Just a quick design:
Photo by NASA.
Just a quick design:
Photo by NASA.
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.
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.
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:
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”:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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?
The Artifact is a science fiction RPG designed by Emmet O’Brian. It deals with the discovery of a BDO – Big Dumb Object – an artificial world of very peculiar shape. While I never played the game (and probably never will, since I don’t really game anymore) I really like the level of detail Emmet put into the design of the setting – I guess I am a sucker for planet-building civilizations (Ringworld, Rama, Banks Orbitals, GIMME).
Anyway, Emmet has started a Kickstarter campaign (with a very modest funding goal) in order to increase the quality of the Artifact books. I’ve just backed it, and I hope the project gets funded.
For more information, visit The Artifact’s homepage.
Our solar system is an awesome place for stories and adventure, and there’s also a lot we still need to explore and discover.
In the next half-dozen installments of Plot-a-Day, I will post ideas about the various planets, moons or asteroids of the solar system. And to star this series off let’s take a look at Mars.
The red planet has fascinated mankind for thousands of years, and has been center to many a science fiction story over the past century: Martian invasions, Princesses of Mars, Ancient Canals, but also the human exploration and colonization of Mars are all subjects that resonate deeply with us. It’s a great place for all kinds of stories.
This is just beautiful to behold.
I worked on space ship design and economics yesterday. Turns out, even the very basics are utterly fascinating: How big would an interstellar spaceship be in my universe?