The USS Enterprise D is massive. If any of you have been to Washington D.C. you may have seen the Pentagon. It’s huge. The saucer section sits neatly over the offices of the pentagon. The whole ship is as long as 6 American football fields. There are 42 levels, each with unique living quarters and laboratories. Much of this was not visible in the television show, only imagined in the minds of it’s designers. The show did conform to some kind of template in placing the varied rooms that we see in logical locations throughout the ship. We are all familiar with the usual locations of Ten Forward, the bridge, and engineering, but there are 39 other decks, and square kilometers of space to explore!
The exterior of the ship is also very curvy. It means that in pretty much all areas of the ship that have windows, the slope of the outer walls will be very extreme. Windows would curve upward and over the room, and give minimal space the closer you got to the outer wall of the ship. It would feel more like an attic. However, we see in the show, that the designers worked pretty well with this restriction, and the ship felt pretty luxurious. This does still leave us the problem of where the decks exist within the ILM model.
This deck chart was found on trekplace.com. This image breaks down the deck / window relationship for the saucer and neck of the ship. ILM took great pains to make sure that the windows were placed in a way that made sense, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. In fact, when you did deeper, a rather large discrepancy develops between the different deck sizes on the ship, as seen below.
You can see as the decks get closer to the equator of the saucer, they become shorter. Because of the slope of the outer skin of the ship, the windows would have to be enormously long to make sure the deck hight was consistent. It was a bit difficult to try and piece this all together at first, but fortunately many others have debated this topic. There is a fine article on the matter here: http://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/articles/galaxy.htm I have decided to scale some of the decks up, and also have variable heights on some of the decks. I don’t think the final output will be affected.