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Thread: Milky Way Galaxy

  1. #21
    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bartmoss View Post
    <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
    Last edited by Greason Wolfe; 07-05-2009 at 11:44 PM. Reason: Data Linking
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  2. #22
      barrataria is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by bartmoss View Post
    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...

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      bartmoss is offline
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    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.

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      barrataria is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by bartmoss View Post
    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.

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      bartmoss is offline
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    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.

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      barrataria is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by bartmoss View Post
    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...

    Quote Originally Posted by bartmoss View Post
    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

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      bartmoss is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by barrataria View Post
    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.


    Quote Originally Posted by barrataria View Post
    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. :'(

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      bartmoss is offline
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    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.

    Milky Way Galaxy-starmap2b..png

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    Another update. Rearranged borders a bit, added colors, added detail.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Milky Way Galaxy-starmap2c-section.png  

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    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

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