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Poor Design Choices In the Star Wars Universe

CmdrTaco posted about 5 years ago | from the there-are-so-many dept.

Star Wars Prequels 832

Ant writes "John Scalzi's AMC blog shows a short guide to the most epic FAILs in Star Wars design — 'I'll come right out and say it: Star Wars has a badly-designed universe; so poorly-designed, in fact, that one can say that a significant goal of all those Star Wars novels is to rationalize and mitigate the bad design choices of the movies. Need examples? Here's ten ...'"

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At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 5 years ago | (#29133483)

R2-D2
Sure, he's cute, but the flaws in his design are obvious the first time he approaches anything but the shallowest of stairs. Also: He has jets, a periscope, a taser and oil canisters to make enforcer droids fall about in slapsticky fashion -- and no voice synthesizer. Imagine that design conversation: "Yes, we can afford slapstick oil and tasers, but we'll never get a 30-cent voice chip past accounting. That's just madness."

I believe his primary function is a flight droid so they were built to interface with ships. Not a lot else. John Scalzi seems to suffer from the "must have everything" school of thought and doesn't think the future will focus on minimalism and getting one thing right. Thank god he's not writing software and just another hot air blogger. I reject Episodes I, II & III so I don't know what he's talking about with the oil slick and jets.

C-3PO
Can't fully extend his arms; has a bunch of exposed wiring in his abs; walks and runs as if he has the droid equivalent of arthritis. And you say, well, he was put together by an eight-year-old. Yes, but a trip to the nearest Radio Shack would fix that. Also, I'm still waiting to hear the rationale for making a protocol droid a shrieking coward, aside from George Lucas rummaging through a box of offensive stereotypes (which he'd later return to while building Jar-Jar Binks) and picking out the "mincing gay man" module.

Again, you're overlooking his primary function. C-3PO is a protocol droid designed to serve humans, and boasts that he is fluent "in over six million forms of communication." So he's got arthritis, well, you didn't build him to be flexible or fight. You built him to look pretty and translate. Everything else is bells and whistles. I think he was meant to stand in a corner for some rich merchant or politician and translate any language imaginable. Are you going to tell me that my car is flawed because I couldn't afford a $20 toaster to put in the dash?

Death Star
An unshielded exhaust port leading directly to the central reactor? Really? And when you rebuild it, your solution to this problem is four paths into the central core so large that you can literally fly a spaceship through them? Brilliant. Note to the Emperor: Someone on your Death Star design staff is in the pay of Rebel forces. Oh, right, you can't get the memo because someone threw you down a huge exposed shaft in your Death Star throne room.

Uh, the second Death Star was never completed, you idiot. The rebels learned about it and attacked it before it had everything completed so anything like "four paths to the central core" or "exposed shafts" could well have been necessary during its construction. Haven't you seen Clerks or watched Robot Chicken's parody of Palpatine trying to talk to the foreman?

But Luke's X-34 speeder on Tatooine? The Yugo of speeders, man. One hard stop, and out you go.

He's a farmer. You should have seen the "vehicles" and ATVs I drove while working on farms. One was a modified bus with huge water tanks on the back and an upside down bucket for a seat. They make a Yugo look like a dream car. Are you going to complain about the blast marks and carbon scoring adorning the rag tag rebel ships next?

So easy to rip apart. And you know, he doesn't offer anything constructive. Like the asteroid worm. He would have enjoyed it more if space in the Star Wars galaxy was like our space? Dead, uninhabited and void? George Lucas isn't a god but he sure thought up some neat ideas for a universe that John Scalzi will never come close to.

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (5, Funny)

Red4man (1347635) | about 5 years ago | (#29133529)

Hell hath no fury like a fanboi's scorn.

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29133667)

Clearly you never met a girl.

                    --Hate from Satan in Hell.

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (4, Funny)

Red4man (1347635) | about 5 years ago | (#29133749)

Women aren't nearly as obsessive as Fanbois. Ever seen Fatal Attraction? Nothing compared to a fanboi.

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29133873)

It takes many poor choices of men before a woman decides to hate all men. A fanboi just needs one person outside his/her (well, okay, his) fandom to convince him to hate all people — man, woman, or child, living, dead, or imaginary — outside said fandom.

I'm not taking my chances with the fanbois.

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (3, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 5 years ago | (#29133999)

True, true. For example *this* fanboy can't stand Science stories that have no science. Like Star Wars. It's really just a classic medieval knights-and-dragons-and-ladies fairy tale.

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (4, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | about 5 years ago | (#29133619)

I see you didn't defend the Storm Trooper armor...

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 5 years ago | (#29133767)

I see you didn't defend the Storm Trooper armor...

Oh, well, I'm not stupid. Tons of things in the SW universe make absolutely no sense. The storm trooper uniforms are stupid, kind of remind me of French Legionnaire uniforms [wikipedia.org] that always made me laugh when I saw someone dressed like that in the desert. The red flags on your shoulders make you stick out like a sore thumb regardless of where you are.

So there's something that actually existed much like the storm trooper armor. Somethings are meant to intimidate rather than camouflage, perhaps the storm trooper armor is there to let you know that you don't stand a chance? To be distinctive? It's a stretch but it's stupid. Looked really badass when I was a kid though.

A lot of these arguments apply to many sci-fi/fantasy works, not just SW so why waste your time on the critical analysis. Are you bettering society? Congratulations, you just tore apart something that was made over three decades ago.

He should have stuck to the physical aspects of the universe like noise in space and being able to see laser shots from the side ... oh, that's right, we've been over this before on Slashdot, with our friends, in popular mechanics, everywhere. My grandfather commented on the "wings" of ships that seemed to spend all their time in space.

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (2, Insightful)

SOdhner (1619761) | about 5 years ago | (#29133863)

Are you bettering society?

Are you? Relax, it's just a funny article pointing out some absurd stuff from a popular series. That's it. It doesn't need to solve world hunger.

He should have stuck to the physical aspects of the universe like noise in space and being able to see laser shots from the side

Because that would TOTALLY better society. Good call.

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (5, Funny)

TWX (665546) | about 5 years ago | (#29133907)

I think that the entire point of the stormtrooper uniform is to emphasize the mechanistic, monolithic nature of stormtroopers. It also makes sense in the context of stormtroopers all being clones.

If anything, it's masterful in the sense that if you kill them you don't see biological signs of having done so. They come at you like a horde and shooting one down only means that the next one in line is right there.

Remember, in the Star Wars universe, the people pretty much willingly gave themselves over to Palpatine. After the sham clone wars, the stormtroopers are a reminder of the government, a control, a deterrent. Their effectiveness as one's vanguard is shown to be mixed at best, with officers doing the decision making and fighting (in the mech walking units, on ships, etc), so they exist to remind the populace of the overarching presence of the empire, not to necessarily actually do a good job enforcing it when push comes to shove.

I have my other problems with the Star Wars universe, mind you, and I'm definitely no rabid fan, but it's an amusing series to watch if you ignore the recent three movies.

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (2)

AndrewNeo (979708) | about 5 years ago | (#29134069)

The clone troopers (Ep. 2 and 3) were clones, the storm troopers (Ep. 4, 5, and 6) were not.

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (4, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | about 5 years ago | (#29134023)

Are you bettering society? I think so. Kids learn a lot from TV. Why should they not be instructed that you don't need wings in space? You can't hear sound in space? Light goes much faster? Etc.

On slashdot, of all places, I would have thought debunking scientific fiction that is not at all "scientific" or even "logical"/"good thinking" would be encouraged :)

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (5, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 5 years ago | (#29134173)

>>>why waste your time on the critical analysis. Are you bettering society?

Yes. Whenever you point-out, "This could never happen," you improve the general education levels. The American public is already woefully-stupid when it comes to science, so any article that tries to improve knowledge is a good thing. For example - No sounds do not exist in space, even though many think it does. I like one of the comments below the article:

But a "city planet"? Coruscant is the center, capital and most populous planet, we're told. So either there exist vast factories pumping out nitrogen and oxygen, or its life thrives on a hearty stew of carbon dioxide, ozone and heavy metals.

George Lucas stole that idea from Isaac Asimov who created the center of his Galactic Empire as a citywide planet (circa 1935). As Asmiov explained the planet was originally a farming planet just like any other, but as the 20,000 years of the empire's existence continued, it was paved-over with steel and buildings and bureaucracy.

In order to survive, the "cityplanet" relied on imports to bring-in food and water, and also exports to remove waste. Much like how our modern New York City survives. After Asimov's Galactic Empire fell, the ~50 billion people who lived on the center planet literally starved to death, and those who survived removed the steel, crushed the bones for fertilizer, and reverted back to subsistence-level farming.

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | about 5 years ago | (#29133779)

I see you didn't defend the Storm Trooper armor...

The armor is easier to defend than their marksmanship [wikipedia.org] ;)

Here we have the pride of the Empire. A professional solider who was cloned from stock hand selected to be the most effective killing machine possible. He spends every waking minute either training for battle or fighting in one. There's Han Solo, less than ten meters away. Avowed enemy of the empire. Working with the terrorist Luke Skywalker to try and overthrow the Emperor. He's ours now! The Stormtrooper raises his blaster to his shoulder, aims, fires....... and misses!

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (3, Interesting)

Khashishi (775369) | about 5 years ago | (#29133811)

Storm Trooper armor is riot gear. It's for protecting against rocks and small arms while they beat down demonstrators. Most non-smugglers won't have access to a blaster capable of blowing through one. Presumably, a gunpowder rifle wouldn't penetrate the armor, which is why the characters use loud and slow firing blasters.

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29133879)

... It's for protecting against rocks ...

That sure helped them against the ewoks.

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (3, Insightful)

agentgonzo (1026204) | about 5 years ago | (#29134001)

Storm Trooper armor is riot gear. It's for protecting against rocks and small arms while they beat down demonstrators.

You mean like those Ewoks that they thoroughly quashed on the moon of Endor?

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29134043)

If a rock thrown by a 3 foot tall fuzzy teddy bear can incapacitate a storm trooper, I'm betting a gunpowder rifle could do some hefty damage.

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (0, Redundant)

Desler (1608317) | about 5 years ago | (#29134155)

Did someone never watch Return of the Jedi? They were knocked over by small twigs and tiny stones with that armor on.

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | about 5 years ago | (#29133623)

Dude, you've got too much time on your hands ;)

I rather liked the attitude that JMS had about this kind of stuff. One time a fan asked him "How fast do starfuries go?" and his response was "They move at the speed of plot"

If the plot makes sense and the universe remains consistent about it's own rules then who cares how functional RD2D would be in our universe or how badly designed the weapons of Star Trek are?

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (5, Interesting)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 5 years ago | (#29134087)

Dude, you've got too much time on your hands ;)

I rather liked the attitude that JMS had about this kind of stuff. One time a fan asked him "How fast do starfuries go?" and his response was "They move at the speed of plot"

If the plot makes sense and the universe remains consistent about it's own rules then who cares how functional RD2D would be in our universe or how badly designed the weapons of Star Trek are?

Part of proper world-building is making it make sense. I appreciate it when an artist goes about creating a mythical fantasy beast and puts effort into figuring out the biomechanics. I laugh when I see something like a four-armed giant depicted where he's drawn with a bog-standard human chest and the second set of arms is just shoved in a foot down from the first. No, a four-armed giant would have a chest a whole lot different from ours!

If you design a fantasy spaceship, figure out what the parts are for! Yes, it's all make-believe, but you end up with a stronger design if you can justify what you're slapping on the model. I had this argument with a designer on a project, he wanted to have all the clips on the guns curving backwards instead of forwards, just to be different. I asked him if he even knew why clips curved forward in the real world. He wasn't sure. I told him it was because bullets are slightly conic and if you stack them they would naturally curve. You don't really see that in handgun cartridges but it makes a difference for the kind you put in assault rifles. He finally conceded to reason there and the weapons looked more sensible as a result.

So, as for the guy's comments in order:

R2D2: yeah, it seems like he should have a voice chip, he could speak in text through the X-Wing's computer as we saw in Empire. But everyone seems to understand him just fine, Han understands Chewie just fine, so it's not an issue. R2D2 is like the Lassie of droids.

C3P0: The reason why he walks like he's got a rod up his ass is because it's a complicated, uncomfortable costume. I promise you he wouldn't walk like that if he were CGI.

Lightsaber: They're incredible dangerous weapons to begin with and you need to be a Jedi to use them. I don't think the Jedi even need handguards.

Blasters: it's all part of the scifi schtick. Given the tech level of star wars, a conventional gun would be just as likely to give you away. Today we've got special microphones and radar that can tell the secret service exactly where a gunshot came from. In 20 years, I would not be surprised if this tech was available in helmets and onboard displays could give an augmented reality flag to where the shooter came from. A blaster would be just as subtle.

Landspeeder: Are you serious? Rednecks drive their pickups without seatbelts all the time. I don't see belts on quadrunners. It would be more appropriate to ask about the lack of five-point restraints at the crewstations on Federation starships and why the consoles all carry safety grenades that explode in combat.

Death Star: Yeah, the unshielded reactor on the first one was dumb. Lucas wanted to steal the bombing sequence from the Dam Busters and needed a plausible reason to recreate that. This necessitated a starship as big as a moon to provide the landscape, a trench to fly down to be like the first movie and some suitable target at the end that could blow the whole thing up. There was historical precedent for something like this with the Bismarck where obsolete biplanes managed to land a single torpedo at the only point on the ship where they could do damage, the rudder. Didn't sink the Bismarck but rendered it lame and set the stage for the final surface battle which sunk her.

Stormtrooper outfits: Yeah, poor visibility in the helmets is a problem. Lucas wanted these guys to all be covered up and not visibly human because it removed the human association with violence. The troopers could just as easily have been Cylons in that getup. But you'd think the helmets would have had some augmented reality viewscreen to give them better visibility. Maybe Luke didn't know how to turn it on. You can retcon that. You can't retcon how poor they are at blocking blaster bolts. While it doesn't ruin the whole movie, it's certainly a flaw to point out.

Sarlaac: It's just an ant-lion magnified to a colossal scale. The ant-lions around my place seem to be doing fine. If you're going to nitpick it, ask why being digested over a thousand years is such a big deal. Shouldn't you suffocate upon ingestion? Doesn't make much difference to you what your corpse is doing after that.

Asteroid worm: And you're not going to complain about the shirtsleeve atomsphere in the worm gut? Look, it's science fantasy. The roid worm is just another one of those things that's supposed to be huge, fantastic, and make you go WHOA! when you see it. That's what the movie is designed to do, draw gasps of awe and amazement from audiences. Same goes with the Sarlaac.

Midichlorians: The nu-trilogy does not exist.

If you really want to nitpick, why do they design fighters to require an external loading of astromechs from the outside? Wouldn't it make more sense to put the loading hatch in the bottom so the mech could be winched in on its own? How come none of the starships have forward-facing thrusters for deceleration? We never see them flip the ships over to decelerate, they just cut engines and drift to a stop. How come when two ships meet in space they're always facing right-side up? What if the captain on the other ship was a card and ordered the helsman to put the ship into a slow roll, would the other ship be forced to match? Why is it we know a ship is in distress because it's out of proper orientation? "Oh, look! They can't orient themselves to our plane of reference! They must be damaged!"

And to bring it back to Star Wars, if Leia knew they were let go and that the escape was just too easy, why did she fly directly to the sekrit Rebel base instead of meeting at a safehouse somewhere? They still would have been tracked but R2 could have had the data offloaded and analyzed with a bit more peace and quiet. And the Rebels must have some mad hackers on their end to be able to look through a set of plans like the Death Star's and found that fatal flaw in twenty minutes. Microsoft wouldn't stand a chance.

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29133709)

Like the asteroid worm.

Actually, I agree with him on the asteroid worm, what does it eat? Obviously it can't count on spaceships for breakfast ("you aren't actually flying INTO and asteroid field?!?") so what does that leave, asteroids? yummy.

The Sarlak (at least in the old version of the movies) is plausible in the fact that it didn't move much so its energy reqs would be minimal, and it did have a decent sand trap to force stupid creatures in. How it mates or even creates/maintains that sand trap is a bit of a mystery.

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (1)

navygeek (1044768) | about 5 years ago | (#29133925)

The worm called for takeout. Haven't you seen Robot Chicken?

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (2, Insightful)

Abreu (173023) | about 5 years ago | (#29133715)

Also, you have to give credit to the fact that a lot of the things that are "obvious" for us were not necesarily so for someone in the seventies.

Like the fact that Luke drives a fast convertible without any seatbelts or rollbars (unthinkable now, but common then)

Also, some depictions of minorities are considered offensive now, but were ok in the seventies and eighties (nevertheless, that's no excuse for Jar-Jar)

In any case, the original article writer needs to repeat MST3K's Mantra [tvtropes.org] , until he feels better...

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (3, Insightful)

agentgonzo (1026204) | about 5 years ago | (#29133889)

I see the Sarlac as something akin to the venus fly trap. In fact, comparing the Sarlac to a venus-fly-trap makes this blog sound laughable: "A monstrous yet immobile plant that lives in an exposed pit ..., waiting for animals to apparently feel suicidal and trek out to throw themselves in? Yeah, not so much. Not every Sarlaac can count on an army of ants to feed it tidbits." And before everyone replies with "well the Venus fly trap has sugary treats or whatever to attract prey", how do we know that the Sarlac doesn't have something similar and Jabba's just flinging people in as a humourous way to dispose of his enemies?

Design safety (3, Funny)

TheLink (130905) | about 5 years ago | (#29133959)

Yeah and a long long time ago in a galaxy far away they obviously didn't have such stuff like OSHA.

Or they'd have railings to stop people from falling into pits and other nasties...

Clearly it's a galaxy where they didn't have warning stickers on lightsabers to tell people "This way to enemy", or "Do not point lightsaber at remaining head".

But still...

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29133751)

"John Scalzi seems to suffer from the "must have everything" school of thought and doesn't think the future will focus on minimalism and getting one thing right."
Since when do these movies start out "A LONG TIME FROM NOW...."

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (1)

LaRoach (968977) | about 5 years ago | (#29133769)

Which is worse? They guy (presumably) getting paid to write about Star Wars on a movie blog or the guy defending Star Wars on Slashdot? Whatever you do, don't read Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex!

Star Wars is Fantasy, Not Science Fiction (2, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | about 5 years ago | (#29133859)

It's always been about epic myths and magic, Good versus Evil, Greek Tragedy, etc. Except on different planets, not in a mist-shrouded past of Earth. To criticize it's light saber technology is like criticizing Xena's chakram physics.

Re:Star Wars is Fantasy, Not Science Fiction (1, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | about 5 years ago | (#29133951)

To criticize it's light saber technology is like criticizing Xena's chakram physics.

I wouldn't mind a chance to try out some physics experiments with Xena ;) Or Gabrielle for that matter. Least before they made her into a damn blonde.

I'm sorry, what were you talking about again?

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29133923)

as for his critique of the storm troopers there are many different types although most are not seen in the movies. but sometimes you just want to make an intimidating statement something that large groups of gleaming white troops can do. their armor could have been better yes but for the most part I think they would be used to stop small arms fire from ragged disorganized rebels. Remember from the star wars 3 they only really had to fight the jedi. oh those Midi-Chlorians maybe how you use them is just as important to having them. and finally those creatures he has a problem with might have really low metabolisms, it is amazing how much energy you can spend chasing your next meal.

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (1)

hardburn (141468) | about 5 years ago | (#29133945)

Agreed, a lot of this just seems silly and nitpicky. He doesn't even bring out the really big ones, like measuring speed in parsecs, the complete lack of railings around giant drops, and how "R2D2" and "C3PO" are too short to be unique identifiers in a huge, galaxy-wide society with lots of droids around.

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (1)

IorDMUX (870522) | about 5 years ago | (#29133961)

Good points, eldavojohn. Here are a few more thoughts regarding Stormtrooper armor and Blasters:

First off, blaster != laser gun. The official materials state how a blaster is supposed to be shooting some sort of highly energized packet of Tibanna Gas sealed in a way to deliver its explosive energies to a target. So yes, it is a projectile weapon, not a pulsed laser beam.

Why use blasters, then? First off, the blaster bolt is much more damaging than a standard projectile of equivalent mass, while having far less kickback than a rifle with similar destructive powers. Also, Stormtrooper armor can easily stop your average bullet! Got that? That is also one of the reasons for Stormtrooper armor. Also, the armor itself is seen to often be impenetrable to blaster bolts. There are plenty of instances in the movies when you can see a shot 'wing' a Stormtrooper or simply impact on the chest plate without disabling the Stormtrooper. A large number of the disabling shots in the movies actually hit joints in the armor (either the heroes are guided by the Force, or just sick-lucky).

Midi-Chlorians?

...These aren't the droids you're looking for.

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | about 5 years ago | (#29134071)

I believe his primary function is a flight droid so they were built to interface with ships. Not a lot else. John Scalzi seems to suffer from the "must have everything" school of thought and doesn't think the future will focus on minimalism and getting one thing right. Thank god he's not writing software and just another hot air blogger. I reject Episodes I, II & III so I don't know what he's talking about with the oil slick and jets.

Nice try, except that he DOES communicate with Luke, constantly, and apparently ALL astro-mechs communicate with their pilots audibly.

In this case, there is absolutely no reason NOT to design them with a voice chip other than to screw with your customers. Same with the wheels, why not tracks? It doesn't make any difference for interfacing with the ship, since they have to make allowances for the arms and wheels that stick out on three sides of the 'bot already. I like R2-D2, but a third grader could come up with a better design.

Again, you're overlooking his primary function. C-3PO is a protocol droid designed to serve humans, and boasts that he is fluent "in over six million forms of communication." So he's got arthritis, well, you didn't build him to be flexible or fight. You built him to look pretty and translate. Everything else is bells and whistles. I think he was meant to stand in a corner for some rich merchant or politician and translate any language imaginable. Are you going to tell me that my car is flawed because I couldn't afford a $20 toaster to put in the dash?

Again, you're purposely overlooking terrible design. He is a communications droid that cannot do sign language and does not understand body language, nor communicate good body language. Body language is 90% of all communciation - a good protocol droid would be more like a stuffy assistant with excellent body language and fluent in 6 million languages - including sign language. There is no reason for him not to have human level or nearly human level range of motion. The technology required to make him stand on two legs and stay on two legs is vastly more complicated than allowing his arms to move around.

Uh, the second Death Star was never completed, you idiot. The rebels learned about it and attacked it before it had everything completed so anything like "four paths to the central core" or "exposed shafts" could well have been necessary during its construction. Haven't you seen Clerks or watched Robot Chicken's parody of Palpatine trying to talk to the foreman?

Why were there four paths to the central core? Why did they need to lead to the central core? When building a building, it's not necessary that the back door be a straight shot to the generator. In fact, common sense tells you that something vulnerable to attack should be well hidden and protected, and not have its sole protection be a shield generated on another planet. In real life, the first Death Star would have had a bend somewhere in the shaft, taking the chances of blowing the entire station up with a shot down an exhaust pipe from a million to one down to zero. For the Second, they would have put friggin doors (you know, like in the docking bay?) up if they needed ship access (dunno why they would, they have ship access elsewhere and one assumes they would design a way to get heavy equipment down there). The four huge tunnels were far more than they needed for exhaust.

He's a farmer. You should have seen the "vehicles" and ATVs I drove while working on farms. One was a modified bus with huge water tanks on the back and an upside down bucket for a seat. They make a Yugo look like a dream car. Are you going to complain about the blast marks and carbon scoring adorning the rag tag rebel ships next?

That was his car, not an ATV. It was designed for passenger carry, as can obviously be seen, and it was unmodified. He even complains about how un-popular it is since the new models came out. On Coruscant they had ones just like it but were much nicer, and more expensive. Those could even go up and down, very very handy for a farm vehicle, and those were obviously just cars too. How many ATV's did you drive that had bench seating and no storing or towing capacity? It certainly wasn't an "off road" vehicle, it needed flat land to hover over. So what exactly was he using it for, other than as a car?

In other words, you're trying to do exactly what the author said Star Wars novelists have had to do - try to explain the poor design choices. If they were good design choices, you wouldn't need to come up with odd scenarios to explain them.

Rip it apart my ass.

Actually, an apologist could probably do better (1)

Moraelin (679338) | about 5 years ago | (#29134089)

I believe his primary function is a flight droid so they were built to interface with ships. Not a lot else. John Scalzi seems to suffer from the "must have everything" school of thought and doesn't think the future will focus on minimalism and getting one thing right. Thank god he's not writing software and just another hot air blogger. I reject Episodes I, II & III so I don't know what he's talking about with the oil slick and jets.

Except he seemed to interface with people too all the time, and that annoying beep has no other function than interfacing with humans. (Interfacing with ships is done much better by faster protocols.) So essentially he already _has_ that module, but it's a half-arsed dysfunctional thing. So, yes, it has no excuse. If he lacked any voice output entirely, then I'd see your point. But that's not the case.

Again, you're overlooking his primary function. C-3PO is a protocol droid designed to serve humans, and boasts that he is fluent "in over six million forms of communication." So he's got arthritis, well, you didn't build him to be flexible or fight. You built him to look pretty and translate. Everything else is bells and whistles. I think he was meant to stand in a corner for some rich merchant or politician and translate any language imaginable. Are you going to tell me that my car is flawed because I couldn't afford a $20 toaster to put in the dash?

Except have you looked at what an executive limo has, since you brought up a car metaphor? C3PO is the equivalent of making one, but then skipping on suspension and sound-dampening. It's that freaking retarded.

The whole point is that he's a robot for the rich and powerful. (Your average nerf herder probably couldn't afford one, nor need to translate from and to six million languages.) Yet he looks like an unfinished contraption thrown together in someone's tool shed.

Does it look to you like something you'd see a non-techie CEO walking around with, at a meeting with other billionaires? Really?

Plus, IRL talks and negotiations happen in all sorts of settings, not just in meeting rooms. Probably more deals are really done on the golf course, or at some social event, or at some trade show, than in meeting rooms. Does a noisy and clumsy metal contraption really sound to you like just the kind of thing you'd want whirring and clunking around while you're trying to network with the rich and powerful at, say, a ball of some planetary royal family? You're sooo going to seamlessly mingle with that think following you around.

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (5, Insightful)

eln (21727) | about 5 years ago | (#29134097)

C-3PO is a protocol droid designed to serve humans, and boasts that he is fluent "in over six million forms of communication."

3PO is there for comic relief primarily, so his cowardice doesn't bother me. What really bothered me about him is the origin story in Episode 1. I mean seriously, are you trying to tell me that an 8 year old, bored out of his mind on a desert planet, with access to enough parts and knowledge to build a basically sentient robot is going to build a PROTOCOL DROID? I mean, he could have built a mindless killing machine, or a machine capable of fixing his speeder for him, or stealing shit from the marketplace, or raiding moisture farms for water, or SOMETHING. But no, he builds a droid designed to communicate politely in 6 million languages and that's about it. What the hell does a kid whose primary interest is podracing need with a protocol droid that can speak 6,000,000 languages, 5,999,999 of which he can't understand, and 5,999,983 of which he's unlikely to ever need to know? This kid had to be the biggest dork in 3 galaxies.

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 years ago | (#29134101)

Except the R2 units are always dealing with people outside the ship.

C3 units are poorly designed, like putting oval tires on a car just because you won't drive far.
The era he is from that were mass producing more mobile units. Why wouldn't you just put the tranlation innards into a product you are mass producing.
That said, Anakin put him together, so maybe it's a child's building robot. heh.

Ummm.. the Emperor KNEW the Rebellion was going to attack "...Fully functional Death Star" it IS a poor designed, and to repeat it is stupid.
On a side not, you vitrol towards someone who is making a tongue in cheek article about a fictional unverse is really not warranted.
Get a grip.

No farm equipment I have ever seen had a jet engine and traveled at 330 km/h

the asteroid sock puppet was lame as hell. I could have over looked have a creature where there is no food if it didn't look like a sock puppet...and have a big opening into space, yet no effective on the people walking around. Add to that the asteroid would have need to be incredible dense.
The drama of that seen is good, but it could ahve been something different. It could ahve just as easily been an automated mining facility gone mad.

None of your rebuttals make any sense. Blatant fan boy knee jerk reaction.
I love star wars, I was one of the fanacts that saw it over 100 time while in it's first theatrical release. It changed my views, and will be a very fond memory. I liked all the movies. The last three released had issues, but not as many as wanna-be fan boys portray.

So, how do you excuse away the fact that there are almost no rails overlook huge falls?

Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (1)

j-stroy (640921) | about 5 years ago | (#29134131)

Stormtroopers: [youtube.com] are all clones who are weak minded to make them compliant. The armour is to stop them from going crazy seeing themselves everywhere by de-referencing their appearance.. (Think malkewich malkewich malkewich)

R2: Is a purely functional robot that follows commands, akin to a universal keyboard, you'd go nuts if your keyboard talked to you all the time.

C3P0: A mild manner doesn't intimidate. Primary function is to communicate.

Blasters: an exothermic chemical reaction produces the power to throw a plasma charge.. think "ball lightning". The light is a side effect. It is not a "light" weapon.

The Asteroid Worm must eat rock, So I'm thinking it survives on metals, and radioactive ores, ships just look like a spicy sandwich. They travel from asteroid to asteroid by blowing dust at high speeds out their tail.

I got the idea that midi-chlorians were a sentient species, similar to the mitochondria in an Ursula LeQuinn series. Its not just the population, but also their intent. They gather to attempt a goal.

My reasons are all made up, but so is the universe, get me some more cereal please?

Oh dear (5, Funny)

FTWinston (1332785) | about 5 years ago | (#29133535)

Let's not even go near the idea of light beams being slow enough to dodge; that's just something you have let go of, or risk insanity.

I think by the time you're writing an article about design failures in Star Wars ... you're already beyond just the risk of insanity.

Re:Oh dear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29133759)

actually the blasters are ionized gas if i remember correctly. also it is a story meant to entertain see it as that.

Re:Oh dear (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29133883)

Yes, they're never referred to as 'lasers' or similar in the films. The books describe them as ionized gas throwers, like the PPGs in Babylon 5. In fact, if they were coherent light beams you wouldn't be able to see them, the only reason you can see them from the side is that they are projectiles that are glowing.

Turbolasers, on the other hand...

Re-cutting (4, Insightful)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | about 5 years ago | (#29133583)

I think giving George Lucas access to the raw footage was a poor design choice.

Re:Re-cutting (5, Insightful)

MrNemesis (587188) | about 5 years ago | (#29133679)

I happen think giving George Lucas access to the star wars prequels was a poor design choice :)

Re:Re-cutting (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Cowar (1608865) | about 5 years ago | (#29133681)

Worst design decision ever: Letting George Lucas have access to the Star Wars IP after the mid 80's.

Re:Re-cutting (3, Insightful)

hal2814 (725639) | about 5 years ago | (#29133977)

Yeah, because during the 80's he was doing [wikipedia.org] such [wikipedia.org] a [wikipedia.org] good [wikipedia.org] job [wikipedia.org] with the Star Wars IP...

council (4, Interesting)

hey (83763) | about 5 years ago | (#29133621)

The council chamber where they debate laws seemed crazy to me. Everyone is floating in their own flying saucer. Just because you can doesn't mean you should. Regular tables with chairs make more sense. More compact and you have a chance to interact with the other representatives.

Re:council (4, Informative)

Abreu (173023) | about 5 years ago | (#29133805)

The whole point, I believe, is that the chamber is gigantic, and that representatives really needed to fly to get to the center and speak.

If you allowed people to just do a videoconference from their seats, what's the point of meeting in Wash^H^H^H^H Coruscant? Everybody could stay at their home planets and telecommute!

Re:council (1)

microTodd (240390) | about 5 years ago | (#29133981)

I always wondered how seating was arranged. By importance? Size of your constituent population? What about the poor shmoe senators at the very, very top or very, very bottom? What a crappy seat.

Re:council (5, Interesting)

GameMaster (148118) | about 5 years ago | (#29133807)

Never underestimate the need to be grandiose just for the hell of it, especially when it comes to government. The US congress could meet in a high-school gym, but they chose to build the massive, ornate, capital rotunda instead. For that matter, the same goes for the open pits in the Emperor's thrown room. Even if you didn't claim that it hadn't been completed yet (since the station was supposed to be incomplete at that point), perhaps he was going for a grandiose, and in this case intimidating, look with huge, bottomless, pits.

Here here. (2, Funny)

jpellino (202698) | about 5 years ago | (#29133629)

Right on. Bully. And as we all know, poor design portends end-user doom. These pathetic hacks will be lucky if they ever sell more than three tickets to the producer's three kids for this parade of dreck. And forget merchandising - it'll be a brief stopover at Dollar Tree and then to some banana republic orphanage along with the Superbowl-losing ball caps. Yes, what WERE they thinking?

Poor posting choice in the slashdot universe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29133649)

Next time, would it be too hard to at least LIST these allegedly poor design choices in the summary? At least we wouldn't immediately crash the blog that has the list (and preventing us from reading it). As a bonus it would be great if each item had a sentence or two telling why it is a poor design choice.

Posting as AC because maybe I missed something obvious and don't want to appear stupid.

Death Star (5, Insightful)

pwizard2 (920421) | about 5 years ago | (#29133651)

Death Star
An unshielded exhaust port leading directly to the central reactor? Really? And when you rebuild it, your solution to this problem is four paths into the central core so large that you can literally fly a spaceship through them? Brilliant. Note to the Emperor: Someone on your Death Star design staff is in the pay of Rebel forces. Oh, right, you can't get the memo because someone threw you down a huge exposed shaft in your Death Star throne room.

I agree with the critique on the Death Stars. Centralized power was the fatal flaw in both, so it would have made a lot more sense to use distributed power systems throughout the Death Star II. (lots of little reactors instead of one big one) That way, the rebels would have had to destroy the DSII apart piece by piece. Given how much time that would take, the Imperials probably would have won.

I won't even go into the Endor holocaust in detail. (guess what happens when you detonate a small artificial moon near a planetary atmosphere? You get lots of fallout, resulting in nuclear winter and lots of dead ewoks)

Re:Death Star (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29133757)

You get lots of fallout, resulting in nuclear winter and lots of dead ewoks.

I'm not seeing a downside here.

Re:Death Star (1)

pwizard2 (920421) | about 5 years ago | (#29133915)

I'm not seeing a downside here.

The Endor holocaust would make the Rebels just as evil as the Empire, since the rebels effectively destroyed a whole planet (just like the Empire) and committed genocide against the Ewoks. Even though the rebels did it unintentionally, it still doesn't change the fact that their actions directly lead to the deaths of some of the creatures they were trying to help.

Plus, how do you get around the fact that Luke killed way more people by destroying the Death Star I than Vader ever did?

Re:Death Star (1)

cabjf (710106) | about 5 years ago | (#29134165)

If we're talking killing directly, how many soldiers in WWII killed more people than Hitler? I'm talking directly, since apparently ordering deaths doesn't count, otherwise Vader would probably win hands down given how high up in command he was and how brutal the Empire was supposed to be.

Re:Death Star (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about 5 years ago | (#29133867)

There's been some debate back and forth of the feasibility of Endor avoiding destruction [stardestroyer.net] (thx google). It's an interesting premise, but I'm not convinced that the wholesale destruction of Endor is necessary; I'd believe there's wiggle room.

Anyway, Star Wars can still trounce Star Trek any day of the week [stardestroyer.net] . And Luke ain't no Commie stooge, like Picard is.

Re:Death Star (2, Insightful)

SnoopJeDi (859765) | about 5 years ago | (#29133897)

Distributing a lot of small reactors sounds like a logistical nightmare. Imagine the power draw when the Death Star actually intends to fire. Is it easier to lay the wire and controls necessary to manage that from one reactor, or several?

Not to mention that by assuming the reactors are nuclear, taking down the Death Star might be even easier. More reactors, less security, I'd think it'd be easier to slip an infiltrator in to sabotage one of them.

This article is garbage. See below:

Let's not even go near the idea of light beams being slow enough to dodge; that's just something you have let go of, or risk insanity.

Ah because slow light [wikipedia.org] is complete science fiction, of course!

Re:Death Star (1)

maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#29134129)

Real slow light is propagating through something not resembling a vacuum. In anything resembling a vacuum (like air...or a vacuum), it goes real fast like.

Re:Death Star (1)

pwizard2 (920421) | about 5 years ago | (#29134167)

Imagine the power draw when the Death Star actually intends to fire. Is it easier to lay the wire and controls necessary to manage that from one reactor, or several?

The superlaser would have to use some sort of huge capacitor since firing the weapon would otherwise cause a brownout by suddenly diverting most the power from the main reactor. Remember, the reactor would have a finite maximum output. Plus, there would probably be a power shortage (or power fluctuations at the very least) during the recharge cycle since the reactor can generate only so much power and it would still have to power everything else at the same time. It would not be difficult or unfeasible to have several dedicated reactors working in a cluster to power the superlaser. That way, the weapon would be able to fire (albeit slowly) and everything else would still have enough power at all times.

Re:Death Star (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about 5 years ago | (#29134177)

And image inf a gun battle was to break out in the detention center. It could cause a bad reactor leak and be very dangerous. Requiring time to lock it down before company came.

Re:Death Star (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about 5 years ago | (#29133979)

I won't even go into the Endor holocaust in detail. (guess what happens when you detonate a small artificial moon near a planetary atmosphere? You get lots of fallout, resulting in nuclear winter and lots of dead ewoks)

Actually, that might be the easiest thing to explain, within the realm of fantasy of course.

Radiation from the station would have travelled at close to the speed of light, but there is no guaruntee that this was at a level that would be dangerous. Obviously, the biggest problem is going to be the chunks of the station flying at the moon's surface and causing fallout issues, as well as possible massive impact events.

However, the answer to the fallout problem is relatively simple, if you think about it. Why did anyone care about Endor at all? Because it had a big honking deflector station that was powerful enough to protect a huge battlestation in orbit from an entire fleet of capital ships. One might consider that this deflector could be retasked to provide protection from the greatest effects of the exploding station, especially if there was some time to do that. Chances are decent that there would have been some time to do this when dealing with the debris propagating at slower-than-light speeds.

Additionally, the Rebel fleet might have been able to aid with this defense as well.

I imagine that orbital debris protection would be something that a Galactic Republic/Empire would be pretty proficient at to begin with anyway.

Re:Death Star (1)

The Moof (859402) | about 5 years ago | (#29133993)

Of course, if they had just put a reinforced metal grate over the exhaust port on the first one, there wouldn't even be a need for a Death Star II. But who would be stupid enough to fly down an exhaust port...

Also, did you see the Ewok movie? I think the world would've rejoiced at their untimely demise.

Re:Death Star (3, Funny)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 5 years ago | (#29134017)

I see where you're going with this! George Lucas should have built the DSII as a cube, with decentralized structure. And Perhaps used artificial augmentations to humanoids to staff this new battle station. YES, we should get right on that! Not only that, they should replace the Emperor with .... a QUEEN!

Let's not forget...... (1)

motherpusbucket (1487695) | about 5 years ago | (#29133657)

There is no sound in space.

Parsec is a unit of distance, not speed

Races as seemingly stupid as Gungans and Jawas would not posess the advanced technology seen in the movies. (I'm talking to you Jar-Jar)

Re:Let's not forget...... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29133885)

Funny you should mention parsec being a distance not a speed. I once was a TA for a astronomy class and one of the homework questions was something the lines about why Han's use of the word parsec was wrong. Most people said the same thing that it was a distance not a speed however I got one student who gave a page long discourse on why although a parsec is a unit of distance, Han used it correctly. The reasoning went along the lines that the path he was taking was littered with black holes preventing any direct route. The faster the ship goes, the closer you can get to the black holes and therefor the shorter the path. So in this particular instance, using a distance as a measure of speed works.
I had to give the student credit, but I have never been able to shake the feeling that it was a mistake in the movie and someone went back and created a reason for it later. Just my two cents.

Re:Let's not forget...... (1)

motherpusbucket (1487695) | about 5 years ago | (#29133997)

i stand corrected on the parsec issue.
But the Aluminum Falcon could not have made any noise while making that Kessel Run.

Re:Let's not forget...... (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 5 years ago | (#29134009)

This is a retcon (I think it was actually from one of the spin-off novels). The problem is, a parsec is a huge distance. We're looking at interstellar distances. Way more than the distance a black hole would affect you.

Re:Let's not forget...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29134037)

Or Han Solo's just a cocky bastard who isn't exactly book smart. Not good at the sales pitches, but he can perform in the field.

I've always preferred that line of thinking. Adds to his character.

Re:Let's not forget...... (5, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | about 5 years ago | (#29134061)

There is no sound in space.

There's no incidental music in the real world. I like to consider space sound effects to be the same sort of thing.

Nothing to see here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29133661)

Move along.

call me a cynic... (1)

Emesee (1155401) | about 5 years ago | (#29133663)

news for nerds? stuff that _matters_? (emphasis added) Here? on this story? news for nerds, perhaps (ok, probably - excluding yours truely) stuff that matters? hmm... really? no offense or anything.... but... hmm... the other stories were interesting to day, most of them were... i'm just saying. dunt mean to be a trawl or nuthing..... oh well. :)

Star Wars? (1)

terrence.donnelly (1144137) | about 5 years ago | (#29133691)

Never heard of it...

Re:Star Wars? (1)

MPAB (1074440) | about 5 years ago | (#29133941)

You must be new here ...

Written by who? (1)

S3D (745318) | about 5 years ago | (#29133731)

Scalzi himself have problems with world design as well. In his Old Man's War universe in book three it's suddenly revealed that good guys of first two books are actually bad guy. Colonies military leadership, smart, efficient, canning and somehow cynical but dedicated to protection of humanity in the first books, suddenly happens to be dumb power-grabbing war-mongering egoistic parasites in the next two books.

Too easy (4, Insightful)

Minwee (522556) | about 5 years ago | (#29133739)

Inconsistencies and illogical details in the Star Wars Universe?

Fish. Barrel. Large bore shotgun.

Star Wars, like much of the Space Opera and Science Fantasy genre, follows only one well tested design strategy: The Rule of Cool. If something looks cool, and it doesn't get in the way of the story, it's in. Once you can accept that you're good.

Re:Too easy (2, Insightful)

motherpusbucket (1487695) | about 5 years ago | (#29134065)

"Rule of Cool" Exceptions: Jar-Jar
Ewoks
Count Dooku
Blue Elephant playing keyboard

Seat belts (5, Funny)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | about 5 years ago | (#29133747)

I can't wait for the Star Trek one after reading the seat belt gripe. Idea #1: Why aren't there seat belts on the bridge? It seems like almost every episode someone gets thrown from their chair. It happens so often in ST:VOY it should be the first modification they make to the ship.

Re:Seat belts (1)

nesfreak64 (1093307) | about 5 years ago | (#29133943)

Kirk's ship actually came with guard rails you'd see people grab onto. Not so much in some of the later series, though.

Re:Seat belts (0, Troll)

Desert Tripper (1166529) | about 5 years ago | (#29134063)

The seat belt complaint is kind of an unfair jab, as Star Wars was released before the seat belt hysteria of the 1980s-present, where thanks to the seat-belt nazis getting their way and forcing laws mandating seat belt use in cars throughout the US, it has become politically correct and almost compulsory for TV shows, advertisements, and movies to show any character in a vehicle wearing a seat belt. Look at any other movie pre-80s (actually, most movies before the 90s) and you'll never see a seat belt being used.

Another reason why seat belts may be absent: According to several biographical accounts of George Lucas posted online, Lucas dabbled in racing as a teenager, and one of the race cars he built had a half-ass seat belt system installed. The car went out of control one day and plowed into a tree at 60mph. The belt system failed and he was thrown free, only sustaining minor injuries. Had the seat belt worked, he would have almost certainly died, and we wouldn't have the Star Wars universe today.

Re:Seat belts (1)

CyberLord Seven (525173) | about 5 years ago | (#29134085)

Oh, it's a lot worse than you imagine.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture made those very modifications. Kirk got a seat-retention system that consisted of arm rests that folded down over his thighs to hold him in his seat. Really cool upgrade.

Then you notice that a lot of the people on the bridge are standing up! WTF?

I still like the movie though, and I remain a bigger Trek fan than a Star Wars fan.

Re:Seat belts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29134133)

You should also ask why they store pyrotechnics in the navigation console. I've had a 1kw PSU blow up on me, and all the evidence was a bang, a puff of smoke, and the breaker popping in the garage.

There is a reason they call it fiction (1)

sixminutemile (1066066) | about 5 years ago | (#29133771)

They call it fiction because it is fiction. If it never really happened is that bad design?

Re:There is a reason they call it fiction (2, Informative)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | about 5 years ago | (#29133939)

Fiction has to be believable, to draw the reader/viewer into the story. It's called suspension of disbelief. You may suspend your disbelief easily; good for you. Some people need more realistic details in order to be convinced, though.

At a minimum we can say, 'Boy, that fictional character who designed that is dumb', which then affects our understanding of the characters, when then affects how we view the story. Just realizing that Annikin designed C3PO to translate millions of languages but left him unable to handle sign language tells me that Annikin isn't as good a droid builder as he thought he was. (Or that there's no sign language in the Star Wars universe, which seems odd but is another interesting datum if true.)

Wrong. (4, Funny)

jayme0227 (1558821) | about 5 years ago | (#29133781)

This article is wrong on so many levels, but, of course, is easy to defeat: Everyone knows that the Star Wars universe is perfect. George Lucas had fully anticipated exactly what was going to happen in all 6 movies (and all of the books, comics, cartoons, etc.) while designing the first movie. To question this is heresy, and therefore you, John Scalzi, are a heretic.

This is from a non Star Wars fanatic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29133795)

(Well at least not after the last 3 shit piles)

This blog entry was pure garbage.

Who needs 10? (1)

Scragglykat (1185337) | about 5 years ago | (#29133797)

...when midichlorians, as told to us by George Lucas, are essentially behind it all!

Is that the best you can do? (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | about 5 years ago | (#29133831)

Blasters have a lot of ammunition, can penetrate trooper armour, and have inherent tracer rounds. Also we have no idea whether traditional firearms even exist in the Star Wars universe. A landspeeder is a cheap transport in a fairly underdeveloped region. R2 units have no need to speak. Most electronic devices don't. They use standardised alerts. C-3P0 is cowardly because protocol droids are expensive bits of kit and should protect themselves (R2 units are more likely to be useful in the field so are designed to be a little less safe).

No mention of the bridge on a Star Destroyer being such an easy target for a kamikaze, or poor visibility in a Tie Fighter.

John Scalzi (1)

Icegryphon (715550) | about 5 years ago | (#29133841)

This guy is clearly training on his skills to Troll fellow nerds.
Here I though some time on any of the Chan sites was a good way to become a more professional troll
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0 [youtube.com]

The Star Wars universe (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 years ago | (#29133845)

has never been OSHA approved.

The "real" reasons why (5, Funny)

gad_zuki! (70830) | about 5 years ago | (#29133891)

>R2D2's speech

The original voice of R2D2 died of heat exhaustion while wearing the suit. In his honor they used digital beeps.

>C3P0 and mincing gay man

This is because C3P0 is a gay robot. Its a shame Scalzi is such a bigot that he cannot accept homosexual robots. Someday, 3P0, someday you'll be accepted and you can marry that nice medical robot who has been checking you out.

>Lighsaber guards

With the guard up all lightsaber fights ended in a stalemate. The jedi council of 4922 banned them for the sake of "sport and honor."

>Blasters

In the star wars world, lead bullets are useless against storm trooper armor. So everyone needs to use blasters which are slower and noisier. Blasters also release a mint scent which is an added bonus.

>Luke's lack of seatbelts

Luke was originally told his father died asphyxiating from a seatbelt after an accident that flipped his speeder. Luke vowed to never take that chance and removed his.

>Stormtrooper armor

In a sophisticated universe, style is very important. "The path to defeat, an unstylish military is. - Yoda"

>Death star

The empire has always been a good sport and has left vulnerabilities in all its designs.

>a huge exposed shaft in your Death Star throne room.

To be fair, this was put in so the emperor could toss people down it as he pleased. He knew it was a risk someone could toss him down it too, but he was crazy that way.

Design IN the universe, not OF the universe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29133893)

I thought he was going to talking about what a mess the universe of Star Wars is, not what a mess the designs in the universe are. An article about the mess that is the Star Wars universe would be interesting. For example, how are there always news designs in a galaxy where technology has been effectively stagnant for millienia? Why are militaries constantly deploying new ships that don't perform any differently than old ones? If droid designs had gone from R2s to R5s in just a few decades, what about the droids in use 1000 years before? That's just from the movies. The mess that the extended universe has become could be a book to itself. It's lost any direction ever since The New Jedi Order brought in one of the most contrived enemies ever and ruined the Force.

Of John Scalzi (3, Interesting)

OzPeter (195038) | about 5 years ago | (#29133909)

Love his books to death - especially "the Andriods Dream", but like all authors his own books have more holes than swiss cheese.

Like computers built into peoples heads that seem to have unlimited bandwidth data links over huge distances - yet there is no power requirements and the enemy can't detect the transmissions

Digg Fodder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29133935)

How did this obvious Digg fodder make it onto the front page of Slashdot?

The Dialog (1)

Subm (79417) | about 5 years ago | (#29133937)

The worst design in the Star Wars universe was the dialog, or whatever design allowed Lucas to write it.

Or maybe Mark Hamill's acting.

Well (1)

Octogonal Raven (1516671) | about 5 years ago | (#29133985)

I'm certainly never going to read any of his books now. If he rails on the interesting parts of another sci-fi universe, I believe it's a safe bet that his is utterly dull. As to the comment on there about "Human-cyborg relations", remember that a cyborg is a cybernetic organism. That would include droids, as well as "traditional" cyborgs like Lobot, Vader, and that ilk.

Design was generally good, but... (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | about 5 years ago | (#29134049)

...what is the deal with all of those Tribbles?

Guide to the most epic FAILs in this article (2, Insightful)

stepinto (1621783) | about 5 years ago | (#29134051)

This is not only poorly-written, but the concept is awful. Going after lightsabers because they lack handguards? These are Jedi weapons, guy. The Jedi are surgeons with these weapons, blocking blaster fire on mere intuition. Come on. My ire for this article stems mainly from the fact that the author ignored some of the real problems with the Star Wars universe, touching only on the superficial. What about the time/distance inconsistency? (The Millennium Falcon, as you may recall, travels "0.5 past light", and yet travels from star to star in hours? Just how small and dense IS this far-away galaxy?)

Only 10? (0, Redundant)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about 5 years ago | (#29134067)

Is possible to enumerate more than 100 "flaws" on Star Wars Universe, but I need to agree with mosty of hollywood "Space Operas" do not attempt to even be plausible, what matters is just being "cool" for a number of spectators unaware of any real science or logic.


(Brazilian portuguese)

Eh possivel enumerar mais do que 100 "falhas", no universo de Guerra nas Estrelas, mas eu tenho que concordar que a maior parte das "Operas espaciais" de Hollywood nao tentam sequer serem plausiveis, o que importa eh apenas serem "cool" para um numero de espectadores que desconhecem qualquer ciencia real ou logica.

Obligatory Simpsons quote on this topic (5, Funny)

Absolut187 (816431) | about 5 years ago | (#29134179)

Doug: Uh question for Ms. Bellamy. In episode 2F09, when Itchy plays Scratchy's skeleton like a xylophone, he strikes the same rib twice in succession, yet he produces two clearly different tones. I mean, what are we to believe, that this is some sort of a... [the nerds chuckle] a magic xylophone or something? Boy, I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder.

June: Uh, well, uh...

Homer: I'll field this one. Let me ask you a question. Why would a man whose shirt says "Genius at Work" spend all of his time watching a children's cartoon show?

Doug: [embarrassed pause] I withdraw my question. [starts eating a candy bar].

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