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Episode 1881: Potluck PIE


In reality, the controls of different vehicles can be difficult to understand for operators not used to them.

Personal anecdote: Heck, one time when I hired a car, the employee drove it up for me and, as is typical, didn't bother engaging the hand brake as he hopped out and I got in. So I was able to drive off okay, and only after driving for a couple of hours and deciding to stop to stretch my legs did I realise that I had no idea where the handbrake was. I found it eventually, after parking a couple of times without it (making sure I was on level ground).

If you can have experiences like this even when moving from one make of car to another, you can imagine how difficult it might be to drive a bus, or a semi-trailer truck, or a bulldozer if you have no experience doing so. Let alone operate something like a plane or a spaceship.

On the other hand, in a cinematic setting you can also have people who are so skilled at driving vehicles that they can hop into pretty much anything that moves and operate it flawlessly. (Think James Bond.) For a game world, you can do everything from one extreme to the other, depending on how you like to roll.

Commentary by Keybounce (who has not seen the movie)

Possible title: 50/50 Skill Chance

Stacking fighters vertically makes... well, there's space for it. Tall hangars. But you can't safely launch them from that position, they'd have to be lowered slowly. That makes the launch rate much less, which makes it harder to get fighters out when you need them, which requires a constant combat air patrol. This is an aircraft carrier that isn't supposed to need any other ships around to protect it, so it has to be able to protect itself - and with ships able to come out of lightspeed on top of you, that means that a well-prepared ship/carrier group can launch right on top of you. If you have to scramble fighters slowly, you are toast.

No one on this highly occupied hangar floor sees the prisoner being escorted to a fighter?

And... For a skilled pilot, the chances of properly identifying the controls? I can imagine getting two chances, and only failing if you get two natural ones in a row. If a million-to-one shot is guaranteed, does that mean that a two-million-to-one shot is 50/50? Is a routine operation subject to a once every 400 failure rate? Even three natural 1s is a 1-in-8000 and 8000 normal, routine operations per day will happen. Four natural 1s is once a month; five is more than once every two years. So six natural 1s is the actual routine failure rate.

So, just how fat oversized was Vader if you got one person instead of two in Vader's PIE fighter? (How many pies did Vader eat?). Of course, in this universe, Star Wars did not exist, and Vader was female. So we don't ask her if this fighter seat makes her look fat.

Seriously, why are there two people in here? X-wings have a separate gunner, and you've got to deal with wing position and aiming guns. You've got a more expensive fighter, but it's more maneuverable and able to fire in more directions. More capable, but you get fewer of them. In comparison, the TIE fighters in Episode IV only fired straight ahead and carried one person. They were cheaper to operate, and were short-ranged. You got more of them in battle.

Now? It seems to be a requirement of plot - gotta fit two people in one ship. After all, just imagine how hard it would be for two people in two different ships to talk to each other? They'd probably land in different places. Heck, they might meet the locals and have to rescue them. What would we call that adventure? The Road to a Race? :-)

Commentary by memnarch (who has not seen the movie)

Well then, I guess the pseudo-escape is going much better than I expected. At this rate, Poe and Finn are just going to casually fly on out and there's not going to be any action. Jim's probably going to blow something important up though (officers' quarters perhaps?), so maybe we'll still get to see some explosions soon.

Ah, and here we see what really makes Finn a main character; as soon as there's no need for deception, he immediately takes his helmet off. It's probably not needed inside a newer PIE fighter anyway, but the older PIEs had helmets with tubes coming out of them for some reason. They also never seemed to have more than a single person inside the old ships, so maybe the PIEs got an upgrade to be small cargo/personnel transports too.

The close up of the TIE fighters' wing fins doesn't make them look any better to me. I know these days they're probably all CGI created, but I can see the white portions being repurposed house or bathroom siding if the fighters were practical effects, and here they look out of place. I think it would be different if I was watching this scene instead of seeing static images though; there's more time for me to really look at the design work here in comic form.

CGI and green screens can make for some amazing movies, but I really like it when scale models or make-up are used, and later I can see the work put into them in the behind-the-scenes sections. CGI is no less work than practical effects (sometimes a lot more work), but there's something different about being able to see how something's being done and have it be right there in an unfinished state or without the lens of the movie in front. The original Star Wars Trilogy looks a bit dated, but the practical effects there still look pretty neat to me. By comparison, a number of the large battle scenes in Episode II popped out as "fake" on occasion, which was a bit jarring when I noticed. I wonder how the ratio of practical to CGI effects in the newest movies compares.


Finn: There are the PIE fighters.
Poe: Okay, let’s go!
{they jump into a PIE fighter}
Poe: You know how to fly one of these?
Finn: You’re in the pilot’s seat!
Poe: I knew that.
Poe: Let’s try this lever...
GM: You’re actually a good pilot. You can figure this out with a simple skill roll.
Poe: Trying random controls is how I became a good pilot!

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Published: Thursday, 20 August, 2020; 03:11:21 PDT.
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