The Big E has evolved through several different versions. I originally wrote it for POV-Ray 0.5 beta and when the new versions of the raytracer were released, the scene description language changed and I had to translate the source to the new versions of the language. When I was forced to modify the source, I usually added or improved some details too.
The source of The Big E actually has not had any kind of version numbers stamped anywhere, but on this page I have labeled them with the number of the POV-Ray version they were written for. This was the very first version:
This version was based on AMT/ERTL's plastic model and faithfully reproduced most of its errors. The most notable ones are completely incorrect censor dome at the bottom of the saucer, too thin dorsal fin and the concave shape of the secondary hull.
The grid lines of the saucer and the secondary hull were implemented with "brute force". There were enormous image_map-files which covered the whole surfaces.
This version had completely new secondary hull and dorsal. Also the censor dome at the bottom of the saucer was completely rebuilt and the shape of the bridge dome was slightly changed. The warp engines hade some minor modifications and the textures were all new. Now the grid lines were implemented using POV-Ray primitives with only small image_map-files overlaid to produce the numbers and texts. This reduced the size of the source package significantly.
The modifications were based on video still frames from several Star Trek movies. AMT/ERTL model shortcomings were now mostly removed, but because the low quality video picture hid small details, I happily removed some correct details as well, like the red outlines of the letters and numbers, the color of the navigational lights or the lit details on the RCS-thrusters.
There were not much changes between versions 1.0 and 2.0. The only noticeable difference is that the surface of the Enterprise is not perfectly smooth any more. Slight bumpiness was added to get more realistic effect.
Some defects caused by coincident planes can be seen around the navigational deflector. Those weren't there originally when rendered on my Amiga with POV-Ray 2.0, but this new rendering using POV-Ray 2.2 under Digital UNIX seems to be less perfect.
The current version has got some major improvements. POV-Ray 3.0 allowed the use of the linear light model, so the lighting is now much more realistic. The spotlights for the numbers on the saucer are now located where they are supposed to be. Originally the light sources floated way above and below the saucer. The warp nacelles are slightly modified, the planet below is completely new and the sky now has stars.
I'm working on yet another version with lots of improvements. You can see sample pictures of it on its own page.Back to raytracing page