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2.11.2013

Refit Enterprise Corridors

I’ve started with the corridors for the Refit Enterprise project.  This is my first go at Unreal3, UDK, and 3ds Max.  Unreal3 is the gaming engine I’m using.  Unreal Development Kit, or UDK, is the level editor for Unreal3.  And 3ds Max is, of course, where most of the 3D architecture and static models for UDK levels are built.  I’m still getting used to creating everything in 3ds Max, as opposed to using Quake III where BSP geometry is used for the majority of the architecture.  So far, the most frustrating part has been laying out UVs for lightmaps.  So much time has to go into getting them right, or ugly light artifacts will appear on the models I’ve spent so much time creating.
In the Star Trek universe, these corridors were originally built for the never-produced Star Trek: Phase Two, and then were redressed to serve as the corridors for the original six movies and The Next Generation. In Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the interior of the Enterprise was very bright and clean, with muted colors.  When Nicholas Myer was brought on board to direct Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, he gave the sets of the Enterprise a darker, more gritty and militaristic feel.  While it didn’t have the “used” feel of Star Wars, it reflected the epic space battles that took place in The Wrath of Khan.  I’ve always liked Trek episodes like Balance of Terror and Mirror Mirror the most, where a more militaristic Enterprise was depicted.  Therefore, I am choosing to model the interiors of the Enterprise after Nick Myer’s darker version over the bright and clean version depicted in The Motion Picture.
Also, The Wrath of Khan, as well as The Undiscovered Country (also directed by Nicholas Myer, who this time changed the Enterprise-A to a darker militaristic tone), featured more signage and greeblies on the bulkheads and equipment, thus adding more visual interest.  At first, I built this corridor without and signage or greeblies.  After adding some details, it definitley made a difference.  Check it out by viewing the two screens below (click on the images to see the full-size versions):



Creating each corridor segment in 3ds Max took some time, but overall everything looks better than it did in an earlier attempt using the ancient Quake III engine.  The top image is the area built with 3ds Max, rendered by Unreal 3.  The bottom image is the same segment of corridor built in Quake III using BSP geometry.  See the difference?


Closer to the door.  This corridor would go on to be seen time and again on the Enteprise A and the Enterprise D.


The directory sign to the right is a result of taking somewhat of an artistic license.  It is inspired by graphics in Mr. Scott’s Guide to the Enterprise by Shane Johnson, which were designed by Lee Cole.  To my knowledge these graphics were never seen on screen.  However, you can make out a directory sign pointing towards “EXOBIOLOGY” (to the right of the sprinting Kirk) in this screencap from The Wrath of Khan.  I used the blue color scheme of the sign and applied that to Lee Cole’s graphics.




 I just spent the last few hours creating this fire extinguisher.  Got some good experience baking normal and ambient occlusion maps in 3ds Max as a result.  Check it out.



The extinguisher was of course seen in the corridors and on the bridge in The Wrath of Khan, but screencaps didn’t reveal much detail.  Luckily, I found some reference images from RACprops.com.

 



This was the yellow version of the prop, which had added details over the ones seen in the corridors.
Well, that’s it for tonight!  I’m planning to start work on the turbolift soon.  Thanks for viewing!


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