Ponderables - SF movie/series division

Discussion in 'SciFi & Fantasy' started by Jeeves, Jan 11, 2020.

  1. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

    Actually, thinking on that now, it does make good sense.

    I suppose even without the tech, there's the Force: on every planet, in the basement of an abandoned structure, there's a Baby Yoda tied to a chair, sitting in the dark. These Baby Yodas power all hovercraft machinery within the planet's atmosphere.
    DaveC426913 likes this.
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  3. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    Problem with the doors I have seen, it appears the straight line butt together has been replaced with a jagged line which butts together

    If you check doors of bank vaults look at the cylinders within the door which when closed are inserted into the surrounding frame

    Accept is not a suitable system for a fictional sifi movie or series

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  5. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    That jagged line serves a purpose. See post 20.

    Faulty analogy. Spaceship bulkhead doors have very different operational requirements than bank vault doors. Thus, they have different design parameters.
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  7. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    Human teeth do not interlock

    Crocodile teeth do so can hold prey

    So if the plan is to trap enemy in a closed door, well done

    As I noted

    However if you want a door, anywhere, to stay shut, you join it into its frame

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  8. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Tell you what.
    You put your hands together in front of your face like this:

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    I will try to punch my way through them.

    After you staunch your bloody nose...

    Then put your hands together with fingers interlocked, like this:

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    I will try again to punch my way through.

    Care to place bets?
  9. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    You don't want that in an emergency!

    Bulkhead doors must open fast and close fast.
    Vault doors - quite characteristically - do the opposite of that.
  10. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    Doors do not interlock in such way

    More like this

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    Understood but why bring that up?

    Door can be closed without joining to the frame

    And as I mentioned

    So want door to operate as a normal type door - don't join to frame

    Want to keep shut - join to frame

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  11. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    What difference does it make? Anyone - I mean anyone - can phaser through the damn things in 10-20 seconds. Granted, making a perfectly circular, quick-cooling, man-sized hole in the bulkhead itself is even faster.
  12. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    You get the point, right?
    Or do I literally have to walk you through a diagram?

    Interlocking halves are far stronger than flush halves that are merely butted up against each other.

    At the same time, opening and closing them is a single, simple action that can be executed arbitrarily fast.

    Vault doors have multiple components to their movements and are not designed to open and close quickly.

    Because it's what we're talking about!

    Bulkhead doors on spaceships need to open and close fast. It can be the difference between life and death
    - not just for the person waiting while the vault door ponderously retracts its pins and swings open
    - but for the entire crew when they're in battle, and
    -- the captain needs to get to the bridge (behind that vault door) to engage evasive maneuvers, and
    -- ship's air is rapidly venting from the module (with its wide open vault door) through a breach.
  13. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Sure; I have no problem with teeth on the outer door of the shuttle bay, as there may be meteorites or debris butting against it.
    I'm talking about internal cabin doors. Does the actual door hold up the ceiling? Certainly not when it's open. All the reinforcement has to be in the frame. Would not an arch make a stronger frame than those odd-shaped oblongs?
    Nobody ever uses a battering-ram in a spaceship corridor - not enough room. They use welding torches and weapons, at close range. Against phasers, teeth are no more use than straight edges, or solid surfaces.
    Does a diagonal work better than an upright zipper? Does a big round buckle in the center serve any purpose? Is there any point to having two wings (double the moving parts and mechanisms) on a cabin door that doesn't open much wider than a normal room door?

    That's right. They say "open". Any sliding door with a motor can do it. Of course, once the motor gets fried, or there's a power-outage, you can't open it manually - there isn't even a knob: if you're inside, you stay inside.

    You hardly ever need vaults on a space station.

    Especially when they don't open at all.
    I don't see how silly design frills make anything open faster.
    That's why they invented air-locks. A fast-closing door and slow door, open to space, would probably lose the same amount of air: all of it. You don't need tons of steel to make a compartment airtight - a sheet of plastic will do, just so you seal the edges.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020
  14. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Well that may be true, but now you're talking about the wall, not the door.

    Rule #1 of security (I was in security for a while) No security device is designed to keep someone out who is determined to get in.

    Security devices are designed to
    1] slow intruders down long enough for security people to arrive, or
    2] they are designed to discourage them in the first place by making it too hard to bother.

    The doors are made strong enough that anything short of a phaser won't get through them. That means everyone who merely brought a battering ram is out of luck, and shortly thereafter, dead.

    If the doors retract into the walls, then diagonal is definitely a bad design, since they have to retract twice as far to avoid tripping passers-through.

    Then again, we can't know what the constraints are. For all we know the ship's superstructure is hexagonal, and any throughways that intersect that hex structure are constrained to follow it.

    Sure that's a bit tetro-rationalist, but remember - the design of even the smallest elements of a spacehip in a movie/show are meant to hint at an underlying level of design and technology. Square doors would only come about if the spaceship were made of drywall and studs by humans.

    1] A cabin door that's 36 inches wide requires an uninterrupted 36 inch wide cavity in the bulkhead. Two 18 inch wide cavities are stronger.
    2] A 36 inch wide door needs to travel 36 inches to clear the door. Two 18 inch wide doors need only travel 18 inches. For a given motor power, that'll be twice as fast.

    Well, having doorknobs is a question unto itself.

    That was Michael's faulty analogy.

    We can't deduce what technology they actually use.
    But we can deduce how exotic it is by how it constrains such things as bulkhead shapes.

    And that, of course, is the true purpose of design touches in stories/films. No screen time is wasted explaining how advanced this ship is - we can see it in the design constraints of every component we look at even while the plot is advancing.

    If doors were a perfect rectangles, we could deduce that this ship is no more advanced than - and places no more constraints on its components than - a brick bungalow.

    Would you want to be the one betting your life on it?
    What if was a medium-fast leak?
    Or an impending explosion?
    Or radiation leak?

    A half second could be the difference between life and death - and not just for one person - but the entire crew of the ship.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020
  15. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Exactly. So what good are teeth on a door? Or odd angles?
    That's what I said. So, again, what good are teeth and odd angles?
    We know, because we always get an establishing shot of the exterior. We also know, from the description of the program, what purpose this particular vessel or station was intended to serve - exploration, war, trade, etc.
    I was, again, mainly objecting to stupid doors on personnel and visitor sleeping quarters, elevators and offices. *
    As doors are intended for use by humans, and rectangular fits human shape pretty well, I don't think it's dictated by drywall. Humans even had rectangular doors on castles made of stone and huts made of reeds.
    Sometimes doors are circular, which is OK structurally, but then they have a whacking great heavy wheel that needs a godawful big rail to roll aside on -- where the two-halves retraction would actually make sense.
    Or, since sleeping compartment doors don't need to withstand attack from anything more menacing than amorous crewmates, you could have a lucite one eighth of the thickness that only needs a skinny cavity. You could even have doors placed inside or outside the bulkhead, so that they need no cavity at all, but retract flush against the wall.
    Oddly enough, there are usually handles of some kind on cargo compartments - just not on the ones most used by people. Imagine the power you'd save by letting people open their bedroom, bathroom, map-room, classroom, office, gym, cafeteria and recreation room doors manually!
    But you ran off with it (...because it was fun...?)
    I think the point is, rather, un-constraint: high ceilings, picture windows, huge stretches of carpeting, miles of hallway, balconies, cavernous warehouse with five styrofoam barrels piled in one corner, flowers in every room. The interior of Enterprise is uncannily similar to the offices of Lockhart/Gardner.
    In the 'realistic' movies, the constraints and technology are both made visually explicit: claustrophobic spaces, obtrusive equipment; ugly tech, brutal metallic surfaces, no colours, unhealthy lighting.
    I did suggest arches. But if you make it from abstract patterned glassine or cross-hatch it with aluminum strips, a rectangular door can look quite functional without evoking brick in the viewer's mind -- and would have the advantage of keeping our attention on the actors, rather than obsessing over why the door is so wierd. (Granted, not many do. But I'm certainly not unique.)
    I'd sure bet on an airlock over slamming a door!
    Can you count on slow-to-medium-fast leaks in a hull-breach? I suspect, once it's breached, you get one swift "WHOOSH!" before you can even reach the door. And, did I mention? You don't need a big heavy steel door to keep air in: the flimsy visor on your helmet does the job... if only you hadn't left it in the now unreachable antechamber.
    The big heavy metal doors usually go flying in an explosion, and slam somebody into the opposite wall.
    The internal sensors would know before you did, and take whatever precautions are mandated by its protocols.
    What are they all doing in my cabin??

    * And, while we're all here, the infirmary on B5 always has its big doors wide open. Big door, okay for stretchers, but patient treatment table in the middle of a high-traffic area, not good - certainly not secure.
    ** And while we're pondering. How come, whenever a spaceship is damaged by collision or enemy weapon, no matter how curved its inner surfaces are, what falls down in perfectly straight steel beams? Where do those beams come from? What was their function? Why didn't we see them?
    *** Would this be an opportune moment to mention pipes hissing steam?
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020
  16. foghorn Valued Senior Member

    Not exactly the doors themselves,but how to get to them...
    2001: A Space Odyssey - ''The lady who walks on the ceiling.''

    Watch out for the peas.
  17. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    Also seemed like making good sense to me. But then I thought about the ISS.

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    William from Taipei
    How do the doors on ISS work? I mean, the seal of the door of each module?
    Yes, as a matter of fact there are. There are three seals between each of the doors of the space station. It's a material called (Vy-tahn?) and it makes sure we have structural integrity and also a very, very small leak rate when we berth the different modules together. And then also at each module there are hatches that can be closed, and they have the same triple-redundant safety seal as well.
  18. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Sorry, we seem to be getting some signals crossed. Teeth are good on a double-door so that the seam is not a weak point.

    As ... above...?

    Er, that's not how stories work. If it takes place aboard a spaceship, everything in it will be spaceship-y.
    The walls are intended for optimal spaceship-y things - as are the doors.
    The crew will be wearing spaceship-appropriate garb to reinforce that.
    If a crew member is wearing a Speedo, there had better be a good reason for it.

    Look at it this way: the conceit of the show is that this vessel is exquisitely engineered to be the best at what it does. To do so, things we're used to will be under some pretty heavy constraints to meet he needs of the spaceship's overall purpose. Like I suggested before - maybe the ship's superstructure is based on a giant hexagon. Doors gotta fit into that shape.

    Right. True.

    So, here's the thing: once you establish something in the story, you'd better stay consistent with it - unless there's a good reason for changing it.
    Imagine if the crew quarter did look different - more ... homey. That would send a message to the audience that technology battle efficiency is not the only priority on this ship. It would say 'we want people to feel relaxed and at home when in their quarters'. That would conflict with the theme of the show - which is action and tension. Unless they explicitly wanted to juxtapose battle efficiency with homey relaxation in the story line.

    Yes. Thus, non-rectangular doors suggest - without consuming a second of story time - the this spaceship is not a comfy cruiser - it's meant to kick ass.

    No story ever written is meant to reflect reality; it is meant to reflect the essence of reality.

    - and in sci-fi - to alter that to the message being conveyed.

    If the writer wants you to be thinking of dirty coal miners while watching the story, the writer is gonig to fill the screen with coal miner paraphernalia so you feel it.

    No story ever written is meant to reflect reality; it is meant to reflect the essence of reality.

    We don't spend one third of the story watching the crew sleep, and we don't watch them pee. Spaceship crewing is fast, scary, efficient and not always pleasant. Tgere are way more important things afoot than the crew's homesickness. That needs to be evoked in the story.


    Michael had a contribution. I criticized it. He missed the point, I explained.

    ... skipped some stuff so I don't write a novel....

    Absolutely. This is a very dumb, lazy trope.

    How many 2 foot by one foot by 30 foot straight I-beams can the Enterprise have??
  19. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    As per the British TV Series Red Dwarf. They should have made a movie version

    Only seen promo shots and short promo interview of Avenue 5

    Seems like this is one of a Fleet of four luxury Space Cruisers which take 1,000's of tourists on cruises in space

    Not seen the doors yet

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  20. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Never even heard of it.
    Huh - Hugh Laurie is the captain...
  21. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

  22. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    You have said so, but continues illogical.

    Don't you watch sci-fi? That is exactly how it works. Before showing the interior of a spaceship, you have to see which spaceship. The Klingons, Centauri, Daleks, etc. all have different styles of battleship, fighter, passenger and freighter.

    There is no generic spaceshipy-y. The design and decor of each one reflects the culture of the species that made it.

    Usually a uniform of some kind for the crew and different styles of civilian clothes for passengers, VIP's and visitors.

    Supposed to. That's why illogical designs are so jarring.

    And if it isn't, they don't. B5 isn't, and so they shouldn't. I think there was one beehive-y spaceship in Star trek Enterprise - and yes, everything inside was hexagonal.

    Right. people are supposed living on these things for years on end.
    Where did you get they're all battleships? The purpose of the vessel or station is explicitly stated in the narrative.

    And no story works unless it contains enough reality to allow the reader to suspend disbelief

    Right. So, if he gives the miner's home a chandelier, that would distract the viewer from the story.
    That's what over-design does: giving the set or a prop too much character is obtrusive.
  23. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Do you disagree with the logic in post 25?

    Sorry. What I was objecting to was the implication that all you needed to do was show the exotic ship in the establishing shot, and then you don't need to reinforce that exoticism as the story moves forward.

    I didn't say 'generic'.

    I meant spaceship-y as opposed to crew-comfort-y things. i.e. crew comfort take a back seat to spaceship functionality.

    They're only illogical if your logic is correct.
    With illogical assumptions, you will, for example, expect crew-centric doors.

    I can't really speak to specific examples unless we present them here for analysis. We've been speaking in general terms.

    It sounds like we're getting into specifics.

    Again, that's only true if it's true.

    It's only illogical because of your assumptions. You can't assume your assumptions are fact and then accuse the show of not being faithful to your assumptions.

    And if he wants to remind you that you're on a spaceship or station, and not in a villa on Earth, the dressings should look like the primary function of the craft is to survive space and do action-y, tension-y things - not to make the crew comfortable.

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