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Mapping a galaxy


2gunkid
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Howdy folks.

 

I'm tenetively going to be starting a Star Hero campaign in the near future, and I was wondering if anyone could recomend a program to use to keep track of star locations. I'd love something that lets me define x,y,z coordinates for stars and log star names and boarders of stellar nations and what-not. Any ideas?

 

 

Thanks,

James.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I don't think ProFantasy has come out with their space supplement for Campaign Cartographer yet, but I believe it's due out "soon."

 

Other than (hopefully) that program, I don't know of any other resource that makes it easy to create a three-dimensional galaxy. And believe me, I've looked around. The closest thing I've found is a paper publication, The Astrogator's Handbook, which maps out on paper all the stars within 150 LY of Earth. There are a bunch of websites that list the galactic coordinates of stars, but a lot of them require you to have an astronomy grad student's knowledge to fully and properly understand them, and none of 'em that I found have a "mapping" feature for creating your own.

 

Astronomers, for some reason, only seem interested in existing stars. They have no idea how much fun it is to just create your own. ;)

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According to the info they released on their Email Discussion List, Stellar Cartographer is being worked on but still has some polishing to do before it is ready for prime time.

 

It sounds like the time until the release date can be measured in months, not weeks, but also not in years. Profantasy is pretty good about actually releasing their products somewhat on time, and their customer service is among the best I have ever encountered. (When I was having an odd problem they actually tracked down the programmer to answer a question).

 

Short answer, if you need a program in the next month or so Steller Cartographer won't be there for you. If you need it a year from now it may well be ready.

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Guest C_Zeree

A program that I've toyed with a couple times is "It's Full of Stars" by Claus Børnich. It asks you how big you want your "sector" (in LY), how dense you want it packed, and then starts randomly placing randomly generated systems. Its full 3-D, and you can just start creating your own system instead of having them generated.

 

There is a limit on Sector SIze through. So no 100,000 LY galaxies. :( Love to own the computer that could generate that and hold such a creation though.

 

Play around, its free!

 

It's Full of Stars

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  • 3 weeks later...

Celestia

 

Try this one.

 

http://www.shatters.net/celestia

 

It uses distance/declination/right acension from Sol for coordinates, but it works great.

 

I use Fractal Terrains to generate a planet surface, polish it in Paint Shop and use NotePad to write Celestia code to create whole solar systems. You can even run the program's clock forward and backward to find out when your system's planets will eclipse each other and to help you describe the sky to your players.

 

This last bit is accomplished by placing the viewpoint 2 meters from a planet, syncing the orbit and looking around with the mouse. You can really describe some beautiful vistas to your players this way. (especially from Terrestrial planets circling Gas Giants... just lovely!)

 

I've written some TableMaster code to generate whole systems from scratch that I can just plug into Celestia... really boss...

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I was going to create a thread about this type of thing, thanks for saving me time;) . I have been thinking about starting up a kind of combination of star/super game and I wanted kind of a visual to "estimate" how far they have to travel, etc. I guess theoetically you could "piece" some of the sectors you create together to have a region of a galaxy.

 

And I agree why cant astronomers use their imaginations. They might get a date now and again:cool:

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Yeah, I was kinda planning on doing something like that. Yeah I remember in science class the mentioning of the size of the galaxy. Little too big to think about for my puny mind.:D . Yeah I was thinking of just a region, though you cant necessarily assume that every system has a planet with sentient life. The Sol system is still up for debate on the whole sentient thing:p

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Some of my more vehemently hard-SF players have been mapping our campaign universe. A habit I hope to break them of - as we are doing space opera and have magic - hard-SF is not genre.

 

But they have come up with info that may be useful to other people-

http://www.glyphweb.com/esky/default.htm?http://www.glyphweb.com/esky/concepts/spectralclassification.html

http://www.anzwers.org/free/universe/hr.html

 

Personally I'm all for drawing a point on a piece of paper after you've been to the star and writing in how long it took to get there - instead of exact lightyear distances and spectral classes...

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Hey Guys!

 

Do you think that you could get these links to these great programs put up in the "Free Stuff" section of this site? I would love to try all these things out, but my Star Hero game is some distance away, and I would hate to loose these resources because I didn't have the opportunity to start before this thread went away... I dunno how you would go about that, hopefully Ben will help...

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