Star Trek fans have always had a special relationship with the spaceships featured in the franchise’s various series. Especially when these ships are named “Enterprise”. This goes so far that some film and television critics see the Enterprise-D as a central element in the series “Star Trek: The Next Generation” – which is also reflected in the German titles of the first two Star Trek series reflects. The US television network CBS and the production company of Rod Roddenberry, heir to Star Trek inventor Gene Roddenberry, have now published a website that should make fans very happy. At the Roddenberry Archive, fans can interactively explore the bridge of every Star Trek ship that has ever borne the Enterprise name. Many fans like to imagine what it would be like to sit on the bridge of their favorite enterprise. While working, they play the sound of the warp drive in the background or design entire rooms in their apartments as replica Star Trek sets.
Together with the cloud rendering company OTOY, Roddenberry Entertainment has recreated in detail 30 different bridges from the two timelines and the mirror universe of various series and films plus the bridge of the USS Voyager. The 3D backdrops are faithfully recreated and can be walked on freely. Star Trek superfans, model and set designers Doug Drexler and Denise and Michael Okuda, who have been responsible for various set details on various Enterprise bridges as part of their professional partnership for decades, were involved in the project. Among other things, Michael Okuda invented Okudakram, a technique for cutting out and illuminating computer interfaces from film foil, which significantly shaped the look of the LCARS computer interface of the Enterprise-D.
In the future, the Rodenberry Archive will also be supplemented by the computer voice of the LCARS interface. Before her death, Majel Barrett, who recorded almost all the texts on the ship’s computer for the TNG, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise series, had agreed to have her voice digitized in detail for future digital assistants. Fans can admire the details of the various digital bridge replicas in a video produced by OTOY. In the video, John de Lancie, who has embodied the omnipotent, godlike being Q since the TNG pilot, guides us through the story behind the various bridge sets.
The virtual replicas of the bridges in the Roddenberry Archive are probably unsurpassed in terms of the level of detail. With the exception of the toilets on the bridge deck of the Enterprise-D, everything has been meticulously recreated, even the interior of the turbo-lift cabins. Still, the official version of the ships falls short of what Star Trek fans have been creating on their own for decades. Many fans still remember the Stage 9 fan project with nostalgia, which over several years had recreated dozens of rooms of the Enterprise-D in detail with the help of Unreal Engine 4 – with VR support!
This project was shut down in 2018 after a legal threat brought by a lawyer from CBS television. To the disappointment of all but a few well-paid suits at CBS. But at least fans now have the official Enterprise bridge sets for comfort. And they are designed so convincingly that you can almost imagine that the set designers of “Star Trek: Picard” used the virtual Enterprise D-bridge as a template for the replica scenery for the end of this series. So if you’d rather spend your next lunch break on the bridge of the Enterprise than in the office, you should drop by the Roddenberry Archive. This Linux script is for everyone who misses the right warp drive sound.