who let the viscous fluid leak back in?

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at shekel.mcl.cs.columbia.edu
Tue Feb 25 18:51:25 EST 1997

Subject: who let the viscous fluid leak back in?
 No. | DATE        |  FROM
s  1: Feb 11, 1997: throopw at sheol.org (Wayne Throop)
+  4: Feb 13, 1997: bayko at borealis.cs.uregina.ca (John  Bayko)
*  5: Feb 13, 1997: George Johnsen <ndeiprod at earthlink.net>
+ 13: Feb 19, 1997: throopw at sheol.org (Wayne Throop)
* 14: Feb 20, 1997: George Johnsen <ndeiprod at earthlink.net>


From: throopw at sheol.org (Wayne Throop)
Lines: 29

: throopw at sheol.org (Wayne Throop)
: Subject: Re: A Climax of Fire (*Spoilers* for "Into the Fire")
: [... complain, complain, complain; whine, whine, whine ...]

And while I'm complaining...

With all due respect to the impressive CGI work in ITF,
I must say that there are some disappointing features there also.
Namely, that despite most of the viscous fluid being drained from space
in the first season, more and more of the icky stuff has been
seeping back in.  Ships bank and swoop, and adopt an up-and-down
orientation relative to which they bank and swoop.  Bases "on top"
of asteroids.  Etc, etc, etc.   Whine, whine, whine.

I realize that more and more of the ships we see regularly are using gravitic
technology, but that doesn't give space in general an up/down orientation.
Even if we give spacecraft the ability to accelerate arbitrarily, this
doesn't make it sensible to bank and swoop.

But maybe it's just me.... did this strike anybody else?
Wayne Throop   throopw at sheol.org  http://sheol.org/throopw
               throopw at cisco.com


From: bayko at borealis.cs.uregina.ca (John  Bayko)
Lines: 20

In article <E5GoxD.8Lp at murdoch.acc.Virginia.EDU>,
    Maximillian Natzet  <mfn8j at watt.seas.virginia.edu> wrote:
>throopw at sheol.org  writes:
>> I realize that more and more of the ships we see regularly are using gravitic
>> technology, but that doesn't give space in general an up/down orientation.
>> Even if we give spacecraft the ability to accelerate arbitrarily, this
>> doesn't make it sensible to bank and swoop.
>If the ships didn't bank into a turn, everybody would get
>thrown against the walls.

    Perhaps they're designed to accellerate best vertically - say, to
lift off against a planet's gravity.

John Bayko (Tau).
bayko at cs.uregina.ca


From: George Johnsen <ndeiprod at earthlink.net>
Lines: 41


I think you need to take another look at episode 406 and 407, dude!  We
are trying to be quite careful about banking and swooping and there are
quite a number of spins and directional flips that are in no way aero
based. The arc transit paths that we are using are calculated using
engine dynamics and directional thruster controller effect vectors. This
does result in a parabola or two from time to time.  F'rintance take
noticeof the new Thunderbolt drop sequence in 407, it is the first step
in developing a plausible Cobra Bay exit with a form up into a squadron
after the fact.  There is more progress to be made, and I know we have a
lot of work to do.

Also notice that we're cutting out a LOT of the engines on running for
all ships.  We will continue to de-light the engines as we go on.  The
argument for 'furies and 'bolts is that they always keep the engines lit
for quick response times, and this will probably continue.

I'll go with you on the Asteroid that the construction is mostly on one
side (which, btw, was not supposed to be the top).  We changed from the
unusual camera reference point originally chosen to the more
conventional "up is top of screen" relationship.  This was a choice for
style points, and it is possible that up is the reference in relation to
the perspective of the viewer, or the occupant of the attacking ship. 
It's not necessarily the direction that things protrude.  (Hey- maybe
it's just that the Vorlons are anal retentive about direction.....)

Some of the discussions that we have been having with astronomers and
physicists are bearing fruit, and we will continue to make use of those
resources and the resources of JPL and NASA to get more and more realism
into our graphics. 

Our mandate is to provide an entertaining show, but we do care about the
science of the fiction, and will continue to work on it.

George Johnsen
CoProducer, B5


From: throopw at sheol.org (Wayne Throop)
Lines: 65

: John Burroway <jfb at uakron.edu>
: I read somewhere that the army uses white phosphorous with bits of
: plastic to create a smoke screen that defeats thermal imaging systems
: (the WP causes the plastic to burn and glow).  Also, fighters are
: typically equipped with flare and chaff dispensers to defeat incoming
: missiles. 
: There's no reason not to believe that a space-bourne fighter wouldn't
: have something similar.A flare wouldn't have to burn, just glow - give
: off heat.  The pyrotechnics would be something similar. 

OK.  So they've got some white phosphorus, or a smoke-generating flare,
or a chaff dispenser.  They hook one to the back of a starfury,
and set it off, while doing turns and spins and so on and so forth.

What, pray tell, makes the smoke, sparks, or chaff stay put along the
path the starfury took WRT B5?  There's no air to damp it's motion;
it ought to continue along the path the starfury was taking when
that puff of smoke (or chaff or sparks) was burnt (or released
or ignited and released).

The problem isn't that they might not have smoke generators.
The problem is, without air, how did they form those trails?
Not that you couldn't form *A* trail of some sort... but
the particular trails they showed were eye-poppingly unphysical
for smoke, chaff, or sparks, unless I'm *really* missing something.

( Hmmm, actually a dense, colored smoke/dust generator on the back
  of a stationary *spinning* starfury might make a nice display.
  But, sigh, that's not what they portrayed.  They portrayed something
  that looked like it was imersed in a viscous fluid... 

  Hey, maybe they had Drall use the Great Machine to generate a few
  gigatons of air temporarily for the purposes of the party.  Oops,
  can that, "air" would likely be too corosive to the outside of B5;
  something like a noble gas, or carbon dioxide, perhaps.  )

: If you ask me the Black Omega maneuvers were caused by the release
: mechanism.  "Dropping" the fighters in the same direction with almost
: no seperation would increase the chance of collision.  Snapping off in
: an alternating left-right-left would increase the separation, and
: probably cause that smart-looking roll. 

No, snaping off could not cause that smart-looking roll.  That had to be
under engine power.  If it were the release mechanism, as soon as the
starfury was separated from the transport, it would pursue a straight
trafectory with spin, not the curved trajectory shown.  The release
mechanism might sproing them off in alternating directions, and start
them with a spin, but the curved trajectory meant they fired up their
engines essentially instantly. 

Nothing *wrong* with the manuver, BTW.  I think it was nifty; I have no
nit to pick with it at all.  It just wasn't caused by a release
mechanism.  It couldn't have been. 

And I agree that the left-right-left stuff was nice, 
for the reason jfb stated.
Wayne Throop   throopw at sheol.org  http://sheol.org/throopw
               throopw at cisco.com


From: George Johnsen <ndeiprod at earthlink.net>
Lines: 22


The thinking behind the 'fury display was a particle ejector with
sufficient ejector power to allow the stuff not to follow the 'furies in
their travels.  (Besides, even though it would be expensive to use,
these folks needed SOMETHING to cheer about, so Sheridan blew the

The Black Omega drop mechanism has a launching charge in it that pushes
each one down in alternating sequence. This causes them to avoid each
other and still be transported in the most compact package possible. 
Remember that the B'O'Furies had their engines lit, ready for drop, with
control systems active.  These guys are clever enough to have a drop
sequence programmed to accomodate pilot issues, as well as clearance

George Johnsen
CoPriducer, B5

-*** B5JMS SUBSCRIBERS: Replies to messages in this list go to the list
-*** maintainer, <b5jms-owner at cs.columbia.edu>.  If you want to reply
-*** elsewhere, adjust the "To" field.  The best way to reach JMS is to post
-*** to rastb5m, which can be done by sending email to <rastb5 at solon.com>.

More information about the B5JMS mailing list