More stuff. And a name change. I got the name Sunstreaker from The Transformers. Sunstreaker is an Autobot who is vain and arrogant. He thinks he’s the best and lets everyone else know it. He also points out the shortcomings of others and doesn’t help others. Basically, he’s a d-bag. He’s a skilled warrior, which is why the Autobots put up with his attitude. Aside from being associated with a character who’s a d-bag, I don’t want to use a name from another franchise. So, I renamed the ship the USS Minerva. Minerva is the Roman goddess of wisdom and strategic warfare. She’s not a violent battle craving psycho like God of War Mars, Minerva instead prefers to fight defensively. I feel that type of character fits the Federation a bit more than a sociopathic Autobot. Minerva’s Greek counterpart is Athena, which is what I was going to go with, but it’s used more frequently. I feel Minerva gets less use, so I went with that.
Also, I’m still having mouse issues despite changing mice. The one I switched to is another Logitech wireless mouse, but an older one. I’m having the same issue with the right button. I’ve even tried a new battery. So, I ordered a Microsoft wired mouse to see if it’s a driver issue. The only other option is that it’s related to either Windows itself or Lightwave. I don’t see why it would be Lightwave, as I haven’t updated anything with it. However, Windows installed some updates before this issue started, and who knows what kind of issues those introduced? So, I’m going to see if the wired mouse fixes things. If not, I guess I’ll try reinstalling Lightwave, just in case it’s an issue with that. One thing is certain, it’s really weird that it’s only happening with the right button. I’ve had no issues with the left one on either mouse.
Soooo… I had this all ready to post earlier and I realized I had my windows on a bad line. Due to the curvature of the saucer, they wouldn’t have been effective on the deck they were on, they only could have been skylights for the deck below with unusually large rooms. That made no sense, so I changed them to farther up the curve and, thus, farther up the deck. Now they can be windows in quarters like the ones on the Enterprise-D that you saw over Picard and Troi’s beds (probably others too, but I definitely remember those two.) So, this works better. Though, if you’ve never removed window cuts and rebuilt geometry by hand, I don’t recommend it.
Aside from that, I also added some escape pod hatches. They’re the same type on a lot of TNG-era ships. 3x3m, 6 people per pod, and there are currently 31 of them. That means the ship can currently evacuate 186 people. Of course, there will be more pods later. To get those in place, I created a flat hatch shape and positioned it over my saucer. Then I used Rail Clone to create duplicates along the curvature of the saucer and the heat shrink to put them right against the hull. Then I just had to extrude them and then round the edges and that all worked great. They’re on the same line where I had those windows, but having pods there makes more sense as they can used the extra space for launch systems.
Aside from windows and pods, I added some transporter emitters and some things to make us go.
And, to make life more fun, the right button is going out in my mouse. It will randomly decide I’m not still pressing it anymore. I’ll have to see what I have laying around until I get around to replacing it. I have some “mobile” mice, but I generally don’t like using them because they’re smaller. But, if I must I will.
I didn’t like the distribution of light and dark panels. It was too much light in one spot and dark in another. So, I swapped two of the colors around all over the map and I think it looks much better.
I decided to take a break from modeling and do some texture work. I created some paneling for the upper saucer. This is pretty easy to do. I took my saucer from an earlier file, without grid lines or windows, etc, and I applied different materials to the geometry to come up with a panel pattern that exactly matches my hull shape. Then I rendered that with an orthographic camera and used planar projection to map it to the upper saucer. I also made the name part of the texture, rather than being modeled text.
I just couldn’t wait to add some windows, so I didn’t wait. Trying to remember how to do things that are out of the norm for the projects I do can be rough. For example, I mainly deal in circular saucers. That’s great, but this is an extreme half oval. So, rotating window cutters into place isn’t a simple matter of using the rotate tool. I have to use other tools. There’s a handy tool in Lightwave called Rail Clone, which is great for creating duplicates of an object along a path. Similarly, Rail Extrude extrudes objects along a path (comes in handy for phaser strips and other bits.) However, the problem was trying to remember how to convert a line of verts into a path. Well, I finally got it and I got my first row of windows in place. The Rail Clone tool got me partly there, with some fiddling with the cutters by hand to get them exactly how I want them. Of course, the complex curves made it a bit of work, but I think the results speak for themselves. The windows are shaped like the ones on Voyager, Equinox, etc. Basically, just slightly rounded rectangles. The later shows and movies essentially did away with the round and pill shaped windows, until Enterprise brought them back.
So yeah, these are basically skylights. The extreme angle of the saucer makes it so they couldn’t be anything else. I’ll probably only do a couple more rows of these on the saucer top and then some windows you can look normally out of on the saucer edge. I may do something similar to a Ten forward. I’d do some of those window insets that various ships in the TNG era had, but the extreme curve again makes it so they’d be really odd to do. This ship has more of a “blade” type of saucer than ships like Voyager and Equinox, which had less extreme of a curve that allowed for more details like that. But, that’s because this is supposed to be a fast and maneuverable fighting ship. I don’t know how making a ship short and sleek helps in space, but I think it would alter the center of gravity, making tight maneuvers possible. I’m pretty sure that’s why the Defiant was designed how it was.
I took a week off of work, so I’m enjoying a nice staycation. One thing on the agenda for this week is some CGI. I toyed with the idea of starting a new project. I considered doing a new Constellation class, or even an Ambassador class, which I’ve never done before. However, the idea of working on other peoples’ designs just isn’t exciting me right now. So, I decided to go back to my 24th century frigate I was working on several months ago. Tentatively, it’s still named the USS Sunstreaker, but that may change.
Anyway, upon reopening the file, I found I was in the process of adding grid lines to the ship. The last time I’d worked on it, I’d really only done the upper saucer. Well, I did the lower saucer and secondary hull. The only other parts that for sure are going to get lines are the bridge and spine, and the pylon. Though, technically, I started on the pylon piece as it’s connected to part of the underside of the saucer. But, there’s more to do there. I haven’t decided if the nacelles are getting any lines. I checked to be sure and there aren’t a whole lot of Starfleet nacelles that have engraved lines. (almost none from the TNG era) I also made the beginnings of the saucer RCS thrusters. I also changed the hull color to battleship gray and made the RCS thrusters gunmetal gray.
(yes, I see the smoothing error on the back of the saucer, I’m just not worried about it as that part isn’t finished)
So, yeah, plenty more to do on this ship. Once I’m done with the tedious and time consuming grid lines, I’ll probably do the tedious and time consuming windows. Though, the ship isn’t going to have a huge amount of windows, as it is a warship.