Oct 262012

This post is part of a meta-series. Click here for a list of all posts in this series.

At long last, I finally managed to trawl through fixing the entirety of the dorsal shield grid. There is still some optimization to be done in here, but I think I’ll save that to the very end. Took a little over eight hours of work to get it this far.

The lighting did something interesting to this, which makes some of the grids look like they disappeared; they’re all still there, though.

I still have to re-do the ventral grids, but that won’t be nearly as big a pain because I won’t have to re-integrate already-existing window panels. Maybe now I can get back to making forward progress!

Spent some time adding some detailing to the tractor beam emitters. Material on these is temporary (well, all the materials are temporary, really); it’s just the window frame material. I just wanted a different color on them than the off-white or blue-gray I’ve been using elsewhere. Planning to add a few more rounded panels to the emitters so that the rest of the surface doesn’t look so plain. I also stubbed in some shuttlebay doors and gave the conference room a temporary image map.

This render makes obvious some interesting smoothing errors around the shuttlebay that I’ll need to take a closer look at.

More greebles! Escape pod hatches, transporter pads, equipment access panels on the tractor beam emitters and…a running light. Placement of the escape pod hatches is inspired by, but not beholden to, the Enterprise-C layout. I modified the placement to suit the lines and window arrangement of my model.

Managed to clean up some of the smoothing garbage around the shuttlebay, but not all of it. Spent a good 30 minutes or so dinking around with that weird smoothing error above the shuttlebay, right along the midline, but I’m still not sure what’s causing it. Face angles are smooth, no duplicate verts, faces, or edges. Only seems to happen under these lighting conditions, too; if I add another light pretty much anywhere, it goes away.

For those keeping track, total time spent on the model is fast approaching 140 hours.

Phasers and escape pod hatches for everyone!

Some additional smoothing errors have come to light, though I framed this render to obscure them. The polygons around the windows on the edge of the saucer are completely borked in the regions where bright light is fading to blackness. It looks fine in the OpenGL preview, so it’s damn hard to diagnose.

Aft saucer phasers are now in, and I went through and divided each of the phaser strips into ~2.5m emitters. The design I’m using here is the one implied by the TNG Technical Manual, which matches the behavior shown in the show, but diverges widely from the more complex-looking phaser arrays seen on later models.

Also visible are the ugly smoothing errors around the rim windows. I think I know what’s causing this now, though, and it’s easy to fix. When I cut the new grids, the hull panels that existed before no longer perfectly lined up with the grid insets. In most cases, this wasn’t an issue, but there’s enough of a curvature on the saucer rim to make the mismatch a lot more evident. Fix is just to select all of the window frames and scale them inward ever so slightly. I’ve done this in a few places already, but it wasn’t until this render that I realized it was a problem across the entirety of the rim.

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