The Enterprise

Timeframe: January 2011 - present

Tools:
Blender 2.49b / 2.65
Unity 3.5.7 / 4.2
Photoshop
Audacity
Omegalib


Overview

This is a project I started for fun after learning to use Blender and Unity while taking Computer Animation. The motivation was a long desire to create a model of the bridge of the starship Enterprise as seen in the first four Star Trek films. I have seen many digital renditions of the bridge of the Enterprise, however these tend to be the original TV, Star Trek V/VI, The Next Generation, or The Next Generation film versions.

As time went on, this project continued to grow from just a model of the bridge to an interactive bridge, to finally a full virtual environment of the Enterprise in Earth drydock.

When
the CAVE2(TM) Hybrid-Reality Environment at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory, University of Illinois at Chicago was built in 2012, I modified to models to be 1:1 scale within CAVE2 as well as adding more details to take advantage of 37 Megapixels in 3D.

The Enterprise bridge and drydock in The CAVE2(TM) Hybrid-Reality Environment at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory.
Rendered using Omegalib.
Photos by Lance Long.

CAVE2 and CAVE are trademarks of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

Project Statistics

  • Start date: 1/7/2011
  • End date: Ongoing
  • As of 10/29/2013:
    • 18 models (~90 MB)
    • ~211 textures (~30 MB)
      • 98 part of animation sequences
    • ~75 days of work (Spread across 2011-2013)
      • Bridge: ~24 days (2 major revisions)
      • Hanger Deck: ~2 days
      • Engineering: ~12 days (1 major revision)
      • Torpedo bay: ~5 days
      • Transporter room: ~5 days
      • Drydock, characters, and other models: ~15 days
      • Unity and CAVE2 work: ~12 days

Development Log: January 7 - 10, 2011

Initial modeling of the bridge. As with the original set, the model is divided into 12 sections. I started with the turbolift sections, followed by the security station.

 
 

Development Log: January 11 - 14, 2011

Added the communications, engineering, defense stations, main viewer, environmental control, and damage control. By this point I also was looking at lighting and creating the ceiling, chairs, railing, and the helm-navigation station. I also starting importing the Blender model into Unity 3.

 
 
 


Development Log: February 1 - 2, 2011

Added the turbolift interior and more details to the ceiling and the defense and helm stations.

 
 

Development Log: February 14 - 17, 2011

I started to integrate my model with Eric "GuitarEC" Clark's Blender conversion of Dennis Bailey's amazing model of the refit Enterprise.
Star Trek: Blender http://stblender.iindigo3d.com

I also started modeling the A Deck airlock as seen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture and adding the control and display panels to the defense station. The Engineering station also gets textures for the display screens.

 

 

Development Log: February 26, 2011

Added radial and concentric corridors on D deck.

 


Development Log: April 2, 2011

Added artwork for all remaining bridge screens. Defense station shield display and alert status animate on red alert.


 
 

Development Log: April 22, 2011

Started work on the hanger/cargo decks.

 
 

Development Log: April 25, 2011

Finished basic modeling of the hanger/cargo decks.


Development Log: April 29, 2011

Started work on main engineering. On an interesting note, most technical diagrams place the horizontal intermix chamber on deck 15, two decks above the cargo bay. In order to fit the second floor of engineering inside the model as well as angling the intermix chamber into the warp pylons, I had to move main engineering one deck lower than most diagrams.


Development Log: May 2, 2011

I decided to try to model a character. So I modeled the Wrath of Khan era officer's uniform.


Development Log: May 10-16, 2011

Continued work on main engineering. Modeling the intermix chamber, especially the plasma effect, was a challenge. I'm currently modeling based on The Motion Picture set, since it's simpler and contains the basic structure. I intend to eventually model the Wrath of Khan version with the dilithium chamber room. Last image (May 16) adds control panels and the two transparent lifts.


Development Log: September 16, 2011

Starting a second pass on the bridge module. Walls are curving at a more accurate angle, added the frame around the stations, better model for the screen frames, and wainscot paneling between the wall and floor. Only the security, port turbolift, and communication stations have been updated. You can compare these to the original version of the turbolift and the engineering stations on the ends of the image.


Development Log: February 10, 2012

Finished remodeling all the walls for the bridge. Added textures for the damage control and environmental control panels.



Development Log: March 27, 2012

Added the lower saucer airlocks. This is the original screenshot - fixed the color since then. Also replaced the drydock model seen on April 25th with my own model based on the drydock as seen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture / The Wrath of Khan.


Development Log: March 29, 2012

Second pass on corridors. Modeled better using a modular design and also includes red alert lights.


Development Log: July 7, 2012

Textures for gravity control console. Added textures and normal map for bridge floor.



Development Log: October 28, 2012

Rescaled previous models for better 1:1 rendering on EVL's hybrid reality CAVE2(TM) System. Started work on the transporter room.



Development Log: November 17-18, 2012

Continued work on transporter room. Added transporter pad, control console, back wall, and machinery detail. Started importing into Unity for lighting tests.


Development Log: November 30, 2012

Added engineering station bridge console and partial science station console.


Development Log: December 31, 2012

Added higher detail airlock door and added wall details to the transporter room.


Development Log: January 1-2, 2013

Started work on the torpedo bay.


Development Log: January 20, 2013

Continuing work on the torpedo bay: Support columns, second floor railings, torpedo track covers.


Development Log: February 11, 2013

Added inverse kinematics (IK) to character armature, added walking, idle, and idle while holding pistol animations. Modeled TOS Phaser 2.

Development Log: February 15, 2013

Starship flight and weapons testing. The Enterprise model in this scene was reduced to 30.5 Unity units (from 305 meters) to better scale with the Earth at 127,420 Unity units (Actual Earth is 12,742.0 km) and still have the Moon within recommended Unity world space (within 1,000,000 Unity units ).


Development Log: February 22-24, 2013

Completed initial pass on torpedo bay. The torpedo bay length was reduced by about 1/4 to keep the warp core from going though the torpedo bay. There is still enough space behind the back wall to allow a torpedo to slide to the left or right to get around the warp core and into the torpedo launcher. Started second pass on main engineering.


Development Log: March 9, 2013

Added the dilithium chamber room



Development Log: April 20-21, 2013

Added docking port/office module to drydock


Development Log: April 27-28, 2013

Drydock ceiling detail

Development Log: July 5, 11, 15, 2013

Senior officer's quarters



Development Log: August 17-19, 2013

Added workbee model


Development Log: October 26, 2013

Updated main viewscreen model


Development Log: December 30, 2013 - January 3, 2014

Merging 'physics-based' orbital/flight mechanics from my Space Simulator project. Also added 4k Earth cubemap textures with a custom shader to display 4k night light textures from NASA's Blue Marble project (http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/). Additional modeling to Spacedock and main engineering's dilithium crystal room.

An important distinction between this flight test and February 2013's it that the world is now 1:1 scale - The Enterprise is a full 305 Unity units/meters long thus the Earth is a whopping 12,000,000 Unity units in diameter.

 


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