As mentioned on Casual Citizen Episode 32, at the end of my content writing cycle, I will produce Casual Citizen or Nightbus, as well as combine all the content into an eBook. In addition to working more on my own fiction, I’m also teaching myself interior book design and self-publishing. This gives me the opportunity to use one of my guilty pleasures toward a future goal. I hope you enjoy.
You can easily find directions on YouTube if you want to actually import the associated format into your Kindle, iPad or Nook. Otherwise, go for the Print or EPUB format.
As mentioned in the show, I’ll be compiling the content produced during a cycle into an eBook/eMagazine for those who might enjoy reading the articles as chapters with the ability to use bookmarks and whatnot.
I hope you enjoy.
With all the new backers arriving and trying to acclimate themselves to the persistent universe, I thought it would be a good time to do a brief overview of Stanton. I read and hear confused and misinformed answers about where we are within the Star Citizen universe at this time. For a longer overview, you can take a look at an early more detailed I did last year on YouTube.
When we consider the crowdfunded scope for the Star Citizen universe, there are 100+ star systems planned. The persistent universe we’re currently enjoying as part of alpha is the Stanton star system. It contains four Super Earths – Hurston, Crusader, ArcCorp, and Microtech, all of whom have tidally locked moons of their own. Stanton’s biome diversity is one of the reasons it was selected as the starting point for persistent universe development.
Stanton was originally discovered by independent explorers. Although the details are fuzzy, most agree that the star system was discovered by a free agent trader. Word of mouth, spread the tale, of a system that contained four Super-Earths. Privateers moved in to capitalize on this extremely rare find. Planets of this size, all within a wide green zone is unusual in its own right. Combined with the large variances in planet ecologies, even more so. When the existence of Stanton came to the attention of the UEE, they moved in quickly to claim eminent domain. The official reason was to protect and extend nearby jump lanes.
Unfortunately, the original settlers of Stanton hadn’t formalized their colonization by filing the necessary paperwork. Largely made up of homesteaders, prospectors and survivalists, the local populace had no legal rights to Stanton and certainly weren’t in a position to dissuade military forces when they arrived.
The uniqueness of the system and the potential resources notwithstanding, the UEE was in the midst of huge economic struggles. A down economy from a hundred-year colonization drought, the UEE could only afford to do the bare minimum to claim its new prize. Naval engineers performed the small amount of terraforming required and underfunded military outposts were established. Lacking funds to do more, Stanton wasn’t developed further.
Eventually, the decision was made to sell the system piecemeal to the highest bidders. Large corporations were discreetly contacted and asked to bid on whole planets. It’s believed that the winners must have bid trillions to acquire rights. The winners did the obvious, naming the planets after their corporations – Hurston Dynamics, Crusader Industries, ArcCorp, and MicroTech
As of Alpha 3.3.5, the persistent universe was expanded to include the first of Stanton’s planets, Hurston, its moons and capital city, Lorville. Unlike the locations we’ve seen thus far, Hurston contains multiple biomes. There are also bodies of water and underground bunkers. While Lorville is still incomplete, it’s a must-see location that introduces a working railway system and habicubes with interactive objects. More locations are being added over time.
LINK TO PDF VERSION
The addition of Hurston brings the landing sights to:
This doesn’t include CryAstro fueling and repair of the various Truckstops located around Crusader and Hurston. It’s also worth noting that Delamar’s presence in Stanton is temporary. Delamar belongs in the Nyx star system, a dangerous unclaimed star system. However, it was placed in Stanton for testing purposes when its tier 1 development completed. You can find a more in-depth overview of Nyx on my YouTube channel as well.
It’s been two weeks since I started working for a new company and in a new role. One that returns me to a past life in data visualization and analysis. I’m still nested in the Business Intelligence space. However, instead of being a product manager for internal BI solutions, I’m managing a team of analysts and data viz professionals. This aspect of metrics and performance management is what brought me to BI in the first place. Luckily for me, careers in Data Viz and Data Science have grown tremendously over the years. Based on my former experience with the tools that are industry standards, I was able to quickly find a rewarding opportunity within weeks of being notified of my pending layoff. Before the door officially closed, the window on a new job offer was already in hand. I definitely consider myself blessed!
I was at my previous employer for 8 years doing product management. Five years prior to that, I was entrenched in running a Program Management Office, even though I continued to provide analysis support. That’s a long time to be out of the loop in data viz. I have a bevy of books arriving on the tools of the trade and principles so I can catch up with my peers. As someone who learns by doing, I started fishing around for a practice project and landed on combining it with my favorite pastime, gaming. So it should come as no surprise that I went looking for something Star Citizen related.
I’m fairly obsessed with the lore behind Star Citizen and the physical universe being built by Cloud Imperium Games. AlysianahsWorld.com features several pages dedicated to disseminating the information contained in the official ARK Starmap into an easier to consume and searchable format. Using formal data visualization tools would allow me to evolve an aspect of the site I continue to use on a regular basis while learning the newest versions of the tools.
An aspect of analysis and reporting, data visualization, is a more graphical representation of information that endeavors tells a story while providing insight. All though we’re likely years away from having all of the planned star systems, I still find the lore and planned physical layouts entertaining to consider. Those of us following the game closely and participating in the alpha will be fully versed in them as they come online. However, those joining after or following more casually, won’t be quite as fluent.
The end goal for this version is to provide PDFs that players can easily download and reference offline at their leisure.
Technical considers were to:
Consequently, the order in which I produce them will be impacted by when star systems are placed on the roadmap for introduction into the persistent universe, contain an interesting lore aspect or contribute to a broader topic of conversation. For me, it was essential that this new design be fully automated, with the exception of minor adjustments like moving around annotations if they overlapped or adjusting the scale of the planets being displayed if a system has a lot of items. But that’s it! Everything else is done programmatically and uses data from Aly’s World that already exists.
All things considered, developing this first mock-up/prototype went very well. I was able to achieve all of my objectives while refreshing my skills using the latest version of Tableau, one of the standard tools used in my new position. Now let’s roll into the real topic at hand, Helios.
Once I decided that I wanted to evolve how I was presenting the official ARK Starmap data, the question became, where to start? Stanton, while necessary to do, is old hat at this point. The idea of starting there didn’t excite me. Then a question popped into my head that did. What is the largest known star system and what does it contain? Is it somewhere I’ll be spending time? Does it have activity related to any of the player professions I’ve decided to focus on?
The metric I used to quantify a star system’s size was the farthest celestial body from the star in astronomical units (AU). The underlying ARK data has several pieces of information that are not readily visible on RSI, one being the AU. However, I have all of the data already stored in the database that runs AlysianahsWorld.com and I’ve used AU previously to render horizontal star maps for each system.
LINK: Stanton Star System Dossier on Aly’s World
I landed on using the AU of orbiting bodies or areas identified as belonging to a star, as those objects represent the star’s sphere of influence. The size of its influence, if you will. After choosing that as a reasonable representation, all I had to do was find the maximum AU and the star system it belonged to which lead me to Helios.
LINK: Helios Star System Dossier on Aly’s World
Helios is the second largest known system. The moniker of largest belongs to Tamsa. However, instead of having a star at its center Tamsa contains a black hole. It’s also a fairly empty system which wouldn’t provide much meat for developing this prototype. I will, however, produce a data viz for Tamsa in the near future.
LINK: Tamsa System Dossier on Aly’s World
As the second largest system, how does Helios compare to other star systems we’re more or less familiar with? When I visualized the distribution of all the star system sizes based on the maximum (farthest celestial body in AU), I was surprised by what I saw. I suppose the locations we hear about loom large in our imagination without realizing that frequency has no relevance to how big those areas will be based on the current ARK Starmap metrics. Star systems such as Stanton, Pyro, Nyx, Tera, and Sol are very small in the overall scheme of things.
Here’s a subset, calling out the systems we know and hear about. Stanton, representing the persistent universe today. Pyro, the Jump Point we can see in Stanton now, and likely the next star system that will be introduced to the alpha. And Sol, the birthplace of humanity and a location many of us are interested in seeing CIG’s vision for how it has evolved. As you can see, they’re on the small end of things. Stanton, in particular, is very small!! It’s a bit mind-blowing knowing that the area of Stanton we’re in today is 25% of what it will be since we’re just around Crusader. Even so, it’s going to be nothing in terms of size compared to the other known star systems that have been planned.
Other than the disparity in star system sizes, which I suppose shouldn’t be surprising given that space is a big empty place, is how many years it takes planets to orbit their sun. Talk about thinking that humans and Sol are the centers of the universe. I never contemplated that in Standard Earth Years (SEY) there are planets that take many years to make a full orbit of their star. Tangora, the only planet in Helios that’s openly populated and accessible to civilians takes 210.5 SEY to complete its orbit. My eyes bugged out of my head. It’s a metric I hadn’t bothered to calculate before.
When I see numbers in the thousands, it’s simply mindboggling and makes me wonder how we will communicate the passing of time when humans become an interstellar species. How will calendars work? It’s bad enough dealing with global time zones and keeping those straight at work. I can’t imagine what we’ll devise when a year no longer has the same meaning. Perhaps we will standardize on SEY. I hope to be alive to see how it turns out for myself. Until then, the Star Citizen will have to do.
Back to Helios, it’s a combination of natural beauty in the face of nature’s ferocity, abandoned junkyards, and military skunkworks. Helios is a Helium Strong type B star that creates powerful solar winds capable of causing havoc with ship sensors. This rarity attracts researchers, tourists and criminals looking for a place to hide, in equal measure.
Helios was discovered in 2509 and in a very unusual manner. An outlawed group called the Daybreak Marauders had discovered a jump point to Helios via Taranis. After robbing convoys in Ellis, they’d race to Taranis and disappear without a trace. After driving the Uros Shipping Concern into bankruptcy due to the activity surrounding these thefts, The Advocacy finally stepped in to bring order to the system. After several months of playing cat-n-mouse, agents eventually discovered Daybreak’s secret.
As is often the case, after it’s official discovery was claimed by the UEE, the region was stripped bare of any important resources and languished in obscurity for several years, beyond being used as a military staging ground.
LINK TO PDF: Helios Visual Star Sys Guide – Legal
My intent is for the Visual Star System Guide to provide the casual overview of the system all on its own. Therefore, I’m not going to regurgitate the information here in text form. Hopefully, the elements I’ve elected to portray, provide a sense of the system’s composition, fun or important things to know, opportunities for activities related to player careers and a high-level assessment for the economy, population, and safety. You can find the official Galactic Guide for Helios on RSI and its associated Loremaker’s Guide on YouTube.
Your thoughts and feedback are welcomed. This being the first iteration of the format, I’d welcome feedback and suggestions. Do remember, that changes must be data-driven as I’m only looking to make minor manual adjustments each time I render the visual for another star system. At regular intervals, I will assemble the visual guides I’ve published in ebook formats for those interested in collecting them as a set. For me, it’s more experimentation with skills that I’ve picked up recently, while was I doing freelance ghostwriting and interior book design this past year or so. No more time or desire to continue doing freelance work with my new position and fun challenges that lay ahead. However, I don’t want what I’ve learned along the way and enjoyed doing, to hit the dustbin so I’ll use those skills in conjunction with this project.
Ta-ta for now,
ORIGIN Jumpworks GmbH
Origin’s notoriety comes from merging class and sophistication into their spaceflight designs. They are the unchallenged leaders is providing luxury. Their designs are sleek with sophisticated lines. Their customers among the cultivated elite. When you purchase an Origin ship, you’re not just buying a vessel, you’re indulging a lifestyle.
Origin was incorporated during the financial boom of the mid-28th century, that was fueled by the antimatter rush. Initially, the focused on producing high-end fusion engines procured by the UEE military and mounted yachts from their nearest competitor in luxury, Roberts Space Industries and Aegis Dynamics star yachts available to the public (at least, the well-heeled public) at the time. Eventually, Origin made the decision to enter their own brand of luxury transport into the market. Within ten years, they were producers of a top-five selling midscale composite transport. Within fifty, their well-paying customer base was neck and neck with RSI for gross profits in the manufactured spacecraft field.
While Origin was founded in Cologne, Germany, the headquarters was moved to New Austin on Terra in 2913. New Austin is now considered “ORIGIN town”, as they are a key employer in the region. Terra, a popular destination in its own right, also benefits from Origin’s wealthy buyers who think nothing of traversing the galaxy to stroll through Origin’s showrooms and purchase factory-direct.
In the Star Citizen universe, Origin is best known for its moderately priced 300 series of ships. The line up includes 3ooI Touring, 315P Pathfinder, 325A Interdiction, and the 350R Racing. And the ostentacious 890 Jump luxury yacht.
Odin is one of the star systems players will encounter while completing the single-player campaign of Star Citizen, Squadron 42. It was featured in the 2017 Holiday Live Stream that demonstrated a vertical slide of Squadron 42 gameplay.
Odin was made uninhabitable when its star degenerated into a white dwarf. The system remains inhospitable for long-term human habitation and has instead become a haven for outlaws due to the dangers of traversing the systems electromagnetic storms. Hardcore miners and salvagers have been known to risk the dangers of these storms to harvest resources in the local asteroid belt nicknamed, The Coil. Here’s a link to the official Odin Galactic Guide.
Terra is considered by many to be the shining jewel of the UEE. Its supporters would like to see Terra replace Earth as the seat of power, culture, and influence. As to be expected, die-hard Earth loyalists are staunchly against such a shift. Amid this struggle for supremacy, Terra has continued to thrive with the influx of mega-corporations and a populace looking to capitalize on its lush environment and abundant natural resources.
The Terra system was first charted in 2508. It was explored as part of a five-system research expedition in 2516. When the long-distance images of its third planet were reviewed, it was immediately recognized as a phenomenal find. Terra III was a natural super-earth located in the system’s green band. Colonization opportunities were immediate. Within two years several colonial equipped ships had been dispatched.
An even greater discovery awaited mankind. The Terra system’s unique location and makeup had produced a jump point hub. Like Sol, Terra is a G-type main sequence star. However, the lack of mass diffusion caused by gas giants and the center location of the system’s star, extremely stable jump points arose easily. With Terra III being a super-earth rich in resources and a hub of stable jump points, the systems rise in influence and popularity was inevitable.
Earth is part of the Sol System. It’s the cradle of Humanity, the heart of the Empire, birthplace of mankind. Being the origination of our history, it has remained mired in an “earth first” mentality, even to the detriment of other systems. It is the home of the Imperator, Senate and is the seat of power in the UEE. It also exhibits a steadfast policy of supporting native-born humans above all others. Earth sets the standards for everything that happens in the Empire. It’s the model for our economy, social trends and logistical planning of military campaigns. After nearly a millennium of space travel, Earth is pockmarked with starports. Three of whom have taken the throne as significant centers for importing and exporting goods. New York in North America, Moscow in Europe and Shanghai in Asia.
Link to Aly’s World Star System Dossier Page for Sol
Earth is part of the Sol System. It’s the cradle of Humanity, the heart of the Empire, birthplace of mankind. Being the origination of our history, it has remained mired in an “earth first” mentality, even to the detriment of other systems. It is the home of the Imperator, Senate and is the seat of power in the UEE. It also exhibits a steadfast policy of supporting native-born humans above all others. This often puts other systems at an extreme disadvantage which has led to distention is some parts of the empire.
Earth sets the standards for everything that happens in the Empire. It’s the model for our economy, social trends and logistical planning of military campaigns. After nearly a millennium of space travel, Earth is pockmarked with starports. Three of whom have taken the throne as significant centers for importing and exporting goods. New York in North America, Moscow in Europe and Shanghai in Asia.
The vast majority of Earth’s natural resources have been consumed. As a result, the system brings in trillions and trillions of raw metals, food, manufactured merchandises and all things imaginable. If it weren’t for the enforced “balanced prices” policy, keeping the prices less competitive, this would have been a perfect situation for any shipping mogul. As it is, dashing to Earth can hardly be guaranteed to deliver more than a 5% income, and that is before you get to the overpriced refueling and docking fees for spacecraft carrying additional systems’ registration numbers.
Earth is safe, to an extreme. The UEE military, Advocacy and a number of police arms guard the system constantly, and they’re infamously unbending when it comes to grueling wrongdoers within the system. There’s no quicker way to get an enormously high reward on your head other than to break the law, even a minor breach within space close to Earth. The military ports in Earth’s orbit are home to no fewer than five Bengal class shippers, and at least one is dry docked at any specified time.
New York is the cultural capital of the UEE, an intergalactic tastemaker and a celebrated blending of both old-style architecture and ultra-modern arcology construction. Most visitors immediately take note of the historical landmarks protected by a thick layer of domed visicrete, allowing such institutions as the Empire State Building and Central Park to continue to exist amidst a modern landscape of massive super-towers. New York is also home to the famed Roberts Space Industries headquarters complex, featuring a showroom and museum. Many visitors make it a point to pay their respects upon arriving in the port, celebrating RSI’s involvement in introducing mankind to the stars.
Moscow is a no-nonsense kind of town with more of an urban blue-collar vibe and is a major distribution center for manufactured goods. In particular, jump engines and thrusters produced in the factory complexes that span the Urals. Goods are moved into the city for dispersal to the stars through a system of high-speed transport trains. Down on their luck spacers can always find hard work in the Moscow dockyards, which account for the vast majority of Earth’s export shipping. The city tends to have a taste for the opulent, and luxury goods sell as well as anything can on Earth. Traders are advised to ship high-end electronics, artwork, high-quality foods and various non-offensive black market items to Moscow before trying to turn a profit running guns or metals.
The largest starport in Asia, Shanghai has retained more of a link to the surrounding environment than the vast cityscapes of Moscow or New York. Though still a bustling metropolis, Shanghai is your best chance of seeing a bit of foliage or natural water. Shanghai boasts rail and transit lines stretching to the nearby East China Sea, a port region capable of water-docking some larger types of spacecraft. The Aegis China factory produces Idris-class corvettes and puts them through their pre-space trials in the area. Shanghai has a need for raw materials, especially rarer extragalactic varieties. The less likely a material is to be found on Earth, the more valuable it will be on the commodities market in Shanghai. There is a bustling black market in the city, unlike any found in Earth’s other major ports: if you’re on the hunt for illegal cyborg upgrades, try Shanghai first.
The Kr’Thak are a developed, spacefaring alien civilization. Humans have had no contact with the Kr’Thak. What is known to the UEE about them comes only from the Xi’An. The Xi’An and Kr’Thak have been enemies for eight hundred years. Any attempt by the UEE to make contact or form an alliance with the Kr’Thak would likely be viewed as a betrayal by the Xi’An.
The Kr’Thak’s home system is called Krell and it is located on the other side of the Xi’An Empire, making it even more difficult to make contact with them. They are a space-faring, nomadic race that owns several solar systems, but migrate around them.
Visit the community maintained Star Citizen Tools wiki for more information on the Kr’Thak.
The Tevarin were the third extraterrestrial race to be discovered by the UEE. They were destroyed by the UEE at the Battle of Centauri on August 2, 2610 SET. Humanity’s first and second interstellar enemy, The UPE first established contact with the space-faring civilization in 2541. While not as technologically advanced as us, the Tevarin were beginning to strike out into the universe.
A proud, martial society, the Tevarin wanted what we had and struck first. While the battlegrounds never threatened Earth or Terra, what the Tevarin lacked technologically, they more than made up for in strategic brilliance and endurance, causing the war to last over four years. The turning point was the infamous Battle of Idris IV, which introduced a young officer, Ivar Messer, to the populace of the UPE. After the Tevarin defeat, the UPE terraformed the Tevarin systems for Human colonization. The remaining Tevarin were either absorbed into the UPE or fled to the Banu or Xi’An systems.
Visit Star Citizen Tools wiki for more information the Tevarin.
The Xi’An Empire is a hereditary absolute monarchy, located along the border of the Eastern Systems. It is comprised of at least fourteen known systems and is governed by Emperor Kray. The emperor has a High Council of Advisers, each representing a facet of the government. The title of Emperor passes down through the family line. A similar government structure is found on each Xi’An controlled planet, with every planetary council member reporting to their respective counterparts on the Emperor’s Council.
Xi’An are the masters of diplomacy in the Star Citizen universe. They are patient and refined but will summon a fighting force when necessary. Their restraint carries over into their language and speech. Getting the correct tone of politeness can be difficult for non-native speakers. They live for centuries; for this reason, propagation of the species is carefully monitored and directed by the government to prevent overcrowding.
While their placid demeanor can often be interpreted as aloofness or apathy, their long lifespan means that they act with decades in mind, not years. The Xi’An are the second alien race to be discovered by the UEE, the first having been the Banu.
For more information on the Xi’An visit community run Star Citizen Tools wiki page on the Xi’An.