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Questions for Mark Rademaker, creator of the Vesta
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TOPIC: Questions for Mark Rademaker, creator of the Vesta

Questions for Mark Rademaker, creator of the Vesta 5 years, 1 month ago #1408

Hey guys,

So Mark Rademaker, creator of the Vesta class star ship has agreed to do a Q & A with us over email. He could not come on the show at this time due to the language barrier. However, he can read and right english very well. So please submit your questions so we can get them over to him. We will read his answers on the show with a guest host TBD on a an episode next month.

Captain Logan sent me his questions already, where are yours?

Pay a visit to the STO Forums too and add your questions or read those posted by others.
Last Edit: 5 years ago by Zeb.

Re: Questions for Mark Rademaker, creator of the Vesta 5 years ago #1444

  • Zeb
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In various episodes I have seen, Birds of Prey and Voyager land on planet surfaces. It seems to me that Gravity would destroy these ships given their design. Another example is the JJ Enterprise being constructed on Earth.

Does Mark see any practical reason for this trend in Trek, or is it just Hollywood hooha that never saw an engineers desk?

Re: Questions for Mark Rademaker, creator of the Vesta 4 years, 11 months ago #1593

  • ElijahMrE
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Mark Rademaker Q & A

Adam Logan Williams
AKA Captain Logan, Cryptic ship designer
1) You seem to have a style that is all your own in regards to Trek ship design. Where do you
draw your inspiration from for the shapes and forms you choose? From nature? Wildlife?

I can get inspired by the weirdest things, I constantly collect small items that one day might
turn into a new starship design. From phone holders to WIFI antennas to food packaging. In
fact when I eat mashed potatoes, you might find me sculpting something. (It's a bad habit that
I never could drop.) Sometimes I kind of daydream into strange futuristic worlds with similar
hardware, but I fade out of them quickly, making it hard to remember what was going on there.
I sometimes wish that process was more controllable.

Still, most of the time I look at nature and I'm particularly interested in sea life. Sharks,
dolphins, crabs, they all seem to have an appearance that reflects their ability and behavior. To
transfer that into a ship design is probably what I'm aspiring the most.

2) Your models are incredibly intricate and have every detail. Do you have a checklist of
required gadgets that you follow when making a new Trek ship (deflector array, rcs thrusters,
airlock etc)?

I started working with a checklist when I designed the Vesta class. It was too complex to do
out of my head and a checklist was a good way to keep track of things that I needed to place.
(Including all the Quantum Slipstream Treknology.)

I later also added items on the checklist like escape pod capacity, deck count, deck height,
window size etc. So from a checklist it became more and more a spec list. I now use it as a
template for new ships.

3) Have you ever made a game-resolution model for real-time game engine?

In the past I have made low resolution models for a never released autocombat game. This is
why I have great respect for people who create models for game engines: it's an art to do a lot
with very little. It's very much the opposite of what I try to do: model everything. My excuse: at
the ships of the line calendar's resolution, models quickly turn out looking "flat".

For me it would really be a challenge to create game models again, it would be fun though as
the work time on such a model would also be a lot shorter. Currently my average ship takes 4
months of work in the evening hours and weekends. That requires some patience, even more

now as it has become an annual event.

Thank you - I'm a big fan! All of your designs are very "fap-worthy"

Well thank you too for doing a superb job on the STO ships! It's great to see so much diversity.
Not every ship I made came out the way I intended, I'm content with most, but I always do
believe the best has yet to come. If the Vesta ever makes it into STO I would like to suggest a
list of suggestions for exchangeable parts. Pointier saucer, new pylons etc. That is a something I
really like about STO, it fits perfectly in the modular design approach that I favor myself.

James Lee
1) There has been many forum debates about what kind of ship the Vesta class would be
in game for STO. I.E: A cruiser, a science ship, or an escort. Due to the game's lay out only
an escort or a dreadnought have had cannons mounted on them. So this makes this ship
something different from the get go. Some say due to the test bed gadgets on board it would
be a science ship with a tactical edge. I believe based on your past statements about it being
a do it all explorer, I think it should be a cruiser or a tactical exploration cruiser. What do you
think it should be?

The ship was described as a "multi mission explorer". I still think that is fitting, but it could
cause a problem placing it within STO. I personally would pity it when I would never be able to
fire the 2 forward Phaser cannons. If it where up to me: I would create a new tier. This could
facilitate ships that have some sort of technology or role that does not make them fit into any
other tier. Maybe they require rare crystals to keep them running. An interesting market would
open up if these crystals would be tradable. Or maybe these ships need far more maintenance
to keep them running at peak efficiency. Anything to keep the balance and not make this new
tier too much. Once again this is just me thinking out loud, as I'm not a STO player this might
be totally unpractical. I really want to play STO, but I'm afraid that I won't have time to design
anymore ships if I would.

2) All ships in game get a special ability attached to that ship due to it design. Most think Vesta
would have an unlimited slip stream drive instead of the 30 second run you get with other
ships, but what ability would you give the ship?

I very much like the 30 second slip stream drive idea, it's one of those things that keeps Warp
and Quantum Slipstream speeds a bit balanced. Perhaps the Vesta can get an edge by giving it
twice that capacity. I also would like to point out that the 2 forward Phaser cannons would do
significant damage to shields. The fire rate and peak output are above anything Starfleet had
so far. However you need fairly large targets that are pretty much in front of the ship. I always
compare them with the Gatling gun at the front of an A-10 Thunderbolt.

3) Are there any designs you have seen from the game that stand out to you?

I think the canon ships are really well done, but my interest goes out to the original STO ships, I
especially like the following:

- The Hope class, somehow it reminds me of a seashell, it really stands out. Would also look
good if developed upside down. Creating something spherical is on my list for a couple of years
now and this makes the desire to do so a lot greater.

- Destiny class, I like certain aspects of it. It has a lot of vertical presence it would be cool to
explore in high detail someday.

- Gryphon class, it just screams "Don't mess with me!". It does remind me of an early YAK
jetfighter. Very inspiring!

A lot of ship designs in STO show that you don't always need a classic configuration, but that
there is plenty of room to experiment with shapes and components. As I said before, that
diversity is very nice to see.

4) You just came out with another great ship, the Merian class. What other projects do you
have up your sleeve?

At the moment I'm working on an very short animation of the USS Planck. (Merian class) When
that is finished, hopefully before the end of next week, I need to clean up a lot of project
folders and determine what I want to do next. I have to move the Voyager refit lower on the list
once again because of other obligations. It will be a time consuming project, and I just can't get
enough time for it atm.

Up next would be the U.S.S. Demeter (Another ship from the Full Circle project.) I'm looking
forward to it, but I also fear the reactions a little as it's very different. It might look 100 years
ahead of its time. Perhaps because it's an Andorian/Vulcan hybrid design. (At least that's the
direction its going into.)

That is my major concern with Trek design currently: because we don't get any new canon
ships, the standard stalled somewhat at the Enterprise E. All its external details are copied to
adhere to a Starfleet "look and feel". I did the same with the Vesta as I it had to be a low risk
project. (Also because the time frame I designed it in.) However technology and design have
exploded this last decade. If we don't change the design approach, even new ships will directly
look outdated when they are released. (While I loved the new movie, I do think the Enterprise
was a, dare I say it, poor design for a reboot.) I BTW don't have an emotional attachment to
any of the older Enterprises, so I could examine it unbiased. Demeter will be somewhat of an

extreme within Starfleet: Fresh but also very different. It will have all new features in a sleek
package. How this is received by the community will determine my path for future ships.

5) What do you think of the new Enterprise F ?

That is a hard question! While I like the ship's features and the game model is top quality, I'm
not sure if it's an Enterprise. The direction is really good but the design needed more time. If a
ship will bear the name Enterprise I believe it should be refined up to a very deep level. Because
the current culture is very "on demand" that would have been impossible within the contests
timeline. In that perspective the F came out really well.

I so far kept my hands of a modern Enterprise, I consider myself not skilled enough for it. I do
have an F in my mind for 2 years now. I sketched out a simple sideview to test the waters. That
sideview is under constant refinement. If I ever would dare to 3D it, it should be the best thing I
ever designed. (in 10 years maybe?)

6) So Cryptic is in need of more ship designers, would you take the job if it was offered to you?

Absolutely, it would be glorious! However I would have ridiculous terms that are probably
impossible for Cryptic to accept. Just thinking about this gives me a strange sensation in my
stomach. (This question has been hunting me for 2 weeks now.)

People have their own ideals regarding ship design with the Quantum Slipstream drive that
originated with the Vesta. I'm hoping he could comment on that and elaborate his design
philosophy of ships with the QSSD.

I saw Quantum Slipstream Drive as a threat that would rip the universe in two: Ships that can fly
QS speeds and ships that can only go at Warp speeds. Because it did keep my mind occupied,
I designed a Quantum Slipstream prototype, the U.S.S. Spirit. I created somewhat the same
rule as STO is using, the drive can't be used unlimited; it consumes crystals very quickly and will
drop out of Slipstream as soon as there is a buffer overflow in the main computer. This happens
when it can't keep up anymore with the realtime data processing. (Like it did very quickly on
Voyager.) This was later fixed with Chroniton integrators.

I would have favored the generic term "Transwarp", as that would have been a more
recognizable term for the audience. Also it would have made integration into the already
established Warp scale easier. It could start at Warp 11 and go upwards from there. While in
STO Quantum Slipstream is widely used, in the novelverse ships that do fly on QS speeds have
to conform to some rules:

A ship needs to be lean so the Slipstream corridor will take less power to maintain, a ship needs
to be able output a massive amount of power to open the corridor, and it needs an incredibly
advanced system of sensors to keep the entire thing from collapsing.

The Borg can basically get a cube into some form of Transwarp without blowing it apart, so it
seems there is a clean workaround that Starfleet (in this era) just has not found yet. If that will
be the case, ships will probably go back to more familiar shapes again. (Wide saucers won't
be a problem anymore, smaller deflectors can be installed etc etc.) In other words: Quantum
dynamics won't play a really large role in the design process. For now it does, and it reflects in
my designs as they are more compact and "stretched" then what we have seen before.
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