Saturday, June 1, 2013

Infrastructure Is Fun!

Here is a video version of this post, but of Sardinia, created for a friend.

Almost certainly, you won't get anything out of it.  But what the hell, space on the net is free to fill.


Vlad Malkav said...

As the gentleman who asked about Infrastructure, I can only say thank you, thanks a lot !

I am pleased to see that I did understood what you explained in your posts, and you definitely sold me Publisher for all the mapping.

I also have questions !

On the detail of the territories, I see a total population, total town population, and under that the different "kinds" of hexes : Cropland, Mixed C&A, Arable and Waste.

How did you get the global population for the area ?

Does the "age" of the town have an influence, as i'm seeing the date of creation ?

How did you determine the "type" of hexes, and what do they have an impact on ?

My, so much to think about, and always so impressive to watch your work ...

I think I'll have to pester you until you explain every mechanic you use in all your map making, and world building.

Again, many thanks for your time, and for the video, it's great to see this ! Inspiring ...

And I'm very, very sorry for the time it took me to be free to watch your video (I just did, and at work) ... Fate got me again.

And now, I'll have to work again on my maps and calculations. Good ! lots of motivation from you, each and everytime !

Alexis Smolensk said...

Ah, questions ...

Cropland is any area with an infrastructure more than 500. Mixed C&A is any area with an infrastructure between 100 and 499. Arable is any hex for which I have an elevation. Waste are areas for which I have no elevation (see Libya).

Not every region is updated (I do a little when I'm inclined). Areas are measured in hexes; it requires physically counting the hexes and judging how much of a coastal hex is covered by land. It doesn't need to be precise.

Global population for the area is based on a 1952 encyclopedia. That lists populations of various states and provinces - the total population of Sardinia is listed, for example; this is compared to the total 1952 populations of the various cities in the four areas of Sardinia, which gives me a base population for each area.

The age of the town determines the population. Here is the formula: (1650 minus founding date)/4000*1952 population. 1650 is the present date of my world. A city that was founded in 2350 BCE will have a population equal to the 1952 population. The nearer to present day (1650) that a town is, the lower its population.

If the town has been destroyed, abandoned, or suffered a catastrophe of some kind (plague, mass execution) I divide this population to 50%. If the town has been plundered, suffered a lesser pestilence, a major earthquake or fire, etc, I reduce this population to 90%. If several things occur, these modifiers are compounded ... thus if a townspeople were slaughtered by Mongols, and later suffered a terrible fire, the final population would be 45% of the total (0.5*0.9=0.45). I get knowledge of things that have happened to the towns by reading wikipedia.

Alexis Smolensk said...

The type of hexes are based on a Goode's world atlas set of vegetations maps based on this system. Kuchler maps are virtually impossible to find on line in any sort of readable state. I don't know why.

Vlad Malkav said...

Good answers ! And it helps me get things squared.

The sad thing is, as I'm working on a fictional world (the world of the Hyborian Age of Howard), I cannot use the same population determination method. A shame ... it's the only problem.

So, may I ask you, gentle host, to give your advice on the following ?

- I have different maps of said world, so I can create maps the way I want, while having general guidelines.
- I have population totals for whole countryes and some major cities, but both seems quite unreallistic.
- I have calculated potential food outputs per square mile, depending on soil quality / type of culture / herd, needed peasant population, and some other data, to help me determine how many people can be fed by each kind of hex, depending on the percentage of which is "used".

But doing this made me go "backward" from your method : I decide beforehand of the amount of space civilized, and then it gives me the possible fed population, instead of getting the population to decide the surface used.

Would you recommend continuing on this way (any thoughts on how to reconcile this with infra ?), or should I rather give my population centers a handwaved pop. , place them on the map, and let them expand their infrastructure on the world ?

I'm open to any suggestion, sarcastic remark on the inherent madness of my ways, genius insight, and all other thing that can get me to think and rethink things or shed a new light.

Thanks !

Alexis Smolensk said...

Contrive a method to randomly roll the population density of different hexes, without that density depending on the cities you already have. You can use your soil value for that. But is the density that of Belgium? The Upper Rhine? The Black Forest? Franche Comte? Those are all rich soils, but the amount of water and up and down nature of the terrain changes each possible density.

So have classes of density based on templates, then have each different region in your world fit a different template. These people are plains dwellers, like the Dutch; these people are hill people, like the Hessians; these people are upper plain farmers, like the Burgundians ... and so on. Then base the number of towns and cities, and their size, on those existing templates you've chosen. Holland - many cities, heavy urban population; Hesse - few cities in the hills, one major city where the hills meet the plains. Burgundy, centralized market collection centers.

Feel free to goof with the numbers, but try to get some random element in there that helps you define this hex from that hex ... then figure out a reason the dice came very low here and very high there. Here there's tangled vegetation; cliffs and rocky outcroppings; multiple natural springs and aquifers; etc.

Do your best to make a random system that confers much randomness ... you want to fight homogeniety at all costs.

Vlad Malkav said...

Very interesting ideas !

So, if I follow :

1) Soil value, water availability, altitude difference / terrain types, all those should point me toward a density template from earth’s history. To those templates I add typical city and town frequency, size, and logic of place.
2) Then, I divide my world into regions, each region set to one template, and the random rolls give me the demographics for each hex.
3) Finally, I interpret the rolls and find reasons to explain them, thus impacting the hexes in return (“hex viability” ?).

All this is pleasing to the eye, and considering the very “hazy” nature of the maps I work from, it’s very helpful.

Once this is done, I must determine what is the configuration of the underlying hexes (if I do chose main hexes big enough).

- Is it a good idea to use your Infrastructure method on the random population values, and then propagate on the region (taking into account “hex viability”) to get the specifics of the underlying hexes ?
- Or would it be preferable to use another determination method for the underlying hexes ? Perhaps making one up, inspired by other random tables available.

Needless to say, I vastly prefer to be able to use your work on infrastructure, as it is then much more easy to implements your ideas, the automated hex generation, and from that all the other ones I hope to be able to tackle later on (trade … oh yeah, this one, definitely, I want it).

Thanks for the insights !

PS : I’m wondering ... In addition to Region Templates, I could make each “nation”, or type of people, a People Template, with specific preferences on each of the characteristics of a hex, and the combination Hex Template (base rolls) / People Template (modifiers) would give me the final rolls and population tendency. So that I can make a first map only thinking about Hexes, a second about Politics, and merge both to get the Population. Granted, your own different kinds of maps gave me the idea.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Yes to everything, and to every question.

You've got the bit in your teeth now.