Brad Wardell's site for talking about the customization of Windows.

You know the phrase, “Space is big”.  Today, let’s walk through just how big space really is, and how its scale fits into the Star Control multiverse.

Star Control: Origins takes place in a sector that is 120 by 120 light years.  This is a staggeringly big area, but it is nothing compared to even our local super-cluster.

Let’s zoom out. Way…way out, and we get to Lanikea:


Nature video has a fantastic segment outlining just how massive this super cluster is. It’s an absolute must watch. Those tiny dots are all galaxies, and our galaxy, the Milky Way, is just one among hundreds of thousands of dots.  Lanikea isn’t the known universe. Far from it.  But when Star Control talks about the Precursors and other ancient beings, it is worth bearing the sheer magnitude of the galactic space that they inhabited.

Now, let’s zoom in. If you zoom in to just our galaxy, you see this:


The Milky Way

David Buter has an amazing video series that helps guide you through this immensity. The milky way is 100,000 light years wide with 6 billion stars in it.  6 billion stars.  Imagine setting up a map with all of those.  If you were able to visit each star for a second, it would take you 200 years to visit them all.  Thankfully, Star Control: Origins focuses on a mere fragment of this area called Orion’s Spur.


Orion’s Spur

Welcome to Orion’s Spur. 

This is where our adventure begins.  The Spur is 3,500 light years across and 10,000 light years long.  If this were the Star Trek universe, it would take 18 years for a ship traveling at Warp 5 to travel across it.  It’s both big and interesting.  Just as Europe makes for a very interesting setting due to its geography, the Spur is very interesting because it jets out from the Perseus arm of the galaxy.  We will be spending a great deal of time dealing with the hundreds of species that inhabit this area of space over the course of the Star Control series.

Orion’s Spur and the relative location of our sun.

Within the Orion’s Spur is the Scryve sector, which gets us to our 120x120 light year corner of the universe. One of the books that has been an inspiration of mine is the Bobiverse series.  Besides being a super enjoyable Sci-Fi book, the author tries to connect us with the stars.  

Within that sector is a small yellow-dwarf Star that we call the sun.


Traveling through the home solar system

And orbiting this star is, of course, Earth, which is where our story begins in the year 2088.  In 2088, Earth has just managed to build an interplanetary ship that can travel across the solar system in a matter of weeks rather than years.  While impressive, it is still far from faster-than-light.  That is an issue we will discuss next…

on Apr 16, 2018

You've got to love how, like Star Trek, there are so many Rush fans in science that "Cygnus" gets marked on half the maps you see.  I love it!!!


on Apr 16, 2018

...Cygnus is a constellation.  From the Latinized Greek word for swan.  Confused why it wouldn't be used.

on Apr 16, 2018


...Cygnus is a constellation.  From the Latinized Greek word for swan.  Confused why it wouldn't be used.

Exactly. Kavic, you're putting the cart before the horse. Cygnus doesn't turn up because people are Rush fans, it's the opposite - Rush used Cygnus because it's a real constellation.

on Apr 16, 2018

Well, yes, I understand all that.  I know a lot about space for someone who isn't in that field from a lifetime of making games within it.  Cygnus is actually a name applied to many things in that region of space.  It is a constellation so many stars in this area have the name Cygnus associated with them, there is also a thing call the "Cygnus Rift", and then this is an area of fairly recent star formation and one of the most active areas for recent new star formation in this galaxy.  As a result there are a lot of unusual things in this area, a lot of binary stars, and the black hole of Cygnus X1 was chosen by Neil Peart because it is one of the more interesting and mysterious astronomical bodies that we know of.  It emits unexplainably (during Neil's time, we think we know what is causing it now) strong X-Ray bursts at regular intervals.

So, in any detailed map you will almost always find Cygnus marked on it whether it is just the constellation, or the constellation and the rift.  But in less detailed star maps they only generally mark a few things here and there as land marks so you can orient yourself as to what you are looking at and which way the map is pointing.  Cygnus is usually a land mark on such maps, often because the person who made the map is a Rush fan.  When you are just putting down a dozen land marks for orientation purposes, having Cygnus almost always wind up being one of those land marks means it is most likely coming from Rush fans.  Rush is like the Star Trek of rock bands, a huge number of scientists are also big Rush (and Star Trek) fans.

So, sometimes it's just because it is a constellation, but the fact that if they pair it down to just a dozen or so land marks "Cygnus" is usually one of those very few landmarks screams out "Rush fan!"

Kind of like "The Expanse".  Rocinante is the name of Don Quixote's horse, but that's not where they got it from.  You'll find that Rocinante is one of the more common names used for a space ship in sci-fi stories.  That comes from Cygnus X1 and Hemispheres, not Don Quixote.

Of course, the only real Rocinante is the one that actually uses the story of Cygnus X1 & Hemispheres... {Sticks tongue out at The Expanse}


on Apr 16, 2018

I'm really happy you put dwarf planet Pluto and its moon in the game.

Is Charon proportionally represented in the game? Because (I really don't want to criticize) it seems a bit small compared to Pluto.

Also is Pluto's heart on the other side of the planet?

on Apr 16, 2018

"Make Pluto Great Again!"


on Apr 16, 2018


Rocinante is the name of Don Quixote's horse, but that's not where they got it from.  You'll find that Rocinante is one of the more common names used for a space ship in sci-fi stories.  That comes from Cygnus X1 and Hemispheres, not Don Quixote.

James Corey (who wrote The Expanse) is a massive Don Quixote fan.

on Apr 16, 2018

Many Sci-Fi movies and games made space Small and Compact (sometimes it does help story/gameplay)
But Origins is back to show that... Space is REALLY Big, and it's kinda of bigger than you think. 

on Apr 16, 2018

Bleyborne: I bet if you ask James Corey he'll tell you it's actually from Cygnus X1/Hemispheres.  Rocinante is one of the more common ship names because of Cygnus/Hemispheres which are two of the four "full side epic sci-fi songs" that made Rush the legends that they are.  Those songs made Rush legends, not the songs most have heard that came later like Spirit of Radio and Tom Sawyer.  I couldn't even begin to count the number of sci-fi stories out there that use Rocinante as the name of their hero ship.  Unfortunately for all of them, if I ever find a way to publish my story I will steal the name from all of them because my story is the story of Cygnus X1/Hemispheres expanded into a sci-fi universe that encompasses over a dozen games.  If I have the songs, then my Rocinante is the "one true Rocinante".  It was The Expanse that made me realize this, I was really annoyed that there was a really good TV show using that name.  For a few days, until I realized that I steal the name if I have the music.

Shade: Brad was referring to one of the opening lines of Douglas Adams' Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy...

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space."