Space is big, and this Subsector is empty

A few hours ago, I was unfortunate enough to be in a conversation which included this little gem (or something closely resembling it):

“I need to set up a Wiki or something”, said Jim, “D&D dungeon crawls are simple enough, but in Traveller there’s a lot more information to keep track of.”

I managed to resist for a whole three hours before I pushed aside the project I was working on (I’d hit a speed bump, and was looking for an excuse to procrastinate, that’s the joy of personal projects with no deadlines).

So, a system to track information about a Traveller campaign. Clearly, a subsector or two is going to be a key point of this, so we’ll have to represent that somehow (yes, let’s run directly to the output for the system). There’s a lovely standard map for these, so producing something similar shouldn’t be too difficult.

By trade, I’m a web developer, and two hours ago I knew next to nothing about dynamically producing graphics (so all systems were equal as far as learning enough to get going was concerned). The standard subsector map lends itself to vector formats, so SVG was the logical choice.

An hour later, and I’ve picked out enough from the specification to write a Perl script to generate an 8×10 hex grid with coordinates. You’ll need a browser capable of rendering SVG (which is pretty much anything except Microsoft Internet Explorer (which is years behind its competitors in everything but market share)) or a stand-alone program such as Inkscape.

I have plans for this (which include a nice database and lots of JavaScript), some of which might even make it to fruitition. I’m not holding out hope of finding a great deal of time for those plans, so I’ll publish what I do have (including the source code) and hope that you find it useful.

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8 Responses to Space is big, and this Subsector is empty

  1. Michael says:

    I may have another solution for you, one that I’ve been working on for a few weeks now. I’m calling it the IISS Operating System (for lack of a better name, I suppose), and its coming together nicely. It’s designed to be a laptop GM aide. I’ll have a beta ready for it soon, but you can check it out on my website.

  2. @Michael That looks like quite a nice piece of software, but appears to be very GM focused, so not really a resource for publishing information for the players in a campaign. It also looks like it runs under Windows, and there’s a predominance of Linux and Mac users in my gaming groups.

    @Snorkeyb Those modules do look quite useful, and I think I’ll be making use of them. Thanks!

  3. BeRKA says:

    As previous posters said. There are lots of stuff already available.

    Galactic 2.4 is an old (DOS) program for maps that can also keep campaign data.

    Universe is a more modern version.

    I have ported parts of galactic (using perl) to my map pages.

    Even nicer maps can be found at Traveller Map.

    Don’t forget that there already is a traveller wiki.

  4. What’s the license situation for the source code? I started hacking it and wondered whether I can build on your code or whether I need to roll my own. Personally, I’d prefer GPL. Are you still planning on maintaining the code?

    Here’s a PNG export from Inkscape:

    • I’ve updated the files on github to include license information. I’m defaulting to the Artistic license (which is the licensed used by Perl 5 itself). If you really want to use the GPL, then let me know and I’ll look at dual licensing.

  5. The same license as Perl 5 is fine with me. Thanks!

  6. I finally found the time to look at it again. I had a working version, but wasn’t too happy with the hexes, and the SVG output was going to need some cleaning up. I also had an old hex map generator lying around that I had begun writing myself some years back, so I figured I was going to rewrite the entire thing.


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