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Thread: Milky Way Galaxy

  1. #11
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    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.

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      bartmoss is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greason Wolfe View Post
    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.

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      bartmoss is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan K View Post
    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.

    Milky Way Galaxy-galaxyv4-3.png

    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 :-)

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      bartmoss is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskanflyboy View Post
    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.
    Last edited by bartmoss; 07-05-2009 at 12:58 PM. Reason: spelling

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      töff is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by bartmoss View Post
    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, 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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by töff View Post
    Amen to that. I face the same concern in mapping The LATTICE, 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.

    How big is really really big - ViewingDale universe

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    Quote Originally Posted by töff View Post
    Amen to that. I face the same concern in mapping The LATTICE, 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.

    Quote Originally Posted by töff View Post
    I dig your MW map so far!
    Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by töff View Post
    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.



    Quote Originally Posted by töff View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by töff View Post
    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...rs-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.)

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    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.

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

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    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.

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      bartmoss is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by töff View Post
    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.

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