The Idiots Try To Use The Force. Millions Are Killed. March 7th, 2000
Randy: Can we write a column where we are not so productive? I really am uncomfortable with responsibility, and accomplishing stuff.
Gary: That's true, last week, we did talk about being productive with QuickTime. This week we will be downright unproductive with QuickTime, but we will enjoy ourselves a lot more.
Randy: That's good. Let's get back to our roots!
Gary: Recently, we both got cable modems and the difference in surfing the web is unbelievable. At first, I thought I would have a lot more free time to lounge in the yard because the Internet would be so much faster. Didn't really work out that way.
Randy: Yeah, basically we just found about a million new ways to waste time on the Internet. We especially enjoy how even huge QuickTime movies begin playing instantly when you click on them.
Gary: So we both have been watching a lot more movies on the web these days. One of our favorite sites is The Force.net. This is a comprehensive site dedicated to one of our favorite topics: Star Wars!
Randy: We were poking around the site when we noticed a section called TFN Theater. We were curious, so we checked it out. We found a long list of what appeared to be Star Wars movies made by devoted fans of the big movies.
Gary: We followed the first link to a movie called Troops, expecting to see some cheap stop-motion production where some bonehead is moving around Star Wars action figures in the dirt behind his house.
Randy: Man, were we surprised! This was a live action Star Wars movie, complete with full costumes and killer special effects.
Gary: Not only that, but it was hilarious. A cross between Star Wars and Cops, this film covered what the storm troopers were up to while Luke is busy hunting down a runaway R2-D2, and meeting Ben Kenobi.
Randy: We won't tell spoil the plot for you, but suffice it to say that we learn a lot about what went down on Tattoine that fateful day.
Gary: Troops was created by Kevin Rubio in 1997. He did it as a tribute to Star Wars and George Lucas. And the way that the filmmakers stayed true to the spirit of both Star Wars and Cops is brilliant. You have to check this one out. And there is more good news. A sequel is on the way.
Randy: The next movie we checked out was called The Dark Redemption. This one was even more true to the original Star Wars movies. It had a full score, and a directing style that was exactly like George Lucas', even down to the trademark Kirisawa-inspired wipes.
Gary: It even started out with the text scrolling out into distant space just like the real movies. It also has this incredibly hot chick in it. I forgot what the plot was, but that was one fine woman.
Randy: Yeah. I think the plot was something about space or lasers or something.
Gary: Actually, it was quite good, and even though the effects are not as good as a big budget Hollywood affair, they were pretty amazing. They even had a cantina sequence in The Dark Redemption.
Randy: The Dark Redemption was produced by Warren Duxbury and features an Australian actor, Peter Sumner, who reprises his role as Imperial Officer Lt. Pol Triedum.
Gary: There are tons more of these movies, which you should spend plenty of hours exploring. These movies are a must see for any Star Wars fan. The production values are stunning and they provide hours of entertainment. I thought I was pretty much a Star Wars expert, but I had no idea how many of these third party movies are out there.
Randy: That's good point. Not all of these filmmakers have stayed in Mr. Lucas' good graces. You can see why he would want to protect his franchise, and having other people making Star Wars movies is an obvious threat.
Gary: I think the way to avoid legal action is that these movies must be made for the sole purpose of enjoyment of the Star Wars universe. The second you start making money or otherwise infringing on Lucasfilms, you'd better just move out to the woods, because you can't afford a lawyer that good. No one could.
Randy: A big part of what made these movies possible are the incredible advances in digital film making. Now you can get unbelievable results on a fast Power Mac that required Hollywood studios and millions of dollars just a few years ago.
Gary: You can believe that George Lucas understands this, but more importantly, Steve Jobs understands this. It is his major push these days with Final Cut Pro and iMovie. After all, Steve Jobs went out and bought a little company a while back called Pixar. And he bought it from George Lucas.
Randy: Anyway, this was just a sample of the many movies available to view at The Force.net. Keep in mind that if you don't have a high-speed connection you will need the patience of a Jedi master. For example, The Dark Redemption comes in five pieces totaling about a hundred megs. That's about a twelve hour download on a 56K modem. Of course on a cable modem, I got all five pieces in less than ten minutes.
Gary: See how much more of the Internet there is to wander aimlessly around in with a high-speed connection? A cable modem or DSL could save you time; we found that it just gives us many more ways to waste it.
Gary Randazzo and Randy Soare are the co-founders of IWS Interactive, a New York based game developer for Macintosh. The IWS in IWS Interactive stands for Idiots With Sticks. How that came about is a long and boring story, but suffice it to say that at four in the morning, it seemed like a good idea.
The demo for IWS Interactive's upcoming mystery-adventure game, Manhattan Apartment Hunter, has recently been released to rave reviews. The Idiots have been into gaming on Apple computers even before the Mac was around. Does anyone remember Choplifter on the Apple IIe? (Boy, we know we do.) Now, they are committed to help ensure that the Mac remains the premiere gaming platform on the planet.
You can email your comment and suggestions to Randy at , and Gary at .