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Old 06-10-2007, 05:51 PM   #1
machievelli
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Reverse engineering the Star Forge

Rebuilding Alien Technology, or;

Why there wonít be another Star Forge


The enemy built a new Star ForgeÖ

I see this over and over, and while it makes for an easy to do story line, look at the reality of the situation.

In the Movie Independence Day the US government has one of the alien ships. The writers didnít bother to check the actual timeline of when the Roswell crash was, stating it had crashed in the 50s. Actually the Roswell incident was in 1947. Yet over 50 years later with all the capability of what had been the most modern technology on the planet they still had not duplicated it.

Why?

Because to duplicate it, you have to do is called reverse engineering. You have to first figure out how the others made this, and then create the technology to duplicate it.

As an example, the Soviets interned three B29s that landed in Manchuria during the American bombing of Japan in 1944 and 45. They had in their hands copies of the only American aircraft capable of carrying the A bombs of that era.

Yet while the technology gap between the Americans and the Russians was not that great, the Russians proved incapable of making the leap. They did not have the engineering capability to make the heavy landing gear, and stressed aluminum was even more difficult. It was only Trumanís attempts to jump-start the flagging economies of Europe that gave them what they needed.

The US had Boeing go into production not of bombers, but airliners. To cut costs, Boeing took the B29 design, built a massive whaleback on it, and fielded the Stratoliner. Aeroflot, the Russian airline was ordered to gain the technology. The design was no good, but the US sold them actual landing gear. During the air show of May Day 1947, a dozen Tupolev 4s, exact copies of the American B29 flew over. Seven months later, the Russians tested their first Atomic bomb.

Every step the Russians had taken to complete that, from bomb to plane had been because of outside assistance.

Something the US in the Independence Day did not have. There was no handy factory to sell them the equipment. No native scientists to suborn or steal from. They had to do it just with what they had in front of them.

While the problem looks insoluble, humans using mechanical technology and the aliens using biomechanical, it is not that big a leap. Modern science is even now working on biomechanical analogs for human muscles and nerves. If that same ship crashed today, the technical nations of our planet would not need fifty years to duplicate it. We now have the basic tools to at least make a start.

The Star Forge however is several orders of magnitude harder than a mere leap from mechanical to biomechanical.

I have compared building a new Star Forge to the natives of the Cargo Cult for a reason. They did not understand modern technology, but to have their paradise come true, they need that capability to create it.

If it was merely a mechanical even biomechanical construct, the Republic or Sith could build it. It might take them a hell of a long time, but it is possible.

Yet combining the Force and matter into its construction made the Star Forge, according to the Rakata computer. There is no sign in any of the books (Except for Splinter in the Mindís Eye) that anyone had even considered it. SITME had exactly one such thing, and it was merely a crystal that stores and focuses Force energy. Using the idea of that to build a new Star Forge is like saying I am going to give a Duracell battery to the natives, and they are going to build a Nimitz class carrier with the Ďnewí technology they now possess.

To build a working duplicate, you must first create all of the technology required to make the materials. Only then can you even begin to lay the keel. For our Cargo Cult to create just a modern airliner requires advanced knowledge of about fifteen different sciences, because you canít make stressed aluminum with knowing how to refine and form it. You canít build hydraulics systems without knowing the theory, and you arenít going to build a computer without knowing the theory even if you know what it can do. If you donít believe me, explain electrical engineering to a five year old in words small enough for him to understand, and clearly enough that the kid can build a generating plant.

The other problem is time. In my article about ship construction, I have pointed out that the building time, from forming parts to a finished vessel has stayed constant throughout the modern era. If you include curing the wood for a sailing ship of the line or forming the hull plates for the Nimitz, it takes four years from start to sea trials. Smaller ships of course are faster, but the Corvettes and sloops of the 18th century reduced that time to only two years, and a modern destroyer thanks to modular construction to about six months.

I know that people will scream at this. After all, the record for construction of Liberty ships was around a month. But comparing the complexity of a Liberty ship to an Iowa class battleship is like comparing a dugout canoe to a modern speedboat.

There is a way to build that duplicateÖ But itís less likely.

Revan or Malak could have ordered the Star Forge to make the parts and construction supplies necessary. So letís look at this instead.

The Star Forge has to make all of those parts, from the decking plates to the devices that convert raw matter into ships and droids. If you consider the sheer size of the station (large enough that it dwarfs the Death Star in both size and complexity) you are talking hundred perhaps millions of teratons (Trillions of tons) of material that must be formed before assembly. It must then be transported to another system, and a computer capable of placing Part A next to Part B now tells you how to assemble it properly.

Why another system? Because if Malak or Revan or Joe blow the new Lord of the Sith didnít try it in the Rakata system. If he had, the Republic fleet would have found two Star Forges in orbit, one still under construction.

To do this however would most likely take a huge portion of the Star Forgeís production capability. In real life there are entire factories that produce just one type of part. The auto industry has thousands of factories making every possible part. For the Star Forge to duplicate itself, it would have to create that technology.

Letís try to do it on the cheap instead. Build the factories and transport them instead. This is a lot easier, but at what point does the process need the force to work? Can you guarantee that a mere factory can infuse it? The reason Frankenstein is a seminal work of Science Fiction is because no matter how many bodies you assemble out of spare parts. Without that spark of life, it remains dead tissue. That part of the process must be created or all this work is wasted effort.

So letís assume that 30% of the production capacity is directed at building just the parts of this new Star Forge. And make the assumption that this comes out to the mass of say the Nimitz, which is comparable in size to a Republic Frigate. Over 80,000 tons. And also assume it creates this mass every 24 hours. So 80,000 tons a day, 560,000 a week. To create something that weighs even less my smaller estimate, (Half a teratons, 500 billion tons 5 x ten to the 11th tons) 6,250,000 days.

Try 17,123 years. By making it a million tons a day it only reduces that time to 1370 years. To reduce that time to say 2 years, you would have to produce over a billion tons a day.

Just for parts necessary to build one. But you now run into the construction phase.

Remember that four-year rule postulate I used above? That assumes the technology kept up with construction. The first Star Destroyers probably took between four and seven years to complete, but they reduced the time it took down to my four-year timeline by the time of ANH. But then I looked at the difference in a new Imperial Star Destroyer, and compared the sheer mass of that vessel to a Super Star Destroyer or the first Death Star; you can see that you arenít going to have them churned out like bullets on an assembly line or even Liberty Ships. From having the plans in his hands to a completed Death Star, Palpatine took over 20 years

So it is unlikely that you could assemble this in less time than it took for the Death Star.

So if youíre going to pop up a Ďbrand new Star Forgeí, take that into account.


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Old 06-10-2007, 06:09 PM   #2
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Seeing this plotline a bit too much...well...I could suggest having the Rakatans build a second Star Forge, seeing that at least the Priestly class (which canonically got saved according to the Wookipedia) had some knowledge over how the empire was founded. Getting their help would be necessary to build a Star Forge.

Another thing: Is it possible for there to be more than one Star Forge existing in the first place? If so, you could easily sidestep the whole reverse engineering of the Star Forge, and just have the bad guys locate, rather than build, a brand new Star Forge and just start cranking out units.

And is it possible to reverse-engineer parts of the Star Forge rather than the whole thing? Is it possible to build a factory that is able produce Force ships using a star, but not able to produce them as effective as the Star Forge nor can The Force that runs this thing be easily controlled, meaning it has lots of faults, but still have the basic principles?


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Old 06-11-2007, 01:03 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilentScope001
Seeing this plotline a bit too much...well...I could suggest having the Rakatans build a second Star Forge, seeing that at least the Priestly class (which canonically got saved according to the Wookipedia) had some knowledge over how the empire was founded. Getting their help would be necessary to build a Star Forge.
First, you need the capability to use the Force, which the Rakata had yet to regain. Note that while they had the entry code (The chant) they could not enter the temple without it.

The best answer I can give to this is suggest a book entitled Heirs of Empire By David Weber. After a major bioweapons disaster, one planet creates a religion which condemns all technology above wind and muscle power. When some castaways arrive, they face a fully operational weapons system which the people of the planet consider 'gods' What guarantee do you have that they can even explain how the infusion of matter and Force? It is like expecting a modern Egyptian whose ancestor was a priest to explain the rite of passage tro the next world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SilentScope001
Another thing: Is it possible for there to be more than one Star Forge existing in the first place? If so, you could easily sidestep the whole reverse engineering of the Star Forge, and just have the bad guys locate, rather than build, a brand new Star Forge and just start cranking out units.
This is a valid point. However you would also have to create another society that is being drained of their force capabilities

Quote:
Originally Posted by SilentScope001
And is it possible to reverse-engineer parts of the Star Forge rather than the whole thing? Is it possible to build a factory that is able produce Force ships using a star, but not able to produce them as effective as the Star Forge nor can The Force that runs this thing be easily controlled, meaning it has lots of faults, but still have the basic principles?

That was why I suggested the cheap method, manufactories for everything possible, but like my Frankenstein analogy, at what point is the material elements force imbued? You might build everything like our primitive watcher, and get something that would work but only in a haphazard manner.

Actually that is the best suggestion you made. If someone uses this premise, I will only challenge it if it is too efficient.


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Old 06-11-2007, 06:08 PM   #4
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It is implied that the Star Forge has autoregenerative capabilities - the Star Maps are said to be built with the technology of the Star Forge and have repaired themselves over the centuries (presumably replacing burnt-out or missing components etc.).

I would posit that *something* must have survived the Battle of the Star Forge - some piece of debris, a few electronic parts, something. The Republic hardly blew it to dust. Yes, we saw it crash into the sun, but that's just unreal.

I would further posit that over time, the Star Forge could therefore rebuild itself. Naturally, this would take millennia. So I would say that the only time you are going to see a resurgance of the Star Forge is post-Legacy.

Which I think would also be the ideal time for the return of the Ancient Sith, but that's another story

So overall, I agree with mach that no-one is likely to build a second Star Forge...but it rebuilding itself is not, I would say, beyond conception.

The other alternate, I suppose, is that the precise schematics and method of creation are stored in the computer in the temple on Rakata Prime, but this seems less likely to me



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Old 06-11-2007, 08:41 PM   #5
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Henry Ford created cars from scratch, but through the use of the assembly line. Since the Star Forge is massive, the materials would no doubt have to be manufactured or gathered from somewhere. It took twentyish years for the Death Star to be built, and it took four to six years to barely build another one. Since the Emporer had taken over the largest manufacturing planet in the world (Kuat Drive Yards), they were able to obtain their resources faster. If someone in the Republic were to take the time to reverse engineer the Death Star, I believe it would take decades to try to build another one. Since the Republic barely had the resources (money, time, manpower, steel, etc...), the production of a Death Star would take several life times. Unless they found a location like the Kuat Drive Yards, the Republic would not be able to create a Death Star cheaply and in time.

When it comes to the Star Forge, one has to make an interesting argument. If I remember correctly, the primitives you are refering to on the unknown planet are not primitive. There are two paradigms that science-fiction uses for advanced species. One paradigm revolves around the idea that an advanced species will no longer use technology. As they progress torwards enlightenment, they shead their technological lifestyle for primitivism. Another paradigm is that an advanced species advertises their technology. Every aspect of the later's lifestyle is a show case of power through weaponry and technology. I believe the species on the unknown planet lived by the first paradigm I stated. Even though they look primitive, they have hit a level of enlightenment that is beyond the comprehension of Sith and Republic.

If the Sith or Republic try to build a new Star Forge, I also believe it can be done by both species. However, the production of such a weapon could take several life times. Within the development of the Star Forge, there could be technologies that are beyond the comprehension of primitive species (Republic & Sith). They could also have a different understanding of the Force, which would take a Jedi or Sith a millenium to master. They could have an evolved sense of the Force, which the Jedi and Sith would never achieve until way past "Return of the Jedi". We will never know.



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Old 09-29-2007, 10:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Source
Henry Ford created cars from scratch, but through the use of the assembly line. Since the Star Forge is massive, the materials would no doubt have to be manufactured or gathered from somewhere. It took twentyish years for the Death Star to be built, and it took four to six years to barely build another one. Since the Emporer had taken over the largest manufacturing planet in the world (Kuat Drive Yards), they were able to obtain their resources faster. If someone in the Republic were to take the time to reverse engineer the Death Star, I believe it would take decades to try to build another one. Since the Republic barely had the resources (money, time, manpower, steel, etc...), the production of a Death Star would take several life times. Unless they found a location like the Kuat Drive Yards, the Republic would not be able to create a Death Star cheaply and in time.

When it comes to the Star Forge, one has to make an interesting argument. If I remember correctly, the primitives you are refering to on the unknown planet are not primitive. There are two paradigms that science-fiction uses for advanced species. One paradigm revolves around the idea that an advanced species will no longer use technology. As they progress torwards enlightenment, they shead their technological lifestyle for primitivism. Another paradigm is that an advanced species advertises their technology. Every aspect of the later's lifestyle is a show case of power through weaponry and technology. I believe the species on the unknown planet lived by the first paradigm I stated. Even though they look primitive, they have hit a level of enlightenment that is beyond the comprehension of Sith and Republic.
I disagree with you only because you have left out the third paradigm of science fiction. When a high tech society collapses into barbarism, there are elements that still exist, but are usually beyond the ability of the survivors to use it. Every post apocalyptic primitive society remembers the 'gods' who flew faster than any bird, and wielded weapons of horrible destructive capability. But faced with a pristine 9mm pistol would not know it is even a weapon.

Besides which, having a warrior clan bent on domination of those 'wimps' that happen to have technology still is not enlightened. These are not the Organians from Star Trek, they are the Yangs and Comms.


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Old 12-10-2007, 10:22 PM   #7
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Machievelli, you note that the first Imperial-Class Star Destroyer probably took several years to complete. Actually, Vader's first flagship, the Exactor was launched only a handful of months after the end of the Clone Wars, and it was the second to be launched. Presumably, construction had not been going since before Geonosis, given that they still had the Victory and Venator classes to go through. Heck, it only took four years to build the Death Star II, which was much larger than the first Death Star, and that assumes they got started the second that the first Death Star got blown up.

However, those are just nitpicks. Without the resources of the greater part of the Galaxy at your disposal or the assistance of a couple World Devastators, it would take the better part of a century to build another Star Forge, even if you had the know-how. There isn't any wreckage to get anyway, the whole thing fell into the Rakatan Sun.
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Old 12-10-2007, 10:54 PM   #8
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I kinda like the idea of the star Forge being able to rebuild itself, but there is one problem. Think of the star Maps. It took several millennia for the maps to rebuild themselves and they were still not completely fixed. It would take a good long time for the forge to completely rebuild itself from the point it was left in after KotOR.
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Old 12-11-2007, 04:37 AM   #9
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...By which time it would be forgotten again.



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Old 02-26-2008, 09:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corinthian
Machievelli, you note that the first Imperial-Class Star Destroyer probably took several years to complete. Actually, Vader's first flagship, the Exactor was launched only a handful of months after the end of the Clone Wars, and it was the second to be launched. Presumably, construction had not been going since before Geonosis, given that they still had the Victory and Venator classes to go through. Heck, it only took four years to build the Death Star II, which was much larger than the first Death Star, and that assumes they got started the second that the first Death Star got blown up.

However, those are just nitpicks. Without the resources of the greater part of the Galaxy at your disposal or the assistance of a couple World Devastators, it would take the better part of a century to build another Star Forge, even if you had the know-how. There isn't any wreckage to get anyway, the whole thing fell into the Rakatan Sun.
More likely the second Death Star was planned but not considered as necessary until the destruction of the first; unless they intentionally started it in the system where Endor is.

Actually the primary disadvantage of a Death Star type weapon is that it can only be in one place at a time. Assuming only 100,000 systems under the Imperial yoke, it would take several decades to subdue or destroy them all. Humans react two way to threat of that sort. Either they knuckle under and give up, or they fight back even harder. That is the primary reason armies take prisoners. If you know they will just kill you, it is better to fight on.

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I kinda like the idea of the star Forge being able to rebuild itself, but there is one problem. Think of the star Maps. It took several millennia for the maps to rebuild themselves and they were still not completely fixed. It would take a good long time for the forge to completely rebuild itself from the point it was left in after KotOR.
Very good. As you and the poster who commented next pointed out, by the time it is rebuilt it would have been long forgotten. So maybe we need to worry about it when the Alliance or New Republic is in it's 30th millennia?


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Last edited by machievelli; 02-26-2008 at 09:57 AM. Reason: addenda
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