Making of ... Back to the projects page


Part 1: The origins

Part 2: The projects




5. The first projects
6. Project development
7. Prospect

5. The first projects

The first projects page (Aug 25, 99)
The first complete "Trek Guide", not yet in HTML, from May 1997
The "Trek Guide" in HTML from  September 1997
The Subspace Manual from June 1999 looked very similiar to the present version.
"Distances of Star Trek" - a predecessor of the Cartography
Already a few days after the official online launch of the Star Trek Dimension, it turned out that Star Trek in the internet can be much more than "only" a LCARS database, even though this database can be regarded as one of the most realistic and extensive information sources of this kind. In August 1999, the mostly missed aspect of my website was a look behind the scenes of Star Trek, which can be as fascinating as the Star Trek universe of the 23rd and 24th century itself - what has been proven by the background material of the technical manuals and encyclopedias. How realistic is the subspace theory of Star Trek with regard to present, scientific hypotheses? Can the real stars of Star Trek used to create a coherent picture of the Star Trek Galaxy? What are the inconsistencies and errors of the series and feature films? How successful were the seasons of the different Star Trek Series according to an evaluation of the single episodes? These and other questions wanted to be answered, and they were answered - in the form of mostly  independent, often multi-sided Star Trek Dimension "projects", which are devoted to one specific aspect or topic of Star Trek in an own website area. Initially, these projects were linked to the news page, since late August 1999 to the newly introduced projects page, the "control center" of the Star Trek Dimension,  and later also to the front page.

In fact, I had created several other Star Trek projects a long time before August 2nd, 1999, which were then gradually integrated into the Dimension or whose basics resulted in new parts of the websites, the so-called "projects". However, not only the already mentioned "Star Trek Guide" and its predecessors - three encyclopedia episode guides, a first complete episode guide and the episode listings for DS9 and Voyager, which had become a part of the Star Trek Dimension before the reintegration of the HTML Trek Guide. belonged to these intially independent projects.

In February 1999, the Subspace Manual emerged as my second "web project", which covered, from the first notes to the preliminary final version, the months between November 1998 and June 1999. Moreover, these extensive description of my subspace theory actually was my first  treknology project, although in the end, it became a part of the Dimension some time after the Star Trek Cartography was created.

The latter one was based on notes and calculations as well, which I had gathered within several years, and a summary of the "Distances of Star Trek", which I had created in early May 1999. This discussion already consisted of the important parts - distance table, size of Federation and Voyager's journey, even though it was only shortened version. In the end, all texts and picture were re-created for the "Star Trek Cartography", therefore it is the first "genuine" project of the Star Trek Dimension beside the LCARS database. The work on the Cartography started on August 3rd, 1999, being the starting signal for many other Star Trek Dimension projects, which were created shortly afterwards.

6. Project development

In the meantime, there are still a dozen other projects beside the main project of the Dimension, the LCARS database, dealing with the Star Trek technology or the episodes, offering ressources for download or simply promising a lot of fun. Every one of this projects tries to be unique concerning its field - with regard to the content itself as well as its representation, i.e. its design and layout. Of course, this takes a lot of time - for the research of the facts, to write the texts, collect the photos or create the pictures, diagrams and logos. Moreover, since late 1999, the efforts has been doubled, because most projects are also avaiable in English since then. But how are they created - those unique models of the planets and those magnificent high-quality photos of the LCARS database, the 3D models of Utopia Planitia or the Star Trek maps of the Cartography? The following pictures and descriptions will give a short insight into the work behind the projects.

The LCARS database of the Star Trek Dimension stands out not from the texts, which are created (like all other projects) with Microsoft FrontPage 98, but its multimedia-representation, i.e. the large number of photos, LCARS diagrams and sounds. These resources were scanned from Star Trek books and magazines, taken from the Internet or from CDs or grabbed directly from TV. The most magnificent shots are, of course, the scans, especially if there are taken from such high-quality illustrated books like the "Art of Star Trek". However, no matter where the pictures were taken from, often an extensive editing is necessary, before they can added to the database. If needful, colors and contrasts have to be increased, the quality of the shots has to be raised, spoiling texts, logos or the entire background of the picture has to be deleted and missing parts of the images have to be trickily retouched. This is done with Paintshop Pro 5.0, in my view the image editing program with the most innovative functions. Particularly the complex masking- and layer features facilitate the creation of the photos, diagrams and logos of the Star Trek Dimension considerably.
Usually, many steps are necessary to turn the scanned photo into the finally used database picture. scanedit1.jpg (4188 Byte)
Beside the normal image editing, increasingly three-dimensional pictures are important for the Star Trek Dimension, which are modelled nowadays with the professional program Soft F/X. However, from the very beginning, rendered models of planets were an integral part of the LCARS database, which are still created with the freeware program POVRAY 3.0.
From the screenshot from [DS9] Time's Orphan to the final model of Kolana - an example of "planetary rendering". scanedit1.jpg (4188 Byte)
Isn't there a photo avaiable for scanning, the episode or movie itself is used as a source for the picture. Because in contrast to the photos, which are specially taken by photographers during the production,  the pictures grabbed from TV are often insufficient concerning quality and scene arrangement, a sophisticated post-editing is necessary, usually including edge enhancement, the deletion of the TV channel logo, saturation increasing, color noise reduction and sometimes the reconstruction of missing image parts.
scrshot1a.jpg (11299 Byte) scrshot1b.jpg (12434 Byte)
Sometimes, creativity surpasses reality, resulting in completely new pictures for scenes which were mtnioned, but never shown, like the Third World War, the attack of the Jem'Hadar on Betazed or the Borg cube passing Jupiter.
Other pictures I have created, but they did never became a part of the LCARS database, like the shown, LCARS-like score for "Row, row, row your boat", which originally should be added to the file "Human music". One  reason for why it wasn't added in the end is that I thought such a notation wouldn't be contemporary anymore in the 24th century, however, similiar scores have been shown in Star Trek: Voyager in the meantime.


For the second Star Trek Dimension project, the Star Trek cartography, not only the sources already used for the database (facts from CDs, books; pictures from CDs, books and TV) were included, but also strictly scientific data. Moreover, the usage of real astronomic methods and algorithms necessitated also the deployment of special programs like Skymap 3.0, a program which displays the starry sky and offers up-to-date information on most of the real stars of Star Trek.
In fact, most of the astronomic knowledge and data the Star Trek Cartography is based on does not come from programs or the internet (even though the highly precise HIPPARCOS coordinates and parallaxes of the stars are avaiable for free only in the World Wide Web), but from nearly two dozen books on classic astronomy, stellar physics, cosmology and astrobiology, for which the shown treatise upon the Milky Way is only an example.
Nie verwendetes Logo für die Star Trek Kartographie von Anfang 2000
One of the cornerstones of the Cartography project and surely its most popular part is the Galactic Atlas with its colorful, poster-sized map of local space. This map contains, on the one hand, the scientifically correct positions of 35 real Star Trek stars, but on the other hand, also the approximate positions of some dozens of fictitious planets, star bases, deep space stations and nebulas, which were all derived from the distances and descriptions given in the episodes, including the possible border lines between the different empires and alliances. However, it was a long way from my first Star Trek map, which was created still ebfore the online launch of the site in mid 1999 and which was based on the rough, inexact overview maps from the official publications, to the presently still up-to-date version 4.0 of the map of local space.


The project "Utopia Planitia", which gives a number of "conjectural classes" (those starship classes, which are mentioned in the encyclopedia, but there never shown on screen) a non-canon appearance created by me, an extensive specification and an as well fictitious background story, was a result of my progress concerning the rendering of three-dimensional starships, which I also owe my new "tool", the 3D modeler, renderer and animator Soft F/X 4.0.
The models of most of the created starship classes only exist as rough study models which hasn't been improved and finalized - except the Chimera class, which has been continued for the ASDB internet project. In the meantime, there exists a highly detailed and realistic 3D model for this class, the 19th version, which will be presented soon in the Utopa Planitia project with fantastic pictures. A short insight gives the photo in the margin.

The first mesh from October 1999, which was still called "Challenger class" at that time.

The version published in the project isn't very detailled, however, it already has the final proportions of the vessel.

An  improved version from March 1999, which has an indiviual texture for the saucer section for the first time.


How the three presented projects show, every part of the Star Trek Dimension, every text and every picture is the result of a longer development process. Vice versa, not every idea and every sketch led  to a published final version. Some pictures were not integrated into the LCARS database, some logos were dropped in favor of other ones, and even some complete projects were abanoned a long time before their completion. The reasons are various, but for example, in case of the "eclipse 99" report, the basic idea finally appeared to be nonsense. In fact, the image shown above is the only existing part of this project, a direct product of the hysteria because of the total eclipse in Central Europe in August 1999. In the end, it's a cool pic, but nevertheless it was never intended to be the logo for a entire project, and before I had entered the first letter, the whole matter was already forgotten. The "Galactic Book of Records", on the other hand, was a different issue. There was a concrete idea for this projekt, and the immediate work had been started, when the project was abandoned. Firstly because there simply weren't enough "galactic records", but mainly because the project seemed to be too "mainstream-orientated" and superficial and would neither have had the necessary horoughness nor a definite outcome.


7. Prospect

This extensive "Making of" report has shown that the Star Trek Dimension is the result of a development process lasting one, three or six years, depending on how far the basic idea is traced back. The website was and is created from a large variety of data, pictures, facts and sounds, but in the end,  the beginning was always an idea which was based on the vision of Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek. Not every single idea was finally realized. But - the project will continue. Still, there are countless aspects and fields of Star Trek which have to be explored, and as long as I have ideas and - above all - fun with the Star Trek universe, it will be profitable to have a look at the Star Trek Dimension from time to time.   

invtrek.jpg (8906 Byte)
The project "Investigating Trek", the successor of the "Incosistencies" report,  is currently under development. It will probably be published in fall 2000.



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