Milky Way Galaxy
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.
Will be watching for updates on this.
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.
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 :)
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.
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.
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! :)
I get it, makes perfect sense, but then I also want to see the bunny :)