History

Where it all began...:

2003. It was early in that year when the inspiration for Shooting Stars was born. I was sitting in front of my PC and wasn't really in the mood to do anything. I was bouncing the mouse pointer around the screen trying to think of something to do when suddenly BANG!! Inspiration exploded inside me. A new game concept formed in my head, that being a game in which the players mouse skills are measured. We all use a mouse to navigate around our computer interface so I've no doubt we would all say our mouse skills are great. But are they really...?

I grabbed some paper and started to flesh out the game idea. At that moment in time it was not called Shooting Stars, the game had no title. My initial concept for the game was that it would be a collection of mini games which would score the players mouse skills. However, I didn't like this. There was no drive to play. After all, all the player was doing was taking part in a collection of mini games, one after another after another... No, if this game idea was to work, it had to hold the players interest.

Shooting Stars was born...:

How do you make a collection of mini games which tests the players mouse skills have more game appeal?
The answer, you make those games part of a story driven adventure game.

Shooting Stars was born...

I sat down and fleshed out a story, a universe, a set of characters and from that the first draft for Shooting Stars was created. The initial draft was short, three pages if I recall, the story was good, the mini games to test the players mouse skills were good. The only problem was, this game needed characters. Cyber, Bo Nus and Saber were the characters who drove the story and this instantly caused a problem because up to this point in time, I had NEVER created a 3D character model.

My 3D skills were very young at this point and while I could model some basic stuff, character models were a complete no-go area for me. So I set myself the task of finally achieving that goal.

At the time, I was using TrueSpace 2 for my 3D work. It was a wonderful 3D package, very easy to pick and learn, and I had got it free off a magazine cover disc. The only problem was, it didn't have any tools for animating objects. Oh yes, you could animate for sure by moving, rotating and resizing, but rigging a model with hinges or bones or joints, that was not possible with TrueSpace 2. So I sat down and developed Cyber, Bo Nus and Saber as static models whose hands, while static, would work for all situations.

Cyber

Orignal Cyber.

Bo Nus

Orignal Bo Nus.

Saber

Orignal Saber.

Each character was given a hand with a pointing finger and an open hand. This would allow the characters to point and interact within the game. As you can see, the characters were also very different looking to the way they are known and loved today. Another difference was that Bo Nus was not part of the story but would host Bonus Games in Shooting Stars. Suffice to say, the initial version of Shooting Stars was very different to the well established one it is today.

Work on Shooting Stars got underway once the character models were ready and a game containing about five mini games was created. And then it was stopped! One day I sat down and looked at how the game was shaping up and I wasn't happy with it. I felt I had something good here, a game that tests the users mouse skills, but I wasn't happy with the way that game was shaping up. So Shooting Stars was shelved.

A whole new beginning...:

Then Caligari released TrueSpace 5. This software instantly caught my eye as it had tools for rigging models for animation. On top of that, Caligari were offering a special addon CD with TrueSpace 5 which contained additional animation tools. Still wanting to do Shooting Stars, I jumped on the offer and bought TrueSpace 5.

When it arrived, I spent a few weeks learning the new interface and tools. The AniPak CD which came with the purchase had a piece of software on it called Puppeteer. This tool allowed you to rig up models for animation using a slider interface. When I installed it and messed around with it, I instantly fell in love with it. Now I had some powerful new 3D tools to play with. Now I felt ready to create Shooting Stars.

I sat down and created Cyber, Bo Nus and Saber, new character models which looked a lot better then the original ones. While the character heads were still static models, using Puppeteer I was able to give them animated hands. This made a huge difference over the original characters as now they could really interact with their environment.

I then looked at the script for the game and decided that since I had great characters to play with now, the script could be improved. I rewrote the script, telling a much better story, making Bo Nus part of the story and not just a character for hosting mini games, giving each character a unique personality, and then, the biggest change, introducting two additional characters, PrizBot and PuzBot. With the script finalised, and the extra 3D work created, the Shooting Stars gang were ready to go!!

The Shooting Stars Gang

The Shooting Stars gang in TrueSpace 2.

The 3D Movie Production Tutorial:

The Shooting Stars gang made their first debute at Clickteam Convention 2003. They then starred in a short Christmas message that year. Their next outing was as part of my final year college project. Suffice to say, they were well established characters even before their game entered production, and what surprised me the most was that they developed fans who loved them, Bo Nus in particular because of his unique personality.

Then, just before Shooting Stars entered production, the Shooting Stars gang got their first big outing when they hosted my multimedia tutorial project, the 3D Movie Production Tutorial.

The 3D Movie Production Tutorial

The 3D Movie Production Tutorial.

This tutorial showed you (the reader) how to turn an idea in your head into a movie on screen. This tutorial saw some success and even appeared on the coverdisc of issue 80 of Digit magazine.

Shooting Stars 1:

Once the tutorial was complete, I went straight into production on Shooting Stars 1.

Shooting Stars 1

Shooting Stars 1.

When finally released in 2005, I couldn't have been more pleased with it. My vision for a game which scored the players mouse skills had shaped up well, and in the process it had established the Shooting Stars universe.

Shooting Stars 2 - New developments:

Not long after Shooting Stars 1 was released, I dived into the script of Shooting Stars 2. Once complete, I then turned my attention to the Shooting Stars gang themselves. I wanted to expand the rigging of their hands, into their heads, and give him facial movement. This was a new area for me to work in, but I knew I could do it. After some redesign and remodelling, the new Shooting Stars characters were ready for action!

The Shooting Stars 2 Characters

The Shooting Stars 2 characters.

Moving eyes for looking around. Eyelids for expressions. Mouths to talk. These enhancements to the Shooting Stars gang really did bring the characters to life. But not all characters proved easy to work with...

Bo Nus and PrizBot's eyes were made round to allow for working eyes to be installed into the characters. Cyber's black square eyes were able to move from side to side and up and down. But Saber with red diamond shaped eyes and PuzBot with questionmark eyes posed huge problems as I tried to decide how best to handle them. After a number of rough redesign sketches, it was decided to not tamper with them and while it would mean less movement and expression in these characters, it worked in the end when the games movies were created.

Shooting Stars 2's story also introduced some new characters, Sentinel, Gruff(y) and Decasphere, as well as a few others. The story was over twice as long as Shooting Stars 1's story. And the number of movie clips went from forty in Shooting Stars 1 to a whopping one hundred and ten in Shooting Stars 2. The total running time of the movie sequences was; Shooting Stars 1 - over seventeen minutes; Shooting Stars 2 - over forty one minutes!! The creation of the movie clips for Shooting Stars 2 took almost two years to complete. Once done, the game entered production...

However, Shooting Stars 2 did not get completed... After over a year of working on the game, with the script only half way through, production on the game was ended! The game was shaping up very well, there wasn't a problem there, I just felt that the game format for Shooting Stars was not getting the best from the characters and the rich universe they inhabited. The decision to end production on Shooting Stars 2 was not taken lightly. Over two weeks of thought was given to it, but in the end the game was pulled from production.

The Shooting Stars 2 DVD Cover

The Shooting Stars 2 DVD cover.

I had new plans for Shooting Stars...

Shooting Stars DVD.

Shooting Stars 3 - The Movie:

When I initially created the Shooting Stars characters, their creation was simply to be characters in a computer game. However, the guys had turned out so well, they had expanded into other areas. I even had them host a tutorial for Clickteam's MultiMedia Fusion 2, a tutorial aimed at RPG game creation.

Comic Strips From The NightFall RPG Tutorial

NightFall comic 1.

NightFall comic 2.

But I had a new goal in mind for the Shooting Stars characters...

Shooting Stars 1 established the characters and universe.
Shooting Stars 2 expanded that universe and ended on a cliffhanger!!
Shooting Stars 3 would conclude the trillogy...

And that's exactly what it is going to do!!

Work has started on Shooting Stars 3 - The Movie. Where Shooting Stars was always planned to be a computer game, the rich characters and universe open up to a much more larger project and appeal, and that's as a movie. Shooting Stars 3 is in production and it will be a full movie project which will tell the end of the story started in 2003. It will also see the Shooting Stars gang move from TrueSpace to Lightwave, a move that allows for some additional enhancements.

With this new development for Shooting Stars, this Shooting Stars website has been established. It will cover the production and release of Shooting Stars 3, as well as being a central hub for everything Shooting Stars. So come along for the ride and be a part of the next big adventure for Cyber, Bo Nus, Gruffy, PrizBot, Saber & PuzBot...


Shooting Stars 10th Birthday
Celebrated In Print

The Shooting Stars gang in 3D World 152.

While celebrating their 10th birthday in 2012, the Shooting Stars gang got their first worldwide public outing when they were printed in issue 152 of 3D World magazine!! Thank You, 3D World, very much appreciated this!!