In a labor of love, Ian Martin has 3D printed a working Star Wars Holochess table, the game played by R2-D2 and Chewbacca in A New Hope.
Washington-based web developer and maker Ian Martin has created a full-size replica of the Star Wars holochess table, based on the fictional game featured in Star Wars: Episode IV – The New Hope (1977).
The complete set includes a 3D printed table with working electronics (54 buttons, 26 lights and 10 knobs), eight monsters made by hand, and an illustrated Rule Book and Table Manual.
And he’s not content to rest on his laurels, either. Martin is now developing an actual augmented reality app, so that the monsters can move and fight just like in the movie!
Wresting + Chess = Star Wars Holochess
The truly impressive thing: the movie clip which inspired all this activity is less than a minute long.
In Star Wars: Episode IV, Chewbacca and R2-D2 are shown playing a board game — officially known as Dejarik — in which holographic alien monsters engage in turn-based combat. C-3PO famously pleads with R2-D2 to “let the Wookiee win”.
Though the scene explains little else about Dejarik, other than being a strange hybrid of chess and wrestling, eager fans have posted ideas for rules online. Martin, together with his wife and brother, took these as a springboard to develop into a fully playable game.
The Star Wars holochess board is comprised of eight separate 3D prints (plus various knobs and keys), each taking about 10-16 hours to print on his Rostock Max Desktop 3D Printer.
The working electronics include buttons that emit lights and effects, plus two LCD display screens. During gameplay with the handmade monsters, the buttons reveal each monster’s attack and defense stats. The board can also detect when only two monsters are left, automatically triggering a “sudden death mode.”
For the rules, Ian’s brother Scott has written and illustrated a “Dejarik Rule Book and Table Manual”, which they plan to release with a custom set of 3D printed dice that can be used to play the game if an actual holochess table is not available.
The attention to detail is so precise, Scott also created a custom font that matched the keys as shown in the film!
Augmented Reality App is in Development
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the project is that Martin is working with AR developer Adrien Trouillaud and artist Paolo Eraña to create an augmented reality version of Star Wars holochess.
This will allow electronic chips, placed on a flat surface, to display animated ‘holograms’ of the monsters when viewed through smartphones, tablets or AR glasses.
So far, two of the monsters have been 3D scanned and transformed into 3D computer-generated images, and a test can be seen in this video:
Given how protectively litigious Lucasfilm and parent company Disney are about their intellectual property, it’s worth noting that Martin is not able to sell any Star Wars related products without a license. He says on his Facebook page:
“I currently have no investors, no Kickstarter. I am not a business, and I am currently unable to offer Star Wars related products for sale without a license to do so. That being said, I am open to any ideas and suggestions as to how our small group can make these cool things available to everyone.”
It’d be a shame if more fans couldn’t experience the glory of Star Wars holochess, it looks like a lot of fun. Disney Corporate Overlords, if you’re paying attention, we implore you to reach out to Martin and his team.
License: The text of "Superfan 3D Prints Functional Star Wars Holochess Table" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.