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May 31st, 2005

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10:21 pm - Blah ...
I'm feeling vagueish and uninspired so far this week. Should have gone to the gym or at least washed the dishes tonight; instead caught up on LJ, browsed a few random news sites, channel-hopped on TV for a while.

Yesterday rwrylsin and I saw Star Wars ep III ... now I want to go back and read everyone else's reviews from the last few weeks, but it seems like too much effort to be trawling back through my friends page at skip=5million. Anyone want to stick some review links in the comments ?

Overall, I enjoyed it, and as some others have reported, I now have the urge to watch movies 4-6 again (except we don't own them), or play one of my various Star Wars computer games (except my computer is dead at the moment).
The dialogue was about as uninspiring as expected, the action was spectaular and shiny, and all (most of ?) the loose ends were tied off.
At the end I felt just a hint of Lord of the Rings-style "ending-itis" coming on, as if Lucas was working through a checklist of plotlines to close off or set up for 4-6. The Death Star shot was gratuitous, and doesn't fit well with the timeline of the other movies (Luke/Leia must be 20-ish in Ep IV, so that Death Star took 20 years to finish building (since it had just gone fully operational in IV), and yet the second one was mostly complete (enough to be functional) by Ep VI only a few years later ...
And at the beginning of the movie, having two giant battlecruisers lining up and firing broadsides at each other was ... very silly, by just about any standard. Big ships like that would never get so close to each other or a planet, instead staying at a good distance and fighting through long-range beam and projectile weapons and their fleets of fighter ships.

Still, that's the Star Wars series complete, unless some madness impels George Lucas to make films VII to IX (which would be completely unlike the rumoured madness inspiring a serious look at a script for Indiana Jones 4, including Harrison Ford (!) ).

Current Mood: blahblah

(3 touches | En garde !)


[User Picture]
Date:May 31st, 2005 09:18 pm (UTC)
Big ships like that would never get so close to each other or a planet, instead staying at a good distance and fighting through long-range beam and projectile weapons and their fleets of fighter ships.

Although most of the realism in movie and television space combat is usually predicated on the need to fit both opponents on the same small screen, it does turn fairly realistic considering the speed of the ships and the feasable ranges of beam weapons. [1] And besides, you have to be close in to the planet to stop ships jumping into or out of hyperspace from within your blockade.

In the design forum for a new space game the designer wanted to use current tech as a starting point and feasible designs, and then obliviates the need by stating the general range of combat will be measured in tens of light seconds at sizeable fractions of C (calculate the possible volume the target could occupy in such a situation). Not to mention problems with beam dispersal and focus.

[1] Although the Empire's famed dislike of droids is probably the reason why the close-in defence droids were not part of the Death Star defences. Imagine Luke doing his attack amongst as warm of the robot mosquitoes...

[User Picture]
Date:June 1st, 2005 03:26 am (UTC)
two giant battlecruisers lining up and firing broadsides

I'd been watching the naval battles in H.M.S. Defiant not long earlier, so I found this quite enjoyable. No worse than any of the
Battle of Britain-style dogfights in A New Hope or Empire Strikes Back.

From an orbital mechanics viewpoint, maybe it even makes sense: if the two ships aren't thrusting (i.e. are in free fall) then they'd better be very nearly co-orbital, or their several km/sec orbital velocities will soon separate them and the (close-quarter) fight will be over in seconds. So maybe, given the ships are to get close, it's a case of "engines stop, all hands to battle stations" until the enemy is dealt with. Or not (see below).

If you're thinking of aircraft carriers with fighters, then your model is WWII carrier battles... which were fought over the horizon, with the US and Japanese fleets not actually seeing each other. But as reverancepavane points out, then nothing fits on the screen.

What trouble me more was the Count's ship breaking up... and then apparently sinking! There are some rather severe momentum imbalances there.

[User Picture]
Date:June 6th, 2005 08:32 pm (UTC)
I think that there has to be some sort of effective contragravity system in the SW universe for all the aerocars and speeder bikes to work. So the Count's ship sinking works if the drive system was working on emergency power (after all, if i were designing such a system I'd want to compensate for possible main power failure if I were a hundred miles up). This could also explain why the back half of the ship tore away - the CG drive units there failed completely.

One of the nice things about marketing a film or book as a role-playing game is that the game designers are then obliged to fill in all the gaps in order to create a working universe, since the objectives of the authors/writers are invariably to make the universe serve the story. And then it is fun when elements of the RPG get picked up by the original series because they did manage to fill the gaps.

And the Great Pacific War (the pacific side of WWII) is the bane of most space combat game designers/players, since, American designers at least, are sooooo in love with it. Even if they start out with an entirely different canon to their Space combat theories, they almost always seem to devolve back to the concept of Carrier War (with manned fighters, no less!). The Honor Harrington series by David Weber is a prime example of this trend. We won't even mention the Star Fleet Battles game... <sigh> Just one of my design bugbears.

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