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Friday, December 13, 2013

New Eden in Perspective

Rixx Javix over on Evoganda has a nice piece today on the lack of aliens in New Eden. In Where Da Aliens At?, he makes the case that we don't need them. Aliens are problematic as a lore item and have more risk to their implementation than possible enhancement to the game. He concludes New Eden is just for humans.

I do not necessarily disagree with Rixx. We are doing quite well on our own. Besides, I've met a few capsuleers that definitely count as alien in my time in New Eden. I wont go into details, but oh my lord there are some strange types lurking around the star lanes. I'm sure you've had more than a few run ins with those types of "aliens" yourself. But there is perhaps an even - bigger - reason why there are no aliens in New Eden.

I'd like to put a little perspective on New Eden's place in the greater scheme of things. This is partly spurred by Rixx's post, and also a Twitter stream yesterday by @webspaceships on what type of astronomical phenomena New Eden is. I'd actually not given it much thought before. But it got me curious. I'd just done the ship speed post showing how New Eden ships are slower than what humans build now. So my mind naturally went to, "How big IS New Eden in comparison to other astronomical things within our universe?"

This requires pictures, of course. First, lets start with a nice picture of known space. New Eden is called a cluster, but this is not an astronomical term in this instance. It merely describes all those systems humans have connected with star gates. That is the most frequent meaning of the term 'cluster' when applied to New Eden. That comprises 5431 stars in an area 106 light years by 90 light years by 25 light years - approximately 8500 square light years in all. Here's what it looks like.
New Eden Cluster (Star Gate connected systems only)
That's a lot of star systems. But is it really? To know for certain, we need to take a look at the cluster from a different perspective. What does the cluster size look like compared to an entire galaxy? If you Google the question, "How many stars in the Milky Way?" it will tell you 300 billion. Wikipedia puts that number at 400 billion. The dimensions of the Milky Way are also somewhat contested, but the general consensus gives it a diameter of about 100,000 light years and an approximate average thickness of 1000 light years. Stellar density per 800 square parsecs (the size of New Eden BTW) also varies considerably from region to region. But in a nut shell, the New Eden cluster looks like this compared to the Milky Way.
Milky Way galaxy with New Eden Cluster Superimposed
This started as a very large file - 6000 x 3887 pixels. If you can't see the size of New Eden, download the full size image from this link and zoom in on the "we are here" area. The base image itself is a free National Geographic map and I superimposed the first image of the New Eden cluster onto it. I couldn't make it absolutely relative in size, but I got it pretty damn close and centered it on Sol. There is a 3000 and a 6000 light year radius circle drawn around Sol. That's makes the comparison easy. You can now see how teeny tiny New Eden is when compared to the entire galaxy. If that doesn't give you an inferiority complex, nothing will. And don't worry Rixx, there's still plenty of room out there for aliens.

Fly Careful


  1. I have always gone by the assumption that New Eden is a star cluster in that this is a groups of stars, sort of like an island of stars with a vast amount of empty space surrounding it... oh there are other stars out there, just farther than even the Sleepers, Talocan or the Jove are capable of build a gate to cross. IE New Eden is a somewhat isolated 'cluster' of stars...

    We know there are vast regions, the spaces between the arms for instance, where there is NOTHING but stray hydrogen atoms and faint radiation for hundreds of thousands of light years... there are bound to be clusters, groups and even solitary wandering stars in those vast empty reaches... and even in the thickest part of the thickest arm, the empty space between stars and groups of stars is still measured in light years.

    I believe we can only assume that any possible combination of groupings and distances exist in the verse... from the Massive Black Hole that is the anchor for our entire Galaxy, surrounded by suns orbiting it at near relativistic speeds... to the vast empty reaches out in the hinterlands... to the very edge where individual suns shine on lonely planets with the lens of the galaxy as bright and solid as day on one side of the sky... and truly lightless, empty... nothing... on the other...

    I wonder if the new gates we will build will take us across those vast trackless wastes between our isolated cluster of stars to... Where There Be Dragons... For myself, I would really like to meet a Kzin, or a Puppeteer or an Andorian, a Horta, a Ferengi, Lebari, Luxan, The Builders, Mmrnmhrm, Chenjesu, Syreen... actually, human kind (for the most part) bores me... (especially the 'aliens' among us you referred to above...)

    Only ONE type of intelligent life in the 'verse huh? And WE are it?? Have you MET us??? Sheesh…

    If there was ever a truly irrefutable argument AGAINST Intelligent Design... making humans the ONLY intelligent life in teh 'verse is it.

  2. That... can't be right. The size of New Eden I mean. It has to be much bigger. Otherwise Jump gates wouldn't strictly be necessary.

    A rough calculation of a Cruiser going at 3 AU/s, would warp across the widest part of New Eden in under a month. That means you'd roughly see a new system, every 6 hours. An inty could shoot across the cluster in under 10 days, seeing a new system every 2 hours.

    Well, that's assuming perfect capacitor. I guess that's the limiter.

    Actually, since we now have way points mapped out in space, we can more accurately judge the distance between systems, based off light intensity from suns.

  3. Maybe the ship's computer can't lock on to things outside of the solar system for warp and that's why we need the stargates.

    I'm really content only having humans as the only spacefaring lifeform. That way it won't be 'this race with it's bonus to that is the best to fly this ship' min-maxing. Now every playable race has exactly the same characteristics and chance to make it among the stars in whatever way they want.



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