Silent Running Fun Facts

jedion357's picture
jedion357
April 24, 2017 - 6:15pm
I've had an itch to re see this movie having seen it in the base theater when I was a kid. It was one of the early sci-fi movies that certainly inspired my love for Star Frontiers.

I enjoyed rewatching it despite how dated the music is.

Some fun facts they made it for 1 million dollars. and since building sets would have cost triple they got the Navy to let them use the aircraft carrier Valley Forge as a set allowing them to repaint and dress up as a space ship. Its very convincing. Some recent Sci Fi channel shows did much the same but you could tell they would filming on a Navy ship so you had to suspend disbelief.

They ended up using compartments in the ship for offices, a class room, film editing etc. Bruce Dern is a runner and he marked a 1/4 mile track on the flight deck and ended up running 200 miles during the filming.

Since the Valley Forge space freighter was 2000 feet long they built a 25 foot model.

The robots were young human actors who were also double amputees who could walk on their hands. The goal with the robots was to have robots that were totally under human control and not trying to kill man kind.

It was Bruce Dern's first chance to be the hero after being typed cast as a villian for years.





I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!
Comments:

jedion357's picture
jedion357
April 24, 2017 - 6:28pm
They rented the Valley Forge from the Navy for $2000/week
and they used 90% of what was there largely painting and putting down rubber flooring and relighting it.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

ExileInParadise's picture
ExileInParadise
April 24, 2017 - 6:37pm
A few years back the band 65 Days of Static did a live rescore of this for a film festival, and the rescore is a righteous update... you can see some of it on the youtubes.

There's also a great model reference site:
http://www.lunadude.com/pet_proj/valley_forge/

For my money, SILENT RUNNING is one of the top 10 sci-fi movies of all times - so much so that I was once inspired to imagine and start writing a sequel to it.

I totally agree that the retro-lived-in look and the drones feel very Star Frontiers.
You just KNOW that Freeman's PSA was BioSocial with most of his points in Environmental, and a level in Technological/Robotics... and maybe a level in Weapons/Melee for that shovel fight.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
April 25, 2017 - 7:22am
In the extras Bruce Dern was talking about another ppl roject he was on that had 3 astronauts who had walked o n the moon as consultants (he repeated that, "these guys had walked on the moon!") And all they wanted to talk about was Silent Running and how cool was it to be inside a geodysic dome. He was it was like the dome scenes were filmed in a garage.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
jedion357
April 25, 2017 - 7:27am
It's very Star Frontiers: 3 guys to run the freighter: pilot, navigator, engineer. And the biologist who also had a level or two in medical. 

Funny how an American Airlines space freighter had nuclear charges on it. 
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
jedion357
April 25, 2017 - 8:09am
The ship suits were off the shelf ski suits. The space suit was and off the shelf scuba suit with motorcycle helmet and things glued onto the suit.

Because Kawasaki fell behind and couldn't deliver a prototype ATV the directors father engineered a transmission, they used Briggs and Stratton lawnmower motors and reinforced vacuum molded bodies with wood to make the ATVs they don't appear to have brakes to me in the scenes where they are operated
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 25, 2017 - 9:46am
I did like this film, though the thoughts of humanity destroying earth's biosphere and keeping only a few plants floating in space -- until the evil American corporation sets out to destroy them -- is just one of those cheesy sci fi plots. Sort of like Logan's Run... but, hey, what is sci fi without cheesy plots.

I remember those ag ships being reused in Battle Star Galactica.

Except for the orientation of the domes and the use of artificial gravity, they are very Star Frontiers-like.

A pity the Knight Hawks rules don't really tell you how to build one of those things other than the illustration. The domes have to be on these spiny looking arms that are set well away from the central hull, far exceeding the KH diameter requirements. Can they hold up to 1-g thrust? With so many agricultural planets, why use an ag ship? (Though I think that topic is covered elsewhere in the forums).

I like your factoids about the movie. Lawn mowers as ATVs! Oh what did the sound effects guys think?
Joe Cabadas

Tchklinxa's picture
Tchklinxa
April 26, 2017 - 10:19am
AT some point we have to just concede artifical gravity is the only thing that makes those ships work as seen in the movies or drawn in SF art... I suppose you could try and do the Bab 5 thing but still...I think with some AD/KH rules obviously barrowed from Star Empires this is why the disconnect, in SE you could gradually research and improve Technology and with that came new drives, new weapons and things like AG. 
 "Never fire a laser at a mirror."

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
April 26, 2017 - 7:33pm
Silent Running Fun Fact: I never saw this flick and really need to change that...
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

iggy's picture
iggy
April 26, 2017 - 9:40pm
The SF ag ship has gravity due to constant acceleration and deceleration.  We have pondered elsewhere on this site that when not under acceleration it must anchor to an asteroid and spin like the Money Spider. 
-iggy

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 27, 2017 - 8:20am
iggy wrote:
The SF ag ship has gravity due to constant acceleration and deceleration.  We have pondered elsewhere on this site that when not under acceleration it must anchor to an asteroid and spin like the Money Spider. 


Wouldn't that be awfully expensive in regards to fuel? I just can't see fueling that beast up for constant accels and decels and be able to make a profit on food stuffs.

The Money Spider idea is probably far less expensive to operate an ag ship. Plus, I would think it would have food processing facilities aboard so it can be a giant, floating Kellogg's factory.

One of the few benefits of an ag ship is that you don't have to burn fuel to lift a cargo off of a planet, since the ship is already in space. I'll have to check out other discussions on the forums about this topic because I remember reading a good, logical reason for ag ships in the Frontier... I just can't thnk of what it is.
Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 27, 2017 - 8:21am
Shadow Shack wrote:
Silent Running Fun Fact: I never saw this flick and really need to change that...


It's a good picture that fits the sci fi of the times.
Joe Cabadas

KRingway's picture
KRingway
April 28, 2017 - 7:20am
In the early 80s here in the UK, BBC2 ran a whole series of scifi films in the early evenings, and one of them was Silent Running. I've always liked it, especially the robot/human interactions, but it still makes me sad. I remember my younger sister being very upset when Louie was lost.

As for Ag ships, the pods could be a spin habitat - the basic outline would just have to differ somewhat than that given in KH. Their need would either be to transport fresh produce not available to any given system, or transport new plant life to colonies, etc.

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 28, 2017 - 9:51am
KRingway wrote:
In the early 80s here in the UK, BBC2 ran a whole series of scifi films in the early evenings, and one of them was Silent Running. I've always liked it, especially the robot/human interactions, but it still makes me sad. I remember my younger sister being very upset when Louie was lost.

As for Ag ships, the pods could be a spin habitat - the basic outline would just have to differ somewhat than that given in KH. Their need would either be to transport fresh produce not available to any given system, or transport new plant life to colonies, etc.


That make sense. Maybe there is some fresh foods that just won't be able to go into a freeze field and come out tasting good. Or it's an exotic (and high priced) food that won't last a 30-40 day trip across the Frontier but can be grown in-system.
Joe Cabadas

KRingway's picture
KRingway
April 28, 2017 - 4:36pm
Plants may have uses other than foods - pharmaceuticals, for example - and so an Ag ship may be carrying a variety of other plant-based resources. I guess Ag ships may also be able to transport livestock, or animals that have a non-food use. They also don't necessarily have to be something that transports commodities from place to place as a kind of freighter - they could be farms, or restaurants, or markets/hypermarkets, or vinyards/breweries/bars, etc that can be visited as they stop at any given system.

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
April 28, 2017 - 10:06pm
KRingway wrote:
Plants may have uses other than foods

One of them being the conversion of CO2 to O2. The original SF/AD set got this one right via hydroponics, but somehow it got left out of KH and has been overlooked by many a KH module sporting a set of deck plans.
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

ExileInParadise's picture
ExileInParadise
April 29, 2017 - 10:47am
Years after seeing this for the first time as a kid, I read Isaac Asimov's CAVES OF STEEL and realized that is probably how Earth was in Silent Running.

The last few natural biomes were packed off museum style.

Meanwhile, Earth was caves of steel and outside of the Cities - the surface was only yeast and cellulose crops rather than returning to pre-mankind wilderness.

So, the humans all lived in the sterile artificial domes (a la Logans Run) and the Outside was not natural, it was just robot harvested synthetic food crop ingredients with a few "traditional" farms for the luxury items that weren't vat-harvest.

For Star Frontiers, I always though the Ag Ships would be early colony support, supplemental/luxury foods, and a way for stations to get a little independence from their local groundsiders. Control of Ag Ships could be a pretty good political story point.

Finally, for what Ag Ship life is like, I always thought it would be much like Piers Anthony's Bio of Space Tyrant chapters on working in the Ag bubbles near Jupiter.

iggy's picture
iggy
April 29, 2017 - 10:07pm
What if the domes on the ag ships can be detached like in Silent Running?   They can be attached at the bottom as shown in KH for 1g travel or can be attached at the top of the dome and the ship spins on its axis when coasting around a system or orbiting a planet.
-iggy

jedion357's picture
jedion357
April 30, 2017 - 7:53am
yAZIRIAN Ag ship design from the Star Exodus:

Central trunk passes through the domes- like a tree with successive canopies. no dome detachment possible.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

KRingway's picture
KRingway
May 1, 2017 - 8:04am
I may be wrong, but isn't Void travel at zero-G? If so, does this mean a spin habitat wouldn't work, as the effects of gravity are nullified in the Void?

iggy's picture
iggy
May 1, 2017 - 10:01pm
Void travel is zero-G because the ship stops accelerating for the few seconds in the void.  A spinning shin would retain spin gravity while in the void.
-iggy

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
May 2, 2017 - 6:55am
Which begs the question --- do plants get distorted and nauseous like the biological crew does in the void?
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

iggy's picture
iggy
May 2, 2017 - 7:00am
They probably turn green. 
-iggy

jedion357's picture
jedion357
May 2, 2017 - 7:47am
iggy wrote:
They probably turn green. 

Knee slap. Iggy must be a dralasite, he has the humor down.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

KRingway's picture
KRingway
May 2, 2017 - 8:28am
iggy wrote:
Void travel is zero-G because the ship stops accelerating for the few seconds in the void.  A spinning shin would retain spin gravity while in the void.


Hmm - so I'm wondering if a ship spending longer in the Void could travel at 1G...

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
May 2, 2017 - 3:21pm
I'd say yes.  If you're calculations are ready you fire up the engines so you are at 1g acceleration and slip into the void maintaining that accelerations.  It's not really an issue in the standard game since you're only in the void a few seconds.

Personally I treat it as your regular engines don't really work in the Void (I prefer the idea of some sort of jump device to trigger void entry) but whatever acceleration state you were in before entering is maintained while in the Void.  So if you were weightless and just had a small manuever thrust to push you over, you'd be weightless for the few seconds in the Void but if you were under full thrust you'd have the feeling of gravity for your time in the Void.  Typically it's the former but you could do the latter.
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KRingway's picture
KRingway
May 3, 2017 - 12:23am
In that case I may add that idea to my Void drive rules Wink

Tollon's picture
Tollon
May 3, 2017 - 10:14am
The problem with thrust producted gravity is that it makes the ship complex.  During deceleration either engine have to rotate or the deck will.  Simple turning the ship around will cause the cieling to become the floor. Second problem all decks must be in line with the direction of travel otherwise the floor will become the walls. 

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
May 3, 2017 - 8:45pm
Tollon wrote:
During deceleration either engine have to rotate or the deck will.  Simple turning the ship around will cause the cieling to become the floor.

The entire ship rotates 180º so that it is moving stern first, then "acceleration" via engine thrust slows it down thus producing gravity the same way it did when it was accelerating nose first. So while the engines are still operating in the very same manner, the ship is decelerating.

Granted this is not something that can be accomplished during the ever brief time spent in void travel, more so for vessels with a MR of less than 3. This is when "reverse thrust" or "retro-rockets" would slow the ship down in order to drop it back into real space.
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

KRingway's picture
KRingway
May 4, 2017 - 12:45am
I tend to agree with Tollon. It's one of the things that have never really made sense in SF. I don't know why they just didn't go for Traveller's grav-plate idea, or something similar. I never saw the need for realism in pretty much just one area when lots of other things in the game aren't hard sci-fi.

JCab747's picture
JCab747
May 4, 2017 - 4:30am
Gravitons, my friends, gravitons.

From Wikipedia (the most trusted news source ever! right?):

Graviton

"In physics, the graviton is a hypothetical elementary particle that mediates the force of gravitation in the framework of quantum field theory. If it exists, the graviton is expected to be massless (because the gravitational force appears to have unlimited range) and must be a spin-2 boson..."

So, if you want grav plates... I think the TSR book "Captive Planet" featured artificial gravity in the Star Frontiers universe... then go for it!


Joe Cabadas