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Feature: 'Halo Science 101'

In this latest Gamasutra main feature, Kevin R. Grazier, Ph.D., who also serves as the scientific advisor for the Sci Fi channel's television series Battlestar Galactica, presents a
In this latest Gamasutra main feature, Kevin R. Grazier, Ph.D., who also serves as the scientific advisor for the Sci Fi channel's television series Battlestar Galactica, presents an excerpt from the book 'Halo Effect,' an unauthorized collection of essays based on Bungie and Microsoft's bestselling series. In the following extract, Grazier discusses how a detailed fictional universe can help spur the imaginations of its fans, as exemplified by not only Halo, but a host of other popular representatives of the science fiction genre as well: “Fans of science fiction media willingly allow ourselves to believe that the Enterprise can transport people by converting them to energy and subsequently reconstructing them, that Galactica has artificial gravity, and that the Millennium Falcon can, in fact, make the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs. We accept a measure of unproven (faster-than-light travel), or even highly implausible (light sabers), science and technology if it’s interwoven with a ripping good yarn.” He later adds: “If the universe, characters, or story is particularly compelling, one might choose to wander that universe of his or her own accord. The internet is full of bulletin boards where members compare and contrast the capabilities of the Viper Mark II with the Mark VIII, or debate whether or not you would take the blue pill or the red one. Of course, this is just a high-tech version of science fiction fellowship and escapism that has already existed at science fiction conventions for decades. Succinctly put, it can be fun to play in somebody else’s sandbox. The Halo universe, detailed in the video games, novels, and upcoming movie, is a richly detailed one and lends itself well to such musings. An entire book could be written about the science and physics, both explicit and implied, within the Halo universe, but with only a little scientific knowledge we can have a lot of fun simply musing about a spinning ringed megastructure—suspended between a planet and its moon—that doubles as a research facility and a superweapon.” You can read to complete feature here, which offers a detailed analysis of the science behind Bungie's Halo universe, including looks at the plausibility of the game's Ringworld-like structures, planetary bodies, and what effects gravity would play in combat on a Halo.

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