The transition from Beijing to the Newark copyshop is more involved. After he travels around a bit, he realizes he needs to be looking back in Newark. He “rewinds” using a pull gesture and sees the copyshop’s pyramid. First there is a predominantly blue window that unfolds as if it were paper.
And then the copyshop initial window expands. Like the Beijing hotel, this is a floor plan view, but unlike the hotel it stays two dimensional. It appears that cyberspace works like the current world wide web, with individual servers for each location that can choose what appearance to present to visitors.
Johnny again selects data records, but not with a voice command. The first transition is a window that not only expands but spins as it does so, and makes a strange jump at the end from the centre to the upper left.
Once again Johnny uses the two-handed expansion gesture to see the table view of the records.Continue reading →
There is one last interface in The Faithful Wookiee we see in use. It’s one of those small interfaces, barely seen, but that invites lots of consideration. In the story, Boba and Chewie have returned to the Falcon and administered to Luke and Han the cure to the talisman virus. Relieved, Luke (who assigns loyalty like a puppy at a preschool) says,
“Boba, you’re a hero and a faithful friend.[He isn’t. —Editor]You must come back with us. [He won’t.] What’s the matter with R2?”
C3PO says,“I’m afraid sir, it’s because you said Boba is a faithful friend and faithful ally.[He didn’t.]That simply does not feed properly into R2’s information banks.”
Luke asks, “What are you talking about?”
“We intercepted a message between Boba and Darth Vader, sir. Boba Fett is Darth Vader’s right-hand man. I’m afraid this whole adventure has been an Imperial plot.”
Luke gapes towards Boba, who has his blaster drawn and is backing up into an alcove with an escape hatch. Boba glances at a box on the wall, slides some control sideways, and a hatch opens in the ceiling. He says, deadpan, “We’ll meet again…friend,” before touching some control on his belt that sends him flying into the clear green sky, leaving behind a trail of smoke.
A failure of door
Let’s all keep in mind that the Falcon isn’t a boat or a car. It is a spaceship. On the other side of the hatch could be breathable air at the same pressure as what’s inside the ship, or it could also be…
The bone-cracking 2.7° Kelvin emptiness of space
The physics-defying vortex of hyperspace
Some poisonous atmosphere like Venus’, complete with sulfuric acid clouds
A hungry flock of neebrays.
There should be no easy way to open any of its external doors.
Think of an airplane hatch. On the other side of that thing is an atmosphere known to support human life, and it sure as hell doesn’t open like a gen-1 iPhone. For safety, it should take some doing.
If we’re being generous, maybe there’s some mode by which each door can be marked as “safe” and thereby made this easy to open. But that raises issues of security and authorizations and workflow that probably aren’t worth going into without a full redesign and inserting some new technological concepts into the diegesis.
Let’s also not forget that to secure that most precious of human biological needs, i.e. air, there should be an airlock, where the outer door and inner door can’t be opened at the same time without extensive override. But that’s not a hindrance. It could have made for an awesome moment.
LUKE gapes at Boba. Cut to HAN.
You won’t get any information out of us, alive or dead. Even the droids are programmed to self-destruct. But there’s a way out for you.
HAN lowers his hand to a panel, and presses a few buttons. An escape hatch opens behind Boba Fett.
We’ll meet again…friend.
That quick change might have helped explain why Boba didn’t just kill everyone and steal the Falcon and the droids (along with their information banks) then and there.
Security is often sacrificed to keep narrative flowing, so I get why makers are tempted to bypass these issues. But it’s also worth mentioning two other failures that this 58-second scene illustrates.
A failure to droid
Why the hell did C3PO and R2D2 wait to tell Luke and Han of this betrayal until Luke happened to say something that didn’t fit into “information banks?” C3PO could have made up some bullshit excuse to pull Luke aside and whisper the news. But no, he waits, maybe letting Luke and Han spill vital information about the Rebellion, and only when something doesn’t compute, blurt out that the only guy in the room with the blaster happens to be in bed with Space Voldemort.
Also note that despite all this effort (and buffoonery) they never, ever used this insanely effective bioweapon against the Rebels, again.
I know, you’re probably thinking this is just some kid’s cartoon in the Star Wars diegesis, but that only raises more problems, which I’ll address in the final post on this crazy movie within a crazy movie.
In addition to easy sex and drugs, citizens of Dome City who are either unhappy or even just bored with the way they look can stop by one of the New You salons for a fast, easy cosmetic alternation.
At the salon we get a glimpse of an interface a woman is using to select new facial features. She sits glancing down at a small screen on which she sees an image of her own face. A row of five unlabeled, gray buttons are mounted on the lower bevel of the screen. A black circle to the right of the screen seems to be a camera. She hears a soft male voice advising, “I recommend a more detailed study of our projections. There are new suggestions for your consideration.”
She presses the fourth button, and the strip of image that includes her chin slides to the right, replaced with another strip of image with the chin changed. Immediately afterwards, the middle strip of the image slides left, replaced with different cheekbones.
In another scene, she considers a different shape of cheekbones by pressing the second button.
So. Yeah. Terrible.
The first is poor mapping of buttons to the areas of the face. It would make much more sense, if the design was constrained to such buttons, to place them vertically along the side of the screen such that each button was near to the facial feature it will change.
Labels would help as well, so she wouldn’t have to try buttons out to know what they do (though mapping would help that.)
Another problem is mapping of controls to functions. In one scene, one button press changes two options. Why aren’t these individual controls?
Additionally, if the patron is comparing options, having the serial presentation places a burden on her short term memory. Did she like the apple cheeks or the modest ones better? If she is making her decision based on her current face, it would be better to compare the options in questions side-by-side.
A frontal view isn’t the only way her new face would be seen. Why does she have to infer the 3D shape of the new face from the front view? She should be able to turn it to any arbitrary angle, or major viewing angles at once, or watch videos of her moving through life in shifting light and angle conditions, all with her new face on.
How many options for each component are there? A quick internet search showed, for noses, types show anything between 6 and 70. It’s not clear, and this might change how she makes her decision. If it’s 70, wouldn’t some subcategories or a wizard help her narrow down options?
Recovery. If she accidentally presses the wrong button, how does she go back? With no labeling and an odd number of buttons to consider, it’s unclear in the best case and she’s forced to cycle through them all in the worst.
The reason for the transition is unclear. Why not a jump cut? (Other than making sure the audience notices it.) Or a fade? Or some other transition.
Why isn’t it more goal-focused? What is her goal in changing her face? Like, can she elect to look more like a perticular person? Or what she thinks her current object of affection will like? (Psychologically quite dystopian.) Or have her face follow current face fashion trends? Or point out the parts of herself that she doesn’t like? Or randomize it, and just “try something new?”
OK I guess for both showing how easy cosmetic surgery is in the future, and how surface Dome City’s residents’ concepts of beauty are, this is OK. But for actual usability, a useless mess.
When Korben stands up, his bed recognizes the change. In response it pulls the messy bed and linens away, where they will be “autowashed,” i.e. automatically sanitized, remade, and sealed in plastic (for bedbug protection?) A fresh bed rises up to replace the messy one as the bedframe slides into the wall.
This automated response might be frustrating if it presumed too much. Say, if Korben got up in the night to use the restroom and came back to find his bed missing, so you’d want it to be as context-aware as possible. And there’s evidence that it’s not too smart a system. Later in the film Cornelius hides in the bed and is nearly suffocated as it tries to autowash the bed with him in it, and wraps him in plastic. I get the comedy in the scene, but really, if it had the sensors to know when Korben was laying down in it, it should have a safety that prevents that very thing when a person is there.
Korben does have manual controls. There are two panels of pushbuttons at waist height, about a meter apart on a sliver of wall above the bed recess. We don’t get great views of these panels, but we do see Korben using one of the buttons to hide General Munro and his cronies in the hideaway refrigerator. In the glimpses we get we can see that there are six buttons on each panel, each button labeled with a high-contrast icon. The leftmost button on each controls the bed. Pressing it when it’s hidden opens it. Pressing it when it’s open closes it and, as we saw before, starts the murderous autowash.
All told it’s a pretty awesome system. The agentive part of getting up is handled seamlessly. The alarm has gone off, Korben’s up, and having the bed disappear saves space in the room and removes the temptation of Korben’s slinking back to bed and making himself late for work. And to summon the bed or hide it manually at some unusual time, Korben has understandable, accessible controls. The main down side is the lack of a safety or panic button, and the comparatively minor annoyance that Korben has to tear that plastic off every night even if he just wanted to pass out after a long day of saving the world.