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on 9 December 2007
Anyone who can call themselves a fan of Star Trek The Next Generation will definitely want to get their hands on the Interactive Technical Manual. I recall that back in '94 after I was made aware of the existence of this reference software I found myself left nothing short of astounded by what it proposed it could do; I even bought it several years before I purchased my first PC! (yes, classic obsessed fan!)

As an ardent fan of the series I was (and in many respects still am!) enamoured by the Enterprise-D. The high standards to which the sets for the ship were presented to us on screen made it no effort at all to eliminate your disbelief and allow your imagination to run away with it! Visually, I can't think of any other television show that was airing at that time that was as interesting (or as pretty!) to look at!
Unfortunately it became apparent that to progress the plot of the feature film Star Trek Generations those gorgeous sets had to be trashed however before that film got off the ground some genius at Simon and Schuster created (or at least collaborated with Apple QuickTime) this incredible software which presents the user with several 360 degree panorams of pretty much all the Enterprise-D sets; It's all photographic, all of the rooms are fully decorated and properly lit as though you were seeing these rooms on any episode of the show. There are countless objects to look at as well as video clips/CG animations of the ship. The reference text is clearly lifted from the paperback equivalent of this guide, you'll have Majel Barrett contributing her voice for the role of the Enterprise computer and there's a load of behind-the-scenes trivia shoe-horned in too. This is a truly amazing and beautifully presented archive to science fictions coolest spaceship!

The good stuff aside, there are aspects to this software you should be made aware of: I seem to recall that this piece of software was the first program that I had attempted to install and run on my first ever PC, custom built by yours truly back in 1998. This software was a total nightmare to get running and it certainly wasn't down to the spec of my machine. Despite the programmes outstanding achievements in bringing this very fictional universe to the fans it was pretty evident that the software wasn't all that well written - THIS THING IS FRUSTRAITINGLY UNSTABLE!!!

That said however it was possible to settle the software down by checking out and working through the readme file which instructs you to follow a somewhat tiresome installation routine; honestly it did seem to help.

PC's and operating systems have obviously moved on considerably since 1994 (and 1998) but be assured that the software still works on Windows XP Pro. You should note however that although you may be able to get the thing running the panorams get twitchy and crash the program if you have a monsterous graphics card that's got its resolution and accelerator functions set to maximum. You have to dumb the resolution down to ideally nothing more than 1024 x 768, the colours down to 16-Bit (medium) and in the advanced settings click on the troubleshooting tab and slide the accelerator functions down a few notches! I'm using a 512-Meg NVIDIA GeForce 6800 graphics card which has a tendency to get a little hyperactive and yet it does run this software just fine!

Despite all the hassel of getting the thing running I have still rated this software the full five stars. You simply can't fault art this valuable!
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on 1 December 2000
I had bought this item, for a treat for myself. Boy - this was a treat - if you want to know information about ST: TNG this is for you! It is very easy to use and the interface is great!
Plus there are some really cool videos and pics on here.
A MUST for all Star Trek Fans!
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