Domain and Settlement Selection Update

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Luna Map

Many of you who do not frequent our Discord server have asked us to share the pinned updates from the Domain and Settlement Selection channel here in the forums. Since the demos shared on 6/13 gives you a good sense of overall progress, we will start this update thread there.

If you would like to go to the conversation directly and see if there was any follow up during the chat, I’ve provided direct links to the Discord message IDs.


Utilizing test data and a WIP system, Caspian shared 2 GIFs that showed off 2 examples of a D&SS walkthrough. D&SS Update Demos

6/14/2019 Direct link

Popping into chat for a brief moment to provide an update, Caspian said “FYI: I’ve finally found the solution to the CPU throttling that was preventing us from getting meaningful water data! Huzzah! With this unblocked, we should be able to run the simulation to completion and see what kind of data we get from it.”

6/17/2019 Direct link

Nimb asked in Discord for an example of a multi-domain selection, and a 3rd video was added to the D&SS Update Demos thread.

6/19/2019 Direct link

A brief update from Caspian into the D&SS channel stated “TL;DR on water – there’s water where there should be now, but the designers need to decide whether there’s enough water to care about, how much is enough water to care about, and some other similar stuff. But water stuff is just about done. My part in particular is almost done.”

6/22/2019 Direct link

During his weekend, Snipehunter dropped into the channel to discuss progress with this statement: “It’s saturday? crazy. I lost track. Probably because I was out for part of the week. That means it’s been a bit since you got an official update, huh? Sorry about that!”

“It’s been a busy week! We’ve been working on making some adjustments to the way settlements value parcels this week, both to speed up the sims and to make sure that they’re taking into account all possible factors. So, for example, we’ve expanded the way settlements evaluate terrain slope to get a better gradient of preference based on hilliness and the like, so that settlements are less likely to jam themselves against certain geographical features.”

“We’ve also made changes to the way the system detects cliffs and valleys to speed the sim up, though that might be a change you won’t feel since it’s mostly about changing the way we test the terrain rather than adding or removing what we test. Still it means that quality grading aspect of the sim runs faster now, which is important for quickly generating the last pass of the data, given how long the water sim takes.”

“Right now, I’m looking at the way the results of the water sim are incorporated into the rest of the sims, e.g. adjusting the impact shoreline access on rivers has to considerations for fresh water, that sort of thing. My goal is to properly balance the desire to be on the coast against the desire to exploit other resources where fresh water in wells are still present.”

“In some sense these are polish tasks, but they’re also critical to game balance, so I wouldn’t say ‘we’re just polishing now!’ so much as ‘a lot of what we’re doing also counts as final polish at this point’.”

6/23/2019 Direct link

Caspian entered and started discussing his post processing data tool for designers to use to fine tune the water. He said “So, we have a tool we use to post-process the data from the water sim that allows the designers to fine tune how much water is in a region, per biome, in addition to how much flow.”

There are 1 or more WIP images shared at the link: follow it above to see them.

6/24/2019 Direct link

Caspian came into chat and discussed his work on water and provided a large update: First: “With respect to generating the maps, remember that we generate water and terrain in different steps. We’ve (as an industry) been procedurally generating terrain for over a decade now due to movies and video games needing realistic looking terrain. There’s tools like World Machine, TerraGen, and others which are great at creating terrain that mimics whatever kind of geographic features you’re looking for using fractals. You can simulate coastal erosion, erosion from wind/water, and even glacial erosion. So as not to re-invent the wheel, we leveraged many existing tools to create the terrain using our own devices and algorithms in order to create the kind of terrain we’re looking for.”

“For example, the tropical wetlands are defined by large bodies of mostly still water that form river-like patterns. This is because the soil in the wetlands is super-saturated and in many cases are below sea level. So we defined our devices and tooling to create an area that had long stretches of navigable waterways.”

“Now, after all of our terrain was generated, we run our water simulation. The water simulation is responsible for handling precipitation, soil absorption, and the general chaos of water flow. Then we allow the simulation to run for a few thousands ticks and “see where the water is/goes.”

Second: “In some cases, water pours down from the sky but due to the shape of the terrain and soil composition, doesn’t really move much. Those are low-flow areas. In other cases, water rolls down the hills and meets up at the bottom of a valley, ravine, or other similar geological shape and then begins to flow to lower ground – that’s a high flow area.”

“In the images you’re looking at, red represents the pooling of water. The brighter the red, the more water that has pooled there. So something like the tropical wetlands is going to have lots of long, narrowly defined waterways where water has ‘pooled.’

“In contrast, green areas represent water that is ‘flowing’. The brighter the green, the faster and more volume of water is flowing through there.”

“It’s important to note though, that the image you’re looking at is a heat map with only 255 different values. So areas with flowing water that moves very slowly is going to show up with almost no value at all, while areas with fast-moving water will show up as very bright.”

“As a result, areas like in the tropical wetlands that has slow-moving waterways show up effectively as long ‘lakes’.”

6/25/2019 Direct link

Snipehunter was chatting in Discord, and decided to provide a quick update while there: “Oh, and as long as I’m here, let me give you a quick DSS update:”

“The outreach team is hammering the DSS website, running regression tests and performance tests and the like. So far so good, though this particular pass is just getting started, in all fairness. Caspian and I are working on a couple of elements related to map rendering and settlement naming, making sure that the settlements properly incorporate local landmarks and features into their naming process, and also making sure that the rules for rendering things likes trees and ground cover are properly set up for each level of detail accessible via the map. (Essentially, taking the universal rendering rules and tweaking them specifically for each detail level where needed to make sure everything looks good at every detail level.)”

“We also had a conversation about how the various icon look in different accessibility situations. e.g. do our icons convey all the information they need to convey even if you’re color blind, that sort of thing.”

“There are still a few issues we need to resolve on the data side, but we’re very much into the “fit and finish” piece of the process at this point.”

6/26/2019 Direct link

Caspian popped into Discord early Wednesday morning (7:24am) to provide this quick update on progress: “Morning all! Happy Wednesday! As a quick update, DSS is nearly complete. The web team is feature complete on all but some admin stuff that doesn’t directly effect you. They have largely moved on to pen testing and stress testing.”

“The designers should be done with their work shortly as well which just leaves some remaining work on the stylized renderer.”

“We’ve also added some niceties which I’ll announce on the forums to make everyone’s lives a little easier. No release date being announced yet, but if you hold your head in just the right way, you can smell the bread of DSS rising in the oven.”

6/29/2019 Direct link

Caspian entered the D&SS channel as many in the channel were asking on a status update. He said: “I’m still not happy with the stuff I’ve been working on lately, so I can’t provide a visual update yet. But, I can give you an overall update.”

“1. The web team is working on bug fixes, performance optimizations, logging, and some features of the admin panel. Most of that is not blocking the release of D&SS. They’ve also been working on a bonus feature that came at the request of the community since the design team is still iterating on our end. There’s also one other nicety that I hope the community will enjoy. But I’ll save that for now.”

“2. The design team is iterating on settlement placement. We wanted a more suburb/communal feel, and right now things are distributing in a way we’re not 100% happy with. The water stuff is pretty much done, we’re just doing some fine tuning now. And I’m working on the stylized renderer. As you’ve probably seen from our past videos, the legend for the map is massive – there’s like 8 different types of ground cover, different types of trees, rolling hills, foothills, mountain peaks, small peaks, bridges, waterfalls, etc… So I’ve been working to translate what we know about the locations of these objects on the map. <- this is the part I’m not happy with and so can’t provide a visual update. At least not one that is meaningful yet.”

There are 1 or more WIP images shared at the link: follow it above to see them.

7/1/2019 Direct link

As I knew Caspian was still working on an example of the stylized map sample he had hinted at the previous Saturday, I gathered this update from the team to provide the channel: “Quick update on D&SS from the weekend:”

“Rendering the stylized maps: Caspian and Snipehunter worked out changes to the rules for drawing mountains, in an effort to have them better illustrate the locations of peaks of various size. They also tweaked the settlement algorithms relating to how settlements determine their size, and worked on the algorithms that determine which types of roads connected which types of settlements. This should create better highways, and allow for more “distant” hamlets and villages to utilize trails and other rudimentary road types.”

“DSS App: The web team continues to add polish to the niceties that Caspian mentioned the community had requested, more on that later this week. We are also continuing load and pen tests, updating final vassal lists, and reviewing posts, instructions, and FAQs.”

“It isn’t finished yet, but things are moving forward.”

“As more info is available we will update you here and in the forums.”

7/8/2019 Direct link

“Caspian has returned! Though still showing signs of plague, Caspian has returned and he and Snipehunter are once again focusing on finalizing the stylized renderer used to show you the world map data. Today the focus was on how mountain foothills are shown, which sparked a more general discussion and look at the way mountains are drawn at various zoom levels. The intention is to ensure that the icons used to show off mountains both help to directly show the territory they occupy accurately and to properly convey a sense of their altitude in relation to nearby hills and others mountains.”

“Additionally the outreach team as a whole is presently doing everything they can to stress test the domain and settlement process. The web team is also building a set of behind-the-scenes tools our Outreach team can use to ensure the D&SS is smooth for everyone.”

7/11/2019 Direct link

Caspian popped into Discord earlier with this: “So, as a quick update, along the lines with what I put in general – Domain & Settlement Selection is “effectively” done. There’s probably a couple more days of cleanup and polish, but the world generation side of things and the website side of things are both done. I think there’s just some tweaks here and there to get it just the way we want it.”


Caspian shared our newest shiny and D&SS update, a fully stylized render of our testing Map H!



Many of you were asking for an update on the icons shown on the map so far, so this partial legend is now available.

7/15/2019 Direct link

Shared in the D&SS channel today: “Caspian and Snipehunter are continuing fine tuning the population densities of the biomes to ensure they match our expectations. Additionally, the web team is polishing the front end user interface as the back end team runs stress tests and validates the load on the server during mass use.”

7/16/2019 Direct link

Snipehunter popped into the D&SS channel today to share a screen grab from inside the D&SS app looking at a real map somewhere, on some server 😉 Find it at the link above!

7/17/2019 Direct link

Yesterday someone asked: “How long will the D&SS App/Maps be viewable on our site?”, the answer is: “We presently have no intention of taking them down, they may remain live as late as Exposition.”

RE: Declined domain names:

“During D&SS, once you submit the name(s) of your holdings, your property is reserved, period.”
“If any name is declined, the property is still reserved. The player has until a future cutoff date to submit a replacement that can be approved. If they do not, the original temporary name becomes permanent.”

7/17/2019 Direct link

Caspian popped into the D&SS channel tonight and provided an update and leaked some final Temporary Duchy Names for all 4 maps, one biome per.

“D&SS News for today: Settlement distribution work is done and things are much better spaced now. Also the county borders are more reasonable. :-)”

“I’m doing some stuff with duchy names, got a bug to fix with county names, doing some updated rendering of the background to make them look more enjoyable, and then I’ve got some fixes to roads to account for our new settlement distribution algorithm. And then I’m DONE with D&SS. I anticipate being done in a couple more days.”

Here they are:

Map I (NA-W)

Grasslands Temporary Duchy Names: Westdell, Stormvale, and Sagemist.

Map N (NA-E)

Alpine Forest Temporary Duchy Names: Dahn Fall, Longraven, Dahn Tithe, Avaremoor, Fawnspring, and Pineshadow End

Map 7 (OCE)

Alpine Tundra Temporary Duchy Names: Ashmouth, Broadboulder Gate, Crag Spidergrave

Map B (EU)

Tropical Rain Forest Temporary Duchy Names: Deeprest, Aberblood, Vinese, Saltcross, South Reach, Greenden

7/18/2019 Direct link

Caspian was in Discord early today sharing news on progress of his tasks. Here’s what he said:

“I finished the county and duchy naming stuff yesterday and updated the renderer with the new background colors.”

“I’m going to quickly make the background blending able to be adjusted on a per biome basis this morning so the designers can tweak the amount of blending.”

“Then I’m going to move on to updating roads.”

“The sizes of the counties are more homogeneous now. There’s still a range of sizes but not quite so much now. And the shapes are a little more regular.”

“As for the borders and how organic they are, you generally don’t want smooth or organic county borders. The borders reflect the fact that a county is made up of parcels of land. Generally speaking of the border of the county isn’t flat, it means random parcels are invading the neighboring county. The straighter the county border the more clearly defined the parcel boundary is.”

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