Thursday, March 18, 2010

Avenger and Devastator

Random fact:  The United States Avenger Class features the most badass and simple ship names of any current ship class, including the Devastator, Warrior, Gladiator, and so on . . . though they also have the Dextrous, which is kinda lame by comparison.  But that's about as lame as most other current Naval ship names.

In short, that class gets all the good names that are taken up in other classes by excessively verbose hails to various people in modern Naval naming conventions.  I mean, really, is USS Ronald Reagan or USS Dwight D. Eisenhower better in any way than USS Reagan or USS Eisenhower would've been?

But in any case, it's nice to see the Avenger and Devastator together.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Equinox Notes

Just a couple of random observations while watching "Equinox" . . .

1.  Voyager arrives near the coordinates indicated by the Equinox distress signal, drops out of warp, and the ship is 2000 kilometers away.  Janeway orders intercept.  As they approach and discuss the ship for a few seconds, Kim finally notes that "we're in hailing range".

What?

Possibilities:

A.  Kim is quietly suggesting they quit speculating in a vacuum, or simply that he's excited to hear from them.
B.  Their assessment of the ship's damage indicated that only a particular receiver or some such other unit was functioning, thus limiting the Equinox capacity to pick up signals.
C.  Voyager proves supremely limited comm signal range despite all other evidence showing interplanetary ranges even without relay stations.  Literally, relay stations would have to be placed every 2000km or so if this is true.

I figure it's B, or perhaps A.   Rabidly anti-Trek folks will no doubt conclude that the correct answer is C.

2.  While on the Equinox, Neelix taps his combadge and says "Neelix to Sickbay", at which point Voyager's doctor answers normally. 

Damn psychic combadges again . . .

3.  Cutie says "but we're the only humans in the Delta Quadrant."   Chakotay notes that they'd thought so too until just a little while ago.  It's a proper response.  But that brings us to the point that if we were to see "The 37's" in
flashback form after Equinox, somebody would probably complain about
Chakotay's line.

That's partially okay, too, I guess, but it wasn't really relevant to the conversation at that moment. 

4.  The guy playing Noah Lessik would later play a Cylon.  But he's equally creepy here without even trying.

Ah well, no time to finish the episode.  Maybe more later.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Volume Bender Over

Okay, no more volume stuff for me for a little while.  Cleaning out models to get volumes has killed it for me for right now.  Besides which, I've got pretty much every Trek ship of note and most relevant Wars vessels.

Also, the .off format is exportable by 3D Object Converter and importable by Blender, which of course can then export to LightWave or .3ds that SketchUp can then import.  Just an FYI . . . that was how I had to get the Republic Light Cruiser from an Empire At War mod (which uses something called Alamo .alo files I'd never heard of). 

Special thanks to Blender.org through all of this, since Blender can import just about anything but evil proprietary .Max files . . . that's how I got the Sydney Class out of Armada 2 (thanks Dragon for mentioning it!).

I still have some Star Wars fighters and whatnot to do, as well as more work with Trek shuttles.  I have them all sitting on the drive, but I've been way too obsessed with this stuff lately for my own good, so I'm dropping it for now.

Monday, March 08, 2010

ISD Width Ruminations

The ISD model for Episode IV and the one made for Episode V (commonly referred to as the Devastator model and the Avenger model, respectively) have differing proportions in addition to different detail work.

On this page, you can see images linked to above the text "Ventral views of the Devastator".  Most everyone seems to use the first image for width, which is odd since the model is missing pieces and has odd shadows and whatnot.  Also odd is that the first image shows a model that is too wide, her width some 63.26% of her length.  This is the source of the width estimates of around 1015 meters.

The second and third images (the blueprints and a model shot) seem to agree on a ship around 915 meters wide, or 56.74%.  This is especially interesting given that the model shot shows the finished model and makes clear that one or the other image is reversed between this shot and the 1015 shot.

The Avenger, meanwhile, is noted as being not as wide, proportionately.  This is probably why, based on TESB scenes, I once obtained a value of around 815 meters for the width of the Star Destroyer (811 actually, but everyone else seems to end on 15 so why not me, too?).  That would be 50.72%.

However, the EU reports 885 meters (55% even), and though some deride this value it may be accurate.

Anyway, all this came about because I discovered that apparently, the old LightWave ISD previously used to derive a volume estimate apparently had some sort of issue.  As such, I think the old volume value on the Volumetrics page was about 40% too low.  Confirming this for sure with a new model and via other means is taking some time (nobody seems to make a leak-proof ISD model), but I'm very close.

(Initially, the new model's width was some off-the-wall figure, and it was only in checking around for the correct width that I was reminded of the whole ISD width debacle which you now know of, too.)


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Volumetrics - Scimitar

Model Source

Reading:  15,016,739 cubic meters.

UPDATE:

One must be a bit careful using the SketchUp plugin.  Be very sure to check the volume slices to make sure nothing is missed.  In this case, gaps existed in the center section of the ship, requiring a little modification and some flipping (to sit on her tail) to get the volume to calculate correctly.  So:

Updated reading:  19,949,862

I'm also working on fixing the D'deridex, which I recently dropped to 18 million and change based on a model I thought to be more accurate, but which I didn't realize was more leaky.


The Kumari and Model Ridiculousness

Just to give you a sense of how far I'll go . . .

1.  Take this quasi-accurate model of the Kumari.
2.  Research the file format of Bridge Commander models, since they're not simple LightWave LWOs like Klingon Academy used to use.
3.  Discover that BC uses some delightfully-open-source format you've never heard of before.  ("What the hell's a .nif?")  Discover also that you have to install two different things to make Blender import them, but they're available.
4.  Load up the Kumari in Blender, cursing its standards non-compliant user interface.  Export it to .3ds.
5.  Load up the Kumari in SketchUp.  Be unsatisfied with it.
6.  Go try to find Klingon Academy mods, only to discover that the main storehouse site is dead because some jackass hacked something supposedly damaging files and the slacker running it just shut it down.
7.  Persist and find them anyway, thanks in part to this TrekBBS thread.
8.  Get the Kumari from here.  
9.  Import the .LWOs (since for some reason there are several) to Blender. 
10.  Export the .3ds.
11.  Import the .3ds to SketchUp.
11a.  Change camera view so you can move it to the right spot in the field.
11b.  Change to the dimension tool so you can have a measurement of the ship alongside it.
11c.  Change to the rescaling tool to get it to 360 meters, because there's not a single 3D modeler who ever seems to put models to scale. It's some cultural thing I don't understand.
11d.  Change the camera view because it doesn't work right in parallel (orthographic) view.
11e.  Rescale it to close to the right size, because SketchUp is imprecise in this regard.  Then sit there typing in numbers to get it closer.
11f.  Save that thing so you don't have to do it again.
12.  Discover that the volume calculator can't operate on it correctly for some reason (i.e. at 360m it only reads the same volume as a Constitution, which isn't right at all . . . the Connie is long slender lines and flat saucer, the Kumari's a big fat school bus by comparison).   This probably has something to do with the multiple different .lwo files.
13.  Screw around with the model trying to get it to work.  Fail.
14.  Recalling a superior BC Kumari here, go get it.
15.  Start cussin', because instead of the .nif file format you've gone to all the trouble to be able to load, this is a .bcmod file.  What the hell is that?
16.  Find the Bridge Commander Universal Tool here.
17.  Figure out how to use its standards non-compliant user interface.
18.  Get it to unpack the .bcmod file so you can then steal the .nif file out of it. 
19.  Go find the damn .nif that's in some weird ass location and move it to where your other mods and ship models and whatnot are all in a semi-organized mess foolishly located 15 layers deep on one of your drives.
20.  Open the Kumari in Blender, cursing its non-compliance.
21.  Export the Kumari as a .3ds to the place where you've been putting all the exports.  Chide yourself because you know that you'll never remember what came from where, and so even if you do ever get around to putting all these ships in SketchUp's 3D Warehouse like you've been thinking of, there's no way in hell you'll be able to credit all the right people.
22.  In SketchUp, import the Kumari.  Follow the steps from 11a-11f.
23.  Run the volume calculator.
24.  Cuss because the damn thing didn't even report a volume as large as a Constitution Class, meaning the model's boned somewhere.
25.  Fiddle with it to try to make it work.  Fail.
26.  Go back to the inaccurate Kumari and say tohellwifit, run the volume, and get a decent-looking figure anyway.
27.  Cuss.
28.  Copy the Kumari and paste it alongside a Constitution.   Compare the hull dimensions, ponder how many of such-and-such part can fit into such-and-such other part, and so on.  Accept the 592,291 as being pretty close comparing the two models you're looking at.
29.  Then double-check against the orthographic views of the Kumari at Drex Files, realizing that the big fat ship you're looking at only has the most passing of resemblances to that graceful bird.
30.  Overlay the SketchUp window in semi-transparency and try to stretch and skew the inaccurate BC ship to fit as closely as possible, then rescale it again.
31.  Run volume again. 
32.  Get 314080 cubic meters. 
33.  Gun-shy now, copy this revised model and paste it alongside a Constitution in SketchUp.  Compare the volumes of different pieces in your mind.
34.  Decide it looks okay, and call it a good day. 

It's within a respectable margin of error, so if you don't like it, you can kiss my ass.  (And I say that with love.)