SW VIII: The Last Jedi - Tech Breakdowns *spoilers*

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Iscander
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SW VIII: The Last Jedi - Tech Breakdowns *spoilers*

Post by Iscander » Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:24 am

Figured I would start a thread for posting of tech bits and pieces as people find them

* Heavy Bombers are now a thing
- The B/SF-17 seen in the trailers
- So many proton bombs

* Tracking ships through hyperspace without a beacon is now possible, but is new
- This also required as special sensor array with a dedicated power supply
- Present on Supremacy and presumed to be on the Resurgent class SDs by the Resistance
- Seems to have a limited range, but if you jump near the ship, they can track you

* Hyper Space ramming it a helluva thing

* Mandator IV Dreadnought
- The Auto cannons are huge
- And I was not impressed on a first watching
- I personally expect more from guns the size of cruisers
- The ships point defense is also woefully lacking, but atleast they hang a lantern on needing to launch fighters earlier.

* The Supremacy is pretty nicely loaded out
- Accurate, "long" range guns
- Special hyperspace trakcing sensors
- huge planetary assault force

* A new form of *cloaking* seems to be common, at least on Resistance ships.
- it's more of a stealth mode than cloaking like the Stealth Ship from Clone Wars S2E16 that Anakin had
- no visual stealth effect
- can be countered if you know what to look for

* The first order has a ground based Siege Cannon based on Deathstar tech
- cut through a large blast door in a single shot
- has a decent charge time
- big, but low to the ground and is line of sight weapon, so limited effective range unless the terrain is very flat or otherwise favorable

* Long range wearable beacon that let you find people across vast distances are available
- and I'm surprised I haven't seen this as a bobble for the holiday season, but I may just not have recognized it yet.

* Yoda's Lightning attack is way better than Palpatine's

* A rough lower bound for hyperspace speed can be very roughly put together
- towards the end of the movie, Finn is is traveling in hyperspace a says something like "4.x parsecs left" as they are traveling toward the dramatic conclusion, on a time table.
- Can't recall exactly from memory and the internet does not seem to know yet
- Timetable is in the range of minutes, as the mission they left on, had an upper limit of something like 16 hours

Iscander
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Re: SW VIII: The Last Jedi - Tech Breakdowns *spoilers*

Post by Iscander » Sun Dec 17, 2017 3:09 pm

* Fuel consumption also plays a major part in the plot of the film
- The rebel fleet has enough fuel for 1 more hyper space jump and enough fuel (for the flag ship) to run at full acceleration for around 18 hours
- These seem to be separate as the Raddus was able to jump to hyperspace after the long chase and was nearly out of fuel
- a clever person might be able to pull a capital ship acceleration from how quickly the support ships fall away once they run out of fuel and are overtaken by the pursuers.

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Mr. Oragahn
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Re: SW VIII: The Last Jedi - Tech Breakdowns *spoilers*

Post by Mr. Oragahn » Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:35 pm

Iscander wrote:* Hyper Space ramming it a helluva thing
The hyperramming is oddly never used. Maybe the writers should have accepted the idea that it wasn't possible?
Just like how in TFA they hyperspaced out of a ship and then close to the surface of a world. Kinda opened this can of worms, didn't it?
They're just rewriting rules for the sad sake of coolness, they just can't help with their laziness.
* Long range wearable beacon that let you find people across vast distances are available
Obi-Wan stuck one on Fett's ship.
* Yoda's Lightning attack is way better than Palpatine's
I know I don't care about spoilers but still, I'm surprised (or not) that they actually had him do that.
* A rough lower bound for hyperspace speed can be very roughly put together
- towards the end of the movie, Finn is is traveling in hyperspace a says something like "4.x parsecs left" as they are traveling toward the dramatic conclusion, on a time table.
- Can't recall exactly from memory and the internet does not seem to know yet
- Timetable is in the range of minutes, as the mission they left on, had an upper limit of something like 16 hours
At 5 min to cover 4 parsecs (0.8 p/m), we obtain something like 420,480 p/y, or 1,371,451 c. That would be a fairly ultimate upper end.
At 16 hours for the same distance (0.25p/h), this gives 2,190 p/y; 7,143 c. That's for your lowylowiliester end.

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Re: SW VIII: The Last Jedi - Tech Breakdowns *spoilers*

Post by Jedi Master Spock » Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:55 pm

My sense on the speed issue is that the new Star Wars films, like the new Star Trek films, were made by people with no sense of astronomical scale. This latest one does seem to show pretty fast speeds; it also shows the impossibility of finding an unplanned planet to stop at while moving at sublight speed for hours. It's one of the rare mentions of a canonical distance on screen, although we aren't given an exact elapsed time for that distance.

If the Resistance was heading for the planet in the first place, you'd expect the First Order to check it out to see if there was an existing base there (just in case) after blowing everything up, which would make Holdo's plan to quietly sneak out and hide there spectacularly ill-advised. If the Resistance wasn't heading for the planet, they should be nowhere near within light-minutes of it.

I felt this was a technical-information rich film.
  • Hand weapons: Rey's blaster blows a big chunk out of a stone wall. (Granted, it seems like unmortared construction, but that's a lot of energy and/or momentum.)
  • Heavy weapons: A giant pile of AT-AT fire at a fixed location on a red halite plain. Exact known composition of target material, in other words. This, in contrast to the above, isn't actually all that destructive.
  • AT-ST maneuverability: An AT-ST - admittedly sans armored top shell - engages in some high-agility maneuvers. This is nothing like how they move in ROTJ.
  • Fighters vs capital ships: An X-Wing can strafe an untouched dreadnought (!) and destroy basically all of its AA towers, which are neither shielded nor armored well enough to hold up against its guns. The hull is armored. One heavy bomber has a payload sufficient to destroy the dreadnought. Granted, the official total is 1048 proton bombs in there, and the visuals do show a very large quantity of bombs in there, but this is a ship that's 7.7km long and something like twice as fat as the Executor - it's supposed to be a SSD-scale ship, in other words, so this is a lot like the destruction of the Lusyanka by hundreds of proton torpedoes in the EU.
  • Visual scale vs "official" scale: Eyeballing it, the visual scales don't look to line up consistently with the "official" scales. In the mature-CGI era, this is sloppy.
  • Capital ship weapons and shields: With the possible exception of the siege cannons on the dreadnought, the turbolasers on capital ships get a lot less effective at a fairly short range, making them unable to penetrate the shields on a relatively small vessel - or in general planet-based shields from orbit, which starts to look like an issue of range + atmospheric depletion rather than power. Even the smaller attendant Rebel ships can hold up against hours of long-range bombardment from the fleet chasing them. This is not the sort of ablative shield seen in the X-Wing [computer] games, although you could model something like it using the Saga Edition [tabletop role-playing game] shield mechanics.
  • Speed and maneuverability: In contrast to the chase in TESB, the smaller ships can actually outrun the larger ships in a straight-line chase.
  • Lightspeed tracking being possible but new (and facing an obvious enough restriction that Finn can deduce it in spite of its novelty) is interesting.
  • The siege cannon being "Death Star tech" and the implications of that makes it painfully clear that the Death Star is not just using a giant laser, it has some special properties that make it especially destructive in effect. This is not really new at this point, but it's yet another piece of evidence to add to the pile.

359
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Re: SW VIII: The Last Jedi - Tech Breakdowns *spoilers*

Post by 359 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:24 am

Another thing of technical note I found interesting was they conclusively showed fighters and light craft bypassing large ship's shields in order to infiltrate or attack. See the Code Breaker's ship, and Ben's run on the Raddus. However, the fighter's torpedoes also penetrated the shield perimeter in order to strike the bridge, which seems odd.

Iscander wrote:* Mandator IV Dreadnought
- The Auto cannons are huge
- And I was not impressed on a first watching
- I personally expect more from guns the size of cruisers
Indeed they are not terribly impressive for their size, but they do add a nice counter to the understatement of bombardment that is in Rebels, even if these cannons are significantly above average power (implied to be capable of either taking out or disabling the Raddus in a volley).

Jedi Master Spock wrote:Fighters vs capital ships: An X-Wing can strafe an untouched dreadnought (!) and destroy basically all of its AA towers, which are neither shielded nor armored well enough to hold up against its guns. The hull is armored. One heavy bomber has a payload sufficient to destroy the dreadnought. Granted, the official total is 1048 proton bombs in there, and the visuals do show a very large quantity of bombs in there, but this is a ship that's 7.7km long and something like twice as fat as the Executor - it's supposed to be a SSD-scale ship, in other words, so this is a lot like the destruction of the Lusyanka by hundreds of proton torpedoes in the EU.
My guess is that they were going for a targeted strike on the main reactor, the circle bit in the middle, which when breached caused massive destruction. This seems more in line with the use of light craft for precision strikes that we see throughout Star Wars.

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Re: SW VIII: The Last Jedi - Tech Breakdowns *spoilers*

Post by 359 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:28 am

Jedi Master Spock wrote:Speed and maneuverability: In contrast to the chase in TESB, the smaller ships can actually outrun the larger ships in a straight-line chase.
Perhaps this shows a shift in First Order fleet design, ramping up fighter performance to perform fast combat operations better than Imperial TIE fighters did. Then shifting the cruisers back to a heavier armored and more sluggish role.

359
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Re: SW VIII: The Last Jedi - Tech Breakdowns *spoilers*

Post by 359 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:28 am

Jedi Master Spock wrote:Speed and maneuverability: In contrast to the chase in TESB, the smaller ships can actually outrun the larger ships in a straight-line chase.
Perhaps this shows a shift in First Order fleet design, ramping up fighter performance to take over some fast combat operations from the ISDs by performing better than Imperial TIE fighters did. Then shifting the cruisers back to a heavier armored and more sluggish role.

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Re: SW VIII: The Last Jedi - Tech Breakdowns *spoilers*

Post by Jedi Master Spock » Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:36 am

359 wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:24 am
Another thing of technical note I found interesting was they conclusively showed fighters and light craft bypassing large ship's shields in order to infiltrate or attack. See the Code Breaker's ship, and Ben's run on the Raddus. However, the fighter's torpedoes also penetrated the shield perimeter in order to strike the bridge, which seems odd.
Well, it would be generally consistent with shields that don't stop more solid/dense things, with regular material objects being dense enough to pass through just fine.

This would also dovetail with the range problem. If the turbolaser bolts lose energy or focus over time (probably an exponential decay), then they can be high enough intensity to break through at short range.

It could even explain why fighters can break through shields at point blank range, in a pinch, but the X-Wing flying under the shields seems more suitable than it firing through the shields.

The shields really didn't act like the ablative shield model, but more of a threshold-shield model where the shield blocks a certain amount out of each shot (bouncing weaker shots entirely). Something like the Saga Edition combat mechanics would be compatible with that, but not the X-Wing games.
359 wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:24 am
My guess is that they were going for a targeted strike on the main reactor, the circle bit in the middle, which when breached caused massive destruction. This seems more in line with the use of light craft for precision strikes that we see throughout Star Wars.
Hard to be sure (especially with the shield mechanics issues above). End of the day, though, it's yet another example of a few little gnat-sized starfighters taking down the great behemoths.
359 wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:28 am
Perhaps this shows a shift in First Order fleet design, ramping up fighter performance to take over some fast combat operations from the ISDs by performing better than Imperial TIE fighters did. Then shifting the cruisers back to a heavier armored and more sluggish role.
I'm leaning towards plain inconsistency, but that's possible.

Our only modern strategic RL benchmark are wet-navy warships, and with those, achieving a high linear speed is a major priority even for large ships (although larger ships do tend to be a little bit slower than smaller ships in a short sprint).

Do we really see any good reasons to think they really are proportionately more heavily armed and armored? Aside from the dreadnought, they don't have the hitting power to penetrate even a light ship's shields at long range, and fighters seem to be able to do a number on them.

Maybe it's a cost-cutting measure - building giant expensive things that also have the necessary high-powered drive systems gets really expensive, so they stayed with a budget drive.

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