Starport Places Visualized
Introduction to the Project
This project arose from a conversation I had with John Watts at TravellerCON/USA 2014. The idea was that I would pick some of the Places from 21 Starport Places, and provide visualizations of them. The intent is that you should be able to get a ‘feel’ for what the Place looks like from a ‘character’s-eye’ viewpoint. The decorative motifs are strictly my interpretations of John’s intent for the Place; I may provide several different “looks” for a place. I may also provide “alternate interpretations” of what the place is; for example, The Captain’s Guild can stand-in for a Travellers’ Aid Society hostel.
The project just provides the visualizations; I’m not providing any of the textual information from the books—you need to purchase 21 Starport Places for that. It’s a worthwhile purchase, in my opinion, and you’ll get Places that I won’t be visualizing because of limitations on the tools I’m using.
About the Tools
I just can’t get the hang of the dedicated modelling and ray-tracing programs out there. I need most of the work done for me; with already-created models, I’m good to place things according to existing plans. That makes programs like The Sims 2 pretty close to optimum for my abilities. The Sims 2 has (well, had... it’s pretty much done with now, given that the next two generations of the program [The Sims 3 and The Sims 4] are out now) a large community of people who took advantage of the available ‘hooks’ and created customized content of all types for the program, and I’ve used some of that custom content in my visualizations.
About the Visualizations
Most readers will probably think that they don’t really look ‘science-fictiony’. Honestly, I don’t think that’s a flaw, or ‘wrong’; there’s not a lot you can do with chairs, tables, closets, armoires, dressers, beds, and so on—the basic form is pretty much determined by the physical (spatial) and physiological needs of the people who are using them. Since most of Traveller centers on humans, or on aliens that are mostly “humans in rubber suits”, and since The Sims 2 is a program whose primary purpose is to model human social interactions and the environment(s) they occur in, it’s not a bad match, and while esthetics may change, I’m not convinced that they don’t circle around to “echos” of previous cycles. What’s “in” in 2160 could well look more like what was “in” in 1860 than 1960—or more like 1960 than 2060. Even Disco could make a comeback. So, maybe I have it wrong for your Traveller universe. I’m not saying that these are pictures from The One True Traveller Universe; even though John gets a veto over these visualizations before you get to see them, they may not necessarily be his Traveller universe—but they’re a Traveller universe, one which I’m showing you, because (a) I can, and (b) maybe it will inspire you.