City size plan

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City size plan

Postby roerich » Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:58 pm

WIP.

Inspired by IRC discussion on future city sizes, I think it would be a good move to formalize a plan. I propose that we adopt Sload's tier classification system to our needs. The TR city tier list goes as follows:

Tier I: Faction capitals, great cities, with a host of quests and services, likely over 100 interiors, just the basic 8 (vivec, necrom, OE, and the house capitals).
Tier II: Secondary faction cities, which contain guild halls and a variety of shops; comparable to Ald-ruhn, Balmora, and Sadrith Mora.
Tier III: Contain multiple different kinds of shops, very limited faction quests (Gnisis, Suran, Pelegiad).
Tier IV: The kind of town that has a tradehouse rather than multiple shops, very limtied services and probably no faction quest givers at all (Seyda Neen, Khuul, Tel Aruhn).
Tier V: Any non-aggressive settlement that doesn't even meet Tier IV standards.


For our mod, I propose the following distinction: (work in progress)

Tier I: Large hold capitols. Between 50-90 interiors, lots of services and faction/hold HQ's. These are Karthwasten, Kynholm, Haafingar, Riften, Whiterun and Winterhold. Ruled by Kings
Tier II: Smaller hold capitols and notably large towns. Between 30-50 interiors. Has a large number of services and quests. Examples include Dawnstar, Dragonstar, Falkreath and Markarth Side. Usually ruled by Kings or Jarls.
Tier III: General towns, large villages and other sizable settlements. Between 15-30 interiors. A number of services, but not every service can be expected to be found here. Examples include Falkirstad, Felsundhal, Lainalten and North Hall. Places of this size is usually governed by a Jarl.
Tier IV: Somewhat similar to TR's description. Between 5-15 interiors. Hamlets with few services, most places only a tradehouse or a tavern, but other places has more services. Examples: Karthgad (which has more services as it's on the road between Markarth and Karthwasten, two wealthy cities), the Mesa village.
Tier V: Small settlements, homesteads, peasant villages. Same conditions as TR.
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Re: City size plan

Postby Praedator » Tue Jul 22, 2014 5:06 pm

Thank you roerich, I think that is all right, but see it as a guidline, i.e. a few more or less should be possible to achieve beauty in exterior.

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Re: City size plan

Postby roerich » Tue Jul 22, 2014 5:15 pm

Yes, this works as both a guideline and a way to have an overview of a settlements function as well as how important it should be.
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Re: City size plan

Postby Yeti » Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:55 pm

Posted from the IRC thread.

I think 30-35 ints for Falkirstad would give it a reasonable size. We simply can't make cities as big as Karthwasten unless we're talking about something major like Haafingar. Our project can't handle them. This is why Karthwasten is now slatted to be the largest city in the Reach, while Markarth Side should end up closer to 50 buildings, ideally. Even Tamriel Rebuilt will dial down the size of Almalexia. Sheer size in and of itself doesn't add value to a city, especially when most houses end up populated with filler NPCs.

Having read your posts here, roerich, I think your numbers look generally sound, though most cities should err towards the lower end of the ranges.
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Re: City size plan

Postby Worsas » Wed Jul 23, 2014 9:11 am

I think it would create a much better atmosphere for the province as whole, if absolutely most settlements were of Tier IV or Tier V. Skyrim is described as a sleeping, dormant province, after all.

Also, the tier III settlements Sload spoke of had between 12 (Suran) and 20 (Gnisis) interiors. (Pelagiad having 17 interiors). A bit different from your numbers. I don't get why exactly Skyrim and why exactly a project with lacking manpower needs to exceed those numbers. I'd rather go lower than the other way around.

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Re: City size plan

Postby Scamp » Wed Jul 23, 2014 11:17 am

What Worsas said...

I already mentioned this some time on IRC. Morrowind really succeeded in making a smallish town seem like an actual city. When I first played Morrowind I had the feeling everything was so huge and vast. After all, we're still modding Morrowind and we should stick to what made Morrowind that atmospheric in the first place (there were a lot of other factors, obviously).

In Cyrodiil it does make sense to have some bigger cities with lots of houses and action as it is a place where people from all over the province gather to form a huge economy. In Skyrim however, I think we should rather replicate Morrowind's style.

Karthwasten is exceedingly big already, which is one of the points I would add as constructive criticism (I have mentioned this before), but we can get away with it because it's supposed to be one of the biggest cities in Skyrim overall.

We are making our own unique landscapes and creatures, but in terms of how dialogue and cities are made we shouldn't float too far away from where Morrowind stood.
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Re: City size plan

Postby roerich » Wed Jul 23, 2014 12:34 pm

The numbers can be adjusted, what you both wrote makes sense of course. Sometimes I forget that our mod is in the same worldspace as vanilla, as we have a multitude of different assets to work with, and as such cities easily become larger, as we're able to build beautiful cities like Karthwasten.

I'm all for making some rural snowy villages and homesteads. The Reach is supposed to be the most cosmopolitan hold, so I think that adds to the confusion as well. Cities like Markarth Side, Karthwasten and Dragonstar being somewhat large doesn't look as out of order as if i.e. Ivarstead was the same size.

Overall I agree with your points. The numbers can be down adjusted a bit.
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Re: City size plan

Postby Praedator » Wed Jul 23, 2014 3:29 pm

I am ok with the numbers in roerich's OP. That said I commit to making many interiors myself, by the time we have more cities ready my mod will be near finished anyway...then I can decide to start another mod myself, or do province modding solely, I go for the latter if you let me.

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Re: City size plan

Postby Yeti » Wed Jul 23, 2014 3:55 pm

roerich wrote:I'm all for making some rural snowy villages and homesteads. The Reach is supposed to be the most cosmopolitan hold, so I think that adds to the confusion as well. Cities like Markarth Side, Karthwasten and Dragonstar being somewhat large doesn't look as out of order as if i.e. Ivarstead was the same size.

I picture Dragonstar as a Balmora-sized town, and Markarth Side as a Balmora and a half. They will not come even close to Karthwasten's interior count.
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Re: City size plan

Postby roerich » Wed Jul 23, 2014 8:44 pm

I adjusted the numbers in the original post. Yeti's plans for Dragonstar and Balmora spunds good to me.
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Re: City size plan

Postby Yeti » Thu Jul 24, 2014 1:18 am

Looks good, roerich. I'm glad we've set up this important guideline for the future.
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Re: City size plan

Postby roerich » Thu Jul 24, 2014 6:27 am

Yes, IMO we could utilize a lot of TR's recent changes in plans (but we've already begun to do that with your master plan).


Scamp wrote:In Cyrodiil it does make sense to have some bigger cities with lots of houses and action as it is a place where people from all over the province gather to form a huge economy. In Skyrim however, I think we should rather replicate Morrowind's style.


To this I would say both yes and no. I agree that we should make 80% of settlements rural, lowly populated places. But we should take into account that Vvardenfell is supposed to be a proper wasteland. I agree that parts of Skyrim should resemble a snowy wasteland, but another factor is human vs. elven reproduction rate; lore tells us that elven populations are slow to grow, while humans are much quicker. I don't know if this should have an impact on our mod, but in general I think it wouldn't be too out of character if a Tier III city in SHOTN is a big larger than a Tier III city in TR.
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Re: City size plan

Postby Worsas » Thu Jul 24, 2014 10:02 am

roerich wrote:To this I would say both yes and no. I agree that we should make 80% of settlements rural, lowly populated places. But we should take into account that Vvardenfell is supposed to be a proper wasteland. I agree that parts of Skyrim should resemble a snowy wasteland, but another factor is human vs. elven reproduction rate; lore tells us that elven populations are slow to grow, while humans are much quicker. I don't know if this should have an impact on our mod, but in general I think it wouldn't be too out of character if a Tier III city in SHOTN is a big larger than a Tier III city in TR.

The Nords are in a very different way fractional than Dunmer. Even if the Dunmer have their hostile environment and the Great houses that oppose each other in some way, they are comparably more like the Egypts and, as I imagine, much better organized with a better overall infrastructur. The Dunmer with their godkings have a civilisation that has more or less worked the way it is throughout millenia.

Opposed to that the Nords, after the end of the 1st empire, have never reached their old grandeur again, always remaining more or less self-sufficient. My reasoning is that 1. the long lifespan and the low reproduction rate of elves probably compensate each other anyway. There must be very many generations alive at the same time. 2. Well-organized civilisations probably result in a bigger population. If you look at the Nords in the vanilla game like 40% of them are barbarians while you will hardly find a non-ashlander Darkelf or Imperial that is one.

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Re: City size plan

Postby roerich » Thu Jul 24, 2014 12:44 pm

Well put Worsas, I can definetly get behind that. I guess what I wrote mostly correlates with the situation in the Reach as well as Cyrodiil and High Rock, but that fits with our current plans. I think it's good to have these discussions for the general frame of our mod.
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Re: City size plan

Postby Scamp » Thu Jul 24, 2014 2:33 pm

Numbers look good.
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Re: City size plan

Postby Worsas » Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:05 pm

Ultimately nobody is going to count through our interiors to ensure that we stay in certain numbers. Either a location feels right or it doesn't. I do not feel well when making suggestions that limit your creative possibilities, anyway.

Only keep in the back of your mind that it may look silly if Skyrim ended up as the most populated province of all while in other provinces Nords mostly appear as barbarians.

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Re: City size plan

Postby Praedator » Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:10 pm

Maybe they (The Nords) just send all the barbarians away to other provinces because they are well too barbaric :D

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