TOS' holodeck...food for thought...

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Warped9, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In Practical Joker, Uhura said (iirc) "if we just walk in a straight line, we'll eventually come to a wall." Which would indicate that the holodeck in the TOS era were lacking the TNG era "treadmill" feacture that keeps you in the middle of the room, and moves the landscape around you as you seemingly are walking. A limitation of the TOS era holodeck.

    :)
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...Indeed, it was supposed to be the result of the upgrade in "11001001" (for some reason, I never had trouble memorizing the binary sequence); essentially, Picard would have thought that everything was safe again, and he would have been wrong. The episodes were ultimately produced in a different order, though, necessitating a different excuse for things going haywire.

    Which brings up the question of how the TNG Season One episodes should really be organized. We know we have to deviate from production order in one place already: "Skin of Evil" has to take place after "Symbiosis" due to Tasha Yar's death. But we could just as well shuffle the episodes to proper stardate order, the one that works the best for all the rest of Star Trek (bar TAS). In that order, holographic personalities would be present in many episodes before "The Big Goodbye" which is almost a season finale in stardate terms. (Alas, Tasha has a forgettable but still canonical mini-appearance in that episode, making the shuffling less attractive.)

    Certainly true. But Riker seemed enthralled by the possibilities of the holodeck; if Picard could call up these wonderful simulations of realistic people in "The Big Goodbye", why would the enthusiastic Riker not have done so during his very first half an hour off duty already?

    We might assume that the Bynar upgrade made Minuet more realistic in subtle ways, not in the coarse terms of her being the first-ever speaking role in a holoplay, and that both Picard and Riker considered this an improvement over what "The Big Goodbye" and its unseen Riker counterpart had offered. That would cover all the bases the best IMHO.

    Well put!

    The one problem brought up regarding the "Practical Joker" environment, the fact that our sidekicks could "dig" their way out of the pit, isn't actually a canonical problem; onscreen, the way to cope with the practical joke is to simply climb out of the hole!

    The simulation could have been a crude one, then, a primitive forcefield construct shaped like a hole in dirt but in fact rock solid and thus about as much a challenge as an indoors rock-climbing wall, not a true quagmire that collapses on you. Heck, the sidekicks don't even get dirty for their experience! :vulcan:

    On the other hand, the room does have the ability to move its occupants to a level below the apparent original (seamless) floor... A vertical treadmill of sorts there, evidently. Plus, even if the original view into the recreation facility were a real, vast hall rather than a simulation of one, it shouldn't take more than a minute to reach the wall if no treadmill effect existed to thwart the attempt of our valiant sidekicks...

    We might argue that Uhura did not completely understand the technologies involved when suggesting a walk to the wall - which might indicate that "gloves off" VR technology of this sort was truly novel at the time.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Since holograms in the 24th century were being used as surrogate mating partners, perhaps this had also been done with earlier holodecks. The Ferengi were likely producing erotic holoprograms during the early development stages.

    Riker's reaction may have been due to anticipating an immediate testing of these new improvements.
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Interestingly, Quark seems to have introduced his holoservices to the Cardassian occupation elite some time before Riker came aboard the Enterprise. Possibly the Ferengi have mastered this technology well in advance of the Federation (probably by buying out the original inventors, but still).

    Perhaps related is the fact that the replicators on DS9 are the ones responsible for the most amazing feat in replicator history: the complete reproduction and scaling up of the alien probability-skewing devices in "Rivals"! Such mastery would really make a difference in holosimulations, too. (Especially the size-altering feature with realistic texture would probably come in handy. Literally.)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  5. Darkwing

    Darkwing Commodore Commodore

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    This dry land thing is too wierd!
    One of the Phase II ideas that didn't go anywhere was cybernetic plugs letting the crew jack-in to their consoles. A side effect specifically mentioned was the ability to do virtual reality as entertainment.
    Combine that with the sensceiver implant mentioned in the TMP novelization, and the TAS holodeck can be just as good as the TNG holodeck, but it's all in the characters' heads. The EaF holodeck, using forcefields and holograms, and NOT connecting wirelessly to a sensceiver, is the culmination of realistic holodecks accessible to anyone, whether they have a brain implant or not.
     
  6. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Assuming production/official chronology order, with those episodes only being two apart (roughly a month in time), I think it's reasonable that Riker just hadn't gotten around to it yet. a) He was a pretty no-nonsense guy in Season 1; b) He'd never tried such a thing before, and may have even had a stigma about it; and c) The holodecks may have been shut down for maintenance after the "Big Goodbye" incident. In fact, the Bynar "upgrade" may have come as part of repairs to put the holodecks back online, when viewed in that order.
     
  7. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Correct quote, but I'm afraid it does create more problems than it offers solutions as that walk without "treadmill" architecture would make the TOS holodeck probably even bigger than what we first saw of it and therefore quite impossible to fit in inside the ship. :(

    Would be better to assume that they did have the "treadmill" technology in TOS and then discarded it by the time of TNG. The Enterprise-D has plenty of internal volume to feature holodecks that could do without "treadmill technology. :D

    The only chance I see to make some sense out of Uhura's statement, is to assume that the "treadmill" of the TOS holodeck is maintenance-intensive and wears out after excessive use. In other words, she suggested to wear out the "treadmill" system until it failed and they could reach the walls.

    Bob
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Good arguments all. But we know that Riker is not ashamed to have tabletop holographic soft porn on display when he gets visitors, so a) and b) shouldn't hinder him from trying out the possibilities of the full-sized holodeck as such. And there's plenty of time for him to do so after coming aboard but before "The Big Goodbye".

    ...Perhaps the Bynars asked for the Jarada to sabotage the holodecks in the first place, so they would get their excuse to hijack the main computer? :devil:

    Or she didn't know what she was talking about; the trick did not work, after all.

    On the other hand, Uhura in the prime continuity is an expert of communications technology; entertainment technology could be assumed to be somewhat closely related, and part of her expertise.

    Since walking in a straight line is almost impossible for humans even in real environments, let alone in ones offering false visual cues, Uhura's trick shouldn't have had any hope of working no matter what. Instead, she should have capitalized on there being three users there: even if the most primitive visual trickery would thwart one user's attempt at walking straight, certain less advanced VR environments would allow the other two users to be utilized as points of reference. Heck, running in three different directions might have done the trick already!

    When the CO's favorite hobby is horseback riding? ;)

    Although I guess that's better than a desire to hike on foot...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Data just threw something against the walls. I wonder how he did that and if only he could do that.
     
  10. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    The holodeck is an interactive system that does its utmost to please the user. It is well known for anticipating and reacting; Data's obvious demonstration of how to find the wall would be among the things the holodeck would immediately comprehend, and respond with the desired effect.

    In comparison, the thing plaguing Kirk's computer would not have been predisposed to helping out Uhura, Sulu and McCoy!

    Apart from that, yeah, Data probably can count his steps, observe the subtle effect of the treadmill in action, tap into a positioning system, and as the result have a superhuman awareness of where the walls of the holodeck are.

    But only if he really puts effort into it, as otherwise he would have noticed something immediately amiss with "Ship in a Bottle"! Once he did, though, he was able to repeat the wall-finding throw trick. That he used a communicator for it, rather than a random holodeck pebble, need not be significant here - except in the sense that Data would know the communicator is a real object whereas he would also suspect that every other object within reach would be a holo-fake, and this time the simulation would not be eager to please him.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  11. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, apparently our protagonists were so preconditioned by their previous holodeck experiences (stay close together or you won't get the illusion you desire) that this idea simply didn't occur to them. :rolleyes:

    So you think the horse was real and needed a "treadmill" floor? ;)

    Bob
     
  12. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    In truth I try not to think about the holodeck concept too closely because then I'm challenged to really get how this could work as it's supposed to on TNG.
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    One wonders about the manner the TAS holodeck would have been used... Would it be typical for these three officers to share an experience there? Would it be considered a waste of resources if somebody tried a holosimulation alone?

    Of course, the separation trick wouldn't work with a TNG holodeck, which apparently can place separate users in separate holo-boxes and then fake a great distance between them. We already essentially see this happen with the first Moriarty simulation where the "London" is bigger than the room it is located in, and our detective and the damsel in distress get separated by what amounts to several city blocks. But it's far more impressive when the users think they are out in the open, such as in "Take Me Out to the Holosuite"!

    Heh... I could imagine scenarios where Picard wanted to share the experience with another user, which would then call for the "boxing" ability and the faking of a separation, as riding in wilderness would in the usual case put a great distance between two users.

    "Vertical treadmilling" is probably part and parcel of diving off the Cliffs of Bole... As is "boxing", as the point of diving is likely to be having another user spectate from atop the cliffs or from below. ;)

    timo Saloniemi
     
  14. Shawnster

    Shawnster Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Ding! I was trying to reference this in another topic. Do you remember what episoe the table-top hologram was in?
     
  15. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Damn, I forgot about that! :lol: Still, the implication stands in "11001001" that he hadn't gotten around to doing it yet, whatever his excuse. FWIW, I think that pre-Minuet Riker saw the holodeck as a place to take a date, not to get one. And there's still the theory that the holodeck was shut down between "The Big Goodbye" and that episode (which would explain why it needed two "upgrades" so close together).

    Alternately, while the show makes it look like the holographic database is so vast that you can say a few words and get an ultra-realistic environment of what you asked for, it's possible that a lot of preparation programming goes into giving the computer the details that it needs before the user walks in and says "abra cadabra". Thus Riker, after hearing of Picard's experience, may have spent a lot of his free time prepping the holodeck database with information about 20th century jazz joints.
     
  16. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Not offhand, but I can always cheat...

    ...It was "Haven".

    http://tng.trekcore.com/hd/albums/1x11/haven_hd_016.jpg

    Fairly realistic, not the sort of Star Wars fuzziness I remember it as having been like. Although if it's personality that Riker is after, these two probably don't shine too brightly.

    Timo Saloniemi
     

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