A few years ago an enthusiastic young fan of the site called Seb Patrick laid a challenge at our door. “Why”, he scoused, “doesn’t Red Dwarf have a meme generator website similar to the brilliant Frinkiac and Morbotron?”. That was definitely exactly what he said. And, I’m sad to say, we immediately dismissed the idea as essentially impossible. The thought of the logistics of the image processing, the indexing, the matching up with subtitles and the website build itself made us feel immensely sleepy. But, as the old quote goes… we may not be fast but we get there in the end.

So, 1,625,543 frames and 32,498 subtitles have been smashed together into what might be the most important website on the entire Internet and we are now incredibly proud to present to you, and the world…

The Smega-Drive

Want to know more? Then read on.

So, it works like this. We’ve based the indexing and the search system on the subtitles from the DVDs / Blu-Rays, so you can search for a quote (or a small part of a quote) and with any luck you will find the subtitle screen you need, along with previews of frames that that subtitle covers. Select one of the frames to enter its ‘Meme Lab’, where in you can either edit the caption and download your meme, select a more suitable frame from the timeline, or use the arrow buttons to refine the timeline and convert it into an animated GIF. In addition to the subtitle search there are two random buttons, of which we strongly encourage the use.

It’s worth pointing out at this point that the refinement of this system is an ongoing process. For example, the subtitles themselves contain some abridgements (not to the mention the genuinely shameful state of the subtitles for the later series. God help you if you actually need them to enjoy the episode) and the process we’ve used to extract them also comes with some errors, so we’re currently manually combing through these until they are complete and pristine, at which point we’ll probably put up the completed subtitle files for download. We’ll also be building on and improving the search system to help you find the scenes you need as easily as possible, as it is a tad on the crude side at the moment. If all else fails, then you can click on an episode title to view all of its subtitles, or use the episode browser link in the footer.

So, go forth and meme! Give us a shout at smegadrive@ganymede.tv if you spot any bugs or particularly egregious subtitle errors, or if you just have any general feedback for us to improve the system in the future. While you’re at it, giving @RedDwarfShuffle on Twitter a follow will almost certainly enrich your day.

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