Freelancer: the Dyson Sphere

I just finished the main story arc in Freelancer and I must say I loved the last mission. Dyson Sphere’s have been my fascination for a long time now and I was absolutely thrilled to see one being used in this game.

If you ever played the game, you know that the scale is a tad wonky. Battleships, space stations and planets are much smaller than they should be. But the Dyson is so immense in the game that it makes you forget about all of that. When you first jump into the system in which it is located you don’t actually see a big sphere. You see something like an endless checkerboard wall in front of you. The designers actually put a planet in front of it so that you get the sense of immense scale.

The wall stretches so far and wide that it simply fades out of view. The NPC’s initially refer to it as a “barrier” because that’s what it looks like. To get inside you need to fly Star Wars style above the surface destroying power generators to kill the shield that guards the entrance hatch.

Then when you pass the hatch, you see something confusing. You see outlines of oceans, continents, mountain ranges and etc… In all directions. You roll left, and right, and you see land and sea everywhere. Then you flip around and you see a sun – and beyond it, more land. And then it hits you – you are inside of a Dyson Sphere. This is how it must feel like to enter one of those things. Mind blowing!

And yes, I know. Nitpickers will most likely point out this is not technically a “Dyson Sphere”. The original concept developed by Dyson was for a system of satellites, not for a solid sphere enclosing the sun. What you see in Freelancer is the fictional concept known as a Dyson Shell – a solid shell with a working biosphere on the inside. Apparently such as system would be unstable, and impossible to construct and maintain. But it doesn’t make it any less awesome. :mrgreen:

To bad it is a “special” location in the game. I would love to go back there and just fly around inside of it.

[tags]freelancer, dyson sphere, gaming, games, space sim, awesome[/tags]

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4 Responses to Freelancer: the Dyson Sphere

  1. Matt` UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    There was a book I read a while back, “The Time Ships” by Stephen Baxter, written as a sequel to The Time Machine. That had a Dyson shell in the far future, with morlocks living on the outside of it.

    Using the energy captured they were able to create whatever they wanted out of the surface of the shell, I think by thought – the stuff just projects itself out of the ground, and is reabsorbed when they’re done with it.

    It does sound like its impossible to actually construct a Dyson shell if once constructed there was no overall gravity acting on it, and it just floated independently of the Sun.

    I’ve always sort of wondered what would happen if you made a giant ring of metal, all the way around the planet but about 1m more than the diameter of the Earth, would it hover in midair, or would it fall to Earth on one side of the world and go 2m into the air on the other, would it somehow fall off the Earth, so the planet passes through the ring and out of it, or what.

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  2. Luke UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    Hmmm… Good question. My guess is that the ring would probably break up into pieces because of the tension. The force acting on the ring would be always toward earth. I don’t think the tension caused by the fact that this force actually points in opposite directions in different parts of the globe would transfer along the ring far enough to prevent it from breaking.

    To make it stable you would probably need to put it in the orbit. But then again, I am not a physicist.

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  3. Matt` UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    I was assuming we had a super-material, strong enough to resist such breaking forces :P

    Like.. I dunno.. carbon nanotubes reinforced with titanium, or something modelled on the internal structure of bones, but also made in nano-scale and out of something with incredible tensile strength

    Or we could put it high enough that it’s orbiting, the 1m above ground apart was just the way I first imagined it (I was imagining a continuous channel, like a drainpipe or similar, held up on little legs running all the way around the planet, then filling it with liquid metal and removing the support and watching what happens to the resulting ring of metal)

    Also, still no email notifications, although I’m starting to get into the habit of checking old topics so if it did start working again it might actually bug me :lol:

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  4. [RS]Amitabho SINGAPORE Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    If you want to go back to the Dyson Sphere and fly around, there are plenty of mods that do just that. I recommend Monkey Universe (www.monkeyuniverse.forumonline.biz), a multiplayer mod where the Nomads have returned. I suggest you join the faction Razer Squadron.

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