I noticed today that in the pilot of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Data shows Riker one of the four "walls" of the Holodeck by throwing a rock at it. Thus, it seems logical that the Holodeck would be bounded by these walls, making it the size of the actual room only. Yet, throughout the series ("The Big Goodbye", "Booby Trap", "Emergence", "Ship in a Bottle", and so on...) the Holodeck appears to extend regardless of the room and (more importantly) the characters in the Holodeck are able to move around in the environment with no limitations. Even when characters move in opposite directions, they still are not limited by the actual Holodeck room. Why is this?

tl;dr Why are there seemingly no limitations on the Holodeck with regards to area?

  • Dupe doesn't answer the question though
    – user16696
    Commented May 29, 2015 at 22:12
  • I think it comes pretty close, but whether or not the question has been sufficiently answered is irrelevant - the question has been asked before.
    – phantom42
    Commented May 29, 2015 at 22:22
  • 1
    This is just speculation, so I'm adding it as a comment, but it was always my understanding that if John and Jack enter the holodeck together and walk in opposite directions, when John turns around and sees Jack in the distance, he's actually looking at a hologram of distant-Jack. If the holodeck lost power in that moment, Jack would be standing just a few feet away.
    – Nerrolken
    Commented May 29, 2015 at 22:57
  • There is a book (IIRC one of Shatner's ones, therefore slightly non-canon) where Kirk throws a boot to determine the real extend of the holodeck. The boot gets hidden and the holodeck shows where it ends up according to the simulation, but the sound of hitting the wall allows Kirk to escape the illusion. Holodecks seem to be able to bend reality, but really they just create good illusions.
    – MauganRa
    Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 14:13

2 Answers 2


Why are there seemingly no limitations on the Holodeck with regards to area?

Lets say 2 people stand in the middle of the holodeck, activate it, and then walk in opposite directions. As they approach the walls the computer will move the ground under each person and create some forced perspective for the apparent distance. Programs could be limited to smaller open spaces that prevent participants from being both distant and in line of sight.

Another possibility is encapsulating each participant and projecting the "far away" other participant inside the capsule.

Or you just might get a "simulation error" notice and a suggestion you stay closer together.


Quite simply, the holo deck can be described as a an all encompassing projection, enhanced by force fields and even replicators when needed. This is how someone can pick up a cup and feel it. How people get wet. And even how people can free fall in it (Worf walking the plank).

notice that the floor of the holo deck is also projected upon. The use of force fields like a treadmill below a person would allow the illusion of movement. Green screen matting techniques would allow the holo deck to give the illusion of distance between two people.

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