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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project

 
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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/13/2014 12:34:57 PM   
Osito


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Good point, fenrislokison, I hadn't thought of that.

It was actually not very time consuming to make the whole galaxy, as I was just plonking stars down rapidly. It will take more time to do the final version.

I'm wondering whether I should:

1. Go beyond 1400 stars, but that would probably require some information from Elliot about performance. Or I suppose I could test it myself. If I set up a game with a 1400 star galaxy, then add another 600 empty star systems and see whether that affects game speed.
2. Switch down to a 10x10 galaxy, so the space seems more full.
3. Perhaps better than option 2 would be to retain the 15x15 space, but make the galaxy smaller, so it only occupies, say, 12x12 sectors. In that sort of structure I could throw in some globular clusters or even a Magellanic Cloud.

Either 2 or 3 will necessitate redoing the work I've already done. Sigh! I really wish Elliot would add an undo button in the editor.

Osito

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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/14/2014 10:46:33 PM   
mensrea


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If you are not adding asteroids I wouldn't worry as much about slowdown when exceeding the 1400 star limit. With an auto generated map there are usually lots of asteroids, probably with almost the same system requirements to run each cluster as barren worlds and gas giants. Further, if you do decide to push it past that you could always offer two different maps, one with less than 1400 and another for over 1400.

The empty systems approach sounds great, too. Galaxy size is fine at 15x15.

It would be great if you would post whatever you have so far. I'm very eager to play on this map and check it out in general.


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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/14/2014 11:02:50 PM   
FingNewGuy


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Ubercool that you threw in the galactic central singularity! Despite the relative stellar sparseness alluded to previously, I would like to play the map as is at least once m'self before looking at Options #2 or #3.

Oh, and I'm sorry Osito, but I always laugh whenever I see your avatar pic- still!

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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/14/2014 11:21:16 PM   
FingNewGuy


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P.S. There is this dude at NASA who is making noises like a warp bubble drive is actually doable. If so, with your GSP, DWU would be catapulted to the status of a Galactic exploration/conquest simulator at-well-warp speed!

Bwa. Bwa-ha. Bwahahahahahahahaha!!!

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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/15/2014 3:52:59 AM   
necaradan666

 

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I'd like to play it too before you change things. But I vote to put more in, I'm sure my pc can handle it.. I wish there was a larger size map available actually, hard squeezing mod races in the normal huge size.

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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/15/2014 9:43:35 AM   
feygan

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: FingNewGuy

P.S. There is this dude at NASA who is making noises like a warp bubble drive is actually doable. If so, with your GSP, DWU would be catapulted to the status of a Galactic exploration/conquest simulator at-well-warp speed!

Bwa. Bwa-ha. Bwahahahahahahahaha!!!



It's a rehash of the Alcubierre drive that was first put forward in the 90's. They have done some more math and made it a little more efficient by changing the shape of the bubble. However it still requires a power source similar to the entire USA yearly consumption. When you consider how much it costs to just throw a tiny satellite in orbit I can't imagine anyone fronting the cash involved for a project like this. It's mind boggling just how large the craft would need to be before you even get to adding any form of life support etc.

Unless the Kepler2 project can manage to produce evidence of habitable atmospheres then any trip is no different from a blind fairground throw. However if they were to suggest it as a means to cut down travel inside the solar system it could be a viable thing. A much smaller power source could produce a far weaker bubble that may make trips to Mars and beyond something in the order of days/weeks instead of years.

Although I think this will not become practical or viable until someone cracks fusion.

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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/15/2014 1:58:54 PM   
Osito


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Ok, first, a simple question: do you prefer option 1 or option 2 in my two posts below?

Now on to some details of where I've got to:

I found a rather obvious solution to placing the bulk of stars in the right position in the galaxy: use a galaxy map as the background. Duh!

I found a rather nice artist's impression of the galaxy, which is shown in the pic at the end of this post. I am using it primarily for star positioning, but I will supply it with the map, in case anyone else wants to use it. I will also supply an annoted version of the background, naming some of the features of the galaxy, such as the spiral arms. It's at the following site, and there don't seem to be any copyright issues with supplying it with my map.

http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/images/1923-ssc2008-10a-A-Roadmap-to-the-Milky-Way

I have had some real problems with getting the scale right. Obviously I know the galaxy is about 100 kly (kilo light years) across, with the core being about 25 kly from Sol, and in my map that means each sector is about 6.25 kly square.

I found my original positioning of the stars didn't actually fit the galactic structure, so I've had to discard it. There's a fundamental conflict between showing on the map stars nearby to Sol and showing the huge scale of the entire galaxy. The basic problem is that if you want to display Alpha Centauri even remotely realistically you're limited to a playing space about 1200 light years across. That's pretty much enough to play "local space" Star Trek, but it represents only 0.15% of the galactic area (I say 'area' because we're in 2D here).

So I'm left with two solutions: option 1 is to keep stars like alpha centauri and Sirius, and fudge the distances and directions. This sounds terrible, but remember that any map representation is inevitably a fudge owing to the need to project it onto the 2D playing area.

Option 2 is to go for maximum realism, within the constraints of what the game allows. In option 2, the nearest star to Sol is Betelgeuse at around 400 light years. This also creates some difficulties. Why would a prewarp human empire scoot right past all the nearer stars and head straight for Betelgeuse? I suppose the answer to that is that the map is only representing the most important 1400 stars in the galaxy, and that Betelgeuse is considered to be the closest star of interest.

Incidentally, regarding the star numbers, I started a 15x15 game with 1400 stars, edited in a further 600 stars, then let the game run itself for 150 game years with the 2000 stars. Didn't have a problem running on my system.

Osito




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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/15/2014 2:01:18 PM   
Osito


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This is option 1. We keep the nearby stars, but the distances are completely unrealistic. For example, alpha centauri is about 4 ly from Sol, but in this map it's around 400 light years away




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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/15/2014 2:03:09 PM   
Osito


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And this is option 2. The distances are realistic (within the constraints of a 2D environment), but you miss out on well known stars like Alpha Centauri, Sirius, Barnard's Star, Vega, Castor, Pollux ... the list goes on.




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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/15/2014 2:13:05 PM   
Hannable

 

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My vote already goes to option one. I'd rather make the assumption that we're not really dealing with an entire galaxy here and instead just a small part of one. I don't think there are many computers that could handle a 100 billion star game. Plus, if you got rid of the "nearby" stars, that would pretty much trash the majority of stars that actually have real names. If Betelgeuse is the closest star available in a map with full realism, then there won't be many named stars except for those with highly artistic and imaginative names like HD25632 or something.

If 80% or more of the stars are fictional names, then having a realistic galaxy really doesn't matter because most of the stars won't be, uh, real. Know what I mean?

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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/15/2014 2:21:56 PM   
FingNewGuy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: feygan


quote:

ORIGINAL: FingNewGuy

P.S. There is this dude at NASA who is making noises like a warp bubble drive is actually doable. If so, with your GSP, DWU would be catapulted to the status of a Galactic exploration/conquest simulator at-well-warp speed!

Bwa. Bwa-ha. Bwahahahahahahahaha!!!



It's a rehash of the Alcubierre drive that was first put forward in the 90's. They have done some more math and made it a little more efficient by changing the shape of the bubble. However it still requires a power source similar to the entire USA yearly consumption. When you consider how much it costs to just throw a tiny satellite in orbit I can't imagine anyone fronting the cash involved for a project like this. It's mind boggling just how large the craft would need to be before you even get to adding any form of life support etc.

Unless the Kepler2 project can manage to produce evidence of habitable atmospheres then any trip is no different from a blind fairground throw. However if they were to suggest it as a means to cut down travel inside the solar system it could be a viable thing. A much smaller power source could produce a far weaker bubble that may make trips to Mars and beyond something in the order of days/weeks instead of years.

Although I think this will not become practical or viable until someone cracks fusion.


Thanks for the elaboration! Concerning fusion, have you been following the progress at NIF at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California? They are nowhere close yet but they are making the most serious progress in the field of anywhere I am aware of, at least in the US.

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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/15/2014 2:24:28 PM   
feygan

 

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I think option 1 works best for a couple of reasons. Firstly there are more actual named stars that are closer to us, so using option 1 means a galaxy map that feel more alive instead of lots of Gliese 581g etc. This obviously makes things easier for you too as you have a longer list of actual names to draw on, and helps with the whole immersion factor.

The other problem here is obviously scale and it seems like you are having the same problem with sectors as you had with the transition between star system scale and galactic space scale. I vote for something that generally gives a better sense of scale in the universe over trying to fit a square pegged galaxy into a round holed sector map.

Thinking about other sci-fi stuff the best thing I can draw on is Star Trek and using Voyager as an example. They end up some 70,000ly from home, in what was at the time one of the fastest most advanced vessels in known space. This still left them 75 years of travel to do. The distance involved was just over 3/4 of the diameter of the Milky way. Now I would guess that Star Trek warp 9+ has gotta be hitting the tier 6+ tech levels in DW. This would mean using this method you need 70+ years to cross a 11-12 sector map. If you compress things down to try make the 15x15 map conform to our galaxy I think a modder would have to make hyperdrives move so slowly that ships will crawl around.

Your option 1 works perfectly if we were to think of a 15x15 map as not the entire galaxy but perhaps just a quadrant of space. For me whenever I play a game with known star names I can't help but stop and look up that star to find out where I am. When I find out I have suddenly zipped across 1000's of light years in a few short days it tends to destroy immersion for me. Since the likely biggest hurdle to speed in space is going to be energy generation, if you have the technology to force a vessel to that kind of speed I then struggle to understand why even a basic handgun does not generate the energy to destroy a planet and so on. Omnipresent tech is fine provided it is in proportion with all other tech of the civilization.

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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/15/2014 2:33:41 PM   
FingNewGuy


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quote:

Ok, first, a simple question: do you prefer option 1 or option 2 in my two posts below?


My vote would be for Option 2. I am an amateur astronomer and have been closely observing the sky since a pretty early age, so the Eta Cassiopeiaes and HD25632s ARE 'real' names to me. Having said that, I naturally understand Hannable's point. I will play your map regardless of which way you go with it. And the galaxy background is a great idea as well.

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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/15/2014 2:42:40 PM   
FingNewGuy


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quote:

Your option 1 works perfectly if we were to think of a 15x15 map as not the entire galaxy but perhaps just a quadrant of space.


Not to hash too fine a point (and I am definitely NOT trying to be a pain), but "just a quadrant of space" would not exhibit the overall spiral structure of the galaxy (as in a spiral map), and would do bad things to the immersion experience, IMHO. But as I said before, ultimately I am good either way. I have just ALWAYS wanted to play an awesome 4X strategy game in Celestia! (a planetarium program)

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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/15/2014 2:44:19 PM   
Hannable

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: FingNewGuy

quote:

Ok, first, a simple question: do you prefer option 1 or option 2 in my two posts below?


My vote would be for Option 2. I am an amateur astronomer and have been closely observing the sky since a pretty early age, so the Eta Cassiopeiaes and HD25632s ARE 'real' names to me. Having said that, I naturally understand Hannable's point. I will play your map regardless of which way you go with it. And the galaxy background is a great idea as well.


Hey there, FingNewGuy ...

Yeah, astronomy was a big hobby of mine too for awhile - until light pollution wrecked it and now I live in an area that gets, on average, 75 clear nights per year, so ...

The problem with names like HD35245 or whatever is that, if those systems were actually colonized, they would most likely be given real names. Could you imagine a scene at a bar if not?

Star Pilot: "Hey babe, where you from?"
Sexy Woman: "I'm from HD446245 planet c, how 'bout you?"
Star Pilot: "I used to live right next door in HD446246 planet d! Small universe, eh? But my family and I moved back to earth because no one really understood HD446246ese, not even with Rosetta Stone verson 3.44.622.646.34233333."

---Later that night---

Star Pilot: "Hmmm ... 446245 ... was that her phone number or her home system? I gotta stop drinking Tenebria Fluid...."



_____________________________

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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/15/2014 2:50:18 PM   
FingNewGuy


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quote:

Star Pilot: "Hey babe, where you from?"
Sexy Woman: "I'm from HD446245 planet c, how 'bout you?"
Star Pilot: "I used to live right next door in HD446246 planet d! Small universe, eh? But my family and I moved back to earth because no one really understood HD446246ese, not even with Rosetta Stone verson 3.44.622.646.34233333."

---Later that night---

Star Pilot: "Hmmm ... 446245 ... was that her phone number or her home system? I gotta stop drinking Tenebria Fluid...."


ROTFLMMFAO!!!! You are totally right

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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/15/2014 2:56:24 PM   
Osito


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Feygan, are you suggesting that instead of doing an entire galaxy, I should concentrate on a smaller area of space? Most of my data is for stars within 1000 light years of Sol, so I could do a smaller playing area in which all the stars can be real stars (except for the ancient homeworlds of the game races).

In fact, that is the way I had originally intended to do the thing, until I got cocky about it. The main thing for me that goes against the smaller scale idea is that the boundary of the game is somewhat arbitrary, whereas in a 'whole galaxy' you can better rationalise the existence of a boundary at the edge of the galaxy.

Osito

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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/15/2014 3:36:12 PM   
Solarius Scorch


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Definitely option 2. I don't care about Sirius or Alpha Centauri, they're unlikely (for various reasons) to have habitable planets anyway. Plus, such a distortion would be beyond cheap.

If you actually planned to make only a part of the galaxy, sure, but it seems to not be the case.

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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/15/2014 3:44:50 PM   
feygan

 

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I think the main problem with having a map that entails the entire galaxy is how you explain away all the nearby stars being missing. IT would be fine to argue that they did not contain any usable planets and so are not included. But in DW even a barren lump of rock is usable for minerals. Combine this with the number of known planets around nearby stars, for example Alpha Centauri, and you get a sudden conflict. On one hand you are making a "realistic star map" but on the other hand throwing out real world data for the sake of technobabble.

I think it is easier to have a technobabble explanation for a boundary that is impractical to go beyond. The argument of time works well enough for this, going back to the Star Trek example crossing these kind of distances would require generational ships.

I think you are stuck with a common problem with all 4x games, almost none of them ever really take into account the real distances involved in space. Once you do things become impossible to combine as the scale of space has a bad habit of making huge jumps rather than being a linear progression. When you throw that into a game system you get one of two results.

1. You stick with a sensible scale inside star systems and use a warp point/jump gate/etc method to wave away the vastness of "space".

2. You attempt to have real time interstellar space at the expense of any sense of scale below the galactic scale.

To my knowledge only DW and Star Ruler have ever produced a system that comes close to a workable solution to number two. Even then they both suffer from the issue of how empty their own space is. We just do not have the computer power to make anything like 1% of the galaxy in a playable game without sacrificing all the fun game parts of things.

Ultimately I think you have two options as you showed in your picture, you either try to encompass the entire galaxy and sacrifice any real hope of real world immersion for gameplay. Or you make a small section of the galaxy for the sake of full immersion, and sacrifice any real hope of gameplay in a galactic wide struggle.


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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/15/2014 5:29:23 PM   
Hannable

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: feygan

I think the main problem with having a map that entails the entire galaxy is how you explain away all the nearby stars being missing. IT would be fine to argue that they did not contain any usable planets and so are not included. But in DW even a barren lump of rock is usable for minerals. Combine this with the number of known planets around nearby stars, for example Alpha Centauri, and you get a sudden conflict. On one hand you are making a "realistic star map" but on the other hand throwing out real world data for the sake of technobabble.


This is how I tend to see it, as well. Without the "familiar" stars that many of us know, this map could be a map of any galaxy - including a fictitious one (since 90% of the stars will either have numbered names or completely fictional names).

It would be like making a map of your state but leaving a 300 mile diameter circle around your hometown completely blank.

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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/15/2014 5:31:30 PM   
Hannable

 

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However, if Osito wishes to work on option 2, I can probably create an option 1 map, and have both to use.

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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/15/2014 11:55:25 PM   
Solarius Scorch


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Hannable
This is how I tend to see it, as well. Without the "familiar" stars that many of us know, this map could be a map of any galaxy - including a fictitious one (since 90% of the stars will either have numbered names or completely fictional names).

It would be like making a map of your state but leaving a 300 mile diameter circle around your hometown completely blank.


Fair point. That's why I think making just a fraction of the Milky Way would perhaps be more suitable for our needs...

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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/16/2014 12:48:45 AM   
Premislaus

 

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Option 2 sounds good and reasonable.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Osito
spitzer.caltech.edu/images/1923-ssc2008-10a-A-Roadmap-to-the-Milky-Way


This background looks very nice. You should include it in your modifications.

Another option is to make a different map, which will include only a part of the galaxy (1,400 nearest stars). For example Gould Belt or Orion Arm - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth%27s_location_in_the_universe

< Message edited by Premislaus -- 6/16/2014 1:50:20 AM >

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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/16/2014 1:59:53 AM   
FingNewGuy


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There is a map in SoTS that is supposedly a 3-D representation of the nearest stars to Earth. While cool and gives one the warm fuzzies because it has all the familiar closest stars to Earth included, all it is in effect is a cluster of stars with familiar names. An amorphous blob of stars with familiar names.Actually not that exciting to play (after the first time)- and that is 3-D. So... my point is that this is a game and I like the modding aspect of it but to be perfectly frank a 2D representation of the nearest stars with random (fictional) planetary configurations would not have a significant amount of immersion value to me.

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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/16/2014 10:20:21 AM   
feygan

 

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Not sure how far from your intended idea this is, but have you considered not sticking to a rigid spiral galaxy idea? I understand that you can't conform a spiral milky way map without suffering some form of issue be it a lack of detail or huge numbers of stars missing.

Perhaps if you were to stick with option 1 for a spiral style map, and for option 2 just design the map as a single arm or arm section? It would look very odd for most of us used to just seeing lumps of stars in most 4x games but for the realism factor it could be a viable solution.

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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/16/2014 4:11:49 PM   
ChildServices


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You could just have the ancestral homeworlds of each (other) race be surrounded with stars that're named in a way similar to how that race would name them.

You'd have to take some artistic liberty with a lot of it. That would be okay though considering several of these stars might be in places that we have no real information on, or it might be that we've simply named them "ETA 32923940209" as placeholder for when we actually end up going there and naming it something proper. I mean I seriously doubt Gliese 581 is still going to be called Gliese 581 when we start to colonise its planets.

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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/16/2014 5:26:38 PM   
ParagonExile

 

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Option 1, with a caveat;

Create a 15X15 irregular map (So the background is an undifferentiated nebula), and have the area we play in a small segment of the entire galaxy :3 If I'm not mistaken, the area the stars you intend to use are in an area/volume less than a percent of the total of the galaxy. Putting them in a spiral backdrop would ruin the immersion, and in the process the entire purpose of the mod.


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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/19/2014 8:16:14 AM   
UPUAUT

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: ParagonExile
Option 1, with a caveat;
Create a 15X15 irregular map (So the background is an undifferentiated nebula), and have the area we play in a small segment of the entire galaxy :3 If I'm not mistaken, the area the stars you intend to use are in an area/volume less than a percent of the total of the galaxy. Putting them in a spiral backdrop would ruin the immersion, and in the process the entire purpose of the mod.


+1

A sector of the galaxy would give it a more realistic look.

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RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/19/2014 1:43:43 PM   
Osito


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Thank you all for the replies. Two things have become clear: (1) there is a third option (i.e. map local space, rather than try to do the whole galaxy); and (2) it is probably impossible to provide a map that will please everyone.

It's clear that Option 2 (i.e., 'realistically; portray the whole galaxy) is the worst one. I plotted out the stars near earth and there were only a handful of really well known ones. The rest of the galaxy would either be completely invented, or would be full of 'Henry Draper' numbers or 'Gliese' numbers or whatever. So option 2 is out.

Option 3 is quite attractive, and would be particularly well suited to scenarios, such as Star Trek. However, there are still problems, not least the fact that you can only depict a 2D space, which actually makes it impossible to get right the distances between the stars. So, even with this option, there is still a compromise. Further, this option requires by far the most work: every single one of the stars would require individual positioning on the star map, with the right spectral class (a nightmare in the game editor) and individually named stars and planets and individually sized stars. To do this for over 1000 star systems will take a long time, and is very tedious. Unless Matrix addresses some of the issues raised in my post here:

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3617590

I don't think I have the stamina for his option.

That leaves option 1, i.e., a full galaxy with the distances between the stars fudged to enable well known stars systems to be depicted. This is what I have decided to deliver. I have now plotted out around 250 'real' stars in the map. Each of these stars is positioned in the correct direction from Sol (when projected on the galactic plane). Stars which are closer to Sol are positioned in the map closer to Sol.

I don't know whether the map will work. We'll see about that when I actually get to play it.

In order to complete the map 'all' that remains to do is to place the random stars around the parts of the galaxy that are remote from Sol. Below are a couple of pics showing the current state of the map.

Osito




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Post #: 59
RE: GSP: Galactic Starmap Project - 6/19/2014 1:44:33 PM   
Osito


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Another pic (edit - NB black holes are for positioning and will be deleted):




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< Message edited by Osito -- 6/19/2014 2:46:49 PM >

(in reply to Osito)
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