The Traveller-AR iPhone app preview:
Finally completed my Empress Marava (not Minerva!) Far Trader build in OpenSim. The Far Trader is one of the work-horses of the Traveller role-playing game.
The really neat thing is not so much the spacecraft (which I could go on detailing for ages) but what can happen outside it.
So you start on a barren planet:
You close the loading ramp on the empty landscape and head for the bridge.
You then head off into space. A touch of a button on the pilots console de-rezzes the world and rezzes the starscape in a 256m diameter sphere (ought to work on a suitable brown-out transition for take-off and landing). So the view out the window changes but more importantly if you don your EVA suit and walk out the airlock you now find:
(need to do a nice jump transition too!)
Then you head down to the starport. Again a touch of a button derezzes the stars and rezzes a whole spaceport ready for you.
I'll work up a few other environments but you get the drift. Quite apart from the role-playing side of this it also begins to make a nice vehicle for STEM based education.
Full image set at http://www.flickr.com/photos/burdenshaw/sets/72157626207815093/
For ages I've been after a nice algorithm for predicting traffic from one Traveller world to another. Most Traveller tables are based around the players owning a ship and wanting to pick up passengers and freight, not a player looking to hitch a ride. So finally worked out one which was nice and simple whilst walking on Foel Goch today, and coded most of it up on the iPad using JsAnywhere in a cafe in Corwen. Will tart the UI up later once the other Companion modules are done.
Go to Next Ship To...
OK, with my new found Traveller enthusiasm I've brought my in-progress work on an Empress Minerva Far Trader across from Second Life to OpenSim. Now just in he process of re-texturing it and then complete the build. What I really want to then do is see how I can use it as the hub of Traveller adventuring in OpenSim - for instance changing the cockpit view to represent travel through space, and rezzing new environments when you land - all with the spaceship staying still!
Traveller thoughts been all over the place as I've started to re-engage. First thought was a revival of idea for making a more realistic Traveller - 3D space maps, realistic solar systems, AI etc, but its just too big a jump (although its a "powered by Traveller" setting I might do some time, and for my latest work on 3D star maps see http://www.daden.co.uk/blog/2011/02/its-all-full-of-stars-25-light.html.
I then thought of finishing my Port2Jump application, but thought it too big (although I may soon get back to it), and moving my Minerva model to OpenSim will be a big job (although watching Dune I'm drawn to the idea of just creating some environment sims in OpenSim).
So I finally hit upon the idea of creating a Referee's Screen on the web that I could use from the iPad. Had a great time over the last few days pulling bits together from IMTU rules and MT (my favourite OTU rules) and Snapshot/AHL. What's now dawned on me though is that what I really want is microTraveller - a version of the Traveller rules that's so simple and easy to use that not only will they fit on a few screens of the iPad but I can actually play it more or less from memory (the task system of course being key here). The other part to the Referee's Screen/Companion is of course the software, automating all those parts of the rules that are needed that are just too complex to remember for data reasons (eg encounter tables etc), so that you can create encounters, map a world, jump to orbit etc just in a single mouse-click. So that's the aim, lets see where it goes to.
The time just isn't there to do an app like Port2Jump at the moment (and my Empress Minerva model in SL is half built and awaiting transfer to OpenSim. So thought I might try something simpler - turning the iPad into a C21 Referees Screen. Browser based first.