Sustainability & Professions

Looking over the map data the last few days, one of the odd patterns I'm seeing emerge is a disconnect between sustainability and professions. So I wanted to start a thread here to see if others were seeing similar patterns and if there's perhaps some reasonable explanation for it. With any luck, I'm hoping Snipehunter will weigh in with his take as well.

My hypothesis: If sustainability is linked to the ability to produce food as has been explained, then settlements with a focus on food production should always have the highest sustainability. In such settlements, it follows then that farming related professions would top the list.

My observations: Very frequently, in places where food production is not the focus, there is still high levels of sustainability, as high as those where literally everyone is producing food. Here are some examples from the shrub steppe and bog, which were ranked #12 and #15 in population rankings:

My hypothesis: In areas where food production is easiest (ie wetlands #1, grasslands #2, shrublands #3), there don't need to be as many farmers to maintain sustainability, and as such, we should see evidence of many more professions (ie greater profession diversity). Conversely, in areas where food production is hardest, it should require greater focus on farming to support sustainability and thus lower profession diversity.

My observations: Areas that are easiest to farm frequently have the least diversity in professions. It's primarily all farming related everywhere. If someone has taken the time to actually aggregate the data, we could put some figures on this so it's less observational and more scientific. But it's what I'm seeing at a glance.

One possible explanation I have is that the sustainability indicator is not sufficiently granular to express these differences well. But in some cases, this still doesn't explain why in places nobody seems to be making food (like Montcarver above in the Shrub Steppe) sustainability is just as high as where everyone seems to be making food.

Anyone have any thoughts?

8/23/2019 12:08:40 AM #1

The Village of Montcarver has such a high sustainability, because it has caves.

8/23/2019 1:13:25 AM #2

Can you explain what you think the correlation is between caves and sustainability?

My suspicion is that it actually has to do with what is most abundant there, which is farmland. But what good is farmland ... if there are no farmers, right? And to get the sustainability to the very maximum like it is in Montcarver, farming (or something related to food production) should have a significant presence there, shouldn't it? But there isn't. At all.

If the answer to this question is that the sustainability calculation is just not nuanced enough to recognize the lack of farmers to capitalize on those resources, that's fine. It just then becomes a very misleading statistic that will ostensibly get balanced out later on.

8/23/2019 1:14:53 AM #3

Deleted. Server crashed and triple posted.

8/23/2019 1:22:54 AM #4

Deleted. Server crashed and triple posted.

8/23/2019 1:43:07 AM #5

Are the farmers possibly not living within the boundaries of the settlement?

I haven't checked myself, but if the populations of all the settlements in a county do not add up to the total population of the county, then there are some county residents who live outside of settlements. Those engaged in farming are among those. But, I also see some non-settlement occupations like loggers and miners listed in settlements, when I would expect those folks to be living in shacks at the work site.

Whatever, I agree with Hieronymus that this clearly needs some additional explanation. Snipehunter's previous explanation about the lists may be spot on, but I think it needs some direct interpretation using the samples that Hieronymus provided.

8/23/2019 10:42:38 AM #6

I think that Kant's correlation between caves and sustainability is the presence of mushrooms and cave-dwelling creatures as potential food.

Sustainability is just the ability to feed/clothe/house oneself without needing outside help. This results in 3 potential situations:

  1. If the sustainability is low, it means that there is not enough production to fit the needs of the current population (in this case, the production needs to grow or the population needs to shrink);

  2. If the sustainability breaks even, then no changes need to be made to suit the population as it stands;

  3. If the sustainability is high, it means that current production provides enough surplus to allow for population growth. This could mean bringing in more people or letting the population breed more children.

(Edit: To keep things simple, instead of using food, clothes, and housing in my explanation, I will shorten it to just food. Know that when I am talking about food, food production, and the jobs thereof, the same points can also be applied to clothes and housing, their production, and the jobs thereof.)

Additionally, food-producing jobs could rate as 6th or even 7th place, important enough to be high on the list but plentiful in production enough to not need to top the list. In a village or higher settlement, there could be anywhere from 5-50 "farmers".

In many cases, though, it is likely that, because food-producing jobs are so diverse, Having 1 hunter, 1 farmer, 1 gatherer, 1 mushroom collector, and 1 fishermann in the same hamlet would result in none of them being in the top 5, versus having 4 farmers and 1 hunter, or 5 farmers in that same hamlet, which would likely result in farmer becoming a top profession.

Having farming (or any food-producing job. frankly) be 6th or 7th is still high enough to provide high sustainability, it could even be lower down in ranking if production is high enough to maintain a surplus.

There could even be multiples of every food-producing job in one higher-population area, but because the concentration of each single food-producing job is not as concentrated due to diversity as if you lumped all food-producing jobs together, it results in these jobs seemingly being less present despite the likelihood of the opposite being more true.

Do not fear Death for it is inevitable. Fear instead Life, for giving something that will be taken away.


8/23/2019 11:10:38 AM #7

It isn't just food. The sustainability takes into account the ability to clothe and house the population also. If you lack wood, stone or textiles that can dramatically affect the base sustainability.

Trade and bonus parcels and pops are not taken into consideration either.

It just generally means these settlements will need to import some things.

So avoid poor and low sustainability settlements, and go for richer and/or high sustainability.

8/23/2019 11:48:17 AM #8

I did mention that sustainability was a combined factor of food/clothes/shelter in my post, however I focused on a specific example of food so that the food-producer repetition wasn't "food/textile/resource-production" and to be more clear rather than cluttered.

However, I will provide an edit to my previous post to clarify it for future readers. Thank you for pointing it out!

Do not fear Death for it is inevitable. Fear instead Life, for giving something that will be taken away.


8/24/2019 10:49:55 PM #9

Nice analysis, Hieronymus!

Kant might also be referencing building material (stone) in his caves and sustainability idea.


"Different denotes neither bad nor good, but it certainly means not the same."

-Just a lowly beekeeper

8/26/2019 4:14:00 PM #10

Another thing to note about using professions to determine sustainability is each biome is different and a farmer in a lush biome may be more efficient than one in an arid biome. In addition, you may see other biomes with more of a hunting and gathering focus that appears to act similarly to farming but perhaps less efficient.

8/26/2019 6:23:02 PM #11

That was what I was expecting to see, Endamaren. However, it does not seem to work out that way. After going through the data ad naseum, there is an almost singular focus on farming in places where farming is easiest, which makes a sort of sense, but yet that does not appear to affect self-sustainability meaningfully, which is where it logically breaks down. Areas that are drier with fewer farmers have just as high a self-sustainability (meaning room to grow the population) as those areas where corn is coming out of people's ears.

This strikes me as one of those things that could turn out quite differently as development progresses than what is currently represented on the map because it just doesn't make any sense the way it is. If an area is producing vast amounts of food it doesn't need (by a factor of ~2x judging by the profession data), what is happening to that surplus? If it's being traded, then we should see some evidence of that via the trade route and wealth features. If it's being consumed, we should see a commensurate increase in base population. I don't see any evidence of that. But as I now so often joke, the mistake is in attempting to apply logic to all this.

To sum up, I think that there's a big caveat emptor here on selecting domains. The studio has done a herculean job creating these maps, but a lot of the details don't add up to me and are likely very misleading. And the devil as we know is always in the details.

9/11/2019 12:04:08 PM #12

I was just examining sustainability as a recent double mayor title purchase has made apparent the differences between settlements in this regard. In like sized settlements, resources don't seem to have any effect on sustainability. Rather, sustainability seems to have an inverse relationship with "wealth" for the time being (which is counter-intuitive). I think it is essentially a placeholder stat, meant to somewhat balance out the virtue of wealth, for the sake of the settlement generation algorithm. Probably nothing more.

I am sure that real sustainability when the game begins will be largely, or entirely dependent on those things we control such as food production, although perhaps there will be a behind the scenes modifier lingering from the current model?

9/11/2019 1:49:06 PM #13

There is a town in the blackheart kingdom that has no farmland and 6 bars of sustainability and it has another town close by that has farmland but only has 3 bars.

9/11/2019 2:46:15 PM #14

Is the town named Utopia by any chance? XD

9/12/2019 1:56:35 AM #15

Remember, though. Sustainability has multiple factors to it, not just food. It consists of Food-Clothes-Shelter.

So just looking at farming/food production isn't going to give you accurate information about sustainability.

Additionally, the reason for the inverse relationship between sustainability and wealth may be this:

Wealth is based on the settlement's use of resources and the perceived value of those resources in the region. Sustainability is the amount of surplus resources (food/clothes/housing) in that settlement. If a portion of surplus is going to trade (which likely has an increasing effect on wealth, since it would bring in monetary gain) it would decrease the amount of surplus and thus, decrease the sustainability. Whereas that same surplus not going to trade would stay in the town and count towards the towns sustainability.

Additionally, if you have a population boost (we'll use a boost of 20 for this example), adding 20 people to a well-off hamlet whose original population was 12-20 more than doubles the original population - causing quite a large drop in sustainability as more people use the same amount of resources. However, if you bring that same 20 population boost to a town of 34-46 population, the extra 20 make up only an additional half to the town,There is still a drain on the resources, but it doesn't have as much a drain as it would if you doubled the population. The relative effect would lessen more the larger the settlement is. In this case, when considering the correlation between sustainability and professions, the additional relative effect of your extra population boost on said settlements should also be considered.


"Different denotes neither bad nor good, but it certainly means not the same."

-Just a lowly beekeeper