12 May

Almost But not Quite Done

By Caspian

EDIT: This post has been updated to reflect changes to our planning. The Domain and Settlement Selection site will be brought online in a review-only mode once the integration of maps and site is complete. This will be followed by a short window of time for monarchs to pick their duchies, counties and settlements. Finally, the normal pick process will resume thereafter.

Hail Elyrians!

Over the last week we've made huge progress on all three areas of Domain & Settlement Selection. The content team has completed the terrain generation and we're now sitting on four complete sets of elevation data. Each set is made up of 256 different 4k tiles, totaling over 16 GB of elevation data. On top of that, the content team has finished the higher resolution resource maps that tell us what the surface and subsurface resources are of each parcel of the starting continent. To get these maps created required almost round-the-clock execution of four separate 72 core machines, each running at 100% CPU utilization with almost 200 Gb of RAM. But the work is done, and the content team has moved off Domain & Settlement Selection! Huzzah!

Sample Terrain Tile

The second team, the metadata team, has been working tirelessly to balance the design-time and run-time game mechanics including the resource distribution, tribal distributions, and settlement distributions. While it may not be immediately obvious, there's a huge amount of interconnectivity between the work we're doing on the generation of the maps, and the way the game will be played and feel on launch day. As a result, there's been a lot of effort this week put toward making sure the game is fun at launch.

View of the D&SS Details Tab

We need to ensure that settlements are neither too far away, nor too close together. That they're neither over or under-populated, and that there's neither too little nor too much resources. We're not just building maps; we're building an entire world! The metadata team does have a bit more work to do, however, as the water simulations haven't completed, preventing us from determining exactly where water will exist in the world. As you can imagine, this is pivotal as it's not only a vital resource, but it also plays a role in where settlements are located, which in turn helps determine where county lines are drawn. We anticipate another couple of days of work required to complete the water simulations and rendering. Now that the content team is no longer using the build machines, and the terrain is done being created, the metadata team will be taking over use of the cloud machines.

And finally, the web team is feature complete on the website and is currently working through a full set of tests to validate its functionality. We anticipate being done with the test pass tomorrow.

As you can see, things are coming together -- and we're close -- but we're not quite there yet. This means that we won't be releasing Domain and Settlement Selection to you on Monday, the 13th. Earlier today, I spoke with several hundred of you, including many of the monarchs and nobles of the various servers to discuss the situation and our plans moving forward.

Based on that conversation, and our own internal planning, our efforts to complete the maps and bring the site online will continue as planned over the coming days. Once the site and the maps are integrated, however, we'll bring the Domain and Settlement Selection site online for your perusal in a review-only state. Only then will we officially open the site to resume Domain and Settlement Selection, shortly thereafter.

When the claim period begins, we will begin with a short time reserved for the monarchs, who will choose their duchies, counties, and seats of power, and will then proceed to the dukes as previously planned. By doing things this way, we'll allow the kings time to complete their picks of their duchy, county, and settlement ahead of the ducal picks. And, even as the monarchs make their last picks, the maps will be visible to everyone, ensuring everyone has a period of review before their pick time comes up.

We'll be giving you all regular updates throughout the process with images and other snippets of our progress so you can track where we are as we push to cross the finish line.

It's a been a long road getting to Domain & Settlement Selection folks. In many ways, building and balancing these massive worlds has been just as difficult and complex as building the technology they'll run on. But we're almost done. Just hang in there a little while longer and we'll get back to picking domains.

Pledged to the continued development of the Soulborn Engine and the Chronicles of Elyria,