Citizens of the Imperium

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-   -   3D Star Map opinions? (http://www.travellerrpg.com/CotI/Discuss/showthread.php?t=40333)

Madmax September 5th, 2019 07:55 PM

3D Star Map opinions?
 
I'm considering running Traveller in a 3D star map.
In standard Traveller the galaxy is only 1 parsec thick, in real life the Milky Way is around 3 hundred parsecs thick. This means the entire volume of Charted Space of the game could be fit in 1/300th the space shown on, for example, travellermap.com.
To me it seems that having 3 dimensions to choose from when travelling, instead of just 2, may offer many more options to the players, as well as just making the whole experience seem more like actual space travel instead of flat ocean travel.

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone has tried running a 3D star map game, and what advantages and/or disadvantages they may have found to it.

tjoneslo September 5th, 2019 08:02 PM

The biggest difficulty I've found with a 3D map is showing it to players and having them understand it.

There are a whole bunch of ways to represent a 3D map on a 2D page. Or put it up on a computer/tablet screen to be interactive. I've even seen some really cool 3D models.

But the hard part has always been what do I give to my players and have them understand all the relationships. If we're here how where can we go next? If the bad guys are running away, where could they possibly go?

This gets worse with the more stars you try to include in your universe. T:2300 did about a subsector worth of worlds, and that seems to be the largest size I've seen effectively done.

flykiller September 5th, 2019 10:39 PM

worked for a while on a 3d map depiction, but after a while decided it didn't add anything to an actual game. great fun to play with, sure, "realistic" and all that sure, but irrelevant to an rpg.

flykiller September 5th, 2019 10:44 PM

Quote:

I would probably define a subsector as standard 8pc x 10pc, but also either 9pc or 11pc deep (North/South) - i.e. the mean plane of the subsector is at the center, with stars above/below noted in the hex as either 1 to 4pc or 5pc.
pretty much what I did. but depicting multiple systems in one stacked hex, and calculating all the partial jump numbers (1.4 parsecs, 1.76 parsecs, etc) and ruling what jump numbers could jump what partials, got annoying.

whulorigan September 5th, 2019 10:49 PM

Are you planning on using your own custom setting, or some variant of the Third Imperium?

If the latter, one of the problems you will need to deal with is that 3D will change the trade and communication routes by opening up alternate route possibilities, or drying up existing ones (as connecting-worlds on existing routes might now be bypassed).

Additionally, you will need to consider that exiting "impassible rifts" due to low stellar density may end up having ways around them (i.e. by going over/under the low-stellar density areas).

If I were doing it using Traveller mapping conventions, I would probably define a subsector as standard 8pc x 10pc, but also either 9pc or 11pc deep (North/South) - i.e. the mean plane of the subsector is at the center, with stars above/below noted in the hex as either 1 to 4pc or 5pc. Note that this means that you might have more than one star per "hex", but they might be separated one from another by several parsecs in the z-direction.

Here are some existing threads:
  1. Stellar Cartography in a 2D Universe
  2. Mapping a new universe
  3. My go at a 3D Traveller Sector map
  4. 3D Map Form
  5. 2-D vs 3-D Mapping Experiences

whulorigan September 5th, 2019 10:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by flykiller (Post 606235)
. . . but . . . calculating all the partial jump numbers (1.4 parsecs, 1.76 parsecs, etc) and ruling what jump numbers could jump what partials, got annoying.


I just drop fractions. To get beyond 2pc, you need a J-3 drive, etc.

flykiller September 5th, 2019 11:00 PM

Quote:

I just drop fractions. To get beyond 2pc, you need a J-3 drive, etc.
sure. but then suddenly it's much harder to get anywhere with the standard j1/j2 pc boats unless the stars are densely packed. and that's annoying too.

I found that the few players who objected to 2d space were usually satisfied with "3d is difficult to manage, we just do it this way to make it easier".

aramis September 6th, 2019 02:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by flykiller (Post 606238)
sure. but then suddenly it's much harder to get anywhere with the standard j1/j2 pc boats unless the stars are densely packed. and that's annoying too.

I found that the few players who objected to 2d space were usually satisfied with "3d is difficult to manage, we just do it this way to make it easier".

I've always fallen back on the "JSpace is a planar dimension created by Yaskodray psionicly."

coliver988 September 6th, 2019 08:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aramis (Post 606242)
I've always fallen back on the "JSpace is a planar dimension created by Yaskodray psionicly."

I like that. And I've always gone with the map is merely the jump mapping and does not reflect the real 3D space. It gets quite a bit hazy after that of course, but maps are always just a convenience to represent something else.

I've seen several star maps made subway-style, with the understanding of jump gates or other binary-style transportation systems (it is there or not there to paraphrase Yoda)

sudnadja September 6th, 2019 10:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by coliver988 (Post 606256)
I like that. And I've always gone with the map is merely the jump mapping and does not reflect the real 3D space. It gets quite a bit hazy after that of course, but maps are always just a convenience to represent something else.

I've seen several star maps made subway-style, with the understanding of jump gates or other binary-style transportation systems (it is there or not there to paraphrase Yoda)

Do you have a different map for NAFAL travel between the stars, or do you just disallow it completely?


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