The Wing Commander Universe Against the Real Universe

I've tried doing a bit of searching on this and haven't gotten any threads to pop up, so I hope this isn't a topic that's been beaten to death and I just have been using the wrong keywords.

Ultimately, what I'm interested in is how the star systems of the Wing Commander universe stack up against the real world. A few are obvious (i.e. the Alpha Centauri System and Sirius System), but was there ever any mention of what the others might be? Or did Origin not put that much into it? I've just thought it might be amusing to map out the WC universe in It's Full Of Stars! (IFOS) or AstroSynthesis.
 

Moonsword

Spaceman
It wouldn't work. Period. Among other things, the star positions depicted are only 2D and are based as much or more on jump lines as/than the stellar positions themselves. Many of the star systems aren't referred to by their astronomic name, if any.

More directly, the star positions are flat-out wrong. Vega and Centaurus (Alpha and Proxima Centauri, particularly) are not in the same part of the sky (very different ones, in fact; Vega (part of the constellation Lyra) was the pole star ~12k years ago and will be ~12k years from now, while the constellation Centuarus which includes Alpha and Proxima Centuari are in the southern hemisphere). Sirius is likewise not particularly close to Alpha Centauri in the sky, nor is it especially close to Vega. These systems are depicted as being in approximately the same direction from Sol on the official maps, however.

Zeta Orionis, a star in the constellation Orion, is almost directly opposite Sirius on the maps but Orion and Canis Major are, at most, only 30-45 degrees apart in the sky. It's also way too close to Sol, unless the jump lines in that area are really, really screwy. Vega is only about 25 ly from Earth but is in an entirely different sector while Zeta Orionis, 800 ly distant, is relatively nearby and reached via a jump to Barnard's Star and then through another nearby system. Barnard's Star is also about a third of the way across the sky from Orion but is maybe 20 degrees off (if that much) from Zeta Orionis on the Wing Commander map.

Another problem with AstroSynthesis is the fact that we don't have the vertical positioning of stars. I could keep going, but I think the point has been made. Wing Commander's map bears about as much relation to the real positions of objects in the sky as a pizza (actually, some pizzas may be more accurate due to random chance). The map of Wing Commander has to be based on the jump lines, not the actual star positions, if you're going to try rationalizing it in real-world astronomy.

EDIT: Sorry if that came off as harsh. I tend to be very direct and aggressive in attacking theories and arguments being made intellectually. Partially it's my personality and partially inclination by academic training (historians, at least at my school, are trained to think in terms of correlating evidence and logical relations, meaning that analysis requires you to deconstruct an argument... or demolish it, in the view of some profs). In any case, that's just how I discuss things, and I also tend to be somewhat blunt and direct at times.

What it is not is an indication of me thinking you're an idiot. The idea you raise is a very neat one, in fact, and on the surface it seems plausible, but as I pointed out, it's just not workable on a practical level. Part of the reason I knew that is I've considered it before, so I've already had that particular rude awakening. ;)
 

Haesslich

Spaceman
As Moonsword has pointed out, all of our WC maps are Akwende projections - they don't show the actual location in space where a star is; they only show how to get to point A from point B... and even if those two stars are like a light year or three apart, you could end up jumping to a star 20 light years away, then to another one a dozen light years away from THAT.. and then finally jump to point A.

What makes things worse, as far as mapping the actual locations of these stars, is the fact that a lot of the stars named in the WC maps don't have names that exist in any real star map and we're not told their stellar class... thus making it nearly impossible to figure out what the actual star name would be, much less where it would be in relation to Sol.
 

Ijuin

Admiral
Akwende projections are much like street directions--it's all "turn left here, then take the fourth right turn"--it doesn't have ANYTHING to do with the "as the photon flies" distance or direction, which in any case is irrelevant if you are using Jump Lines to travel, just as only the roads and not the straight-line direction matters if you are driving an automobile.

On system names: I would not be surprised if systems that have constellation-based names (Zeta Orionis, for example) instead of individualized names get nicknames upon colonization that end up becoming official--for example, the system might get renamed after its principal habitable planet.
 
Apparently my second post didn't go through last night, but my comments were much like Ljuin's. I'm aware that a map could not be made of the Akwende projection maps as star position is not important in a jump travel system, only how they interconnect via their jump points. However, if the stars are real-world stars that were just renamed - like will likely happen when/if we colonize the stars - then we already have the coordinates to work with. That was my initial question. I don't know if the developers took real stars and looked at, let's say, Tau Ceti and said, "This shall be K'Tithrak Mang.

Ultimately, I was just looking for a fun project to try and more familiarize myself with AstroSynthesis. It'd all be trivia, and an exercise in the routing tools which I keep losing myself on.

And no worries Moonsword. I believe I just misworded myself. I've actually got the Akwende Projection Map that came with Prophecy, so I was already aware that the map itself would be useless. What I was wondering is if there's a list of systems and their real-world counterparts. There are those here with a lot of trivia knowledge that might have gotten ahold of developer notes or some-such that had such information. Of course that's providing that that much thought was placed into it. I know Star Trek fans that can tell you which systems in Star Trek correspond with real-world ones (i.e. Vulcan with 40 Eridani A). And I know that in my own universe building project, I've taken real-world systems and renamed a few that were populated.
 

Haesslich

Spaceman
Apparently my second post didn't go through last night, but my comments were much like Ljuin's. I'm aware that a map could not be made of the Akwende projection maps as star position is not important in a jump travel system, only how they interconnect via their jump points. However, if the stars are real-world stars that were just renamed - like will likely happen when/if we colonize the stars - then we already have the coordinates to work with. That was my initial question. I don't know if the developers took real stars and looked at, let's say, Tau Ceti and said, "This shall be K'Tithrak Mang.

Ultimately, I was just looking for a fun project to try and more familiarize myself with AstroSynthesis. It'd all be trivia, and an exercise in the routing tools which I keep losing myself on.

And no worries Moonsword. I believe I just misworded myself. I've actually got the Akwende Projection Map that came with Prophecy, so I was already aware that the map itself would be useless. What I was wondering is if there's a list of systems and their real-world counterparts. There are those here with a lot of trivia knowledge that might have gotten ahold of developer notes or some-such that had such information. Of course that's providing that that much thought was placed into it. I know Star Trek fans that can tell you which systems in Star Trek correspond with real-world ones (i.e. Vulcan with 40 Eridani A). And I know that in my own universe building project, I've taken real-world systems and renamed a few that were populated.


Ah, but Star Trek uses a FTL technology which does cross the intervening distance, which means that you can use a measure like '4 lightyears away', and then at least look at the stars nearby - plus the producers and writers actually tag those systems by the name of the star, then have the inhabited planet named separately if the people there are important to the story. Outside of the names they did keep (Alpha Centauri), all the rest of the WC mapped stars are described by a non-Messier or New General catalogue name.

In all honesty, the 'real' star name doesn't matter to the Confederation, or apparently to Origin, because of the way the FTL technology operates - you don't need to know where that system is fixed in relation to other systems, so why bother keeping the old name unless you're going there the old-fashioned way? It's not like they have to use star surveys to find inhabitable planets... although they MAY use Morovan drives to check out unknown systems, and that type of travel does depend on the type of star map you're envisioning, with spatial relations. As far as I know, the D-drive really isn't all that useful beyond the types of short distances you saw in Privateer 2.
 
Ah, but Star Trek uses a FTL technology which does cross the intervening distance, which means that you can use a measure like '4 lightyears away', and then at least look at the stars nearby - plus the producers and writers actually tag those systems by the name of the star, then have the inhabited planet named separately if the people there are important to the story. Outside of the names they did keep (Alpha Centauri), all the rest of the WC mapped stars are described by a non-Messier or New General catalogue name.

In all honesty, the 'real' star name doesn't matter to the Confederation, or apparently to Origin, because of the way the FTL technology operates - you don't need to know where that system is fixed in relation to other systems, so why bother keeping the old name unless you're going there the old-fashioned way? It's not like they have to use star surveys to find inhabitable planets... although they MAY use Morovan drives to check out unknown systems, and that type of travel does depend on the type of star map you're envisioning, with spatial relations. As far as I know, the D-drive really isn't all that useful beyond the types of short distances you saw in Privateer 2.

Correct. As I said, this was more just an interest in trivial knowledge (even trivial game-wise) that I thought would make for a fun project to test out the capabilities of a program. It is sounding like I was correct in suspecting that Origin just scattered a bunch of interconnected dots without any further depth to it.
 

Haesslich

Spaceman
Correct. As I said, this was more just an interest in trivial knowledge (even trivial game-wise) that I thought would make for a fun project to test out the capabilities of a program. It is sounding like I was correct in suspecting that Origin just scattered a bunch of interconnected dots without any further depth to it.

That's what it looks like, outside of a few obvious ones like Sirius, Alpha Centauri, Procyon, etc.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
Correct. As I said, this was more just an interest in trivial knowledge (even trivial game-wise) that I thought would make for a fun project to test out the capabilities of a program. It is sounding like I was correct in suspecting that Origin just scattered a bunch of interconnected dots without any further depth to it.

Like others have said, there's only a few systems that intentionally correspond with known current systems. The remainder of the Akwende projection map often isn't random though. As system names get mentioned here and there and characters move between them throughout games/novels/etc, these sources were all interlinked for the creation of the universe map that was included with Prophecy.
 
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