View Full Version : [Illustrator] Hoffer's Wake

09-04-2011, 11:47 PM
This is a map of the starting star system from the video game Independence War 2: Edge of Chaos. The style is similar to the in game navigation system, though I used simpler geometric shapes instead of object silhouettes.

I'm starting up a Traveller game soon, and I decided to rip off the video game rather than generate my own environment at first. Plus, there doesn't seem to be a map of Hoffer's Wake out there anywhere, so hopefully fans of the game will find it useful.

I plan to make additional detail maps of the various planetary orbits over the next week or so, as well as deckplans of select asteroid bases and space stations, and ground maps of settled moons and planets.

At the moment, the scale is wildly inaccurate. I haven't decided yet if I want to spend the time to actually survey the system or just disclaim any pretentions toward accurate scaling.

Oh, and since I intend to eventually display this to my players via MapTool on my television, it's been designed to HDTV standards.

09-05-2011, 01:09 AM
Looks nice. Not knowing the background I find the "to Coyote" line irritating. Also, one tiny suggestion: Add the stars' spectral class to the info in the upper left corner. Other than that, I got nothing. ;)

09-05-2011, 12:24 PM
You know some sticklers will come by and say "dude, your scale is way off". So if you decide to forgo that then put the disclaimer on there nice and big. :)

09-05-2011, 12:36 PM
Well, if I don't fix it, I'll take it off entirely.

bart: Any particular reason you think the stars' spectral classes are important enough to list there? I can't think of any effect they'd have on gameplay, but maybe I'm overlooking something. The rest of that information is standard Traveller data.

As for the "to Coyote" line, I'm not sold on it myself. The reasoning is that there is only one system, Coyote, within range of a typical jump drive. The line indicates the direction of that star, and the endpoint at Blackeye indicates the presence of a Lagrange point that can be used to make the journey. Actually, there's another near Alexander that will go on the map that I prepare for the IWar community, unless I just take them off entirely.

One other tweak I think it needs is to differentiate the background of the callout a little bit. I'll probably also put the obscured lines back in, but reduce their opacity even further where they go underneath.

09-05-2011, 04:05 PM
When I got to looking at the distances on the map, I realized that I needed a logarithmic scale. I took out the jump route indicator, which not only reduces confusion but also leaves me a bit more flexibility if I decide not to use the rest of the Badlands Cluster as published. The type on the scale is a bit too tiny, considering the superscript, but I haven't decided if I want to increase the resolution or bump up the type size.

09-07-2011, 12:28 PM
3nfd version is much better.
The spectral class etc - well I figured, that's the main thing that describes a star, right? what size and what color is it? So if you have an info box, that should probbaly be part of it. The basic traveller Universal world profile is nice for what it was designed back in the 70s, but it's really too simplistic once you deal with one system.

09-08-2011, 09:15 PM
Hmmm… I think whoever set this game up didn't do the math. The most generous numbers show the orbital period of Griffon being a little more than half a day and the surface temperature of the planet being, at a minimum, 1300 degrees C. There are numerous space stations orbiting Griffon, which given those conditions, I just don't find very likely. I'll finish out the map as it is for the I-War fans, but then do some adjustments for my Traveller version.

09-09-2011, 03:17 AM
Alright, I think this is as far as I'm going to take this one. I've got the style fairly well nailed down, and I want to get moving on other charts.

09-09-2011, 04:10 AM
I really like this map, Mid. It's clean and easy to follow. Love the colour choices too.

Greason Wolfe
09-09-2011, 11:08 AM
Yes indeed, that looks mighty fine to me, Mid. As ravs said, clean and easy to follow, and you probably made the right call in saying that you weren't going to take it any further as there really doesn't seem to be any need to take it further.


09-09-2011, 12:48 PM
I always love the green phosphor look.

09-10-2011, 01:25 AM
Thank you! I'm working up a map of Griffon, the closest planet to the Alpha star now. I'm having a little difficulty with the composition, though. Bearing in mind that there will be a data block beneath the map title in the upper left and I want to keep all of my type in the title safe area, what needs to happen with these insets to make it work? Grids aren't working due to the circular nature of the chart. Or maybe it's fine and I've just been staring at it too long?

09-11-2011, 04:32 AM
I decided the grid approach didn't look too bad after all. So I locked down the layout, finished the labeling, and statted the planet. I've also put a sort of digital block texture over the background. I'm not sure how well I like it, but I thought I should get reactions before I decide whether or not to keep it.

09-12-2011, 04:57 AM
I don't know if you've seen the z animation tech brushes, but they may be perfect for the tech eyecandy stuff for this map: http://z-design.deviantart.com/

09-12-2011, 05:53 AM
I had not! Thanks much, ravs! I'll look them over, and if there's something cool I like, you'll probably see it or something like it in the next map.

10-01-2011, 01:50 AM
I think if I put some kind of consoles or other gewgaws, then I'm going to want them to mean something and not just be decoration. I may design something similar for future maps, but at the moment, I just need to crank a few out in a hurry, so I'm going to stick with my current template and not worry overmuch about layout. So here are two more. I'm a little unhappy with the Touchdown chart, as it has a lot of negative space that isn't doing anything for the map. I think I'll eventually want to move the text blocks around to put some weight in the upper half of the image. As I said, though, I need to bang a few out in a hurry for next week's session.

10-04-2011, 06:52 PM
More maps! The lack of snazziness on the Iroquois map is deliberate. I decided to leave it off to see how much difference it makes when I display it on the HDTV.

01-26-2012, 02:10 AM
Well, my template for these maps got lost in my recent hard drive crash, so I'll probably be changing up the style. This one is more diagram than anything else because the Firefrost system is enormous: a trinary system with somewhere around 50 planets, many of them with their own moons, four asteroid belts, and plenty of space stations. There will be one art board per star, and a fourth to depict important stations and carry the legend.

I am still a little uncertain about the layout. It's difficult to fit so many objects into a 1920 x 1080 space, but I'm concerned that the vertical depiction of the inner planets conflates them with the vertical depictions of the belts and the outer planets' moons. Plus, I really need a different way of showing which objects are sharing an orbit (asteroid belts and the binary pair / Nori) as opposed to being satellites. I'll probably do something with color. I'll also be color-coding which planets are inhabited.

01-26-2012, 04:03 AM
It looks cool - but it's really hard to understand.

Orbital distance from primary should be a one-dimensional thing, but you have two lines radiating outwards from Firefrost I.
Also, how do planet Nori and Firefrost II + III share an orbit? That seems unlikely. Of course if Firefrost II+III are a distant binary companion, then they can have their own planets (and the second diagram seems to indicate as much).
If FFII+FFIII are close companions to each other (and I don't see how they could not be) then shouldn't the planets in the 2nd diagram all orbit both of them, not just Firefrost II?

- Nils

01-26-2012, 11:16 AM
I think it's a lot more intuitive than a lot of historical maps. I think a experience with a layout like this and it'd become automatic to interpret. Now, if didn't have labels like "inner planets", "inner belt" to help me get started, I think it might have been a lot harder to figure out. Since the actual bodies are in constant relative motion, no fixed scheme of positions is going to help with actual navigation, so as a human-usable map to get a quick overview of a system, this is a rather good idea. Color could be providing more information, though. At least knowing gas giants versus rocky planets would nice. Possibly another color or marker for any actually habitable world.

I have to agree that putting stars and a planet into the same orbit is going to be tricky.

01-26-2012, 08:28 PM
I didn't create the layout of the star system. Once again, it's lifted from Independence War 2, and I don't think they did their research very well, as I think I mentioned earlier.

According to the game, Firefrost II and III are actually in a conventional orbit around Firefrost I, along with Nori. That seemed absurd to me, so I went ahead and put them into a binary orbit with one another. There's going to be a job to do figuring out how far they should be from one another to a) share an orbit b) have their own orbiting bodies and c) not interfere too much with the other planets in the system. One of the planets around FF III, for instance, actually crosses Njord's orbit.

Given the vast distances involved and the relatively high activity of the stellar region, though, I postulate that this may not be a stable configuration. There was a recent supernova in the vicinity, so many of these objects may be captured bodies that were ejected from other nearby solar systems. It is very likely that they simply haven't had the time to collide with one another or be pulled out of their current paths. Give it a few thousand years, and this system may look entirely different.

I've already separated the inhabited bodies into a different layer, and I'll just treat the gas giants individually. I haven't decided yet whether to do that simply with color or to modify the silhouette. Easiest would be to indicate them with rings or size, but not all of them actually have rings (well, none of them do the way they're statted right now, but that could change), and the chart might be a little too crowded to increase their size significantly. I'll likely give it a try and see what I think, though.

Thanks for the feedback; it's helpful!