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I wasn't listening to the Order 66 podcast and I noticed that from time to time they reference the idea that in Star Wars there is some trace/thin atmosphere in space. This has seemed to receive some back up from the FFG staff who are sometimes on the show but I admit they may just be seeing it as a joke or being polite. My first reaction to this was that it was a really dumb idea. Then I thought was just dumb. Later I thought well maybe. Now I find myself actually considering this idea that in that Galaxy Far Far away and long ago, the whole thing is some kind of giant nebula with trace atmosphere even in space. Science has to be mostly dispensed with but it does give me some sort of reason for some pretty glaring impossibilities in a hard vacuum as we have in our galaxy and reality. A lot of things would be somewhat easier to swallow though with this fanciful explanation:

  • sounds
  • turbine-like engines
  • explosions that look like gasoline and sawdust were involved
  • star fighters that bank and swoop
  • characters floating back into ships after decompression and being good to go

So if you like this explanation or use it can you give me your reasons why you like it? If you don't use this, then I get it, but would like to hear your reasons why you think it's not something you would use in your games. 

Edited by Archlyte

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Well, not only do some folks exit a perfectly good starship inside an exogorth in an asteroid field with little more protective equipment than what I use when I spray paint, another set of folks ride on top of space creatures in the arguable vacuum of space with similar feeble protection.   I too thought, "maybe there' just atmosphere out there, somehow.  How would that play out?" 

Could the pressures and temperatures be such that only breathable air is required?  The Force works in mysterious ways!

 

 

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4 hours ago, themensch said:

Well, not only do some folks exit a perfectly good starship inside an exogorth in an asteroid field with little more protective equipment than what I use when I spray paint, another set of folks ride on top of space creatures in the arguable vacuum of space with similar feeble protection.   I too thought, "maybe there' just atmosphere out there, somehow.  How would that play out?" 

Could the pressures and temperatures be such that only breathable air is required?  The Force works in mysterious ways!

 

 

It's a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, where decent-sized asteroids somehow maintain some sort of atmosphere...

 

As I understand it,

  • Temperature is not as big of an issue as you would think in space:  Without an atmosphere to conduct heat away, a body in space (live or otherwise) won't typically cool that quickly, though it could heat up dangerously quick if you were close enough to a radiating heat source like a star.
  • In theory, you can survive in space with a compression suit (basically full body air tight skintight spandex) and an oxygen supply:  Full spacesuits were just a lot easier to make and didn't need to be completely custom fitted.

You need more than a breath mask to survive in space, but not quite as much as you might think...

On a side note, when Star Wars was first being developed, Darth Vader's armor was envisioned as space suit / armor for the opening boarding action scene, but it looked so cool they decided to use it as his 'every day' suit.

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5 hours ago, Archlyte said:

If you don't use this, then I get it, but would like to hear your reasons why you think it's not something you would use in your games. 

Chasing internal consistency in the canon is one thing, and even that is doomed to failure (we see, more or less, equivalents of modern weaponry in the clone wars. ATGMs, close air support, artillery, the works. How the **** does "stand up straight on a featureless plain, fire your automatic weapons at your similarly posed opponents" become a thing? Why isn't the battle over in about three minutes, with near-total casualties on both sides? If hyperspace kamikaze works then...yeah.)

Trying to make the physics make sense is just...not even Sisyphean. The setting was never meant to stand up to scrutiny; it's mashing together wizards and WWII dogfights. 

Like, if there's a specific critique you want to make (KOTOR2, Last Jedi) then by all means, run with your deconstructions of the tropes or whatever. But "uh, there's minimal air everywhere, sure, that's the ticket"? Why? What is gained over just handwaving rebreathers being effective in vacuum? It's a rabbit hole with no bottom. 

But, sure, if for whatever reason "there's air in space okay?" speaks to you and your group, go ahead and make that part of your setting. My preference is to simply ignore the countless things that are absolutely nuts within every version of Star Wars. Because it's about wizards and WWII dog fights, but in space. 

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1 hour ago, Vapor Eagle said:

Chasing internal consistency in the canon is one thing, and even that is doomed to failure (we see, more or less, equivalents of modern weaponry in the clone wars. ATGMs, close air support, artillery, the works. How the **** does "stand up straight on a featureless plain, fire your automatic weapons at your similarly posed opponents" become a thing? Why isn't the battle over in about three minutes, with near-total casualties on both sides? If hyperspace kamikaze works then...yeah.)

Trying to make the physics make sense is just...not even Sisyphean. The setting was never meant to stand up to scrutiny; it's mashing together wizards and WWII dogfights. 

Like, if there's a specific critique you want to make (KOTOR2, Last Jedi) then by all means, run with your deconstructions of the tropes or whatever. But "uh, there's minimal air everywhere, sure, that's the ticket"? Why? What is gained over just handwaving rebreathers being effective in vacuum? It's a rabbit hole with no bottom. 

But, sure, if for whatever reason "there's air in space okay?" speaks to you and your group, go ahead and make that part of your setting. My preference is to simply ignore the countless things that are absolutely nuts within every version of Star Wars. Because it's about wizards and WWII dog fights, but in space. 

lol I take it you're not a fan of the podcast then? Great points thank you. 

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It's not entirely ignored, it's even addressed somewhat in TCW and Rebels.  Perhaps the interior of the space slug maintained enough pressure (there's a canon story about that).  In Rebels and TCW, their space suits are high-tech and form-fitting.  The Clone's armour was vacuum sealed.

Basically, you need "some kind of equipment", and that equipment is the vehicle by which all the rest is hand-waved.  It's not worth overthinking it, just roll with it.

 

Edited by whafrog

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The density of space is about one atom per cubic centimeter and that is 75% Hydrogen by mass. Even in a thick nebula, thick enough to block out starlight, you are talking 10,000 atoms per cubic centimeter. That compares with the about 10^20 atoms per cubic centimeter in Earths atmo. Not only that, but enough gas to cause any sort of atmospheric sort of effect would be enough gas to collapse by gravity and become a star.

Dont try to make space opera make scientific sense. This way lies madness.

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4 hours ago, whafrog said:

It's not entirely ignored, it's even addressed somewhat in TCW and Rebels.  Perhaps the interior of the space slug maintained enough pressure (there's a canon story about that).  In Rebels and TCW, their space suits are high-tech and form-fitting.  The Clone's armour was vacuum sealed.

Basically, you need "some kind of equipment", and that equipment is the vehicle by which all the rest is hand-waved.  It's not worth overthinking it, just roll with it.

 

I vaguely remember reading something about the Falcon's particle shields being extended out to form a bubble that kept low air pressure present around the ship, and the breath masks were to just increase the partial oxygen pressure. But I'm not sure where I read it! 

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Maybe...just maybe...events in Star Wars space look and behave the way they do because...it makes for a more exciting audience experience?

When Joss Whedon made Firefly, he made a point of the space scenes being silent. But then, there were no big battles, and the space scenes were primarily shots establishing basic ship movement. It worked for the occasional shot on a weekly tv series. But when it came time for the movie follow up Serenity, there was a big space battle near the end. Joss fudged a bit and had it take place in “upper atmosphere” to rationalize the sound and explosions.

So, we can just accept the dramatic license being taken, or put our thought processes through wild contortions trying to explain why and how what we see on screen would be possible through real world physics.

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53 minutes ago, Nytwyng said:

Maybe...just maybe...events in Star Wars space look and behave the way they do because...it makes for a more exciting audience experience?

When Joss Whedon made Firefly, he made a point of the space scenes being silent. But then, there were no big battles, and the space scenes were primarily shots establishing basic ship movement. It worked for the occasional shot on a weekly tv series. But when it came time for the movie follow up Serenity, there was a big space battle near the end. Joss fudged a bit and had it take place in “upper atmosphere” to rationalize the sound and explosions.

So, we can just accept the dramatic license being taken, or put our thought processes through wild contortions trying to explain why and how what we see on screen would be possible through real world physics.

See also: superheroes punching normal people through walls without making chunky salsa out of them.

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1 hour ago, Nytwyng said:

it makes for a more exciting audience experience?

I guess, if jumping out of your seat to say, "that's preposterous" is the 'exciting audience experience' one is going for. 

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30 minutes ago, kaosoe said:

If all space battles in Star Wars were silent, I would find them absolutely dull.

Physics be damned, give me some screaming TIEs.

I wonder where they hide the orchestra in outer space playing the soundtrack?.....?

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22 minutes ago, 2P51 said:

I wonder where they hide the orchestra in outer space playing the soundtrack?.....?

In addition to this, sound in movies is never perfectly from the perspective of the camera, if you're going to complain about sound "in space" you also need to complain about being able to hear a single conversation in a crowd when the camera isn't jammed up into the character's faces or long pans out where you can still hear the characters talking.  There is sound within the explosions, and that is what you are hearing.  

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15 hours ago, Archlyte said:

lol I take it you're not a fan of the podcast then? 

I can't do podcasts, any podcasts. I always find my attention wanders, whether to a book sitting near by or a site I'm browsing or or or. So...no, not a fan, but I have not and will never try it, so that doesn't mean much ;)

 

46 minutes ago, kaosoe said:

If all space battles in Star Wars were silent, I would find them absolutely dull.

I don't think that's true, actually.

Or rather, if a competent-to-skilled filmmaker were to run with "no sound in space" they'd figure out other ways to engage the audience's attention. Which is to say that it's true that Yavin, as filmed, would be diminished if all non-cockpit sound went away. But if you were going to film Yavin without sound, you could do interesting things. I mean, George Miller recently(ish) made a Mad Max sequel which was so good on so many levels that you could take away the color and it was still an excellent action movie with astonishing visuals and sequences, and I don't think that was a deliberate goal.

Give that man* a director's seat at the Star Wars table and tell him that there's no sound in space? It'll almost certainly be amazing.

*Just make sure his wife/editor is there too, because good lord the editing on that film was incredible. 

Alternatively, do the Nolan's Dunkirk thing and keep the perspective almost entirely confined to that perspective of the pilots in their craft, occasionally cutting to exterior shots in which the contrast of NO SOUND HERE is striking relative to the noisy cockpit. Works best if you're going for a claustrophobic experience, of course. Or, potentially, a gritty, high-fatality experience like Rogue One. 

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20 minutes ago, Vapor Eagle said:

Or rather, if a competent-to-skilled filmmaker were to run with "no sound in space" they'd figure out other ways to engage the audience's attention.

Sure, but it would change the tone entirely.  Silence is creepy.  Battlestar Galactica has a great scene when whatshername Stardust/Starforge/Starwhatever does a sneak attack on the Borg/Cylon/InsertRobotsHere and it's entirely silent...tense as heck, but not exactly suitable for a space western.

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23 minutes ago, 2P51 said:

I bet it is true, that's probably why he wrote it.....

You beat me to it. :)

You're right about the sound track, however, I would still feel like something is missing if laser cannons didn't make any noises or the TIE fighters didn't scream by.

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