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Old August 26 2008, 03:23 PM   #192
Cary L. Brown
Rear Admiral
Location: Austin, Texas
Re: Visual Proof a Resdesign is a good thing

Patrickivan wrote: View Post
I love how you've taked that beautiful ship and added all that detail. For a-far, it's clean and elegant, but when we get in super close, that's when all the detail shines! I love it! That is how it is supposed to be, and that's the kind of detail that makes her look so huge!
Absolutely... and that's what I've always meant when I've said that the DESIGN works fine, but it could be presented with an additional level of "polish" which we could just assume never showed upon on our 1960's TV screens. Sort of like you were always watching the show without glasses and now you're wearing your proper prescription for the first time.

The design works fine. The problem is that there are people who've got a mental association of that as being related to an earlier time (even though, as far as I can see, there are no actual physical features that do so, just the "recognition factor" and the psychological connection)

These same people tend to have the same emotional/psychological connection to the styles used in more recent (not I'm not necessarily saying "more modern," just "more RECENT") shows. Lots of primary-color glowing, lots of "graphic arts" detailing without any evident logic behind it, lots of mechanically-impractical (or even mechanically harmful) "notches" and so forth... lots of exposed external hardware... etc, etc.

Now, it's interesting that (as much as I prefer the design style of the original), the new BSG series is actually much closer to TOS trek style than to more recent style in at least one MAJOR area. In the new series, everything on the ship is behind hull panels... in "shirt-sleeve maintenance" environments, not in a vacuum. The detail you see on the main ship is all based upon heavy armor plating, or upon structural "ribbing" which would, ordinarily, have been beneath that armor. Which is very much in line with MJ's original design intent for the 1701. But is NOT the "modern" look which so many people seem to want to see, with lots of exposed plumbing and so forth (which, for the record, is no more "modern" than the MJ approach... after all, that style mainly dates back to "2001," doesn't it?).

We really have five models for spaceship design.

1) The "real space program" model... base things off of existing technology or technological trends.

2) The "naval" model... which is what TOS Trek used.

3) The "space trucker" model... used in Alien, as well as in the Star Wars films, and which is the only way to describe Serenity. Visually cool to look at, and it feels "real" (since it reflects stuff we're all already familiar with) but not necessarily logical or practical.

4) The "freakily cool" model... stuff that has no connection to any sense of logic we're supposed to be able to grasp. This would be stuff like the Shadows or Vorlons on B5, or Moya, or so forth. This works, depending on the situation... but it's only workable in very specific sorts of scenarios.

5) The "graphic arts" model... this is similar to the above #4, in that there's no connection to logic or function which we're supposed to grasp, and the shapes and structures and so forth are there purely because they "look cool." But while #4 works... it's supposed to tell the audience "this is beyond anything you can understand, so don't even try"... for something like Trek that's not really something you want, is it?

I'm a huge proponent of the "naval model" for Trek. But in recent years, Trek has moved away from that and moved into the final category from above.

It's the "naval model" which is getting described as "old-style" and the "graphic arts model" which is getting described as "modern." But neither is more or less "modern" than the other, and both have been in use for ages.

It's worth pointing out that the ancient "Flash Gordon" serial ship designs (Buster Crabbe, not the more "modern" takes) have more in common with the "graphic arts" approach which is currently being billed as "modern" than with the supposedly "old fashioned" naval model.
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