Greetings Captains, Tim ‘Suricata’ Davies here!
One of the highlights of my job as a marketing artist is when I occasionally get to work on the Okudagrams for Star Trek Online. Back in 2014 I created the MSD for the Voyager bridge, and over the years I helped out here and there, such as with the Engineering LCARS for the Galaxy class interior and, more recently, with the huge array of Cardassian panels on the DS9 revamp.
With the upcoming Expansion ‘Victory is Life’, it seemed like a good time to take on a side project I’d had on the backburner for a while, a new Defiant MSD to give out as a poster at our conventions! I’ve always been a huge fan of the Defiant so it was great to finally get around to working on this poster. Instead of just releasing the wallpaper though, I thought it might be interesting for some of our players to actually see the process that goes into creating these diagrams.
In the different Star Trek series, MSD’s for the sets were not always created when the actual model of the ship they represent was completed, since the set design and model design can have different production schedules. This can cause discrepancies with the ships shape – this is visible with early Defiant Diagrams when the ship was first revealed in the show. To further compound this, as a series progresses, the visual effects team might have weapons or other items shown in a way that contradicts the MSD as well. Creating an MSD after the show is finished is a fun project; you get to create it using years of reference material, but also you have to make everything fit with what was actually shown on screen.
The first step is to actually ascertain what size the ship will be and how tall the decks are, this is an important step to get right from the beginning, since I always work to scale in Adobe Illustrator. To do this I used the actual set plans from the show and trace around the side view outline of the CGI model. Many people will be aware that the size of the Defiant has always been a hotly contested issue, especially with technical manuals and screen evidence contradicting itself. In the end, to fit the sets into the ship, I ended up with a deck height of 2.8m, which gave the ship a length of 110m.
Once the outline was set, the rooms and corridors were blocked out, using the set plans as a guideline. Items such as the landing gear and shuttle pod bays were aligned with the paneling on the outer hull. The Deck plans from the DS9 technical manual were also used as a guideline for where items should be, and the most important rooms were chosen for each part of the cross-section. Some additional rooms were also added that weren’t previously seen on the original MSD, such as the Type 10 shuttle and shuttlebay from ‘The Sound of her Voice’, as well as the Brig from ‘Valiant’. Other items were moved, such as the Quantum Torpedo launchers. They’re shown in the Nav Deflector in the MSD, but in the show we saw them firing from either side of the ship.
Once all of the rooms were blocked out, Vector images of all the components were created either via images from the DS9 technical manual, set plans or screencaps from the show. The process was carried out over the space of a couple of weeks, with great care being taken to make each room or component as accurate as possible. One of the most fun aspects of these projects is not just the huge amounts of research, but actually being able to add elements people may not have seen before. For the Defiant I was able to create the airlock it its extended form for example, something many fans have speculated about over the years.
I’ve saved out the poster in the most popular native desktop wallpaper resolutions and I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them!
Tim ‘Suricata Davies
EU Design Lead
Perfect World Europe