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bartmoss
02-15-2009, 10:32 AM
Alright, here's the beginning of a map of the Milky Way Galaxy. Basically, mankind has explored about a quarter of the galaxy, and somewhat less than that is the interstellar nations. It's clearly in the far future, on the order of 2-3k years. Technology is "used" and "clunky" rather than shiny and "fresh out of the shrinkwrap". I've always been a fan of restriced interstellar travel so expect jump routes to pop up in some form if/when I ever do regional maps with individual systems.

This is for one of my many settings; I intend to use this map to establish the overall political situation. It will be abstract and definitely on white background to make it easier to read. At this scale I will obviously not do include individual star systems, except for a few extraordinary locations (national capitals, etc.)

The basic Milky Way outline is a (very rough) trade of nasa imagery.

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CavScout
02-22-2009, 03:45 PM
Interesting stuff!

Steel General
02-22-2009, 05:20 PM
Will be watching for updates on this.

bartmoss
05-12-2009, 01:07 AM
It's not much yet but I wanted to post an update...

I've been worldbuilding this setting extensively in the past weeks - writing 4k years of history is tougher than it may sound. I figured out that an entire galaxy is quite too big and that even a whole quarter is much more territory than I'd care to cover. I always realized the Milky Way was big, even before they upped their estimate of its size, but I never really did the math on a setting using all that real estate. It's a bit like a Niven Ringworld: Cool to think about, but when you actually intend to build a detailed setting it's about the dumbest idea ever. ;)

So, I've been revising and I'm going to end up with something that roughly covers the Orion spur, our little retard of a spiral arm.

Speed of communication and travel makes a big difference here. I did not want characters to zip around the universe in days, so I settled on a very moderate 6-7 light years per day, meaning it'll take decades to travel across the galaxy. The mechanics of ftl travel aren't fully worked out yet except that it'll be a kind of jumpdrive.

The map's a very rough draft for now. States do not have names yet. Earth is spinward (left off of the map), and it's lost. A trope, I know, but it allows me to cut away cultural baggage. It also lets me use the old human civilization as the "precursor" race.

I'd also like to mention that the setting is anathema to Star Trek in a way, in that this is very far from an interstellar Utopia (I find that notion terribly naive) and that in my universe "the federation" is a manipulative, authoritarian police state and "the empire" is basically benign.

Sword Worlds are a nod to H. Beam Piper. I recently discovered that his stories are no longer copyrighted and available at Project Gutenberg and Librivox. I must say his early death was a genuine loss for science fiction.

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Ascension
05-12-2009, 01:19 AM
I like the way you're thinking here...being a layman in sci-fi it's good enough for me. I hope we get to see some cool stars and gassy clouds :)

Turgenev
05-20-2009, 01:15 AM
Ohhhh, a fellow H Beam Piper fan. I'll be keeping an eye on this thread. ;) I like the way things are shaping up, bartmoss. Can't wait to see more.

Greason Wolfe
05-25-2009, 01:20 AM
This is definitely worth watching. One question though, do you intend to use existing stars or are you making them up on the fly? Also, do you intend to approach "habitable" planets in a realistic way (i.e. stars of the right size and age) or do you intend to wing that as well?

If you're looking for actual data on locations and what not, might I suggest the ISDB (http://www.stellar-database.com/) as a helpful starting point for some good data.

GW

Ryan K
05-25-2009, 04:31 AM
Hi Bartmoss.

A couple of thoughts for you, take it or leave it if you like :)

Since we are largely talking about space territory, it is something that would be extraordinarily complex and might require some sort of three-dimensional representation. In addition, and taking the assumption that territorial soveriegnity is dependent upon the owner of the territory being able to respond against an 'invader' and employ deterence, the look of the territory itself might resemble a series of branches and arms depicting the points held by a territory (planet, solar system, asteroid, asteroid field) and the 'easiest' passage between those various points. The 'thickness' of that route would then be governed by the frequency that route is patrolled and the maximum range of the weapons systems designed. Sort of how the extent of a medieval city-state's territory can be given by how far their cavalry can reach within a day or so.

>looks back at rant, and scratches head<

Okay, I'm not sure if that is making any sense to anyone not me, so here's a map of the internet. The philosophy is the same - a 3D space, consisting of numerous points or nodes, and routes between them.

Is that better?

If not, I have a picture of a bunny with a pancake on it's head for those who don't know what I'm talking about! :)

Ascension
05-25-2009, 11:10 AM
I get it, makes perfect sense, but then I also want to see the bunny :)

Ryan K
05-25-2009, 04:07 PM
Sorry, mods!

alaskanflyboy
05-26-2009, 08:31 PM
Your mapping would also depend on how you handle FTL travel. Is it like Star Trek and Star Wars where you just warp from wherever you are, or are there nodes like in Wing Commander and Babylon 5? Another thought to go with the idea suggested by Ryan K, perhaps have distances from the standard plane of reference depicted by two separate colors to show how far up or down from the plane they are. You could go further by adjusting the shade. I don't know how well it would look once done though.

bartmoss
07-05-2009, 02:48 AM
This is definitely worth watching. One question though, do you intend to use existing stars or are you making them up on the fly? Also, do you intend to approach "habitable" planets in a realistic way (i.e. stars of the right size and age) or do you intend to wing that as well?

If you're looking for actual data on locations and what not, might I suggest the ISDB (http://www.stellar-database.com/) as a helpful starting point for some good data.

GW

@all: Sorry for the late reply - New job, moving to a different city, that sort of thing.

I actually want this to be a "realistic" setting of sorts. However, the scales involved just make it incredibly difficult to map any kind of details. The current maps are to be understood as sketches of the general political situation. I'll have to do a lot of research on star densities, and so on, as well as the locations of some "Popular" stars. This will take a lot of time and effor that I currently can't expend.

Even so, most of the maps will just end up being made up. There are simply way too many solar systems involved in even such a small section of the galaxy to ever hope to have a detailed "map every star" map.

bartmoss
07-05-2009, 02:59 AM
Hi Bartmoss.

A couple of thoughts for you, take it or leave it if you like :)

Since we are largely talking about space territory, it is something that would be extraordinarily complex and might require some sort of three-dimensional representation. In addition, and taking the assumption that territorial soveriegnity is dependent upon the owner of the territory being able to respond against an 'invader' and employ deterence, the look of the territory itself might resemble a series of branches and arms depicting the points held by a territory (planet, solar system, asteroid, asteroid field) and the 'easiest' passage between those various points. The 'thickness' of that route would then be governed by the frequency that route is patrolled and the maximum range of the weapons systems designed. Sort of how the extent of a medieval city-state's territory can be given by how far their cavalry can reach within a day or so.

>looks back at rant, and scratches head<

Okay, I'm not sure if that is making any sense to anyone not me, so here's a map of the internet. The philosophy is the same - a 3D space, consisting of numerous points or nodes, and routes between them.

Is that better?

If not, I have a picture of a bunny with a pancake on it's head for those who don't know what I'm talking about! :)


Right. I've been doing a lot of thinking on how the universe works in this setting. I basically came to the conclusion that I want a limited travel routes / no ftl communications setting, so it will look a look like the branchy picture you posted, with borders detemined by "reaction times" to incursions. It will just not look as detailed because mapping every solar system at this scale is completely out of the question.

Since space ships in this case will always move faster than communication round trips and passive detection (passive detection is speed of light; communications is speed-of-ship), warfare will be highly mobile and pretty much the only way to defend territory is to either outguess your enemy and intercept him, or - more often - to dig in with superior force and hold out until you can notify and receive reinforcements.

In more recent versions of this map I've been modifying the borders to look more "bubbly" to reflect this fact - borders or zone of controls extend a certain distance out from fortified military base worlds.

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This is as far as I got until I had to move suddenly last month. It's very rough and preliminary but should give you a general idea of what I'm after.

Thanks for the feedback, I really appreciate it when people help me with these maps :-)

bartmoss
07-05-2009, 03:13 AM
Your mapping would also depend on how you handle FTL travel. Is it like Star Trek and Star Wars where you just warp from wherever you are, or are there nodes like in Wing Commander and Babylon 5? Another thought to go with the idea suggested by Ryan K, perhaps have distances from the standard plane of reference depicted by two separate colors to show how far up or down from the plane they are. You could go further by adjusting the shade. I don't know how well it would look once done though.

There are a few ways to show z-axis: Size of icon, "distance bars", shade/color... as a colorblind person, I find the later unfortunate; besides this I think I find it more intuitive to represent the spectral class by color. I have not yet decided how to handle smaller, regional maps - For the "overview" maps, any easy solution will do, and in fact I might forego it altogether, especially if I do not have states that overlap each other on the Z axis. (I should have those, though, just for the sake of originality. Hmmm! Thanks for giving me that idea, but damn you for making my life more complicated! - Just kidding ;)

For FTL, I want a limited distance option. I have not QUITE decided on what pseudoscientific reason I use for it, nor on the exact distance - if I limit it too much, my technology will not be able to support a galactic society; but if I am too generous the limitations become meaningless. So this is still a proböem. Speed will be severely limited, though - crossing the Empire the long way will take 1.5 to 2 years.

I should probably add to this that I have so far mapped out a timeline from present day to ~6457 CE, so it does cover a range of technologies, and some eras will have vastly superior FTL drives to others, which will change the political landscape a great deal.

Yeah, I like to bite off more than I can chew.

töff
07-05-2009, 11:28 AM
However, the scales involved just make it incredibly difficult to map any kind of details. Amen to that. I face the same concern in mapping The LATTICE (http://lattice.mysteryandmagic.com/), and it stymied several false-start attempts for me. I think the only practical solution is to create a zoomable/searchable map. I was wondering about doing it in Flash. Alas, I can't even think about taking that on right now, due to so many other projects :( (At least I'm not bored!)

I dig your MW map so far!

It does make me wonder, though, when you say humans have "explored" a quarter of the Milky Way. Perhaps you meant to say "occupied" or "claimed in the name of [whatever civil body]." Actually, much more than a quarter (but not all, I grant you) is "explorable" just from telescopes at Earth. Most other maps here would require someone visiting the terrain and taking surveys from localities. Mapping the Milky Way is a unique situation in that we don't have to "go there" to map vast stretches of it; we can survey it from right here, except the bits beyond obscurities like the Core or dark nebulae. But (as you obviously know) we already have maps of the Milky Way -- without having travelled beyond the Moon. I've always dug the ones of the local arms.

Someone else raised the point about real vs. fictional stars. If you use even one fictional star, you've set yourself in an "alternate reality" of sorts. Whether you address it directly or not, I think you've got a binary choice in front of you: all fictional (even with some real stars) or all real (which would be an immense research burden).

I look forward to following this thread.

Redrobes
07-05-2009, 12:57 PM
Amen to that. I face the same concern in mapping The LATTICE (http://lattice.mysteryandmagic.com/), and it stymied several false-start attempts for me. I think the only practical solution is to create a zoomable/searchable map. I was wondering about doing it in Flash. Alas, I can't even think about taking that on right now, due to so many other projects :( (At least I'm not bored!)

I did this in ViewingDale a while ago which shows what your talking about and perhaps why its really not a viable option. Basically at some point you have to give up on real scale and go for an iconic representation.

http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=4567

bartmoss
07-05-2009, 01:53 PM
Amen to that. I face the same concern in mapping The LATTICE (http://lattice.mysteryandmagic.com/), and it stymied several false-start attempts for me. I think the only practical solution is to create a zoomable/searchable map. I was wondering about doing it in Flash. Alas, I can't even think about taking that on right now, due to so many other projects :( (At least I'm not bored!)

Right. Interactive maps would be one solution, but they are quite unfriendly in that they require a computer. They're also a whole other matter of complexity, and an entire different, hm, artistic style, so to speak. It's just not realistic for me to create an interactive 3d map.


I dig your MW map so far!

Thanks.


It does make me wonder, though, when you say humans have "explored" a quarter of the Milky Way. Perhaps you meant to say "occupied" or "claimed in the name of [whatever civil body]." Actually, much more than a quarter (but not all, I grant you) is "explorable" just from telescopes at Earth. Most other maps here would require someone visiting the terrain and taking surveys from localities. Mapping the Milky Way is a unique situation in that we don't have to "go there" to map vast stretches of it; we can survey it from right here, except the bits beyond obscurities like the Core or dark nebulae. But (as you obviously know) we already have maps of the Milky Way -- without having travelled beyond the Moon. I've always dug the ones of the local arms.

You're right, of course, that definitions matter here. By explored I mean "visited some star systems in the vicinity". So I'd consider a region "explored" if a human visited some interesting star system within a couple of tens of light years. This would be about one interesting system in 150 others. Most systems would probably only explored remotely and automatically.

When I did the original calculations (I deviated a bit from them) I assumed the Empire had about 1100 "useful" systems (colonies, outposts etc)... so that would make one hundred sixty five THOUSAND solar systems in the Empire alone. (This further undermines the notion of "Borders" - how do you police such territories?)

I'm assuming that exponential exploration and colonization speeds would allow us to travel quite far quite quickly, but to be honest I have not modelled it accurately. Robotic exploration would still augment human exploration, especially since I do assume the development of human-equivalent AI. Furthermore the "quarter of the Milky Way" figure is easily opened up to interpretation. ;)




Someone else raised the point about real vs. fictional stars. If you use even one fictional star, you've set yourself in an "alternate reality" of sorts. Whether you address it directly or not, I think you've got a binary choice in front of you: all fictional (even with some real stars) or all real (which would be an immense research burden).

I wonder how much data on the galaxy's stars we even have. I am guessing that we tried to pinpoint every star within X light years; would I know where the data is? No. Then try to process it... nah. Too much hassle for no real benefit! I'd much rather stick to large-scale interstellar features and famous / prominent stars etc.

As aside; one fringe benefit of researching for such projects is that you learn a lot. For example, I read that the thickness of the Milky Way is about 1000light years where we are. So this actually sets an upper limit on our z-Axis, and is quite relevant for a setting of galactic scale: You can't expand "up" and "down" indefinitely.

I don't mind working with "alternate universes". I subtitled this setting "History of a Future". In fact all the fictional worlds I create are officially alternate universes of each other, and two of them include knowledge on travelling between alternate worlds. The multiverse is my meta-setting.

As I said... I like to take on more than I can handle. ;)


I look forward to following this thread.

Thanks! I hope to continue work on the map soon, but I really need a tablet for it first. If you're really bored, feel free to take a glance at my timeline:

http://files.pandemonium.de/Voyagers/voyagers-history.pdf

Words of warning: It's long (23 pages including notes), it has many gaps, it is spoilery and probably waaaay too longwinded.



(Note, just to avoid misunderstandings any future reader may have: The timeline file is NOT released under any kind of open license, it remains strictly copyrighted at this point.)

töff
07-05-2009, 02:40 PM
pinpoint every star within X light years; would I know where the data is? No. Then try to process it... nah.Sorry, I didn't mean in terms of your map. I was kinda assuming you were doing this as part of a storyworld.


take a glance at my timeline: http://files.pandemonium.de/Voyagers/voyagers-history.pdf (http://files.pandemonium.de/Voyagers/voyagers-history.pdf) ... a-a-a-and ... there's the storyworld :)

zhar2
07-05-2009, 03:07 PM
Not much to say besides that i love how you are drawing political borders in that last pic, i like the spherical ealism extending from important stars & not a line.

bartmoss
07-05-2009, 03:19 PM
Sorry, I didn't mean in terms of your map. I was kinda assuming you were doing this as part of a storyworld.

... a-a-a-and ... there's the storyworld :)

Of course. But then, if there was none, the map becomes the entirety of the storyworld, and hence the two are interchangable. ;)

Greason Wolfe
07-05-2009, 11:33 PM
<snip>
I wonder how much data on the galaxy's stars we even have. I am guessing that we tried to pinpoint every star within X light years; would I know where the data is? No. Then try to process it... nah. Too much hassle for no real benefit! I'd much rather stick to large-scale interstellar features and famous / prominent stars etc.

As aside; one fringe benefit of researching for such projects is that you learn a lot. For example, I read that the thickness of the Milky Way is about 1000light years where we are. So this actually sets an upper limit on our z-Axis, and is quite relevant for a setting of galactic scale: You can't expand "up" and "down" indefinitely.


Well, with that 1000 ly limit, you might take a look at NBOS. I don't remember if it is available for free or not, but they have a zip file of Kepner Data sets (in .csv format), one of which lists stars up to 1000 ly away. And, as I mentioned before, there is always the ISDB (I linked to it in a previous post) that has some really good information on "star systems" though I don't know if that data extends to the 1000 ly mark. Still might be worth a look though, especially for the other information available from the site.

GW

Edit : Ah yes, the data sets are still available if you go to Resources (from the home page) and then select the Astrosynthesis category/group. The data sets are located on the second page and are a 3.28 meg download. You should be able to import this data into a spreadsheat (based on coma separations) and then sort as needed based on a number of categories. Could save you a lot of time in all of this. Direct Link : http://www.nbos.com/nox/index.php?action=1001&id=4

barrataria
07-18-2009, 11:39 AM
There are a few ways to show z-axis: Size of icon, "distance bars"

I have been messing around with a d6/Traveller type hybrid, and really enjoyed looking at your notes and map drafts. It's all well thought out- you have a lot more patience than I do! I had thought about using "actual" star maps, but I'm back to my CC3 Traveller-type hex maps, in part to preserve the feel of that game.

Anyway, I had thought that varying icon size or icons would be an inelegant, but very easy way to go. So, for example, in the old-style traveller sector map, the system icon would be very large to indicate the top of the Z axis, while systems near the "bottom" of your 1000 LY would be the smallest visible size. In the old traveller maps there isn't much information on the system icon itself other than water/no water, which could be done with color or, as I think I will do in my setting, by dispensing with water as a common refueling agent.

This is a very interesting project and I look forward to watching it...

bartmoss
07-18-2009, 08:27 PM
Thanks!

The old Traveller hex maps were quite seductive, and I was tempted to use them, but in the end they are just way too unrealistic for me. They're great in that you can easily map a vast territory. However, once you add 3d information, you'll also have to make the data 3d - that is, you actually have to have a lot more systems in the same x,y coordinate space, and those hexmaps suddenly become very very unwieldy.

The 2300AD map used size-variable icons to indicate z-axis, and it's quite a beautiful map. It only covers a sphere of 50 ly though.

As for water, incidentally, it may be less common on some worlds than on others, but I kind of have my doubts there'd be solar systems without any water at all. Spaceport codes may indicate accessibility though.

barrataria
07-19-2009, 10:47 AM
As for water, incidentally, it may be less common on some worlds than on others, but I kind of have my doubts there'd be solar systems without any water at all. Spaceport codes may indicate accessibility though.

I agree, and I think the MT planet/system gen makes water a common feature of systems. I just meant that I intend to only allow gas giant refueling, rather than water refueling too. This is mostly just to clean up the maps a bit, but also because I like forcing ships to refuel at gas giants rather than in the "safe" water... I also don't want to have starships and water transport be interchangeable as in Trav. Gives the sailors something to do :)

As for the hexmaps, I guess you end up with a sector map with a system in every hex, each with a different size icon? That would be headache-inducing. I'll have to find the 2300 map somewhere as I've heard nothing but praise.

bartmoss
07-20-2009, 12:32 AM
Traveller hexmaps are simply not designed to be 3d, period - the system breaks down once you add a 3rd dimension. You'll either have hexmaps, or you have 3d maps. The two do not combine well. I actually considered hexmaps when I began to design this sci fi world - they make a lot of things so easy! - but quickly decided to go the realistic route.

2300AD is an excellent game, and probably one of my favorite RPG settings, ever. They combine a realistic 3d map with Traveller-style limited-distance travel. Do look up the game system; you can probably find pdf's somewhere (I am not going to encourage you to use eDonkey; that's where I got my PDFs, but I also own all 2300AD products in paper form). The big poster map does not show those nav routes if I recall correctly, but there are smaller maps in the game's books that do illustrate travel routes.

As for the fuel, you could always make the extraction of whatever the ships use very slow - I am guessing it's really Deuterium, Tritium, and/or He-3. If a ship takes very long to refuel by itself, then refueling stations become strategic points. I don't know how real world technologies perform here though.

I've yet to do the exact calculations but my basic approach is that the jump to hyperspace takes a lot of energy over a very short time, and the space ships basically use capacitors for that, which they slowly recharge by whatever means is available (solar panels, fission, fusion, antimater, whatever). I'd like at least a day or two of downtime between jumps.

Another solution would be very complicated astrogation, and it just takes very long to calculate a jump. This is a "safe" solution (since there is no jump drive technology, making the navigation difficult is not unrealistic...) but it does feel kludgy.

barrataria
07-20-2009, 09:06 PM
Traveller hexmaps are simply not designed to be 3d, period - the system breaks down once you add a 3rd dimension. You'll either have hexmaps, or you have 3d maps. The two do not combine well. I actually considered hexmaps when I began to design this sci fi world - they make a lot of things so easy! - but quickly decided to go the realistic route.

I agree with that... I haven't decided what to do with world maps yet... I have FT and CC3 and like both, but haven't started to experiment with exports. I am not crazy about the old icosahedral maps, but I don't like the SWRPG hemispheres either...


I've yet to do the exact calculations but my basic approach is that the jump to hyperspace takes a lot of energy over a very short time, and the space ships basically use capacitors for that, which they slowly recharge by whatever means is available (solar panels, fission, fusion, antimater, whatever). I'd like at least a day or two of downtime between jumps.

Another solution would be very complicated astrogation, and it just takes very long to calculate a jump. This is a "safe" solution (since there is no jump drive technology, making the navigation difficult is not unrealistic...) but it does feel kludgy.

These are interesting ideas... maybe the engines/capacitors have some kind of consumable part that has to be repaired after each jump? I vaguely remember reading of some USAF plane (B1 maybe? I forget now) that essentially required an engine overhaul after each sortie.

There were a couple of novel suggestions in the d6 Space book too, along the lines of using animals or aliens somehow as a necessary requirement... those are a bit too fantastical for what I have in mind, but food for thought. I'd like my campaign to bear some resemblance to d6 and Trav so I don' t want to abandon the whole thing.

Thanks for your thoughtful responses... I'll let you go back to your maps now :)

bartmoss
07-21-2009, 12:13 AM
I agree with that... I haven't decided what to do with world maps yet... I have FT and CC3 and like both, but haven't started to experiment with exports. I am not crazy about the old icosahedral maps, but I don't like the SWRPG hemispheres either...

That's why I went with a simple top-down view. If/when I do regional / local maps, I'll probably use a +/-x notation next to the names to show z-axis. Not clever, but probably works.




These are interesting ideas... maybe the engines/capacitors have some kind of consumable part that has to be repaired after each jump? I vaguely remember reading of some USAF plane (B1 maybe? I forget now) that essentially required an engine overhaul after each sortie.

There were a couple of novel suggestions in the d6 Space book too, along the lines of using animals or aliens somehow as a necessary requirement... those are a bit too fantastical for what I have in mind, but food for thought. I'd like my campaign to bear some resemblance to d6 and Trav so I don' t want to abandon the whole thing.

Thanks for your thoughtful responses... I'll let you go back to your maps now :)

The repair idea is great for a "first steps into interstellar space" setting, thanks! - As for using aliens: Starflight had a plot twist where it turned out that the starship FTL fuel actually was the "ancients" race of the setting. They were cristalline and extremely slow so nobody realized it until after the sentient races of the galaxy had inadvertently comitted massive genocide by powering their FTL engine with those poor beings.

I always thought this was an excellent idea, but it works best in a "darker" setting.

(Sorry if I spoiled Star Flight for anybody, but it's an ancient game so I figure nobody who does not yet know it will play it anymore.)
Wish I could draw maps - Got no tablet right now. :'(

bartmoss
03-17-2010, 08:26 PM
So I've restarted this map, following the "simple style is best as long as I concentrate on world-building" approach I've taken for Enderra. The map's still basic; you'll also see a bit of a shift though: The two main nations, the Federated Systems and the Second Republic, are no longer aligned along the direction of spin, but are now "parallel" to each other. The region that used to be the core of the human colonial empire, and that holds Terra, lies inside a region that can best be described as a galactic sargasso. Ships that jump into this region never, ever, return. The central light gray areas are regions of greatest star density; the darker gray contains fewer stars; and the "outside" white is least star density. The concentric rings around terra are distance markers, each ring is 1000 light years.

22983

bartmoss
04-06-2010, 01:38 AM
Another update. Rearranged borders a bit, added colors, added detail.

mearrin69
04-06-2010, 11:53 AM
Looks pretty good. Reminds me of the map from Imperium (a boardgame set in the Traveller universe). Be interested to hear what happened to the space surrounding Terra...
M

bartmoss
04-18-2010, 08:55 PM
Minor update - made the spiral arm more "wispy", added some stars, moved a few labels about.

mearrin69: Thanks - if this looks Traveller-y, then I am definitely headed into the right direction. The universe "behind" this map is very "old school" science fiction. As for the dead region: Good question! Think of it as a Sargasso of space. Its extent or cause are unknown. Those ships that go in to find out never return. There's no "FTL radio", so there was no distress calls, no news or messages from this region that might tell us what happened.

The dotted circles emanating from Terra are each 500ly radius. The Terran colonial empire reached out to about 1000light years when the dead region appeared; Home, the capital world of the Republic, was one of the most distant human colonies. With two thirds of the human colonies in the dead region this first interstellar nation collapsed. The outlaying, younger colonies, fought among themselves and many collapsed when interstellar trade stopped and civil war spread. It took a while for new interstellar nations to rise. They do fight among themselves alot and generally have better things to do than to send ships on suicide missions towards Terra. All of the nations do maintain a few listening posts to monitor radio channels, but so far nobody has found anything. For all mankind knows, the dead region is truly and completely dead. The dead region isn't expanding or otherwise actively dangerous as long as one stays outside, so people have sort of moved on with their lives. After all, there's plenty of Milky Way left.

mearrin69
04-19-2010, 03:27 PM
Awesome. Thanks for the background. Not sure if I repped you before for this one but I'll do it now if not. Nice work.
M

guyanonymous
04-19-2010, 04:18 PM
I like the style as well as the clarity of this map. I anticipate the next version! Thanks for sharing (and getting me thinking about a different way to map)...

HolyHair
04-19-2010, 04:48 PM
Sweet! I realy like this map. The colour scheme is great, realy clear. <ticks subscribe box>

H.H.

bartmoss
04-19-2010, 05:57 PM
Thanks guys! mearrin69, the background is still being worked on - I never draw maps as standalone projects, they're all part of worlds I build. This, my sci-fi type universe, is currently in its second iteration. I am up to about 2800 AD in the timeline, and there's so much left to do.

bartmoss
04-19-2010, 08:42 PM
Next minor update: Added a legend and a whole lot of star systems. Naming them took up way more time than I had thought. The "other worlds" are "notable worlds", that is, I don't intend for this map to show each and every inhabited system, let alone every star in the galaxy. I'll see how far I can go with adding named colonies before it becomes ugly and unwieldy.

Diamond
04-19-2010, 09:17 PM
That's looking very very cool! So are these all human realms, or are there alien planets/empires also?

edit: never mind; I just read through your timeline (very damn awesome, BTW) and answered my own question.

bartmoss
04-20-2010, 02:15 AM
Yeah it's all human realms. The timeline is outdated though.

bartmoss
04-22-2010, 03:51 PM
Minor Update again.
- Moved Sword Worlds, to be more consistent with the universe's history
- Added a whole bunch of labels
- Added the two pulsars that should be on this map (I think they're the only ones in the covered volume of space)

bartmoss
04-23-2010, 03:47 PM
Say Hello to Pan Colonial. You can't beat the experience. We fly mankind the way mankind wants to fly, or something like that.

A R Frost
04-23-2010, 04:05 PM
Looks good, just need to move the ship lane lines below your text level. Can't read most of your text now.

bartmoss
04-23-2010, 05:53 PM
Oooops! Thanks! That was dumb of me. I've fixed it.

bartmoss
04-25-2010, 11:10 AM
Update time again. As you can see, things got a lot livelier: I've added about a zillion human colonies to the map.

bartmoss
11-05-2010, 05:48 PM
I've been thinking about this lately, especially about the suggestions to make this map somehow 3d, and I just can't come up with a workable solution. Indeed, I have arrived at a crisis point in my universe building: The space-volume covered by this map should contain several dozen millions of stellar systems. That's not only way too many to map, it makes micro-managing the setting utterly impossible.

I could drastically decrease the volume of the setting; a sphere of roughly 100 light years (averaging 1200 stars) should be fairly managable. Of course, this loses any sort of "galactic empire" feeling.

I could just do what I do now, live in an imperfect fictional world and just map "important" systems, then treat all the other systems with narrator's fiat. The downside is that I won't be able to provide "complete" maps of the setting.

I could "cheat". Traveller quite successfully used abstract 2d maps. Some other settings use "jump lane maps" of one sort or another. The problem with this is that it's hardly "realistic" at all.

I am a bit stumped. I guess I#d like a "complete" map that is "realistic", and a "galactic empire" type setting, and I just can't work out how to combine the three.

Anybody got any smart ideas, or even just opinions on a good solution?

mearrin69
11-05-2010, 05:57 PM
Eh. No. LOL. Trying to provide complete maps for a galactic-sized setting will just make you insane. You can't even do it if you reduce the size of the setting to a 100ly sphere, IMHO. Take a look at the Alternity Star*Drive campaign setting. It took a relatively small volume of space but was only able to detail a small number of the systems in a fairly large setting book. I say keep it big and focus on the most interesting systems, hinting at the others. Can't see how you, as a human, can do much more than that.

I personally love your map. 3D's a gimmick and nobody is presently capable of viewing and referencing a true 3D map in a useful way yet...even if you did bother to make it.
M

geamon
11-05-2010, 06:04 PM
3D's a gimmick and nobody is presently capable of viewing and referencing a true 3D map in a useful way yet...
M

Not unless you got your 3D GLASSES!!!!!!

tovette
11-06-2010, 04:01 AM
I make galactic maps for my science fiction universe and what I did to solve that is just show the systems that have colonies and omit the ones that don't. Problem solved. :)

bartmoss
11-06-2010, 05:56 AM
Eh. No. LOL. Trying to provide complete maps for a galactic-sized setting will just make you insane. You can't even do it if you reduce the size of the setting to a 100ly sphere, IMHO. Take a look at the Alternity Star*Drive campaign setting. It took a relatively small volume of space but was only able to detail a small number of the systems in a fairly large setting book. I say keep it big and focus on the most interesting systems, hinting at the others. Can't see how you, as a human, can do much more than that.

A 100-light-year sphere is a daunting task, yes, but do-able. Most of the worlds would be very, very sketchy, for sure, and you'd likely have to use random generation for most systems, but that in itself is not really a bad thing.

To add to the problem - Did I mention I will, overall, cover about 5000 years of human history? Stars shift quite significantly relative to each other during such time spans. ;-)

I guess don't I really mind to cheat, since I know I have to for this type of setting. At the same time I am creating a setting, and not a novel. I can't just have spaceships travel at the speed of plot to convenient places, I have to deal, somehow, with the space in between too.

And I just can't figure out what compromise might work best.

barrataria
01-21-2011, 04:15 PM
I think you and I are going to outlive our respective sci-fi mapping projects! :P And mine foundered on similar problems. I ended up working with Traveller-style quadrant maps but found some CC3/Cosmographer templates I like too. And ended up running a d6 Star Wars game when I realized I liked that universe better anyway. Which brings me to...


I could just do what I do now, live in an imperfect fictional world and just map "important" systems, then treat all the other systems with narrator's fiat. The downside is that I won't be able to provide "complete" maps of the setting.

Reading this thread and others here made me appreciate the Traveller flat maps. But as I said I ended up back with Star Wars anyway, and conveniently enough they just released a fantastic atlas. Which does just what you say, including "important systems" on the galactic map. I pasted that into my CC3 and hotlinked to zoomed images of quadrants of the galaxy, and then hotlinked to smaller maps of various "important" sectors. Which in SW isn't saying much because the sectors are composed of jillions of systems, many of which are assumed to be uninhabited.

SciFi mapping has made me acknowledge the limitatiions of human knowledge and more importantly human ability to express a giant universe. Hand-waving may be lazy, but it's sure fun.

moriturimax
01-28-2012, 10:01 PM
Can you do what I am going to do on my galaxy map? Add small icons or bubbles on the galaxy map that have several travel lines entering it at various points, that bubble is a composite representing 10s, 100s, 1000s, or millions of stars that aren't "major" stars. You can modify the size or color of the bubble, perhaps with some single-digit code inside it that points out an important feature.

It's almost like an adventure "nugget" from Megatraveller, you have some generic thing set up for when the players get to a specific point in space. You can have a series of things made up that you run when they get to that bubble.

Just an idea.

bartmoss
01-30-2012, 03:52 AM
As you may have seen I've attempted to create a "near Earth" 3D-based map in another thread.

Using "bubbles" - Yes that would work - once you go with an abstract "flowchart" like map, you can easily create arbitrary groups - let's call them Clusters - to remove unneeded detail.

You still need to first map out all those stars to know WHAT you are abstracting, though.

In the end, however, I returned to a flat map, and at a larger scale. I agree with barrataria, in that creating a detailed 3D map of anything bigger than, say, 30 light years in diameter (15ly radius) quickly becomes unmanageable and detracts rather than adds to a gaming/fiction experience.