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Ad Astra News April 2nd, 2015 05:41 PM

3D Orientation in Traveller Squadron Strike (and more)
Squadron Strike is a mature 3-D tactical space combat system with a complete ship design system. You can make any ship, from any universe, and fly it in a fully 3-D combat environment. Squadron Strike: Traveller features vector movement in all three dimensions and the ship design spreadsheet allows you to create your own Traveller ships with professional-quality ship displays.

Ad Astra News April 2nd, 2015 05:45 PM

Map Display

Your ship is shown on the map with a cardboard box with art on all six sides, called a “box miniature” or “box mini”. By placing these in angled plastic parts called tilt blocks, we can show a ship’s pitch and roll in 30° increments, like the illustrations below:

The first illustration shows a box miniature level with the map; the second illustration shows one pitched up at 60° and rolled to the right at 30°. With altitude tiles, the box miniatures show complete orientation and altitude information on the map.

A ship’s future position from designated with an End of Turn (EoT) marker (not shown).

Ad Astra News April 2nd, 2015 05:56 PM


Moving in 3-D uses a play aid called an Attitude/Vector Information Display (AVID). They’re keyed to the A-F directions printed in the center of the map. The AVID is fixed to the hex map; your ship rotates in the AVID the same way it changes facing in a hexagon.

The blue hexagon represents the map hex our ship is in. Inside of it is a top down view of a sphere, with the north pole (90°) being the purple circle, going to 60°, 30° and 0° for green, blue and yellow respectively. The rings are subdivided into spaces called “windows.” The arrows around the the outside of the hexagon are for vector (Mode 2) movement, the row of arrows at the bottom left are for cinematic (Mode 1) movement (also know as "Whoosh!" movement, as seen in Star Wars or Star Trek).

A ship floats in the center of the sphere, like the illustration below.

Full-sized image

This ship has its nose pointing to the right and it rolled 60 degrees clockwise. The line sticking straight out of its top comes out of the page, while the line from its left side points up. (note 1) For example, On this ship, the nose (triangle), aft (semi-circle), top (star-coming out of the page) and sides (the two chevrons) are visible, with the bottom (the Anchor symbol) obscured by the hex map directions and the AVID ‘wall’.

In the computer rendered illustration, notice that the ship’s nose is pointed towards the B/C hex corner, and that the left side symbol is rolled up, and is sticking through the blue ring of the AVID shown behind the ship. This matches the orientation shown on the AVID above, with the ship facing B/C, rolled to its right by 30°, with the left side marker in the blue ring, and the right side marker in the opposite blue ring, circled to show that it’s sticking out of the bottom of the AVID.

Next to the AVID is a key showing the symbols used to record which way a part of your ship is facing. An orientation symbol that’s on the underside of the AVID (like the anchor in this example) is circled. All AVID symbols have to be 3 windows (90°) apart.

Once a ship’s orientation is indicated, we can plot its movement.

Note 1: The angle that we're looking at the ship makes these "more-or-less" directions. For example, from our view, the Top line come out of the page, tilted to the left and a bit up. That's relative to our view, but we're looking down at the map at an angle ...

Ad Astra News April 2nd, 2015 06:10 PM

Plotting Facing Changes

Plotting a movement in 3-D is graphical. We’re going to do a Mode 2 (vector movement) example. If you want to see how Mode 1 (cinematic movement) works, check out the Squadron Strike page.

The first step is drawing your facing changes, if any. Any facing change that moves the front of the ship is a pivot. Any facing change that does not move the front of the ship is a roll. Both rolls and pivots can be done on the same turn, pivots resolve first.

We’ll do a 2 window pivot, from direction B/C, at 0°, to C/D, angled 30° up, while also rolling our ship back to level. We draw this with arrows, like the ones in the illustration below. You’re allowed to make one diagonal transition between AVID windows per facing change.

The arrow outside the AVID pointing in direction F has a 2 in it, meaning the ship has a velocity of 2 in F from a prior turn. This is nearly opposite the direction that the ship’s nose is pointing. Every turn, the ship will move 2 hexes in direction F on the map, sliding almost backwards. This goes on until the ship applies thrust. To come to a stop, it will need to apply 2 thrust in direction C, because that’s the opposite direction.

Our ship will move two hexes this turn, in direction F.

Ad Astra News April 2nd, 2015 06:18 PM

Vertical Plotting

The next step is to choose exactly what direction we’re going to apply thrust. We take our thrust (6) and plot it on the vertical plotting grid. Because we pivoted this turn, the thrust gets applied half-way through the pivot. Since we pivoted 2 windows, that puts our thrust in the first window of the pivot, C, Blue, up. Our selection is constrained to the blue boxes; we can pick any of the three blue boxes with a 6 in them. This translates into 6 thrust in the plane of the map and 3 up in altitude. This ability to pick which box you’re using (limited by your thrust) gives flexibility in movement without “sideslips.”

View large image.

If our nose had been level and we only had a thrust of 3, we wouldn’t have had a choice because only one box matches. (The yellow box with the 3 in it.)

Ad Astra News April 2nd, 2015 06:41 PM

Horizontal Plotting

Once the vertical plot is done, it’s time to do the horizontal plot. Our thrust is in direction C in the plane of the hex map, and we use the horizontal plotting grid to pick the exact hex we move into.

View large image.

We know we’re thrusting 6 in the plane of the map from the vertical plotting step, so we can pick any hexagon with a 6 in it. We have three to choose from and take the one to the left (taking a bit of thrust in direction B on the map plane). Now we record our thrust on the AVID.

View large image.

Once everyone has placed their End of Turn markers, all units move, and complete any pivots and rolls.

After movement, we consolidate our vectors by subtracting the 2 in direction F from the 5 in direction C because they are exactly opposite. We start next turn with vectors of 1 in B, 3 in C, and 3 in up, facing direction C/D, angled up at a 30° angle, with no roll, as shown on the AVID in the next column. We put our End of Turn marker 1 hex in direction B and 3 hexes in direction C from our ship with three stacking tiles under it to show the altitude change. That shows where we’ll be if nothing changes on next turn’s move.

View large image.

Ad Astra News April 3rd, 2015 12:31 PM

The example continues with bearings and firing arcs in 3D.

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