Every once and while you come across a tool that makes you think, “Hmmmm…why didn’t I think of that?” Today I letting you know about one of those kinds of tools. Running this site, I’ve gotten really familiar with many drag-and-drop graphics tools, so it only made sense that eventually someone would do it for designing competitive stages for a shooting match.
Back in February, Paul at TargetBarn.com sent me a message through the contact page asking for my thoughts on a tool he had cooked up to address shortcomings they’d seen in stage design. I shared my thoughts with them, and now I’m sharing them with you.
In transparency, I’m not being compensated in any way by posting this up. I simply thought it was an interesting tool, and free to boot, so why not share it with a larger group?
The Stage Builder
The tool itself is the TargetBarn Stage Builder, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. Historically, match directors had to plan stages on a kitchen table using miniature figurines, or would use something like PowerPoint or Google Slides. The goal was streamlining the process with an easy-to-use tool that can be adjusted quickly on the fly.
Is it perfect? No, but even in the two months between when Paul asked for my feedback and when I wrote this post, they’ve made several improvements. There are little design touches that I would find helpful like degree indicators when rotating an object, or snapping an object to a grid or degree when holding down the shift key. These are pretty common things when using other drag and drop design tools, but they’re honestly small nitpicks in the face of what the Stage Builder brings to the table.
So, shout out to Paul and the team at Target Barn, I think they’ve come up with something that everyone will find useful almost immediately. I plan on using this thing if I ever commit to designing a few stages for marksman challenge events.
Very cool. I haven’t been active in competition in far too long. While a member of a small shooting club in CA (yes – California in the 80’s) my partner and I had to design a stage in our version of a shooting match. This was way before the internet or computer design aides were available so to see this ‘stage developer’ is fantastic! It’s both fun and a bit of work to create a stage that’s both interesting and challenging.