Attack of the Shua – SWR #222

It’s the debut of good friend of us here – Jedishua! on this week’s SWR podcast!

Shua shares his journey into fandom in the modern era – Star Wars Celebration talk  – Being Star Wars apologists – and more!

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Star Wars Report is available on iTunes! Be sure to subscribe, rate and review!

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A Trooper’s Point of View – Building a TIE Fighter Pilot Part 3

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It’s been a stressful few months but the finish line is in sight as I’m nearing completion of my TIE Fighter pilot costume.  I have all of the construction finished and the costume is now fully wearable, I’m only missing the shoulder straps, a mostly cosmetic piece, before I can submit it for approval.  In some cases, it’s easier to opt for a buying a complicated piece instead of trying to make one.  Laziness and overall comfort won out for me in this case.

Previously, I had documented my build all leading up to a large trooping event in April.  I was able to get all my pieces wearable in time, and I had a blast wearing the pilot outfit.  The event was the Salem Red Sox Star Wars night for our local minor league baseball team.  A very fun event and one of the largest events in our area with over a dozen troopers and thousands of attendees.

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I achieved my goal of having the costume be wearable at the baseball game

It’s important to try on the costume often to make sure that you have everything lining up correctly.  This will lead to many awkward photos in your garage or living room as you are wearing pieces of a costume that are often times held in place by tape or sheer will.  But, it’s part of the process and important to make sure that you are building something that can actually fit you.

No matter how many times you try on a costume while you are building it, you are never fully prepared for what will happen when you actually go out and wear it to an event.  Every time you wear it you find things that need to be adjusted.  It takes several times before you are able to fully dial in the fitting.  There are just some things you can’t account for until you are actually out in the world interacting with people.  It’s been no different this time around either.  I’ve now worn this costume to four events and each time I’ve come home with something that needs to be adjusted.

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Since I started with the 501st Legion in July of 2008 I’ve only ever had full hard armor costumes, a Stormtrooper and later a Sandtrooper.  The armor is extremely limiting in your movements and over time I’ve grown accustomed to those limitations and found my best ways of dealing with it and compensating.  However, the TIE pilot is only hard armor on the chest and a helmet.  More than once I’ve been shocked at how much mobility I have and I have to keep reminding myself that I can actually bend or even sit while in costume.

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My Sandtrooper (right) in December for The Force Awakens premiere

This has been a stressful build and more than once I’ve felt completely overwhelmed by it all.  With that being said, I’ve enjoyed the building and I’m really enjoying wearing the costume, even if I do get called Darth Vader all the time.  I’ve tried to document my build through the various Legion forums in an effort to provide assistance to others going through their build in hopes that they can learn from both my successes and my failures.  I look forward to trooping as TI-5990 now.  Of course, I’m constantly looking ahead to what the next project and costume will be.  Costuming can become an addiction, we are always looking ahead to the next build.  Star Wars has so many great costumes that it can be hard to narrow it down to just one.  For the next costume, I have to remember to give myself a much more realistic timeframe.

Introducing the Star Wars Show!

Check out this sweet new project that our friends at Lucasfilm are putting together:

LUCASFILM AND DISNEY CONSUMER PRODUCTS AND INTERACTIVE MEDIA PREMIERE

THE STAR WARS SHOW

New weekly variety series celebrates the franchise, fans, and fun of the world of Star Wars

SAN FRANCISCO — (MAY 11, 2016) — Lucasfilm and Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media (DCPI) today premiere an all-new digital variety series, The Star Wars Show.

Starting this week, the seven minute show recaps the latest happenings in the Star Wars galaxy directly from the source, showcasing the energy, excitement, and passion of the fan community, as well as sitting down with prominent superfans. Hosts Andi Gutierrez and Peter Townley unveil the latest headlines from a galaxy far, far away as well as chat with special guest stars to explore all things Star Wars.

Episodes of The Star Wars Show will be available every Wednesday at 12:00 pm PT on the Star Wars YouTube channelStarWars.com, the official Star Wars app (available on iOS and Android), and Star Wars social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter.

“There’s an abundance of Star Wars news and information right now and for the foreseeable future,” Mickey Capoferri, senior director of content and programming at Lucasfilm said. “The Star Wars Show will be the place for new and old fans to engage with every aspect of the franchise in fun and authentic ways.”

The Star Wars Show will cover exclusive news and stories about Star Warsfilms, television shows, books, comics, video games, merchandise, toys, fan culture, art, and more. Special guests including celebrity superfans will be featured weekly to talk about their fandom, reveal never-before-seen footage, offer behind-the-scenes looks, and more.

 

The Star Wars Show — show description

The Star Wars Show is a new online variety series celebrating the franchise, fans, and fun of the world of Star WarsThe Star Wars Showrecaps the latest happenings in the Star Wars galaxy directly from the source, showcasing the energy, excitement, and passion of the fan community, as well as sitting down with prominent superfans. It’s a show for fans, by fans, made in the same building as Star Wars; covering the films, characters, news, interviews and more. It’s all Star Wars, all the time…seven minutes at a time…once a week.

Available on StarWars.com, the official Star Wars app (available on iOSand Android), Star Wars YouTube channel. Additional exclusive content will be available on official Star Wars social media channels.

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New Star Wars Game be “in the Cards”?

The vast and detailed Star Wars universe seems a good fit for collectible card games, and vice versa. When collectible card games (CCGs) first appeared in the ‘90s – think Magic – The Gathering (1993), a number of licensed and not-so-official star wars card trading games followed, attracting an enthusiastic and loyal fan base. Most CCGs have a fantasy setting, and Star Wars, with its vast and detailed universe, is as many parts fantasy as it is science fiction, so the two make for a good pairing.

Unlike in regular card games, in a CCG the player buys a starter deck and can then add expansions to it to obtain further cards, thus encouraging a culture of card-swaps and collecting amongst players. Cards are played off against each other as the game unfolds, with each card representing a particular combination of defensive and/or attacking stats. Buffs and debuffs are deployed, with an emphasis on strategy and tactical maneuvering. It’s a popular game model, but it’s been a while since we got the last big Star Wars CCG.

With the surge of publicity around Star Wars: The Force Awakens (now out on blu ray), and the upcoming release of the first standalone Star Wars movie Rogue One scheduled for December this year, there is a significant gap in the market. Perhaps the time is right to update this noble concept and take advantage of the extraordinary leaps forward in digital technology since the first star wars CCGs appeared on the scene.

Long ago, in a decade far away…

Decipher’s Star Wars: The Customizable Card Game kicked things off in 1995. Despite a hefty instruction manual, the 2-player game proved a massive hit, spawning 11 full expansion sets and various bolt-ons. Drawing its inspiration and artwork from characters, races and locations from the original trilogy (and umm The Phantom Menace), the game gave Magic: The Gathering a run for its money, and soon became a top-selling CCG in its own right.

The idea behind the game was simple enough: players choose a side (Light or Dark) and then set out to conquer the universe, one card at a time, by laying out their forces and maneuvering for battle. The complex rules allowed for enormous variety of gameplay, with the average game taking around an hour to complete.

As The Phantom Menace was hitting the cinemas, Decipher lost the license to make the card game.The final expansion set, Themed Palace, saw release in autumn 2001. Everything went quiet for a bit until 2012, when Fantasy Flight Publishing released Star Wars – the Card Game, again based around the classic trilogy, and again to popular acclaim. Designed by Eric M. Lang, this 2-player game was nominated for a number of Golden Geek Awards in 2013.

And then… along came Hearthstone and the CCG world moved online.

The Rise (and Rise) of Hearthstone

The publisher of War of Warcraft, Blizzard Entertainment first released Hearthstone on March 11, 2014. It was the first CCG video game, using lore from the Warcraft series and designed as a free-to-play turn-based online gaming experience.

The game client caters for Microsoft Windows, OS X and also supports iOS and Android devices, enabling players on different platforms to compete with each other using constructed decks of 30 cards apiece commanded by a selected hero with a unique power. The game ends when an opponent’s health has been reduced to zero… And then you swiftly start another one, because it’s seductive, easy to grasp, and very good fun. By April 2016, Blizzard reported a player base of over 50 million people and the game regularly features as a top Twitch stream. It’s easy to see why – Hearthstone is simple to play, yet fiendishly tricky to master. Individual games can be won or lost on a chain of critical moves. These are the requisite ingredients for a viewer-friendly sport, and so it has proved, with a number of high profile cash-prize tournaments hosted by Blizzard and other parties.

Hearthstone is so hot right now that even a series of celebrities have joined the ranks of its fans, from model Adrianne Curry to baseball pro Hunter Pence. Considering its heavily tactical gameplay, the hit game’s appeal to poker professionals is not surprising. Among the masters of the felt who play Hearthstone is Daniel Negreanu – who’s accumulated over $32 million to date in poker tournaments – and Bernard (ElkY) Grospellier. The latter in fact started his lucrative gaming career playing StarCraft II before moving to poker. ElkY often streams Hearthstone games on his popular twitch channel, just one of the reasons why he’s ended up in the top of the 2016 Social Power Table of poker players. Popular house DJs Zedd and Avicii – whose net worth is estimated at $75 million – also play the digital CCG, and there are tweets to prove it. Will they be this year’s surprise duelists at Blizzcon, just like Negreanu and ElkY played a live Hearthstone match there in 2015?

A New Hope

So what’s next? Enter HoloGrid: Monster Battle, which may turn out to be as radical a game changer as Hearthstone proved, stepping up the CCG format in decidedly futuristic (and familiar) ways. Star Wars Visual Effects Supervisor Phil Tippett is the name behind the game which is as yet still very much a work in progress. Tippett, winner of two Academy Awards for his special effects contributions, will be familiar to Star Wars fans as the man who created the famous Dejarik “Holochess” game played aboard the Millennium Falcon in the original film. Indeed, the two games, one fictional and the other virtual, bear uncanny similarities, as you can see below.

HoloGrid is something very new; a state-of-the-art digital modelling technique dubbed photogrammetry allows Tippett to scan in physical creature models and render them as 3D digital assets in the game. When played, physical cards will trigger miniature Augmented Reality creatures on a gameboard, wrestling for position in a way that looks an awful lot like Dejarik.

Tippett’s namesake visual effects company and now games developer is working closely with developer HappyGiant to bring their cast of alien monsters to snarling growling grappling life. It’s intended that the game be playable both online and offline, and also optimized for the new generation of AR hardware and Virtual Reality headsets. It’s certainly an ambitious idea, with some very intriguing possibilities.

“Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen…”

The technology is (almost) there. The phenomenal success of Hearthstone shows there’s a market to be had for online CCGs. And Phil Tippett must be in a good position to try his hand at a Star Wars licensed game along the same lines as HoloGrid.

HoloGrid could, then, be the “dry run” for a future VR/AR game based in the Star Wars universe.  Live-streamed Dejarik tournaments on twitch.tv might be closer than any of us suspected, so fast does the online gaming world move. Such a game would truly be a Force to reckon with.

 

Musical Finales Pt.1- TWL #182

WampasLair_SquareKarl and Jason break down the finale tracks from the Prequel Trilogy looking at the themes and story John Williams’ is telling through each of these expertly crafted finales! Part 2 next week will focus on the Original Trilogy!

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The Wampa’s Lair podcast is available on iTunes! Be sure to subscribe, rate and review!

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