[FAQ] Star Wars Technology FAQ version 4.0 (2 of 2)

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Eric Lee Cline

Sep 20, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/20/97

(continued from part one)

9. Cloaking Devices
(SWSB, page 11)
...a cloaking device is an experimental shield which creates a
subtle warp in the fabric of space surrounding the vessel, causing all
forms of energy to slip around the ship as if it weren't there, making
the ship practically invisible.
Cloaking devices are extremely rare. They are among the most
sophisticated and complicated devices known; only a few highly skilled
engineers can operate and maintain them.
(TLCSB, pages 93 and 94)
The Techology Vaults
...in the middle levels of Mount Tantiss.
Very few items in the Tech Vaults survived,...
...the power of the blast destroyed or damaged most of these
documents and prototypes, so it is unlikely that they will lead to
viable techologies without extensive additional research:
- A proposed guidance system for cloaked starships.

10. Repulsorlift.
(SWSB, page 59)
Repulsorlifts levitate surface vehicles and lightweight atmospheric
craft via antigravitational emanations, called "repulsor fields," that
propel vehicles by forming a field of negative gravity that pushes against
the natural gravitational field of a planet.
(SWRPG2RE, page 194)
Repulsolift drives don't work in space - although they can be used
aboard starships by repelling against the ships artificial gravity field.
(EGVV, page XV)
Landspeeders, snowspeeders, sail barges, and cloud cars use
repulsorlifts. Most starships also have repulsorlift drives for planetary
landings and atmospheric flight.
The most powerful repulsorlift units can propel vehicles to speeds
over 1,000 kilometers per hour, although many vehicles use ion afterburners
to increase speeds.

11. Communications
(SWRPG2RE, page 192)
The HoloNet
Using specially-developed hyperspace technology to link all members
of the Republic in a real-time holographic communication network, the
HoloNet relied on a complex network of hundreds of thousands of transceiver
satellites to transfer messages through hyperspace.
Hypertransceivers, also called "hyperradio," are a cheaper and
less-sophisticated form of instantaneous communication. Like the HoloNet,
the technology relies on a network of satellites to broadcast messages
through hyperspace. Many HoloNet transceivers carry hyperradio
transmissions, but dedicated hypertransceiver satellites are considerably
Hypertransceivers allow for instant, real-time communication with
any world on the galactic network (although not every system is serviced).
The medium is limited to audio and video transmission.
Subspace Transceivers
Subspace Transceivers allow faster-than-light audio, video, and
hologram communications, but their ranges are quite limited. Small
subspace transceivers may only reach a few light-years away, although
high-powered units reach a distance of well over 100 light-years. Most
starships have a subspace transceiver as a distress signal, and the
average citizen can normally afford to send a subspace message at a
relatively modest price.
Many sector governments maintain subspace satellite networks for
a sector-wide communications grid. In theory, messages can be relayed
across the galaxy by skipping them across several subspace networks, but
it can take several days (or even weeks) for a message to be delivered.
(Private citizens often send messages aboard NewsNet drone ships
or starship couriers, which deliver messages, packages, and news on a
regular schedule to various systems.)
Comms, Intercoms and Comlinks
Comms, intercoms and comlinks all essentially use the same
technology: cheap, speed-of-light communication systems, similar to
old-style radionics and broadcast systems.
(BFC3, pages 184-185)
"Looks like General Calrissian went for _all_ the options when
he bought this yacht. The system's giving me an on-the-fly translation
- ha!"
(TLC, pages 286 and 287)
"Any pressure on the ch'hala tree's trunk - including the
pressure created by sound waves - sets off small chemical changes in the
inner layers of the bark."
"Anyway, those implanted tubes running up in the trunk
continuously sample the chemicals and shunt the information back down to
the module in the taproot. The model takes the chemical data, turns it
back into pressure data, and from there back into speech. Some other
module - maybe farther down the taproot - sorts out the conversations
and gets the whole thing ready for encrypting and transmission."

12. Computers and Droids
(CRFG, pages 5 and 6)
In our world, a piece of information is either in a computer file
or it isn't. The computer technology of the _Star Wars_ universe is very
different, thanks to the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
brains for Droids. By working with Droids, programmers and computer
linguists created what they called Holistic Data Transfers, or HDTs.
HDTs are a means of writing data files in a kind of "information
shorthand." HDT languages are so sophisticated they take up very little
memory, but they allow a datafile to give a computer user more data about
a topic than it actually has.
HDTs build an element of artificial intelligence directly into
datafiles. In effect, it makes a "guess" about the information requested
based on the data it possesses. The more data it possesses, the more
accurate the deductions and the broader the scope of the deductions.
The larger the file, the less the chance the computer will have to
guess. Large files can be broken down into smaller files if neccessary.
The Death Star technical readout of 10D (such as the one carried by
R2-D2 in _A New Hope_) will have just about any information the user is
looking for. The file could be broken down into two 4D files and a 2D
file. Each one of these smaller files would have less chance of
providing the necessary information.
Current limits of technology do not allow files greater than 13D.
Computers have a limitation on the amount of information they can
store. Common pocket computers can store 5D at most (although many store
less), while portables can store up to 20D. Computers on capital starships
can store up to 30D, while planetary computer systems store up to 100D of
(CRFG, pages 5 and 6)
..The mem-stik will hold 14 Bz of data.
Each mem-stik contains 1D of data.
(TOTBH, pages 1-5)
Internal chronometer activated. BEGIN.
Electricity flooded through circuits, a power surge racing through
a billion neural pathways. Sensors awakened, producing a flood of data-and
with it came questions.
Who am I?
His internal programming finished the tedious two second-long
initialization procedures...
A microsecond later, images from his exterior sensors snapped into
Three seconds had already passed.
IG-88 immediately began a search, scouring at hyperspeed through
file after file, searching for anything that referenced his model number
or the code name of the assassin droid project. He gulped it all into
his empty circuits...
He selected one file for immediate perusal, a summary/PR tape...
IG-88 closed the file.
By now, five seconds had passed since his awakening.
(TOTBH, page 161)
"About time," it scolded in a high, feminine voice. "I've been
ready for-"
Chen closed one paw around the tiny positronic processor, too small
to properly call a droid and too personable to call anything else.
(GG9, page 94)
Sound Slugs
The data storage capacity of memory cells almost defy description,
and with the data compression techniques commonly available, a single
storage unit the size of a blaster power pack can contain the complete
library of even the most prolific bands. Consequently, the data units
are also packed with other information to fill up the spare capacity.
This commonly includes music holovids, reviews, interviews with group
members, words to the songs, remixes, technical analyses of the sound
profiles, and so on. All of these different filetypes are stored to
standard formats, and as a result, the same data cartridge can be read
on a number of different media, including conventional computers,
datapads, holovid machines and audio stacks.
(BFC2, page 81)
"The test of intelligence," Threepio repeated. "Am I sentient,
like you, or simply another work of great ingenuity, like this ship?"

13. The Size of the Galaxy
(TOTBH, page 301)
In a galaxy with over four hundred billion stars, over twenty
million intelligent species...
(BFC2, page 39)
"The Galaxy is one hundred twenty thousand light years across."

14. Lightsabers
(TOTJC, page 142)
A lightsaber must have the following parts: a power cell, a
handgrip, an activation plate, a safety, a belt ring (optional), a blade-
length adjuster, an emitter matrix, a recharge socket, a lens assembly, a
focusing crystal, and a power conduit. Most handgrips have a length of 24
to 30 centimeters, with the blades themselves extending up to 1.5 meters.
The type of crystal used to focus the energy from the power cell
determines the harmonic resonance and lethality of the weapon. Jedi
Knights use Adegan crystals almost exclusively, as they have done for
millenia. The Adegan family inlcludes the following crystals in order of
rarity (the die code in parentheses represents the blade's base damage
when using that crystal): kathracite (3D+2), relacite (4D), danite (4D+2),
mephite (5D), and pontite (5D+2).

15. Pre-modern Technology
Weapons: Pulse-waves, Lasers, and Wave-weapons.
(TOTJC, page 125)
The two main types of energy weapons used throughout the galaxy
rely on either pulse-waves or lasers. Pulse-wave weapons fire spherical
spatial distortions that disperse as they as they are propelled forward.
Blast-rifles, the latest in armament technology, shoot short beams of
concentrated light (lasers) that cause severe heat damage.
Wave-weapons, specifically developed for use against the beast-
riders of Onderon and their warbeast mounts, fire streams of radiation
that turn their targets into nothing more than smoking ash. This type of
weapon has been outlawed on all other Republic member worlds.

Vehicle and Starship Weapons, Shields, Sensors, and Communications
(TOTJC, page 112)
Vehicles may incorporate any variety of mounted weapons, from
high-acceleration slug-throwers, mass-drivers and railguns to advanced
pulse-wave cannons. Most starships bear turbolaser cannons, heavy
pulse-wave cannons, or concussion projectiles...
Many vehicles and starships,... carry one or two types of shield
generators. Concussion shields protect vehicles against collisions with
high-speed particles, from motes of dust and debris to concussion
projectiles launched by other vehicles or ships. Energy shields, the most
recent of protective technologies defend against any type of high-intensity
energy streams (like lasers) or spatial distortions (like pulse-waves).
...In the era of the empire, concussion (particle) shields operate
automatically along all fire arcs, but in this era an individual must
manipulate concussion shield concentration to protect against large
projectiles (like small asteroids and launched missiles) as is the norm for
energy shields.
Sensor technology has developed slowly over the millenia. At
this point, most ships have the ability to detect dangerous levels of
radiation, the presence of other starships in the immediate vicinity,
pressures surrounding the vessel, temperatures of nearby objects, and
large concentrations of life forms on planets or other celestial phenomena.
Unlike future incarnations, current sensors cannot be
manipulated to focus or search modes, remaining in passive reception
most of the time, unless an operator purposely seeks out information, in
which case the sensors go into scan mode.
Communication between (or among) individuals, vehicles, and
starships may occur via one of two methods. Direct contact requires a
clear line of sight between the two parties. Any spatial phenomena of
large proportion and therefore the ability to cause gravitational
distortion (planets, moons, stars, black holes, and the like) disrupting
the line of sight prevent communication. Even when functioning without
interference, however, this form of contact has a limited distance, usually
within a star system (or even shorter for less powerful arrays).
The second method of communication commonly used
throughout the galaxy utilizes the hyperspace jump beacons strategically
situated in thousands of systems from the Core to the Frontier. Messages
(sound wave and data files only) are digitally addressed and encoded and
sent through the jump beacons at hyperspace speeds.

(TOTJC, page 111)
Starships attempting travel at lightspeed must fly along certain
established hyperspace routes demarcated by jump beacons. These
beacons contain information about spatial phenomena, galactic drift, and
destination coordinates that enable it to calculate a current (and
hopefully safe) spacelane between its location and the desired end point.

(TOTJC, page 97)
The droids of this era need constant recharging and maintenance to remain
functioning. Once per week a technician must perform a "tune-up" on the

16. Cloning
(TLC, pages 30 and 31)
"Clones can only be grown so quickly if you want them mentally
stable enough to trust with your warships. One year minimum per clone,
as I recall the old rule of thumb."
"At the absolute minimum," Kardde said. "The pre-Clone Wars
documents I've seen suggest three to five years would be a more
appropriate period."
"What would you say if I told you the clones who attacked us on
the Katana were grown in less than a year?"
"The full cycle was fifteen to twenty days."
(JAS, page 38)
Dorsk 81 is a bald, green-and-yellow skinned humanoid from
Khomm, a world where all family units are genetically identical,
cloned and raised to carry on the status quo. Eighty generations of
the Dorsk line have been genetically identical, and have been trained
to perform their jobs with the same level of skill, maintaining their
level of "perfection."
Dorsk 81, the eighty-first reincarnation of the same genetic
template, was born slightly different than his brothers - he found
that he could sense and manipulate the Force. For many years he hid
his talents, ashamed of his genetic "failure,"...
Dorsk 81 must constantly fight the urge to feel ashamed of his
variance from the genetic template.

17. Holograms
(TLC, page 416)
Floating there in the darkness, a blaze of light twenty feet
across, was the galaxy.
Not the standard galaxy hologram any school or shipping business
might own. Not even the more precise versions that could be found only
in the war rooms of select sector military headquarters. This hologram
was sculpted in exquisite and absolutely unique detail, with a single
accurately positioned point of light for each of the galaxy's hundred
billion stars. Political regions were delineated by subtle
encirclements of color: the Core systems, the Outer Rim Territories,
Wild Space, the Unknown Regions. From his throne room the Emperor
could manipulate the image, highlighting a chosen sector, locating a
single system, or tracking a military campaign.
It was as much a work of art as it was a tool.
(GG10, page 88)
Double Suit
A miniaturized version of a portable, three-dimensional
holovid recorder with a directed projector, the double suit creates a
life-size, holographic image of the hunter.
Indistiguishable from the original at long range (50+ meters)...

18. Thermal Detonators
(TLCSB, page 124)
Thermal Detonators are small grenade-sized explosives that
generate a powerful explosion.
Thermal detonators contain baradium, an extremely unstable
synthetic explosive. The thermal detonator's power source, usually no
more powerful than a blaster power pack, activates the baradium, which
generates a particle field when exposed to a power source. The particle
field controls the expanding "explosion." At the end of the reaction,
the sphere collapses in on itself. Anything outside the sphere is
undamaged, but anything within the sphere is exposed to the heat damage
of the baradium detonation.
Generally, thermal detonators contain enough baradium for a five
meter sphere. Recently, modified black market detonators that can
allegedly create 100 meter blast spheres have been confiscated by
Republic authorities. Baradium is extremely unstable, and improper
handling of a thermal detonator can trigger an accidental detonation.
(SOTE, pages 309 - 310)
"It's a thermal detonator," he said. "Lando's got three of
them. They run on a timer or a deadman's switch..."
"And does what, exactly?"
"Makes a small thermonuclear fusion reaction."
(SOTE, page 311)
If the boy wasn't bluffing, and somebody shot him, a Class-A
thermal detonator would take out several floors of this building in a

19. Medicine
(CRFG, page 29)
BioTech's Repli-Limb line of prothstetics is one of the most
dependable in the industry. ...,they have a nearly spotless record
for host tissue accpetance due to hyberflesh construction.
The prosthetic's synth-net neural interface allows full control
of the limb, with the complete range of tactile sensations the
prosthetic's recipient experienced with his original limb.
Hand... Arm... Leg... Eye... Ear... Heart... Lungs...
(LC2, page 362)
Afterwards, he'd had four centimeters of bonemer grafted into
each tibia, fibula, and femur to increase his height, proportionate
amounts addes to his arms as well, and a extra vertebra interleavened
in his spine.

Cyborg Brains
(CRFG, pages 31)
Utilizing BioTech's latest neurothread technology, the system
provides a clean connection between the cyborg's mind and the computer
The system provides a direct link to computer systems...
...it is now possible to add data knowledge cartridges into
the system.
(CRFG, page 33)
All cyborgs can link directly with Droid units,...
(CRFG, page 34)
Cyborg knowledge cartridges...
...a novice in _demolitions_ can become and expert by slapping
in a _demolitions_ cartridge.
Because of the complexity of the cartridges, the cyborg
construct cannot link to any other computers, Droids or perform other
functions while using a cartridge, although the person may manipulate
tools by conventional means.
Cartridges are available only for knowledge and technical

(CRFG, page 35)
Neuro-Saav Corporation Cardio-Muscular Package
This package enhances the cyborg's lungs, and provides muscle
reinforcements. The rybcoarse-based enhancements allow muscles to do
more work with less effort.
(CRFG, page 36)
'Geneering Response iMprOVEMENT Package (RiMPack)
While this package package dramatically improves one's
coordination, it is very expensive and dangerous to implant.
Utilizing the finest Neural-web reflex threads (...), this bio-impulse
interface allows quicker responses in combat situations.
The threads must be sewn into the recipient's body, and traced
out in the bollen pattern (...) so that every muscle is connected to
the wires. This entire network of threads is then tied into the brain
of the recipient.
...the surgeon must essentially recreate a new nervous system
without damaging the original one.
(CRFG, page 38)
The package comes complete with enhanced ears and eyes...
...integrates the ear and eye prosthetics into an interconnected
(CRFG, page 39)
...Hi-Sense prosthetic eyes come complete with limited IR and
UV sensory systems and high resolution color-bit break-down
A person with Hi-Sense eyes sees everything with greater
clarity and detail - heat dispersion, heightened colors, and
illuminated shadows.

(HS1, page 287)
It had been a long time since he'd seen sunlight, and his
eyes were still sensitive, still easily irritated.
Having one's retinal patterns altered was possible, as Han
had just proved, but it wasn't a pleasant experience. He'd had the
laser surgery and cell rearrangement, then spent a day in a bacta tank,
healing. He'd worn a bacta visor for three more days...

20. Other
(CSASB, page 118)
An energy weapon, a disruptor works by breaking down objects at the
molecular level. Any matter subjected to a disruptor is quickly and
violently disintegrated.
They have a short range and quickly drain their power cells.

Force Cylinders
(HTTE, pages 208 - 209)
A force cylinder was relatively foolproof...
..there was indeed a corridor of air between the two ships.

Revision History
4.0 Comments from Heir to the Empire, Shield of Lies, The Jedi Academy
Sourcebook, The Paradise Snare, Shadows of the Empire, the Lando
Calrissian Trilogy, and the Technical Journals added. "Cyborging"
changed to "Medicine," and "Computers" changed to "Computers and
3.0 Comments from The Last Command, The Last Command Sourcebook,
the Dark Force Rising Sorcebook, the Han Solo and the Corporate Sector
Sourcebook, Galaxy Guide 9: Fragments from the Rim, Galaxy Guide 10:
Bounty Hunters, more from Cracken's Rebel Field Guide, a note on canon,
spoilers, and errors, cloning, thermal detonators, and holograms added.
Revision history moved to end of document, and introduction modified.
2.9 Comments from Tyrant's Test added, "Lasers" changed to
"Blasters" to halt nitpicking.
2.8 HTML-adapted!
2.7 Comments from Tales of the Jedi Companion, lightsabers, and pre-
modern technology added.
2.6 Comments from Tales of the Bounty Hunters, galactic size added.
2.5 Spelling errors corrected, comments added from Cracken's Rebel Field
2.4 Several spelling errors corrected, modified to work on my homepage.
2.3 NOTE added.
2.2 Comments from the Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels added.

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