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Lightsaber Design Problems


Freshtech's Avatar


Freshtech
03.06.2012 , 06:49 PM | #1
One thing that has always bothered me is the design of lightsabers. They just don't seem practical.

First, let's start with the way they are carried. Most Jedi carry their lightsabers hanging from their belts, blade emitter pointing down. Ignoring the issue of how the lightsaber actually attaches to the belt, this position just seems awkward and impractical. Consider Luke, who just left his hanging freely from his belt. I carry my keys in a similar fashion, so I know this would be very uncomfortable, as every time I take a step, my leg hits my keys, causing them to swing. Imagine having a heavy metal tube swinging from your belt and hitting your leg, especially one with a push button that activates a blade. Not a good idea. While the Jedi in SWTOR and in the prequels seemed to improve this by firmly securing the lightsaber and moving it more to the side of the hip, it still seems awkward to quickly draw the lightsaber.

In such a position, it would be easiest when drawing the lightsaber to grab it on its bottom half, as this is the closest to one's hand. This theory seems to be supported by the fact that most lightsabers feature hand grips on their bottom halves. Furthermore, most lightsabers have activator buttons in the middle of their hilts, facilitating quick activation when holding the lightsaber on the bottom half. However, swinging a lightsaber one-handed with the hand on the bottom half of the hilt would be awkward as you would not have much leverage in that position. Lightsabers are meant to be wielded with the dominant hand on top (and the other hand below), as is shown in the movies.

This causes a problem, as the hand position with which you draw the lightsaber differs from the hand position with which you swing the lightsaber, meaning that you would have to quickly change positions between drawing and attacking/defending. Not a good idea in a sudden life-or-death situation, especially when you have a on/off switch in the middle of the hilt that you might accidentally hit while shifting your hands.

Thus, it seems that this poor lightsaber design starts from the poor carrying placement. Ideally, you would want your lightsaber in a position where you could draw, activate, and attack in one motion. Compare this with the samurai. Samurai carried their katana on the side of their hips, with the full hilt accessible to grabbing. When drawing, a samurai could grab the katana at upper half of the hilt and be already in attack position. The Jedi should do the same.

I believe that for a perfect design, the lightsaber should be carried in such a way that it facilitates grabbing the upper half of the hilt, and the activator button should also be at the upper half, where it can be easily reached but also out of the way of holding the hilt. Rahm Kota from Star Wars: The Force Unleashed comes closest to this ideal, by placing the lightsaber on his back. Though it looks funny, it is much more practical than the mainstream fashion. I would suggest combining Rahm's idea with the mainstream idea, having the lightsaber attach to the belt at the upper half of the hilt, with the hilt extending away from the body in a similar fashion to samurai. IMO, this change would benefit the Jedi immensely.

Tl;DR: Lightsaber designs in Star Wars are impractical, stemming from the way they are carried. I suggest an alternative that would improve upon this.
S'yrenity - Mandalore the Healer

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SammyRath's Avatar


SammyRath
03.06.2012 , 07:30 PM | #2
Quote:
Lightsaber designs in Star Wars are impractical, stemming from the way they are carried. I suggest an alternative that would improve upon this.
It has been that way since 1977. Why on Earth would they change it now?

TeH-DeVa's Avatar


TeH-DeVa
03.06.2012 , 07:42 PM | #3
Lightsabers are weightless on the blades and the hilts are basically weightless also. The lightsaber is pulled into grip by the force if needed quickly. It's only grabbed when needing to move slow. Lightsabers are only held by town hands if its a specific jedi. There are differant forms and some of them only have one hand and some of them have two so you wouldn't hold them always like they do in the movies.
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Freshtech's Avatar


Freshtech
03.06.2012 , 08:02 PM | #4
Quote: Originally Posted by SammyRath View Post
It has been that way since 1977. Why on Earth would they change it now?
My post wasn't a suggestion to the game designers, it was merely me commenting on something that seemed odd to me. I just was curious if anyone else felt similarly.

And throughout the years, lightsaber designs have changed. I already mentioned how the prequels changed the way lightsabers were carried. They also introduced double-bladed and curved-hilt lightsabers with very unusual designs.
S'yrenity - Mandalore the Healer

Empress Teta Refugee on The Harbinger

Freshtech's Avatar


Freshtech
03.06.2012 , 08:09 PM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by TeH-DeVa View Post
Lightsabers are weightless on the blades and the hilts are basically weightless also. The lightsaber is pulled into grip by the force if needed quickly. It's only grabbed when needing to move slow. Lightsabers are only held by town hands if its a specific jedi. There are differant forms and some of them only have one hand and some of them have two so you wouldn't hold them always like they do in the movies.
Well you're right that the blade is weightless, but I highly doubt that a foot long tube of metal housing a power pack would be weightless as well. If I were wielding a flashlight, I still would prefer having my dominant hand on top.

Sure, pulling the lightsaber with the force would improve the speed of drawing the lightsaber, but it doesnt change the fact that you would have to hold the lightsaber with the right hand on the bottom before switching to the top.

And as far as I know, only Shien form has a different hand position (blade held in reverse). Putting aside the fact that Shien form is stupid and impractical, all the other forms use an orthodox hand position which would be hindered by the mainstream design of lightsabers.
S'yrenity - Mandalore the Healer

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SammyRath's Avatar


SammyRath
03.06.2012 , 08:21 PM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by Freshtech View Post
Well you're right that the blade is weightless, but I highly doubt that a foot long tube of metal housing a power pack would be weightless as well. If I were wielding a flashlight, I still would prefer having my dominant hand on top.
You cannot compare a fictional weapons, with a real world device. Given that Is is Fiction a lightsabers components, and building material are likely to be unlike anything we currently possess.

Obviously It cannot be entirely weightless, but taking into account that The Force would amplify the users strength, and stamina the weight issue Is quickly corrected.
The people who would use Lightsabers will have spent their entire lives using It. The idea that It would feel awkward due to weight, or which way the hilt was hanging Isn't valid, as It Is likely the user has chosen these things themselves, and are accustomed to that preference.

Quote:
Sure, pulling the lightsaber with the force would improve the speed of drawing the lightsaber, but it doesnt change the fact that you would have to hold the lightsaber with the right hand on the bottom before switching to the top.
I don't understand where all this Is coming from. You've clearly watched the movies, and every single person (except Han) never have any problems using their lightsaber for defense, or attack even with these "awkward" and "impractical" ways to carry them.
While It may seem impractical, and seems awkward to you, that certainly doesn't mean whoever Is using It feels the same way.

ErikModi's Avatar


ErikModi
03.06.2012 , 08:22 PM | #7
If you look at how they hold lightsabers in the movies, they DO have their dominant hands on top.

The way the Jedi wore their lightsabers in the prequels seemed to eliminate the swinging. Having worn prop lightsaber hilts myself, I can attest that, if you hang it on the correct spot on your belt, it won't slam into your leg as you walk (which, yes, ranges from annoying to quite painful.)
Jedi vs. Sith, Page 97, column 2, paragraph 4, line 1:

Prior to the Battle of Ruusan, the Jedi used crystals from many different sources, and ignited lightsabers in every known hue, including purple, orange, and gold.

Fugara's Avatar


Fugara
03.06.2012 , 10:20 PM | #8
ummm, i think the design problems go a little deeper than lightsabers?

Freshtech's Avatar


Freshtech
03.07.2012 , 02:24 AM | #9
Quote: Originally Posted by SammyRath View Post
You cannot compare a fictional weapons, with a real world device. Given that Is is Fiction a lightsabers components, and building material are likely to be unlike anything we currently possess.

Obviously It cannot be entirely weightless, but taking into account that The Force would amplify the users strength, and stamina the weight issue Is quickly corrected.
The people who would use Lightsabers will have spent their entire lives using It. The idea that It would feel awkward due to weight, or which way the hilt was hanging Isn't valid, as It Is likely the user has chosen these things themselves, and are accustomed to that preference.

I don't understand where all this Is coming from. You've clearly watched the movies, and every single person (except Han) never have any problems using their lightsaber for defense, or attack even with these "awkward" and "impractical" ways to carry them.
While It may seem impractical, and seems awkward to you, that certainly doesn't mean whoever Is using It feels the same way.
True, I am just assuming that the lightsaber would be made from comparable materials in real life. I'm not sure what the lore says but if George Lucas said "lightsabers are made of a mystical metal that weighs only 1 pound," I couldn't argue with that. However, it does seem like they have a reasonable weight to them, given the sound they make when falling to the ground.

I never said that lightsabers are too heavy, making them difficult to use. My whole post was about the transition in hand placement being awkward. To use your fiction argument against you, the way lightsabers are designed and carried comes simply from the idea of someone involved in making Star Wars (who probably gave this much less thought that I have), not from years of people actually wielding them. I'm just projecting that if the Star Wars universe were anything like the real universe, this would be awkward for an untrained person to operate. Sure, if someone trained for years with a poorly designed piece of equipment, he/she could become proficient at using it. But that doesn't change the fact that it is poorly designed.

Well of course the movies would not want to show their heroes fumbling around with their lightsabers. I tried observing how Jedi draw their lightsabers in the movies and while this was often difficult due to cuts in the editing, you can see that I am right that they first grab their lightsabers at the bottom before shifting their hands to the top. They do seem to do this quickly and effortlessly, but I am merely expressing my opinion that eliminating that shift in hand position would be more efficient. I don't see why I'm getting so much hate here; I was merely expressing my opinion on something that bothered me and was curious to see if anyone else felt similarly. Apparently I'm the only one.
S'yrenity - Mandalore the Healer

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MORTTUUM's Avatar


MORTTUUM
03.07.2012 , 05:11 AM | #10
A right-handed Jedi (or Sith) using a single Sabre should carry it on the Right hip, but draw with the Left hand. REAL Swordsmen always wear their blade on the opposite hip, and draw across the body, but that's primarily for one-handed weapons. If you're going to use both hands, you'd draw with the off-hand, and leave the upper section of the hilt open to great your main hand as they come together, and you "ignite" it with your main hand. Also, note that the animations for the Marauder and Sentinel show them cross-drawing both blades.
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