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Bathysphere/subs/stations mechanism details :

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Diagrams :




Bathysphere

Bathysphere




Small bathysphere

MinSub




Stations Metro

Bathysphere Stations


  • Bathyspheres are talked of like they were Automobiles (Accu-Vox by Prentis Mills(in BS2)) -- so there must (extrapolation) have been more (affordable) miniature subs in Rapture to qualify that talk (saw an add for a 'luxury' sub somewhere) -- and still the problem would be the facilities subs require (which are not that simple - not like a 'curbside' stop anywhere in a real city). It would be logical that the Subs are able to share the same 'Metro' docking systems as the Bathyspheres.
  • Bathyspheres have some limited maneuvering abilities (to facilitate docking at stations) but mainly use the moving cables to travel long distances along the the MetroWays (fixed paths more like cablecar routes) and thus can dedicate more of their volume to 'cargo'. They travel station to station (which we assume are all over the City for them to have been 'convienent')
  • The Bathysphere's "Grip" mechanism must engage the constantly moving cable and is designed with a 'clutch' system to grab onto a cable as it constantly moves at the main traveling rate (?? 20 35 mph ??) and allows gradual acceleration. The Bathyspheres have neutral buoyancy but still mass something like 28+ tons -- which means alot of force to suddenly jerk it into the travelling velocity. Hence the gradual friction engagement of the grip.
  • A second grip on a second parallel cable (upper/lower) would engage as a redundancy (transit system safety requires more Failsafes than most people realize). The second grip could 'partially grip, slipping on its built-in rollers with no friction (but still retain its being anchored to the cable).
  • The Bathyspheres do not/cannot 'float' on the surface high enough to clear that doorway (there is a reason real submarine have hatches that open upward from their decks). No mechanism would work as you would have to have ballast tanks equal in volume to most of the inside of the sphere to adjust the buoyancy enought to allow them to float with only 1/3 the volume in the water (and then later sink into the water completely). So the Bathysphere must be externally lifted high enough out of the water for boarding (either a crane from above or a lift deck underneath -- both robust enough to lift >28 tons of weight).
  • For convenience ('snappy service') the docking process should be fairly quick (clearing whatever safeguards needed for Pressure Safety -- double airlocks/etc...) Pressure equalization water-to-water doesnt require pumping water/air (just opening/closing doors) and then just a final lift out of the water. Airlock type adapters on that forward facing doorway could be used optionally (maybe at smaller 'private'/maintenance installations) but are usually more time consuming (with the required safety checks and the spacecraft-like 'docking approach', etc...)
  • Parking spaces would be provided at destinations for 'private' Bathyspheres and Submarines (public units could just be sent on a return trip or forwarded onto a next destination). Bathyspheres should sit flat on flat surface for when they are 'parked' out of the water (and sitting when on the 'lift').
  • Switching stations where the Bathysphere switches (engages/disengages) between different cables (to alternate destinations) has to be foolproof for both automatic and manual operations. They also have to be relatively simple to minimize maintenance. There would be guideways in the 'stations' while floating free (and decelerating) and changing directions and reengaging a different cable (along with options like passing thru on the original cable, etc...). The Rapture Lore says the Bathyspheres were largely 'automatic'. I suppose if we can have Flybots that mostly can fly about successfully, a similar mechanism could be used for the limited 'off the cable' maneuverings (once that technology is rebuilt for each Bathysphere). Lining up (maneuvering) to grab the correct cable is facilitated by guides and simple sensors - nothing a flybots insect brain couldn't process.
  • 4-Way intersections (2 lines crossing with switching between them freely) would get too elaborate and are better replaced by 2 "T" (3-way) intersections). Likely there would be a minium number of ANY remote 'switching' stations, rather switching between MetroWay cable paths would be mostly done at the large Metro stations where maintenance is simpler and the required mechanisms shared. The remote 'switches' would be mostly for Private 'Branch' lines would be costly and likely only be affordable by the Elite or by large companies. (dedicated branch lines can also be made with a single bi-directional cable to simplify the mechanism -- and be more like the old Skyway at Disneyland).
  • Ballast and trim tanks - the Bathysphere has to be able to adjust its weight to handle changes in cargo weight (like 8+ passengers) so requires ballast tanks to be variably filled with water/air to maintain the required neutral buoyancy. Trim tanks would adjust the weight distribution to maintain proper orientation. Both these systems would be external to the spherical passenger compartment (else it would take up too much of the 'cargo' space). Permanent ballast (lead/steel blocks below the deck) would adjust the mass to have neutral buoyancy at its empty weight (and ballast tanks all full of water).


  • The Cable needs to be large enough (cable diameter) for a good non-destructive friction grip , and be strong enough to tow multiples of the 28+ ton Bathyspheres around easily (or many at once in both directions). The cable should be light as possible so that its weight doesnt strain when it is thousand(s) of feet long. The material has to resist corrosion and be something produceable in 'self-sufficient' Rapture. Plastic wrapped steel wire cable would work. The Cable needs to be splicable for repairs and the initial forming of the continuous loop. Semi-Temporary 'joiners' would be used for fast repairs (simple enough for a Maintenance Daddy to employ) until a Cable Maintenance cycle could do the permanent reweaving or cable replacement (its likely many of the still operating/recently used cables have ALOT of temp joiners along their lengths as system maintenance was disrupted since 'Civil War' times.) Storage space for spare cables in the METRO stations - another part of the facilities required...
  • Problem - Bathyspheres are supposed to be 'fast' transit, and need to accelerate quickly (the bane of commuting systems everywhere) and the vehicle weighs something over 28 tons of mass. How do you get that mass moving without destroying the mechanism, and more important - stop it at the "end of the line"?? Solution Idea - a 2-speed dual cable system. 1 runs at full speed and second at half speed. Bathysphere Grip engages low speed first then switches to the second 'fast' cable (second Grip) to go up to full speed (the clutch in the grip allows varying friction to allow the change of speed when the cables are moving at a constant rate). The reverse would be done to decelerate - first engaging only the slow cable using the clutch as a brake and then finally slipping BOTH cables to let water resistance (that blunt front has to cause alot of water friction/resistance) slow the Bathysphere a good distance away from the 'stop' point (assisted by the maneuvering propellers for fine speed control). The dual-speed Cable System is still redundant (2 cables held onto) for safety -- either speed line can still get you to the destination if the other fails. If both fail, then neutral buoyancy allows rescue (it doesnt sink or rise to surface) and the onboard maneuvering propulsion may have more than enough range to slowly get to a safe destination. A few rescue units with airlock adapters and submarines to tow the Bathysphere to a station would be the final safety measures.


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Stations :

  • Bathysphere stations are generally quite large (alot of facilities/mechanisms/equipment to make them operate -- you dont just wheel around the 28+ ton Bathyspheres or wave a wand to change the pressure from 1 atmosphere to 19+ atmospheres @ 600 ft depth). And all of it has to be done with safety and speed.
    • The large sliding airlock door mechanisms take up alot of space, along with the volume of the airlocks built to pass the 12-foot sized Bathysperes (which are actually alot bigger than 12x12x12 ...).
    • The cable drive mechanisms (like a SF Cable Car) and pumping units take up an appreciable space.
    • Likewise parking space for Subs/Bathyspheres adds additional space usage (plus overhead crane with acces to parking and all the 'lifts').
    • The usual passenger 'station' waiting/loading area, ticket booths, monumental decorations, etc...
    • Fortunately the Station is split-level with the lower 'water' level and the upper 'air' level.
    • Various maintenance and servicing facilities would be required.
    • Even outside the building, the 'guide cages' (which protect/direct the cable on/off transitions) stick out 60 feet (remember that first approach to the Welcome Center from the Lighthouse??).
    • Small single line (termination) stations still require the double airlocks the larger stations use (maybe not a dual in/out set that facilitates operating a busy station).
  • It is physically impossible for the Bathyspheres in BioShock to raise high enough from the water by themselves (has to do with 'displacement' buoyancy and being able to submerge using ballast tanks and floating high enough to clear the door). So Hydraulic elevator Lifts in each 'bay' would raise the Bathyspheres/Subs up out of the water for convienent 'front' loading (as seen in the BS1/BS2 game). The overhead crane can lift and move each (28+ ton) vehicle to a 'parking spot' when needed.
  • Larger stations that handle multiple routes have more irregular shapes -- dependent on the cable route directions. They can share airlocks sets between several routes and all feed in to the loading bays. Speed is the essence for a 'transit' system, and getting the passengers moving is all important. Combined route stations make for more convenience (with less walking) than the single destination 'Metro' stations we saw in BS1.
  • Working Destination & Schedule Boards -- yet another detail to implement for the MMORPG.
  • An interesting phenomenon with fish being attracted to lights (and bigger fish to the smaller fish) -- how to keep the sealife out of the Airlocks and 'Water Level' of the Metro stations. In BS1/BS2 we actually could have seen Splicers fishing in the Metro station pools.




Floatyproblem

actual situation when on surface

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Min-Subs :

  • Airlock docking (docking at an airlock while submerged) is a slower alternate option (docking and clamping). All Bathyspheres can use the Mark 2 passenger door sized Open Airlocks (a useful 'rescue' system). This option is usually used for maintenance and other numerous locations where the much smaller Airlock units will fit and normal passenger trafic doesnt go.
  • The 9-Foot Mini-Sub (seen in BS2 hanging outside near Journey to the Surface) uses the older Mark 1 Open Airlocks.
    • They were used extensively in Rapture's construction and doubled as control 'cabs' for the various City construction equipment (somebody had to haul those millions of tons of concrete and rock filler and pre-built building components around).
    • No doubt they also were used for/controlled fishing rigs to tow and manage fisnets and catch transfers.
    • The Mini-Subs can also enter the Metro Stations, as can the 12-foot 'normal' subs (larger subs use the docks at 'Port of Rapture' and at Neptunes Bounty and various private docks).
  • Sub seen in Smugglers Den/Hideout - should have a much smaller propeller and second contra-rotating propeller to keep that small sub from rotating/corkscrewing by a single propellers action (you can see all its details if you use the cheats ghost/fly).


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Some of the diagrams show simplified iconic graphics of various Rapture elements which would be similar (pixel sprites) to what you would see in the 'retro' styled Tablet/Palmtop Mini-Games (including Quest/Mission based activities that introduce the Player (if they wish) to the basic operations of the City infrastructure).




DLCmodelShowerDoorNow

DLC 'Bathysphere' : At least in the original game the designer had a sense that deep water equals high pressure. Now the bathysphere has a mere shower door (insufficient even for one of our autos) presented in this model to be between the occupant and the crushing watery death.




PorterAndTenenbaumWalkIntoSunset

Porter and Tenenbaum walk off into the sunset. I do wonder who then found that Bathysphere before its 28 tons sank into the sand. Big Sisters didn't stick around, but this is a little more solid evidence. (NOTE - They actually would have waded in from much further out (after the thing flooded when they opened the door), as you could NOT possibly get the Bathysphere to float up this far in the surf with 3/4 of it underwater like shown in the pix above, and its shown right there with water AT the high tide mark).




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