Virtual Sets - by Andrew Ellard
5 September, 2003
Well, I hope these leave everyone as gobsmacked as they left me. Below you'll see a selection of screenshots from the all-new, all-singing, all-dancing Series IIIMenu Screens. This is how it's gonna happen:
With the Red Dwarf rock guitar theme blaring out, Starbug darts through space and finally approaches the mothership, landing in the docking bay. These shots will no doubt be familiar to fans from the shows, and were edited by GNP alongside the bonus material.
Then comes the heavy work, provided, once again, by top DVD authoring company Deluxe Digital under the auspices of Jonathan Cheesmur and the same creative/technical team who did such sterling work on the first two series - 3D Artist Milenne Tanganelli and Inferno Artist Phil Valentine, with sound effects and music put together by Sam Taylor.
In a cloud of steam, we dissolve to a CGI version of the docking bay and head past Starbug, under the Series III sign and through a door. The familiar Dwarf corridors lead us past a meandering skutter and into the Drive Room(or Science Room, or Medi-Bay... it depends which episode you're watching. The set was used quite a bit!).
The Drive Room Console will be the main menu for both discs. (The version here is from the first.) Little details from the series are scattered about the console - and also the surrounding set, as you'll see as you move from one menu to another. Amongst other things, you'll see Kryten's mechanoid home-brew, Lister's milkshake, a bow-tie and a bazookoid... which has a tendency to fire heat-seeking balls of death at regular intervals.
Heading out of the room, a helpful skutter will point you to an upstairs locker room which overlooks Starbug's hangar and offers the choice of Episode Selection. (No use looking at the still image for the cool flashing lights inside, but let me assure you that they're there.) Each episode's scenes are contained within a locker - though keep a close eye as you select each one, as extra details have been added to the insides of each - with each scene indicated by a moving Polaroid photograph.
Onto disc 2, and things start out in much the same way. From the main menu this time we move away from the nattering Holly and off to the left. A basketball is bouncing around the corridor as we finally enter the Officers' Quarters bunkroom. As with Series I and II, the place is a fairly Lister-ish mess. I'll leave you to guess which item links to which piece of bonus material.
So, what else is there? Well, there are a fair few sub-menus, of course - the Gallery images this time hang up as Timeslides photos; commentary and subtitles (the latter this time also running across the bonus material) appear on Holly's screen, as do the chapters for our major documentary All Change - but you can wait to see those when you grab the disc for yourself on November 3rd.
So what of Series IV? Well, it should come as little surprise that the fourth set of menus will resemble these. Lighting will be changed, and new set dressing, details and icons will be provided, but the basic design will remain the same. BBC and GNP producers Ross McGinley and Helen Norman have squeezed every penny to its limit, but when it comes to menus we had to decide where to draw the line. We could have done totally different things for every series, but to afford that they would have to be plainer, less detailed, less impressive menus. These, it has to be said, kick bottom - and, with the changes they undergo, are varied enough to justify being reworked for a second inclusion.
Enjoy the shots - we're getting closer and closer to the release and there's still a lot to do!
More DVD Details will follow soon...
You can pre-order Series III on DVD now from the Red Dwarf Shop.