Sector Update

17 Oct 2017

I’ve started working on a few new features for Sector. First up, something that I think people will be very happy to see:

If you’re a Traveller fan, you’ll probably recognise those names - they are worlds from the Spinward Marches, one of the most iconic sectors in the official Traveller universe. That’s right - Sector will soon be able to import standard format sector files!

This means you’ll be able to import the map for your existing Traveller campaign right into Sector. I’m very excited about this feature!

One thing to note is that the import process only supports the main information fields - some of the additional T5 data is proprietary and not part of the Traveller SRD. Sector will import the hex location, name, UPP, travel zone and 3 digit ‘population, belts and gas giants’ data. Anything else above that will be procedurally generated - most notably trade routes. The import tries to be as flexible as possible, so as long as these fields are present in that order in the data file, it should work.

Trade routes do take into account the usual factors, as well as the ‘importance value’ if that’s present in the import data.

The other side to import is export. This is less important, but I’m hoping to add this too, so that you can export out the full listing of your generated sectors for reference.

Further afield

I’m still working on ways to create a image or PDF version of the map for export. This is a much requested feature. Unfortunately, it’s technically quite hard to implement with the way the map is currently being generated. I’m hoping I’ll find a solution that allows me to export an image or PDF without requiring me to rewrite the entire way the map is created.

The main problem is that Sector uses a lot of views to create the map - so many that it actually has to be a bit sneaky and does things like unload hexes that aren’t visible on-screen. In order to generate an entire sector or even just subsector map I’d have to load lots and lots of hexes at once, and doing this without crashing the app with an out of memory exception is quite challenging.

The approach I’m hoping to take is to instead render each map hex into an image, and use that to display the map. This will reduce the memory overhead immediately by something like a factor of 10 or 20. This should also greatly speed up map scrolling, and possibly also allow me to zoom the map right out instead of restricting it as is currently the case.

I hope you’re enjoying the app - keep on Travelling!