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Re: 3D galaxy again...


...yeah I know this is belabored beyond belief; but I thought of another handwave for ya'll to use that I don't recall reading on these boards:

Planets can only form in stars with a high enough metal density. Such stars can only form in highly active regions of gas and dust. Such regions are basically rare to far north and south of the galactic plane. Even if there are worlds to visit there are too spread out even for J6 drives with extra fuel to safely visit. Thus a relatively flat galaxy in terms of viable star-hopping.

Is there a consolidated list of potential handwaves?
Yeah, but the galactic disk is still a couple of thousand lightyears thick on the vertical axis...
At the core the star 'fields' are about 5k thick. However along the disk they are only about 1k. Thick enough for a multi-sector thick 3d traveller game if you really want...even with my handwave. Just trying to help by waving all of my hands.
Yeah... I tried this thread about 1.5 month ago...

1. Take the 1000lyrs and dump the fringe because its too sparse to matter. Say we keep 75%.
2. You put parsecs centers about 5 lyrs apart (instead of 3.26) because they don't need to be exact for game terms.
Now you have an imperium 150parsecs on the Z axis or over 4 sectors thick.

Now lets make MAPS:
Well we don't have to be perfect so lets divide 3d Traveller by 3. So, you need 50 maps for a semi-realistic universe. That's over 550,000 worlds give or take a few thousand.

How many canon sectors have been mapped so far 88? 100? So based on 88 sectors we'd need to have 4,400 sectors in 50 map layers...or if we love pain 13,200 sectors in 150 map layers...

Someone suggested you'd need a computer to manage it for jump calculations but you'd need a more advanced program than Galactic to develop it properly. It would have to copy physical details of the galaxy from the main map...rifts, cultural lines, etc and replicate them.

What I looked for some time ago was a way to represent this stuff in 3D, in a manner that would allow you to see what was going on. My first thought was making a sort of map out of strings, hanging appropriate distances from the ceiling, at appropriate distances from the center point (Earth). of course, if we have anything like a realistic scale, say 1 LY per inch, or even a parsec per inch, things are going to get really crowded. And how do you represent things, like system size, star color, mainworld data...

I did get to see something similar to this. I can't rmember where it was (I wanna say Smithsonian Institute) where some one had built a model of our local neighborhood, using fiber optics. Looked really neat, but was almost impossible to tell how far apart stars were, and I had a hard time figuring out where exactly Earth was, even after having constructed an accurate map on graph paper.

This led me to searching for computer programs. I came across one that had a LOT of star in it, and you could even cruise around and through the map. However, again, it was hard to keep track of Earth if you didn't have a thing to point at it for you. Could not make it draw jump-lines.

I liked the map in Imperium; made it real easy to see what stars were close together, and wanted to do something similar - color code the jump lines for 1 parsec, 1 parsecs, and maybe 3. Not much longer than that, except to find routes across large barriers, like the galactic arms or something.

But having a 3D representation in the computer that you can cruise around in, and being able to have certain info easily visible (like world name, star color, or whatever) is a must, if you want to be able to figure out where you are. You must be careful not to overdo it too, as there are a lot of stars out there, and you don't want to have a lot of overlapping info to make things even harder to read. And, of course, a ready reference to which direction you're facing is very important. Something like a wireframe cube in the back ground to show you which way you're facing.
I know I'll probably get shot down for this, but I've been reading these discussions for some time and never put in my 2 bit, so here goes;

I don't have a soultion for making the OTU 3D, but if you want a 3D map without all of the major hassle, programs such as the afore metioned "Galatic" and "Heaven & Earth" can do it nicely. Simply generate sectors as normal, but lable them for examply "Fornast00" for the OTU plane then, lable the next "Fornast01" and so on. Then print them out and put them in a binder in sheet protectors. Determin what distance you want each layer to be (1 parsec, 2, 3....). Then let the player go through the binder. They have the systems on each plane which works like normal, they also have a known distance between planes. Since everything is in hexes, calculations are simple (unless the misjump, they can only go 6 parsecs). No this is NOT cannon, but it solves the 3D problem while still being playable with standard Traveller rules.

Take it for good it will give you.
Thanks for pointing out chview. It's a neat little proggy that I wish I could have made. It has a major problem in that the view cannot be rotated, and data entry looks like a bear. Even using the "150ly" file, a lot of stars were unlabeled on the map, and the map only went out about 20ly.

I was also unable to tell for sure which way "up" was. Was it toward the galactic center? North pole? Or was RA/Dec 0/0 straight up? I don't have handy the map I made years ago to know for sure.

It was still interesting to more easily see that Sol is stuck on a J2-island - that is, if you have J2, you cannot leave. Of course, Imperium, and I'm sure maps of Solomani Rim will show that you CAN leave, perhaps due to compressing 3D into 2D, or due to "margin of error from rounding". That is, a star is closer to the center of one hex than another, so it's moved there, when it actually needs to be on a line or something.

With a little more work toward ease of use, this could be a pretty powerful tool.

(One thing the program COULD show was that converting 3D to 2D is not terribly easy.

I was actually considering using Galactic for the multi-layered (3d) Imperium when I entered my calculations. We're still talking about a lot of sectors. And its necessary to replicate the galactic features...rifts, etc.

Chview looks like a nice product for building a limited reasonably sized (2300AD style) map of 3d space. Don't think it would as convenient reproducing 20,000 lyrs...

Originally posted by Savage:
I was actually considering using Galactic for the multi-layered (3d) Imperium when I entered my calculations. We're still talking about a lot of sectors. And its necessary to replicate the galactic features...rifts, etc.
That may be true, but with such programs, it's can be easily done without much work (from you, not the computer). I personal prefer H&E my self. Still, most of my players don't want to deal with XYZ cordination, but I have it just in case.
I'll belabor my favorite 2D theory...

Jump space is flat, extending in stacked sheets from the center of the galaxy. At the core, the sheets are very close together. Farther out, they spread, forming parabolic surfaces. At the galactic equator, the sheet is flat. To the north and south they curve gently away from each other.

The Imperium and all of it's neighbors exist on a single Jump sheet. Presumably, there are other sheets above and below, possibly with interstellar civilizations. The sheets have some thickness so that enough stars are in them (say 1 pc thick, 10 pc apart at the Imperium). Adjacent civilizations can communicate via radio veeeeery slowly. Isolationists can take a slowboat off the plane and live out their lives undisturbed by interstellar civilization.

This could be one of those things everyone knows but no one talks about because it's irrelevant, like why no one goes around talking about how the Earth is a sphere all the time.

Bolie IV
We're talking about making 5500 sectors...easily,

I took a look at H&E and I've used Galactic. It appears to be a significant amount of work...am I missing some function for automatic replication of sectors?

Bolie Williams IV,
Ok. Sounds like a nice workaround theory. The Imperium goes logical instead of physical.

Only thing I'd mention is that these sheets wouldn't stop wormhole travel points or sublight travel methods.

With the jump sheet theory, you could have the occasional sublight ship arrive from off-plane. Any reasonably high-tech civilization would have already detected the emissions from the Imperium and possibly even communicated, so the ship wouldn't be surprised to find an Imperium. If they came from a sublight only planet, then jump travel would be like magic.

Subligth travel would probably be rare, though, and wormholes are also rare, so the existence of parallel civilizations is moot to the lives of most travellers. And they provide an interesting diversion if you want to take your campaign in a totally new direction, either permanently or for a short haitus.

Bolie IV
A small thought on 3D starmaps: why have maps at all?

If I owned a starship, I think I'd want a database of star coordinates etc and route finding software that finds the fastest route from A to B, most profitable (projected) route from A to B, and so on by many and various criteria. I don't need to look at a picture, I need something more like a spreadsheet. And this would work the same way in a 2D or 3D galaxy.

Why have starmaps at all? What use are they? It seems to me that starmaps are for people sitting around gaming tables in 1978, and actual starship crews would have no truck with them. Now that personal computers are becoming somewhat ubiquitous, will RPGs really need them for much longer?
As a group activity, tables are important places for tactical and strategic placement of pizza and Mt. Dew.

seriously, 'computers' themselves as a stand-alone appliance are about to be as obsolete as rules and number-heavy source books. Smart 'paper' can be made into 'battle-mats' four our social gaming needs, taking care of rules processing, and presentation in a clean and cleanable way.

Depends on perspective. 3d maps would have to be supported by database info...then again our 2d maps have a form of text database (1978) in the starlist.

If you had a database it could still be represented in a 2d/3d drawing....

Originally posted by Savage:
Granpafishy, We're talking about making 5500 sectors...easily, right?

I took a look at H&E and I've used Galactic. It appears to be a significant amount of work...am I missing some function for automatic replication of sectors?
H&E takes about 10-15 seconds to generate a random 50% filled sector. More time for higher groupings, less for lower. There is a setting for "Rifts". Once a sector is made, save it as what ever name you want then click "Random Sector" again. If you want to move where a system is within a subsector, it takes about 3 clicks. Now I agree 5500 sectors would take a while, but do you really need them all at once? As far as the individual systems go, H&E can generate every system in a subsector of 50% fill, in about 20-30 min. Mind you, this is every detail of that system(all the planets, govs, system defence, economics, encounters, everything). If you know where your group is going, you can generate the systems that would be accessable to your players. I take a laptop with me and generate them as needed.

The problem with not having any maps is the players can't take a look at them and think: 'Damn that's a long ways away' or 'We should go to System X before headint to System Y because it'll save us 3 parsecs'

I know having a program do this for you would be neat, and if somebody has one tell me where so I can get it. But the gravity of a distance is lost on the players. It's like the difference between this:

1) You tell your players: 'You see a large lizard, approx. 40 feet tall, standing upright on two large legs with a long tail behind it. You pay particular attention to its teeth'

2) You SHOW your players a conceptual drawing/photo from Jurassic Park/whatever of a T-Rex, with a human in the picture for scale.

Having a map to look at is important, because it lets you know at once not only how far away a particular system/sector is, but also what else is around you, at a glance.
Well, I've played with H&E extensively now. Seems to break when I try to do sectors. Not sure why. Otherwise, its necessary to go lite or use a laptop
I tried printing off a system once....just once.

Still doesn't have an automated loop for doing multiple sectors and allow you to mapout what is located in each (rift, dense, ...).