Spelljammer Sphere Maps and Planetary Trackers

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Spelljammer Sphere Maps and Planetary Trackers

Post by Argentmantle » Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:14 am

Image

and a zoomed in view

Image


Need some feedback for making these. Let me know from the Spelljammer family what can be done to improve these. These are poster sized and contain a lot of fiddly-bits to make them artsy.

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Re: Spelljammer Sphere Maps and Planetary Trackers

Post by night_druid » Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:26 am

Great work! :)
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Re: Spelljammer Sphere Maps and Planetary Trackers

Post by Big Mac » Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:44 pm

Argentmantle wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:14 am
Need some feedback for making these. Let me know from the Spelljammer family what can be done to improve these. These are poster sized and contain a lot of fiddly-bits to make them artsy.
Very beautiful, and a bit different from the usual Spelljammer map.

From what I can tell, you have following bits of information to help people:
  • Planetary Diagram built into a crystal sphere map (I think for the first time ever)!
    This means that the map could be loaded into something like Roll 20, with ship counters stuck on top for navigation within Greyspace.
  • Planet information added to planet labels.
    This means that a GM does not need to flip to another document to show that information to players.
  • Artistic depiction of the celestial bodies.
    This makes it more than just dots and symbols.
  • Zodiac constellations (again, I think for the first time ever)!
    These give a GM something to show to players who are navigators.
  • The Grinder shown as a cloud of asteroids.
    This makes it a bit more obvious that it is a sphere.
I think that all these things are a great leap forward.

So. How to make something awesome better.

1) This has AMAZING potential for Roll 20. Some folks might benefit from a separate version with the planets (not Oerth or The Grinder) removed and provided as separate placeable items, so that they can move the worlds for a long-term campaign in Greyspace. (But that would be an icing on the cake thing.) I can just about see distance numbers on the Planetary Diagram. I'm not sure if that is because of the typeface or if the letters are dim or a bit thin. It's a great feature, but a bit hard to use.

2) The information around the celestial bodies looks pretty clear. But it looks like some of the celestial bodies within The Grinder are a bit overshadowed by The Grinder. Do you think you might be able to make The dirt of The Grinder slightly more transparent where the celestial bodies are, so they stand out as much as the information boxes? Also the distance given in the planet information boxes seems to be different from the distances given on the Planetary Diagram elements in a couple of places. I don't know if that's because this is at the test stage or if it is an error.

3) The celestial bodies are amazing. Would you also be able to provide them separately as a collection, so that people could make player handouts with them on? (Or are they not done at that sort of quality?)

4) I love the zodiac constellations. I'm convinced that zodiac constellations can be used both to plot the position of a ship or other object within a crystal sphere...and also used as a GM tool to explain how a ship travelling from Greyspace to another crystal sphere finds the space on the crystal shell where the phlogiston river to the other sphere is located. I am wondering if they would work better if referenced against the Outer Planetary Zone, instead of the Inner Planetary Zone (as the outer bit is where the crystal shell and the constellations actually are).

5) I love The Grinder. This is another leap forward. As well as dialing it back a bit, where it is sitting on top of other planets (and making it harder to see the awesome celestial body art) do you think you might be able to name drop a few of the big asteroids (the ones that have names)? SJR6 Greyspace is a bit weird with the names, suggesting that there are lots of names (and some of the alternative names are stupidly long) but it would be nice to throw up the short names of the canon Size B asteroids.

One other thing. Maybe I can't see it, but there is nothing there to tell me how far out the crystal sphere wall is. Your map gives every single bit of information except that.

Finally, that small empty bit of the picture could show something else useful. Maybe an extract from a phlogiston map that shows Greyspace alongside nearby crystal spheres, with the phlogiston rivers. :)

I think this is the best Spelljammer map, I've ever seen (so far). I'd love to see this done for other crystal spheres too. (But it would be good if other people can make suggestions for improvements.)
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Re: Spelljammer Sphere Maps and Planetary Trackers

Post by Argentmantle » Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:18 pm

I'm actually using this as a redline document as I tighten up the design. So, I'm pulling stuff out to go over.
Big Mac wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:44 pm
1) This has AMAZING potential for Roll 20. Some folks might benefit from a separate version with the planets (not Oerth or The Grinder) removed and provided as separate placeable items, so that they can move the worlds for a long-term campaign in Greyspace. (But that would be an icing on the cake thing.) I can just about see distance numbers on the Planetary Diagram. I'm not sure if that is because of the typeface or if the letters are dim or a bit thin. It's a great feature, but a bit hard to use.
The planets are floating layers… so they can be manipulated in placement. I.e. anywhere on the map. They can be extracted as separate objects, i.e. moving the planetary bodies. Technically, a mechanic could be built in to rotate them.
Have to break #2 into 2 parts, how fitting.
Big Mac wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:44 pm
2) The information around the celestial bodies looks pretty clear. But it looks like some of the celestial bodies within The Grinder are a bit overshadowed by The Grinder. Do you think you might be able to make The dirt of The Grinder slightly more transparent where the celestial bodies are, so they stand out as much as the information boxes?

I think the Grinder is too dark and agree with you that it overshadows the rest of the Inner Map. Now, as for the second part, i.e. the distances: so the planetary rings in the inner group are 20 million miles apart and the outer rings are 400 million miles apart. The orbits listed in the material I have for Greyspace has many of them at things like 300 million miles or other ‘odd’ numbers. So technically, they are within the appropriate ring but not in the exact places. Giving them a dash of glow. This is very important in the inner system and the asteroid planets in the outer.
Big Mac wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:44 pm
2Also the distance given in the planet information boxes seems to be different from the distances given on the Planetary Diagram elements in a couple of places. I don't know if that's because this is at the test stage or if it is an error.
Now, as for the second part, i.e. the distances: so the planetary rings in the inner group are 20 million miles apart and the outer rings are 400 million miles apart. The orbits listed in the material I have for Greyspace has many of them at things like 300 million miles or other ‘odd’ numbers. So technically, they are within the appropriate ring but not in the exact places.
Any thoughts on the corrections? I can replace the planets, but I wanted them to line up with the nice planetary tracker.
Big Mac wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:44 pm
3) The celestial bodies are amazing. Would you also be able to provide them separately as a collection, so that people could make player handouts with them on? (Or are they not done at that sort of quality?)
I’m really not comfortable with how these turned out on a larger scale. They start to fall apart if you look at them too closely, especially around the polar regions. Part of this is that I really don’t know the math to make true projections.
Here is an example:
Image
So, when I convert it into a sphere… it turns into this.
Image
The images are only about 1500 px. So they might be a little soft for use in printed materials that make them into something larger. They might make decent support material for Roll20. They still would be quite large on a display.
Big Mac wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:44 pm
4) I love the zodiac constellations. I'm convinced that zodiac constellations can be used both to plot the position of a ship or other object within a crystal sphere...and also used as a GM tool to explain how a ship travelling from Greyspace to another crystal sphere finds the space on the crystal shell where the phlogiston river to the other sphere is located. I am wondering if they would work better if referenced against the Outer Planetary Zone, instead of the Inner Planetary Zone (as the outer bit is where the crystal shell and the constellations actually are).
I’m still puttering around with this. So, the ‘catch’ is that there is very little space between the two ring maps. My original thought was to keep things as close to the original planetary tracker as possible, though there is another 6 inches that the spheres could be moved by. So, I went ahead and moved the whole of it. I wiggled it around a bit to give us an idea.
Big Mac wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:44 pm
5) I love The Grinder. This is another leap forward. As well as dialing it back a bit, where it is sitting on top of other planets (and making it harder to see the awesome celestial body art) do you think you might be able to name drop a few of the big asteroids (the ones that have names)? SJR6 Greyspace is a bit weird with the names, suggesting that there are lots of names (and some of the alternative names are stupidly long) but it would be nice to throw up the short names of the canon Size B asteroids.
I can drop names for asteroids, though I don’t have any sort of list.
Big Mac wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:44 pm
One other thing. Maybe I can't see it, but there is nothing there to tell me how far out the crystal sphere wall is. Your map gives every single bit of information except that.
I hadn’t added it in yet. But the current version has it.
Big Mac wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:44 pm
Finally, that small empty bit of the picture could show something else useful. Maybe an extract from a phlogiston map that shows Greyspace alongside nearby crystal spheres, with the phlogiston rivers. :)
I still have no real working concept of Phlo rivers or really how the Phlo looks. I know it is a swirling mass of colorful clouds.
Big Mac wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:44 pm
I think this is the best Spelljammer map, I've ever seen (so far). I'd love to see this done for other crystal spheres too. (But it would be good if other people can make suggestions for improvements.)
Thanks and certainly would be awesome for more feedback.

So, here is a working copy of the map... weighing in at 70 Meghttp://thousandcrowns.com/greyspace.png Definitely not for the faint of heart.

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Re: Spelljammer Sphere Maps and Planetary Trackers

Post by Argentmantle » Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:30 pm

Here's sorta the general plan maybe for something flow related... I don't know, what do you think?

Image

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Re: Spelljammer Sphere Maps and Planetary Trackers

Post by Argentmantle » Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:39 pm

And less awful version of the map...

Image

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Re: Spelljammer Sphere Maps and Planetary Trackers

Post by Big Mac » Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:56 pm

Argentmantle wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:39 pm
And less awful version of the map...
I need to come back to your other posts (I've got something to do and it's going to take ages just to think about all the stuff you have written...and done) but I wanted to reply to this post quickly.

This last map is by no means "less awful".

It is "more awesome".

I saw things that looked amazing before, but something was nagging me. Now I see this, I realise what was nagging me.

The way you have moved the constellations in around the outside of the crystal sphere (instead of putting them at the edge of the map) works really really well. I'd say it improves that concept a few hundred percent.

And it looks like the big circle is the crystal sphere wall (and that Greyspace is actually slightly smaller than the Planetary Diagram rectangles). That is much more effective too.

You are really communicating information without words here. And with the cut out no longer having lines out to the constellation, there is much more of a clear line for the human eye to follow to go inwards and outwards. I realise now that the previous design involved a bit of scanning backwards and forward that you have illuminated. I think that this map is going to be much more easy on the eye with most people not even understanding why.

Nice work! :cool:

I'll get back to you in a couple of hours.
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Re: Spelljammer Sphere Maps and Planetary Trackers

Post by Argentmantle » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:15 pm

I meant 'less awful' as in not 70 megabytes! I'm overall really happy with all the steps so far, it's a fun process.

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Re: Spelljammer Sphere Maps and Planetary Trackers

Post by Argentmantle » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:18 pm

Please please, if you interested in Spelljammer, let me know how these can be improved for use in games.

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Re: Spelljammer Sphere Maps and Planetary Trackers

Post by Seethyr » Thu Apr 25, 2019 12:03 am

These maps are actually getting me back IN to Soelljammer. Awesome, awesome stuff.
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Re: Spelljammer Sphere Maps and Planetary Trackers

Post by Big Mac » Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:06 pm

Ack! Fell asleep yesterday and have been busy today, but I know what this is!
Argentmantle wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:18 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:44 pm
3) The celestial bodies are amazing. Would you also be able to provide them separately as a collection, so that people could make player handouts with them on? (Or are they not done at that sort of quality?)
I’m really not comfortable with how these turned out on a larger scale. They start to fall apart if you look at them too closely, especially around the polar regions. Part of this is that I really don’t know the math to make true projections.
Here is an example:
Image
So, when I convert it into a sphere… it turns into this.
Image
The images are only about 1500 px. So they might be a little soft for use in printed materials that make them into something larger. They might make decent support material for Roll20. They still would be quite large on a display.
This is something I call "the broken pole problem". It's something that TSR cartographers used to do. And even WotC cartographers do this. (The Eberron map has broken poles.)

The cause of the problem is this:
  • A horizontal line across the middle of your rectangle represents the equator,
  • The horizontal line across the top of your rectangle represents the North Pole of the world and
  • The horizontal line across the bottom of your rectangle represents the South Pole of the world.
So when you wrap a rectangle onto a sphere, the North Pole and South Pole look weird, because you need every single pixel on the top and bottom of the map to be identical (as they are all inches away from each other, instead of miles.

Practical Planetology has some of these maps with broken poles and I have looked at this in the past, because I want to find a way to "unbreak" the poles of all these planets, without throwing away the stuff that is cluttering up the broken poles.

There are a few topics about this around the forums and the Other World Mapper team put in a feature that allows people to work on the North and South Pole of a map separately for me (so that people could avoid broken poles.

Thorf also has a tutorial that shows you how you can use a free NASA tool (yes THAT NASA) to change the projection model of a map and avoid broken poles.

(You might not need to do that for this project, but I think it will help you for future maps. I'll try and find some links later.)
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Re: Spelljammer Sphere Maps and Planetary Trackers

Post by Icarus » Fri Apr 26, 2019 8:29 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:44 pm
[*]Zodiac constellations (again, I think for the first time ever)!
These give a GM something to show to players who are navigators.

4) I love the zodiac constellations. I'm convinced that zodiac constellations can be used both to plot the position of a ship or other object within a crystal sphere...
These are, indeed amazingly intricate and beautiful pieces of art!
I can't say enough how much I absolutely love them!
As you'll see below, I've been in the process of working on my own version of the star wheel for quite some time.
Incredibly useful and tremendously exciting to see!

The only thing I would point out is that the constellations are not new.
They have been around for about 12 years.
They are the original work of Andy Miller in "Constellations of Greyhawk", Oerth Journal#22 (June 2007), p34-42.
There's a couple of names that are spelled slightly differently(omitting complicated vowels or adding a repeated consonant), but, they're all the same, and the star patterns for them are all drawn from that article. It should be cited.

Which is not to say there's anything wrong with building upon the works of others!! Only that the original creator should be cited.
It's amazing work, and I personally use the same basis for all of the astrology, prophecy, astronavigation, and everything else having to do with stars in my home campaign.
Especially when Veneficus (the Mage), aka Vecna is on the rise in midsummer! Oh No!! :P
I love this version, and as a professional artist, I have to say that I greatly admire Argentmantle's work! Stunning!


This one (below) is an almost exact copy, but, with constellation pattern-lines drawn in, and the majority of the names rotated to be used as a wheel. Originally, they were horizontal, and if you turned it to look at the constellations in season, they would be upside down.
Image
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Re: Spelljammer Sphere Maps and Planetary Trackers

Post by Big Mac » Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:01 pm

Argentmantle wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:18 pm
I'm actually using this as a redline document as I tighten up the design. So, I'm pulling stuff out to go over.
Big Mac wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:44 pm
1) This has AMAZING potential for Roll 20. Some folks might benefit from a separate version with the planets (not Oerth or The Grinder) removed and provided as separate placeable items, so that they can move the worlds for a long-term campaign in Greyspace. (But that would be an icing on the cake thing.) I can just about see distance numbers on the Planetary Diagram. I'm not sure if that is because of the typeface or if the letters are dim or a bit thin. It's a great feature, but a bit hard to use.
The planets are floating layers… so they can be manipulated in placement. I.e. anywhere on the map. They can be extracted as separate objects, i.e. moving the planetary bodies. Technically, a mechanic could be built in to rotate them.
That's great!

I've seen some people selling virtual tabletop backgrounds that move, so they have things like ships on a sea with waves going by.

I think the only problem with that sort of route, is that, once someone starts doing that sort of stuff, they have to put the same level of effort into lots of different things.

Having said that, you do have that level of talent. And you do seem to be able to crank out revisions very fast. (Faster than I can reply to your posts, sometimes! :P :oops: :lol: )

Anyhoo, would you rotate the planets individually (like an animated GIF that shows the day/night cycle) or are you talking of something where they rotate around the orbits (showing the years)?

There was a rotating globe of Toril posted on Imgur. That was excellent.

If there was an army of cartographers, making maps for every planet, we could have that for every celestial body.
Argentmantle wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:18 pm
Have to break #2 into 2 parts, how fitting.
Big Mac wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:44 pm
2) The information around the celestial bodies looks pretty clear. But it looks like some of the celestial bodies within The Grinder are a bit overshadowed by The Grinder. Do you think you might be able to make The dirt of The Grinder slightly more transparent where the celestial bodies are, so they stand out as much as the information boxes?

I think the Grinder is too dark and agree with you that it overshadows the rest of the Inner Map.
I don't so much think that it was too dark. It was more that it was dominating the other graphic elements. If there were actually no other celestial bodies inside The Grinder (except maybe a sun) it would have been perfect, as it was.

I think this is where your skill as an artist shows. As you have a bunch of things competing for the attention of our eyes and you get to pull one back, to get another one to pop out more. I'm really glad you are showing us these preview versions, as people don't normally get to see the creative process. :)

I'm not sure what happened after you wrote that. It looks like something duplicated part of your post. But there is actually a bit more in the first bit, so I'll put them both here:
Argentmantle wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:18 pm
Now, as for the second part, i.e. the distances: so the planetary rings in the inner group are 20 million miles apart and the outer rings are 400 million miles apart. The orbits listed in the material I have for Greyspace has many of them at things like 300 million miles or other ‘odd’ numbers. So technically, they are within the appropriate ring but not in the exact places. Giving them a dash of glow. This is very important in the inner system and the asteroid planets in the outer.
...and...
Argentmantle wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:18 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:44 pm
2Also the distance given in the planet information boxes seems to be different from the distances given on the Planetary Diagram elements in a couple of places. I don't know if that's because this is at the test stage or if it is an error.
Now, as for the second part, i.e. the distances: so the planetary rings in the inner group are 20 million miles apart and the outer rings are 400 million miles apart.
The glowing ring is an interesting effect. It does make the planets show up, but there are some planets that have rings, so it could also be mistaken as a planetary ring.

I've seen some TV shows and movies, where they have on screen subtitles that are surrounded by a translucent black rectangle. When there is a dark background, you can't see the rectangle, at all, but when the background turns white you see the dark rectangle and that lets you read the white words on a white background. So it was an effect that you didn't even notice most of the time. You only saw it when you needed it.

I wonder if something similar would allow people to see both the planet and The Grinder and not notice the transition. Suppose there was a black* circle that is opaque next to the planet, but which faded rapidly into 100 percent transparency. That would give a bit of a gap around the planets, but you would only ever notice it when it was obscuring one of the individual asteroids that your eye was looking at. I think it might look more like the asteroids are going behind the celestial bodies.

* = Or whatever your exact base background colour is.

I don't know if you think it might be worth doing an experiment, but I think it's possible that you could have a solution to the planets being obscured, that is so subtle that a lot of people don't even notice it is there.
Argentmantle wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:18 pm
The orbits listed in the material I have for Greyspace has many of them at things like 300 million miles or other ‘odd’ numbers. So technically, they are within the appropriate ring but not in the exact places.

Any thoughts on the corrections? I can replace the planets, but I wanted them to line up with the nice planetary tracker.
I always thought that objects in the Plantary Display Map were supposed to sit in the middle of the open rectangles, rather than on the lines (or the intersections of the lines).

I thought the rolls for encounters, were representative or an encounter somewhere within the entire rectangle.

Can anyone else recall how this rule is supposed to work?
Argentmantle wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:18 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:44 pm
3) The celestial bodies are amazing. Would you also be able to provide them separately as a collection, so that people could make player handouts with them on? (Or are they not done at that sort of quality?)
I’m really not comfortable with how these turned out on a larger scale. They start to fall apart if you look at them too closely, especially around the polar regions. Part of this is that I really don’t know the math to make true projections.
Here is an example:
Image
So, when I convert it into a sphere… it turns into this.
Image
The images are only about 1500 px. So they might be a little soft for use in printed materials that make them into something larger. They might make decent support material for Roll20. They still would be quite large on a display.
I guess the surfaces of the planets would requre a separate mapping project anyway, as you can't blow up a thumbnail image and make it HD. Nevertheless, these planets you made do hold up when made a lot larger than you intended them to be. That's an impressive amount of detail you added, considering that you are working so very quickly.

(I suppose the other way to go with this would be to come back to your Greyspace map later, if/when there were high-level detailed maps of the planet, and swap out the awsome ones you have for thumbnails of the new ones...if it looked like it might make a difference.)

I wonder if there could be some sort of web application that allowed people to click on the worlds you have made and be sent over to another page (or pop-up) that has a more detailed version of that world. (Something like that might also work for celestial bodies with moons, rings or other "goodies".)
Argentmantle wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:18 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:44 pm
4) I love the zodiac constellations. I'm convinced that zodiac constellations can be used both to plot the position of a ship or other object within a crystal sphere...and also used as a GM tool to explain how a ship travelling from Greyspace to another crystal sphere finds the space on the crystal shell where the phlogiston river to the other sphere is located. I am wondering if they would work better if referenced against the Outer Planetary Zone, instead of the Inner Planetary Zone (as the outer bit is where the crystal shell and the constellations actually are).
I’m still puttering around with this. So, the ‘catch’ is that there is very little space between the two ring maps. My original thought was to keep things as close to the original planetary tracker as possible, though there is another 6 inches that the spheres could be moved by. So, I went ahead and moved the whole of it. I wiggled it around a bit to give us an idea.
I really like what you did with the constellations. You have the elements there, but they are shown as designs, rather than wrapped around in a circle. I think that would help a GM and players work out the correct order of the constellations, without it taking up a lot of space.

I'm not sure you can improve much on this. :cool:
Argentmantle wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:18 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:44 pm
5) I love The Grinder. This is another leap forward. As well as dialing it back a bit, where it is sitting on top of other planets (and making it harder to see the awesome celestial body art) do you think you might be able to name drop a few of the big asteroids (the ones that have names)? SJR6 Greyspace is a bit weird with the names, suggesting that there are lots of names (and some of the alternative names are stupidly long) but it would be nice to throw up the short names of the canon Size B asteroids.
I can drop names for asteroids, though I don’t have any sort of list.
I've got the names in my Greyspace - the Greyhawk/Spelljammer crossover sphere master topic. Here is an extract:
  • The Grinder
    • Ceres (aka "the Pup")
    • Khadazah ("Motherlode")
    • Lassh'tz Zst'q ("We Are Here" aka Swamp, Cenerea "Fetid Place" or Harkalopenarigastinoven "Do-Not-Go-Here-Or-You-Will-Most-Probably-Find-Yourself-Eaten-In-Short-Order")
    • Reaper (aka "the Graveyard" or Charnelhouse)
    • Shatterport (fanon created by ripvanwormer)
    • Skullbringer
    • unnamed now uninhabited beholder asteroid
    • unnamed now uninhabited second beholder asteroid
    • unnamed asteroid that crashed into Reaper when it was inhabited
    • unnamed Elven Navy outpost asteroid
As you can see, that's five named in the canon, four unnamed in the canon and one fanon asteroid. There may be more canon and fanon asteroids that I've not identified yet. (Candlekeep had more Realmspace stuff than what I had identified. Maybe someone on Canonfire has done some research.)
Argentmantle wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:18 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:44 pm
One other thing. Maybe I can't see it, but there is nothing there to tell me how far out the crystal sphere wall is. Your map gives every single bit of information except that.
I hadn’t added it in yet. But the current version has it.
I saw it and it looks great. It looks like it is a couple of rectangles in from the end of the edge of the Planetary Diagram Map elements. I suppose that is going to vary from sphere to sphere. Are you thinking about doing this at the true scale or will you "shink" in the sphere on maps where the sphere is excessively large?

One thing that was a potentially awesome background detail was that the original three spheres have descriptions of the colour of the shell. Sadly, that is something that was dropped by later designers. It's a shame, because if all the spheres had their own colour you could include it as an element in these maps...and also on a larger phlogiston map, and it would have worked as a background element that unconciously helped people
Argentmantle wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:18 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:44 pm
Finally, that small empty bit of the picture could show something else useful. Maybe an extract from a phlogiston map that shows Greyspace alongside nearby crystal spheres, with the phlogiston rivers. :)
I still have no real working concept of Phlo rivers or really how the Phlo looks. I know it is a swirling mass of colorful clouds.
It is a bit of an abstract concept, that doesn't really have a lot of art to back it up. (If Spelljamer had been published in the 3rd Edition Era we would have colour Spelljammer art coming out of our ears, but they mostly had black and white art in the 2e Era and most SJ art is in Wildspace.)

Most folks seem to go with things like lava lamps or the rainbow colours you see in polluted puddes next to roads.

The other thing that is confusing is that Phlogiston gets used both for the area and also the substance that fills the area. Phlogiston rivers are concentrations of Phlogiston material that pass through areas of the Phlogiston.

Ships can get lost in the Phlogistion, if they don't find the correct river. So in a work of art, it would need to be quite vague. But on a map, you can't really have a rainbow line on a rainbow background.
Argentmantle wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:18 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:44 pm
I think this is the best Spelljammer map, I've ever seen (so far). I'd love to see this done for other crystal spheres too. (But it would be good if other people can make suggestions for improvements.)
Thanks and certainly would be awesome for more feedback.

So, here is a working copy of the map... weighing in at 70 Meghttp://thousandcrowns.com/greyspace.png Definitely not for the faint of heart.
That map is really amazing!
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Re: Spelljammer Sphere Maps and Planetary Trackers

Post by Icarus » Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:23 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:01 pm
Argentmantle wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:18 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:44 pm
4) I love the zodiac constellations. I'm convinced that zodiac constellations can be used …
I’m still puttering around with this. ....
I really like what you did with the constellations. You have the elements there, but they are shown as designs, rather than wrapped around in a circle. I think that would help a GM and players work out the correct order of the constellations, without it taking up a lot of space.

I'm not sure you can improve much on this. :cool:
Argentmantle has already placed them in order.
The begin with the 3 o'clock or "east" position being Spring, Planting 1st, with "Rapa", the Frog.
They continue clockwise from there, in the order of the months/seasons/zodiac.

That's not necessarily where they are … "spatially", as in where the constellations are on the inner surface of the Crystal Sphere, but I think Argentmantle did a great job with putting pattern-lines into the constellations which weren't in Chris Miller's original. I think it helps really make them appear more clearly as what they are intended to represent.
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Re: Spelljammer Sphere Maps and Planetary Trackers

Post by Man in the Funny Hat » Thu May 02, 2019 4:38 pm

Now, as for the second part, i.e. the distances: so the planetary rings in the inner group are 20 million miles apart and the outer rings are 400 million miles apart. The orbits listed in the material I have for Greyspace has many of them at things like 300 million miles or other ‘odd’ numbers. So technically, they are within the appropriate ring but not in the exact places. Giving them a dash of glow. This is very important in the inner system and the asteroid planets in the outer.
I note that the center is divided into 3 sections, each extending 20 million miles in a radius from the center point. This should instead be a 20 million mile _diameter_ circle. Same with both the inner and outer displays, just different size diameters. That will make the “odd” distances fit correctly on the tracks.

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Re: Spelljammer Sphere Maps and Planetary Trackers

Post by Big Mac » Fri May 10, 2019 12:12 am

Icarus wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:23 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:01 pm
Argentmantle wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:18 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:44 pm
4) I love the zodiac constellations. I'm convinced that zodiac constellations can be used …
I’m still puttering around with this. ....
I really like what you did with the constellations. You have the elements there, but they are shown as designs, rather than wrapped around in a circle. I think that would help a GM and players work out the correct order of the constellations, without it taking up a lot of space.

I'm not sure you can improve much on this. :cool:
Argentmantle has already placed them in order.
The begin with the 3 o'clock or "east" position being Spring, Planting 1st, with "Rapa", the Frog.
They continue clockwise from there, in the order of the months/seasons/zodiac.

That's not necessarily where they are … "spatially", as in where the constellations are on the inner surface of the Crystal Sphere, but I think Argentmantle did a great job with putting pattern-lines into the constellations which weren't in Chris Miller's original. I think it helps really make them appear more clearly as what they are intended to represent.
I love the way that there are dozens of great little art elements, but that they take a back-seat to the great design elements. There is real information conveyed here. Maybe more information than any previous Spelljammer sphere map. But it's done in an elegant way.

It's interesting that the spacial positions might not be quite right, as you said. And it's also interesting that the sizes of the celestial bodies are not in proportion to the exact size of the crystal sphere. But those those "cheats" give us a diagram - or rather a set of cooperating diagrams - that exchange the sort of simple symbols that would get the job done for what is effectively an art gallery layed out around the diagram(s).

BTW: I wasn't saying that Argentmantle "needed to work out the correct order" of the constellations. I was saying that the newer arrangement (with the constellations in a circle around the outside of the crystal sphere, instead of in a rectangle at the edge of the map, with lines out from the inner part of the sphere) is much better for "helping a GM and players to work out what is going on".

When you are dealing with a setting the size of a planetary system, there is a bunch of technical background data, including:
  • which way celestial bodies rotate,
  • which way they orbit,
  • the size of each orbital track and
  • the size of the crystal shell as well as
  • the location and order of the constellations.
You can look this sort of thing up in sourcebooks, but it's hard to get it to stick in your head, but it's the sort of thing that a diagram can show you visually. And that's what I was saying Argentmantle had done.

I guess it's easier for you to understand this sort of thing than me, what with you being an artist yourself. :)
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Re: Spelljammer Sphere Maps and Planetary Trackers

Post by Argentmantle » Fri May 10, 2019 7:21 pm

Man in the Funny Hat wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 4:38 pm
Now, as for the second part, i.e. the distances: so the planetary rings in the inner group are 20 million miles apart and the outer rings are 400 million miles apart. The orbits listed in the material I have for Greyspace has many of them at things like 300 million miles or other ‘odd’ numbers. So technically, they are within the appropriate ring but not in the exact places. Giving them a dash of glow. This is very important in the inner system and the asteroid planets in the outer.
I note that the center is divided into 3 sections, each extending 20 million miles in a radius from the center point. This should instead be a 20 million mile _diameter_ circle. Same with both the inner and outer displays, just different size diameters. That will make the “odd” distances fit correctly on the tracks.
Alright, this is where I get a little confused. Because I would actually very much think that makes the logical sense but it goes against the materials in Concordance of Arcane Space, which is one of the few Spelljammer products I have:
Concordance of Arcane Space wrote:
Each space on the inner track represents 20 million miles. A standard spelljamming ship can move 5 spaces on the inner track in a single day. Each space on the outer track represents 400 million miles. A ship must travel for days to cross a single space. This dual scale allows all the planetary orbits to be shown on the map. A map of this sort that only the inner scale would fill an auditorium if it had to show the orbits of Pluto and Neptune in the same scale as Mercury.
So, that led me to:
Image
Which to me is indicative that each space is 400/20M miles across.
Did this get changed in a later piece of material?

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Re: Spelljammer Sphere Maps and Planetary Trackers

Post by Argentmantle » Fri May 10, 2019 7:26 pm

So, getting pretty close to done...

Image

Image

Image

Image

And versions of the whole map together.


Image

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Re: Spelljammer Sphere Maps and Planetary Trackers

Post by Argentmantle » Sat May 11, 2019 1:14 pm

And Realmspace:

Image

Image

Image

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Re: Spelljammer Sphere Maps and Planetary Trackers

Post by Man in the Funny Hat » Sat May 11, 2019 7:41 pm

Argentmantle wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 7:21 pm
Alright, this is where I get a little confused. Because I would actually very much think that makes the logical sense but it goes against the materials in Concordance of Arcane Space, which is one of the few Spelljammer products I have:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/xspihsm5mz92z ... y.JPG?dl=0
The diagram I made at that link is what I'm talking about. The center of the planetary diagram should look like the bit on the left and yours is divided like the one on the right.

Planets can orbit at any distance you care to assign to them, but the original display is designed for a stationary central body (or a position for a stationary central body). On the inner sphere display that's then a circular space that is 20,000,000 miles diameter. Each track outside of that is then 20,000,000 miles wide. So on the inner display planets would traditionally be getting orbits that are in multiples of 20,000,000 miles which places them in the center of the spaces on a given track.

The outer display is configured the same, but the center circular space is 400,000,000 miles diameter and the tracks are each that same distance wide. So, on the outer display traditionally the planets will be given orbits in multiples of 400,000,000 putting them in the center of those tracks.

If the material listing orbital diameters don't fit that paradigm, either somebody got it wrong somehow, or maybe they decided to defy convention established in the concordance for some reason. An orbital distance of 300,000,000 miles for example WOULD put it in the first track of the outer display. It just wouldn't put it in the center of that track. The distance for the center of track 1 would be 400,000,000.

However, if you use your method of dividing the center of the display then even if you position the primary body at the central point of those three spaces the standard distances are going to be off. You've essentially turned the single central space of 20m miles diameter into a track with 3 spaces each with 20m miles RADIUS. When you apply distances from the original display to your arrangement of spaces things will look off - by 10m miles in the inner display and by 200m miles in the outer display. They'll probably still be in the right tracks, just not in the center of them where you expect them to be.

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Re: Spelljammer Sphere Maps and Planetary Trackers

Post by Argentmantle » Thu May 16, 2019 12:52 am

They should be gone in the images above. The current versions are pretty clean with the planets moved into their spaces and rings.

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