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View Full Version : Hexbased Star Map Style Test



bartmoss
10-02-2011, 03:04 PM
First very simple version:

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Yes, screw the third dimension, it just gets in the way. ;-)

cantab
10-02-2011, 04:00 PM
Hey, this is pretty accurate too!

bartmoss
10-02-2011, 06:31 PM
Update.

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I am not sure I like the gray hexes, it kind of works though. A hex is 5 ly, btw. cantab -thnaks, but the position of those systems is very guesstimated. At best. ;)

mearrin69
10-02-2011, 10:49 PM
Nice. Very Traveller. I'm assuming this *is* Traveller from the red lines and font? Or are you just going for that style?
M

bartmoss
10-03-2011, 03:51 AM
It's Traveller-ish, yes, but not the OTU. I am still trying to work out how to map a galactic empire en detail, while being reasonably plausible, and above all, playable. It's a very, very difficult thing to accomplish, and the more I work on it, the more I understand the design decisions behind the original Traveller setup.

At 5ly to the hex, and simply ignoring the z-Axis, I get a lot more than one system per hex. Even if I pick just some "convenient" and/or "famous" stars it's still quite crowded. I can reduce this to a star a hex by a lot of pruning, I guess, but then I still need bigger hexes or very small symbols and fonts, and then it gets hard to read on paper. If I pick bigger hexes, mapping larger territories will take a lot more paper.

This is what I mean:

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Messy.

mearrin69
10-03-2011, 11:55 AM
Well, hexes are primarily a convention used in gaming to regulate movement (and quickly judge distance, LoS, etc.) If they're not doing you any good for that purpose (e.g. you're getting multiple systems per hex or something) then they're not much use to you. You could ditch them altogether...though I assume you want them since they're in the title of the thread! :)

Or, what about using 1 ly hexes? You're pretty sure to only get one system per hex that way (assuming you take some liberties when considering stars with similar x and y but different z coords). It makes for a bigger map, of course, and messier. Seems like the original Traveller hexes were 1 pc?

Another possibility: number the hexes and leave the system labels off the map, putting them into a separate key instead. That would clean it up a bit. If you had two systems in a hex you could note that in the key. Just a thought. I frankly like my labels to be on the map, but this worked for pretty well for GDW.

I really dig your avatar. Mistakenly clicked on your username when trying to click on the thread title the first time I looked here...when I saw your avatar I got excited that you were doing a hex map in that style or something (yeah, I notice now that it's an octagon!) What if you made it with really large hexes, containing multiple systems on different elevations? If you did it like your avatar it'd sure be nice to look at.
M

Gamerprinter
10-03-2011, 12:06 PM
While I 've never tried to build a 3D star map, I've considered creating a color coded 'depth guide', using ROYGBIV where red is closest to map view, and violet is furthest away. The hexes themselves have lines colored for the appropriate depth. Even if most of your systems are within the same 'red' zone, systems further away have varying colors to denote depth from the front plane of the map. Although as stated, I've never tried this (never been interested star maps anyway), it does seem to be able to be used for depth. (But then all the different color hexes could make the map complicated to read.)

bartmoss
10-03-2011, 01:59 PM
Well, hexes are primarily a convention used in gaming to regulate movement (and quickly judge distance, LoS, etc.) If they're not doing you any good for that purpose (e.g. you're getting multiple systems per hex or something) then they're not much use to you. You could ditch them altogether...though I assume you want them since they're in the title of the thread! :)

Yes, this is an exploration in possible Travelleresque star maps. I could just go with a 2d map at a an arbitrary resolution and be done with it; but hexes ARE a fairly convenient method to work with distances.


Or, what about using 1 ly hexes? You're pretty sure to only get one system per hex that way (assuming you take some liberties when considering stars with similar x and y but different z coords). It makes for a bigger map, of course, and messier. Seems like the original Traveller hexes were 1 pc?

Yeah, Traveller had 1pc.

I thought of using 1ly, it'll give much more detail than Traveller had - though you'd still have to lose the z-Axis of course. It will limit the total size of the entire are covered though.


Another possibility: number the hexes and leave the system labels off the map, putting them into a separate key instead. That would clean it up a bit. If you had two systems in a hex you could note that in the key. Just a thought. I frankly like my labels to be on the map, but this worked for pretty well for GDW.

Yes, thought of that. Didn't like it, because the map loses a lot of essential information that way.


I really dig your avatar. Mistakenly clicked on your username when trying to click on the thread title the first time I looked here...when I saw your avatar I got excited that you were doing a hex map in that style or something (yeah, I notice now that it's an octagon!) What if you made it with really large hexes, containing multiple systems on different elevations? If you did it like your avatar it'd sure be nice to look at.
M

Thanks, and, I can oblige you I think. Just a quick mockup of course:
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I don't like black background maps though. As art pieces, yes, but not for actual use.


While I 've never tried to build a 3D star map, I've considered creating a color coded 'depth guide', using ROYGBIV where red is closest to map view, and violet is furthest away. The hexes themselves have lines colored for the appropriate depth. Even if most of your systems are within the same 'red' zone, systems further away have varying colors to denote depth from the front plane of the map. Although as stated, I've never tried this (never been interested star maps anyway), it does seem to be able to be used for depth. (But then all the different color hexes could make the map complicated to read.)

Yeah, I've seen a lot of attempts to do 3d maps. None of them really work. Colors are always a problem because there are a lot of color blind people out there (10% of all males had red green color blindness). IMO easy solutions are best; just note z-Axis in brackets near the star name label and you're done. For any actual game-play, though, I am beginning to think that the z-Axis adds more hassle than it is worth.

bartmoss
10-03-2011, 09:21 PM
And a test with a grid=1ly basis.
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Doesn't quite have the abstract "feel" of a hexmap... making the lack of a z-Axis more jarring, IMO.

Steel General
10-04-2011, 11:06 AM
I actually like the gray hexes the best, it was the most legible and easiest on the eyes of the various versions you posted.

bartmoss
10-05-2011, 04:05 PM
Hm, look like I lost my reply.

Anyway, I agree, the gray hexes worked best. Here's an update; I made the gray darker after test-printing this map; the lighter gray was almost invisible.

Scale is 2ly/hex. The lower-left portion (and the top row) has randomly-distributed star systems. The irregular gray line marks what hexes I rolled for. I added some dummy system names, had to use a very small font to make them fit. Overall I gotta say that this is simply too small and "messy". I'm also wondering if I shouldn't just simply stick to the 1 hex = 1 parsec scale if I do something like this.

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bartmoss
10-06-2011, 02:41 AM
Reduced #of hexes, down from 40x41 to 30x31, with corresponding larger hexes.
Lower left corner is at 50% system probability.

Still messy, but slightly better.

It's actually quite nice for a less dense population (center of map).

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bartmoss
10-07-2011, 02:20 AM
Reduced hex grid to 20x20. I haven't added a chunk of random systems to this yet, but I think this is finally a scale that doesn't look messy anymore, and it does print well.

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Edit: And as a PDF.

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bartmoss
10-07-2011, 07:30 PM
Minor Update -- random systems added.

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MadCartographer
11-26-2011, 08:16 PM
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Incase your intrested in doing a 3D thing... Check out NBos's AstroSynthesis v3. It's AWESOME!

http://www.nbos.com/

Enjoy the pic.

mearrin69
11-27-2011, 10:08 AM
I do dig AstroSynthesis but I've never been able to really output the results into a useful 2D form (go figure, right?) If I ever used it for a game I would either have to run it at the table as a reference or just use it as a behind the scenes tool for prepping. I've been wanting to run a 'long night' sort of space opera campaign for some time now...maybe the PCs work for the Silesian Scouts (Traveller) or the Foundation or something. I think AS will be a nice tool for that.
M

bartmoss
12-01-2011, 04:36 AM
Yeah I know that software. Looks neat but it's not useful for me.

3D maps and I don't get along. I am now convinced that for any kind of game they cause more problems than they add, the exception maybe being very, very limited "Near Sol space" type settings. If you only deal with a dozen or so systems then yes you can create usable maps of 3d space. Otherwise? Just don't bother with it - and this goes for computer games almost as much as it goes for tabletop games.

atpollard
12-03-2011, 04:43 PM
Grey hexes looked best. I preferred the lighter grey of the earlier version.

Where you are drawing political borders, might I suggest changing the shade of grey for the background based on the 'Galactic Empire'.

Looks like a pretty good start to me.

tilt
12-04-2011, 03:14 AM
neat - looking forward to seeing it when all the stuff is in there :)

bartmoss
12-04-2011, 03:40 PM
I had originally darkened the hexes to a shade that looked good on paper.

Current version, without gray hexes.

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atpollard
12-04-2011, 05:16 PM
I had originally darkened the hexes to a shade that looked good on paper.
Yeah, I had suspected something like that.

Too bad Apple didn't replace Windows, then the screen would automaticly match the printer and MY life would have been so much simpler.

bartmoss
12-04-2011, 09:31 PM
Color management never really caught on.