This whole project is absolutely incredible. Really inspiring for anyone making a space map.
It's one of the best star maps that I've seen. But I've been wondering about something for a while. Aren't the bright "arms" of galaxies just created by young stars, while the darker parts (the areas between the arms, the "gaps" etc) are supposed to be filled with less luminous old stars that can still have habitable planets around them? Most fictive star maps seem to assume that they are almost exclusively in the highly illuminated parts of the galaxy. Does everyone know something that I don't, or is it just a common misconception?
And yes, I think it's a common misconception. IIRC The spiral arms are basically density waves, and thus starforming regions. Older stars can be anywhere, really. I think the reason this is kept up is because it is convenient for story purposes to have some sort of "geography" with choke points etc in your setting.
I really do need to get the v2 of this map worked on too.
Then I am a bit confused. You know this, but you adhere to this misconception anyway? Or did you do it for the story purposes that you mention?
It's a design decision, correct. I believe that any "hard" science fiction setting will NOT have faster-than-light capabilities, and therefore will not have an interstellar culture at all, except perhaps by (very slow) communication via message laser or radio waves.
In the case of this setting (which I dub "Somnium"), I needed interstellar societies. That means FTL. And that means, ideally, some sort of "geography" of space. Restricting movement is incredibly important in my opinion, and I am still working out how that would work best - and realize I may just have to accept that I have to revise my design premises.
On the topic of scientific accuracy, I noted this in my (private) world design bible:
Setting and story trump science: There are certain violations to the laws of physics (“as we currently understand them”, as the saying goes) that the genre necessitates. For example, an interstellar society needs FTL transportation of some sort. Setting and story are more important than scientific accuracy; but only to a point – the Somnium universe should be plausible and, above all, self-consistent.
My "version 2" aims to be better thought out:
- Building a Better Star Map | Enderra
- Building a Better Star Map II: The Leapfrog Effect | Enderra
- Building a Better Star Map III: Placing Stuff | Enderra
I am a bit further than that, but even if I was sure that I could keep the setting 100% as-is, re-doing this map is very daunting and I had a very busy schedule at work (my day job unfortunately does not involve anything like this).
I would create bottlenecks in a different way if they were needed, for example, restricting FTL to a gate network would give you far more flexibility. Who says that the gaps can't be traveled in even if they were so empty anyway? What is keeping spaceships inside the arms and making them adhere to the bottlenecks?
You can do similar things depending on your chosen FTL method; You seem to use hyperspace travel; it can be given restrictions that facilitate the need for spacelanes (a license to put bottlenecks anywhere you want), and similar things can be done with all other FTL methods.
FTL is a necessary violation of physics, but I think that this one isn't. I suppose you could justify it though by somehow restricting hyperspace travel to the spiral arms, or make it impractical outside of it. Hyperspace can have all kinds of weirdness. "Hyperspace" gives you a nearly unlimited license for imposing rules on FTL.
I've made several attempts at star maps myself, but I never liked the outcome. I think I'll give it another shot. Though I'm abroad at the moment and only have access to photoshop touch on my tablet, I have a few ideas that I'd like to give expression to.
Last edited by s0meguy; 03-09-2013 at 08:25 AM.
Just to clarify, the yellow lines are just "main travel routes", not "jump routes" - ships can go anywhere they please, but most follow patterns dictated by practical reasons.
I considered a gate network, but I rejected it for a number of reasons. Some design-based, a few in-universe reasons I do not quite want to spoil yet.
My hyperspace drives work a little like Traveller jump drives, you pick your destination and you travel there in n days, where n scales directly with distance. Unlike Traveller jump drives, my hyperdrives do not need "fuel", they need energy. (Traveller never adequately explained what is being done with all that hydrogen...) The in-universe explanation is that "hyperspace" is actually the very fabric of the multiverse, that is, ships basically travel in the gaps between universes. They can only return to the one they originated in, though, because none of the other universes has laws of physics compatible enough with our own that ship and crew would not immediately vaporize (this is what the in-setting scientists 'proved', anyway).
Gravity is deeply connected to this; I decided to go with the hypothesis that gravity is weak because it "leaks" into parallel universes, probably gets refuted soon if it hasn't already - now that they are on the trail of the Higgs boson. Anyway, it works for this setting. Jumps in gravity wells do work, but because gravity twists spacetime, it makes them much harder and less safe.
I know I can go with any sort of reason - even really weird ones - just read Ringworld's Children if you haven't (or I can spoil it for you if you want). I'd just like something a little less arbitrary. It's one of the big, big problems I have working on the setting...
Anyway - it's cool if you want to do more star maps - the more the merrier. Make sure to share them with us, I surely would like to see your work! :-)
PS: You may have noticed, on the map, that there ARE "Hyperspace anomalies" - regions of space where hyperdrive ships may go but will never, ever return from. There is an explanation for that, of course, but it won't do for every day travel restrictions.
Interesting ftl method. Sounds good. Ftl has been an issue for me too. I'm the obsessive one and everything has to make absolute sense. I used to put a lot of effort into finding some original ftl method too, but I've since given up on that. Everything has just been done over and over again. But I've been thinking; let's say that you know everything about how the universe works, wouldn't you be able to manipulate it any way you want at will, if you have the knowledge to make the necessary technology? In that way, maybe all imagined ftl methods are possible. It's just a matter of knowing how.
I looked up ringworld's children and it definitely sounds intriguing but I dont have the time to read a book series at the moment... barely have time to work on universe/maps but i just have to.
It would be nice if you uploaded a full resolution version.
Last edited by s0meguy; 03-11-2013 at 10:54 PM.