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What is the map for?
The map is designed as an aid to navigation. The ease with which a pilot can get lost in Hardwar is both a blessing and a curse. The gameplay in Hardwar is probably too quick to use the map to navigate your moth through every situation. However, the map should make an excellent reference source when trying to find a hangar, or find the quickest route to a hangar.
Does the map show everything?
The map should show every building which is large enough to have a hangar. It does not show the smaller objects, such as containers, that lie on the surface. Most of the 3D detail is missing: The building shapes are normally those seen from above, and do not show detail such as the support structure. Shades of grey are used to show the approximate relative height of the most important part of the structure - normally the part with the hangar in it. Where it is possible to fly through or under a building this has been indicated by a navigation arrow. Relief is shown crudely using two contour lines.
Is the map hacked from the game's code?
No. No bits, nibbles, bytes or pixels have been harmed in the creation of the map. A screen grab was taken from the game's navigation interface. This was enlarged and brought into Freehand, a vector graphics package. This base map gave the relative location of every building and crater wall. Over the course of about seven game days I flew round each crater, identifying the size, shape and hangar names for each building; plus a couple that were not shown on the base map. Hangar approach angles were taken using the in-game ship's compass. All this information was transcribed by hand into Freehand. The map you see is therefore entirely mouse drawn. The base map was then removed. Finally the internet version was prepared using Ghostscript.
How accurate is the map?
In practice it is only sufficiently accurate to identify the relative location and approximate shape of buildings, and face angle (to within 30 degrees) of hangar entrances. The precise size of buildings is unlikely to be correct. Angles are all based on the in-game ship's compass. The scale looks fairly unfeasible. The scale is based on a small number of point to point test flights, conducted at a constant speed. The scale assumes that the MPH ship speed relates to hours in game time, not hours in real time.
Ciaran Gultnieks clarifies:
"... the "approximate scale" - the word approximate is a bit of an extreme understatement. As a guide to the actual scale, the width of the map (the distance from the West edge of the Riverside crater to the East edge of Mines) is 29km, and the 'height' (from the South edge of Mines to the North edge of Highrise) is approx 20km."
What does the figure in feet mean after a hangar name on the vector maps?
Where one building has two or more hangars, the altitude of each hangar is shown in brackets after the hangar name. The figure is taken from the data given by the HUD interface on approach to a hangar. It has been included to help gauge the appropriate height of the hangar. Normally the hangar is in the height range indicated by the colour of the building. Where two or more hangars exist in the same building this may not be the case. This is the reason for including altitudes.
I need more help with the interactive hardwar navigation terminal.
Try reading the terminal's help file.
In Internet Explorer, I try and look at the vector maps, but all I get is a white screen.
Try waiting. Unfortunately in Internet Explorer nothing is displayed until the whole map is downloaded. On a slow internet connection, this could take 2 or 3 minutes.