Introduction:

Space... The Final Frontier...:
These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise.
Her five year mission...
To explore strange new worlds...
To seek out new life and new civilizations...
To boldly go where no man has gone before...!

I was a very young boy, I'd say around three years of age, when those immortal words were introduced to me. How do I know I was three? I was born in 1976 and the first Star Trek movie hadn't yet been released.

Star Trek The Original Series.

Star Trek, created by Gene Roddenberry, was to be one of the most influential things to ever touch my life. As a young boy, I sat and watched the adventures of Captain James T Kirk, Spock and the rest of the crew of the USS Enterprise NCC 1701, as each week they went on a galactic adventure. I liked Star Trek a lot, but little did I know that this small 1960's television show would shape my life in so many ways in the future.

Then suddenly, there was a lot of hype in the air. A movie was in the cinema, Star Wars, and everyone was going mad about it. My Ma and Da took me to see it and I liked it a lot. But after that, news appeared, a Star Trek movie was on the way. My folks took me to see Star Trek The Motion Picture when it came to the cinemas. While I liked this too, I do remember that I was the only one of all my friends who thought it was better then Star Wars.

The years passed, I continued to watch Star Trek on television, and as the new movies appeared in the cinema, I was brought to see them all. While my friends raved about Star Wars, which in fairness is a movie series I do enjoy, I continued to sing Star Trek's praise over it.

Then, late 1980's, news appeared that a new Star Trek series was in the making. This was set one hundred years ahead of the original series. Kirk and Spock were not in it. We were getting a new ship, a new crew, and a whole new set of adventures.

I can clearly recall the very first image I saw of this new Star Trek. My Ma and I were out shopping and there was a poster for it hanging up on the wall in the store. We walked over and had a look at it. Star Trek The Next Generation. There was a bald captain. And a Klingon crew member.
"It doesn't look very good," I clearly remember telling my Ma. "They should have kept the original crew. I won't be watching this."
LOL!! If only I knew...

Star Trek The Next Generations.

Not long after that a television show aired promoting The Next Generation. Patrick Stewart, who played Captain Jean Luc Picard, took viewers on a tour of the new USS Enterprise NCC 1701 D. This new ship was cool looking. It was massive, it was more detailed, it could separate into two ships! WOW!! So when Star Trek The Next Generation aired on telly, I sat down and watched it. That was when my interest in Star Trek really took off and it started to really shape the person I am today.

It didn't take long for me to fall in love with the new starship Enterprise and her crew. Star Trek The Next Generation really grabbed my attention. Then, nearing the end of season one, the unbelievable happened... Tasha Yar, the ships tactical officer, a main character, died!! I couldn't believe it! A main character never died in the original Star Trek series. Just what else could I expect from The Next Generation?

Resistance is futile...!!!:
One day I went into college and my friend came over to me and asked me had I seen Star Trek the previous night. I hadn't. Suddenly he went nuts. He told me about some new race the crew had encountered called the Borg and that even though they fired all their weapons at the Borg ship, they couldn't damage it, while the Borg ship was slicing up the Enterprise. I cursed that I missed it but thought nothing else of it...

Until...
One night, a year or so late, I was watching Star Trek. The crew were apprehensions, there was some threat in Federation space, and then I heard Commander Riker mention the word, 'Borg'. I realised that this was a continuation to the episode I had missed so I sat back and watched to see what this new species was all about...

USS Enterprise encounters a Borg Cube.

Forty minutes later, the words, 'To be continued...', appeared on screen and I nearly jumped off the chair with excitement! The Borg, the coolest and deadliest foe Star Trek had ever envisioned, had made a massive impact on me. Here was a race hell bent on the assimilation of every living being in the universe and beyond, with a truly terrifying looking vessel and seemed unstoppable by all the Enterprise had to throw at it, and they had not only captured, but also assimilated Captain Picard, turning him into Locutus, and now they were on their way to Earth to assimilate the Federation and Commander Riker had issued an order to use a new weapon against them, that if successful, would not only destroy the Borg ship, but kill Captain Picard too! And to make matters worse, it was an end of season cliff hanger so I had to wait six months to see the next episode!

When that time elapsed and the concluding episode played, I was left a changed man. The Borg gripped me like no other alien, on television or in movies, had ever done. I wanted more of them, wanted to learn more about them, wanted to know how the Federation would handle its next encounter against them. However, sadly, for the rest of its television run, while a number of Borg episodes did appear from time to time, we never got to see them at their terrifying best again.

The Trek continued:

Star Trek Deep Space Nine.

Star Trek Deep Space Nine launched with an opening depicting the epic battle against the Borg when they were in Federation space. The scene was used to set the stage, and relationship, between Captain Picard and Commander Benjamin Sisko, the new leader of Star Trek's new show. Deep Space Nine took a while to grow on me. While it was Star Trek, it was a different kind of Trek, a darker Star Trek to what I knew, which looked at political and religious issues as part of its stories. It wasn't what I was use to at all. But eventually, I grew to love Deep Space Nine just as much as I did the original series and The Next Generation.

Star Trek Voyager.

Time went on and another new Star Trek series came onto television, Star Trek Voyager. This show gave us our first female captain, Captain Kathryn Janeway, and a new ship, but this time, ship and crew were stranded on the other side of the galaxy in the Delta Quadrant, seventy thousand lightyears from Earth and the Federation. I loved Voyager from the start, but it was three years later that the show, and the Star Trek franchise itself, was to give me what I had been wanting for, for about seven years.

Star Trek First Contact.

Star Trek First Contact appeared in the cinemas and this was the movie I had been dreaming of. The Borg were back! Star Trek First Contact pushed all the right buttons for me. The movie had action, space battles, fear, hope, comedy, it had everything. To this day, I still count Star Trek First Contact as being the best movie ever made, not just in Star Trek, but in all movie genres.

Not long after First Contact shook me to the core with a superb new Borg adventure, Voyager's third season came to an end, and what an ending it was as we saw the ship and crew face their biggest challenge to date as they found themselves having to cross Borg space in the Delta Quadrant! My poor sister, Julie, will never forget the six month wait between the end of that episode and its concluding part at the start of season four because for six months, I couldn't stop talking about it! LOL!

Season four of Voyager brought about yet another wish I had, but one I didn't think I'd ever see... Voyager got a Borg crew member, Seven of Nine (Annika Hansen). Seven instantly became my all time favorite character and with Voyager now offering so many superb Borg episodes, Star Trek Voyager became my favorite Star Trek series. Two episodes of note which I hold in very high regards are the season five two parter, Dark Frontier, which really saw the Borg at their best. And the season seven two parter, and last ever episodes of Voyager, End Game, which was a superb Borg based storyline.

Star Trek Enterprise.

After Star Trek Voyager ended, a new series began, Star Trek Enterprise, which took us back one hundred years before the days of Kirk and Spock and showed us mankinds first ventures into the final frontier... While I had doubts about this series, it won me over very quickly and I even took part in the many campaigns to save Enterprise when it was threatened with cancellation. Unfortunately, the show only got a four year run, but of those, season three is without the doubt the best entire season in all of Star Trek history, as Captain Jonathan Archer and his crew enter an area of space called the Delphic Expanse in an attempt to track down and stop a race who are constructing a super weapon to destroy Earth. Also of note, Enterprise did have one Borg episode. The season two episode, Regeneration, picked up the storyline from Star Trek First Contact and delivered a truly terrifying Borg episode.

I was very sad to see Star Trek end. It was, without a doubt, television at its best.


Computing:
I'm fairly well established in the computing world. From gaming to programming to creativity, I find a computer offers a lot to a user, there's always something new to do. While I like to play games as much as the next person, I find I spend more time immersed in creative activities. Of the creative tools computers offer, programming and 3D art & animation are the two that consume most of my time.

A few years back, my 3D skills entered a new realm of discovery when I finally got a grasp of working with bones and hinge joints. This discovery lead to the creation of my most successful 3D characters to date, the Shooting Stars gang. Already after appearing in their first computer game outing, work is currently under way on the sequel, Shooting Stars 2 The Prizonian Invasion.

Shooting Stars 2.
For Shooting Stars 2, the characters under went a redesign
adding facial animation to them. The results have really brought the gang to life.

For Shooting Stars 2, the characters all under went a redesign which, because of my continued development in rigging, gave each character facial animation. The result really injected new found life into the gang, the results of which will be seen upon Shooting Stars 2's release.

So impressed was I with the power that facial animation added to a scene, I finally took the plunge and in 2006, created my very first 3D movie short.

Dragon Quest.
Dragon Quest was my very first 3D movie project created to be a movie short,
and not as part of a game or other piece of software.

Dragon Quest told the story of a knight doing battle with a dragon to save a princess. The project was a huge learning experience for me. While doing it, I learned how to animate a movie in time with a piece of music, it marked my first time working with full bodied, fully rigged characters, and my animation skills improved. I am very pleased with Dragon Quest, however, the movie will always be tainted by the fact that only days after I completed it, my poor Ma passed away unexpectedly at the young age of 53. Dragon Quest was the last piece of creativity that I made that she ever saw in person (I know she's here in spirit).


AstroBots:
AstroBots was to be my very first adventure game. Having been complemented in the past on my story telling abilities, and having been asked many times to put those abilities to use and to make an adventure game, AstroBots was to be that game.

The AstroBots script.
The AstroBots script, over 400 pages of type in length!

It took months to write, review, alter, review, alter again, and so on, but eventually, the AstroBots script was completed and when printed out, it came in at over 400 pages of type, long! It is, without a doubt, the largest script I've written to date.

Julie and I both love it. We both agree that the story is compelling, adventurous, exciting, action packed, and would make one hell of a television series, or movie.
Ah...!
And there in lies the problem.
Julie and I spent many hours looking at the AstroBots story and trying to contemplate how it would translate into gameplay? When you write a game script, such as Shooting Stars, the story is written as a game. There are certain ways to tell a story so that it can easily be turned into gameplay.

AstroBots didn't fit this guide.

Upon reading the AstroBots script, what you'll find is that it's a story. It quickly jumps between story elements, locations and characters. Turning it into a game would require the player to constantly shift from element to element on a fairly regular basis. While this can work for an adventure game, it has to be planned, and AstroBots is not written with this planning in mind. AstroBots is basically a 400+ page movie script!

Julie and I had nailed down a gameplay mode that we both felt would work for AstroBots, but even though it does appear to be a sound gameplay method, I still wasn't 100% happy with it. To bring it down to basics, for AstroBots to work as a game would have meant either compromising the story or having very choppy gameplay which could have confused the player. So, recently the decision was taken to pull AstroBots as a game and do the script the justice it deserves...

...Turn it into a movie!

AstroBots tells an epic story of a crew aboard the starship Titan as they travel through the depths of space on a mission in which they soon discover that the faith of the entire universe rests on their success. The story is very heavily influenced by Star Trek, it giving me the inspiration to bring my own sci-fi vision to life.

At 400+ pages long, over 300 3D objects needing to be created, over thirty characters and a whole wealth of locations, AstroBots, as well as being my second movie project, is also a long term project at that. This website will chart the creation of this movie and you are all welcome to come along for the ride. I have been looking for a new 3D movie project to undertake for quite some time now. While many have come and gone, all of which would have been a much smaller project to undertake, it was the superb story telling that the AstroBots script offered that has inspired me to take on such a massive 3D movie project.

Let the adventure begin...