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X3TC Sector Map
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Nyax





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PostPosted: Thu, 23. Oct 08, 22:34    Post subject: X3TC Sector Map Reply with quote Print

Hi all. Some of you may remember that early last year i put together a rather large 'poster map' of the X universe. Instead of placing the sectors in a basic grid pattern (which is nicely functional and useful, but also desperately dull to look at) placed them in positions relative to one another based on the nebulae visible in sector. (for example the sectors around paranid prime all appear to lie within the same Naebula, as do many of the home Boron sectors and the Hole.) Basically i wanted it feel more like a 'Real' starchart instead of an export from a spreadsheet Smile

If you're interested the link to that thread is here-
http://forum.egosoft.com/viewtopic.php?t=179689

Anyway to cut a long story short it went down rather well, so i've decided to do an updated and improved version for X3TC. This time the chart is from the perspective of the Terran military so it's written from a slightly aloof, isolationist posture. There's still an awful lot to do on it and it will be probably be some time before it's released but it's far enough along now to give people an idea of what it's going to look like, and where i'm going with it in certain areas.

You can find it here-

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/christopher.hill90/X3TCMap.jpg it's nearly 3MB and is a fairly large 5200x3800 pixels.

EDIT! Version erm... oh i don't know.... 0.6 is now available Here-

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/christopher.hill90/X3TCMapV2.jpg

As with the last time i started a thread like this i'm looking for some suggestions and opinions. For example marking which race owns which sectors. I can't decide if it's better to give race owned space a coloured backdrop to indicate ownership, or maybe change the colour of the sector name. Or maybe perhaps both? What do people prefer?

I'm thinking about changing the contents of the Race info at the bottom to include listings of homeworlds and race factions (e.g Argon would have Terracorp, pirates, Yaki etc.) Speaking of the Yaki, the pirates and Yaki don't have their own sections since they're not races. any thoughts on that front?



Last edited by Nyax on Fri, 14. Nov 08, 22:48; edited 2 times in total
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XVII





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PostPosted: Fri, 24. Oct 08, 00:24    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Quiet good map!!! Thumb up I like it Smile I think I'll print it now...

Cheers XVII

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silenced



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PostPosted: Fri, 24. Oct 08, 00:40    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

interesting layout ... looks good Smile


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Nyax





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PostPosted: Fri, 24. Oct 08, 01:32    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

XVII wrote:
Quiet good map!!! Thumb up I like it Smile I think I'll print it now...

Cheers XVII
Thanks, Bear in mind though it's not finished... quite apart from the fact there's no gate markers on it yet, there's probably incorrect sectors on there as well, not to mention loads of them havn't had their names added yet.

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jahulath





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PostPosted: Mon, 27. Oct 08, 01:45    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Well now thats spiggin awsome if ever i saw it!

I think the way you did your prev map with the coloured race grouping gives it a very empiric feel, reminds me of the old empire maps of earth... (I have no idea why GB was always pink but dammit there was a lot of pink on them maps). Also perhaps consider rethinking the race profiles at the bottom, IMHO the pictures don't really add too much (except for the Khaak one) but I like the "harmless" etc. I think you made a good call that you shuold include other races too.

1 more thing the title is too big.

Did I mention that it's a work of genius and I shall gladly risk getting wrong by printing it at the plotter at work?

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Wooden_Hamme





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PostPosted: Tue, 28. Oct 08, 02:37    Post subject: Sector map Reply with quote Print

Hey i love the map it gives me a sence of direction again hehe and it doesnt matter if the sectors are wrong we can just give you feedback to help you along Pirat

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xCav8r





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PostPosted: Tue, 11. Nov 08, 20:19    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

I'll give you some feedback from the perspective of someone who is color blind.

Looking at the colored squares on your key, I cannot distinguish the shipyard from the pirate base or the marine training facility from the military base. Assuming that the order of the colored squares from top to bottom is followed along the circle, starting at the top and center and rotating clockwise around the circle, then I cannot distinguish the equipment dock from the shipyard or the marine training facility from the military base or the Goner temple. Position is my only indicator. Perhaps explicitly labeling or connecting the squares to the rectangles on the circular frame (e.g., with connecting lines) would make it easier to people like me to use without guessing.

Okay, that's the end of the color blind feedback. Now onto what you asked for.

I think I'd prefer some coloration or other variation in a sector's circular frame that indicates ownership. Perhaps using the same color for the sector's name would work too, but I think it might make the map too busy. Colored backdrops might be the best compromise if the sector's container alone is insufficient indication (or you don't like the idea). While I'm on the topic of modifying the frame, have you considered adding something to indicate the security level (i.e., border vs. core)? I don't know that the other information that can be seen in the right-hand pane of the universe map is terribly important. Perhaps the sector's size, if the gate distance indicates that.

I think the "Race info" down at the bottom should be about the key players in the X Universe rather than races, so the Yaki and pirates warrant their own sections. You've already done it for the Goners, and they're humans, right? Besides, I'd argue that pirates and Yaki are more prominent than Goners, since Yaki and Pirates own sectors. Anyway, you might feature major players vs. minor players, and group the cultures/races/species according to that distinction.

Ok, back to more of what you didn't solicit.

  • Things I find confusing:

    • What's the deal with the star below our solar system? Is it supposed to indicate something? I understand the exaggerated size of our sun, but I don't understand the purpose of this other star.
    • What's the purpose of the lines indicating the ecliptic plane of our solar system? They extend throughout the universe map and make it busier. I think you've added this to give it the terran perspective, but the sun already does this. I'm not sure if the lines add as much as they subtract.

  • Things I like:

    • The screenshots of the sectors are a nice touch. I'm sure it'll take forever to do, but it's an improvement over your previous map.
    • The circular frames around the sectors are a better approach to presenting information to readers without having the map be so busy. IMO the previous map was a bit too busy with all the symbols around each sector. (The advantage of those symbols, however, was that it required less thinking to determine what was in a sector.)
    • I like the way that you set aside our solar system into a "blow up" in the corner. Nice!

  • Things I don't like:

    • Not enough anti-aliasing for the lines. I pull the map up on another computer and like to zoom in and out. When I'm zoomed in, the lines are very pixelated.
    • The typeface for the sectors is an improvement over your previous map, but as it is in this example, it's difficult to read. I'd prefer clarity to aesthetically appealing.
    • JPG isn't so good for zooming. Much of this is vector content. Why not PNG?
    • Why say "system tactical information" when "system information" will do?
    • Why include gate indicators? They're mostly superfluous, and they make the map too busy. Almost all the lines that connect the sectors already indicate the cardinal positions. I don't think the gate indicators add as much as they subtract. A compromise would be to include indicators for potentially confusing gate positions only.


Overall, very nice map, just like the last one. That's why I wanted to take the time to give you some critical feedback/input. I hope you find it helpful. Keep up the good work!

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Nyax





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PostPosted: Fri, 14. Nov 08, 22:45    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Thanks xCav8r that's great, exactly the kind of thing i'm looking for.

As chance would have it i've actually come to upload a newer version of the map which is a bit further along. You can find it here-

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/christopher.hill90/X3TCMapV2.jpg

Basically i've fixed some of the sectors, made sure they all have names, made a start on adding gate indicators (you'll have to tell me if you still think they're too intrusive) and added background colours to denote race ownership.
It's not got any of your suggestions in yet, purely because i'd already done this before i read your post, but you have some good ideas there so i'll be incorporating some of them in shortly.

Quote:
What's the deal with the star below our solar system? Is it supposed to indicate something? I understand the exaggerated size of our sun, but I don't understand the purpose of this other star.
That's a spoiler. You'll see more on the new version of the map.


Quote:
What's the purpose of the lines indicating the ecliptic plane of our solar system? They extend throughout the universe map and make it busier. I think you've added this to give it the terran perspective, but the sun already does this. I'm not sure if the lines add as much as they subtract.
Do you mean the 'grid' with the sun at the center? It's because it's Styled to be along the lines of a Terran navigational chart (hence the title). Any Terran navigational chart is going to use the solar system as it's central point and any map or other chart is always going to have grid markings of some sort on it to allow the gauging of distance. I've played with it a bit and i find It looks an awful lot better with them, then without.
Alternately if you mean the lines on the solar system map, then they're marking the planets orbits


Quote:
Not enough anti-aliasing for the lines. I pull the map up on another computer and like to zoom in and out. When I'm zoomed in, the lines are very pixelated.
Not to worry, they're just placeholders while i decide how to indicate the jump routes properly.

Quote:
The typeface for the sectors is an improvement over your previous map, but as it is in this example, it's difficult to read. I'd prefer clarity to aesthetically appealing.
Well i hope it will be more legible when i've added a drop shadow to them, That helps make the lettering more distinct and stand out better. If it doesn't have a big enough effect then i guess i'll just have to find another font. Smile

Quote:
JPG isn't so good for zooming. Much of this is vector content. Why not PNG
Actually nothing on the map is in vector graphics. Nothing at all. It's all Raster. I don't get on very well with vector graphics. Personal preference.

Quote:
Why say "system tactical information" when "system information" will do?
Because again it's being told from a Terran military perspective. Not from a traders viewpoint. To the terran military it's information abut the tactical assests the sector has.

Quote:
Why include gate indicators?
That was something that was suggested as an addition when i was doing the X3 map. The positioning of the systems means an awful lot of the routes can be misleading without some indication of which two gates the route connects. THe new look gate indicators are a bit more subtle then the old so with any luck it won't make the map look so cluttered, Plus with the removal of the other icons (indicating shipyard etc) There should be more room for them now.

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xCav8r





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PostPosted: Sat, 15. Nov 08, 00:29    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

I'm glad I could provide some input to help. I like your project and I'm looking forward to the end product, however it turns out. It'll still be the best looking map of the X universe out there. Smile

Nyax wrote:
[...] made a start on adding gate indicators (you'll have to tell me if you still think they're too intrusive)


I agree that with the new way of representing the stations in a sector there is less clutter to compete with the gates, but it's hard to gauge properly without seeing them all over the map. They're obviously not as salient with the current color, but I still think that, overall, they're not necessary. Only the hard to determine ones are necessary. Seems like a cartographer might omit the obvious and only indicate the not-so-obvious locations. After all, the interconnecting lines, for the most part, already accurately convey the cardinal directions, right?

Nyax wrote:
[...] and added background colours to denote race ownership.


I think this'll end up being the best compromise, but I'm curious to see how ownership might be conveyed by altering the circular containers around each sector's picture. (I know you said that you had already made these changes prior to reading my feedback.)

Nyax wrote:
That's a spoiler. You'll see more on the new version of the map.


I'd better move along in the campaign then. I still haven't taken the Teladianium (sp?) to the Argon military sector.

Nyax wrote:
Do you mean the 'grid' with the sun at the center? It's because it's Styled to be along the lines of a Terran navigational chart (hence the title). Any Terran navigational chart is going to use the solar system as it's central point and any map or other chart is always going to have grid markings of some sort on it to allow the gauging of distance. I've played with it a bit and i find It looks an awful lot better with them, then without.
Alternately if you mean the lines on the solar system map, then they're marking the planets orbits


By grid I meant the concentric rings around the Sun and the lines radiating from the Sun on the universe map. They're not functional; they're aesthetic: neither the rings nor the lines serve a practical purpose. For example, I can't really determine distance using them as reference. I realize it's meant to have a map-like appearance that people will recognize as mappish looking, and I think it's a valid argument to say the map looks better with these artistic flourishes than without them. Still, I think they unnecessarily compete with the lines connecting the jump gates, which are functional.

BTW, I thought the lines on the old X3R map worked better because I thought it was a grid system for the galaxy/universe. I think my problem here is that the ecliptic plane of our solar system isn't meaninful when projected over the map of the galaxy/universe. I hope that makes sense.

Nyax wrote:
Actually nothing on the map is in vector graphics. Nothing at all. It's all Raster. I don't get on very well with vector graphics. Personal preference.


Wow! I just assumed it was an enterprise with Illustrator or the like. I could never do something like that in wholly in Photoshop (without importing from Illustrator). Kudos!

Nyax wrote:
Because again it's being told from a Terran military perspective. Not from a traders viewpoint. To the terran military it's information abut the tactical assests the sector has.


Still seems superfluous and unnecessarily wordy. If I were a military cartographer, I think I'd still make the same criticism.

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jahulath





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PostPosted: Sun, 16. Nov 08, 04:34    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

It's looking really good!
Quote:
Quote:
Why include gate indicators?
That was something that was suggested as an addition when i was doing the X3 map. The positioning of the systems means an awful lot of the routes can be misleading without some indication of which two gates the route connects. THe new look gate indicators are a bit more subtle then the old so with any luck it won't make the map look so cluttered, Plus with the removal of the other icons (indicating shipyard etc) There should be more room for them now.

Could this be done with a colour system too? Say E is green and W is red I imagine it to look like...

---//------------------\\---

But a bit more subtle. I would imagine the only time you would really need them is when you can't find the gate and your map was looking so nice and clean without...


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Nyax





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PostPosted: Sun, 16. Nov 08, 13:38    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Interesting idea. I'll give it a whirl.

Incidently xCav8r i've tried recolouring the circular containers for each system and... to be honest it doesn't look too great. The colours are just too stark and jarring. The only way to fix that is to reduce their saturation and/or brightness but then if you do that the differences between them often become too subtle to notice easily.

Quote:
By grid I meant the concentric rings around the Sun and the lines radiating from the Sun on the universe map. They're not functional; they're aesthetic: neither the rings nor the lines serve a practical purpose
They actually serve a very important and singular purpose- To make Sol the 'center' of the map. Without them it's just another system randomly positioned somewhere on the map with nothing everly interesting to make it really stand out. This is a Terran map. it needs to stand out and appear to be at the center of everything.

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delray



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PostPosted: Sat, 22. Nov 08, 04:53    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Freedom's Reach isn't a Teladi sector anymore.

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mcflurey667





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PostPosted: Tue, 2. Dec 08, 04:50    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

the map hes got

Here:

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/christopher.hill90/X3TCMapV2.jpg


this is very very good must have taken a long time


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spacehunt





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PostPosted: Thu, 5. Feb 09, 09:55    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Anymore updates on this yet ? It lloks great so far ! Smile

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enenra





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PostPosted: Thu, 5. Feb 09, 17:45    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Great looking. Thumb up I really like how you indicated the territory of the races. Smile

My only concern is that the font is really hard to read. I recommend switching to a less narrow one.


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