Pack Rat has a suggestion: Let the Wookie win.
Those of you out there who have earned your nerd badges are going to roll your eyes about today’s post, since I’m more than a decade behind the times. But, better late than never, right?
Today’s case study in obsessive makery is Simon Jansen, a New Zealander who has spent the last TWELVE years, painstakingly re-creating Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope into what he calls asciimation. Jansen has animated still images that replicate the original Star Wars using ASCII art. ASCII art (which resembles stripped down typewriter art) takes the American Standard Code for Information Interchange and instead of using it to transmit information, turns the code symbols into images.
Working on one shot at a time, Jansen creates his mini masterpiece in a simple text-editor, akin to Microsoft Notepad. Like standard animation, Jansen makes his ASCII creations come to life by displaying frames of ASCII one after the other at a given rate.
Unlike other forms of animation, he is limited by the few ASCII codes he can incorporate. And, if the entire video is viewed front to back, you might catch some of Jansen’s other limitations.
Technology has now out paced him: when Jansen began his project, he started his drawings using a Courier font, which has now become obsolete. “Unfortunately, now the standard font is Courier New, which is why the animation isn’t quite as I intended. It makes it look a little too stretched, vertically.”
Apparently Jansen’s not losing any sleep, though, worrying about perfection. He was recently featured on Make magazine’s blog for his other side project, a jet-powered beer cooler.
In addition, he’s working on his half-built R2D2, and a custom mini bike he’s building from scratch. Which explains why, after more than a decade, he still hasn’t finished his Star Wars asciimation.
At this point in his film, Luke has just rescued Princess Leia from her cell on the Death Star, Han and Chewy are running from the Storm Troopers, and Obi Wan is on his way for that fateful meeting with Darth Vader. But Jansen feels no pressure. “[I don’t add to it] very often. You have to be very bored to do something like this.” And, when asked when he expects the film to be completed, he replies, “Don’t hold your breath waiting!”
To view the original video, visit http://www.asciimation.co.nz. To see a version with audio, check out it out at www.youtube.com
photo copyright Simon Jansen