Thursday, December 15, 2016

Furillen's Battle of Hoth

By Bixyl Shuftan

With the film "Rouge One" set to appear this month, there's been more of an interest in "Star Wars" lately. So it was no real surprise that I heard of a sim getting a makeover by it's owner to replicate the Battle of Hoth in "The Empire Strikes Back." The place is Furillen located at the Love of Life sim. Serene Footman, the owner, described what he did in the sim's blog.

The sim just had its biggest ever make-over for an event – over the weekend I started completely from scratch in order to replicate Hoth, the ice planet that features in one of the strongest movies of the entire franchise, The Empire Strikes Back. It’s Furillen’s way of celebrating this week’s release of Rogue One, which looks like being a classic.

For those of you not Familiar with "Star Wars," Hoth in the stories is a frigid ice planet, in which anyone outside shelter without protective clothing would quickly freeze to death. The two native life forms that could handle the intense cold were tauntans, which could be tamed and ridden around for transportation, and wampas, which were like abominable snowmen and the planet's apex predators. The movie never showed what the tauntans ate, though the wampas probably considered anything they could catch dinner. In "The Empire Strikes Back," Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance have a base on the planet, which is discovered by an Imperial Task Force personally led by Darth vader. The Imperials send an attack force on the base consisting of five massive All-Terrain Armored Transports, or AT-ATs, sometimes called Imperial "walkers," which resembled huge beasts as they plodded across the landscape. The Rebels put up a heroic defense, taking out three of the five Imperial walkers. But the Imperial forces prove too strong, and the Rebels have to evacuate the base.

Dropping in on (, I appeared in an icy cave. Fortunately there were no signs of wampas. But there was an automated message by Serene, "Welcome to Furillen. I hope you like this tribute to Star Wars - the Assault on Hoth! To enjoy the sim to the full, switch on your music, turn up draw distance as high as you can manage, and don't get crushed by an At-At!" The music wasn't from the movies, but it did help set the mood of the place. There were a couple signs pointing out what was ahead.

Stepping out, the rebel base wasn't far away. There was a line of defense consisting of laser turrets and smaller laser guns, with one of the turrets having been blasted open. Across the icy plain was the Imperial attack force, consisting of six imperial walkers and a few scoutwalkers or AT-STs (All-Terrain Scouting Transport), as well as a few speeder bikes. The walkers were well detailed, and built to scale. Standing next to them, they were just as big as in the films. High above the walkers were a couple TIE fighters.

Behind the rebel's guns was the rebel base, built into the side of the mountain. Rebels tending to be short on supplies, the base was a bit spartan with cold steel floors and pipes going around in a few places. There were a few stations with screens, possibly radar and communications, where one could sit at. In one corner were a few bunks one could rest at. Scattered around the base were Chewbacca, Princess Leia Organa, Han Solo (in a dramatic pose with his blaster drawn), the robots C3PO and R2D2. Luke Skywalker was nowhere to be found, possibly out in his snowspeeder fighting the AT-ATs. Curiously, Yoda was there in the display. Perhaps the Jedi Master was using his powers to somehow keep tabs on events.

But at least the Rebels weren't hungry. Near the image of Yoda was a pizza machine with the name "Pizza Butt." Perhaps given the reputation of Jabba the Hutt, anything named "Hut" around here would be avoided. There was also a coffee machine, but the parody of "Starbucks" was a name unmentionable in a family-friendly publication. In one corner there was what looked like a laptop computer with the screen on "Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy."

The display is not all that's going on. In the sim blog, Serene stated he was planning a "gathering of the geeks" for a "Furillen-Hoth Christmas party" on Sunday December 18, 1PM SL time, "Star Wars costume is essential, of course. But given that there are so many great mesh Star Wars avatars and costumes around on marketplace, and that they are so inexpensive, this is as easy as it gets. We’ll stream some party music – good bits from the movies, of course (who can resist Cantina?) – but with a bit of inventiveness we can add some space-themed music from more familiar Furillen names, like Bowie and Radiohead."

Normally Furillen looks like an abandoned industrial island off the coast of northeast Sweden. Serene didn't give a date yet when the place will go back to being a "remote, bleak and beautiful ... photographers haven." But no doubt Star Wars fans will keep on dropping by while it lasts.

Sources: Wookipedia, Furillen 

Bixyl Shuftan

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