Building a Better Star Map III: Placing Stuff

Now that we roughly know what territory humans occupy, it’s time to start working on some actual, practical details. First I used our theoretical groundwork to set a border for the Federated Nations – my setting’s “precursor empire”, if you will. It’s a white, thick, dashed line on this map:

Interstellar Borders, Part 1
Interstellar Borders, Part 1

I then placed Empire (red), Terran Federation (dark blue), and neutral nations (lighter blue – the smaller nations). Having a number of smaller independent nations that can and will get caught up in our interstellar war makes for more interesting politics and plots.

It’s getting a bit crowded so from now on I’ll turn off the whole mess of circles. It’s time to return to detail work anyway – after all, my first version of the star map wasn’t bad – it was just too large and too off center!

Starting to transfer some planets on the spinward edge of human space, I decided to work along the former FN border – moving out just a little bit since the Free Colonies, the worlds named after Arthurian knights and of course the Sword-Worlds were always intended to be “the frontier”:

Details on the Frontier
Details on the Frontier

Looking at the map, though, I am beginning to realize I will probably have to improve the background eventually as well – it was probably not the best idea to make it so “noisy” (pixel-y). I like it, but it’s causing problems with compression. Here’s a version with a 5×5 pixel Gaussian blur applied to the blueish background:

Smooth
Smooth

Which version do you guys prefer?

Incidentally, I am working off of a bitmap export of the old star map, marking off worlds as I transfer them to avoid duplication and omission.

I do not follow any sort of “scientific” method for placing these worlds. While there are some things I could work out – for example, star forming regions would have young stars that haven’t had a chance to develop worlds, if they ever will – the amount of work that would be required is in no way justified by the benefits. So instead I simply place and will keep in mind that they are “important worlds” for when I work out detail maps.

 

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