Today I will be speaking with one of the newest members of the Bridge Commander modding community.
In the two years that he has been here, he has released more than 17 mods that range from the Vesta Class, to the USS Jenolan. He has also even given us an ant's perspective with the E.V.A. Suit, and has brought to life several designs from others within the community. Such as the Legacy Class by Galen from GK Designs, and the Corinium Class by Hobbs.
Please welcome the founder of Starfleet R&D, Mr. Bankrupt Studios himself, Greg Smith.
Well, I’ve been modding games since late 2006. I had got Star Trek Legacy pre ordered and for some damn reason I got my copy like a month after. So it took roughly a month to beat it (at the time I was working 13 hours a day and I also have kids to spend time with) and by then there were a couple of new ships out so I DL’ed them to play. During this time I was also playing a My Space Star Trek Role Playing game ( funny enough, this is where I meet my Wife) and I wanted some cool pic’s of ships. That’s when I decided to do my first mod, and all it was was changing the letters on the Enterprise, lol. From there I did loads of stuff for Sims 2.
Q:What was it about modding that fascinated you, and was that why you ultimately got into modding yourself?
The closest I might be able to come to answering that is seeing all the new classes of ships being built by other modders and the fact that they looked so good and at times so real. But I never really thought about modeling. I had wanted to do a free internet comic starring a lot of ships from Legacy and BC but to get some of the screen shots that I would need meant I would have to get in to the model itself. So I looked around and got 3ds Max on sale, unaware that I simply could have used Nif Scope for the BC stuff, lol. So I stopped looking at ships for a while because I was deep into researching Star Trek and writing scripts, I got around 13 full scripts and then realized that I had no idea what my ship was, lol.
Q: Do you remember the first thing you tried to build?
Yes, I tried to fix Hobbs’ USS Griffin for the internet comic. During the process he wanted things changed and we ended up building a completely new ship called the Dragon that was never released. Then, a little while later we did the Corinium, a ship he designed and I built... well actually kit-bashed, from Red Dragon’s Sovereign. That was our first official mod.
Q: How was it that you heard about the Bridge Commander modding community?
It was in a search for a ship that was going to be a lead ship in my show. I stumbled across DJ’s Leonides Class USS Raptor. Immediately I fell in love with it.
The interview continues after the break.
In the BC central forums it was actually pretty good. You get a couple of people that get annoyed with all the questions I asked, especially since you don’t know the name of what you’re asking so you can’t search for it on the forum. Other than that, the positive energy and the fact I was very well received in BC forum is the reason I chose to mod for BC. I was going to do all my mods for Legacy and for Armada, but the people on those forums were, let’s say – less welcoming.
Q: What was your first mod released? And how well was it received?
It was the Executive shuttle – SD 103. People seemed to like it. At this point it was just a texture job and then I did the modding and texturing on Corinium NX.
Q: Do you mod for any other games other than Star Trek ones?
I used to, in the beginning. I modded for Sims 2. I planned on doing some UGC later on for the foundry over at Star Trek Online.
This portion of the interview consists of casual gaming, and other trek related questions.
Q: So what are a few of your favorite games?
Absolutely favorite game/series ever is Resident Evil. From there, I’d have to say HALO and now Star Trek Online, I’m a lifer for that one.
Q: Do you console game at all? And if so what is your preferred machine? Also would you like to share your gamertag?
Yes, I do console, it was a hobby of mine to collect consoles and games since my very first Atari. I have everything from Atari to the new XBOX360. That includes Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Game Cube, Wii, PSX, PS1, PS2, Dreamcast, Sega, Sega Genesis. I even have the Bently Com-View system, the very first home video game. So you could say I’ve got a lot of them, and let’s not even go into games. I do have to say, XBOX and Wii are my favorites. My gamertag is enforcerknight1.
Q: What are your favorite Trek games? Which was your first one?
My first one was Armada 2. My favorite one has to be Star Trek Online.
Q: How long have you been a Star Trek fan, also what was your favorite and least liked series growing up?
I’ve been a Star Trek fan for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I’d watch Captain Kirk, Spock and Bones every Saturday morning, while “normal” kids watched “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. My favorite series, hands down, is TOS and least liked, hmmm… probably Voyager. It’s just something about making the Borg real cheesy that didn’t sit well with me.
Q: Do you have a favorite Trek movie of all time? And explain your reason behind the choice.
That’s simple! My favorite Star Trek movie of all time is the new Star Trek by J.J. Abrams. Reason being is that not only was it a kick ass movie, but it has gathered more interest in Star Trek so that hopefully it comes back to life and continues to prosper ;). Let’s face it, we, the Trekkies, are killing Star Trek. My case point – look at Enterprise. Awesome series, loved it. Then a whole wack of Trekkies complained that someone was singing in the theme song and that it wasn’t classical. Oh, come on people!!! I think a hundred years from now, people will still be listening to Rock, Jazz and probably a new category of music we probably haven’t even heard of yet. And sure, they made mistakes, but what series hasn’t made them, starting with TOS. It has contradicted itself over and over again, so you have to look at the core of the idea. As long as the core is good and sound, then whatever the mistakes, they should be forgivable. The JJ Abrams core is good, sound and proper with me. All the ideas that Star Trek upholds are firmly in place in this movie.
Q: What is your favorite class of ship? And what makes it unique to you?
My favorite has to be the Akira class, I love the fact it has the hull above the saucer and it’s profile is so predatory you have to think twice before going up against it.
Q: Do you have any favorite mods, aside from your own?
Kobayashi Maru hands down. Everything you want in a one stop shop and trust me, I hate shopping, just ask my wife :)
Q: If you could recommend any one of your mods to a first time Star Trek player, which would you suggest and why?
I think the new Star Trek R&D engineering kit that has just been released. It has over 80 new canon and non-canon weapon and engine sounds and new accurate weapons textures. Plus our new mods like the Vista prototype, Legacy class and Storm Crow.
As we come to the final section of today's interview,Bankrupt studios would like to announce that he is also decided to retire from Bridge Commander modding, to work on an undisclosed project.
Q: In the short time that you have been with the community you have done fantastic work. Why the sudden decision to leave?
My work schedule’s is pretty demanding, plus my family needs my attention too. Coupled with my new venture, I have my hands pretty much full. Mind ya, I’d love to drop a model here and there if I get the time.
Q: Are you currently working on anything that you would be willing to share with the readers? And wil you allow these ships to be ported to other Star Trek games?
My last projects have been completed and are in Beta testing phase. They’ll be released for Christmas. Any model done by me for Star Fleet R&D can be ported to other games as long as I get notified in advance and I get the credit for it. As for my future new venture, I’m really excited about it. It’s still in infancy stage, so be on a look out lol.
I’d say I’m a bit of both. It depends on a project really. If I’m building a canon ship, I like to stick with the schematics so everything is where it’s supposed to be. If it’s a non-canon ship, most of the time I look at the shapes and see what logically fits the ship. Then I take it from there. If I only have one view of the ship or a ship that has no detail, then I’ll be waaaay outside the box.
Q How long does it usually take you, from design to finish, to complete a ship?
It varies on the ship and how I feel about the design. If my creative juices aren’t flowing, it’ll take me longer. If I’m passionate about a ship, I can have it done in as little as a week, from start to finish.
Q: How many people have helped you so far in your latest endeavor?
Luckily, I have assembled an awesome team. Hobbs, he’s our deigner/researcher. He’s always great for support and different ideas. Then we have Tiqhud, he does an awesome job doing the out-fitting for the ships and the HPs. Recently JB06 has been doing spectacular textures for me. Gustav Munez, another modeler on my team, has been doing the Star Fleet Museum. Then there’s Baz1701 – enough said. Last, but not least, Leonides, he’s our crash test dummy, he handles all of our betas and just an awesome guy to be around.
Q: Out of everything that you have built up to this point, which has given you the most amount of difficulty?
My hardest ship would have to have been the Vista prototype. It took about two months of just talking to Mark and convincing him to let me do the project. After he finally said yes, we agreed to do it as a prototype, so the big wigs at Star Trek don’t get upset. The ship took me about a month to do. I didn’t have the picture of the ship’s rear, so I had to improvise there, thus making it a prototype.
Q: How do you see Star Trek gaming progressing in the next 2-3 years?
Well, sad thing is, I don’t really see it progressing that much. We have Star Trek Online, which is totally awesome. It gives you any format of play that you want to play, but other than STO everyone is waiting for Star Trek Excalibur. And we have been waiting for how many years now? And how many more years will we have to wait? Everything they show looks really good and I myself, can’t wait to play it, but I’m just tired of endless waiting.
Right now, we as Trekkies are stuck in an endless loop when it comes to Star Trek gaming. No game, no matter how good or how close they try to get it, that has been released in the past 10 years, has been openly welcomed by Trekkies. There are some free to play web browser Star Trek games coming soon, but it’s most likely that big studios won’t endeavor to make more Star Trek games because we are not that open to new ideas. Funnily enough, that is the core message of Star Trek.
And for today's final question...
Q: With the approach of Christmas just around the corner, which ship or mod are you excited about seeing in the BCFiles mass release?
I’m pretty excited about all of them, but there are two that top my list. Wiley Coyote’s NX-Proteus class ship, which I’ve had the pleasure of beta testing and DJ Curtis’ Cruiser. These two guys plus Baz always come out with new and exciting ship designs which make Star Trek modding better and better by raising the bar higher and higher. In my opinion, these three modders keep BC alive and are the reason I was inspired to start modding in the first place. After I’m long and gone, I have the feeling that these guys will still be modding in warp 10 with their never ending skills and visions.
I wish Bankrupt the best of luck in his latest endeavor, and can not wait to see what this mysterious project is. I have no doubt he will do incredible work, just as he has done for Bridge Commander.
Please join me this Thursday, as I speak with the Ultimate Universe Mod Assistant Director Muldrf.
Until then I am Angel Hernandez, and this...has been Spotlight.
All of Bankrupt Studios ships, and the rest of Starfleet R&D's mods can be found on their BCfiles profile page:
The forums of Starfleet R&D can be located here:
Feel free to give your opinion on this interview and leave a comment.