Today's guest is currently one of the most popular modelers in the Bridge Commander community, and has recently joined the Excalibur Development Team. His ships include the Leonidas, Vivace, Valiant, Eclipse, and the ship he's most known for the Century Class. Which has had a number of appearances here on MeteorCreations, and is also featured along with the Vivace in The Ultimate Universe Mod for Star Trek: Legacy.
In the six years that he has been around, he is easily one of the greats. And his quality of work only continues to get even better, with each ship that he releases.
His latest releases include the Alberta Class, and his take on the Ambassador Class. Both of which are top notch. He is currently working on an unnamed Cruiser, and his own take on the TOS era Constitution Class.
Please give a warm welcome to Mr. David Curtis!
Q: So when did you start modeling? And how long have you been around in the modding community?
I started modeling in 2002, shortly after Bridge Commander was released. I had an account on BCU and followed quietly for a year or two.
Q: What was it about modeling that fascinated you, and was that why you ultimately got into modding yourself?
I’ve always built models. As a kid, I had dozens of model kits of cars, starships and planes. I’ve always been the type to lean towards artistic endeavors, and 3d modeling seemed a good method of expression for me. I had been out of high-school for a couple of years, and wanted to learn some new things, so I decided on 3d modeling and learning guitar.
Q: Do you remember the first thing you tried to build?
I actually went through a lot of tutorials, so I think the first thing I ever made was an orange or something like that. As for first starship, I pretty immediately started trying to recreate a Galaxy Class. It did not look good.
Q: How did you hear about the Bridge Commander modding community?
I actually don’t recall. I found BCU pretty quickly after starting to play the game.
This interview continues after the break.
I eased my way into the community gradually. I actually spent most of time in the political forum on BCU, arguing with my much missed friend, Weasel, as opposed to the modding forum. When I started showing off my work, I usually put it in the art forum, as I really had no clue how to mod, only model… badly. People were, as they’ve always been in BC, very supportive and encouraging. That’s been a real hallmark of our community over the last near-decade.
Q: Which ship of yours was first released? And how well was it received?
My first ship was the Supremus Class. I released it in early 2006. I think it was well received and popular, though it certainly had its flaws.
Q: Do you mod for any other games other than Star Trek related ones?
No, though I’ve done some modeling and texturing for Excalibur.
Q: So what are a few of the games that you favorite?
Well, Bridge Commander was a mainstay for a long time, though I don’t play it much anymore. My favorite games of all time would be the Civilization series, SimCity series, X-Wing series, Jedi Knight series. I really enjoyed the Mass Effect Games. The original Medal of Honor was amazing when it came out. Masters of Orion 2, and of course, Oregon Trail!
Q: Do you console game at all? And if so what is your preferred machine? Also would you care to share your gamertag with the readers?
I’ve got a 360 for me and a Wii for the kids. I only have Xbox Live for DLC. I don’t do multiplayer because I actually suck at games.
Q: What are your favorite Star Trek games? And which was the first that you owned?
My first Star Trek game was Star Trek: 25th Anniversary, which came out in 1991. It was great fun for its time. My favorite is Bridge Commander, though all the Activision run of games were quite good.
Q: How long have you been a Star Trek fan, also what was your favorite and least liked series growing up?
I don’t remember not being a Star Trek fan. I’m an unabashed geek, though I’ve developed fairly solid personal hygiene skills that have served me well. I really love TNG, but my favorite is probably DS9, particularly seasons 4-6. For me, they were the best.
Q: Do you have a favorite Trek movie of all time? And explain your reason behind that choice.
Let me first say that I really enjoyed the new movie, and it ranks high for me. Probably Star Trek VI is my favorite. Christopher Plummer is at the top of his game as General Chang, and I think it is the film that best reflects the political realities of its day.
Q: What is your favorite class of ship? And what makes it unique to you? Either canon or non canon.
Canon, I love the Galaxy Class for its size and elegance. It’s a marvelous piece of work.
Q: Apart from your own work, what are some of your favorite mods?
So many good ones, but I there are a few I can’t have an install without. LC’s Romulan Warbirds are some of the best produced ships ever made. His Defiant and Intrepid Class ships, as well. Wiley’s Excelsiors are absolutely great. Khaliban’s Connie. CG’s Sovereign. I love GravityFX and the big BCSTNG packs. I also always load up the packs of ships that Zambie Zan compiled. Lots of great modders.
Q: If you could recommend any one of your mods to a first time player of a Star Trek game, which one would it be?
I would have to say the Century Class Enterprise F. I never thought that it would be so popular, and I’ve never matched its level of popularity since. I’m very humbled that so many people downloaded it.
Q: So far out of everything you have built so far, which have given you the most amount of challenge?
Well, in their own way, the earlier ships were the most challenging, because I had less skill and knowledge then. In terms of hours of work put into a mod, the Galaxy Class mod pack was a very large undertaking, and I have not since been interested in doing anything like that again. As I’ve matured as a modder, my work has become much more efficient, and what used to take me months, I can now do in weeks or sometimes days.
Q: Do you have any intentions of releasing any kind of tutorials on ship modeling, texturing, or things of that nature?
I’ve added some stuff to the BC Wiki, and done the odd tutorial. I’ve always meant to do some, but never stuck to it.
Q: Would you care to share with the readers anything about what you are currently working on? And will it be available for both Bridge Commander, Excalibur, and possibly Legacy ?
I’ve got several ships completed and on the go. I’m most excited about the cruiser I’ve been building, though I’m in a lull at the moment. Over the last year, my modding has been in fits and starts.
What was the reasoning behind your forbidding modification of your work? And do you see a time where you would one day again allow people to release variants of your work?
It’s been a touchy thing over the years. I haven’t absolutely forbidden any derivative work, but I rarely say yes. For me, I’ve had a number of incidents with people using my work and stealing credit. It’s the internet, and I understand that happens from time to time, though many people have been very respectful. Another part of this has to do with how long I’ve been around BC for.
Some mods like CG’s Sov and Scotchy’s Galaxy, and especially Rick Knox’s work have been redone and reused so many times that they’ve lost their identities and the true creators of the work have gone by the wayside. I don’t want that happening to my work.
I also had a couple of incidents where modders were given permission to use my work, and then they bandied their products about publically as a “huge improvement” or upgrade. Having spent months of hard work on these products, I will admit to taking offense at the idea that something could be so quickly “upgraded.”
Being a member of the Ultimate Universe mod team, I would like to once again thank you for allowing us to use the ships you gifted us with, that being of course the Century Class and the Vivace Class.
No problem, I hope they’re being enjoyed, and I would probably be okay with some of my other work being ported to UU if Chris asks.
Q: Can you share with us what your experience has been working with the Excalibur team so far?
I’ve been on the periphery of the project for some time now. I never made huge commitments to it, and have also handed some stuff off to Mark because BC has always been my first focus. The team is closely knit in my opinion. A lot of us have known each other for a long time. They’re good people, helpful and extremely creative and talented.
Q: Can you give us a run down of your modeling process? How you do come up with such elegant yet powerful looking ships?
I’m glad you think they’re elegant and powerful looking. In truth, I don’t tend to go through much of a process, I just sort of start with something and the design just ends up coming out of that. There are a few things that I try to do, though. I look for smooth, clean and sleek lines that flow from one part of the ship to another, even if those parts aren’t directly connected.
I try to make the ship look purposeful and believable. Proportion is a big thing for me. I try to make sure that the saucer is the right size for the drive section, and that the nacelles are not too long or too short. I often use boxes as placeholders to try and get a sense of where I want things and how big I want them. I try to design ships that have a wide stance and look stable, even if they’re not large. Ultimately, I simply try to mesh out one part that goes nicely with the part I built before it, and so on and so on until the ship is complete.
Q: Being an extremely talented modeler, are you disappointed that you cannot enter into the Star Trek: Online Enterprise-F contest?
I appreciate your compliment. To be honest, I’m not losing any sleep over it. My ships don’t look like STO ships anyhow. I do enjoy playing STO, and am also enjoying seeing some of the authentic new designs that people are entering into the contest. Frankly, I don’t feel that I need the contest to validate what I do… my Enterprise F has done pretty well for itself over the years, and I’m proud of that.
Q: How do you see Star Trek gaming progressing in the next few years?
Probably towards the JJ universe, if at all. I see games coming out in time with the new movie releases. Probably not very good games either. Free to play browser games that are supportive of micro-transactions are probably also in the cards. Since Dan Stahl has taken over STO, it has improved dramatically, and it should be around for a good while.
Its developers are constantly releasing new content and improvements to the game, and it’s becoming and enjoyable play and social experience. It’s the basket where I’d put most of my Star Trek gaming eggs. I’d just love to see a “Forge” for starships in it.
And for the final question..
Q: Aside from what you are releasing, what ship or mod are you the most excited about seeing in the Bcfiles Christmas mass release?
I’m sorry I didn’t answer this before Christmas. I’m a school teacher and I was insanely busy, and I spent most of my holiday traveling about visiting family. I had no time for my mods or to download anyone else’s work. Though I’d say those shuttle bridges look great!
Well it's no problem DJ, we all have busy lives and it's completely understandable. And thank you for taking part in this interview.
I have really enjoyed speaking with DJ, I'll say this, he's got to be the coolest school teacher I know now haha.
There's no doubt on why he's now considered one of the greats of the modding community. His models are highly detailed, his textures are crisp. And every ship he builds actually looks like it came right out of Star Trek.
I can not wait to see what he builds in the near future, but whatever that may be, I have no doubt that it will be incredible.
I would also like to take this oppertunity to announce that DJ has just made a deal with Chris Jones Gaming, which will involve bringing his entire ship library to Star Trek Legacy, and will be exclusive only to the Ultimate Universe Mod. You can expect to see his ships beginning to pop up here and there as the year progresses.
Until next time I am Angel Hernandez, and this...has been Spotlight
Below you can find the link to DJ's BCFiles profile page, where you can download all of his ships for Star Trek Bridge Commander.
DJ Curtis's BCFiles Profile Page
Don't forget to leave a comment, and express your opinion on the interview.
As I have been having issues with my internet connection I am uncertain as to when the next episode of Spotlight will be released. You can keep up to date with news on MeteorCreations Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter @MeteoraFallen.