Category Archives: Voyagers

Somnium

The setting formerly known as “Voyagers” now has an official name.

I spent a long, long time debating this (and I am sure I really got on the nerves of the few people I bothered with the big naming question) before settling on “Somnium”.

Somnium is Latin for “The Dream” – appropriate for a science fiction setting that deals with the – probably overly optimistic – assumption that we will discover an FTL drive and colonize the galaxy.

It was also the title of a book written by Johannes Kepler (yes, the Kepler) which describes a voyage to the moon. Written in the 1600s, the book is more of a fantasy story from our modern point of view – but it was meant as a serious work, and ultimately could be described as one of the first works of Science Fiction.

It will likely be next to impossible to get a good domain name (and so on) for Somnium – I already checked – but the situation isn’t much better with anything else I came up with. And quite honestly I am getting tired of referring to it as “My Science Fiction Universe”. 🙂

More on NaGa DeMon:

Here we are – NaGa DeMon Day 3. The entire thing is still unsuitable for actual use, but a picture of where we’re going is slowly emerging.

I spent way too much time today on other things (I will shamefully admit to finally getting that last level for my World of Warcraft character; which took about six hours) and thus started fairly late. I’ve probably worked 3-4h on this today, and I will continue working after I post this – but since Nov 3rd is over, I thought I should post today’s update.

I do think I found a “method” that works for me – it’s a combination of brainstorming and patching in bits and pieces one by one and in a decidedly non-linear fashion. I expect that I will end up with a collection of rules that “kinda work”, but do not mesh perfectly; balancing and fine tuning is a second step, to be done later.

Today’s file:

More on NaGa DeMon:

I’ve started slowly, mostly because I had other things to do.

Most of my time spent, so far, has been on research – I already had some notes, and I haven’t incorporated everything in this very basic first document either, but anyway, it’s a start.

I’ve decided that I will upload the state of my document every time I post a status update to my blog. I encourage you to download it and very much would welcome feedback, but don’t expect anything “usable” for a while.

See also:

 

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.

 

Building a Better Star Map II: The Leapfrog Effect

In my last post I began to improve the consistency of my star map. I will continue with that effort – and today I will attempt to figure out just how much “project leapfrog” might affect the expansion of human space.

Project Leapfrog was a project the Federated Nations ran in the late 23rd Century – building vast colony ships that were then sent off to “leap ahead” of the regular exploration and colonization.

Just as a basis, this is what I worked out so far.

Guesstimating a future frontline
Guesstimating a future frontline

Leapfrog 2, “Francis Drake”, founded Eureka in 2308 and was “discovered” in 2390.

We do not have fixed locations for the other two Leapfrogs, nor dates they were contacted by the explorers and colonists that followed them. I did place them on the original map, of course, but for the purpose of improving the map I can easily shift them around.

Continue reading “Building a Better Star Map II: The Leapfrog Effect” »

Building a Better Star Map

I like my star map – but I recognize it’s not “perfect”. For one thing, since Earth is off-center and then the entire development of human space is kind of biased towards Trailing (where the Empire expanded), human space occupies the center and right part of the map, leaving the left part empty. The reason is simple – it wasn’t planned out when I started to build it.

So I thought I’d do a draft of what human space “should” look like. I’ll take the written history as a basis – but I will fix what needs fixing.

Some data points:

  1. The first FTL mission was in 2174, to Alpha Centauri
  2. Hyperdrive speeds continually improved over the course of the history of the Federated Nations
  3. “Leapfrog 2”, launched in 2278, founded Eureka in 2308, circa 1100 light-years towards Center and Spinward.
  4. Regular explorers from the FN arrived at Eureka in 2390 – meaning that human space had expanded less than 1100 light years by 2390; let’s say 1000 light years maximum.

Do note that the galactic disc is “only” about 1000 light-years thick. At this point, it’s safe to assume that human space covers the disc’s entire width in at least the center 500ly radius.

Human Space in 2380AD
Human Space in 2380AD

Ignore the second set of circles “south east” of Earth – I added them just to have a second set, roughly in the direction of Empire.

In 2547, the System States Alliance secedes from the Federated Nations. They are located on the “outer Rimward fringe” of human space. But how big is human space 160 years later?

Continue reading “Building a Better Star Map” »

Home for Christmas

I know it’s a bit early, but if the supermarkets can carry Christmas candy by late September, I can use it as the tagline for another “vintage” travel poster:

I tried to create an “Earth by night” look for the shadow (night) side of Earth. I think it looks fairly decent, although it’s not perfect. The sun’s reflection needs some perspective work (I couldn’t fix it) – think that would help a lot.

Other works in this “series”: