This article originally appeared in Pyramid #9

Pyramid Pick


Published by Planet III Software
Designed by Jeff Davies
Retail Price: $29.95 for Windows PCs

If you have ever been involved in a Traveller campaign, you have undoubtedly found yourself in the not-so-unique position of being nearly overwhelmed by the enormous amount of information concerning travel, combat, and common tasks the game uses. Unfortunately for the referee, this chore is entirely his or her responsibility; only referees with eidetic memories can free themselves from the shackles of tons of reference books. This can severely impede the flow of the game and has made me wary of becoming involved in a Traveller campaign. Until now.

Planet III Software has developed a system to take some of this burden off the shoulders of the referee. Traveller Navigator for Microsoft Windows 3.1 is, to me, a necessity for anyone serious about running a Traveller campaign. No longer must play be stopped while the referee looks at maps or flips through the reference books. All vital information is only a few mouse clicks away. Navigator is limited to the Diaspora Sector, and all information is cross-indexed using a Microsoft Windows hypertext help engine. The program requires Windows 3.1, 700K on your hard drive, a pointing device, and a VGA monitor. A color monitor is not necessary, but it is recommended. A printer is also recommended for printing the subsector maps and statistics.

The Navigator is divided into several different sections including Charts, Starship Statistics, Starship Operations, Combat, and a glossary. Moving between sections is relatively simple using the Command Pad. This feature allows you to move to any of the major sections regardless of where you're at in the program. While using the software, I found this to be perhaps the most helpful of all the features. In certain areas, it is possible to get four or five levels deep, and the ability to jump directly to the main menu is a real time saver.

The Charts section of the program contains all important information on the Diaspora Sector and all of its subsectors. The main screen in this section is a map of the subsectors. By zooming in on one of the subsectors you can access a list of all star systems in that subsector. From here it is possible to get a map of the subsector or retrieve detailed information on any of the star systems in the subsector. There are also options for viewing maps of the individual subsectors including color coding of the mains and/or showing jump lanes.

By selecting an individual star system, you are able to view all component parts of the system's UPW with a short description for areas like Government and Law Level. A description of these, if necessary, is only a mouse click away. Also included on this screen are character modifiers. No calculations are necessary to determine if this is a suitable world to start a new character.

The Starship Operations section outlines the procedures for running a starship in great detail. You can access 16 different items pertaining to starship operations. Each item gives step by step instructions. This is a very helpful section for the referee and players, especially beginners.

All vital ship statistics are accessible in the Starship Statistics section. You are able to view information on all ship types. The types of information available include: crew, armament, dimensions, range, speed, defense systems, computer system, sleeping accommodations, etc. Also included are damage tables, and we all know how helpful those are.

Other helpful features include a bookmark and a feature to annotate. The bookmark allows you to mark frequently used sections and move directly from one to the other in one click. The ability to annotate will also be very useful while running a campaign. A small green paper-clip reminds you that you've added notes to a particular area.

My hat is off to Planet III Software. Their Traveller Navigator is a helpful and effective tool for running a smooth, well-flowing Traveller campaign. If you play Traveller and have a computer that runs Windows 3.1, then Navigator is for you. Look for me in the Diaspora Sector!

-- Chris Van Waters

Article publication date: October 1, 1994

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