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Old December 23 2013, 08:59 PM   #1
Santa Horrible
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Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

I have a question for the designers and builders of Starfleet ships. Why do you think we have seen very little alien influence in ship design in Starfleet. I'm talking more TNG and beyond. By TNG time other Alien races must have entrenched themselves in all aspects of Starfleet operations. So you would think that would included Starship design. I guess there could be "under the hood" kind of stuff, but the overall ascetic of Starfleet is human design.
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Old December 23 2013, 09:19 PM   #2
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

i blame it on the powers that be restricting what the art Dept could do when they create new ships.
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Old December 23 2013, 09:24 PM   #3
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

This always bothered me aswell. I always assumed that the designs we see in TOS and beyond are influenced from years of merging of several design and engineering styles from several alien cultures. However, ENT proved that basicly it's human design and engineering that dominated Starfleet's shipbuilding since the founding of the UFP.

Quick note though, in the Rise Of The Federation novel by Christopher Bennett, it's explained that Human engineering gave the most effective overall design when it comes to ships, both in terms of lay-out and warpfield dynamics and such.
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Old December 23 2013, 10:02 PM   #4
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

Mage wrote: View Post
Quick note though, in the Rise Of The Federation novel by Christopher Bennett, it's explained that Human engineering gave the most effective overall design when it comes to ships, both in terms of lay-out and warpfield dynamics and such.
Right. The idea is that the alien influence is mostly on the inside -- deflectors come from the Andorians, tractor beams from the Vulcans, computers and sensors probably also from the Vulcans, that sort of thing. But since Earth ships were designed more for multifunction and exploratory uses rather than strictly for combat, their external configurations proved more suitable for the Federation Starfleet's multifunction and exploratory vessels.

Also, I noted that the bridge layout of the Andorian battlecruiser in ENT: "Proving Ground" could have been an ancestral influence on the TOS-era bridge layout, with side-by-side helm and navigator stations in front and the stations facing outward rather than inward. Ship designs with nacelles oriented vertically, like the Constellation class, could also be Andorian-influenced, since ENT-era Kumari-class battlecruisers had two vertically stacked inboard warp engines at the rear of the ship.

As for alien influences in later eras, the rounded, oval shapes of the Galaxy and Nebula classes are unusual enough compared to other Starfleet designs that they might suggest a nonhuman aesthetic influence.
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Old December 24 2013, 12:39 AM   #5
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

Well, from a production point of view, Mr. Roddenberry had set some fairly strict design guidelines. One example...the pairing of engines...even on alien vessels. Even as late as the film ST: Insurrection his design "guidelines" were followed. The original design for the array in that film had three sections unfurling. That was shot down in favor of the "dual wings" to abide by Mr. Roddenberry's pre-set standards.

Now, in the fictional world, Christopher makes some good and plausible observations pertaining to alien tech being adopted and adapted for use on Federation vessels.
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Old December 24 2013, 01:12 AM   #6
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

Well, Starfleet was mostly human. The terran branch of the Federation. Vulcan had ships that, part of the Federation, but looked er, Vulcan because they were mostly Vulcan crewed members. Every other group that joined the Federation would have ships that were influenced by their design aesthetics.

AND- since in reality every ship we've ever seen in Star Trek or anywhere else, was technically conceived of by a human, how can you really expect to see a ship designed by an alien?

Besides, who is to say that the Enterprise design doesn't have alien influence? Last time I looked, there is nothing on Earth that presently looks like any Enterprise we've seen... They don't look like the retired STSs. They don't look like rockets, or Aircraft Carriers.

But I stand by that premise that most ships we see are Human influenced primarily because they're to be staffed by humanoids.
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Old December 24 2013, 05:16 PM   #7
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

This question mystifies me a bit. How do we know they weren't?
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Old December 24 2013, 05:48 PM   #8
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

The odd curves on the new movie Enterprise makes it look like it's got some alien technology under the hood, compared to the classic TV series or movie versions.
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Old December 24 2013, 06:50 PM   #9
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

I know the "real" world reason behind it is the shows budget, production, etc. but it always bugged me that Fed Ships always had human navy sounding names, english lettering, human rank structures, basically that the way humans behaved was the benchmark for all other races in the fed to measure up against.
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Old December 25 2013, 05:52 AM   #10
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

Tribble puncher wrote: View Post
... it always bugged me that Fed Ships always had human navy sounding names, english lettering, human rank structures, basically that the way humans behaved was the benchmark for all other races in the fed to measure up against.
I don't think you can say that with certainty. We don't know what the INTREPID looked like. Perhaps it's actually the USS Kyi'i or whatever the Vulcan word which means intrepid/brave/valiant.

As far as the rest goes, the Klingons in TUC did complain about the Federation being a homo sapiens only club.
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Old December 26 2013, 01:43 AM   #11
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

Maybe most of the worlds of the Federation are populated with humans, and therefore human aesthetic designs dominate the fleet? At least two of the founding civilizations of the Federation - Earth and Alpha Centauri - are human. We seem to have seen that the Preservers spread humanity farther and wider than the other species that they seeded all over. Even without that, humans are also much more likely to have colonized all over the place without as much care as Vulcans (logical planning) or Andorians (four sexes require a lot more care in planning).

I'll admit, though, that these questions have bothered me, as well. In all of the screen Trek that we have seen, where is the Vulcan ship painted in Starfleet pattern and assigned to the fleet? The Nebula-class ship named for a famous Tellarite explorer? And why does it seem like Vulcan and Andor have their own fleets, but Earth only has the shared Starfleet?
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Old December 26 2013, 01:49 AM   #12
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

It's not a "Human" aesthetic design, it's an American aesthetic design.
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Old December 26 2013, 02:02 AM   #13
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

Lt. Uhura-Brown wrote: View Post
It's not a "Human" aesthetic design, it's an American aesthetic design.
Which stands to reason since the shows have been created and produced in the United States for primarily American consumption.
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Old December 26 2013, 05:32 AM   #14
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

USS Triumphant wrote: View Post
We seem to have seen that the Preservers spread humanity farther and wider than the other species that they seeded all over.
Not necessarily. The only confirmed Preserver-seeded world was Miramanee's planet; most of the other Earth-duplicate worlds were given other explanations, due to the lack of continuity in '60s TV. Besides, the Enterprise was just one ship in the fleet. Who's to say the Hood and the Excalibur weren't encountering uncanny duplicates of medieval Andoria or Bronze Age Tellar? Indeed, we have seen some species that resemble each other unusually closely. The Mintakans are highly Vulcanlike but don't seem explainable as part of the Romulan colonization effort. And the Talarians from "Suddenly Human" seem a lot like a Klingon offshoot.
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Old December 26 2013, 12:32 PM   #15
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Re: Lack of Alien influence in Starfleet ship design...

Christopher wrote: View Post
Also, I noted that the bridge layout of the Andorian battlecruiser in ENT: "Proving Ground" could have been an ancestral influence on the TOS-era bridge layout, with side-by-side helm and navigator stations in front and the stations facing outward rather than inward. Ship designs with nacelles oriented vertically, like the Constellation class, could also be Andorian-influenced, since ENT-era Kumari-class battlecruisers had two vertically stacked inboard warp engines at the rear of the ship.
Also, the ENT Vulcan ships had computer displays which looked a lot like the ones on the classic movie Enterprise, giving one the impression that Starfleet simply decided to switch to a Vulcan OS in the 2270's (and in "Fusion" we even see a wraparound perimeter graphic not unlike those on the new movie Enterprise!)
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