This weekend was spent working on multiple things at the same time. I tweaked both the terrain generation algorithm (again) and the rainfall generation algorithm so that high mountains have a larger chance of being snow covered. Besides that, I added some river related region attributes and elements along with a new region constraint which tie those attributes and elements to the amount of flowing water within a region. I also tweaked the base biomes to prevent over-saturation due to the combination of both rainfall and flowing water on individual cells. I also unfortunately had to remove the lake biome from the base mod. The way I was generating lakes before was mostly through a very lame hack which I ended up removing a while ago. So preserving that biome made no sense. Lakes will have to be re-added as separate, more complete, feature in a later release.
The end result of all those changes was a mixed bag of successes and rollbacks. Still, I managed to improve things a little bit overall. Here's another set of screenshots of a single world with all areas worked on shown:
Things you might notice:
Mountain ranges are bit more common and a tad less extensive
The drainage overlay now only shows flowing water (or ice), instead of mixing flowing water with rainfall
Regions are smaller and very broken
Humans somehow managed to colonize the south pole...
The good thing is that, beside some weird over-adaptive behavior, human groups seem to behave well regardless of the presence of rivers. They handle rivers just as if they where shores or coastlines, which is kinda OK for now. I might not need to do much work there besides possibly improving the fishing and farming activities and differentiating the human behavior between river cells and sea cells.
On the other hand, regions are a mess. The original region forming algorithm was designed to create mostly homogeneous regions based around a single biome. So a region might form to cover a forested area or a desert for example. This used to work fine previously when areas having a single biome where larger and more blob-like. But now, rivers tend to split up large areas frequently by creating many small differing biome patches within those areas.
I tried to improve the region forming algorithm by adding tolerance to small amounts of biome changes but it doesn't seem to work very well after all. So I'm thinking I might need to rewrite the entire algorithm and use a completely different region formation strategy. Still, I'm ambivalent about doing that for this particular release. A region rewrite might take me a couple of weeks or even a month and I don't want to introduce more delays to the release of 0.3.3. So perhaps next week I'll focus instead on making sure human groups benefit from rivers a little bit more and also curtail their now very high adaptability. Then, I'll finally move into release bound bug-squashing and testing.
Would it be possible for polities to want to form their borders according to region borders in order to make polity expansion somewhat more rational? So as a basic precursor to more advanced behavior, polities will reach a stage in which they care more about regional conquest rather than 'mindless' expansion, in which they will pull together resources to conquer or colonize specific regions. It'd be interesting to see how regions could be utilized to step into more complex and intelligent routes to expansion on part of the polities. Perhaps regional expansion could be the first thing to filter tribes from 'empires', in that the first distinction is a change in the goals of conquest, in which tribes sporadically expand, but empires want to dominate regions, and that the empire will decide were to expand based on the average attributes of a region. So for example an empire will look at all adjacent regions, then decides to NOT invade a region with a higher rate of arability, due to the fact that a more powerful empire controls the region, and instead the empire decides to invade a more isolated region inhabited by weaker tribes.
The plan is that eventually, polity territories will be based around regions instead of mindless expansion as you say. But the idea is that primitive societies did not initially have a concept of territory. They would just expand and occupy as much land as they needed. And a tribal territory is nothing but an abstraction of how far a particular tribal culture has expanded through pure migration and assimilation. Once more complex intercultural interactions like warfare and trading come in, then it will make more sense for polities to decide and declare that a piece of land, and all of its resources, belongs to them.
Empires, and other complex forms of governments, will depend on the implementation of the delegation mechanic. Once a territory grows too big, it will impossible for a single polity to directly govern all of it. So it will delegate parts of its territory to local provincial governments. Governments that rule over multiple provinces will be know as superpolities. And there will be two main kinds: Federations and Empires, where the first will appear when multiple polities band together to form a single federal government, and the second will appear when a single polity exerts it's dominance and influence over multiple other polities.