Sunday, March 9, 2014

Mapping Hyperspace


Star charts of the Strange Stars exist, but they are not as usual for travelers as diagrams of the area hyperspace network. The travel distances through hyperspace have only a slight association with the distances in regular space and the spatial relationships of two systems matter not at all.

Above is a simple, 2D download of a hyperspace map of the primary member worlds of the Alliance. By convention, worlds are typically named for the primary habitation (either natural or artificial) rather than the star, though there are exceptions--Altair being one here. The connections between nodes are typically color coded, based on the baseline human visible spectrum. (Other colors or other sensory stimuli are employed by beings with differing visual discrimination.Some spacer cultures refer to the two ends of the travel time continuum as "hot" and "cold." ). For a given length, redder connections indicate faster travel times and bluer ones slower. Red connections, for example, typical denote average travel times between 18 and 90 ks, depending on length of the connection and other variables. Violet connections might take 7 Ms or more.

For comparison, the normal space distance between the primary of Smaragdoz (Lurline, a K0V star known in ancient records as Alsaphi) and Altair is approximately 5.54 parsecs, taking 18.09 years or 570,490 ks for light to travel between the two. The sublight trip from a habitation to the terminal station (typically located at the edge of systems) in many cases takes longer than traversing a red connection.


Smaragdoz's hyperspace node is unusual in that it has multiple connections. This does not require a separate gate for each connection; there are only two pairs of gates in this case. Connections are accessed on a rotating timetable. The delay in access is typically in the range of 1-1.5 ks before a new connection can safely begin to be used, however delays 2-3 times that are not unheard of. The connection timetable can be changed on the fly, but this is seldom done as periodicity in connection changes has been found to lead to shorter stabilization delays and fewer "dropouts" (requiring a hard reboot of the gate).

7 comments:

akfu23 said...

I like these kind of connection/travel based maps in sci-fi. Diaspora did it too. A nice, simple way of looking at how the various worlds connect. I'd even go so far as to call it elegant.

John Till said...

I like the hot and cold motif.

Trey said...

@akfu23 - I agree. It certainly makes more since if you're not having to deal with real spatial relationships.

@John - Thanks.

Tim Shorts said...

I'm starting to get the itch to do something sci-fi. A very mini sandbox kinda. I'll be raiding your cupboard of goodies for ideas when I do.

Peter Robbins said...

Nicely done. Ditto on the hot and cold temp coloring.

Trey said...

@Tim - If you do, run it on G+.

@Peter - Thanks!

garrisonjames said...

Mapping the connections makes the most sense to me, having worked in air freight and shipping for too many years. Destinations require more in-depth details, routes can be handled much more simply. I like how you're doing this. The Diaspora method is nice as well.