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    • CommentAuthorWyvern
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2018 edited
     
    I thought it would be interesting to add something to the celebrations around the first anniversary of the Community Atlas project. Various problems have meant I've been unable to contribute any maps towards the Atlas so far. However, a posting on this Forum at Christmas last year promises real progress with a long-stalled project of my own - creating a star map for the "official" 5th edition D&D world of Toril for my own use. I decided it would be most appropriate to create a process for generating such a star map for the Community Atlas world of Nibirum using CC3+, and two issues of the Cartographer's Annual, as my first exploration of this new possibility. That's what I've done, as presented below.

    The idea began because something I've often found neglected in fantasy RPGs and stories is a realistic view of the night sky. Stars, planets, constellations and other, often transitory, celestial phenomena may feature when convenient for story purposes, yet individuals through to tribes, and even whole civilisations, in the real world have been heavily dependent upon such things, especially the stars and Moon, to navigate by and maintain track of time, throughout most of recorded human history, and probably from long before that, given modern experiments show migrating animals can also use the Moon and stars to navigate by. Surely fantasy worlds deserve no less?

    One significant problem in rectifying this though, especially for RPGs, has been the lack of options to quickly generate random star maps that appear similar, but different, to those showing the star patterns as seen from Earth. The addition of the Symbols in Area command to CC3+ has now changed all that, with its ability to randomly place symbols within a given area, where the symbol sizes and relative densities can be fully adjusted. However, I only learnt of this really valuable option thanks to the able demonstration of the command by Remy Monsen as his final Command of the Week posting in late December 2017. So this is all thanks to that one Forum post, presciently timed as the perfect Christmas present for this mapper at least - and the wonders of CC3+, naturally!

    While this is in no way intended as the definitive night sky for the Community Atlas' world, I hope the following notes will show how easy it can be to generate your own night sky chart for Nibirum, or any other imaginary world, should you so choose.


    Creating the Star Map

    Although it would be easy enough to draw your own framework, if preferred, I used the round ten-degree graticule and background plate from CA34 Modern Atlas Overland Maps, the ProFantasy Annual issue from October 2009, as the basis for the Star Map. Assuming you have that Annual installed, this can be found from the New... command, using the Overland Maps >> Pick a pre-defined template option, specifically the "CA34_Circumpolar.FCT" one. Having saved the file in an appropriate place with a suitable name, I deleted all the features already drawn on this template I didn't want, essentially everything except the graticule grid and the coloured background circle. I then changed the colour of the background disc to a different blue (number 62), and copied the disc and graticule, placing the now two circular grids-and-discs side-by-side, just touching at their horizontal mid-edges, as this is the standard format for displaying hemispheric sky maps more generally. The convention is to read the left circle as the northern hemisphere, the right the southern, with the poles in the centre, the sky's equator forming the outer ring of each circle. It would be just as easy to set up the graticules in an alternative configuration, of course. Fantasy worlds needn't stick to Earthly norms, after all.

    [If you don't have CA34, and don't feel inclined to draw your own graticules, there is another possibility. Two Forum discussions from September 2011 revolved around exactly this mapping aspect, regarding JimP's Crestar RPG campaign world, here and here, and although many of the links to the zipped free files no longer function, Bill Roach's splendid ConstellationsKit.zip file graticules can still be freely downloaded from this page of JimP's Crestar website.]

    Then I began adding stars by a process of trial and error using the Draw >> Symbols in Area... command. I decided to use the symbols found in the "CC3Plus > Symbols > Other > Geometry.FSC" set, as this has suitable five-pointed varicolor stars and circles, ideal for use on star maps, and which can be resized to illustrate stars of different brightnesses. The Area to choose is that of each of the background circles, so it's easiest to hide the Grid Sheet with its graticules before proceeding. I also wanted to set up each of my four chosen star brightness classes on a separate Sheet, and conveniently, the Symbols in Area command will place your symbols on whatever Sheet you've currently selected. So I created a new Sheet, called "SYMBOLS, BRIGHT STARS" and began experimenting by adjusting the different Symbols in Area parameters to create a random pattern of symbols of the right size and quantity for what I wanted as the very brightest stars in the sky.

    Naturally, this could be any number, but for this experiment, I decided to try to roughly match the parameters found in Earth's sky presently. From perhaps the second century BCE (the Greek astronomer Hipparchus, whose work is lost, but whose findings and descriptions were largely preserved by the later Greek writer Ptolemy around 150 CE), the naked-eye stars have been divided into six brightness, or magnitude, classes from first magnitude, the brightest, down to sixth magnitude, at the very limit of most normal humans' eyesight. Most stars that comprise the grouped patterns known as constellations are unsurprisingly drawn from the four brightest magnitude classes. Hence partly why I've chosen to show just the stars from these four classes on this Sky Map.

    From Earth, 22 nocturnal stars can be considered as falling into the first magnitude group, so that became my ballpark figure for those stars on my SYMBOLS, BRIGHT STARS Sheet. Using the five-pointed star symbol for these, I found adjusting to 200 in the % Size at Edge and % Size in Center parameters on the Symbols in Area command screen looked about right to resize them. I set the Layout Pattern settings to "Random" and "Default", and after several attempts, found that adjusting each of the Horizontal Distance, Vertical Distance, H Random Distance and V Random Distance parameters to 500 gave roughly ten to fifteen stars per circle area, or thereabouts. I settled on having a few more bright stars than we see from Earth overall, 26 in total, 14 on the northern hemisphere circle, 12 on the southern.

    At this stage, the stars were still in their default green colouring with a black line edge. As I wanted white stars with a black line edge, I used the Symbol >> Symbol Manager... command to make the necessary conversion, having first brought in the Geometry.FSC symbols to the Symbols view-bar and changed their varicolor to white. Symbol Manager lets you replace all the existing mapped symbols of your chosen type(s) with the new, in this case white varicolor, option; quick and easy. Better still, all the varicolor symbols from the same set will be automatically selected with that altered colour when using the Symbols in Area command subsequently.

    So after that, I quickly proceeded to add second, third and fourth magnitude stars, using appropriately different symbols, with parameters as follows:

    * 2nd magnitude stars --> a new SYMBOLS, STARS Sheet; circle with black edge Symbol; both Sizes set to 200% still, all four Distances also the same as for the 1st magnitude stars, to give 28 more stars (from Earth, 26).
    * 3rd magnitude stars --> SYMBOLS, MID STARS Sheet; unedged circle Symbols; both Sizes changed to 150%; all four Distances changed to 100; total of 124 new stars (compared to Earth's 123).
    * 4th magnitude stars --> SYMBOLS, FAINT STARS Sheet; again, unedged circles; both Sizes reduced to 100%; all four Distances amended to 50; 334 fresh stars added in a twinkling (Earth's sky has 342).

    Then I added a simple key for each of the magnitude classes on a suitable blue rectangle, adding a black edge line (a rectangle with a Line Width of 50), and a title, and finally added an Ecliptic line and label to the SYMBOLS sheet, set for an inclination to the equator of about 25 degrees (Earth's is 23½ degrees), a simple drawn arc, Line Width 40, and suitable for a planet with Earth-like seasons. Aside from the trial and error time, the Star Map took me less than an hour to generate, print and save as a PNG.

    Although this all looked fine, following the guidelines for what works best for the Nibirum Community Atlas maps, I changed all the grid lines from Hollow, Zero-width ones to Solid, Width 20 ones, and reset the outer circle of each grid to Width 40, to give it a little more definition.

    I then saved the file under a second name, and converted it to show black stars, graticule and ecliptic on a white background. Partly this is because it's easier to print and make hand-drawn changes, partly it makes clearer those stars so near the edge of the hemispheres their mapped circles extend beyond the edge, so weren't always obvious on the coloured version. Another few minutes work only.

    NightSky_PolarProjection_Final.PNG

    NightSky_PolarProjection_BnW_Final.PNG


    Expanding Beyond the Basics

    Of course, you could embellish things as far as you might wish from this base.

    You might add colours for the first-magnitude stars (the only ones bright enough to show colours to the human eye). Earth's sky has 14 first-magnitude stars that might be seen as blue-white by the more perceptive, 3 yellow-white and 5 orange-red. In reality, the blue- and yellow-whites are more commonly just seen as "white", however. While these could be used as rough percentages for the example Nibirum Star Map here too, in a fantasy setting, the stars might be more (or less) colourful, and you might want to introduce something more unusual as well - such as a few green or purple stars, perhaps.

    You might even wish to add all the possible visible stars. If so, Earth's sky has approximately 1,090 5th magnitude stars and almost 7,500 6th magnitude ones (now you see why I didn't add these to maps of this scale!).

    You could then go on to devise constellations for each culture - or tribe, maybe even some individual villages, judging by the surviving variants found across Earth's cultures over time - and map those out too. For mapping inspiration, see the following Forum topics, showing a whole series of constellation charts from JimP's Crestar world from August 2012, Tonnichiwa's sample constellation chart for his friend Chase and Lorelei's star chart for her own game-world, both from May 2016. If you're stuck for constellation ideas, try the randomly-generated text descriptions for RPG constellations on the Chaoticshiny website here, as well as the random star-name and description generator on the same site.

    The one snag to all this is that if you want additional star-maps using a different mapping projection (for detailed constellation charts, for instance), you'll need to carefully copy over the star positions from your base map, as CC3+ won't do the conversion for you, sadly. Although this can be time-consuming, you don't have to be wholly exact, plus you can add fainter stars, or even adjust the positions of existing brighter ones to better match your idea for the constellation figures, as you go along. I decided to try making some different star maps from this base one as well.
    • CommentAuthorWyvern
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2018 edited
     
    Creating a Planisphere from the Star Map

    A very useful tool for anyone wishing to begin exploring the night sky, whether from this planet or any other, is a planisphere. This is a hand-held device that consists of a wheel-shaped sky map, set below an outer disc that has a shaped window representing the true horizon, which shows the sky visible for a particular latitude. Both discs have gradations along their outer edges, allowing them to be rotated against one another and set up for any time and date desired. Most commercial planispheres are designed for use from a single latitude, although they can be used still from places up to five degrees or so north and south of that selected line with little difficulty. However, for a fantasy world used in an RPG, say, it's likely we might need to know the look of the sky from many different places, particularly as a GM. Although there are various sites online that will show you how to make your own planisphere for different latitudes, from which you could simply redraw your CC3+ star map as many times as needed for each important location, based on such graticules and planisphere windows converted to your planet's calendar and time-style, that's very time-consuming.

    To me, a better solution is to adopt the concept of the double-sided planisphere, where your sky-map wheel (and you only need the one) covers a little more than a hemisphere on each side, with the northern sky on one side (to 25 degrees south of the sky's equator), the southern sky on the other side (extending to 25 degrees north of the equator). Then you can simply download the set of free templates for the necessary double-sided horizon-window sheets, the "dbl_side_a.zip" file, from the link near the end of this Japanese webpage (the information is all in English), print-off and make-up as many of those as you need for different latitude sites, into any of which you can slide your own CC3+ printout double-sided star map, suitably resized to fit, and use it to tell what stars can be seen from wherever you like on your own invented planet.

    So I went ahead and created exactly this kind of double star map in CC3+, using the randomly-constructed Map I'd already generated. Essentially, starting with the original double-circle Map, I deleted the Map Key, moved the pair of star charts apart and added extra graticule rings to expand the sky coverage by 25 degrees on each. Then I redrew the blue background sky circles, and copied the stars in the overlapping outer areas from one chart to the other. For ease, I used a printout of the original Star Map for this. The key aspect is to remember which way is "up" for each chart when you're zoomed in, trying to place the star Symbols as accurately as possible by-eye!

    Once that was done (by far the longest part of the mapping process, carefully placing the duplicate stars one by one), I added two new Sheets, "PLANISPHERE GRID" and "PLANISPHERE GRID TEXT LINE". On the first of these new Sheets, I drew a single solid circle of Width 40, ten degrees (to the scale of the Map) larger than the outer circle of the Star Map, onto the first of the hemisphere-plus maps, and a series of Width 20, solid radial lines from the centre of this new circle to its outer edge. I then moved this Sheet to the very bottom of the stack, above only the COMMON Sheet. Next, I added a zero-width-line hollow circle to fit half-way between the edge of the new outer circle and the outer ring of the Star Map, onto the PLANISPHERE GRID TEXT LINE Sheet. Then I copied all of these fresh components and added them to the second hemisphere-plus Star Map.

    The next step was to add a label to the outer, white, circle for every radial line, showing its angular measure around the circle, beginning with zero degrees at the point where my ecliptic line crossed the equator at the top of each hemisphere-plus Star Map, using the thin PLANISPHERE GRID TEXT LINE circle to adjust the angle of each label so it would be the right way up when viewed from any point beyond the map's circumference. This line can be hidden before printing, as its only function is to help in this text placement. The narrow outermost circle is where features such as the month-names and dates are ordinarily placed so they can be seen through the time-date windows cut in the horizon-line planisphere mask.

    Finally, I added an arrowhead, a simple drawn, filled triangle by the "90°" label on each half of the Planisphere Star Map, to help in lining-up the pair of discs once printed and cut out, following the same concept for this as outlined in the double-sided planisphere website's instructions.

    Once this was finished, I again saved the file separately, and converted everything to black-and-white, just as for the Star Map previously. If we remove the several hours spent copying over the star positions into the overlapping sky areas, the rest of the process for both versions of the Planisphere Map took me around an hour to accomplish.
      NightSky_PlanisphereProjection_Final.PNG
      NightSky_PlanisphereProjection_BnW_Final.PNG
    • CommentAuthorWyvern
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2018 edited
     
    A Different Style of Star Chart

    The final type of map I wanted to construct for this experiment shows much of the equatorial sky north and south to 45° or so, as one or two rectangles with a squared grid, plus two circular charts for the polar areas north and south of this region. The two circular charts were simply cut-down versions of the original two hemispheric Star Maps, deleting all the parts of the grid lines, background circles and stars that weren't needed (although for clarity, I kept the brighter stars and those close to them up to five degrees outside the new outer circle for these maps). The grid lines were easily adjusted using the Edit >> Trims >> Trim to entity command, a new outer circle added at 45°, and a new, smaller, colour 62 background circle added to each Map.

    For the equatorial stars, I decided to construct this area as a pair of rectangles, each covering half of the equatorial sky. The grid for this could be quite easily drawn using the Snap and Ortho commands, for example. However, I decided to use a ready-made graticule, again from one of the Cartographer's Annuals, CA87 from March 2014, which helpfully provides the graticules in that issue each as a separate FCW file. These are stored in the CC3Plus > Parts > CA87 Projections - Grid only folder, and the file I chose was "Equirectangular.fcw", which I copied over to my own CC3+ drawing. This grid is much too large, as assuming each line is at ten degrees from its neighbour, the area covered is 360° by 160°, so I cut it down to the size I needed for one of my rectangles, changed the grid lines to colour 68 (blue) to match the existing grid lines, and the line type and width to Solid and 20 respectively (from Hollow and zero). I then added degree labels to the cardinal vertical grid lines, and each of the ten-degree horizontal ones, and added the Ecliptic curves appropriately.

    There was then a pause in proceedings. While I'm sure some of you would be comfortable in just copying over the star positions from the original Star Map hemispheres by-eye on-screen, I'm not. So I instead drew-up a grid on graph paper, and made a careful copy of the star brightnesses and positions from the twin hemispheres onto the rectangular grid by hand, before copying it into my CC3+ drawing. This made for quite a slow process overall, but it is necessary one way or the other, and I spread the tasks over about a week, to (hopefully) avoid too many mistakes. Again, I also added the brighter stars and their closest neighbours where these were within five degrees outside the top and bottom edges of the 180° to 0° (reading right to left) rectangle.

    Since all these extra stars outside the graticule areas would be white against a white background, I also added a new Sheet, BACKGROUND FADE, with an "Edge Fade, Inner" Effect on it, including an Edge Width of 200 Map Units, and an Inner Opacity of 80% (Outer Opacity 0%), and then drew some suitably-sized smooth polygons around the exterior stars. As usual, this took a little experimentation to get the sizes of the polygons right, but that's what the Undo, Redo, Insert and Edit Node commands are there for, isn't it?!

    Lastly, I added a title, adjusted the Magnitude Key, and moved everything around until the layout looked OK. Then I re-saved the file and converted everything to a black and white version, as usual, though without needing to use the Effects to highlight the exterior stars at least.

    NightSky_Rectangular_PolarProjections_Final.PNG

    NightSky_Rectangular_PolarProjections_BnW_Final.PNG

    Following this, I decided to combine the two rectangles into a single, long strip-chart, with the north and south polar circles above and below each end respectively. This was fairly readily achieved with a little copying of labels, removing a few of the exterior stars where the maps would now be close enough together anyway, a minor adjustment of the central vertical grid line (as irritatingly, I hadn't quite married the two rectangles up perfectly - the difference was tiny, and horizontal only), and a redraft of the outer, thicker, border line for the combined rectangular chart.

    NightSky_LongRectangular_PolarProjections_Final.PNG

    NightSky_LongRectangular_PolarProjections_BnW_Final.PNG

    If you look closely at this Star Chart, you'll see the horizontal separation of the outermost grid lines on the two polar circles is smaller than the horizontal grid-line separation on the rectangular map. It might have been better to have resized the polar circles to be a closer match, but I hadn't the time, or indeed the inclination, to do that here. The separation between the vertical grid lines on both styles of graticule are already almost identical, as I checked these before drawing the first of the rectangular Star Charts. The rectangular grid separation is marginally greater than that for the polar graticules, but the difference at the scales these maps are liable to be viewed is negligible.

    One advantage to persevering and creating both the hemispheric and the rectangular-polar Star Maps is that by using both, and switching the Grid off, you start to see more easily where there are obvious groups and patterns of stars, forming lines and shapes, from which you can begin constructing constellations for your imaginary world's cultures. Humans love finding patterns even among randomness - and that's exactly what we have here, after all!
  1.  
    Wow! This is wonderful! Thank you Wyvern for showing how this can be done. I love it!
    •  
      CommentAuthorMonsen
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2018
     
    These are great. I hope you intend to submit them for the mapping competition.
    •  
      CommentAuthorQuenten
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2018
     
    Wunderbar!
    •  
      CommentAuthorQuenten
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2018
     
    What about a solar system map, wyvern? And moon phases etc. Perhaps even a calendar
    • CommentAuthorWyvern
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2018
     
    Monsen commented:These are great. I hope you intend to submit them for the mapping competition.


    Not sure they'd fit within the competition requirements, given they're not of the planet itself - "It must be of a place in the atlas". Plus as mentioned, it wasn't my intention to present these as the definitive star-maps for the Atlas world.

    Quenten followed-up with:What about a solar system map, wyvern? And moon phases etc. Perhaps even a calendar


    Yes, all these would be very possible, also things like eclipses, but again, I've no wish to impose my thoughts on what others might prefer, given the original world-map was decided upon by popular vote from among a number of different choices. And these are all parts of at least as big a decision, I think.

    There are also many questions raised by this - like:

    * What's the size and colour of the Sun? Is there only the one?
    * Does Nibirum have one or more visible Moons, and if so, what sizes, distances, orbital inclinations and orbital speeds do they have?
    * If Nibirum does have at least one Moon, does Nibirum experience eclipses, and if so are they like Earth's in effect, duration and frequency, or different?
    * Are there other planets visible from Nibirum in its solar system? If so, how many are there, what are their sizes and distances from Nibirum, and do they show marked colours?
    * If there are other planets, what are their orbits like (e.g. circular or elliptical)? Do they orbit the Sun, or does everything orbit Nibirum?
    * How long is Nibirum's year? What's the length of Nibirum's day?

    Calendars tend to be culture-specific, but they're likely to be heavily influenced by how long the Sun takes to progress along the ecliptic once, and - if there is one, or an especially prominent one if several - how long the Moon takes to accomplish the same distance.
    •  
      CommentAuthorMonsen
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2018 edited
     
    Posted By: WyvernYes, all these would be very possible, also things like eclipses, but again, I've no wish to impose my thoughts on what others might prefer, given the original world-map was decided upon by popular vote from among a number of different choices. And these are all parts of at least as big a decision, I think.
    Just as people decide themselves what detail they want to add to the atlas maps they make, I think it is completely fair that these things are decided by the one doing the star map. Whatever that person decides will be the official map. As with any other map in the atlas, if the user have different ideas, the map can simply be ignored, no user of the atlas needs to use everything as provided, but a default option is presented for those who want it.
    •  
      CommentAuthorQuenten
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2018
     
    I love that concept, Monsen. Can I suggest to our Astrophysicist/Astronomer Royal, that we stick to 1 moon and 1 sun.
    • CommentAuthorWyvern
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2018
     
    Yeah, starting to look like I'm being "volunteered" for this (if not entirely unwillingly, though it will distract further from my personal plans for the Toril D&D night sky...).

    So I should probably now formally request sanctuary being allocated the basic Solar System model for Nibirum to work upon.

    Not promising rapid results though - the star maps and description above took most of January to prepare, check and amend. So if anyone has any particular requests in the next few days at least, I'm happy to consider them. One vote for 1 Sun and 1 Moon so far from Quenten :D
    •  
      CommentAuthorQuenten
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2018
     
    And 666 planets. :D
    • CommentAuthorWyvern
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2018 edited
     
    Posted By: QuentenAnd 666 planets. :D


    All of which have an albedo (reflectivity) blacker than coal, so can't be seen from Nibirum, luckily ;D

    Following-on from my previous posting, if this Star Map is to be the preferred/default one for Nibirum, the choice of an ecliptic angled at 25° to the equator defines where the tropics and arctic/antarctic circles lie on the planet, which has minor implications for Nibirum surface mappers - thus 25° north and south of the equator are where the tropics lie (equivalent to the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn on Earth), and 25° from each rotational pole, so at latitudes 65° north and south, are where we find respectively the arctic and antarctic circles. The differences to Earth aren't great, of course, so shouldn't cause any real problems, just something to be aware of. Those lines could be added to any global maps of Nibirum in future as well.

    I'm not familiar enough to recall if there are any Atlas maps showing the following features. However, I do have one question for any who have mapped at very local scales near the coasts so far. Did you show indications of the tidal ranges along the shoreline, and if so, were they especially variable? This could have implications for the Moon's orbit (as our own Moon's modestly variable distance from the Earth creates stronger and weaker spring tides at times, and thus quite variable tide lines on beaches, for example).
    • CommentAuthorJimP
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2018
     
    I didn't make tidal zones on the Forlorn Archipelago.

    And as for the kit zip, I would occasionally contemplate deleting it but figured someone might have a use for it. As for Crestar, I made several rectangles with constellations on them. Along with a color chart for star types.
    •  
      CommentAuthorDogtag
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2018
     
    Posted By: QuentenI love that concept, Monsen. Can I suggest to our Astrophysicist/Astronomer Royal, that we stick to 1 moon and 1 sun.

    FWIW, I'll be saddened if the atlas world has just one moon.
    • CommentAuthorjslayton
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2018 edited
     
    Posted By: DogtagFWIW, I'll be saddened if the atlas world has just one moon.

    Yes, but put three moons in orbit around the one moon and you'll really have something!

    A long time ago in a forum far away, I wrote something that might be interesting in context: https://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=2164
    •  
      CommentAuthorMonsen
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2018
     
    Posted By: WyvernI'm not familiar enough to recall if there are any Atlas maps showing the following features. However, I do have one question for any who have mapped at very local scales near the coasts so far. Did you show indications of the tidal ranges along the shoreline, and if so, were they especially variable? This could have implications for the Moon's orbit (as our own Moon's modestly variable distance from the Earth creates stronger and weaker spring tides at times, and thus quite variable tide lines on beaches, for example).
    No. As far as I can remember, no atlas maps shows any such features.


    I'll leave the number of Suns and Moons in your hands, my only request is that it is within the realm of the believable.
    • CommentAuthorkathorus
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2018
     
    Great work, thanks for the instructions. I am continually amazed at how many talented and creative people there are in this forum.
    • CommentAuthorShessar
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2018
     
    This will be a great addition to the Atlas!
    • CommentAuthorWyvern
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2018
     
    Monsen replied to a
    posting from Wyvern:I'm not familiar enough to recall if there are any Atlas maps showing the following features. However, I do have one question for any who have mapped at very local scales near the coasts so far. Did you show indications of the tidal ranges along the shoreline, and if so, were they especially variable? This could have implications for the Moon's orbit (as our own Moon's modestly variable distance from the Earth creates stronger and weaker spring tides at times, and thus quite variable tide lines on beaches, for example).
    No. As far as I can remember, no atlas maps shows any such features.


    I'll leave the number of Suns and Moons in your hands, my only request is that it is within the realm of the believable.


    Thanks Monsen.

    As the solar system is meant as a default version for Atlas users, my thinking's inclining towards the more straightforward in general. Those with fancy mathematical degrees can doubtless have endless fun on their own adding infinite complexities ;)

    Since the Star Maps are also now to be adopted as the default option for the Atlas, I've made some amendments to the set today. Haven't had time to check everything properly yet, so no fresh images tonight. Just to say I've added star colours for the brightest stars, but on their own Sheet in the FCW file so they don't have to be used, and I've added a series of one-degree gradations around the edge of the planisphere, to improve its utility without saddling anyone with a specific calendar style, which as mentioned, tend to be different between cultures. I'm inclining towards a 360-day year for ease, where "day" is the axial rotation period for Nibirum, and "year" is how long it takes Nibirum to go once round its Sun. How that "day" is divided - into hours, quarters, watches or whatever else - is again down to cultural preferences alone.

    For the bright star colours, I went with a slight variant of Earth's sky, in-keeping with the overall tenor of the Star Maps theme so far: 40% blue-white, 25% orange-red, 15% yellow-white, 10% green-white and 10% purple as the basic options, randomly allocated across the 26 first-magnitude stars, to give 10, 6, 4, 3 and 3 respectively. As I assigned these by percentage-dice rolls, in true RPG GM style, I also kept a note of what the rolls were, and tweaked the colours slightly to include paler and more striking versions based on said rolls. Hopefully, that will provide potential constellation-creators with a few more ideas too.
    •  
      CommentAuthorQuenten
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2018
     
    We need a title for our Astronomer Royal.
    • CommentAuthorJimP
    • CommentTimeFeb 3rd 2018
     
    Posted By: QuentenWe need a title for our Astronomer Royal.


    That title looks nice.
    • CommentAuthorWyvern
    • CommentTimeFeb 3rd 2018 edited
     
    Many thanks to everyone for your most supportive comments. I'm slightly taken aback by it all, I must admit, as I suspected it might be just me that was interested in such things!

    However, it's also taking longer than I'd thought to get this set finished and Atlas-ready. It's one thing to lay out generic suggestions for how star charts like this can be made, but something else when suddenly these are meant to be THE star maps for an entire game-world... Hoping to have the tweaking finished in another day or two though, with a few notes to accompany things, if all goes to plan.

    Meanwhile, as half-promised yesterday, a couple of the coloured-star versions of two of the maps. The double-disc version needs some minor tweaking still, but these are more or less the finished versions of both, I think.
      NightSky_PolarProjection_ColouredStars_Final.PNG
      NightSky_Rectangular_PolarProjections_ColouredStars_Final.PNG
    • CommentAuthorLorelei
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2018
     
    Wow! Just, wow. REALLY cool stuff here, Wyvern. I am a fan of star maps, and have made some for my own campaign, but this.....this is amazing!
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      CommentAuthorRalf
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th 2018
     
    These are really gorgeous, thank you so much for sharing!
    • CommentAuthorWyvern
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th 2018
     
    Many thanks Lorelei & Ralf. Very glad so many of the REALLY talented folks here appreciate these, especially as they're the first things I've risked showing.

    I think the tweaking's completed now, so will be sending the set off to Monsen for the Atlas shortly after posting this note, if all goes to plan.