All 3 Star Wars Mini Teasers for The Force Awakens.

Only Star Wars could release a teaser for a trailer.

While we wait for the new official Star Wars The Force Awakens full trailer, which will be premiered in the middle of an american football game tonight (October 19th 2015) around 9pm EST, we can console ourselves with 3 super short 10 second Star Wars mini teasers here all in one go.  Enjoy!

 


Not seen the full latest trailer yet? Here it is!

5 Awesome Pieces of Star Wars Technology

What is your favorite piece of Star Wars Technology?

I believe one of the reasons the Star Wars universe is so popular and believable is that the core technologies of this far, far away galaxy is never explained.

There is no scientific justification or explanation on how the technology works, it just does and is used in every day life in a worn and believable universe.

If you google ‘Star Wars Technology‘, most of the articles are about real life comparisons and how some of the technologies featured in Star Wars are theoretically implausible.

This article isn’t about scientific justifications, it is a celebration of the best tech in Star Wars because after all, Star Wars is a fantasy set in a galaxy far, far away.  Star Wars is not science fiction set in a future version of our own world.

The 5 best pieces of Star Wars Technology

1. The X-Wing, dammit!

 

Jjabrams with an x-wing
Jjabrams with an x-wing

When I was a kid day-dreaming about Star Wars on a regular basis, if I had to pin down the one thing I thought about the most – it would be the X-Wing!

How cool was the Xwing?  Not only did it look super cool with its S foils locked into Attack position, it was a good all-rounder fighter craft.  The Income T-65 X-wing could be loaded with powerful Proton Torpedoes, it had shields and so could withstand much more enemy fire than an unshielded Tie-Fighter.  Finally, the X-wing also had a Hyperdrive and could therefore travel the Galaxy independently without the need of a capital ship.

2. Lightsabers!

 

Lightsaber Replica
Lightsaber Replica

In 1977 Star Wars pretty much invented the laser sword, and the word Lightsaber is a well known household label which everybody knows the meaning of, I suspect even people that have never seen Star Wars!

“Not as clumsy or as random as a blaster”.

A weapon of the Jedi Knights that protected the Galactic Republic.  The lightsaber wielding Jedi immediately reveals comparisons to the Samurai, also an honorable sect that relied on martial arts and advanced mental skills.

3. Hyperspace!

 

Hyperspace travel
Hyperspace travel

The ability to travel faster than light to reach other star systems is the stuff of any geek’s dreams.

But the Star Wars version of jumping to hyperspace is particularly inspired.  When the hyperdrive is activated and the ship begins to accelerate towards faster than light speeds, the ships pilot sees the stars pin points of light turn into ‘star lines’, after which hyperspace itself is visualized as mottled grey-blue clouds.

4. The Death Star!

 

how big is the death star
how big is the death star

The scene where the Falcon is pulled in to the Death Star’s hangar via tractor beam (another cool tech) is still one of my favorites.

The sheer size of it is awe-inspiring and the fact it is the size of a small moon allows fighters to orbit it via its equatorial trench as if it was one.  The ability to destroy a planet might be insignificant next to the power of the Force, but the Death Star is possibly the ultimate weapon of terror.

For more info about the Death Star, check out my previous article.

5. Blasters!

 

Star Wars Blaster
Star Wars Blaster

They might just be ray-guns in practice, but in Star Wars laser weapons were visualized as modern day pistols or military cannons again offering grounded reality to the Star Wars universe.  These weapons fired laser-like bolts that were actually not vaporising lasers at all, but damage inflicting gas powered energy bolts.

For more info about Star Wars Blasters, check out my previous article.

Special Mentions!

The Millennium Falcon

Because the Falcon was an individual ship rather than an identical class of many, the Falcon acted more like a character in the Star Wars movies which is emphasized when Han sadly looks at the Falcon one last time before heading off to Endor in a stolen Imperial Shuttle.

Heavily modified, the Falcon has one of the fastest hyperdrives in the galaxy. It also has uprated dual quadcannons, upgraded sensors and jammers and a concealed anti-personnel surface blaster.

The Force!

Not really a technology, but the mystical energy field that binds the galaxy together is a key element of the Star Wars universe and is used more heavily in each new movie.  This because the original movies focused on Luke Skywalker a trainee with basic force skills, whereas the prequel movies featured the Jedi Knights and their Masters in their prime.

How Dangerous Were The Star Wars Pod Racers?

“Very fast, very dangerous.” commented Qui-Gon Jinn on Star Wars Pod racers, while visiting Anakin Skywalkers home on Tatooine.

High-speed Star Wars Pod Racing harkens back to primitive eras with its traditional pod racer designs and the mortal danger seen in racing spectacles.

Pulled on flexible control cables my face in a powerful independent engines, a small open cockpit (the pod) carries a daring pilot at speeds at over 800 kilometers per hour (500mph).  Considered in its lightning-fast modern form too much for humans to manage, Star Wars Pod racing is almost exclusively carried on by other species that sport more limbs, more durable bodies, a wider range of sensory organs or other biological advantages.

Pod racing has its origins in ancient contests of animal-drawn carts, of the kind still seen in extremely primitive systems far from the space lanes.

 

Boonta Eve Classic race
Boonta Eve Classic race

Long ago a daring mechanic called Phoebos recreated the old arrangement with repulsorlift pods and flaming jet engines for a whole new level of competition and risk.

The famous first experimental race ensured Pod racing’s reputation as an incredibly dangerous and popular sport.

When pod racers line-up on the Arenas starting grid some pilots deliberately position their vehicles so the heat from their engines will hamper the path or vision of the pilots behind them.  

Races qualify for starting positions at the Mos Espa arena for a complex set of traditions that involve a combination of past performance, popularity and random chance.

Most Star Wars pod racers feature a distinctive ensign or decor scheme representing a race pilot’s rich patron, family lineage, protective deity, supporting guild, or simply colours that appeal to them.  Colourful flags bearing these emblems herald the beginning of the formal race ceremony, and dynamic racing graphics decorate the vehicals for visibility and good luck.  As with the podrace designs, the bewildering variety of ensign types seen at Mos Espa arena contributes to the dazzling spectacle of the races.

Long ago banned from most civilised systems, Pod racing is still famous on Malastare and in a few other locales.  Real pod racing aficionados however, look beyond the Republic to the rugged worlds of the Outer Rim. where Pod racing still serves as a spectacle for hundreds of thousands and vast gambling fortunes are made and lost.

This naturally makes the Hutts an accessory to most racing venues.

 

Star Wars Podracing
Star Wars Pod Racers


Constructed on Malastar and shipped to Tatooine at great expense by Jabba the Hutt, Mos Espa Arena’s pit hangar is designed to accommodate dozens of podracers and their teams.  Pit droids and mechanics use overhead cranes to lift and move pod racers when their repulsor lifts are power down. 
18 pod racers, many of them well known, qualify for the great Boota Eve race in which 9-year-old Anakin Skywalker enters his customised Radon-Ulzer. Also known as the Boonta Eve Classic, the race is held at Mos Espa on Tatooine, and is the largest annual Podrace in the galaxy.

 

Mos Espa arena
Mos Espa arena

The Boonta’s racecourse features terrifying drops and torturous curves that pose deadly challenges even to veteran competitors.  Notoriously fine-tuned machines, not all the pod racers make it as far as the starting line and several more never make it to the finish, for while mechanical breakdowns and not uncommon, the high-stakes Boonta is also menaced by discreet sabotage.

The great Boonta Eve race on tatooine is a legend among pod racers. It is here that racers congregate from widespread start systems to match thier skills and their engines against the best, in a setting largely unrefined by civilized society or its rules. Here are to be seen the most determined races, the most extreme power ratios, the most exciting experimental engines that would be illegal elsewhere, and the most underhanded tactics to be found in the sport. And it is on this stage that a 9-year-old boy named Anakin Skywalker faces the highest possible stakes with a pod racer he built himself.

Star Wars Landspeeder

Luke Skywalker owned a SoroSuub X-34 landspeeder which he convinced his Uncle Owen to purchase.

This was so that Luke could use the landspeeder to inspect and maintain the moisture vaporators on his Uncle’s farm.

The open cockpit seats a driver and a passenger and includes magnetic clamps behind the seats that can secure droids or small cargo modules.

X-34 Landspeeder
X-34 Land speeder

The windshield is designed to close fully as a sealed bubble, but Luke keeps the cockpit open as he hasn’t fixed the rear of the cockpit shield.

Luke enjoyed racing his Star Wars Landspeeder across Tatooine’s desert flats and through the deep ravines of the Dune Sea.

With his friends he practices shooting womp rats with his laser rifle while racing at almost maximum speed!

Like any landspeeder, Luke’s vehicle hovers in flight and can also hover when parked made possible by repulsor lifts. A control lever can adjust the ride height  by varying power to the repulsor emitters.

After the death of Luke’s Uncle and Aunt, Luke agrees to join Ben Kenobi to leave Tatooine and travel to Alderaan.  In order to do so, he has to sell his landspeeder for 2000 credits in order to pay Han Solo for a ride to Alderaan in the Millennium Falcon.

What Did The Star Wars Y Wing Do?

The Star Wars Y Wing was the main fighter craft for the Rebel alliance which offered versatility in an effort to combat the Imperials.

Manufactured by Koensayr, the BTL Y wing fighter was a small bomber craft suited to hit and run missions where a lot of firepower such as proton torpedoes were required.

Not the fastest snub-fighter available, but the Y wing fighter makes up for its slow speed with hyperspace capability, a large load of different weapons and shields.

BTL-A4 Y-Wing Starfighter
BTL-A4 Y Wing Starfighter

If Y wings are flown in a large group, they can stand up to nearly any type of small fighter.

In its war with the Empire, the Rebels lost more Y wings than any other craft but it was also the first Rebel fighter to have a hyper drive which allowed it to operate independently in combat without the need for capital ships. Although an R2 droid unit was required on-board to calculate hyperspace trajectories and power settings for any hyperspace jump.

The Star Wars Y wing was also the only rebel craft that was equipped with an ion canon, until the B-wing came along.  The Ion canon could disrupt a fighters electronics, effectively disabling craft instead of destroying it. However, the ion cannon was notoriously unreliable. Their crystal matrices could move out of alignment during flight and required a lot of maintenance time.

The Y wing fighter has two models that were in use by the Rebel Alliance.

The S3 was a two seater so the second pilot could control the ion canon accurately, whereas the A4 was a single seater fighter that had a more advanced hyperdrive computer for long distance missions.

Y Wing at the Rebel Base on Yavin 4
Y Wing at the Rebel Base on Yavin 4

Y wing fighter Fact File

Most of the Y wings used by the Rebel Alliance are so heavily stripped down, they hardly resemble the stock models which are completely sheathed in body shells. Because the aged ships required constant repairs and modifications, the over-worked Rebel technicians opted to remove the repair panels permanently, tired of removing them to access the inner machinery.

As well as the delicate ion-cannon system, parts of the Y wings cooling system also required maintenance after every flight. This was because the cooling system was very complex due to the Y wing running very hot for a ship of its size.

Y-wings had less visibility from the cockpit compared to later models such as the X-wing. But most of the Y wings in the Rebel fleet are over two decades old.

The twin sensor system which targeting sensor arrays were located at the front of each wing, acted as binocular range-finding. When both arrays were working, the Y wing’s targeting precision was superior to the X wings, one reason why the Y wing was the primary attack craft in the Death Star trench.

For the Battle of Yavin, the Y wings were equipped with two Arakyd proton torpedo launchers holding four MG7-A torpedoes each.

Due to limited resources and the fact that MG7-A nuclear proton torpedoes were so expensive, the X-wings were armed with a limited supply of torpedoes and Luke Skywalkers X wing was fitted with only a single pair of torpedoes for the attack against the first Death Star.

 

How BIG Is The Death Star?

The Death Star was pretty darn big, measuring 120 kilometers in diameter.

The Death Star battle station was meant to be the ultimate weapon in the Empire’s dreadful arsenal.

The Emperor had the Death Star design and constructed in secret intending to use it as a replacement of the Imperial Senate which had been giving the Emperor problems.

The first completed Death Star
The first completed Death Star

Once fully operational, the Emperor  ordered the Senate disbanded and declared that fear, fear of the Death Star would keep local star systems in line.

The first Death Star was the size of a small moon and packed with more destructive power than the entire Imperial fleet.  Understandably, the battle station required a huge crew to operate. Some 27,048 officers, 774,576 troops, pilots and crewers, 400,000 support personnel and more than 25,000 stormtroopers.

Check Availability For PlayStation 4 500GB Console – Star Wars Battlefront Bundle

The armoured shell contained the large power plants needed to energize the Death Star’s primary weapon – a planet-destroying superlaser.  The armoured shell was covered with navigation trenches, docking bays, and turbolaser turrets to fend off capital ship attacks.  Many docking bays held 7,200 TIE fighters and other small craft.

Overlooking the construction of the first Death Star
Overlooking the construction of the first Death Star

Though the Death Star demonstrated its relentless power by destroying the planet Alderaan, Rebel agents were able to discover a weakness to exploit when they stole the technical readouts for the battle station.  The Battle of Yavin ended with the destruction of the Death Star.

Though never finished, the second Death Star was larger than the original as it neared completion three years later.

The second Death Star’s measurements are more mysterious.

Some official sources claim the second Death Star could have been up to 900km wide, whereas other unofficial sources state the DS2 was only 160km in diameter. Apart from the much larger size, DS2 was also armed with an even more powerful and accurate superlaser which could be trained upon capital ships and did not depend on a 24 hour cool down period.

During the Battle of Endor, once the temporary planetary deflector shield had been taken down on the forest moon, the Rebels were able to penetrate the Death Star and destroy its power generator from within.

My Top 5 Star Wars Planets

The Star Wars movies cover many weird and wonderful Star Wars locations.

But which Star Wars Planets are your favorites?

Here are my top 5 Star Wars locations I would love to visit!  :

Endor  

Forest Moon of Endor
Forest Moon of Endor

The furthest moon from the gas giant Endor is known as the Forest Moon of Endor.

Located in a fairly remote region of space near the Unknown Regions, Endor is full of lush Forest land and home to the native tribe-like Ewoks.

Like the Wookies, the Ewoks live in huts high above the ground among the tall trees.

Although a very primitive technological race, the Ewoks helped the Rebel Alliance defeat the Empires ground forces during the Battle of Endor which culminated in the destruction of the second Death Star.

Coruscant

Planet Coruscant
Planet Coruscant

Coruscant known as the political center of the galaxy, is almost completed covered in cities and buildings.

Because Coruscant has been over populated for many millenia, no natural bodies of water are visible on the planets surface.

The only water body is artificial called the Western Sea build for tourism and holiday makers.

The many levels of buildings which cover almost all of the surface of the planet total over 5100 levels!

The undercity below the top levels surface is considered dangerous with plenty of poverty and crime. Inhabitants of the undercity called Twilighters do not normally get to see natural sun light from high above and have to live in artificial light.

Mon Calamari

Mon Calamari
Mon Calamari

Also known as Mon Cala, or Dac, Mon Calamari is a sea planet home to the aquatic species of the same name and also the Quarren.

The Mon Calamari lived on the surface of the oceans in cities built on the surface and also in floating cities which orbited the planet.

The Quarrens however lived underwater in the deeps of the sea and were often at odds with the Mon Calamari.

The Quarren nearly became extinct when they were defeating in a civil war with the Mon Calamari.

The once peaceful species, the Mon Calamari were famous for their skill at constructing huge starships and were so instrumental in assisting the Rebel Alliance defeat the Empire.

Naboo

Planet Naboo
Planet Naboo

A beautiful and fairly untouched planet, placed on the map due to being the homeworld of Padme Amidala and Emperor Palpatine.

Naboo is covered in swamps, rolling plains, hills and seas.

As well as humans who settled in Naboo 4000 years ago, a native tribal species called the Gungan live in cities underwater and also have shrines on the surface called Sacred Places.

Yavin 4

The fourth moon of Yavin
The fourth moon of Yavin

The fourth moon of Yavin is tropical and as a result covered in jungle and rain forest.

The old Massassi temples were used by the Rebel Alliance as a base during the Battle of Yavin which culminated in the destruction of the first Death Star.

Before its destruction, the Death Star was attempting to circum-navigate the red gas giant Yavin in order to get a clear shot at destroying Yavin 4,

The largely uninhabited moon would later be used by Luke Skywalker as a Jedi Academy.

Is the Star Wars Tie Fighter Game one of the best games ever?

The Tie Fighter game is possibly the best game ever made.

At a time when the PC games market was thriving, and Star Wars video games were actually pretty good, along came the sequel to X-wing which set the bench mark for Space Combat simulators for many years to come.

In this day and age of dominant consoles and a leaning toward more friendly mainstream arcade style gaming, it is worth explaining that the Xwing series was a fairly hard core simulator which required a combination of flight stick and keyboard for the many controls available.

Tie Fighter DOS

Tie Fighter DOS

 

Whilst dogfighting and dodging enemy fighters, you also had to keep an eye on your shields and when required change the direction of your shields and adjust the power levels which routed to your shields, weapons and engines.  You could also adjust your firing configuration and in later games such as Tie Fighter you could even change sub-targets from your targeting computer.

The difficulty of these games was also fairly realistic, if you tried to face an entire group of enemy ships head on you were very likely to die or sustain significant damage.

The Tie Fighter game smoothed out the ride somewhat, not only were the visuals and audio improved, but the gameplay generally felt more slick and seemed to flow a lot easier.  One of the reasons for this was the fact you could now match your speed with your targets speed whilst in pursuit.  A small thing, but this made a big difference to combat.

The Tie Fighter game featured ‘Gouraud Shading’ which gave the low polygon models a smoother look and also featured more detailed craft.

 

 

But the best thing about the Tie Fighter game was the story and the fact you could play for the evil empire.  The missions were well structured and became more complex as the game progressed and it felt very cool rising up the ranks of the Empire elite.

Towards the end of the game you get to fly the kick-ass Tie-Defender which was so powerful it had to be toned down or made unavailable in future Xwing games.

Tie Fighter still is the only Star Wars game that is based exclusively from the perspective of the Empire and also the only Star Wars game that plays the Imperial March during the opening crawl.

Best game ever?  Very possibly!

In 2014, Tie Fighter as well as many other classic Star Wars games became available on gog.com, re-released for play on modern PCs.

Star Wars Battlefront PS4 vs Xbox One

It is meer hours since the Star Wars Battlefront beta has been released and it is already clear which console version has the technical superiority.

Digital Foundry has analysed both the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the Star Wars Battlefront Beta.

To cut to the chase, the PS4 version runs at 900P resolution, whereas the Xbox One version is set at a rather noticeable 720P.

Star Wars Battlefront Beta PS4
Star Wars Battlefront Beta PS4

Also scrutinized was the fact that the Xbox One version struggled to maintain a 60FPS frame rate during busy action scenes.  The gameplay very often dropped to 50FPS much more frequently than the PS4 version. This isn’t a major point arguably, but when you consider the Xbox One version is only rendering 64%  of detail of the PS4 version, there really is only one victor here.

Going forwards, it looks like 900P will be the benchmark resolution for this generation of consoles (at least on PS4) which brings the display quality very close to most gaming PCs 1080P setup.

Here is what Digital Foundry had to say :

It hasn’t happened. Battlefront on Xbox One is fixed at 720p, meaning that it runs at 64 per cent of the PS4’s overall pixel count. From an image quality perspective, the compromises are just as you’d expect; we see more aliased edges, and a higher level of shimmering on fine distant detail – particularly on Tatooine’s flag-lines. Added to that, there’s a softening to the picture as a whole – a result of a more drastic upscale, combined with a similar grade of post-process anti-aliasing to PS4.

We’re left with a similar state of affairs to Battlefield 4, but there are some positives. If you can look past Xbox One’s lower resolution, the actual content of the game is identical to PS4, and a decent match for PC’s high graphics settings. It means texture and shadow quality are the same between both consoles, as is the use of tessellated geometry across the floor, giving textures a 3D ‘pop’ effect. The Battlefront beta’s three included maps give us some of the best-realised Star Wars locales in videogame form, and both consoles get the goods in this sense.

As an insight into Star Wars Battlefield’s state ahead of its November launch, it’s fair to say PS4’s beta is in the healthier shape. With a clearer image and the better average frame-rate of the two consoles, the strong suggestion right now is that the PS4 version is the one to gun for on launch.

Was the Star Wars Clone Wars 2003 the best cartoon ever?

The Star Wars Clone Wars 2003 show was an animated mini-series produced by Cartoon Network in association with Lucasfilm.

The Star Wars clone wars mini series story is set in between the movies Episodes 2 and 3 and was aired between 2003 and 2005.

The plot focuses on the continuing battle between the Jedi and their clone army versus the Droid armies and the Sith.

Often overlooked by many Star Wars fans, perhaps because of the disappointing Attack Of The Clones movie that the Clone Wars 2003 series followed.

Star Wars The Clone Wars 2003
Star Wars The Clone Wars 2003

However, the Clone Wars mini series is a very well made cartoon with high production values, fast paced action, sparing use of comedy and a great attention to detail.

The series (volumes one and two) received high critical acclaim and won several Emmy awards.

The first two seasons (or volumes) are not to be confused with the later seasons which were produced by CGI.

The general tone of the animated series is surprisingly serious respecting the movies lore and in some respects take itself more seriously than the movies, certainly episodes one and two!

You even get to see the introduction of General Grievous!

So if you haven’t watched Star Wars The Clone Wars 2003 before, I would recommend it!

Star Wars Clone Wars 2003
Star Wars Clone Wars 2003

Clone Wars mini series 2003 fact file

The animated series of the Clone Wars 2003 was created by Genndy Tartakovsky who was finishing Samurai Jack when Lucasfilm asked him to produce some one-minute shorts about the Clone Wars.

Tartakovsky has mentioned that Lucasfilm wanted to do a cartoon series because sales of action figures from the prequel movies were less than expected.

Tartakovsky agreed to do the work provided he could make longer 3-5 minute ‘episodes’. The 2003 series has a strong military feel, heavily focused on the different battles of the Clone Wars.

Once approved by Lucasfilm, Tartakovsky produced 20 episodes that ran to 3 minutes each. These were then spread across the first two seasons (volume one). Due to the series success, five more longer episodes of 12-15 minutes were produced making up season 3 (volume 2).

George Lucas liked the show so much that he let employees of Cartoon Network see Revenge of the Sith two days before the official release of the movie.