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Marten van Wier
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Posted: 09 October 2017 at 12:45pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Hello all,

I was reading comics on my tablet during dinner when I started to wonder what what the various kinds of entertainment would be on a starship such as the USS Enterprise.

Well there are various facilities to practice sports, in the rec room we have seen people playing card games and chess, and the 24th century there is the holodeck and various futuristic electronic games but would entertainment provided by television/movies and more traditional electronic games like video games loose their appeal in the future?

I would imagine that next to traditional plays people would still watch series and movies even if they are made in different forms, perhaps now being more computer generated, or that crew members may play multiplayer games of various types over the Enterprise's computer network.

Most of the genres we have now would probably persist, even science fiction though probably in different forms as interstellar travel and contact with other species and civilizations is now common.

This subject is actually not that often handled so I am wondering what other conventional forms of entertainment (not the exotic alien kind with bizarre rules) one would find on starships. I doubt people would just play chess and cards.

What are other people's thoughts on this subject?

Hmm, now I also wonder, would there be VR equipment on a starship before the holodeck came into use?
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John Byrne
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Posted: 09 October 2017 at 12:49pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

It's all in the holobooth.
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 09 October 2017 at 10:43pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Hmm, now I also wonder, would there be VR equipment on a starship before the holodeck came into use?

In the 24th century -- if "The Game" is anything to go by then VR seems to be more of a novelty.   The characters reactions to it was more like something new rather than the latest edition.  

In the real world VR has been pushed on us at least three times I can recall and every time it never seems to catch on with all the important demographics needed to make them viable products.  Technical considerations aside, I think they are just too fiddly to be practical and too dorky looking to be fashionable.  Look at the struggles things like Google Glass have gone through -- cool tech, poor aesthetics.

The Rec Room in TMP had some 'old style' video games (by 1979 standards) and didn't seem to have any type of VR or holo tech.   That's in sharp contrast to the (possibly non-canonical) Rec Room seen in TAS where it's shown to have the same functionality as the holodecks we see 80 years later -- yet given the scope of holodeck malfunctions seen in TNG they probaby should have left it on the shelf!
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 10 October 2017 at 12:33am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

In my rewatch of TNG, I've noted that the show has indicated again and again that the lifelike recreations of the holodeck are a pretty new thing, during that first season. Holo-technology had surely existed, prior, but not in the immersive, indistinguishable-from-reality way that we think of when we think of 80s and 90s TREK.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 10 October 2017 at 4:56am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Sounds like TREK being unsure about its own tech, again. Especially in the light of Roddenberry's claim that he wanted a holodeck on TOS.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 12 October 2017 at 4:12pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I believe I've read that Roddenberry did indeed want some kind of futuristic rec room during TOS, which led to the proto-holodeck in TAS.

I think that the fully-immersive holodeck (complete with simulated people) which quickly developed early on in TNG was a direct result of the writing staff's desire to do "fantasy" episodes set in the 1940s, the Old West, etc.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 October 2017 at 4:41pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

GILLIGAN'S ISLAND style writing.
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 13 October 2017 at 4:02am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

As noted, the holodeck was a terrific way to A) give a writer a way to get a story in a completely different genre, B) to show how the holodeck technology wasn't working right yet (I mean, truly; how often was the holodeck used that it DIDN'T malfunction or cause a problem? Maybe once, in "Relics"?) C) cause a problem that had to be addressed - thus, that episode's dramatic turn.

We didn't see much recreation on NCC-1701, but we also very rarely saw the crew off duty. We saw them on shore leave (in an episode which title I don't recall... :) but aside from that - not much. 3-D chess. Musical instruments, which implies playing, and maybe a public performance or two. Sulu was an expert swordsman, and I could easily a lot of the crew doing physical workouts.

Did they read? Watch movies? Play games - board, card, computer? I guess we might be able to speculate based on what submariners or sailors away from shore for a while do, and just extrapolate - plus whatever changes or new entertainments you like to be developed in the next 200 years.

One thing I suspect was NOT a hobby was cooking. "Janice, you have to try this new recipe! I used this card, this card, and that card." Oh Christine, try adding celery to it!  I have to guess that the magazine "Galactic Good Cooking Today" could probably be a pamphlet of card combinations. :)


Edited by Eric Sofer on 13 October 2017 at 4:03am
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 October 2017 at 6:20am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

What the crew did in their off-duty hours was one of the things that seemed to have suffered from the shrinking budget. After all, it's tough to have personnel walking by in casual clothes when the budget will barely cover a couple of working crewmembers.

That said, we did revisit elements that had been established in earlier episodes. We saw the rec room several times ("Charlie X", "The Alternative Factor", "The Trouble with Tribbles", etc). Still, the gymnasium disappeared after a single episode (expensive to redress Engineering, I imagine!).

I still think "holobooths" would make more sense than a holoDECK. Once again failing to understand its own tech, later iterations of TREK played the holodeck as a large space. Why? It was not large enough to accomodate the adventures we saw, but was a waste of valuable real estate. Since the whole thing is "a combination of holographic and transporter technology" it really needs nothing more than crew members to step into an oversized cigar tube. (See THE FALL OF THE TOWERS by Samuel Delaney, where a whole interstellar war is fought in this fashion.)

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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 13 October 2017 at 8:32am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Not to mention the visual perspective issues with a communal holodeck.  Small person-sized holosuites that are networked is a much better use of the space.   

The down side from a dramatic viewpoint is that you can't have scenes where people enter and leave the space or holocharacters evaporating if they try to leave.  Characters only talk about Quark's holobooths in DS9 but I don't believe they ever showed people going in and out of them. 


Edited by Rob Ocelot on 13 October 2017 at 8:33am
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 13 October 2017 at 9:31am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

We didn't see much recreation on NCC-1701, but we also very rarely saw the crew off duty. We saw them on shore leave (in an episode which title I don't recall... :) but aside from that - not much. 3-D chess. Musical instruments, which implies playing, and maybe a public performance or two. Sulu was an expert swordsman, and I could easily a lot of the crew doing physical workouts.
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Something I find interesting is just how little we saw the crew off-duty in TOS (you can count on one hand the number of times we saw anyone in civilian clothes), compared to how often we saw them off-duty in the spin-off shows. Drinking in Ten-Forward, visiting the holosuite, therapy sessions, attending concerts, going to Risa, etc. it may well have been a budgetary thing, but I also think it came down to TOS focusing on telling "on the job" stories, rather than getting to much into the characters' off-duty lives. 

Coming back to the holodeck, I think it made more sense to show extensive use of it on VOYAGER, since the crew had no safe ports or established planets to take shore leave on. More probably could have been done with the idea of crewmen becoming holoaddicted as a result of the emotional and psychological pressures of being stranded so far out in space. Like, say, Ensign Ricky gets addicted to a simulation of his family and home life on Earth, because he's so heartbroken about possibly never seeing them again.

That also touches on one of the show's problems: Sure, A starship would need to be fairly self-sustaining on a long voyage, but the ship was as spotless and fully-functional in the series finale as it was in the pilot, and deaths and other such demoralizing events had no effect on the ship's operation or morale, despite the crew already being pretty small to begin with. Breaking with the episodic nature of STAR TREK and showing more realistic effects of the situation Voyager was in might have served that show better that basically just doing a TNG version of GILLIGAN'S ISLAND.


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 13 October 2017 at 9:39pm
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 13 October 2017 at 7:48pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Much of that comes back to the need to ensure that Janeway is the be-all, end-all in Starfleet Captaincy. She must return the Voyager in Bristol-fashion or the jokes about the ship having a "woman driver" would never end. There was no way Voyager was going to come back with so much as a ding on the fender, no matter how unskilled her half-terrorist crew was. They turned out to be onboard only to underscore what a tip-top operation she was running, that she could easily take a crowd of murdering farmers and whip them into Starfleet fighting trim with the sheer, unrelenting excellence of her command prowess. 

I would imagine the argument would run that they did "Year in Hell." What more could anyone ask of them? 

The show was a sustained exercise in artificiality.

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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 14 October 2017 at 7:40am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

I would imagine the argument would run that they did "Year in Hell." What more could anyone ask of them? 

I really do wish "Year Of Hell" had played out the entire season.

Back to holodecks...  

DISCOVERY is showing that holo technology at least for communication purposes had been around since the pre-TOS era -- why they stopped using it for nearly 100 years might be an interesting story in and of itself.

One thing TNG did show early on that holodeck technology was an ongoing process.  It malfunctions often enough and gets at least one upgrade.   It's described as a combination of holographic and transporter tech (one overlaid on the other?) but it also appears to have similar tech to the main viewer for the walls.   I don't see how having a force field keep you in one spot but still allowing walking motions would work.  Then there's those story-important safety features that inevitably get turned off to heighten the drama -- every time.

You have to wonder about TNG as Gene's vision of the (perfect?) future.  We as viewers are supposed to buy into this vision and maybe actually want to be in that future.  The holodeck centered episodes ironically show that the TNG characters sometimes don't want to be in their perfect future either.  Escapism within escapism.  VOYAGER would be an understandable exception.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 14 October 2017 at 9:05am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

DISCOVERY is showing that holo technology at least for communication purposes had been around since the pre-TOS era -- why they stopped using it for nearly 100 years might be an interesting story in and of itself.

Did they stop using it, or were TOS storytellers more concerned with other matters? I mean, which original adventure would you want to truncate in favor of Kirk pretending to be Horatio Hornblower?

(Well, yes, anything from the Third Season, but you get my point!)

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Steve De Young
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Posted: 14 October 2017 at 10:23am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

DISCOVERY is showing that holo technology at least for communication purposes had been around since the pre-TOS era -- why they stopped using it for nearly 100 years might be an interesting story in and of itself.
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David Mack's explanation in the first DSC novel, where he crossed over with Pike's Enterprise, is that the Federation stopped using that holo-communications tech for a couple of reasons.  One, it was a huge subspace bandwidth hog, and interfered with ship's sensors while it was in use.  Second, it used a lot of power, so for long term, deep space expeditions it didn't make sense.  Also, its not exactly lifelike.  Its nearly monochrome, fuzzy holocommunications.  One can see why high def, two-dimensional communications which use less resources would be preferred.  TLDR; it was a fad.
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