First Stab at a Map for Sector Six

Subject to total change...
Comments and Crit welcome!


  1. Pretty map - and there seems to be a considerable potential for alliances, double-dealing, conquest and 'trade' (a.k.a. piracy). I can't help thinking, though, about the limitations of depicting a 'demi-ronde' galaxy (such as the Via Galactica) on a two-dimensional medium.

    This has led me to wonder if it were possible to create a 'virtual' 3rd dimension as it were by 'layering' in some way.

    One possible method is a form of colour code or maybe a size code, whereby the 'nearer' stars where shown brighter or slightly larger; the farther ones slightly darker and smaller. It seems to me by this system 3 'layers' would be very practical, and it might be stretchable to 5. The centre 'layer' could be held to lie upon the galactical ecliptic.

    The distance between layers could be held to equal (approximately) some given distance along the ecliptic. Taking the above map I would suggest the distance between the outer 'layers' to be not more than half the short side of the map, and that much only if you're using 5 'layers'. Possibly a quarter only if using 3.

    The effect of this is greater flexibility in designing the political layout of the map. Stellar empires/federations/collectives or what have you can be depicted as it were partially superimposed upon each other, but travel between them is more 'through' the map than along it (You won't have stars obscuring each other of course). Stars lying close together on the map may in fact be more distant apart than others lying farther off.

    If this notion you find attractive, I suggest you try it with 3 'layers' to begin with, but do two maps. Map B will be the 'mirror image' of Map A, and would have the 'layers' reversed as well. That would give two views of the same sector of space, one from 'above' and the other from 'below'. In a multiplayer game, with one player's hegemony mainly in the 'bottom' layer, that alternate view would provide a more subjective outlook.

    I suggest a size code as easier, with asteroids, space stations, 'wormhole portals (?), T-machines (a Poul Anderson idea) being shown by other symbols.

    Just a thought... I do like the map as is, though.

  2. Clearly Ion puts far more deep thought into mapping than I do! I tend to view all space based campaigns as largely naval in scope just to keep it simple.We all know there is no up and down strictly speaking in space and everything is in 3 dimensions, but to translate that to the gaming table would be more of a (to me at least) career move than a gaming option! To my mind simplicity is best. I like your map, did you get it from a actual star map?

    1. I was actually thinking more in terms of campaigns - the actual table-top action in deep space being a problem I haven't previously thought about.

      Come to think of it, though, I do recognize the problem from thinking about how one might go about depicting aerial action such as WW1 dogfights. The 3rd dimension is conditional and limited, with a definite up and down, and with at least one well-defined boundary (the ground), and one perhaps a little less well-defined (the aircraft's ceiling).

      I seem to recall entering briefly someone else's discussion of space warfare and how it would be carried out. Contrary to some opinions, I was inclined to think that the Star Wars battles might well be 'about right' - actions taking place close to planets, and probably the inhabited ones (or other strategically important ones).

      I recall someone mentioning space action being similar to the Pacific Naval campaign of WW2: large craft (with a long range) being cognate to aircraft carriers bringing small craft (with a short range) into the action. After a bit of thought, I felt fairly sure that this would indeed be the manner in which campaigns would be carried out. Very much like the island-hopping campaign, with fleet actions being preliminary to planetary landings. Battle Stations such as the Death Star, with a planet-destroying device, would be, as depicted: an offensive weapon of mass destruction.

      Given that situation, space combat might well end up being similar to terrestrial air combat, but with a much deeper third dimension. I could expand on this, but I won't, here. A good deal of what we imagine space war to be is predicated upon the technical discoveries of super-light travel, teleportation, tractor beams, anti-gravity (and, though I've never heard of this, but think it essential for what we are talking about, anti-momentum) devices.

      Mind you - on deep space, the weaponry of vessels could be so arranged that a 'disc' formation would be the most reliably effective for defence...

  3. Archduke:
    Wow! Thanks for the in-depth response.

    To state your observation another way, and make sure we are talking the same subject: in a 3d environment the polities interface on a geometric plane as opposed to a 2d environment where the polities interface on a line. I agree, this makes a huge difference in an open map campaign and how an Admiral would maintain a solid front. I also agree with you that a 3 to 5 layer nod to a 3rd dimension is more pleasing from a realism perspective. The first consideration (strategy) is not important to me, as the galactic scale is not gamed (like Diplomacy or Axis and Allies). The map just needs to create a framework to hang our campaigns on. But I'm with you on acknowledging a Z-axis "because we should" does make sense. I think I will experiment with a small +/- exponent to start because colors define geographic areas like the Kvasir Sea or political designations like the Rhodian Outbound Dissention. Size of an individual star I think will indicate population and economic output.
    However, (sorry, on a tangent here) my map currently is a hybrid where some stars are specific locations and some stars are just groupings to abstractly delineate an area. I don't like it. I was trying to solve the problem of known/used locations and where I wanted areas undefined for narrative freedom later. I need to think on this.

    Hi Don:
    I participated in a 3d Space campaign once. I think we were in the middle of turn 3 when the referee gave up because his kids forgot who he was. :)
    The background is a random public domain space pic I grabbed off the web. The rest I put on top with paint.
    I love paint.

    Thanks guys,

  4. 'Paint' is a very handy piece of software, ain't it!?

    A couple of points. It would probably easier to layer the map more literally - using 'transparency' sheets, or possibly 'tracing paper' in layers. But even on one sheet the thing looks practical. The borders delineating the Rhodian Co-Properity and the Ophelian Imperium would be threefold, with a solid line for the close 'layer', dashed for the middle, and dotted for the farthest. Those borders need not stretch right across the galactic plane (all layers) at that.

    How do you measure distances between stars on different plane? Suppose our map depicts a pretty crowded part of the galaxy and is 16 light years across by about 28 long. We imagine (with a 3-layer thickness) that the map is 4 light years 'through' - 2 light years between layers.

    To measure the distance between Star A (ist layer, say) and Star B (2nd layer) measure the 2D distance and add 1 lightyear. This is very approximate, but a lot simpler than applying Pythagoras. The result of this system is to overestimate short distances, and underestimate long, but never by more than 1 lightyear.

    To travel between Star A and Star C (3rd layer) add 2 lightyears to the measured 2D distance between them.

    If you do try these ideas out sometime, I'd love to see how they go!

  5. I'm a bit late but cool map!

    as for the 3rd dimension perhaps this is a galactic "tube" map. which like the London underground map is not supposed to give a realistic representation of the system but rather one that is easier to understand and comprehend for our galactic tourists and commuters.

    for instance the 3rd dimension may not be shown for simplicity's sake while the location of stars is put roughly where they would be better understood by the commuters for instance looking at a tube map some stations appear really far away when in actual fact they are just at the other end of the street as with this map although stars are shown close together because of the third dimension they may be further apart.

    just my theory... a galactic tube map sounds like something out of the hitch-hikers guide to the galaxy. perhaps it is? what would the section on sector 6 be like I wonder???

  6. Right now I am of a mindset that one map cannot do all that I want. I think a "tube map" suggested by GJD to define the polities and then a coordinate map with layers ala' Archduke for precise spatial relationships will get me closer to my ill-defined goals.

    I think an HHG entry would read something like:
    A chaotic brawling sector containing a seemingly infinite number of factions in constant conflict over nothing of appreciable value. Alliances temporary, grudges eternal.
    Primary Industries: Weaponry, Bandages, Grief Counseling
    Tourist Attractions: There are always new ruins, new blasted landscapes, and picturesque refugees to tug at the heartstrings of any peace activist. Otherwise, there was a rumor that the one good restaurant in the whole place was located on K'tusk Free Station, but after a nasty boarding action last spring this publication has not been able to locate any contact info. We fear the worst.


    1. noooo not the K'tust Free Station restaurant!!!!!!!!!!

      nice little passage there.


Post a Comment