Limits of the holodecks

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by marsh8472, Nov 29, 2017.

  1. Tim Thomason

    Tim Thomason Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It's kinda funny to imagine a "Computer, end program" followed by everybody awkwardly invading each other's personal space and trying to squeeze towards the exit.

    There may or may not be inertial control (probably is), but there is definitely some visual whiplash when the guy from across the field is two inches from your nose.

    I would love to see some computerized simulation on what's going on "behind-the-scenes" in some of these Star Trek episodes.

    How does this account for the periods (EaF, Homeward), where the wall is shown?
     
  2. David cgc

    David cgc Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    The trouble is, at a certain point, you've stopped making an immersive artificial environment and started just making an over-engineered VR system. Granted, this is mostly because it was an under-engineered concept that the writers just took at face value (nothing wrong with that! It's not their job to invent a real holodeck), but it seems if you wanted to update or rationalize the concept, without entering the realm of body-hijacking brain/computer connections the Federation seems understandably wary of, a better "holodeck" would be a pod, maybe about the size of a turbolift car (big enough for someone to stand in with their arms outstreched with a little extra room), and perhaps arrange them into a sort of arcade. The forcefields and gravity manipulation and holomatter can do the rest, and then it's practically the same as being in an over-stuffed canon holodeck, or even a holodeck with just two people who are standing fairly far apart, but it'd be a bit easier to implement. It also solves the problem of there being only a handful of holodecks on a starship for over a thousand people, when you can assume they'd be pretty popular.

    You could do some interesting visual stuff, too. I'm imagining someone laying on a beach or field or something watching the clouds or taking a nap, and then someone opens the arch and appears floating a few feet above them (since they wouldn't have had room to lie down, the pod would just shifted the gravity around them so it seemed like they were, similar to the endless hallway trick present-day VR uses). Then we rotate the camera to represent gravity shifting for the user, so the ground seems to pivot to become a wall and they're now standing facing the door. That feels like an appropriately showboaty, we're proud of how clever we are first season move.

    I think the standard fanwank is that in cases like EaF, the computer either was so smart it understood what Data was illustrating and allowed the rock to hit the wall rather than transitioning to a virtual rock, or it was dumb enough to be surprised by Data suddenly chucking a rock exactly where the wall was and wasn't able to adjust in time. "Homeward" is trickier, because in that case all the people would've been in an apparent area larger than the holodeck, while in Farpoint Data, Riker, and Wesley were all pretty close together, so the malfunctioning walls should've been distorted and weird (probably showing "ghosts" of people who were really standing there, but seemed to be elsewhere in the simulation).
     
  3. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Doesn't "Ship in a Bottle" kind of mess with this also, where Data is able to illustrate that they're in the holodeck by throwing a PADD at the warp core...yet he didn't previously seem to know they were in a holodeck until he tried transporting holographic material and the transporter logs tipped him off?
     
  4. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That's not what "inertia" means.

    No, the holodeck is supposed to be a really sophisticated virtual reality/entertainment center. That is literally all it is, and there are limits to what it can do and how it can do it.

    That's what I always assumed. Quark's holosuites aren't nearly as advanced as Starfleet holodecks so I figured they can probably only ever fit one or two people at a time and interaction between linked programs is by matched holograms in each one.

    An interesting thing to consider is that most of the scenes in "Homeward" were filmed on a soundstage, which also has finite dimensions. This is also true of normal use of holodecks, IIRC. The same filmmaker tricks that make a soundstage seem like a bigger environment on screen are probably just applied to the holodeck in real time, in which case the backgrounds are just backgrounds and the computer really wouldn't care if Data was throwing a rock or not.

    The teadmill effect would be the literal treadmilling of the entire landscape in that case, with the program designed to keep the statistical center of the group of occupants as far from the edge as possible. The entire tribe never gets far enough apart for one of them to blunder into one of the holodeck walls, but even if he did, the simulation would probably create some sort of obstacles that would naturally divert him away from the walls to preserve the illusion. Say, high rocks or annoyingly thorny bushes.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  5. Jedman67

    Jedman67 Commodore Commodore

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    Data seems to have a very acute perception/kinesthesia sense. Once he realized that he was in the holodeck, he was able to compute the distance to the holodeck wall pretty accurately. Although the holodeck should have vanished the PADD and replaced it with a projected illusion of the PADD being thrown across the room. Unless Data was able to briefly override the holodeck computer.
     
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  6. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, if it was a real PADD to begin with then the holodeck couldn't vanish....oh, you mean put a fake wall in front of it? Yeah, that would have made a bit more sense I think.

    I can't remember exactly what happens in EaF now...
     
  7. Scout101

    Scout101 Admiral Admiral

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    Just for fun, while we're picking at things: you seem to be talking about VELOCITY, not ACCELERATION. Agree the ship would almost always have velocity of some sort, but would expect that most of the time, there ISN'T any acceleration. Depends on how much straight-line travel is included and how much arcing or maneuvering is involved, but in general, they go to warp 6 or whatever, and they travel for X hours before decelerating. They aren't feathering the throttle just for fun; most of it should be pretty constant velocity and lack any real acceleration.

    Again, minus any maneuvering that's going on. Coasting at full impulse is EXACTLY what they'd do. Once they hit that speed, if they keep accelerating, they're eventually going to run into relativity issues. Nothing really slowing you down, so constant acceleration will have you hit infinite speed (ish).

    If you're trying to drive down the highway, you don't keep accelerating forever once you hit 65 mph, you 'coast' at that speed. Or rather, stop accelerating and enjoy your selected velocity...
     
  8. Mytran

    Mytran Commodore Commodore

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    It wasn't a PADD, it was his communicator (a physical item, brought in from outside)
    I think a PADD was once used to deactivate the Doctor's mobile emitter, however - just by slapping the emitter with it!

    Data hurled a hologram rock at the wall. However, he also all but announced his intention to reveal the presence of the rear wall of the room to his guests, so the computer may have simply cooperated with our friendly android.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  9. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Maybe the computer only revealed a fake holodeck wall to indulge Data? :p

    My bad on the PADD vs. communicator, though that doesn't change the substance of my argument that the holodeck could maybe simultaneously "hide" the real communicator and have a fake go into the distance.

    In "Equinox" the Evil!Doctor slaps the Good?Doctor's mobile emitter off with a PADD. I thought that was a bit silly myself, though I guess it got the job done.
     
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  10. Tenacity

    Tenacity Commodore Commodore

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    I assume just the opposite, that Quark's holosuites are far superior to Starfleet holodecks.

    Starfleet's are fairly good, lowest bidder, holographic equipment. While Quark's are the best in the known galaxy.
     
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  11. Jedman67

    Jedman67 Commodore Commodore

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    Which is essentially the same as what he did with Ship In A Bottle.
    My nitpick with his revelation about the transporter is that a holographic transporter should have no problem beaming a holographic item to the holographic transporter room - and present a simulated log. After all, the holodeck is designed to be fully immersive virtual environment. What purpose is a virtual simulation if it won't actually present a believable simulation?
    Not a bad thought. Holographic technology is fairly ubiqtious; however anything military/government has tons of resources behind it.
    I would rather suggest that the company who gave the biggest campaign donations to the Federation Council won the bid to construct the Starfleet ships' holodecks. :D
     
  12. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I assumed lower because they were Cardassian technology, but Ferengi profit motive is NOT to be under-estimated.

    Hmmm....
     
  13. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But isn't the point that the computer doesn't know what would happen, so it can't provide a log that says anything beyond "No Data"?
     
  14. Jedman67

    Jedman67 Commodore Commodore

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    But it still managed to "beam" moriarty to the transporter room.
     
  15. Mytran

    Mytran Commodore Commodore

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    In SIAB the holodeck was initially in "full reality" mode. So, when asked to simulate what would happen when a "real" transporter beamed a holographic chair off a "real" holodeck, the computer returned no data (since no-one had ever done it before).
    Later, when Moriarty was beamed off the holodeck it was after Picard had "hacked" the holodeck to run a specific set of events. So it worked, but only because he had told it to!
     
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  16. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^Or, put another way, since the transporter and holodeck Picard was working with both weren't real to begin with, he could have them work however he wanted them to work. I like this.
     
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  17. Go-Captain

    Go-Captain Commander Red Shirt

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    I find it interesting because it tells me the holodeck, given a realistic situation, will attempt to make as real a simulation as physically possible, without filling in the gaps. That should mean Picard shooting the Borg drone with the Tommy gun was a realistic representation of the use of Tommy gun on a Borg drone.

    My guess is the computer would fill in gaps given an intentionally fictional setting, such as a Harry Potter or Flash Gordon simulation as long as it is thematically appropriate.