The Aresian Cluster
This is a map for a setting that I am just starting to flesh out, tentatively called the Aresian Cluster. The map is centered on Ares Prime, which is the central system of the human-dominated Aresian Federation. The map is roughly 70 light years wide and about as much tall. The stars do not have labels, yet, because (as I said) I am still fleshing out the basics of the setting. However, my next update will most likely contain codename/stand-in-names.
I'm looking for any feedback (good or bad!) you may have :)
It's quite nice. Some sort of vertical scale would be good as would a stellar class/size chart of some sort. Also, depending on travel tech in your setting, some notation for distance between major systems, jump routes, etc. would be cool for GMs and players.
Is this going to cover just habitable/explored stars? I don't immediately see any of the less-hospitable stellar classes and don't see any special features like black holes, pulsars, and whateverelseinhabitsspace. Always good to have some sort of "mystery" world somewhere in there.
I expect you'll get to some of these things but thought I'd point them out. I loves me some star maps so looking forward to seeng this one develop.
Edit: Oh, yeah, some indication of where this falls in your galaxy and its orientation (viz. galactic north, spinward, coreward, whatever)
Thank you so much for all the great ideas! :)
I added a codename/stand-in-name for every system. I happened upon a list of the largest UK Metros and decided to use those as the fill-in names. In retrospect I probably should have given each star type a city name from a different country but c'est la vie. I've added a few black holes and super giant stars to spice things up a bit (will add more as I continue). I also added a galactic map to give the viewer/reader a point of reference as to where the cluster is. I added a vertical scale (though I may have to extend it a bit so "Barry" is included :) ).
I'm undecided about travel. On the one hand, Jumpgates/portals/Mass Relays/etc. are great and really easy to explain but they are becoming quite popular (I want to be different!). At the same time, just traveling through space with FTL is so cliche... Oh hum, what to do. I was thinking I might make Ares Prime the nexus point for all Jump Gates (i.e. every system has a gate but they all funnel back to Ares Prime but Ares Prime's gate(s) can be used to travel to any other system). That way FTL is still important, especially if you want to avoid the heart of the Aresian Federation but, its just slower/not-as-easy.
I tried making a few "FTL Trade Routes" on the map but it instantly becomes weird because I am representing a 3 dimensional area on a 2 dimensional plane (thus routs often crossed and made it appear as if one could "hop off one route and jump on the next." Any ideas/suggestions would be most helpful! :)
Ok, here's a map with the interstellar Commerce Lanes shown. I'm not sure if I like it or not.
The shape of the commerce lanes doesn't fit this kind of map IMO. They seem to be curving and meandering as if they were roads built over natural terrain, which they of course are not. I think they'd be much better represented as straight lines, or even elliptical curves. It's not like the 2D map is capable of accurately displaying the courses of spacecraft anyway.
I'd prefer using long dashes over dots myself, but that's just a matter of taste.
I love the placeholder names, it gives the map a wonderful humor to it. :)
I'm having a difficult time following many of the vertical height lines, it may help to have a second image with a lighter background and a higher contrast grid.
Are Pontypool and Yorkshire black holes?
Thank you both for posting, I really appreciate it! :)
Yeah I dislike the meandering as well, looking back on it. I'm not sure a single dashed line would look good either. I think the FTL Commerce Lanes clutter the map a bit too much but, maybe that's just me? Having said that, straight lines would be far more preferable to the meandering lines. :)
Originally Posted by Ghostman
I agree, the place holder names have quite the charm to them (I may just keep them) :)
Originally Posted by Hungry Donner
I've updated the map, this time with a lighter (more black-brown background) and increased the intensity of the red lines. Hopefully that helps (I can go further if need be, the map has to be easy to see after all).
Yes Pontypool and Yorkshire are supposed to be Black holes. I wasn't sure how to make a good image for them (you can't well see a black hole against a black background). I added a star to each black hole, to give the impression that its actually a, for a lack of a better term, big hole.
That is more legible, and I like that the galaxy insert in the bottom corner is brighter as well.
The names are fun, I half expect to see the HMS Camden Lock scooting around here. :)
Sorry about my long absence (been busy). I've been trying to figure out how to display countries on the map, its quite difficult actually. This is my latest attempt (be thankful you didn't have to see the horrors I made prior to this).I removed the system's names to give everyone a better look at the aesthetic.
Hope you enjoy :)
I think you mean "aesthetic". An ascetic is a person who practices self-denial.
Representing a 3D starmap in 2D is really hard. Maybe shading the 3D political regions as if they were lit by an external light source would help. Right now they look rather flat. Could you make the star objects dimmer when they're more distant from the viewpoint, perhaps?