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Offline bvanevery

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ensuring more land
« on: March 10, 2018, 02:46:44 AM »
I'm playing on 256x128 maps nowadays.  I call them Giant maps, 4X larger than Huge.  I'm finding it impossible to generate a world that's mostly land.  Seems like I've gotten those kinds of worlds on smaller maps plenty of times, where it's mostly land, but there will be some "gigantic lake" on the planet somewhere, or maybe 2.  I'm now about to start poking around in the files and see if there's anything I can set to ensure more land gets generated.  Selecting 30%..50% land from the game menu definitely won't do it.  At the Giant scale, I get water worlds.  Sometimes with big continents, oftentimes not.  And I'm usually getting stuck on tiny islands to start with, as Aki Zeta-5 at least.

The purpose of having more land, is to make it easier for the AI to plan and conquer.  I find that the AI completely stagnates when given a water start, especially if it's a small island start.

In alphax.txt I find myself modifying: Land base, Land modifier, Continent base, Continent modif., and Islands.  I also tried changing Deep water to something smaller, but changed it back to its default.  I've made progress with filling the map with more land, but a satisfying ratio of land to water and crinkliness still eludes me.  I'm tired, I will try again tomorow.

crippled factions
crippled factions

This morning I generated a world with the following changed parameters.  Continent base = 36, Continent modifier = 72, Islands = 12.  It looked like an almost all land world, eyeballing the radar readouts.  I guess I should switch to an Alien faction while trying to figure out how these settings work, so that I know for sure.  Played the game for a bit, realized I was on a tiny dry island, although possibly connected by land to the west with an intervening patch of fungus.  Then noticed that 2 factions were dead and 1 severely crippled, which was not the goal creating a world like this.  They probably got pathological 1x1 island starts.

Islands=1
Islands=1

Provisionally, I think the "real continents" quality of the map is much improved by setting Islands=1.  A Pirate would still be able to dominate the oceans of such a world.  Granted, this map also had Continent base=48, Continent modifier=96, but Islands seems to control how much things are broken apart.  I think I'm telling it, "don't break stuff apart into little pieces".

continents default
continents default

The continent seed settings do matter though.  This is what happened when I set them back to default.  In other words, the only setting changed for this map is Islands=1.  Not enough to make good continents.  I will now see how high I have to crank the Continent settings to get good ones.  [Experimentation ensues....]  I have determined that the Continent settings I had are required.  Lower values create "spotty" worlds that the AI will have a difficult time with.

My final solution is: Continent base=48, Continent modifier=96, Islands=1, to produce "nicely solid" continents.  At least on a Giant 256x128 map.

« Last Edit: March 10, 2018, 03:18:46 PM by bvanevery »

Offline bvanevery

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Re: ensuring more land
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2018, 06:19:00 PM »
clustered factions
clustered factions

For some reason in this game, all factions were started within an area the size of - possibly - a Normal map, even though I created a Giant 256x128 map.  To some extent it makes me wonder, what is the point?  If we're all going to be in contact, then I might as well play on a Huge map at most.  Granted, I did have to get The Empath Guild to find the Peacekeepers, the Cybernetic Consciousness, and the Data Angels.  The University, the Hive, and the Spartans, I found by sailing.  I am the Pirates, which is the aqua colored clump in the middle.

I've had problems with the game putting factions on 1x1 islands.  It happened to Roze this game.  Look at the clump of factions on the map; Roze is in the upper right of the clump.  Not only is she on an island, the island is inside a small lake!  She wasn't given a boat either; that frequently happens with these 1x1 island starts.

This world was generated with a different Islands setting because I was trying to see if it would help with the stillborn faction problem.  I tried Continent base=48, Continent modifier=96, Islands=9 but that is clearly not the answer.  If there is one.  I wonder if Islands=0 will work?

Offline bvanevery

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Re: ensuring more land
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2018, 09:30:17 PM »
Islands equals zero
Islands equals zero

Setting "Islands=0" does not make 1x1 islands go away.  There are plenty of them.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: ensuring more land
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2018, 09:45:10 PM »
sail where
sail where

Well this is cute.  Exactly what good is that boat supposed to do me?  I'm trying larger land mass settings, but it's not solving the basic problem.  The coasts are just too crinkly and spotty.  Maybe one of the other settings can smooth them out, and eliminate these 1x1 islands and 1x1 lakes.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: ensuring more land
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2018, 09:58:53 PM »
planning normandy
planning normandy

The "Beach" setting makes the coastlines a lot more smoothly varying.  The default is "Beach=10".  I've cranked this up to "Beach=40".  There are very few 1x1 or 3x1 island artifacts, but they do exist.  Maybe the odds are improved that factions won't get degenerate starts, but I have a sinking feeling the game will find a way.  So I will look for ways to completely eliminate the tiny islands.

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Re: ensuring more land
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2018, 09:59:52 PM »
sail where
sail where

Well this is cute.  Exactly what good is that boat supposed to do me?  I'm trying larger land mass settings, but it's not solving the basic problem.  The coasts are just too crinkly and spotty.  Maybe one of the other settings can smooth them out, and eliminate these 1x1 islands and 1x1 lakes.

I wouldn't call that a bug - just bad luck and a shame.  It would take some code space to run a check for at least one adjacent water square, which sounds more doable the more keys I hit saying so.  -Put it up for Yitzi or scient, I guess.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: ensuring more land
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2018, 01:38:14 AM »
That island with the trapped transport is survivable but it's still an egregously lousy start.  Especially on a Giant map where other factions can be presumed to have a gigantic amount of land available to them.  No question that the faction placement code does a bad job of determining whether the position is viable.  It should be considering the map scale as part of the prognosis.  Really, having starts on tiny islands, I mean like 1x3 squares or smaller, is common on a lot of the big maps I've generated.  The only practical answer IMO is to make sure the map generator doesn't create such terrain to begin with.  To wit:

maze

The following settings seem to be absolutely necessary to suppress 1x1 islands: Deep water=30, Shelf=20, Beach=50, Islands=0.  The first 3 settings must be at least that large.  Islands has to be 0.  This I determined by a lot of empirical experimentation.

Furthermore I think that the continent settings may have to be some minimum size or 1x1 islands can happen.  They are still rather uncommon with the above settings though.  The continent settings give some flexibility as to what kind of world happens.  Beach tends to elongate a lot of shapes, which causes them to run into each other and create more of a maze of ribbons than distinct continental masses.  Higher continent settings do consolidate the land more, but there's a point at which higher settings cease to matter.  I have been using the 30%..50% ocean setting in the main game menu, so possibly a world with more ocean might have more isolated continents.  I'm not sure if a world with a continental distribution like our own planet is possible, and still have no 1x1 islands, but I haven't really tried either.

The above map was generated with Continent base=36, Continent modifier=72.  Oh and this is a Giant map, 256x128, 4X larger than Huge.  I haven't tried any of these settings on smaller than Giant maps.  Maybe they can make any map more playable, but I'm still interested in Giant maps for now.  I've also only tried Average settings for erosion.  Cloud cover and fungus were also Average, but I don't expect those to affect the topology.

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Re: ensuring more land
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2018, 03:08:01 AM »
Oh, I totally get all that - if I'm not playing Pirates, water tend to get in the way more than anything - and I never played Pirates much.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: ensuring more land
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2018, 03:12:21 AM »
four stillborn
four stillborn

How did I fail at this??  3 human factions and 1 Alien faction stillborn, using all those great settings above.  I'm playing the Caretakers, toodling along building my Secret Projects, thinking I'm doing awfully well.  Then I notice the power graph.  I switched to Edit mode, something I have almost no experience with, and revealed the entire map.  The Pirates and the Data Angels got normal starts, but the other 4 factions don't seem to have even been placed on the map.  Most of the land on this map was connected, so I wonder if the game got confused about there not being all that many continents?  I got a big island to myself, and there was another big island next to me.  Svensgaard got an ocean.  Roze was on some land; could that all have been counted as "1 continent" ?

Offline Green1

Re: ensuring more land
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2018, 03:14:35 AM »
Wasn't there talk of an external map maker years back?

Not that I think anything ever came of it..

Offline Geo

Re: ensuring more land
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2018, 06:20:59 AM »
Are factions allowed to respawn when eradicated in these testgames? Because that would solve the issue of the initial colony pod being snagged by native life on turn one or so.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: ensuring more land
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2018, 01:12:11 PM »
They are allowed to respawn but I guarantee you that isn't solving anything.  Best I can tell, from examining piles of freshly started games in the Scenario Editor, is that factions are not even being placed on the map in the 1st place.  Sometimes it is so bad that I get Conquest Victory immediately upon starting the game!  My leading theory so far, is that "a lack of distinct continents" causes the bug.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: ensuring more land
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2018, 01:33:32 PM »
huge map no continent modifiers
huge map no continent modifiers

The above was generated on a Huge map without changing Continent base or Continent modifier.  Settings that were changed are: Deep water=30, Shelf=20, Beach=20, Islands=0.  I wonder if Continent base or Continent modifier are used to determine starting positions?  Like if they're too high, especially for a highly connected map, then the placement algorithm chokes.  Strict separation of continents is obviously not required on a Huge map though.  In fact the algorithm is often "cute" and places factions rather close to each other.  Which I don't want; using a larger map, is supposed to be about factions taking longer to get to each other.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: ensuring more land
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2018, 03:19:59 PM »
cute

I have found that the Deep water, Shelf, and Beach settings are not necessary to prevent degenerate starts.  Setting the Continent settings sufficiently large, and setting Islands=0, is sufficient on a Huge map.  The above was generated with Continent base=30, Continent modifier=60, Islands=0.  However no matter what settings I try on a Huge map, I cannot solve the problem of the faction placement algorithm getting "cute" and putting factions too close together.  In the above, the Morganites are stuck behind the Data Angels on a small amount of land.  The Data Angels are squeezed between the Morganites and the Gaians on not very much land.  The Believers and the Cybernetic Consciousness are started right next to each other, although at least they both have room to go their own ways.  Only the University and the Peacekeepers were given "unobstructed" starts.

My testbed is 7 human factions, all on land, all placed immediately at the beginning of the game.  I think Cha Dawn gets placed 3 turns late, because he was found in the fungus or some nonsense like that.  The Alien factions of course get placed 3 turns late.  I am trying to ensure maximum crowding.   I chose these specific 7 factions so that I can see their color dots more readily on the map.  I'm not sure if faction aggression levels or social engineering biases have anything to do with placement.  I suspect that it's random, but just in case, I didn't duplicate 7 yellow colored Morganites for instance.  Although, that might be a fair test for determining whether placement is random, or the faction has some influence over placement.

I probably can't do any better with the settings on a Huge map, but I will run a few more tests to be sure.  Once I'm done with that, I'll see whether the same settings hold up on a Giant map, or if I get degenerate starts again.  Also whether the "cuteness" problem goes away just for the sheer amount of land available.

Offline bvanevery

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Re: ensuring more land
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2018, 03:46:27 PM »
gigantic degeneracy
gigantic degeneracy

Well !#!@# using the exact same settings above on a Giant map, I got 2 degenerate 1x1 islands placements including myself, an unacceptable 5x2 island placement, and 3 factions not placed at all.  Only Morgan got a normal placement, and he was the 1st faction in the turn order.  I've rearranged the faction order to be alphabetical by the faction's short name, i.e. the Angels shall be 1st in the list now.

What gives?!?  I wonder if it's a wraparond bug and a slightly smaller map size would fix everything.  What I do know, is the Giant maps are very consistent about dropping factions, with settings that are fine for Huge maps.


 

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