COMMUNITY - FORUMS - GENERAL DISCUSSION
D&SS Updates thread
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Domain and Settlement Selection

Updates thread

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.

6/13/2019

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."

7/12/2019

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

Enjoy!

7/13/2019

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."

7/18/2019

MAPS!!!!!!!!!

Additionally, Caspian added in chat: Direct link

"As there is likely to be more people who ask about the coastlines, allow me to answer in three ways:"

"1. The coastlines in the map-voting maps used a different water renderer, which resulted in different erosion. So some of the coastlines where there was more erosion, and the terrain was slightly below the water, showed as ocean, when in fact it was shallow land."

"2. The coastlines on the D&SS maps are at the parcel resolution currently. So if a parcel would be partially covered by the ocean, it is not currently drawn at all, resulting in some missing land along the coast."

"3. The map-voting maps were done at a resolution of 128m. To get to the resolution we need for D&SS we had to generate terrain at a 4m resolution. This necessarily resulted in elevation changes and fluctuations across the entire map as new details were extrapolated from the existing height map. These changes may have also effected the coastlines slightly."

"The end result is that the D&SS maps remain stylized maps and are not 100% accurate the actual terrain data. But nor is the original map-voting maps 100% accurate to the current terrain data. Both are approximations to one degree or another and we ask that you keep that in mind while picking your domains & settlements."


7/19/2019 Direct link

Caspian and Snipehunter were in the D&SS channel answering many questions (be sure to search for them if you want every tidbit!) and this important statement was made:

"I've answered the implied question a few times already, but the short of it is:"

"a) These are stylized maps, intended to obfuscate some detail so people have reason to explore and get familiar with the cartography tools."

"b) As we progress through development we add additional details to the terrain through a process of fractal erosion, and other noise algorithms in the process of going from 128m resolution to 4m resolution, to eventually 1/4m resolution. The process of adding new details changes the nature of the terrain in some ways by increasing and decreasing the elevation in different locations."

"c) We also used the interval while building the higher resolution maps to correct some perception issues and mistakes from the original maps, such as the general elevation of the Alpine Tundra and the Alpine Coniferous Forest."

"All of that taken together, the stylized maps are not 100%, 1:1 representations of the data, nor was the previous maps from map-voting 100% 1:1 correlations of the data as it now exists. For different reasons, both are only abstractions of what the final maps will be, but at each stage we get closer and closer to the final data set."

"My recommendation is to just keep in mind that these are stylized maps, not all information is revealed, and enjoy the process of discovery as it is intended."

7/21/2019: Direct link

After a discussion with Caspian, Snipehunter popped into Discord and posted the following:

"OK, so a few folks pointed out that the duchy lines in the Taiga of Map N were different now and we decided to look into it. Usually, when a big change happens, like with the mountains in the rocky mountain steppe, it's because we scrutinize the options and weigh their impact on the world, then choose to make the change or not based on what we feel will be best for the world."

"But the process of making these worlds is pretty complex. Massive sets of data move through the hands of folks from every guild in the studio, and some changes always occur along the way as a necessity of integrating new information or other factors. These changes are always for the better. Even here, the new duchy lines are good lines: they're reasonable and they divide the region up in a logical way. However, unlike most changes, this wasn't a change that we discussed in detail, but rather a change that happened down the line that, since it worked well, really didn't raise any eyebrows. The thing is the old lines were also logical and divided up the region well, so this change feels a little less vital than others we made. So, rather than throw any unnecessary wrenches into your planning here, we've decided to restore the original duchy lines for this biome."

"The game is still in development, and changes are going to come that might challenge your plans, but it's not our intention for those changes to be effectively arbitrary."

"Hope that helps!"

7/23/2019: Direct link

Caspian came into the D&SS channel today after folks were asking about road progress and provided this update:

"Coming along really well, actually! With the new distribution of settlements we're trying a new approach to road distribution. There were some issues with the metadata for settlements which were skewing my initial results. Hmm, let me see if there's anything on Map H I can share. I don't have a render of the map on-hand, but I might have some debug info...."

"Here's the debug info I use for settlements. This doesn't show the actual roads, but instead shows the connections between settlements and settlements, and settlements and roads."

"Of note: Red are capitals, yellow are cities, green are towns, blue are villages, and white are hamlets."

"There's also three different colored roads. White are highways, light gray are roads, and dark gray are trails."

7/25/2019: [Direct link]

Caspian - Jul 25 2019 at 4:20pm PT
"Heh. Roads are still a bit problematic, but I'm hoping not terribly so. It takes a long time to calculate the roads, as I'm using multiple levels of pathfinding to make sure the roads are correct. So far it's been running almost an hour. I'm curious to see how long it actually takes."

Caspian - Jul 25 2019 at 4:47pm PT
"Ok. I killed the road renderer. I implemented a new multi-threaded version of the new algorithm I'd implemented and started it again. Hopefully it runs faster now."

Caspian - Jul 25 2019 at 7:22pm PT
"Snipe is done. The web team has one more bug in the test suite, and I'm gonna finish up roads soon."

7/26/2019 Direct link

Server Lock: "Our intention on the server lock wasn't to exclude anyone. It was to ensure people didn't sit down at a table (server), see the hands that were dealt to the other players, and then decide to get up from the table and find a new one they liked better. To that end, we don't feel like there were enough cards shown that would dramatically influence the nature of the game. So people who have server locked between our original D&SS launch date and the restart will be able to join. Their start times will be set based on their influence at the time of the original D&SS, plus any changes up to the cap - like everyone else."

Received Titles: "Anyone who had server locked by the start date that received a title during D&SS would be able to jump in during the appropriate week, at a time reflected by their influence at the start of the event, plus any changes in their influence up to the cap. That hasn't changed, and anyone who is server locked, and has received a title will be able to pick during the appropriate week."

Start Times: "I wouldn't have a particular problem with taking a new snapshot of influence and using that for start times, however you're correct that some people did share their initial pick times, and if we reset "Starting influence" now, it could result in some people leapfrogging others unfairly, and we don't want that. So we will use peoples' influence numbers as of the original start date in calculating start times."

7/26/2019: Direct link

Caspian:

"Hey Folks - since I'm not allowed to make announcements in Discord, I'm intentionally opening this up for discussion / debate, with no assertion as to a decision made. This is an opportunity for real-time community feedback, with the feedback taken into consideration for any potential announcement."

"As part of our extended development on D&SS we've taken an opportunity to implement a few niceties we felt would make life easier/better for participants of D&SS. To that end, I wanted to share a few of them for feedback."

  1. New Distribution Algorithm: "We initially based pick order using the same algorithm as we used for surname reservation. Some people were concerned that a strict linear interpolation of influence could result in people picking too close together. So we're proposing a new algorithm that would spread people out as evenly as possible, barring influence changes, ensuring the maximum amount of pick time possible, given the population density of the server and your tier."

  2. Server Time Zones: "In addition, we're proposing pick times that are server-specific. So for example, pick times for NA-W would be in PDT, NA-E in EDT, and EU in BST. This should make determining your pick time easier, as it'll be in the time zone of the server you're locked into."

  3. 18-hour Pick Ranges: "Finally, given #2 above, we're proposing an 18-hour pick window in which pick times only go from 6am to midnight (Server time) thus preventing anyone from having to pick in the early morning hours."

"Those are the three proposed changes we'd like to discuss with respect to pick times, and if put into affect, would necessarily change peoples' initial start times as sent to them in their PM in the spring. Discuss."

7/26/2019: Direct link

ROADS!

7/27/2019: Direct link

Caspian popped into the D&SS channel this morning and said: "Morning all! I know some of you were tracking my progress on getting the roads to be a bit more interesting last night. Just thought I'd share the final product."

7/27/2019: Direct link

Waterfalls

7/28/2019: Direct link

Ironwoods!

7/29/2019: Direct link

Answering some questions in Discord, Caspian had this to say:

"We build and render all of the maps, then review them as a team and individually looking for glaring issues that we might have missed. In particular, we do a data pass and a render pass."

"The data pass is about clicking on domains and settlements and looking at tribal distributions, settlement focus, wealth, top professions and other data points and ensuring that everything is as we expect it to be."

"The render pass is about looking at the tiles of the different maps at each zoom level and examining whether there are any visual artifacts we feel are worth changing."

"The review process itself is pretty quick. What takes time are any changes we need to make to get the maps where we're 100% happy with them. So far myself, Vye, and Snipehunter have all been assigned a few bugs to fix, but so far there's been nothing major."

"Once we make these changes we'll do another build of each map as Semi-Final/Candidate maps and we'll start the process over. Once we've gone through the maps without any issues we feel are worth fixing, then we're officially 'Done, Done.'"

7/30/2019, part 1: Direct link

Caspian was in Discord very late into the early morning and shared a bunch of images and updates like these. Follow the direct link above for all the details!

Before:

After:

7/30/2019, part 2: Direct link

Early this morning Caspian came back and provided yet another status update:

"Yesterday we did a Semi-Final build of each of the maps and did group and individual reviews to look for any artifacts or issues that would block releasing the read-only access to the interactive maps. We found a few issues which myself, Vye, and Snipehunter addressed yesterday and into the evening."

"In addition to the functional changes, I was also able to make several improvements to the renderer that made for huge aesthetic improvements in the visual appearance of the maps. Some of them were around the coastal borders and water flow, settlement and county view blending, and a few other smaller items."

"This morning we are going to build new Semi-Final maps and begin that process anew. The iterative process will continue until we are unable to find any issues we feel are worth blocking the release of the maps for. But at this point, the bar is quite high and only critical items are going to get addressed."

7/30/2019, part 3: Direct link

Caspian was in D&SS chat at the end of the day and said: "Evening Update:"

"Hail Elyrians, our update frequency is increasing as our iteration time is shortening. So let's get to it: We're now making builds of the maps a couple times a day to do group and individual reviews, including a build just a short while ago. We will review this evening and will likely make a few more adjustments tonight. At this point, we're very close to being "Done, Done." As I mentioned before, the bar for any further development work is quite high, and is generally only blocked by things that impact D&SS directly. We're doing no further aesthetic/display work, as all focus is going solely to fixing any critical bugs or data issues."

"No announcements yet, but people should be preparing themselves mentally for the idea that the read-only maps, and consequently the return of D&SS is coming very soon."

7/31/2019: Direct link

Caspian dropped this update today:

"D&SS Update:"

"Since core development work completed this last weekend on D&SS the team and I have met daily to evaluate the quality of the maps and the consistency and accuracy of the data being generated, and to establish any additional work that needs to be completed before we can release the maps in a read-only fashion. For a while there was a combination of visual artifacts as well as some data problems. Then we were at a point where, for the most part, there were only data/functional bugs. We are now at the point where there are no currently known/outstanding issues or bugs in the backlog."

"I have just begun a new set of Semi-Final builds which, unless we find a new set of issues that need to be resolved, will become the final maps and will make their way first onto our internal test server, and then onto the production server. Once we've reviewed the maps and determined there are no additional issues, we'll let you know."

8/1/2019, part 1: Direct link

Caspian in the D&SS channel:

"Here's the 30 second update: I'm currently building map 2 of 4 of RC3 (Release Candidate 3). These maps will be evaluated for release and if we decide we like them, will be made the official maps. There is still the possibility there will be more issues that need to be addressed, but the non-RC builds we've been making to test changes have been quite good, so I think the team is hopeful that this will be the last build."

8/1/2019, part 2: Direct link

From Caspian: "To be 100% clear: There are still the chances of issues. If there are issues, we'll need to take the time to fix the issues, re-build, and re-deploy for testing on our internal network which is a several hour process and would prevent any release today. So do not get hyped for a release today. It's more than likely the maps will not be released today."

8/1/2019, part 3: Direct link

Caspian stated in the D&SS channel:

"We're going to bring the maps online in a read-only mode. Then, we'll give people some time to read over the maps. We'll announce the start of D&SS and peoples' new pick times a couple days later, with D&SS resuming a few days after that. In total, I think we want 5+ days between dropping the RO view of the maps and the start of D&SS again."

8/1/2019, part 4: Direct link

And another update from Caspian:

"D&SS Update Aug. 1, 6pm.:"

"Hail Elyrians! The team and I built RC3 today and sat down to once again evaluate it for candidacy to be released to the community. We found just one issue that while small and an easy fix, does warrant re-building the settlement data. So, we're making a quick fix and then beginning the roughly 4-hour process of rebuilding all of the maps again so we can get them re-deployed to our internal server for testing and final validation."

8/1/2019, part 4: Direct link

From Caspian: "Ok folks. I'm going to step away until I get the change I need from Snipe, and then I'll be kicking off RC4. If RC4 meets our criteria, we would not wait until Monday to deploy the RO portal. If we're satisfied with the maps tomorrow morning, we will publish the RO portal tomorrow."

8/2/2019: Direct link

Caspian came into chat and said:

"Hail Elyrians! It's time for our Domain & Settlement Selection Update!"

"Earlier this morning the team signed off on the RC4 maps and approved them for release. The website was then taken down so the D&SS portal and all associated data could be deployed to production for initial testing by us - and then by members of the community under NDA. We will continue a slow rollout throughout the day today and into tomorrow to an ever-increasing cohort until, assuming no major issues are discovered, the entirety of our community has access. Once we fully open the gates we'll make our usual announcements on social media, etc. So to be clear: We are done. The portal is live, and I anticipate everyone gaining access by the end of the day tomorrow. (again, assuming nothing falls apart)"

8/2/2019, part 2: Direct link

Caspian updated everyone:

"The rollout, as people have pointed out, is primarily to allow us to measure load and performance, as well as to get initial feedback from a smaller audience. This gives us a chance to make any changes necessary to improve the experience for the larger audience. As well, the continents are big - very big, and even with the outreach team trying to look over the maps for artifacts, etc., there's still stuff we miss. So having various cohorts join and pour over the maps looking for stuff helps tremendously with coverage."

"So far, we've identified a few bugs that cropped up last minute, and some artifacts at the various zoom levels. No decision has been made yet on whether we're going to fix the artifacts or allow them to ride. We'll make a decision in the morning as we plan a rollout to the next cohort."

8/3/2019: Direct link

Today's weekend update, from Caspian:

"Hail Elyrians! It's time for the D&SS Update for the morning!"

"First, allow me to thank you for your continued patience. We know you've waited a long time to gain access to the maps, and it's even harder when you know how close they are to being yours. So we appreciate the support while we prepare for the next cohort."

"That said, the previous cohorts have provided invaluable feedback about the usability of the portal, and have helped discover some additional data issues. We've decided to incorporate some data changes into the website fixes we're doing and will be building an RC5 set of the maps before moving on to the next cohort. We will get the changes done as quickly as we can, get the updated maps and data set to our current testers for validation, and then we'll roll it out to the next cohort ASAP."

"Once we're ready for the next cohort (all Alpha 1 backers) we'll post a message in the Early Access Forum."

"Thanks!"
"Soulbound Staff"

8/3/2019, part 2: Direct link

Caspian provided some additional info:

"Hey all. I can only stop in for a second, so I don't have time for questions at the moment, but I wanted to address the general question of: What was discovered that's worth changing."

"Since the current round of testers are under NDA and cannot share anything with you, allow me to instead speak to the feedback we've received. In general, the feedback has been extremely positive. There's been only a handful of small bugs called out, most of which have already been fixed."

"However, we built the maps procedurally based on a set of pre-defined rules that met our expectations for what the world was, and what the biomes should be. But those rules and our ideas for the biomes necessarily needed to be reconciled against peoples' expectations. We've taken the feedback we've received and are relaxing some things and tightening others in an effort to better align our reality of the world against peoples' expectations."

"The end result is that the distribution of tribes, professions, settlement focuses, and other data will provide players with, as best we can, the range of options they're looking for. All of that said, the feedback we've received have been less about bugs, anything broken, or the experience being bad, and mostly in the form of 'Huh, I wasn't expecting that... I'm not sure whether I like that, or whether or not people will find that intuitive.'"

"The team and I spent a long time this morning discussing the feedback and decided to make some changes. We know that once we release the maps they're locked in and are taking the last opportunity we have to make sure we’re meeting the players’ needs. I'm sure given the choice between ensuring a fun, balanced, and successful game and seeing the maps a bit earlier, you understand our reasons and priorities. Thanks again for your patience!"

8/3/2019, part 3: Direct link

Snipehunter updated the channel with this news:

"Oh, really quick since I didn't see it before but noticed as I was about to minimize discord entirely: The sorts of changes we made aren't like, a state secret or anything, it's just that it takes a bunch of time to enumerate them all. there were a bunch of really small changes that together have the effect of making sure the UI displays for tribe percentage didn't hide important numbers from people, or making some data easier to see, or making sure that certain industrial focii were showing up where you'd expect them more often than not (since the generator will put them wherever they are valid, which isn't always the same thing). There were NO sweeping changing, except that we added a new settlement type icon and changed how zoom works on mobile."

8/3/2019, part 4: Direct link

Weekend update - Saturday evening:

Caspian said:

"A good percentage of the web-related improvements we wanted to make are either already deployed, or are currently in-development, but do not block the release of a new version of the portal."

"The data changes and improvements were divided up by the D&SS team and are nearly finished. Once complete we'll kick off the 3-4 hour build process. Then we'll test internally, deploy to production, and proceed to get feedback from the cohorts."

8/3/2019, part 5: Direct link

D&SS Evening Update:

We fixed the bugs and we made several positive changes to the various data sets. We kicked off the RC5 builds a little less than an hour ago and should soon be done with the first of four maps.

Once all four maps are done I'll have the web team deploy them to our internal test site, then to the current cohorts in production. As it'll be after midnight before I'm able to get the portal deployed, and most people - including those on my team - will be asleep, it makes the most sense to wait until tomorrow AM (PDT) before rolling it out to the next group. That way we can be present to respond to any questions, get valuable feedback, etc. I'm not sure what time the rollout to Alpha 1 will be as we've progressed well into the weekend and now it's mostly a function of when the team can be available, without negatively impacting their family time, etc.

Thanks! Soulbound Staff

8/4/2019: Direct link

I said:

"When we bring in the next cohort of EA players to test, we will post a sticky in the Early Access forum and announce it in the #early-access channel here in Discord with a ping. If you aren't EA and/or would rather not be notified, simply mute that channel."

8/4/2019, part 2: Direct link

Snipehunter said:

"Yeah, things are going well. We're doing another build though; somehow the caves in the mesas in the desert slipped out onto the desert floor last build, so that was a thing we had to address, and that means rebuilding."

8/4/2019, part 3: Direct link

I posted:

"Sunday evening D&SS RO update: The new release candidate is done, but we've decided not to deploy it tonight. We will have more for you after our morning review. Thank you for your patience."

8/5/2019: Direct link

Morning Read Only status update:

"Release Candidate 6 (RC6) looks good so far and we are rolling it out to our current testing cohort. We will evaluate the situation and report back on progress. Our plan to inform Early Access players posted here hasn't changed."

8/5/2019, update 2: Direct link

Snipehunter said: "We definitely are going to do another RC. We might put it out tonight, but that seems *really unlikely to me given that we're all a little short on sleep of late, so I wouldn't expect anything tonight; it would just be a nice surprise if it happened.

8/5/2019, update 3: Direct link

Snipehunter posted:

"The design team also changed the way the wealth of a settlement is calculated to better reflect not just the local's opinion of the resources on hand, but also their international value as well."

"And finally, since there was time, Vye sneaked in a change that will surface more of the interesting professions in each settlement."

8/6/2019: Direct link

Quick update for today on the status of view-only testing:

"D&SS update: Today the Alpha 1 cohort (group) has been added to the testers and are looking at release candidate 7 (RC7). However, as the test is still under NDA, it cannot be discussed in public."

8/7/2019: Direct link

"D&SS update: We are continuing testing with our Alpha 1 cohort on RC7. Today was spent evaluating the current feedback. As before, information related to this test is under NDA."

8/8/2019: Direct link

Snipehunter said:

"Actually, jokes aside while kicking off the build earlier, we found a couple of bugs in one of our tools, so we took some time to fix them. They were minor, but since we were generating new worlds anyway we wanted to fix them because they would make a few settlement focii and professions show up that weren't before (even though we'd meant them to), so we decided to fix those bugs. That pushed us back a bit and, given the time, we've decided we'd deploy in the morning. Which is a thing I should mention in that there forum someone mentioned, now that it's occurred to me."

8/8/2019, part 2: Direct link

"D&SS Update: Based on all of the feedback we received, we're building Release Candidate 8 (RC8). We will release it to our testing cohort sometime tomorrow if our validation completes without major issues. As always details related to the maps being tested is under NDA until publicly released by us."

8/9/2019: Direct link

"D&SS Update: The design team is analyzing the results of changes they've made while responding to feedback on some of the population data. We're taking extra time to scrutinize these changes in the interests of avoiding another RC after this one, if we can. We will let our current cohort know when the next deployment is pending via an update in the Early Access forum when we are done. Reminder: All testing and information related to this is still under NDA."

8/11/2019: Direct link

Snipehunter popped into chat with a brief update: "Early Access folks may want to check out the RC8 update post in the forum, it has been updated."

8/12/2019: Direct link

"D&SS Update: Late yesterday we rolled out Release Candidate 8 (RC8) to our testers. This new candidate utilized some of the feedback provided by our current testing cohort. Today testing continued as the D&SS team evaluated a new round of feedback. As a reminder all elements of this test is under NDA."

8/13/2019: Direct link

Snipehunter was in chat earlier, and in response to a question he was asked, had this to say:

"RC8 had a TON of feedback for use to look over, but it was all really good feedback and I feel like some good decisions have come out of our analysis. As for an actual update, I suppose it's more of a "stay tuned for some news" thing than anything else. We still have to decide what we're going to do, if anything, in response to certain things so I don't have anything more concrete just yet."

8/14/2019: Direct link

Snipehunter posted: "Hey everyone! Just a quick update: We've pushed RC9 to the test group, they should be looking at it right now!"

8/15/2019: Direct link

Caspian was in the D&SS channel with this update and news:

"DSS is still undergoing iteration. But with each RC it's more balanced and closer to what we want. We are almost satisfied. The feedback from the latest cohort has been good feedback. I think there will be an RC10 based on some feedback we've received."

And then provided more detail:

"We understand that the community has an expectation of what the biomes are like based on the info we've provided in the past. We're also sympathetic to the plans people have made based on that information and we are trying to get as close to the information we've released previously as possible. But we also have to balance that against the things we've learned about the biomes and the tribes as we've been running the simulation and seeing what happens. In some cases, the nature of game development has forced deviations. So part of the iterations right now is getting a sense of what the community priorities are. But at the end of the day, the fact that we have different servers with different biome profiles, combined with a specific experience in mind for launch means that everyone will have to accept some degree of adjustment from info we've released before in the spirit of moving forward with having more information. But for the moment, the designers are working hard to tie a millions strands of thread together without affecting other threads unintentionally."

"Its not even that the biomes aren't correct. It's just in some cases the fact that the biomes are different sizes on each server makes it nearly impossible to enforce some of things we've stated in the past. In many cases you can look at all the servers as a whole and see the truth in what we said, but the particular nature of one server means breaking every other biome to fix that one. We're getting as close as we can, but with procedurally generated worlds we can only constrain the data set and results so much before the only way to ensure a :100: accurate result set is just to hand create all the settlements, counties, and duchies. But we can't do that. So I'm hopeful we still have some fans left who understand that the world is dynamic and the tools to make changes are in player hands ultimately."

"We planned a range of settlements per county, and counties per duchy initially. But community sentiment is that they could not plan effectively without specific numbers. So we took the maximum number of counties and duchies knowing that people were buying multi's with the knowledge that post merging things would be back to the way we had planned..."

"But the result is that the 24 counties per duchy has created some pretty hard problems to solve."

"Meanwhile, we intentionally kept the numbers smaller on OCE given the smaller continent size and fewer multi's. The end result is that currently OCE more closely resembles the continent I had intended. But, once the multi's combine counties and duchies that will hopefully change and we will see the domains return to what we had intended."

8/16/2019: Direct link

"D&SS Update: The team has been working on additional changes with the intention to build RC10. Once we are internally pleased with the results, it will be rolled out to our testing cohorts once again. Thanks, everyone, for continuing to provide excellent feedback. All release candidate test details are still under NDA until released publicly. Happy Weekend!!"

Caspian added: "As an additional update: RC10 work is ongoing and we have not begun building the RC yet. We do not know how many iterations internally before we're ready to push it to production. I would not anticipate RC10 today, however."

8/17/2019: Direct link

Caspian was in channel today and had this to say:

"As for productivity, it's been great. Vye, Snipe, and I met again early this morning to review changes that were being made late into the morning. I think the last check-in was at around 2am. So far, the maps today are looking AMAZING. We're pretty happy with what we're seeing."

"There's one bug that'll be fixing soon on Map I. But otherwise, I think we'll be building RC10 today, though I don't know if it'll get deployed today or not. It depends on how late in the day the build finishes."

8/18/2019: Direct link

Caspian said: "But RC10 is looking good."

And

"Like, really, really, really good."

"- It's got a great balance of resources" "- It's got good settlement and population counts" "- It's got some really interesting county borders" "- It's got a very diverse set of professions and settlement focus" "- It's very close to the biome write-ups, with some small balancing for fun"

8/19/2019: Direct link

Today I provided an update to the channel: "The testing cohort is evaluating and providing feedback on RC10 right now. Everything associated with it is under NDA. Thank you"

Additionally: Anything shared previously under NDA is still under NDA. Anything shown publicly via the live stream is not under NDA. This includes all previous RCs after RC10 is made live for viewing.

Then we hosted a livestream and showed off the maps, watch it here!

Rumor has it maps will be viewable by EVERYONE later today!!

8/19/2019:

The Domain & Settlement Selection Site is LIVE!

8/28/2019:

Domain and Settlement Selection launch date announced!

See this thread

8/28/2019:

As promised, Snipehunter posted the D&SS professions list! Check it out here!

8/28/2019:

Domains link added to CoE homepage nav bar, also added to v2 forums nav bar under Community.

Domain image added to the Community Homepage

8/29/2019:

In honor of D&SS, the CoE homepage was updated!


More will be added as it becomes available.


"Stupid questions make more sense than stupid mistakes."

7/11/2019 2:28:53 PM #1
+11

7/11: Update added.


"Stupid questions make more sense than stupid mistakes."

7/12/2019 5:16:26 PM #2
+5

7/12: Update added.


"Stupid questions make more sense than stupid mistakes."

7/13/2019 8:58:30 PM #3
+9

7/13: Partial updated legend added.


"Stupid questions make more sense than stupid mistakes."

7/15/2019 10:39:21 PM #4
+7

7/15: Added update on progress.


"Stupid questions make more sense than stupid mistakes."

7/17/2019 12:32:12 AM #5
+3

7/16: Screen grab of inside a map in the D&SS app.


"Stupid questions make more sense than stupid mistakes."

7/17/2019 7:12:41 PM #6
+3

7/17: Added 2 general updates.


"Stupid questions make more sense than stupid mistakes."

7/17/2019 10:22:54 PM #7
+4

7/17 Leaked Temporary Duchy Names added.


"Stupid questions make more sense than stupid mistakes."

7/18/2019 1:21:24 PM #8
+8

7/18 Early AM: Update added from Caspian.


"Stupid questions make more sense than stupid mistakes."

7/19/2019 5:32:52 AM #9
+5

7/18:

MAPS!!!!!!


"Stupid questions make more sense than stupid mistakes."

7/19/2019 5:30:04 PM #10
+4

7/19/2019: Updates from Caspian and Snipehunter on the stylized maps released.


"Stupid questions make more sense than stupid mistakes."

7/21/2019 10:05:40 PM #11
+2

7/21/2019: Update on the Taiga duchy lines on Map N.


"Stupid questions make more sense than stupid mistakes."

7/23/2019 9:06:31 PM #12
+2

7/23/2019: Update with roads info from Caspian


"Stupid questions make more sense than stupid mistakes."

7/26/2019 4:09:57 PM #13
+5

7/25 and 7/26/2019: Lots of updates, start times, IP lock, new settlement icons, roads.


"Stupid questions make more sense than stupid mistakes."

7/26/2019 5:04:16 PM #14
+3

7/26/2019: Roads images shown.


"Stupid questions make more sense than stupid mistakes."

7/27/2019 5:40:57 PM #15
+3

7/27/2019: Roads final update shared.


"Stupid questions make more sense than stupid mistakes."