View Poll Results: Mixing Constellations and sci-fi game maps...

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  • Is a terrible idea and I would be totally distracted during the game

    6 54.55%
  • Would be an interesting way to add some life to otherwise-fake star maps

    5 45.45%
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Thread: Adventures in Space Mapping, Dispensing with Reality

  1. #1
      barrataria is offline
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    Post Adventures in Space Mapping, Dispensing with Reality

    This may end up a bit redundant to the discussion in bartmoss' Milky Way thread below, but I didn't want to clutter up his map thread with it.

    I am tinkering with a space op game, based on d6 with elements from Traveller (and influenced by Wing Commander and Privateer). I'm trying to decide how to approach the "charted space" map to be used.

    I had considered just using the old WC maps, which are very well-detailed. However, they depend on jump points/wormholes, and I don't want interstellar travel to have that restriction. I'm trying to preserve much of the Traveller "age of sail" communication limitation. So, there will be a semi-magical set of spacelanes that will enable double-rate jumps , but only along those lanes. There will only be a few of these- maybe 5 in the whole charted area (which will look like a Traveller sector map, with each of those sectors containing a sector map and its 16 constituent subsectors... so all of charted space (which I don't intend to map at once, of course) will contain 256 subsectors).

    I've been intrigued by using a constellation map as the basis of the map of charted space, sort of superimposing that on top of the Trav-style sector map for the overview, and using the real stars as guideposts in the sectors and subsectors. So for example Orion might stretch across a sector or two, with other (fictional) systems scattered around as normal. This seems to be the general approach of the Solomani sector in Original Traveller- Castor and Pollux, Sirius, etc. are scattered around randomly.

    My general question (although I'm happy for any input) is: would this approach turn you off or break your suspension of reality? Would you be so distracted in looking at a constellation map and thinking "Hey, Sirius isn't that far from our solar system" or "it's 87 jillion light years to Alpha Whatever"?

    I'm thinking it would be interesting to have the constellation map as the artistic/campaign/strategic level depiction of the various empires, and still being able to use the Traveller hex maps for game purposes.

    Thanks for any input.

  2. #2
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    It'd be way too distracting since the constellations would look very different from even a few light years from Earth. From the vantage point that the map is drawn, the constellations would be completely unrecognizable.
    “Maps encourage boldness. They're like cryptic love letters. They make anything seem possible.”
    -Mark Jenkins

  3. #3
      Hai-Etlik is offline
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    This gave me an idea for using constellations to flatten a star map.

    Combine the constellations into larger groups (Preferably Contiguous). I think one for each constellation of the zodiac would be good.

    Now, divide up your map into sectors (In the geometric sense rather than scifi map sense) radiating from Sol, one for each group.

    Now, to put a real star or other object on the map, use its real distance from Sol, and place it in the appropriate sector.

    Some example groupings I came up with:

    Cancer
    * Lynx
    * Leo Minor
    * Ursa Major
    * Ursa Minor

    Leo
    * Sextans
    * Hydra
    * Crater
    * Corvus
    * Antila
    * Vela
    * Carina
    * Volans

    Virgo
    * Coma Berenices
    * Canes Venatici
    * Bootes
    * Corona Borealis
    * Draco

    Libra
    * Lupus
    * Centaurus
    * Norma
    * Triangulum Australe
    * Circinus
    * Crux
    * Musca

    Scorpius
    * Ophiuchus
    * Serpens
    * Scutum
    * Hercules
    * Lyra

    Sagittarius
    * Corona Australis
    * Telescopium
    * Ara
    * Indus
    * Pavo
    * Apus
    * Octans

    Capricorn
    * Microscopium
    * Aquila
    * Delphinus
    * Equuleus
    * Sagitta
    * Vulpecula
    * Cygnus

    Aquarius
    * Picis Austrinus
    * Grus
    * Tucana
    * Phoenix
    * Hydrus
    * Mensa

    Pisces
    * Pegasus
    * Triangulum
    * Andromeda
    * Lacerta
    * Cassiopeia
    * Cepheus

    Aries
    * Cetus
    * Eridanus
    * Fornax
    * Sculptor
    * Caelum
    * Horologium
    * Reticulum

    Taurus
    * Orion
    * Auriga
    * Perseus
    * Camelopardalis

    Gemini
    * Canis Minor
    * Monoceros
    * Lepus
    * Canis Major
    * Columba
    * Puppis
    * Pyxis
    * Pictor
    * Dorado

    So Sirius, Castor, and Pollux would all be in the Gemini Sector at 8.5, 50, and 35 ly respectively.

  4. #4
      barrataria is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hai-Etlik View Post
    This gave me an idea for using constellations to flatten a star map.

    Combine the constellations into larger groups (Preferably Contiguous). I think one for each constellation of the zodiac would be good.

    Now, divide up your map into sectors (In the geometric sense rather than scifi map sense) radiating from Sol, one for each group.


    So Sirius, Castor, and Pollux would all be in the Gemini Sector at 8.5, 50, and 35 ly respectively.
    This is interesting thinking, but I might not be understanding you. As the above poster notes, and as in bartmoss' thread, when the game takes place somewhere other than earth, you will have a tough time calculating distances, won't you?

    My idea is not unlike yours- instead of the Traveller-type largescale universe map that shows all the sectors' locations, I'd like to have a flattened constellation map as the galaxy map available to players, with a scale bar so they can estimate (roughly) distances between systems.

    I'm not having much luck finding a flattened constellation map. I've seen a couple rectangle-with-two circles above type (sorry I don't know the correct name for that projection) which might be ok to use as a template in CC3.

  5. #5
    Guild Adept icosahedron's Avatar
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    No matter what you do, you have a fundamental problem in representing 3 dimensional space on a 2 dimensional map. I feel that tying the map view to the constellations as viewed from the Earth simply adds another layer of unreality.

    Hai-Etlik's projection is one way of going about it, but in all such maps the difficulty arises not in measuring the distance of each star from the Earth, but in measuring the distances of stars from each other.

    The only explanation of 3D to 2D compression I've seen that makes any sense is the one I heard mooted for Traveller - basically it said that 3D space is like a crumpled up ball of paper and the 2D jumpspace map is simply 3D space 'opened out'. The distances between stars in Jump space is a related only by the random folds of space and bears little relation to the 3D distances - especially as those distances increase.

    Any other attempt at relating 3D space to a 2D map is probably doomed to failure.

    But that doesn't mean you shouldn't attempt it.
    Mapping a Traveller ATU.

    See my (fantasy-based) apprenticeship blog at:

    http://www.viewing.ltd.uk/cgi-bin/vi...forums&sx=1024

    Look for Chit Chat, Sandmann's blog. Enjoy.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by icosahedron View Post
    Any other attempt at relating 3D space to a 2D map is probably doomed to failure.
    I would say that it depends on the scale that you are representing. Displaying an entire spiral galaxy should not be a problem since they are generally fairly flat and wide. So if you are looking down from galactic north you would see a disc that is something like 100,000 light years in diameter and only 1,000 light years in depth. (a ratio of 1:100) So you could conceivably notate stars of interest with their distance from the galactic ecliptic (positive or negative) if you needed to, but otherwise the depth that the star is at is not really as important at this scale as its distance from the galactic center.

    However if you are trying to represent a cubic area of space, then yeah, you run into a lot of problems trying to display a field that is just as deep as it is wide.
    “Maps encourage boldness. They're like cryptic love letters. They make anything seem possible.”
    -Mark Jenkins

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