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Bathysphere/subs/stations mechanism details :

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A Bathysphere's hull is at least an inch thickness of steel (to handle water pressure at Rapture's depth). That Splicer who tried to cut it open when you first arrive wasn't quite insane enough to keep trying despite it being impossible.   Activating the Door Emergency Open switch on the outside might have been more productive (but then you (the Player) would then probably be dead before the story really began).   It might have been even more scary for that to have happened, but with the Security Flybot showing up to "save the day" seconds before you were disemboweled .

The Rapture Book (Novel) mentions repairs to the cable system for lowering the Bathysphere down from the Lighthouse, and I have previously decided in MY design that most Rapture 'Bathyspheres' (that word actually IS defined as a cable driven system, versus a Submarine/'Bathyscaphe' which ARE self-powered and free-floating) work on drag-cables for their ordinary propulsion between stations (like 'Cable-Cars').  A cable is much more reliable than a self piloting vehicle (especially for something that is to be used as public transit - particularly by the more affluent folk) -- the system is actually a double cable for added reliability.  The discrepancy between the arrival animation (invisible cable) and whats mentioned in the Novel would be resolved.  (Various game concept art SHOWED 'Bathyspheres' on cables.)

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Those big hatches we see in the Bathysphere Dock at the Welcome Center (the one we arrive through is open and the other closed), should really only be used for emergency closures.  There should be sets of airlock doors below (in the water tube) which the Bathysphere passes through for normal transit (operating with a much faster/simpler sliding mechanism).  The big 'hatches' (not the greatest design - and is missing the huge actuators) would be a redundant system normally left open.  The other dock there appears to be damaged, so that hatch is closed.   We didn't see a second approach path parallel to the way we came into the building from the ocean (there should have been a second one to have the whole second mechanism to handle the traffic and for the Cableway system to be more failure resistant).

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The Bathyspheres are not very large (~ 12 ft across) and (all the ones we saw) look to be outfitted for passengers.  Immigrant's luggage and possessions would come down from the ships some other way.  A freight dock at the Lighthouse would be logical to handle all of it, and likely ship it down another route (an AE Train Station ?? and a descending track, or another CableWay ?) directly to a warehouse complex, where the stuff would wait til the immigrants arranged their Rapture residences/businesses to ship it all to.  It is likely this freight would be prepackaged/containerized before the ships left port to simplify operations on arriving at Rapture.



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Rapture Bathysphere's Round Shape And Size :

Things existing in computer games don't actually have "To Work"/be functional, which can lead to many unrealist designs for things/props. That pretty (Art Deco-ish) streamlined bronze ball shape just doesn't physically work. ((Sorry No Magic Quantumz here in Sci-Fi-based Rapture))

Particularly obvious when the exterior size largely matches most of its spaceous interior space. A real submarines Pressure Hull is crammed full of machinery, leaving little space for the crew/passngers. They are also terribly complicated/constant maintenance headaches - usually most of the machinery is left exposed allowing easy access.

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A REAL submarine requires ALOT of stuff outside the Pressure Hull (ie-parts of the propulsion mechanism, steering/control, ballast tanks/pumps/air reservoirs) and the complementary components inside. Having a huge interior bubble of air also makes those BioShock 'Bathyspheres' buoyancy ability and center-of-gravity contradictory to what the game has these vehicles do (They CANNOT POSSIBLY FLOAT HIGH ENOUGH IN THE WATER TO ALLOW ENTRY WITH THAT DOOR).

USN World War II Balao class Fleet submarines, had a maximum design depth of 600 feet

So the Rapture technology wasn't 'absurd' ... Of course permanent buildings built to withstand that pressure is a separate (but related) problem. But then, submarines can't have 7 foot thick rebar-reinforced concrete walls on their hull (except maybe in Infinite BS for Fink's 'one-way-death traps').

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Rapture - Submarines (Including 'Bathyspheres') Not Being "Automobiles"  :

Reality Check

Some/Many (real) Art Deco buildings were designed for the new American Automobile culture (~1925). Unfortunately, with the game writer's 'vision' and their idea of 'Bathyspheres', Rapture is NOT/CANNOT BE an 'automobile' culture (was a piss poor mimicking nostalgia nonsense that would've been better leaving out).

Private subs owned by rich people (that's "rich" in Rapture, which according to the story is elevated from what's considered "rich" in the Surface World) aren't common enough in Rapture for many of those external advertisements (you see out in the ocean) to be worth paying for. People just don't go by them in the water all that much. They might as well be crowded around/within view of the building windows, directly outside, rather than 100+ feet away, obscured through the dark and murky water.

See Transportation In Rapture


Metro Stations/System :

  • Metro' "Grand Central Station" should NOT be a single Metro dock
    • Multiple loading bays (3? 4?) and multiple airlock queues (at least 2 -- one in/one out)
    • Usually with 'ready' waiting positions used by empty excess 'spheres' (Rush Hour maximum 'spheres in motion)
  • Automatics - destination board in Bathysphere (bubble taxi) with all 'safe' destinations listed
    • Semi-intelligent routing system to handle offset arrival vs departure loads (likely human controlled/directed).
    • Manual control (usually locked out) overrides automatics - allows control guidance for non-standard destinations
  • Station Schedule boards working again (not just saying 'Cancelled' or 'Out of Service' -- now regular  departure/arrivals again)
  • Docking of small 'subs' (we saw one same sized as Bathysphere in BS1 (the one Atlas' "family" was allegedly blown up  in)
  • Remote Metro stations - many still not working, some repaired others again have working automatics
  • Many MetroWays are still choked with debris/overgrown sealife (a good project for one YOU want to use alot in future)
  • MetroWays - like People Mover at Disneyland? ..... no.
    • Metro Bathyspheres don't seem to be submarines (which are self-powered, free to move anywhere)
    • The hull thickness required for ~800 foot depth (allowance well beyond Raptures 600 foot baseline) is about 1 inch steel plate (which takes up ~8 times its volume of air to have neutral buoyancy) leaving the remainder volume to offset other contents including payload. Preferably heavy items  in the lowest part of the sphere to act as ballast to maintain proper orientation. Adjustable ballast tanks required to  balance against varying loads [compressed air applied at stations after loading is simplest]
    • Real Bathyspheres are lowered on cables, so Rapture's have something external dragging along paths.
    • A Track system with moving cable like a 'Cable Car' is used for its simplicity (a powered roller system like the  Disney People Mover is many times as complicated and subject to more maintenance and failures - Rollers would only be  used in stations because of their versatility and control-ability). Cables could haul 'spheres with neutral buoyancy  across wide open spaces with little intervening structures needed (actually like the old Skyway at Disneyland).
    • With multiple possible destinations, some way of switching paths required in the mechanism.
    • Powered continuous cable winches are needed and the 'sphere has a "grip" to fasten to the cable and to grab an  alternate cable at a 'switch' (like when branch off to a private Metro station or a Building with its own station)
    • The MetroWays would be dual-laned (one for each direction) so that many spheres could be in motion along the same  paths (certainly needed by a city system with major traffic loads at rush hour).
  • 'Sphere human capacity looks like 6 sitting and maybe 6 more 'strap-hangers'.
  • Believe it or not, the displacement (12 foot sphere) is about 25 tons which means one 'sphere can carry an awful lot of  cargo weight and might normally need ALOT of ballast weight to achieve neutral buoyancy when almost empty (and then  ballast tanks to offset greater loads).
  • Metro Stations are usually bulky spacewise, with the visible surface docks being only a portion of the whole mechanism  (guideways, pumps, triple pressure doors, winch systems, emergency reservoirs)

Diagrams :




Bathysphere

Bathysphere




Small bathysphere

Mini-Sub




Stations Metro

Bathysphere Stations


  • Bathyspheres are talked of like they were Automobiles ( Accu-Vox Audio Diary 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 Real World 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 'convenient')
  • 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 enough 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 doesn't 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 Flybot's 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 minimum 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 doesn't strain when it is thousand(s) of feet long. The material has to resist corrosion and be something producible 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 doesn't 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 don't 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 Bathyspheres (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 access 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 convenient '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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Mini-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 traffic doesn't 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 fishnets 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).




Squarebathysphere2

If you were rich enough, and wanted to show off, you could have a Bathysphere with an interior like this -- a SQUARE gold plated "bathysphere".




BathysphereCableStation

The Cable Systems the Bathyspheres would have to use would have Cable Hubs something like this. Continuous moving cable the 'Bathyspheres' latch onto and are thereby TOWED to a similar station on the other end (what I would define Raptures Metro to actually be).

That is FAR safer and simpler than the 'Bathyspheres being free moving 'submarines' -- PARTICULARLY for something which is supposed to be (Metro) Public Transit and an automatic system.


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SONAR used on Bathyspheres for Safety :

The Bathyspheres had roller grips for the cables they traveled along, which allowed friction clutches to be used to smooth acceleration (and prevent cable wear) -- instead of suddenly grabbing the moving cables solidly and yanking the entire vehicle. Things could still go wrong and a Bathysphere could stall in front of another. A forward pointing SONAR sensor would, on detecting something (like a Bathysphere) too close directly ahead, activate a safety sequence untighten/loosening the grip on the cable (while still fastened to it) and apply reversed propeller thrust (the Bathyspheres did have maneuvering thrust capability) to slow down and try to prevent collision. Deaths of passengers was always something to be avoided by the Austen Bathysphere Company.

Its not plain that the Bathyspheres had/required a human pilot (who could do the same safety maneuver), but a simple sensor system would greatly improve the passenger safety, when thousands of daily routine trips are made.

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Bathyspheres - You Can't Just Pull Up to a Curb and Get Out of Your Car  :

Another strike against Bathyspheres being the normal everyday person's Transit in Rapture : Every destination HAS to have a Dock (one of those things seen in the game - big even if cut down to minimal required systems, AND expensive to build and retrofit for a private Citizen). Remember, you don't see a fraction of what the actual dock facility HAS to be. Otherwise, you have to rely on Public Bathysphere Facilities. How many would you need to have to be sufficiently convenient ?? SO NO, its not at all like an American Automobile.

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EvenInTheGame

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I Dont remember seeing this in the game - a fan artists idea ??? Still the same old problem - it cannot float high enuf on water to have a door on a side usable without flooding and sinking (and when did you last see a car with the door on its TOP ??) At least it has some control surfaces for steering.

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ConceptBathysphereCable2

Concept Art indicating this artist realized that 'Bathyspheres' are actually largely-unpropelled conveyances and should be moved via a Cable System (note in BioShock, the stations seem to be labeled with only a single destination ...)

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