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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old January 29 2014, 04:03 PM   #31
F. King Daniel
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Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

I find it harder to justify (when I feel the need to, which I usually don't because they're just stories) the complete visual change between TOS and TMP. Beyond the basic positions of stations, not a single control panel or readout was recognizable. It wasn't believable as an in-universe upgrade.
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Old January 30 2014, 01:19 AM   #32
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Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

A couple possibilities I see:

-- The damage and destruction from WWIII was so severe that much of our civilization and technology got knocked back almost to a pre-industrial level, and had to essentially start over from the beginning. Obviously there were still some great advances in warp and transporter technology, but by the 23rd century our basic computer technology had only gotten back up to a 20th century level (with styling from the 1960s, of course). Either because of lack of resources or because the previous knowledge had been lost.

-- Or alternatively, by the 23rd century technology had become SO advanced and impersonal and automated (with Minority Report-style interfaces everywhere, computer chips in people's skulls, and robots doing all the work) that there was ultimately a societal backlash against it, which resulted in the return to a simpler and more analog technology by the time of TOS.

Of course the catch there is we never hear anyone reference such an event in any of the Treks. But hey, it's the best I got.
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Old January 30 2014, 04:18 AM   #33
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Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

DavidJames is on it: Don't rule out a declension of technology after the Eugenics Wars / WWIII. Some tech is way ahead of today, some tech is just catching up.

This is a useful method when setting a story in a far future without having the environment be so alien that folks can't relate to it.

On another note, I've always liked to visualize many of the various buttons and blinkies as having a narrow band holgraphic effect visible only to the operator immediately in front of it. Holographic labels that float above each button and refresh as the panel is reconfigured for various functions. Sulu sees things a camera off to the side can't see. It also gives a reason to the black console surfaces -- luminous type would read more easily if projected over a black background. Unlike the JJPrise, the REAL Enterprise took ergonomics and eyestrain into account.

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Old January 30 2014, 04:19 AM   #34
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Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

King Daniel Into Darkness wrote: View Post
I find it harder to justify (when I feel the need to, which I usually don't because they're just stories) the complete visual change between TOS and TMP. Beyond the basic positions of stations, not a single control panel or readout was recognizable. It wasn't believable as an in-universe upgrade.
I recall reading that Uhura's "bluetooth" earpiece in TMP was actually one of the ones used in TOS. If true, that would be the only piece of recognizable TOS hardware that survived the refit.

It made me happy to see that the warp nacelles on Cochrane's Phoenix warp ship in First Contact were almost identical in appearance to those on the original Enterprise.

I just remembered, the "pads" from the original transporter room were reused in the Enterprise-D's transporter, which I believe was itself a reuse of the refit Enterprise's transporter. So that makes six transporter pads and one earpiece.
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Old January 30 2014, 08:42 AM   #35
F. King Daniel
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Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

^I forgot about Uhura's earpiece! And I guess if you include the TMP-DE, one TOS-style shuttle is seen.
davejames wrote: View Post
A couple possibilities I see:

-- The damage and destruction from WWIII was so severe that much of our civilization and technology got knocked back almost to a pre-industrial level, and had to essentially start over from the beginning. Obviously there were still some great advances in warp and transporter technology, but by the 23rd century our basic computer technology had only gotten back up to a 20th century level (with styling from the 1960s, of course). Either because of lack of resources or because the previous knowledge had been lost.

-- Or alternatively, by the 23rd century technology had become SO advanced and impersonal and automated (with Minority Report-style interfaces everywhere, computer chips in people's skulls, and robots doing all the work) that there was ultimately a societal backlash against it, which resulted in the return to a simpler and more analog technology by the time of TOS.

Of course the catch there is we never hear anyone reference such an event in any of the Treks. But hey, it's the best I got.
That doesn't work unless you take TOS on it's own and ignore the rest of Trek - Enterprise NX-01 had early 2000's-level interface technology in the mid-22nd century. The Phoenix was up to contemporary levels too.
MGagen wrote: View Post
Unlike the JJPrise, the REAL Enterprise took ergonomics and eyestrain into account.
Except for the horrible angle of the control desks, which was so the camera always had a nice view of the buttons but not to make using them comfortable or the desks at all useful.
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Old January 30 2014, 11:32 AM   #36
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Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

A "desk"? More consoles, right?

TMP also features a sickbay prop which looks identical to a TOS one other than the color.
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Old January 30 2014, 11:37 AM   #37
JJTrek4ever!
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Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

Maurice wrote: View Post
TMP also features a sickbay prop which looks identical to a TOS one other than the color.
Are you are referring to the anabolic protoplaser that was retasked into a brain scanner that Chapel uses on Spock?
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Old January 30 2014, 12:01 PM   #38
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Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

davejames wrote: View Post
A couple possibilities I see:

-- The damage and destruction from WWIII was so severe that much of our civilization and technology got knocked back almost to a pre-industrial level, and had to essentially start over from the beginning. Obviously there were still some great advances in warp and transporter technology, but by the 23rd century our basic computer technology had only gotten back up to a 20th century level (with styling from the 1960s, of course). Either because of lack of resources or because the previous knowledge had been lost.
MGagen wrote: View Post
DavidJames is on it: Don't rule out a declension of technology after the Eugenics Wars / WWIII. Some tech is way ahead of today, some tech is just catching up.
I've always accepted this as my personal "head canon." Not only did it set technology back, but humanity, seeing how the pace of technological achievement outpaced common sense/morality/etc. resulted in humanity slowing progress down to allow us to catch up to culturally.

King Daniel Into Darkness wrote: View Post
That doesn't work unless you take TOS on it's own and ignore the rest of Trek - Enterprise NX-01 had early 2000's-level interface technology in the mid-22nd century.
And, personally, I do ignore Enterprise.

The Phoenix was up to contemporary levels too.
First Contact established that Cochrane had to scrounge for parts. Its reasonable to assume that he found remaining contemporary technology and used it.
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Old February 2 2014, 02:48 AM   #39
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Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

King Daniel Into Darkness wrote: View Post
MGagen wrote: View Post
Unlike the JJPrise, the REAL Enterprise took ergonomics and eyestrain into account.
Except for the horrible angle of the control desks, which was so the camera always had a nice view of the buttons but not to make using them comfortable or the desks at all useful.
They aren't desks at all. They are control consoles. As such, they are angled to present the seated officer a clear view of all of the controls. And those controls are fanned out ergonomically within arm's reach. The overhead screens are angled down to provide the operator, as well as the captain on the lower level a clear view.

The level of thought given the ergonomics of the bridge was unprecedented. Even the U.S. Navy came to have a look at what a lowly television set designer had created.

The JJPrise, on the other hand, is a total fall back to the old "it's just science fiction -- put some blinky lights on it" school of design. Recessed lighting that shines directly into the eyes of whoever is sitting at the console -- just so the camera can pick up a cliché lens flare. Give me a break...

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Old February 2 2014, 03:13 AM   #40
F. King Daniel
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Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

Having to have one's arms extended as they do to use those controls would not be comfortable over long periods. As awful as those spotlights on the new ship are, the perimeter consoles are at a much more comfortable level to work on.
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Old February 2 2014, 05:55 AM   #41
MauriceNavidad
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Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

JJTrek4ever! wrote: View Post
Maurice wrote: View Post
TMP also features a sickbay prop which looks identical to a TOS one other than the color.
Are you are referring to the anabolic protoplaser that was retasked into a brain scanner that Chapel uses on Spock?
Yes. It's the only medical prop we really see.
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Old February 3 2014, 04:14 PM   #42
BMariner
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Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

MGagen wrote: View Post
The JJPrise, on the other hand, is a total fall back to the old "it's just science fiction -- put some blinky lights on it" school of design.
Yeah... and the TOS bridge isn't all blinky lights? Blinky, completely unlabeled lights and displays full of blinky unlabled rectangles beneath a panel of static screens-- all designed to pop on a color TV. Say what you will about JJPrise, TOS was all about "it's just science fiction -- put some blinky lights on it."
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Old February 3 2014, 04:36 PM   #43
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Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

MGagen wrote: View Post
On another note, I've always liked to visualize many of the various buttons and blinkies as having a narrow band holgraphic effect visible only to the operator immediately in front of it. Holographic labels that float above each button and refresh as the panel is reconfigured for various functions. Sulu sees things a camera off to the side can't see. It also gives a reason to the black console surfaces -- luminous type would read more easily if projected over a black background. Unlike the JJPrise, the REAL Enterprise took ergonomics and eyestrain into account.
I could definitely buy this. Would have been (or would still be in the future) fun if Trek, in, say Trials and Tribulations, gave the viewing audience a half-second glimpse of this projection. I really like this idea.

Of course how would you explain the viewfinder Spock has to look into? Couldn't that be projected more practically? And Sulu's targetting scanner? Offer an a plausible explanation for those and I'm in!
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Old February 3 2014, 04:50 PM   #44
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Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

BMariner wrote: View Post
MGagen wrote: View Post
The JJPrise, on the other hand, is a total fall back to the old "it's just science fiction -- put some blinky lights on it" school of design.
Yeah... and the TOS bridge isn't all blinky lights? Blinky, completely unlabeled lights and displays full of blinky unlabled rectangles beneath a panel of static screens-- all designed to pop on a color TV. Say what you will about JJPrise, TOS was all about "it's just science fiction -- put some blinky lights on it."
Actually when you see close up stills of the TOS bridge there are quite a few labels there.

And Matt Jefferies is on record of how he designed the bridge. He didn't just start sketching out any old ideas. He's on record describing how he tried different concepts and considering the placement and angles of control panels and display screens. Of course it isn't all perfectly thought out, but he was limited in time and budget. But his essential concepts were sound and still manage to come across even if some of the details are off.

This is a big element of why TOS' sense of design often came across as well as it did--because Matt Jefferies did his best to think it through.

It was Desilu execs who didn't "get it." They figured all that was needed was a cigar shaped spaceship and some blinking lights like most any other sci-fi show. They didn't get the idea of trying to break the mold to depict a far future science and tech with a good dose of logic to it.

The design of the TOS Enterprise and its sets is a testament to the thinking Matt Jefferies brought to it and the creative talents of all those who brought it to life onscreen. The evidence they did it right is found simply in the fact that MJ's work still holds a fascination for many today, decades after the fact, and that very little has come along since to eclipse it.

While one could argue for the inclusion of more controls, larger and more interactive displays as well as better seats the rest is essentially sound. I particularly like the lighting of the TOS bridge and some of the colouring in terms of evoking an acceptable environment to work in. No doubt in real life it would be a lot quieter than what we hear onscreen, although the sound f/x did help convey the idea of a vast and sophisticated vessel in operation.

In contrast the JJprise bridge is terribly overlit and the generally monotonous colour scheme doesn't make for an appealing environment in which to work. Part of what I find objectionable in the design ethic of the JJprise is its sense of arbitrariness. In TMP they took the original concepts and extropolated to flesh them out in greater and updated detail for the big screen. You can immediately grasp the sense of evolutionary progression. Also the TMP refit design maintains the overall visual balance the TOS design had.

The Ryan Church design throws all that away. With a notion of divorcing itself from what came before it deliberately corrupts the familiar design rather than evolve and/or refine it. In the process it loses all visual balance and proportions. The JJprise looks deformed and unbalanced as if seeing the original design distorted in a funhouse mirror. This, of course, was the deliberate intent to distance it from the original design.
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Old February 3 2014, 05:44 PM   #45
BMariner
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Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

Warped9 wrote: View Post
Actually when you see close up stills of the TOS bridge there are quite a few labels there.
Are we looking at the same bridge? I've poured thru stills and have only counted about 10 buttons with labels on them (rectangular buttons, white backlit with black text-- those came from actual aircraft). And a few other labeled controls. What doesn't wash with me are the semi-circle arrays of colored resin lights/buttons with absolutely no labels. I'm a Trek tech novice, so I could be completely wrong, but so far I'm seeing a lot of randomly, mostly unlabeled blinking things.

Warped9 wrote: View Post
In contrast the JJprise bridge is terribly overlit and the generally monotonous colour scheme doesn't make for an appealing environment in which to work. Part of what I find objectionable in the design ethic of the JJprise is its sense of arbitrariness.
No argument there.

Warped9 wrote: View Post
In TMP they took the original concepts and extropolated to flesh them out in greater and updated detail for the big screen. You can immediately grasp the sense of evolutionary progression. Also the TMP refit design maintains the overall visual balance the TOS design had.
I never cared for the bridges of TMP - TFF. My favorite is TOS, despite the absurdity (in hindsight) of the controls themselves. And of course I dig them now in a very retro-nostalgic way; Raygun design holds up wonderfully wherever it's implemented. The absurdity of the controls is acceptable to me in TOS. TMP and subsequent movies takes that absurdity and puts it on steroids. Loose arrays of multicolored resin lights gave way to dense blocks of uni-colored Lite Brites. Zero practicality.
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