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In My Traveller Universe Detail what parts of Traveller you do (or don't) use in your campaign.

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  #21  
Old September 13th, 2019, 09:59 AM
wbuthod wbuthod is offline
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Originally Posted by mike wightman View Post
3D starmaps are great fun to play around with - but at the table in my experience they cause more trouble than they are worth.
I concur. During my tinkering, I wrote a script that generates a graph of every system up to two jumps out for the jump range of the ship. If it had been interactive, I'd have added two features: the ability to tap on a system to re-center the graph on that system, and a "return to current system" button. As it was, the script just spat out Dot code for formatting with Graphviz.
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  #22  
Old February 29th, 2020, 03:36 AM
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The Trav 2D density isn't representative, and wouldn't carry over to a 3D map. Our stellar neighborhood is about 8 cubic pc per star. That means there are about 64 stars in a 5 pc radius. On the other hand, it also means that any star has only about 1 in 3 chance of having a neighbor within 1 pc. If you allow Jn to reach n+0.5 pc the chances of a neighbor in J1 reach go way up.



That more stars are reachable within a given number of parsecs is the whole point. A J2 3D ship could trade like a J3 2D ship, and a J3 3D ship could trade like a J5 2D ship. J4+ becomes the province of military and high-price express travel.
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  #23  
Old March 6th, 2020, 07:53 AM
nobby-w nobby-w is offline
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Originally Posted by Condottiere View Post
Three dee star mapping should probably wait until someone generates a computer simulation that you can easily navigate on a tablet, and which would require a rather extensive retconning of Third Imperium astrography.
[ . . . ]
This is the principal issue with 3D mapping. While you can do a projection that can visualise a small region of space on a paper map, doing anything cleverer puts you into the realms of needing a computer to visualise it effectively.

Even on a smaller scale there are practical issues that make it quite hard to do well, and in practice it doesn't bring a lot of benefit to actual game play. I put it in the 'Not worth the effort' bucket.

Actually building an app to do this and doing it to a quality level where it can be let loose on random DMs is a significant investment, probably out of the reach of all but larger publishers. It also makes your game dependent on the app - which may or may not be strategically desirable. Most of the attempts I've seen at doing this didn't work all that well or were unusably buggy.

Even before you get into the effects on the OTU, you're also into a cubic growth of your universe with dimensions, making the development of sandboxes a rather larger effort. Applying the OTU's assumptions about communication to make a 3D Imperium of the same dimensions would result is a very large region of space with millions of stars. While a published sandbox on that scale would be totally awesome, it wouldn't be practical to build through anything but procedurally generated content. At that point you might as well just go and play No Mans Sky or Elite: Dangerous.

If you were doing a computer game a 3D map isn't a big deal, and you're in a use case where you can assume the player has a computer. For a pen-and-paper game it brings a significant development cost and a dependency on a computer that you or your players might not want.
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Old March 6th, 2020, 10:45 AM
whartung whartung is offline
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Originally Posted by nobby-w View Post
Even before you get into the effects on the OTU, you're also into a cubic growth of your universe with dimensions, making the development of sandboxes a rather larger effort. Applying the OTU's assumptions about communication to make a 3D Imperium of the same dimensions would result is a very large region of space with millions of stars. While a published sandbox on that scale would be totally awesome, it wouldn't be practical to build through anything but procedurally generated content. At that point you might as well just go and play No Mans Sky or Elite: Dangerous.
You can't layer "The Imperium" on to such a structure, not the canonical at least, since the Imperium is the Imperium partly because of the structure of the 2D map. The Imperium has actual borders.

Other than that, going to a lower distribution of planets, along with a longer jump (say J1 is 3 parsecs instead of 1 parsec, or something similar) can counter the cubic complexity issue, making the differences a wash.

But trying to get the higher level Imperial dynamic in to such a sphere, is less practical. It can be inspired to be sure "Look! We have Dukes!" but the history itself is quite different.

What would the Spinward Marches volume be like?
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  #25  
Old March 9th, 2020, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by whartung View Post
You can't layer "The Imperium" on to such a structure, not the canonical at least, since the Imperium is the Imperium partly because of the structure of the 2D map. The Imperium has actual borders.

Other than that, going to a lower distribution of planets, along with a longer jump (say J1 is 3 parsecs instead of 1 parsec, or something similar) can counter the cubic complexity issue, making the differences a wash.

But trying to get the higher level Imperial dynamic in to such a sphere, is less practical. It can be inspired to be sure "Look! We have Dukes!" but the history itself is quite different.

What would the Spinward Marches volume be like?
You would have to substantially re-hash the OTU to fit it to a 3 dimensional space, which was the point of my post. Also, the cubic relationship grows, well, cubically, so it gets bigger a lot quicker than a two dimensional space. It's not just bigger, it grows at a higher rate.

Borders can exist in three dimensions, but you get back to needing CGI to visualise them. A 3 dimensional border based on power projection capability from systems (i.e. some function of jump range) would look like an agglomeration of spheres resembling Yog-Sothoth; intersections between spherical regions of influence belonging to different parties would result in lenticular regions that could be contested. If there was a system in that overlapping region then it could potentially be the subject of conflict.

Alternatively you would have to find a way to sneak a fleet into a neighbouring unihabited system and use it as a jump-off point for an attack. Keeping systems that could be used in this way patrolled to prevent this from happening would be a substantial ongoing job for the Navy.

A 40x32x40 sector would be around 50,000 cubic parsecs and a subsector around 800. For 26 systems per subsector you would have about 30 cubic parsecs per world, or an average of J3-4 between sytems. To fit the same number of worlds (about 400) into the sector, you would have about 6.5 systems per subsector, or about 1 per 120 cubic parsecs, averaging 5-7 parsecs parsecs apart.
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Last edited by nobby-w; March 9th, 2020 at 06:00 PM..
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