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Monday, June 20

SciFi Setting Size Comparison

 I finally got around to sizing up the Space Opera official universe and the Traveller official universe to see how they compared size-wise to each other. First I need to figure out how big a Traveller Subsector is and compare that to a Space Opera Star Sector, these being the basic unit of measurement for their respective maps of known space.

The Star Sector for SO is easy to figure out, a 200 ly x 200 ly x 200 ly cube of space (ly = light year). Here is a picture of the Star Sector map for The Confederate Systems Alliance. 

There is no superimposed hex grid over the sector map, only grid locations indicated by letters and numbers coded on the top and side of the map. Much like a street map. For example, Doug's Groceries is in grid BB04. Everything is plotted on an x/y/z axis, with the Star Sector's Primary as the 0/0/0 point. The maps are created to scale, 1 cm = 10 ly. To find your straight-line distance between planetary systems you plug in your values into your formula for a right triangle.  For example, Janus to Lilith is 128 ly apart.

Classic Traveller (CT) on the other hand, measures distances by the parsec. A parsec is 3.26 ly. The traditional Subsector map is laid out on a hex map 10 x 8. So 32.6 ly x 26.08 ly. There are no values for up or down, the map is a 2-dimensional representation. The distance between two planetary systems is determined by the number of hexes needed to cross to get there. Therefore if a system is three hexes away that system is 9.78 ly away.

It is clear already the SO universe is much larger than the CTU (Classic Traveller Universe). But how much bigger? CT does offer us another map scale, the Sector. A Sector is made up of 16 Subsectors arranged in a 4x4 grid. 130 ly x 104.32 ly. Here is the well-known map of the Third Imperium by Sector.  


This map is arranged 8 Sectors x 16 Sectors, which, if using the Sector values established above yields 1,040 ly x 1,669.12 ly for known space in the CTU.

Here is a similar map for SO;


These are 200 ly x 200 ly cubes so sizing it up against the CTU should be a snap. 5.2 cubes x 8.34 cubes. It looks like to me the Space Opera universe is about 6 times the size of Traveller!  

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