be sufficient to tide us all through to sunny mid-March 2004. And it's about time, too. But it gets better. Those of you who find the massive backlog of over 600 comics intimidating or just find Keenspace is too slow to download the comics pages fast enough, can take a sort of shortcut and download one of several comic collections, now available on the archive page. There are Complete collections, containing a hundred comics each, there's a Year One collection with the first 365 comics, and for those who just want to cut to the chase, you can download a Best Of StickManStickMan collection. All these just contain the plain comics, no web pages, and you can download and browse them in any way you wish, provided you don't abuse my copyright.

Now I must go and find some food.

2003|11|05 10:55pm:

*shock update!* Just got back from watching The Matrix Revolutions and I have a selection of evaluatory musings ready to go. The following has been blacked out to protect those who are planning on watching it - click and drag to highlight. CONTAINS HIDEOUS SPOILERS.

Good bits:

~Lessened pseudo-philosophical claptrap emphasis.
~CONSIDERABLY lessened bullet-time emphasis.
~Ace water fight scene - it's great to see such high-octane kicking-people-through-buildings action outside of Dragonball Z for the first time. And done rather better than DBZ come to that. No fireballs, but genuine tension and great moves. Excellent use of flight and zero-gee.
~Rocking soundtrack.
~Zion invasion scene was very cool to begin with. Especially liked the squids skittering across the walls.
~Mech-robo-suit things = cool, but needed windscreens.
~Sentinel swarming effect just makes you shiver, very nice.
~Niobe flies a hovercraft like a pro.
~Trinity calling the Merovingian "Merv".
~The subway station. *grin*
~Kudos to the Wackowskis for having the guts to kill who they did and wrap the story up halfway-properly.

Bad bits:

~Disgraceful dialogue/acting during the first fifteen minutes, by everybody. Neo, the Asian trio, everybody. Lucas-esque dialogue stunk. This was slightly present throughout the movie but less noticeable later on.
~There is only one person in the entire universe who calls Neo "Mister Anderson" and Neo takes roughly fifteen minutes to recognise him, the dimwit.
~Trinity, Morpheus and Seraph look hilarious while chasing the long-haired dude. Watch out for it. These guys are supposed to have superhuman speed and strength in the Matrix, so why do they jog along a la Scooby Doo?
~I felt there was an unnecessarily large quantity of scene-changing early on.
~Zion invasion scene went on slightly too long. Those two girls take AEONS to reload their bazooka.
~Buried Christianity references are fun for those who like to find them. SEETHINGLY OVERT Christianity references are not.
~Trinity's death sequence went on way too long. Is she dying or isn't she? She timed it exactly so she finished her speech just before she died.
~Irritating kid.
~Oracle's change of actress, though explained away in the movie and obviously unavoidable in real life, really didn't work.

Overall score: 899/1000. A pretty good conclusion to the trilogy. Better than Reloaded by a long way, and genuinely brought something new to the action movie genre, like the Matrix, which brought us bullet-time, and unlike Reloaded, which brought us more bullet-time. Enjoyable.

2003|11|20 2:14pm:

Okay, here's the deal. I'm working on a piece of artwork on my computer. This is the first time I've sketched something out but done the outlining entirely on computer, and it's come out quite nicely, the lines are very smooth. But I can't figure out a decent colour scheme. The lineart is fine and some provisional colours are in, but I can't come up with a scheme that I really like. Which is where you folks come in. It's a colouring contest!

Here is a horribly low-quality, pixellated copy of the image in question. That's just so you can see what you're going to be colouring. The image that I'm working on itself is this 1MB Paint Shop Pro file, and is about four times the size in all directions, and much smoother. It's also got several layers, separating the lineart from the colour layer underneath it. To recolour the image, open it in PSP and use the Flood Fill tool. Then save the file and mail it back to me, or upload it somewhere I can get to it.

You can get a free 60-day trial of Paint Shop Pro here if you don't already have it. (Though that's a 56MB download, be warned.) Have fun.

Boter, your BuRs will be uploaded as soon as I can get around to it. I've actually had an awful lot of work to do in the last week. Been very busy.

2003|12|04 7:35pm:

Here's an interesting thing I thought up while reading a couple of Slashdot articles about videogaming as a spectator sport. Videogaming, as many of you are doubtless aware, is a) one of my great interests and b) far from being accepted worldwide as a legitimate pastime and c) even further from becoming a televised spectator sport in the same way that cricket, football and the Olympics are. The only notable exceptions I am aware of are several TV channels in North Korea which televise Starcraft games played by absolute masters of the game, and various Quake and other deathmatch tournaments where occasionally one will find paid commentators explaining the action.

So why not? While most sports are about physical ability/strength/agility, videogaming generally has a considerably greater emphasis on the skill and strategy aspects of playing. But this isn't a good enough reason - skill sports like archery are televised, chess is a spectator sport.

No, the problem I think is that videogames are too fast and confusing for your average layman to follow. Most folks aren't familiar with the rules/aims/basic playing strategy of games such as Counter-Strike, and would need this explaining to them. Also, the playing arena is too large and confusing. It's a great game for the players, but an external observer would have a nightmarish, impossible time attempting to follow the general course of events - especially in a free-for-all game where players are either all playing alone against the world, or not coordinating their efforts in a team properly; and it's impossible to have all players on the same screen at the same time, unlike every other team sport in the world. Moreover the ill-advised attempts by various Channel 4 TV shows to have gamers playing on television have come off really badly: usually we have two players, both of whom a) SUCK and b) are STANDING UP watching a small shared TV screen below them or something equally ridiculous, playing some sort of racing game, while the camera spends about 50% watching the players instead of their screens and the commentator, usually the presenter, (knowing nothing about videogames) talks uninspired guff about who's ahead. Then maybe after one of them wins and is given an award of some kind, we watch a live band in the studio and everyone involved trys to act cool on camera.

This is true. I've seen it.

My belief is that the major problem here is that there has never been a videogame that was DESIGNED to be a spectator sport. So far the main criterion has been only that it must be a fun game for the players (up to four on consoles, or 30-ish with link-up and internet) to play - NOT necessarily for other people to watch. This can be changed. Only a handful of videogames could ever become massively popular on the world stage (consider how many different *really* popular sports there are... at most, a hundred, right? Total known games listed on GameFAQs: 36,567!), so it is highly unlikely that a console game studio would develop more than a nominal amount of time and energy to making a game friendly to spectators, given the likelihood of a return on their investment. But the PC gaming mod scene is something completely different. There are folks out there with the experience, knowledge and free time to take a well-known game like Quake, Half-Life, or Counter-Strike and modify them into oblivion. Additionally, Quake tournaments (see early in the StickManStickMan archive) are already *insanely* popular and very, very competitive. There's a market for it both in players and in audience... all you'd need to do is make the game simpler and more palatable for the observers, and you could be onto something very, very big...

2003|12|08 1:45pm:

It had to happen. Boter has submitted a further four BuRs and made the jump from second to first place on the StickManStickMan Top BuR Hunters rankings, with the grand total of 34. Sorry, Jymbob, your months-long reign is over!

In other news, we've got some more Super-Tetris action for you. This time, some nutter from Japan has completed Super Mario Brothers 3 in 11 minutes flat. (17.5 MB) It WAS done using an emulator so we can't rule out the fact that he might have programmed the keystrokes - but even so, finishing the game with 99 lives too is still a pretty impressive feat. Enjoy.

2003|12|09 5:36pm:, continuing from my news post a few days ago, what DO we need from a videogame for it to become popular on the television?

Firstly we need to have an established user base - if it was a first-person-shooter variant made in an existing engine, there would be millions of fans already interested. Alternatively, real-time strategy would be pretty interesting. It must have at most two teams playing at a time. The rules and/or objectives in the game must be reasonably simple to explain to newcomers, but more importantly there must be a team goal. We can't have two teams of ten going around in a chaotic deathmatch as this is far too complicated. We've got to have the whole team working together towards something. It's important that ALL the action - probably the whole arena - be visible at once. As far as I can remember there is no sport where this is not the case. This way viewers can keep better track of what's going on. The game must be simple enough to understand, but have depth enough for strategic play and discussion.

As for presentation... Well, most important is a commentator who a) knows what he's talking about, b) has genuine enthusiasm for the game, c) is eloquent and good at explaining the game. There have to be replays of the cunningest moves and strategies. Strategic discussion among commentators of what each team is trying to do. When we view the action from the point of view of one of the players, have the player's name on screen so we can get to know who's who - particularly important for when the players are interviewed about the game and their part in it afterwards.

This was all bashed out in a couple of minutes so forgive me if it's stupid, or self-contradictory.

2003|12|17 11:32pm:

Well, well, well. It seems there is an alternate solution to the "My BIOS can only conceive of 137GB of my 160GB HDD" problem I mentioned a while back. The Maxtor website suggests: 1) If you have one of these Intel chipsets, then y- I don't; 2) Buy and install a hard drive controller PCI card for around 25 [no way]; 3) Install Windows XP and use some clever software [Windows XP refuses to play my sound uninterrupted when things are moving on screen]. The mysterious fourth solution: Install Debian Linux, which laughs at such problems.

The extra space has been partitioned and converted to space that only Linux, which I now have installed on my machine alongside Win98SE, can have access to. It's not an ideal solution but I may change my mind after I've had this holiday to familiarise myself with this strange new OS. It certainly seems to have all the bells and whistles, plus some ace screen savers, and it's never crashed on me yet. Downside? Lack of file sharing applications. And command lines unnerve me.

Other things to be done this holiday include two example sheets, four months of StickManStickMan and my computing project (read: learn C).

You will learn the stickmen's first names on January 11th, 2004. And believe me, this will be VERY anticlimactic.

2003|12|18 12:37am:

UPDATE: One more thing. Have any of you seen the advert for a new film called "Fog Of War" on the IMDB? Here's a screencap for those of you who haven't. Now, doesn't it look like the most scintillating piece of cinematography ever? Aren't you dying to see it? Try the official website. Looks awesome, doesn't it?

NO! It's the worst banner ad I've ever seen! What are they selling this on? Are overcoats sexy this Christmas or something? Is the "old guy in front of red and white stripes" look in?

2004|02|10 9:20pm:

Well, it looks like FTP is back even if the logs aren't. You can now download the complete second year of StickManStickMan from the archive page.

2004|03|03 9:28pm:

I can't believe it's been almost a month since my last news update. It's not that I've been busy or lazy; it's just that there's been nothing to announce. Well, now there is: I've uploaded 72 new strips today which should see me through to the end of May.

I've decided that I will indeed cancel all the BuR entries. I'll put up the final standings somewhere people can see them, but I'll stop accepting new findings. That should free up some space in the links bar up top. Replacing the BuR and links will be a new Timeline page. I can't release that yet since some of the events referred to on the timeline haven't actually happened yet. Coming soon: another vote, this time on the Illuminati stuff.

I've got another announcement to make. StickManStickMan is going to come to an end later this year. I'm going to try to wind it up for a nice round 1000 comics, a la 1/0. That puts the end at late October.

Why? A number of reasons. My buffer is running low - it's always been over three months, and it used to be nine, but now I have something like 75 comics in hand, which is too close for comfort. Drawing comics isn't as easy as it used to be anymore. Oh sure, drawing them is easy, although it takes longer than you might imagine to letter them legibly... but coming up with jokes, ANY jokes, is near-impossible these days as I'm sure you've noticed. It takes me about two days to come up with a new page of eight comics - my creativity in this medium is at an all-time low. As I said over two years ago in this site's intro page, jokes are pretty much all I have to drive the comic forward. The gags still come but much, much slower. In addition I now have serious university work to get to grips with. These comics are taking up too much of my time as they have classically done for countless other web comic artists in the past, and I have more important fish to fry.

I'm going to do a decent job of it, I hope. Between now and October I'm going to build up what should hopefully be an appropriately epic story arc with which to provide some proper closure for the StickManStickMan chronicles. Keep reading.

2004|03|13 10:18pm:

Having nothing better to contribute, I added five sketches to the gallery today. I'm going to see if I can get around to giving the fourth one the ink-and-colouring treatment sometime. Also the Top Ten has received what will probably be its penultimate update. Last orders, please.

2004|04|19 1:29am:

It's hard to believe that it's been over a month since my last update. Unfortunately, when I'm not at university, I can't seem to FTP into Keenspace and update either this front page or the comics archive. But that didn't stop me writing and drawing more, so now I'm back, I've added another 90-odd comics which will tide me through long into the summer holidays. This is a good thing, since it means I don't have to worry about the comic while I spend most of this term studying for my second-year exams. Then I can finish off the whole run over summer.

I'm going to allow another week for BuR entries and then I'm shutting the thing for good. The Illuminati is now also closed, I'm afraid. The final standings on both will be revealed when I get around to it.

Incidentally, I've been idly searching for newer Super-Tetris videos and suffice it to say they are more commonplace than I first thought. While the Time Attacks (which involve finely-tuning a sequence of keystrokes and simply feeding them into an emulator) are impressive, they are of academic interest. The Speed Runs and "Aesthetic Forms" (good name) on the other hand, are genuinely eyebrow-raising. There are far too many to list here and many weigh in at over an hour. (You've already seen the Pop'n Mix and Tetris videos.) So just browse. You should be impressed.

If you aren't, then I've still got you covered. You may recall me raving about the excellence of Ikaruga many moons ago. Ikaruga is a game in which the aim is not to complete the game (though that is VERY hard at first, but becomes easier) but to rack up monstrous high scores by means of "chaining" trios of black or white ships. Skilful chaining and getting high scores - without losing concentration, missing a shot, or dying - is an incredibly hard feat. I happen to know world #3 player Derek "Snapdragon" Kisman - look out for his 32,000,000 point run through Normal mode WITHOUT DYING ONCE if you want to see some serious skill.

That's not what I'm here to talk about. Go here and download the file marked "36.1MB". It's a video, compressed in .lzh format, which is popular in Japan apparently, and which WinRAR can unzip easily. Also, get the WM9 codec. Then watch the video.

And be astounded.

He has two arcade joysticks from a Sega arcade cabinet set up, hooked into (I'm told) the Dreamcast version of Ikaruga. He plays all the way through Chapter 3 pretty much flawlessly, in 2-player mode. ON HIS OWN. He has two ships on the screen. He controls them both at once. One with each hand. Sometimes they are doing completely different things. It's like he has two brains or something.

The video shows you his hands so you can see it's genuine. I was reduced to a howling, gibbering wreck while I watched it. I mean, if you thought you were good at videogames, just quit now, save yourself the embarrassment.

The rest of VTF's site, while incomprehensible to a non-Japanese-reader like myself, indicates that he has experience with a large number of other scrolling shmups including Ikaruga's predecessor, the considerably more complex Radiant Silvergun. Scrolling shmups are less popular in the West so Japanese players have an obvious advantage. But that doesn't make VTF any less of a master. Move over, Tetris Japan Finals. We have a new champion.

2004|05|01 6:35pm:

Well, after tabulating the vast number of last-minute entries to the BuR Rankings, the final standings are here. Congratulations to the winners! I think all of the top three deserve something special but I don't really know what to do in terms of prizes... so any StickManStickMan-related suggestions would be helpful.

Also ended forever is the Illuminati competition, and the final standings (and solutions) for that are now also up.

You may have spotted the slight site re-jigging I've done: from now on, Fan Art, the BuRs and the Illuminati are grouped under the Fan Stuff page. This freed up some room in the top links bar, which was getting crowded.

Some of you may have been puzzled by the "Should Tina die?" poll which I've now taken down. I was going to take a vote on whether some of the major StickManStickMan characters should be killed off towards the end, in order to add tension to proceedings, but I've changed my mind because I think it's a dumb idea.

A new addition to the top links bar is the Timeline link. This chronicles the timeline of events in the StickManStickMan universe - which has been split into no less than four separate timelines, due to the amount of time travel which goes on. It was an education to put together, let me tell you. Hope it makes sense to you.

Also available now is The Complete StickManStickMan Volume 8. You can get it and the other volumes from the archive page.

2004|05|08 9:16pm:

You may or may not be aware of the interesting new Flash puzzle called Crimson Room and its more recently-released (and harder) sequel, Viridian Room. These are fun "mystery" games which require a fair bit of lateral thinking to solve, and as far as I know there is nothing else quite like them available on the web. I recommend giving them both a go... to see if you get as irate about them as I do.

Yes, they are clever games, and yes, it's cool to try to solve them. The mystery behind Viridian Room in particular is fascinating. But... sheesh, they could rely a little less on blind luck!

A lot of the items you have to find in the games require you to click on particular, small, unmarked areas of the scenery to get to certain "viewpoints" of the room where you will usually find new items. Most of these areas you need to click on make sense... click a drawer to open it, click the bowl to look at it. But some of these are AMAZINGLY small and completely unflagged to the extent that you could click aimlessly for literally hours before accidentally finding the answer. Sometimes you must even click more than once! This is a poorly put-together puzzle.

There are also several programming faults in Viridian Room which make it, for example, impossible to look in one specific location unless you examine an item you have picked up. Why? It makes no sense! My third gripe would give away part of the solution so I have encoded it with ROT13. You can decode it here:

Gb rfpncr gur Ivevqvna Ebbz lbh zhfg fbzrubj puvyy gur pna bs orre lbh svaq va gur zvav-sevqtr. Abj, vg vf jnez jura lbh svaq vg, naq nyfb gur svfu va gur sevqtr vf ebggra, fb V znqr gur ybtvpny nffhzcgvba gung GUR SEVQTR VF OEBXRA. Zberbire n cbjre pbeq - fhpu nf lbh hfr va Pevzfba Ebbz sbe gur PQ cynlre - vf abjurer gb or sbhaq. Ubj, gurersber, vf bar fhccbfr gb qrqhpr gung chggvat vg onpx va gur sevqtr jbhyq pbby vg? Jul jnfa'g vg pbby gb fgneg jvgu? Vg znxrf ab frafr!

Puzzles with logical solutions, I like. Puzzles with random solutions I dislike. But puzzles with solutions running DIRECTLY AGAINST logic anger me. Try again, Toshimitsu Takagi.

2004|05|18 5:57pm:

Possibly you may not have noticed the new poll. I'm toying with a number of ideas for the final final ending, so your vote actually counts this time.

2004|06|03 5:40pm:

I should have posted this link long, long ago.

Perhaps most amazing is the huge range of obscure hardware people are using. A Neo Geo? An Atari Jaguar CD? A Panasonic Q?! An entire Mac G5! A Virtual Boy! Weird and wonderful gubbins I don't even recognise. A snowboard. Ooooh yeah. An actual human baby. The Millennium Falcon. A PROPER, NO-FOOLING TELEPHONE.

Exams currently in progress...

2004|09|06 9:55pm:


I finally gave in and got a mobile phone.

Those of you who were aghast last update when I revealed that I can't drive will probably be equally aghast right now. Mobile phones started to become popular when I was in high school, at least five years ago - I managed to resist buying one for this entire time, regarding them as an unnecessary monetary drain, and perceiving them as more hassle than use among my friends and family. Anybody else out there who still isn't using one has my deep respect.

As a no-nonsense guy I went for a no-nonsense, largely featureless device. No colour screen, no camera, no poly-accursed-phonic ringtones. Failed to spend a great deal of money - a good thing in my book. Also, it beats the three ancient, baguette-sized devices - less "mobile" than "portable" - which have been knocking around our house for so long that they can't even be traded for bread.

My number: well, people I know in real life are welcome to contact me and ask for it. Everyone else, +447--------- is the best you're getting, nyah :) (Note: +44 is the dialling code for the UK, and all UK mobile numbers begin with a 7. So I haven't really told you anything.)

With great bleeping power comes great responsibility: I hereby promise to do my very best never to allow my phone to ring, EVER, and never to answer it at an inappopriate time.

Now I'm off. Busy day today: I have to start a fire at a petrol station, interfere with some hospital equipment and then catch a movie.

2004|09|17 2:53pm:

Saw Hellboy the other day. Not bad. I give it 1/1.

Hellboy himself is an excellent character. Funny without being wisecracking. No angst like Spider-Man, not a big blue Boy Scout like Superman. Smokes cigars. Likes cats. Punches holes in walls. The supporting cast is pretty good too - the character which stood out most in my mind is the first guy the FBI agent meets at the BPRD. He only appears once and has about three lines but I liked him. Maybe I'm crazy.

Scenery was nice. CGI was good but not outstanding, particularly as far as the pyrokinetic's blue fire was concerned. Final bad guy wasn't particularly impressive: just tentacles, really. Characters were imaginative, dialogue was good. Storyline felt as if it was missing some background clarification - or maybe somebody who'd already read the comic books, which are highly spoken-of.

Do not see it if you dislike walking corpses.

In related movie news, Shaun Of The Dead is coming out in America pretty soon. It's been out in the UK since April, I've seen it, and I recommend it. See what I thought about it here.


The beginning

I shall always regret never saving my old news posts. I can barely remember how or when I came up with the name of the comic, let alone the detailed history which I'm about to try to tell...

It must have begun way back at the start of 2002... possibly even late 2001. I don't recall exactly how it all started. I was coming to the end of secondary school, I was addicted to online comics, I was having crazy ideas about the stickmen which I was doodling roughly in biro on page after page of scrap paper. For some reason I applied for - and received - a Keenspace account. I knew I wanted to do an online comic but 1) I was incredibly lazy, and decided to start as I meant to go on and 2) I wanted to show the world what stickmen could really do - to make the best stickman-related comic strip ever. Mission accomplished? I guess that's your decision.

The first comic went online on February 1st, 2002, to an audience of maybe two people. The comic was low quality, the site design at that point was a single, poorly-laid-out page in shades of dark green, and I was still getting to grips with the Keenspace updater system, which would culminate in me missing comics on February 2nd and 4th. Since then, barring Keenspace downtime and hiccups (it's a free hosting service; you get what you pay for), there has been only one interruption in the comic's seven-days-a-week schedule: on May 13th 2003, due to a numbering error when I was scanning the comics. All of these gaps have now been filled retroactively. StickManStickMan's legacy is a single thousand-comic span.

The middle

I have always owed my regular updating schedule to the fact that I draw simple stickman; moreover, that I drew them as much as nine months in advance, in order to minimise comic-drawing stress. One consequence of this was that - because I could never guess what date a given comic was likely to appear on - I never bothered to do special Christmas or New Year comics or stuff like that.

Because I love tinkering with HTML the site went through a variety of changes, which you can find at the Wayback Machine if you're curious. It's never looked as shiny as some mainstream comics I could mention, but then again, it's never looked like total garbage like some OTHER mainstream comics I could mention, and nor, I hope, has it ever taken too long to load.

Another consequence of the 7-days schedule was that I passed milestones ridiculously regularly. I hit 100 in months and as far as I know this comic still places very highly on the "Number of comics" ranks.

There were some great high points. Perhaps most memorable is being printed in the Independent, a British broadsheet newspaper, on September 21, 2002. And Polymer City linked to me for seven straight months, which rocked. A whole lot of people have linked to me, in fact. On average I think - Keenspace has yet to successfully log a continuous year of statistics, so this is a guess - I earned about 100 uniques a day for the whole course of the comic's run. More towards the end.

I'll chalk that up as success.

The end

StickManStickMan initially began as an outlet for my creativity. Over the next two and a half years it turned from an outlet to a drain. I ran out of impulsive new directions to take the guys in, and jokes to make when they got there. What I also realised was that, really and truly, StickManStickMan was never likely to make it big and gain the kind of viewing figures Real Life or other popular comics do. Hit counts spiked when I got linked, but then shrunk back down again. I'd reached a creative dead-end.

I knew then - something like six months ago - that sooner or later, StickManStickMan was going to have to come to an end. I took my cue from 1/0 in setting a finishing point of 1000 comics.

I also decided to use the remaining unwritten 200-odd comics to provide some sort of coherent context for the whole story, and hopefully also some proper closure. Now, working within the constraints of an established continuity of around 800 already-written comics is an incredible stimulant for the imagination; much more so than working in a vacuum. You really have to think to make sure everything is consistent with everything else. I'm my own harshest critic in this respect - I've probably devoted more thought to plot holes in the story than anybody else, with (I hope) the result that the StickManStickMan universe is - while totally crazy - completely consistent.

I at least gave the guys a happy ending. I've put them through enough confusing, off-the-wall rubbish that they were owed it.

I hope I've succeeded in what I set out to do. I hope I've provided a satisfactory ending to a good overall experience. If not... well, it doesn't matter. I've had a blast doing this - devoting myself to something big, keeping a lot of people happy at once, having a lot of laughs. I have a file full of comics to look back on and remember. It's been cool and memorable. A significant chapter of my life is ending here.

You can still talk to me via email - act[ ], put "ini" in the gap - or on AIM, where my screen name is StickManSam1024, or you can catch up with me and a whole bundle of other cool guys at my favourite message board. While I'll probably never do another web comic, I do have other creative outlets where I'll be focusing my energies instead (aside from college work, of course).

I think that's everything.

I guess this is it. The end of the final newspost. The final comic is right down there. I hope you like it.

Goodbye, guys.


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