The Core Worlds
Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Gaming

Space is big, and this Subsector is empty

December 21, 2008

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.