T5 Second Survey

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T5 Second Survey is an ongoing project that is overhauling and cleaning up of the world and stellar data published primarily in the 1980s and 90s for the Official Traveller Universe (OTU).

  • With the publication of the playtest version of the Traveller 5th edition core rule book (2008), Don McKinney, Robert Eaglestone, along with Marc Miller engaged in a project to collect and update the known astrographic data. Since the original three members, others have joined and left this ongoing project.
  • The T5 Second Survey project takes old data, rewinds back to just what was in AOTI, picks and chooses some later additions, then starts expanding the dataset with T5'isms and additional sectors. It is then shared online via TravellerMap and used as the basis for new products.
  • This is a meta-story article about game design. For the in-universe article by the same name, please see the Second Survey article.

Traveller star maps have gone through three overlapping and very generalized time periods of development:

  1. Legacy Astrographic Data AKA [Initial Sectors (1977 to 2008)]
  2. Sunbane AKA [Generated Data (1985 to 1999)]
  3. T5 Second Survey AKA [Internet Era (1997 to Present)]

Description (Specifications)[edit]

This project has several goals:

  1. Update the astrographic data to the current Traveller 5th edition rules, including the new extensions.
  2. Address several shortcomings in the generation of the data in previous versions, including stellar data and UWPs.
  3. Produce a consistent and known set of data for current and future Traveller publishers. All of the Mongoose Traveller books published since 2009 have used this data.

T5 Second Survey Adjustments[edit]

In order to make the collection of legacy astrographic data more consistent, the project took the approach of overwriting the the previous versions if the new changes made sense. The T5 Second Survey adjustments to the previous versions of data includes:

  1. Fixing stellar data to match the current understanding of stars. Specific changes would be:
    1. Replace the dwarf (D) class stars with M class stars
    2. Reduce the size of some giant stars (OBAF) to more reasonable sizes (GK)
    3. Fix the M class stars to a minimum of M4 if the world is habitable
  2. World generation changes include
    1. Increase the size of worlds with thin or better atmospheres to match the physics that small worlds can't hold atmospheres
    2. Adjust the TLs of all worlds in the Imperium to be a maximum of 15
    3. Adjust the TLs and populations of worlds in several sectors to ensure each sector economy falls in a specific range of values
    4. Apply automated tools to ensure UWP values are within T5 generation ranges, including the new Ix, Cx, Ex values.
  3. Trade code changes would include
    1. Fix the trade codes to match the rules in the T5 Core Rules
    2. Add the sophont codes to worlds where they are known
    3. Add the O: (owned worlds) or Mr notation to worlds that are Gov 6
    4. Apply automated tools to verify the Trade codes are correct.

History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

Traveller astrography is very difficult to document because it has had many overlapping periods about which even the direct eye witnesses and participants sometimes have profound disagreements. The legacy data is the interaction of the official publications, the work of the various Traveller licensees, and the fan works. Because these works fed into each other in various random ways, tracking the exact history of some of the data can be a difficult task. This author can only confess to having reviewed forty years of published materials, spoken with multiple former employees, authors, illustrators, and other participants and tried to piece the best history possible out of the mess. Long live, Traveller! [1]

Internet Era (1997 to Present)[edit]

The internet era begins in the late 1990s. Traveller Publishers during this era are largely on their own in terms of astrographic data. Some publishers (Imperium Games, QuikLink Interactive) generate their own data from scratch, others (Steve Jackson Games) use the existing published data with minor updates.

  1. In 1998 and 1999, Freelance Traveller (1998), Downport (1999), and The Zhodani Base (1999) were all early sites which contained copies of the previous generated data and make attempts to collect and update the published data. This is a small set of the fan sites.
  2. In 1989, Joe Fugate uploaded the sector files to the GEnie online service in 1989. This data is know also as the GEnie data (or GENII) for that reason. In 1994 these files were hosted on the Sunbane FTP server (ftp://sunbane.engrg.uwo.ca/, which is no longer available) by the then TML host Dan Corrin. The original files are now collected in the HIWG archives.
    1. All of the sector data published in Travellers' Digest and MegaTraveller Journal 03 used this data. The data was used as the basis for the dot maps in Solomani & Aslan and Vilani & Vargr.
    2. Shortly after being published, HIWG members updated and added to many of these sectors. They added names and stellar data to most of the data (missing in the original), and expanded upon the original thirty-five sectors.
    3. The Sunbane data continues to be used widely by Traveller fans for their projects. The Hinterworlds Sector article in Challenge 39 used the Sunbane data as its starting point. The data for the Gateway Domain sectors was used as the starting point for Gateway to Destiny. It served as the basis for the T5 Second Survey.
    4. The Sunbane data, as updated by HIWG, is distributed with Galactic and Heaven & Earth, two of the most popular Traveller mapping programs. It forms the basis for numerous online maps. Many of the files at the Zhodani Base web site use the data.
  3. In 2006, the Traveller Wiki (2006) begins to collect the data from the various sites and starts (2008) to publish the data in a more consistent fashion.
  4. Around 2008, with the publication of the playtest version of the Traveller 5th edition core rule book (2008), Don McKinney, Robert Eaglestone, along with Marc Miller engaged in the T5 Second Survey a project to collect and update known astrographic data.
    1. The early work was done by Rob with Dan "Far Trader" Burns, gathering details, supplying and filling in gaps, then Don (with the help of Andrew Ford and Roger Howe, aka "the Australian Specialists") picked up and continued working on the sectors within the Imperium, which was then reviewed by Marc and used for the rewards for the T5 Kickstarter.
    2. T5 Second Survey was created as an update to the previous data sets including the most common one, the Sunbane set.
    3. FFE oversees the entire process.
    4. A T5 Second Survey manual is part of an effort to somewhat standardize the chaotic system.
    5. FFE has re-canon-ized some of the legacy data in this current, ongoing period.
  5. From the mid 2000's to the present, new products from Traveller licensees such as T20 and MGT began start overwriting and expanding the data.
    1. Since 2009, most Mongoose Traveller OTU books have been produced using the data from this project. Ziafrplians Sector and Gvurrdon Sector have been done as part of the effort to supply baseline data for Mongoose Traveller projects.
    2. As of April 2013, this project has all of the sectors with at least two Imperial worlds largely second-draft completed (some details, for example, owning worlds for some captive governments remain undetermined, and smoothing out inconsistencies in the stellar data).
    3. Since 2014, Traveller Map serves as the publication source along with an interactive user interface. The T5 Second Survey began publication to Traveller Map in 2014.

References & Contributors (Sources)[edit]

This article was copied or excerpted from the following copyrighted sources and used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author.

  1. An unpublished factoid written by Maksim-Smelchak