Rixx Javix over on Evoganda has a nice piece today on the lack of aliens in New Eden. In Where Da Aliens At?, he makes the case that we don’t need them. Aliens are problematic as a lore item and have more risk to their implementation than possible enhancement to the game. He concludes New Eden is just for humans.
I do not necessarily disagree with Rixx. We are doing quite well on our own. Besides, I’ve met a few capsuleers that definitely count as alien in my time in New Eden. I wont go into details, but oh my lord there are some strange types lurking around the star lanes. I’m sure you’ve had more than a few run ins with those types of “aliens” yourself. But there is perhaps an even – bigger – reason why there are no aliens in New Eden.
I’d like to put a little perspective on New Eden’s place in the greater scheme of things. This is partly spurred by Rixx’s post, and also a Twitter stream yesterday by @webspaceships on what type of astronomical phenomena New Eden is. I’d actually not given it much thought before. But it got me curious. I’d just done the ship speed post showing how New Eden ships are slower than what humans build now. So my mind naturally went to, “How big IS New Eden in comparison to other astronomical things within our universe?”
This requires pictures, of course. First, lets start with a nice picture of known space. New Eden is called a cluster, but this is not an astronomical term in this instance. It merely describes all those systems humans have connected with star gates. That is the most frequent meaning of the term ‘cluster’ when applied to New Eden. That comprises 5431 stars in an area 106 light years by 90 light years by 25 light years – approximately 8500 square light years in all. Here’s what it looks like.
|New Eden Cluster (Star Gate connected systems only)|
That’s a lot of star systems. But is it really? To know for certain, we need to take a look at the cluster from a different perspective. What does the cluster size look like compared to an entire galaxy? If you Google the question, “How many stars in the Milky Way?” it will tell you 300 billion. Wikipedia puts that number at 400 billion. The dimensions of the Milky Way are also somewhat contested, but the general consensus gives it a diameter of about 100,000 light years and an approximate average thickness of 1000 light years. Stellar density per 800 square parsecs (the size of New Eden BTW) also varies considerably from region to region. But in a nut shell, the New Eden cluster looks like this compared to the Milky Way.
|Milky Way galaxy with New Eden Cluster Superimposed|
This started as a very large file – 6000 x 3887 pixels. If you can’t see the size of New Eden, download the full size image from this link and zoom in on the “we are here” area. The base image itself is a free National Geographic map and I superimposed the first image of the New Eden cluster onto it. I couldn’t make it absolutely relative in size, but I got it pretty damn close and centered it on Sol. There is a 3000 and a 6000 light year radius circle drawn around Sol. That’s makes the comparison easy. You can now see how teeny tiny New Eden is when compared to the entire galaxy. If that doesn’t give you an inferiority complex, nothing will. And don’t worry Rixx, there’s still plenty of room out there for aliens.