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How many planets per system do you really need?

PostPosted: Sat 23 Feb 2019 05:18
by szurkey
I know an ex-StarFire player who says there is too many orbital bodies to track. In some respects, he does have a point. Here are a couple of nice image of how the designers (one of whom I know is another ex-StarFire player) of one computer game decided to restrict star systems to only four planets.

https://www.deviantart.com/ariochiv/art/Stars-in-Shadow-Star-and-Planet-Types-374529897

https://www.deviantart.com/ariochiv/art/Stars-in-Shadow-Terraforming-Chart-784630933

While I do love lots of detail, it is not always necessary.

Re: How many planets per system do you really need?

PostPosted: Sat 23 Feb 2019 09:55
by Cralis
Another solution that we used back in the ‘90s (before computers were so easily available to everyone) was to ignore orbital mechanics and just let the planets stay, unmoving, where they are at system generation. It made running ICN buoys and calculating movement of ships and CD a lot easier..,

Re: How many planets per system do you really need?

PostPosted: Mon 25 Feb 2019 10:05
by nukesnipe
Cralis wrote:Another solution that we used back in the ‘90s (before computers were so easily available to everyone) was to ignore orbital mechanics and just let the planets stay, unmoving, where they are at system generation. It made running ICN buoys and calculating movement of ships and CD a lot easier..,


I positively hated tracking planetary movement. Thought it was cool at first....

Re: How many planets per system do you really need?

PostPosted: Mon 25 Feb 2019 22:47
by coldsteel
nukesnipe wrote:
Cralis wrote:Another solution that we used back in the ‘90s (before computers were so easily available to everyone) was to ignore orbital mechanics and just let the planets stay, unmoving, where they are at system generation. It made running ICN buoys and calculating movement of ships and CD a lot easier..,


I positively hated tracking planetary movement. Thought it was cool at first....


Orbital movement was never cool..... IJS...

Re: How many planets per system do you really need?

PostPosted: Tue 26 Feb 2019 03:46
by szurkey
nukesnipe wrote:
Cralis wrote:Another solution that we used back in the ‘90s (before computers were so easily available to everyone) was to ignore orbital mechanics and just let the planets stay, unmoving, where they are at system generation. It made running ICN buoys and calculating movement of ships and CD a lot easier..,


I positively hated tracking planetary movement. Thought it was cool at first....

You guys are convincing me that I need to make an algorithm that automates orbital movement in StarFire, and another algorithm in StarFire where you enter your fleet location, your fleet's speed (or vector & deltaV if you are going hard science), the planet location (this would include it's orbital parameters), click a button, and it tells you how many turns to intercept the planet.

I suspect that tracking orbital movement would be much more fun if the scale was very limited, aka Triplanetary, or say just Alpha, Beta, and Proxima Centuari (only one triple star system and their planetary bodies).

Re: How many planets per system do you really need?

PostPosted: Tue 26 Feb 2019 04:21
by szurkey
I've been playing with the Traveller Subsector generator on Zhodani Base, https://zhodani.space/stuff/generators/random-subsector-generator/ to make open space strategic maps for a highly modified version of StarFire Ultra. What I have so far:
    Select Race: Imperium
    Subsector: as required for the map your are making
    Rules: your preference
    Select Settlement: Backwater
    Random Sector Name: your preference
    Random Subsector Name: your preference
    Random Capital Name: your preference
    Select Density: Sparse
    Output Style: ASCII
    Map Background: your preference
    Atmosphere Fix: your preference
The subsector data string is a fixed length. As such, it is easy to parse out information from it in Excel.
    Location in Sector: 15 to 18
    Starport: 20
    Hydrographics: 23
    Population Modifier: 52
    Belts: 53
    Gas Giants: 54
For those unfamiliar with Traveller data strings, https://travellermap.com/doc/fileformats.

I've generated and compiled information on 400 systems using the settings above. What I have, is the average system has 1 main world, 1.06 asteroid belts, 2.45 gas giants (includes G and I in StarFire), for a total of 4.51 planets per average system. Low is just 1 main world, and max is one main world plus 3 asteroid belts plus 5 gas giants, for a total of 9.

Re: How many planets per system do you really need?

PostPosted: Tue 26 Feb 2019 15:35
by aramis
That's about level 2 (of 5 levels) of Traveller Complexity for System Gen...

L1 (CT Bk2): Mainworld only, and whether there is a GG in system
L2 (all non-CT cores, CT Bk6 basic): Mainworld, # planetoid belts, # gas giants
L3 (CT Bk 6, most later cores): generate whole system from mainworld
L4 (ibid.) generate whole system then pick mainworld
L5 (MT WBH, TNE WTH): add expanded UWP which gives other details as well

T5 adds additional details at L2-L4, but not to the level of WBH nor WTH.

Re: How many planets per system do you really need?

PostPosted: Fri 01 Mar 2019 12:00
by Cralis
I see your point... but keep in mind that limiting the number of planets is incompatible with some of the more interesting rules. GG5.06 _requires_ all of the planets for each of the different race types. Without outer planets you make it harder to make hidden raiding bases, outer system tripwires, remote facilities, etc.

But what you are saying does reduce the complexity of systems. If you are going to do that and are using StMP movement (3rdR or later) then you might as well do away without system
position and record everything in StMP distances.

Re: How many planets per system do you really need?

PostPosted: Tue 05 Mar 2019 12:50
by southwestforests
Q: How many planets per system do you really need?
A1: How many does it take to advance the plot?
A2: How many does it take to do that and have stunning visuals?

Re: How many planets per system do you really need?

PostPosted: Tue 05 Mar 2019 14:09
by Cralis
southwestforests wrote:Q: How many planets per system do you really need?


That is an extremely subjective question abd highly dependent upon your objectives. How realistic do you want to be? If the answer is “who cares about realism?”, then you only NEED one planet.

If you want realism, then building a full system matters. For example, a number of things in SSF depend upon other things in the system: planet types and WP types depend upon the star type, stellar and lunar tidelocks, asteroid belts created by gas giants, anomalies and terrain can change everything... even the type of system determines if there is one star, two stars, three stars... or none at all. Simpler systems will have less interactions and some players find that boring.

But this can all be flipped on its head. Procyon’s family “Nemesis” campaign in the fiction section only had 1 star system! It was a realistic representation of the Solar System and it have been boring and impossible with a much more limited design.

A1: How many does it take to advance the plot?


Looking at it from an author’s perspective, this is the same basic point I’m making.

A2: How many does it take to do that and have stunning visuals?


8-)