We’ve already seen a fair few fan-made virtual reality recreations of popular sci-fi franchise, but this latest recreation of Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Enterprise-D starship will redefine your expectations from future efforts.
It stands to reason that for people ‘into’ a technology like virtual reality, so long enmeshed in science and geek culture, recreating science fiction worlds in a form you can virtually step into would be pretty high on their ‘to do’ lists. We’ve seen a fair few attempts at doing just that, and many are not too shabby at all – but a new project has surfaced that (sorry guys) blows them all away.
The Enterprise Construction Project may reset all your expectations from fan-made experiences and make you believe that the Enterprise-D already exists in virtual reality, right now in fact.
The project is the mastermind of Jason, a 3D artist who’s obsessive goal to create the entirety of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D in the Unreal Game Engine” has resulted in a question to recreate all 42 decks of the legendary starship.
Rendered lovingly via Unreal Engine 4, the level of attention to detail on display here and on such a huge scale really did leave me in awe. From the painstakingly re-created ship’s externals, flying seamlessly into the docking bays, marvelling at the shuttles within, the tour continues on and on, revealing room after room of exquisitely detailed models, pulled straight from the TV series.
What is unquestionably the most comprehensive of its kind, the project poses interesting questions for fans of the series and the franchise. Yes, details and schematics of what the Enterprise-D should contain are present, but not at the level of detail required to re-model it from scratch. “The technical specs have been out for decades about this ship. But what do they mean? The USS Enterprise – D has 42 Decks. Sprinkled throughout these decks are all of the control rooms for weapons, sickbays, holodecks, and crew quarters,” Jason states, ” Creating all of them will be a daunting task. I have compiled a large archive of reference from production drawings, set blueprints, official blueprints, and of course meticulous screen captures of the HD Blu-ray versions of the episodes.”
Daunting is indeed the word. Currently Jason is alone in his endeavour and the more attention the project garners, and the more authentic the visuals become, the greater the risk of IP owners CBS’ lawyers breathing down his neck for royalties. So, Jason has a plan:
I have plans only to complete the main Project Goal. If there is interest from the fanbase, I will try and pursue this project from a more serious standpoint. The project would need some crowdfunded funds to hire other developers, namely some coders to build the systems described in the later phases, and more artists to crank out character assets and other external locales. There is also the matter of licensing. I will seek CBS’ blessing to continue to create this. But to release it as a product, licensing will have to be procured. More people hired, a serious road map put into place. Games aren’t cheap. But, for now, the project exists to build a truly immersive Enterprise experience. If there is interest, I will take it all the way.
So, if you’re a Star Trek fan and you want to see this spectacular recreation released, head over to the project’s Facebook page and show your support, then follow the project on Twitter then pray to Worf Jason finds a way to make it happen. A Kickstarter campaign and Patreon scheme are being considered too, keep your eyes open for those too.