Little things that get to you in terms of beleivability

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Little things that get to you in terms of beleivability

Post by Zor »

This thread could apply to fantasy, but i am putting it in Science Fiction for the time being as applies more often in sci-fi.

In science fiction, you are expected to swallow alot of things for the sake of plot. To enjoy superman you need to be able to accept (that in the context of the show) that a man can fly, often you have to face the idea that spacecraft can bypass the universal speed limit of C and so on. Most people can get by those big things. However, sometimes there are things that exist that you just can't buy, even if the Hero's rocket ship accedentally crashed into an alien planet where he ends up fighting off Cyborg Nazis with atomic plasma bolters to protect a race of blue skinned space elf babes. Chuck brought this up about having issues in his video reveiws on Red Dwarf with having problems with Cat being able to smell spacecraft that were approaching starbug despite all the wacky shit that show had such as mutated time travelling developer fluid.

Have you ever come up with such issues in buying certain fine details in fiction?

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Re: Little things that get to you in terms of beleivability

Post by Sarevok »

1) Incredibly resilient artificial gravity generator. You can utterly pulverize a spaceship into ruin. But it will never ever budge even one bit from maintaining exactly 1 G level of gravity within. This is especially hilarious when they explore a derelict starship in star trek shows. Even without oxygen or traces of an atmosphere artificial gravity still works !

2) Exploding consoles. BSG was fresh at first because computers on the bridge usually did not catch fire because something outside exploded. But it seems even they eventually fell into this trap. In every televised scifi the bridge consoles do not have a battle damage display. Instead they indicate systems failures by exploding, the severity of the explosion indicating how badly the ship is damaged.

3) Canadian forests and M-class worlds. It was used to be unavoidable on live action tv but special effects have come a long way. I am eagerly awaiting the first space opera on televisions that treats us to the majestic terrain on the various planets in the galaxy in all of it's CGI glory. Stargate Universe is making great progress in this regard. I absolutely loved the expedition to an icy moon in one episode.

4) Lack of effective point defense. A Iraqi ZSU-23 duct taped to a starship would murder any plucky fighter pilots making a brave attack run. Most scifi missiles, fighters and projectile weapons are hopeless too slow to fight at anything but visual ranges.

5) Huge ground armies. Other than Bolo books and star wars to some extent I have not seen a single universe where a large army would not get annihilated from orbit.
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Re: Little things that get to you in terms of beleivability

Post by Shroom Man 777 »

You're still going to have to take and hold captured territory, and you can't do that with tactical strategic theater orbital kinetic geosynch super space laser nuclear bomb strikes alone.

While, yeah, epic huge ground battles ala Geneosis might not be so plausible with a force that's attained orbital/air supremacy - just like how the Iraqi ground forces got killfucked by Murrican air power - you still need big armies to go into the cities to wreck shit up and wave flags on top of Thanas' Reichstag or something.
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Re: Little things that get to you in terms of beleivability

Post by Tsyroc »

Sarevok wrote: 3) Canadian forests and M-class worlds. It was used to be unavoidable on live action tv but special effects have come a long way. I am eagerly awaiting the first space opera on televisions that treats us to the majestic terrain on the various planets in the galaxy in all of it's CGI glory. Stargate Universe is making great progress in this regard. I absolutely loved the expedition to an icy moon in one episode.
This was one of the things that I really liked about Andromeda and to a lesser extent Stargate. Canadian forests as M-Class worlds beat almost all of the various parks and deserts surrounding Los Angeles. Definitely better than most sets too.
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Re: Little things that get to you in terms of beleivability

Post by Seydlitz_k »

Lack of toilet facilities on board spacecraft - This is more an issue in sci-fi computer games (Especially the BioWare ones), but is a bit of an issue anywhere.

I mean, where can I take a dump on the Normandy or the Ebon Hawk? :P

It really is something that bothers me, as silly as it may sound. Breaks the suspension of disbelief.
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Re: Little things that get to you in terms of beleivability

Post by Sarevok »

Well I just started with Andromeda first season. So far as I can tell they tried their best despite limited budget. A lot of the action takes place in asteroid bases, orbitals, spacestations etc. Even planetside they featured exotic waterworlds with underwater cities. When they did show forested alien worlds (tm) they acknowledged it was terraformed. It's something I have not seen so far on trek or stargate.

But yeah Canadian forests look pleasing to the eye.
You're still going to have to take and hold captured territory, and you can't do that with tactical strategic theater orbital kinetic geosynch super space laser nuclear bomb strikes alone.
Good ground armies are must for successful space empires. But there is a difference between occupying already conquered planets and deciding wars with ground battles. That's what gets me about the Halo universe. The Spartans are said to be more valuable and useful than warships.
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Re: Little things that get to you in terms of beleivability

Post by Shroom Man 777 »

Hrm... did the Spartans ever singlehandedly decide the fate of entire worlds pitched in epic conventional war between the UNSC and the Covenant? I thought a lot of their awesome exploits were from special operations, like attempts at capturing Prophets and making giant intergalactic ringworld WMDs explode, and taking special objectives (well, that's just from the Lizard Master Chief anyway)?

If the fate of entire planets is decided by a bunch of spess marines taking on multicolored haloid gremlinoids running around going "squawk squawk" with space gorillas armed with space axes, then I guess those Spartans can really turn the tide of the war. :lol:
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Re: Little things that get to you in terms of beleivability

Post by Sarevok »

Lack of toilet facilities on board spacecraft - This is more an issue in sci-fi computer games (Especially the BioWare ones), but is a bit of an issue anywhere.

I mean, where can I take a dump on the Normandy or the Ebon Hawk? :P

It really is something that bothers me, as silly as it may sound. Breaks the suspension of disbelief.
You know that's a very good point. It gets even more interesting when you consider typical scifii prisoner cell. It's a generic room with force field or evil remote controlled door. But there is no toilet inside. Do they expect the prisoners to wallow in their own filth ?
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Re: Little things that get to you in terms of beleivability

Post by Shroom Man 777 »

It could be like the Fifth Element, where there is a panel on the ceiling that opens for the combined toilet/sink/urinal/bathroom/kitchen/refrigerator machine to lower down to accept human waste products, facilitate bodily hygiene, or provide food and drinks, or all of them at once. :D
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Re: Little things that get to you in terms of beleivability

Post by Manus Celer Dei »

Why would they need toilets on a spaceship? You could just take a shit in an airlock, go back inside the ship and then cycle the airlock so the turd is sucked out into space. Easy.

Although I suppose in systems with denser traffic the proliferation of frozen space turds could easily become a navigation hazard.
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Re: Little things that get to you in terms of beleivability

Post by Atlan »

Sarevok wrote: Good ground armies are must for successful space empires. But there is a difference between occupying already conquered planets and deciding wars with ground battles. That's what gets me about the Halo universe. The Spartans are said to be more valuable and useful than warships.
Yeah, but it's also made quite clear that no matter how much ground actions they win, ultimately the Covenant just goes "Oh well, nothing of value here anyway" and glasses the planet with it's starships.
They're invaluable in buying the UNSC time, and in performing superbadassed special forces actions, winning nearly all their battles, but they're still losing the war.
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Re: Little things that get to you in terms of beleivability

Post by RedImperator »

Sarevok wrote:1) Incredibly resilient artificial gravity generator. You can utterly pulverize a spaceship into ruin. But it will never ever budge even one bit from maintaining exactly 1 G level of gravity within. This is especially hilarious when they explore a derelict starship in star trek shows. Even without oxygen or traces of an atmosphere artificial gravity still works !
This is a practical limitation inherent to television production. You don't honestly think they can afford to shoot in the Vomit Comet, do you?
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Re: Little things that get to you in terms of beleivability

Post by Sarevok »

RedImperator wrote:
Sarevok wrote:1) Incredibly resilient artificial gravity generator. You can utterly pulverize a spaceship into ruin. But it will never ever budge even one bit from maintaining exactly 1 G level of gravity within. This is especially hilarious when they explore a derelict starship in star trek shows. Even without oxygen or traces of an atmosphere artificial gravity still works !
This is a practical limitation inherent to television production. You don't honestly think they can afford to shoot in the Vomit Comet, do you?
Of course. Don't get me wrong. I don't blame writers for lack of zero gravity scenes done on tv episode budgets. I still wish a heavily damaged ship lost gravity eventually but since it is not feasible yet to film I am not blaming anyone.
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Re: Little things that get to you in terms of beleivability

Post by Coyote »

I have to admit, the lack of a toilet on the Ebon Hawk is unforgiveable, since having a graphic layout of the ship's floorplan is an integral part of the gameplay. On other ships in sci-fi, where knowledge of the layout is not generally known or important, it can be forgiven and we just assume that these folks take a dump somewhere, sometime.

Although in Dark Forces, Kyle Katarn does run across at least one Imperial men's room, and you get to explore about a half dozen of them in the Doom-3 game.

One thing that I thought jumped the shark in science fiction was the whole MacGuffin involved in ST:IV Save the Whales. The notion that a sixty-two squintillion titanofuck space probe would come all that way, utterly oblivious to the fact that it was endangering or killing otherwise intelligent beings on fragile (by comparison) ships... because they couldn't hear whales bellowing anymore. I mean, really.

While I liked nBSG a lot, it did seem kinda rediculous on some level that the only two courses of action the Cylons could envision for themselves revolved around their chosen means of interaction with humans: destroy the humans, or find a way to live in peace with them. How come no one thought of the notion of "ignore them", since the Cylons clearly had the technology to go where they pleased, set up whatever civilization made them happy, and they could do it without the restrictions of things like food, water, or even air as prerequisites (at least for the clankers).

Come to think of it, there are a lot of motivations in science fiction that don't make sense, once you apply the question of "why does this group even care one way or the other about that group at all?"
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Re: Little things that get to you in terms of beleivability

Post by Darth Wong »

The fact that spacecraft crashes are so easily survivable has always annoyed me in sci-fi. How often do you see a spacecraft of any sort crash without survivors? Sci-fi seems to treat spacecraft crashes as if they're car crashes. But one look at the velocities involved and you know this makes no sense whatsoever. Just look at how rarely anyone survives a true plane crash (ie- a plane totally out of control, not just landing poorly), and remember that planes are much slower than spacecraft.
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Re: Little things that get to you in terms of beleivability

Post by Sarevok »

Darth Wong wrote:The fact that spacecraft crashes are so easily survivable has always annoyed me in sci-fi. How often do you see a spacecraft of any sort crash without survivors? Sci-fi seems to treat spacecraft crashes as if they're car crashes. But one look at the velocities involved and you know this makes no sense whatsoever. Just look at how rarely anyone survives a true plane crash (ie- a plane totally out of control, not just landing poorly), and remember that planes are much slower than spacecraft.
That is a good point. Most scifi atmosphere capable craft fly like a brick using powerful engines or have anti gravity drive. What happens when the engine or repulsors malfunctions while coming down from orbit ? The ship should fall like a stone and turn everyone inside into jelly when it hits the ground. There should be at least a few fatal accidents involving ships attempting to land. Unless of course something as heavily used as surface to space and back again reusable ships have perfect reliability.
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Re: Little things that get to you in terms of beleivability

Post by Shroom Man 777 »

It's not like non sci-fi movie airplane crashes actually kill the protagonist either. Most protagonists in fiction survive their crashes, be it on airplanes or spaceships. Most of these crashes aren't really uncontrollable nose dives either, and have their pilots or space captains actively trying to give them a "safe" crash landing.
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Re: Little things that get to you in terms of beleivability

Post by Sarevok »

While I liked nBSG a lot, it did seem kinda rediculous on some level that the only two courses of action the Cylons could envision for themselves revolved around their chosen means of interaction with humans: destroy the humans, or find a way to live in peace with them. How come no one thought of the notion of "ignore them", since the Cylons clearly had the technology to go where they pleased, set up whatever civilization made them happy, and they could do it without the restrictions of things like food, water, or even air as prerequisites (at least for the clankers).
Yeah. They had much superior FTL. Their capships had tissue paper armor and their main strike fighter was a target practice drone. Given the circumstances it would make sense to use that superior FTL to make a strategic run like hell away from twelve colonies. They can move away beyond reach of the colonies and setup shop there. If they really wanted war they could come back later with real warships. Or who knows maybe in a hundred years Colonial attitudes would change as the generation that lived through the horrors of first Cylon war passes away. The Cylons are machines they could wait that long and then see if men and machine can now live in peaceful coexistence.
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Re: Little things that get to you in terms of beleivability

Post by Zixinus »

Ramming. This is a direct outcrop of "space is an ocean" fallacy. Ramming is one of the most dramatic things that happen is sci-fi. Yet if one looks at actual spaceships, they can either a, use nuclear bombs to obliterate the rammer before it can reach its target or b, move away. The would-be victor can has more power to just move away.

And really, most stuff that fall prey under "space is an ocean".

Oh, and inability to aim: whether its small arms or big guns, very few-sci writers seem to think that optics would go a bit of a step forward in the future.
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Re: Little things that get to you in terms of beleivability

Post by Sarevok »

Ramming. This is a direct outcrop of "space is an ocean" fallacy. Ramming is one of the most dramatic things that happen is sci-fi. Yet if one looks at actual spaceships, they can either a, use nuclear bombs to obliterate the rammer before it can reach its target or b, move away. The would-be victor can has more power to just move away.
Personally I find ramming an enemy ship an overused trope when a captain must suffer a heroic death. I l want to see the captain go out in a blaze of glory as their starships crumble under overwhelming enemy fire. But I can't recall any instance in well known visual scifi for this. The best I recall is the demise of a cruiser called the Valiant the obscure space sim Tachyon: the Fringe. The Valiant sacrifices itself to buy allied fighters enough time to escape from an ambush by an enemy cruiser, three destroyers and a lot of fighters. Normally you expect the scene to end with an obligatory heroic ramming moment. But Tachyon did not go that route. Instead Valiant fights to the bitter end untill it's turned into a flaming wreck.
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Re: Little things that get to you in terms of beleivability

Post by Zor »

Manus Celer Dei wrote:Why would they need toilets on a spaceship? You could just take a shit in an airlock, go back inside the ship and then cycle the airlock so the turd is sucked out into space. Easy.

Although I suppose in systems with denser traffic the proliferation of frozen space turds could easily become a navigation hazard.
Because that gets rid of a lot of pressure, there would be shit floating about and if you are on a long term voyage you might need that biomatter for long term use.

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Re: Little things that get to you in terms of beleivability

Post by Anguirus »

I l want to see the captain go out in a blaze of glory as their starships crumble under overwhelming enemy fire. But I can't recall any instance in well known visual scifi for this.
There's a great example in the first scene of the season 2 Babylon 5 episode Acts of Sacrifice.
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Re: Little things that get to you in terms of beleivability

Post by Zixinus »

Because that gets rid of a lot of pressure, there would be shit floating about and if you are on a long term voyage you might need that biomatter for long term use.
That, and you are literary throwing air out of the window. Air that ain't coming back.
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Re: Little things that get to you in terms of beleivability

Post by Captain Seafort »

Anguirus wrote:
I l want to see the captain go out in a blaze of glory as their starships crumble under overwhelming enemy fire. But I can't recall any instance in well known visual scifi for this.
There's a great example in the first scene of the season 2 Babylon 5 episode Acts of Sacrifice.
Not to mention the death of the alt-E-D in "Yesterday's Enterprise".
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Re: Little things that get to you in terms of beleivability

Post by Ford Prefect »

Personally, something that irks me is unreasonably massive gulfs between capital ships and ground forces. While there logically must be some gulf simply due to scale, often the difference is almost lunatic in proportion. I tend to think of it as the Teratons-Vietnam Principle, in the sense that we are expected to believe that a society can trivially generate the energy needed to turn a planet into an airless ball of glowing glass, but when the infantry they inevitably field will not even remotely reflect the level of technology above mentioned planet destroying implies. An especially egregious example is the Halo universe, which happens to be the namesake: fans will argue for, and Bungie has since confirmed, teraton range weapons for both sides, while their grounds forces will be either Vietnam rejects or funny looking aliens. This is pretty common, even among things I happen to like: even Warhammer 40,000 and Star Wars, which have the decency to show equipment that is in advance of the modern day, suffer from this. Note that my complaint isn't about how capital ships could just melt the continent the infantry are standing on, it's about an implausible difference in pound for pound capability as well as not reflecting the suggested level of technology.
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