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Month Index: October, 1994

From:     RJPugh@???.com
Date:     Thu, 20 Oct 1994 22:30:46 -0400
Subject:  Re: 3D maps and distances (2nd try)
I tried to post this earlier today, but Cornell's mailer was acting strange
all day.  What's more, some of the points I bring up have been brought up by

Now then...


Hello folks.

In the stellar cartography department...

[Disclaimer: these are just ideas for the pot.  Slaughter them as you see

For a "3d" map, what if we just used good old-fashoned light years?  The only
reason I suggest that is because several of the sci-fi RPG's use light years
to determine the distance between star systems, so we have an
easily-adaptable system available.  Spheres could be recorded using X,Y,Z
co-ordinate systems.  In fact, I once tried to write a spelljammer map
program that used an X,Y,Z system.  I had a chart giving the relative
locations of stars within about 30 LY, with the Sun at (0,0,0).  I programmed
the stars (about 60 of them) into an array, had a nice graphics plotting
routine, and used the distance formula to determine the travel time between
them.  Overly simplistic?  Just wait; it gets worse.

Would it be safe to assume that in the fantasy universe, light is the
fastest non-magical (i.e. "natural") entity?  Perhaps light-years are the
standard unit of measurement in the flow.  It could be that phlogistin rivers
can travel up to the speed of light.  Therefore, if your ship is sitting dead
in the flow outside Terraspace, it would take you 3.2 years to reach
Centaurispace, assuming the river is moving at top speed. (Niall, did I get
that distance right?  Not that it makes much difference at the moment.)  This
assumes that you are just drifting along with the current.  When your helm is
functioning (and let's hope for your sake it is), this time is drastically
reduced; it would be like piloting a motorboat along the current of a river.

In my old program, I made the arbitrary decision that a spelljammer
traveling in the flow, with the helm functioning at "normal" levels (no
overdrive or overdrag) could travel one light year in ten days.  Thus, the
aformentioned trip from Terraspace to Centaurispace would take 32 days.  That
may be "too easy," but then spelljammer isn't know for using complex math.

I would provide the aformentioned program, but sadly it was written on a
Commodore 128 (this was before I inherited the 386DX).  How many people have
those around?  [no hands go up]  My point exactly.

Again, this method may be "too easy," but perhaps we can plunder some ideas
from it.

Richard J. Pugh, Assistant Librarian     |Email: rjp3@???????.edu
  Engineering Library, Cornell University|       rjpugh@???.com
  Ithaca, NY, USA 14853                  |WWW:
  Voice: 607-255-5933                    |
  Fax:   607-255-9606                    |
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Previous Message: Re: Groundlings using spelljammers
Next Message: Re: 3D maps and distances (2nd try)
Month Index: October, 1994

SubjectFromDate (UTC)
3D maps and distances (2nd try)    RJPugh@???.com    21 Oct 1994 02:30:46
Re: 3D maps and distances (2nd try)    Kelly St.Clair    21 Oct 1994 06:21:33
Re: 3D maps and distances (2nd try)    Michael Bauser    21 Oct 1994 06:57:59
Re: 3D maps and distances (2nd try)    Stephen Burton Mann    23 Oct 1994 02:22:29

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