Friday 1 July 2011

STO: Enterprise-F and Horta!

The latest STO dev. diary has provided an update on the Enterprise-F design process, looking at how the STO team have taken the original winning design forward towards a more complete and 3D final model. Here's what STO designer Thomas Marrone said about his work on the design:

We obviously wanted the design to remain Adam Ihle's, so it was important to find a way to elegantly emphasize and integrate his “dual neck” concept with the flow of the ship. My visual brainstorming started around the strongest and most controversial feature of Adam’s ship: the two necks. I wanted them to feel substantial and integrated into the “flow” of the ship and still make sure they remained a strong visual part of the design. I widened each neck to create a larger internal volume that flares out from stem to stern. The shape sweeps back from the saucer at a shallow angle, blending the primary and engineering hull into a swoop that adds a graceful curve but maintains the “height” of Adam’s original concept.

I also pulled some visual cues from the Sovereign to visually tie this Enterprise to her predecessor, although as we developed the concept we went back to making her a bit more unique. Still, I wanted to make sure there was an obvious kinship between this Enterprise and the ones that came before her.

And here's what ship builder, Adam Williams, thought continuing the development process forward:

I came into the process after some iterating had been done on the concept between Jeremy and Thomas. I jumped right in and started blocking out the general forms of the ship based on the concepts, as well as the motifs and designs we had discussed in previous meetings. After reaching my first milestone and getting all of the general forms figured out, we began iterating on the overall design on what seemed like a daily basis. It was during this period where we decided to really take the “sleek and elegant” concept to the next level and focus intensely on making sure that everything fit together in an organic and seamless way by sinking impulse engines, scoops and weapons sections into the skin of the vessel, as opposed to the more typical Cryptic style of faceting and layering I was accustomed to.

One of the major challenges we faced as we moved forward in the development process was finding the best way to make the new Enterprise be just that--new! There were several roadblocks during the modeling process. For example, at one point during production the ship began looking too much like the Sovereign from a top-down angle, and not necessarily a progressive step forward in the future of its design. Other roadblocks came up in areas that looked too blocky, flimsy, not “Trek enough” or too alien. However, through a month-long period of daily iteration, we were able to build a fantastic ship.

Moving forward, it was important that we keep the faceting to a minimum, lengthen the body lines, and soften the curves for that sculpted, designed look, all the while ensuring it maintained the look of the Federation’s flagship. However, I also had to keep in mind that there was a concept I needed to be very true to, more specifically the ¾ perspective and the profile provided by our winner. The meticulous blending of these concepts in 3D proved to be a challenging artistic and intellectual trial and I am incredibly pleased with the result.

The STO Cyrptic Store has also been updated with Hortas, two types of Hortas no less!:

Hortas Allies are now available to join you on away missions, but not every Horta is the same. The Eisilum Crystal Horta consumed large quantities of graphite and diamond deposits as it grew. This Horta has more health than a Horta Ally and a bonus to its threat level, but it does slightly less damage.

The Polytrinic Acid Horta fed on various metallic ores as it developed. Its silicate geology converted the metals into acids and salts, giving it more powerful acid attacks than a Horta Ally. However, it is not as resilient as other Hortas.

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