Third Imperium fanzine

A very preliminary secret project is ready to see the light. Head over to:


(Short summary: trying to get copies of an awesome Traveller fanzine from the 1980's available online.)

UPDATE: The project is complete as of 2007-01-11, with all issues and supplements available for download. Thanks to all of the contributors! Ω


Waroatahe... anyone?

I finally picked up a copy of Alien Realms (one of the last Classic Traveller publications by GDW) for a not too hideous price on eBay, and lo and behold it has a map!

Okay, it's a tiny little map, 8 parsecs by 6 parsecs. But it's of the Waroatahe sector deep in the Aslan Heirate. Cool! It even has tidbits (not UWPs) of several worlds:
  • Eauahkusoilr
  • Ra'akhtaisaaoeah
  • Ewew
  • Aihuarouea
  • Hlaiheih
  • Suisahruistalal
  • Eaausaarai
  • Haiftakh (on the map, but no details)
Interestingly, none of these show up in Google, although several links to Waroatahe data do. The version my map has was "...created from the dot-plot in Solomani & Aslan by jaymin@maths.tcd.ie"

Has anyone taken a stab at reconciling the dotmap with the Alien Realms map? I'm not seeing anything that matches. Ω


Vargr Allegiances and Rimward States

Done! I've now generated borders for every sector. Of course, some still need tweaking... but I think I'll take a break now.

Most recent changes:
  • Added borders for: Ohieraoi, Fahreahluis, Hfiywitir, Irlaftalea, Teahloarifu, Ahkiweahi', Iyiyukhtoi', Banners, Hanstone, Malorn, Hadji
  • Added allegiance codes from Vilani and Vargr
  • Show labels for regions even if they're standard allegiances (e.g. "Im", "Zh", etc)
  • Added labels for J-4 and J-5 rift spanning routes (micro-scale)
  • Added allegiance code for Regency of Muirimi (Theron and Iphigenaia)
  • Corrected allegiances of Eha and Yuhoahtiyol (Hanstone Sector) to match Solomani and Aslan
Oh, and I wanted to share this quote about the Julian Protectorate:

"The borders of the Julian Protectorate are not easy to define..." - Michael R. Mikesh, Challenge #49

No kidding!

Take a peek at how I did it, and let me know what you think. Ω


Vargr Extents - Borderific!

No hyperlinks today - find your own damn sectors!

Borders for:
  • Vargr Extents: Khoellighz, Dhuerorrg, Ngathksirz, Fa Dzaets, Gzaefueg, Gvurrdon, Tuglikki, Provence, Windhorn, Meshan, Rzakki, Listanaya, Ksinanirz, Zao Kfeng Ig Grilokh, Knaeleng, Kharrthon, Oeghz Vaerrghr, Kfazz Ghik
  • Gashikan Empire: Gashikan, Trenchan
  • Julian Protectorate: Mendan, Amdukan, Ingukrax (Arzul), Antares, Empty Quarter, Star's End
  • Vargr Enclaves: Ktiin'gzat, Mugheen't
  • Zhodani Consulate: Zhodane
  • Spinward States: Fulani, Theron, Iphigenaia, Touchstone
Um... I think that leaves a few things scattered rimward of the Aslan Hierate. I do need to still transcribe the actual allegiances for a lot of these, though.

Parser changes (i.e. look for corrected allegiances):
  • Force PBG to be digits (0-9, 0-F, 0-F) to avoid matching stellar data "G5V DM" as PGB/Allegiance
  • Tweaked regex to match "JP/" prefix on allegiances (Julian Protectorate)
  • "olive" back to "olivedrab" (used for Vargr regions)


Data Cleanup and K'kree/Hiver borders

A few more borders in Hiver and K'kree space:

...and then some data cleanup that I realized was necessary when I got there!

I noticed in some of the “outlying” sectors (i.e. non GEnie data) that the UWP parser was misinterpreting some worlds (e.g. thinking the PBG was a trade code, the allegiance was PBG, and the stellar data was the allegiance) or missing some worlds entirely. This is because when I started I used a very loose pattern matching system to try and incorporate lots of different data sets without editing the sector data itself. This turns out to be intractable, so I’ve given up and tweaked the data in some sectors to be a little less quirky, and tightened up the parser. The site should also be marginally faster in loading data (i.e. if no-one has viewed a region in a few seconds).

It's possible that a few worlds have now suddenly popped into existence elsewhere. If you notice borders that are shy a few parsecs of a world, let me know!

Data tweaks:

While I was there, I wrote some tools to validate the data and corrected some simple typos or missing digits in other sectors:



How is the metadata coming?

I made a tweak to the renderer to use the "micro-scale" borders at macro-scale to create the above picture, which shows how many borders have been generated so far. My goal is to switch to using the generated borders (sufficiently smoothed and merged with hand-drawn borders) at some point. They'll stay red at the large scale.

I'm actually farther along that it looks - very little of the Hive Federation or 2000 Worlds has been mapped out. There are a few more sectors in the Spinward and Trailing client states that need border generation, and of course the Vargr Extents. Ω


The Lion, the Routes and the Borders

Well, maybe not the routes. But the Aslan borders are now complete (ish).

And since there were only a few, I generated Hive Federation borders for Phlask, Lorspane, and Drakken (sectors by Bari Z. Stafford, Sr.)

I also noticed and fixed a PBG glitch for for Hfualael - a "Solomani and Aslan Dotmap Reconstruction" world which had a (had a bogus G caused by an overflow in the ancient C code generator program)



Zhodani Borders - Done! (I think)

A few quickie routes and borders:
Apart from a few rough edges I think that brings the Zhodani Consulate borders to completion - not counting the Core Route, of course. Ω


Mnemosyne Principality

Quick edit for tonight - I've switched to "Mn" for the Mnemosyne Principality allegiance code in Far Frontiers - Dale's manuscript predates two letter codes, so I decided to follow BeRKA's lead.

While I was there, I made sure the borders lined up. I waffled on this - Dale's manuscript actually has closed borders for the Principality, unlike the Trelyn Domain which clearly extended outside of the sector. In the end, I decided to go with merged borders with Foreven.

If I ever had to waffle back the other way, I'd explain that the Principality is divided into two administrative provinces with a division along the sector boundaries. Or something.

(Some day I'll have to tackle the Julian Protectorate. That's going to be a lot less fun.) Ω


1100, here we come!

I'm much more of a fan of the Classic Traveller era (1100) than the earlier or later eras, and I'm attempting to have the map match that. To that end, I've "rolled back" the Trojan Reach and Reft sectors to match the Atlas of the Imperium allegiances. The data remains the same - based on DGP's Travellers' Digest #20.

I've also done a handful of additional border generations and route reconstitutions (from existing data). Here's the full list of changes;
  • Foreven: Added routes, allegiances and borders
  • Spinward Marches: Tweaked an outsector route from 2140, outsector border
  • Vanguard Reaches: Added subsectors, allegiances and borders
  • The Beyond: Added allegiances, routes and borders
  • Trojan Reach and Reft: Added 1100-era data, borders and routes
  • Far Frontiers: Border tweaks to align with Vanguard Reaches, Krobob allegiance corrected to Zh, Sorens added based on Trail of the Sky Raiders, corrected location of Afellahlah, Sorens allegiance corrected to Td
  • Poster.aspx: Show friendly error if no matching sector
  • MSEC.aspx: Show friendly error if no matching sector
  • MSEC.aspx: Group output by allegiance
Any requests for sectors to tackle next? Ω


It's been a while...

A smattering of updates I wanted to put on the live site. Nothing too fancy. So, in no particular order...

Classic-era xboat routes for the Diaspora sector have been added, c/o Mark "Geo" Gelinas, Sr. from his Geo-verse site. These were originally printed in the Terra Traveller TIMES, Issue #27 - Mark has done an awesome job in putting issues of his fanzine on-line to keep the data alive. Mark was the HIWG sector editor for Diaspora and went on to help create the Astrogator's Guide to the Diaspora Sector for GDW. The Astrogator's Guide only has Rebellion-era maps and hence no xboat routes. Yay - this fills a hole... and it's semi-official to boot!

I've added client side imagemaps for the mobile map. Clicking in the middle of the map zooms in. Clicking towards an edge scrolls. Probably not useful on phones, but great on a Pocket PC.

I've made additional corrections to the borders and worlds in Far Frontiers, including correct Zhodani Consulate borders.

Small government labels can be placed a little more sensibly now. Right now this has only been done for Far Frontiers, but I can manually place government names now instead of auto-generating them in the center of a polity. I may get around to manually placing more in the future.

Speaking of metadata, the MSEC generation now produces labels - either the auto-generated ones or manually placed ones.

I've snuck in an easter egg (does it count if I write about it?) - double-click the Traveller logo to hide it and get a little more vertical room for the map.

Behind the scenes, I've refactored a lot of the rendering code to separate out the rendering styles (e.g. what colors and fonts to use) from the rendering logic (e.g. for each world in a sector...). There should be no visible change, but this will make it easier to add different rendering styles and tweak the visual appearance in some cases (e.g. show hexes instead of boxes at 32 pixels/parsec). I'm still not finished with the code but I don't think I broke anything. If you see anything odd, let me know. Ω


Solomani Borders

After a hiatus while moving my family down to San Francisco and lots of unpacking, I have cycles to do a little more work on the map now.

Now that I have my copy of Supplement 10 unpacked I've tackled borders for the Solomani Confederation, passing through the Solomani Rim, Alpha Crucis, Old Expanses, Spica, Langere (hello, Hivers!), Neworld, Aldebaran, Canopus, Ustral Quadrant, Dark Nebula, Reaver's Deep, Daibei and Magyar. I still need to tweak Daibei a bit.

For Aslan/Solomani and Solomani/Hiver borders I followed the conventions of Supplement 10 - the polities claim empty hexes between border worlds. This makes for more attractive borders, but at the expense of hand-tweaking.

Speaking of hand-tweaking (or wanting to avoid it), I've been playing with a different algorithm for allygen. Instead of starting with worlds within an allegiance and expanding outwards (which creates blobby regions of empty hexes), it starts big and contracts each region, snipping off "bad" hexes - empty hexes with three empty neighbors, and breaking up straight spans of 4 empty hexes, repeating until a minimal border is achieved. This yeilds very natural looking results. I'll publish a page on the algorithm soon.

For those sec2pdf fans out there I've added an MSEC generator - browse to http://www.travellermap.com/MSEC.aspx?sector=Solomani%20Rim and it'll spit out a rough .msec file for the specified sector based on my data. I haven't tested the result, yet, and it could use more work - e.g. grouping based on allegiance, etc. Ω


Far Frontiers! Borders! And more!

I've been working on a bunch of different pieces, some of which are "close enough" to roll out, others need additional work. But I need to get things out for users to try out and comment on, so here's an intermediate step.

Far Frontiers Sector

Before FASA lost its license to publish Traveller material, Dale Kemper was working on a manuscript for a supplement for the Far Frontiers, the setting for most of the FASA adventures like the Sky Raiders trilogy, Ordeal by Eshaar, etc. Didn't know that's where they took place? That's 'cause the supplement never came out! Parts were published in Ares magazine and somewhat more in the Traveller Chronicle, but those are hard to come by.

Dale has recently started selling copies of the manuscript on eBay (seller id: sbgames999) and I picked one up. Nice stuff, and it’s a shame it never saw the light of day. I asked Dale if I could include his Far Frontiers work in the map site, and he agreed!

(Note: Dale's manuscript covers just the lower half of the sector - the top half is mostly Zhodani space. For now I’ve just left the top half of the sector empty. Also note that the data is slightly inconsistent with other publications – Traveller Chronicle, Trail of the Sky Raiders, etc. – I’ve left it as close to Dale’s original manuscript as possible, rather than incorporating other sources or corrections. Those may come later.)


At long last (and thanks to pioneering work by J Greely over at http://dotclue.org/t20) accurate micro-scale borders are starting to see the light of day! Zoom in to 16 pixels/parsec or lower and the hand-drawn borders will disappear and (if you’re in the right place, e.g. near the Domain of Deneb or Gateway Domain) you’ll see hex-level borders. Yay!

Now for the down sides:

  • The border generation is not complete. Although J Greely’s allygen is an amazing tool, it does only a single sector. Rather than modifying it to handle multiple sectors I’ve been adding outsector hex runs by hand. (And if that sentence made sense to you, please volunteer to help!) So it’s been slow – about 20 minutes per sector.
  • Most of my resources are in storage – all of the DGP Travellers’ Digest issues I paid far too much for on eBay and classic sources are unavailable to me right now, so I have to go on guesswork and automated border generation.

But worst of all: the map is now a hideous amalgam of different eras:

  • Some of the data files are Rebellion-era (1120 or so)
  • Some of the data files are Classic-era (1100)
  • Some of the data files are Gateway-era (M1000)
  • Routes are whatever I could find, so mostly a mix of CT and RT
  • Borders are based off of the data for the sector at hand

Data files from different eras aren’t immediately obvious – you have to drill in and notice that the Vargr really made a dent in Deneb but hardly touched Corridor! Even Routes are usually not obvious, unless there’s a gap. But mismatching borders stick out like sore thumbs. Bleah.


Someone on COTI mentioned that he stitched together the tiles for the whole Spinward Marches by doing screenshots of the site. Ouch! To prevent that necessity in the future, you can now ask for a render of a sector in one shot. Just do:


You’ll get a GIF of the whole thing at 64 pixels/parsec resolution. Change the sector name (replace spaces with %20 or +) or tack on &options=nnnn – use a permalink in the main map to figure out the combination you like. I like 833, which turns off the subsector names.

Other changes

  • Added xboat routes for the Corridor sector from the map in FFE04 The Short Adventures - the Memory Alpha adventure reconstruction includes the routes on a hex grid of the sector (circa 1111), in addition to the Atlas of the Imperium sector copy - w00t! The Imperial xboat network now actually connects the Spinward Marches to the core!
  • Since I was dorking around with Corridor, I used the data from FFE04 to "regress" the sector to the classic era. This makes the borders mismatch (especially with Deneb) but my goal for the map is Classic Era (or Second Survey) so I actually want the DoD connected!
  • In Firefox/Safari/Opera, when dragging the map, you can now drag with the mouse over the non-map parts of the page and the mouse won't freeze. Just stay inside the page itself - there appears to a bug (feature?) afflicting all W3C event model browsers such that they stop giving you mouse events outside the page, if you started the drag over an image.
  • I moved the Map Style options to the top, and slightly compressed the control options, to give more room for search results.


Bugfix: Oh, sectors are *forty* hexes tall?

Sharp-eyed user "alx alx" noticed that a search for "Herod" wasn't finding Hinterworlds 1940. I was out of town so I couldn't look at the code, but I played around and discovered that no worlds in the xx40's were being found by a search!

Turns out to be a simple off-by-one error in the enumerator code - I had a "y < 40" where there should have been a "y <= 40". Fixed! Ω


Atlas Permalink Bugfix

The new Atlas option was being saved to Permalinks and was respected in the map, but wasn't being properly respected in the map frame. That's fixed now. Ω


Add a map to your site!

I was browsing the Great TML Landgrab site and lamented the fact that many of the grabbee sites don't have maps showing where the systems are.

Now there's no excuse - just add the following line of HTML to your page, adjust the coordinates, and you've got a full fidelity map:

<iframe src="http://www.travellermap.com/iframe.htm?x=-95.914&y=70.5&scale=64&options=887" style="width: 200px; height: 200px; border: solid 1px black;"></iframe>

Note that it looks like a Permalink from the site, but with one subtle difference: "/iframe.htm" is specified rather than just the default page ("/"). This is a version of the map with no UI, specifically for embedding.

You can get the x/y by finding the system on my map site and using the "Permalink" feature in the footer - click it and it will give you the full permament URL of what you've got centered. Then copy/paste into the URL above - remembering to change the URL to include "iframe.htm"

You'll get something like this:

Note that it's a fully functional map - you can drag with the mouse and zoom by using the mouse wheel or double-clicking (hold Alt to zoom out).

Go wild!

Edited 2007-03-19 to call attention to the "iframe.htm" part of the URL necessary for embedding. Ω


How did you do that?

The map works the same way (I assume - I don't know for sure) as the latest generation of commercial map sites - Windows Live Local , Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, etc. Which is...

There are two parts: an HTML page and a special Web server application.

There's an HTML page with script in it. The page keeps track of three things: where your view is centered (in my case, astrographic coordinates), what your zoom level is (pixels/parsec) and what view options you have selected (coded into a binary number). When the page loads it runs a simple subroutine that tries to answer the question: "gosh, what should the user see here?"

This subroutine first figures out how big the window frame is, then breaks it down into 256x256 pixel "tiles", and then figures out specifically which tiles it needs to fill the frame based on where the user is looking.

Here's an example tile URL:


(For historical reasons the x/y values are actually scaled by the zoom level, so if you change the zoom level your point of focus will change. Strictly speaking, the x and y are in screen space rather than world space, but it's all just a transform away.)

The HTML page then just says "add a tile image at this URL to the page at this position" - in HTML parlance, it just creates a new IMG element with a SRC like the above and and uses STYLE to position it. It does this until the window frame is full. Drag/scrolling is actually pretty easy - the page captures mouse events and when the mouse drags, say, 10 pixels to the left, it simply offsets the HTML element which contains all of the tiles by 10 pixels to the left. And then (here's the magic bit) it simply runs the whole logic all over again - "gosh, what should the user see here?" which determines if any new tiles need to get loaded around the edges. Any time you change options the same thing happens - it just throws away the images you're looking at and figures out which tiles to ask for.

That leaves the server side. In this case it's an ASP.NET 2.0 web application on IIS6, but you could do the same thing with pretty much any server. The nice thing about ASP.NET is that you get GDI+ (a high fidelity graphics subsystem of Windows) available easily, but again there are equivalents for PHP if you were doing this on Apache.

The web app handles the incoming request for a tile URL (like the above), creates a temporary image in memory, and falls into a big rendering routine. Based on the zoom level, it figures out what to draw - from the whole galaxy to borders and rifts to routes and dot-maps to hexes and systems. Based on that, it figures out which data files to load (from a cache) and it either loads XML vector shapes which define the borders/rifts, a big XML file which defines which sectors are where and the metadata, or (at a low level) the standard .SEC files. It figures out what subset of that should be drawn in the current tile and draws it. (The way modern graphics systems work, you can draw "sloppily" outside the bounds of a box and it'll get clipped. This is convenient - I just draw everything "close" to a tile, and the right stuff shows up.)

Then the server takes the image in memory, converts it to a GIF, and returns it to the Web browser. Rinse and repeat.

Make sense? Ω


New Features: Options, Styles, and Eggs

While moving to the new host I snuck in a few more features:
  • Simplified options - there's really no need for the "minor borders" and "minor names" label options, and it just made the page harder to use.
  • New rendering style - toggle the Poster and Atlas radio buttons at the top to see the map in the "Imperium Map"/"Spinward Marches" Poster-style (color-on-black) or the Atlas/LBB style (black-on-white).
  • One new easter egg added: type "(Arrival Vengeance)" (with parenthesis, but no quotes) into the Search box and you can retrace the last epic journey before night fell on the remnants of the Third Imperium. (And see some glaring examples of sector data issues.)

I haven't tested the map in Opera or Safari for a bit, so please report any issues encountered.

[Update: January 25th, 2008]

D'oh... I'd spelled "Vengeance" as "Vengance". Fixed in the blog and on the site.



The Traveller Map has a new home:


This should be a little easier to remember! Note that it may take a few days for this new domain to propagate across the 'net. If it doesn't work for you, try again in a day or two. Once it's been up for a bit I'll decomission the original site. Ω


I'm back, and a few suggestions

While I was away, Roger Carden sent in a couple of suggestions that I thought I'd share, just so everyone can see what I think.

1) Set it up so that you can select a time period, so you can see what known space looked like in the Interstellar Wars era (GURPS Traveller: Interstellar Wars), the "Milieu 0" era (Traveller 4th Ed), 1100 era (Classic Traveller), Session Era (Mega Traveller) or the new era (The New Era).
I'd love to do this. Right now, though, finding enough data for a single era is tricky! However, some day this may be possible with judicious use of collapsing/advancing algorithms. I'd also need to finish the "produce decent borders" work.

2) How about an additional feature when you double click on a system, to create a pop up with the full planetary profile from Book 6 Scouts?
In my "started but not finished" pile is a feature that would show you the credits for a sector/subsector/world when you hovered over it or zoomed in. This could easily be extended to show the UWP. If you zoom in far enough I'd love to show the whole system.

One of my favorite sites is Extrasolar Visions, and these pages are inspirational:


The former shows comparisons of known stellar systems. When I was first playing Traveller in the early 1980s I read books full of this sort of diagram. (See Worlds of the Federation for an example.) This was pure science fiction. It's astoundingly cool that this is now solid science. Ω


Offline for a bit (me, not the map)

I'm on vacation through April and won't have reliable 'net connectivity. Enjoy it while I'm gone, but don't expect any changes! Ω


Core Route - Literally

I'm playing with sorting out allegiances at the moment and there's nothing to see yet. But along the way I reviewed the Clifford Linehan's Zhodani Core Route data which I'd previously incorporated. And of course he actually charted out the routes in Galactic. So I rejiggered my SAR-to-SEC+XML converter and now I have the core route in it's full glorious detail. Ω


Routes: Massilia, Antares and Fornast

Jeff Zeitlin's work on the Antares and Fornast sectors has been incorporated, at least as far as routes go. Massilia routes are from TD #11.

So as far as routes go, things are getting pretty complete. A little bird told me that someone is doing development in the Gushemege/Dagudashaag/Ilelish/Zarushagar areas, so maybe those will be pieced in soon. Really, that just leaves Delphi, Diaspora and Verge as 3I sectors without routes.

Of course, then there's actually making the routes make sense and/or line up. Ω


Atlas Rendering

I finally got around to doing something I'd intended from the start - Atlas-scale rendering.

The styles at the various scales are roughly:
  • 2 px/pc - Imperium poster
  • 4 px/pc - Large scale dotmap
  • 8 px/pc - Domains
  • 16 px/pc - Sectors / Travellers' Digest-style route maps
  • 32 px/pc - Atlas of the Imperium-style
  • 64 px/pc - Supplement-style (Spinward Marches poster, specifically)

Before today I simply had world glyphs (belt/water/no water) and HiPop names for 32 px/pc. Now it renders: starports, bases, gas giants and allegiances. This scale suddenly becomes much more attractive to work with.



Old Expanses and Daibei

Routes are up for Daibei (TD #15) and Old Expanses (TD #12). The Old Expanses routes are derived from FASA's work in High Passage and other early sources - they're pretty... um... busy. Picture little xboats hopping around like jumping beans. Ω


Lots of little things

I've trickled in a lot of things since the last update. Some have been live for a while, others just went in tonight.

  • Updated the UX of the mobile page - you can search, but there's a new "jump" button that's like Google's "I Feel Lucky" - it takes you to the nearest matching world, without bothering to show you search results. Saves a few round trips... if you don't misjump!

I grovelled through HIWG sources at the MU Archive for a few things:

  • Subsectors for Gvurrdon by Roger Myhre
  • Subsector names for K'kree and Hiver homeworlds/capitals

I updated the following sector data files to match the GEnie/Sunbane data, which matches DGP and GDW data more accurately:

  • Core (TD #8, #9, #10)
  • Corridor (TD #18)
  • Deneb (MTJ #3)
  • Ealiyasiyw (TD #18)
  • Hinterworlds (CH #39)
  • Mendan (CH #49)
  • Reft (MTJ #3)
  • Riftspan Reaches (TD #19)
  • Trojan Reach (MTJ #3)
  • Zarushagar (TD #21)

And finally, added routes for:

  • Core (TD #9)
  • Old Expanses (partial, High Passage #3 & #4)

I have Travellers' Digest #12 and #15 inbound, which almost completes the Grand Tour xboat routes, with Old Expanses and Daibei respectively. That just leaves Massilia in #11. So close!

But one last treat - I decided to AJAXify the page a little bit more. Instead of embedding the initial search results, I now query them from the server. There's a special search term "(default)" that will return them. Now give "(grand tour)" a try.

Any other suggestions?



Real Atlas of Space

I've always liked this Atlas of the Universe site. It's fun to compare the Traveller Universe's take on the Orion Arm with something a little more realistic.

(Note that in the case of the Traveller map, coreward is up; in the other, coreward is down.) Ω


Mobile maps - not just a joke any more!

I added two features to the mobile map page.

The first is simple - it now remembers your map size preference using a cookie, so if you visit on a PDA you can select the size you want and it'll remember. (If you have cookies disabled it should just remember within the session, but I haven't actually tested it.)

The second is actually useful - search! This is handy when you have a PDA at your disposal but not a full desktop computer and want to check on something. For example, I'm reading Gateway to the Stars (a Traveller novel) right now and I wanted to see if places they referenced were on the map. (They aren't.)

The UX is a little clunky. Suggestions? Split it into two pages? Put search results at the top? Ω


Empty Quarter (literally)

Thanks to Jason "Flynn" Kemp I have much more reasonable data for the Empty Quarter sector - the old "Sunbane" data was based off of the Atlas but didn't have credits associated with it. Worst case with the new data: we know who to blame. Fortunately, it's excellent, so I don't think we have any worries. And thanks to his excellent fanzine Stellar Reaches, I also have xboat routes - at least, for three of the four quadrants so far. (Hence the title.)

I've also added subsector names for the Old Expanses sector from High Passage #3. Four different names were published in Challenge #39 along the edges of the Hinterworlds maps, but the Old Expanses data matches the 3 subsectors I have from High Passage #3 and #4, so I figured I might as well keep the same data source for the sector.

I can still glean some routes from those 3 subsectors, but otherwise - ulp! - I'm dry. I really need Travellers' Digest #11 (Massilia), #12 (rest of Old Expanses) and #15 (Daibei) to fill in the big missing chunks in the Grand Tour data. #8 and #9 would also be nice to round out Core.

Anyone want to help? Ω


Ealiyasiyw, Corridor, and more

Yay - Travellers' Digest #10 and #18 arrived, along with The Early Adventures, which has the important bits from issues #1-4.

Travellers' Digest #18 gives us Ealiyasiyw, which bridges the gap between Reaver's Deep and Riftspan Reaches. If you squint, you can almost see the fastest route to run away from the rats and (most importantly) the cats back to Mora.

Corridor is somewhat filled in by both #18 and #3. #18 gives the full sector, but its circa Year 1119, and the Vargr incursions have swept through most of the spinward parts of the sector. This cuts off the Domain of Deneb - by severing the xboat routes! Since my map is nominally CT (Year 1112) this sucks. However, #3 gives us a Year 1101 map of subsector E, which at least lets us fill in the edge against Deneb.

Issue #10 gives us the subsector names for Core as well as subsectors M (Cadion) and K (Chant), so those have routes now. Don't look too closely at the worlds, though. As Robert Eaglestone points out the data I have isn't great - it's the M0 data from T4 which doesn't match DGP's data - which only covered a few subsectors anyway. We're trying to reconcile the data.

Up next: The Empty Quarter, c/o Jason "Flynn" Kemp and Stellar Reaches. And possibly parts of The Old Expanses from High Passage. Ω


Hinterworlds and Next Steps

That's it - I'm dry. I added Hinterworlds routes from Challenge #39. Note that if you look at the maps in that resource, you'll find there are two distinct sets of routes - the large "trade runs" that span the sector shown on the full sector map, and smaller communication (?) routes in the subsector maps. I went with the communication ... but I'm still pondering the decision.

(As an aside: the sector map is really poorly put together, which is surprising given who worked on it and who published it. I'll write that off to a bad month.)

I (hopefully) have Travellers' Digest #10 and #18 inbound, which means bits of Core and all of Corridor and Ealiyasiyw's routes should be in soon - assuming my favorite source is correct.

So what's next?

I'm thinking I'll spin up a quick web service and have the page ping it when you scroll (after a short delay, of course). It'll pull the credits for whatever is centered - subsector names, world data, route data, dates, etc - and display it as an overlay in the corner of a map. Ω


Dangling Routes

BeRKA asked in a what I thought about the issue of dangling routes - routes depicted as leading from a sector to a neighboring sector, but with no appropriate target in the accepted data for the target sector. One option is to treat certain maps (e.g. Spinward Marches) as canonical down to the angle of the departing route and try and fix the data in the target sector. Another is to fix the angle of the departing route so that it lands on a documented world. BeRKA likes the second approach.

I agree with changing the angle, and preserving the route if possible. My philosophy is that you should respect the intent and knowledge of the creators of a map, and to assume that other cartographers had/have this philosophy as well, to within the limits of the resources and time available.

When the Spinward Marches map was created, nothing was documented about nearby sectors. Therefore, the intent was that there was an outgoing route, but the target was guesswork.

The next big data set was the Atlas of the Imperium, which is lacking routes altogether. From that, I assume that the level of detail wasn't considered. Possibly, the scope of matching the routes was outside the time available. Alternately, the data may have been generated in such a way (e.g. seeded random numbers) that tweaking the data was unpalatable. Finally, going back to the intent of the Spinward Marches map creator, the outgoing routes could be considered as "guesswork" only, and up to later revision.

Another reason for inconsistencies is that the earlier data simply wasn't available. While everyone must have had access to the Spinward Marches map, as you get farther away from GDW and DGP as sources you can't assume the resources were available to everyone. Time also takes its toll - tracking down DGP resources is very time consuming now. Ask MJD how he tackled the Gateway sector!

So anyway: when I run into a dangling route I try to match it up as best I can, preserving the source and the target angle if possible.

Also, regarding DGP data, the Travellers' Digest "Grand Tour" Adventure followed a definite path around Charted Space: Deneb, Corridor, Vland, Lishun, Core, Massilia, Old Expanses, Solomani Rim, Magyar, Daibei, Reaver's Deep, Dark Nebula, Ealiyasiyw, Riftspan Reaches, Trojan Reach, Spinward Marches. This gives you a precedence order and can explain some inconsistencies - for example Magyar was probably charted several months before Dark Nebula, so Magyar may be missing some routes implied by Dark Nebula. Ω


No Water Present

One of the nagging issues with my map was what color to use for the worlds.

The classic Spinward Marches map uses blue for "water present" and white for "no water present." At first I'd assumed that "no water present" simply meant Hydrographics=0. But comparing this output to maps of the Regina subsector didn't produce the right results - there were many more "no water present" worlds.

I asked on the TML and did some poking around, to no avail - the Atmosphere code had some effect, but it wasn't obvious or documented, so I added it to my "TODO" list. Looking at TD #6's map of the Shuna subsector of Lishun I was inspired to check the rules again - Book 3 and MegaTraveller Referee's Handbook. And there it was.

So, for reference, water is present if:
  • Hydrographics > 0 (duh)

  • Atmosphere > 1 (else, ice capped)

  • Atmosphere < A (else, exotic, so a fluid hydrosphere if Hydro > 0)

That seems to work.


Lishun and Magyar Routes

Thanks to The Travellers' Digest #6 and 14 we have XBoat routes for Lishun and Magyar sectors. As noted on the Traveller Sector Information page, the Magyar routes don't distinguish between Solomani and Imperial borders. In general, though, the DGP data is pretty good, so I assume there is some simple explanation.

Interviews with Joe Fugate (possibly in this thread, maybe in TD#21 or MTJ#4) indicate that when DGP was taking ownership of the Traveller Universe they put copies of the entire Atlas region up on the wall and started plotting all of the mains. The XBoat routes I've transcribed so far seem to confirm this attention to detail - the routes do not follow logical trade routes (as some have agonized over) but do connect mains. It is important to remember that the purpose of the XBoats network is to quickly spread information over long distances using fast (Jump-4) ships. It must be assumed that information will flow along the mains via J-1 and J-2 traders, a week or two behind the XBoats - meanwhile, the XBoats have spread the news 4-8 parsecs further. Ω

More Routes

Added routes for the Solomani Rim (GDW/Supplement 10), Dark Nebula and Reaver's Deep, Vland and the whole Domain of Deneb (DGP/The Travellers' Digest).

Colors aren't right yet - I'm still waffling on this since in the classic Spinward Marches poster they're green for everyone (Imperial, Darrian and Zhodani). Also, there are many "dangling routes" along the edges due to data inconsistencies. Ω



I've started adding routes (XBoat, Jump-5, and so on) to the maps. Thus far it's limited to Riftspan Reaches (c/o Travellers' Digest #19), the Spinward Marches, and the Gateway Domain - the latter two based on work done by J. Greely over at his Gateway to PDF resource page.

The Riftspan Reaches looks the coolest, if you haven't seen the route before. Zoom in a few steps, and trace the J-5 route of the furry land junkies as they seek to encroach on what is clearly Humaniti's rightful domain.

If anyone wants to help out transcribing routes, let me know. It's pretty easy to do a sector - just a little time consuming! It's all going into a nice XML dataset that's easily sharable, too.

Right now the routes slam right into the worlds - there's no attempt to make them end just shy of the world. But it ends up looking "pretty good" so I'll leave it like that for now. My goal of rendering the Deluxe Traveller Spinward Marches poster on the fly for arbitrary sectors is getting closer. Ω


Sector/Subsector Search

Searching now returns matching Sector and Subsector names, and will navigate at the appropriate scale. This required changes to the search engine and the web page, so you may need to Refresh your browser window.

And a few more tweaks while I was there:
  • The label option for Sectors - Selected now implies all sectors once you have zoomed in.
  • There is now a "Large" option on the mobile page which makes the tile size 192x192, which is better for QVGA screens like Pocket PC


Hexes, Small Worlds, Subsector Names

I made three quick additions to ring in the new year:
  • Non-empty hexes now include the hex number (e.g. Reference/Core has 0140); this does make the display a bit more cluttered but it's far more usable when trying to navigate
  • Small worlds - worlds with UWP size code "S", for example e.g. Gateway /Gateway 1220 - now render with the "Asteroid Belt" glyph. There doesn't appear to be a standard for these, but it was definitely wrong before.
  • Subsector names are now displayed when zoomed in. I'm not happy with the appearance, so suggestions are welcome. Also, only a few sectors have subsector names listed; I'm adding them to the data file a few at a time.

Let me know what you think!