Explaining Beacons and Settlements post Release 211


#1

Below are some notes that will hopefully help players understand the Settlement and Beacon changes introduced in Release 211.

Chunk Resolution:

Before Release 211 Settlements were evaluated at a chunk resolution.

  • A chunk is a 16m x 16m column (from bedrock to max height) within the world.
  • A chunk is hence big enough for 2 x 2 plot columns.
  • Each plots is 8m x 8m x 8m.
  • Beacons are plotted via plots. So in 8m x 8m x 8m cubes.

The Settlement system would:

  • scan over all the chunks in the world and look for chunks that contains plots.
  • (if the chunk contained too few plots it would reject them as they looked like roads.)
  • (if the chunk was part of a Beacon that didn’t have sufficient prestige it would also be rejected.)
  • (it was also possible for a Beacon to be logically split in 2 by failing the road test somewhere and it would be rejected from all possible settlements. This was the primary cause of a settlement breaking-in-two.)
  • if the chunk touched another acceptable chunk then they would be grouped into a settlement.

The system merged touching chunks, hence it didn’t actually require the plots to be touching. This was kind of confusing and led to players not always knowing how close or far they needed to be. Sometimes 2 plots was enough for separation, but depending on the grid sometimes 3.

A settlement was created if there was enough density of plots in touching chunks.

The system operated at the chunk resolution to make sure that settlement evaluation would be fast. It needed to re-evaluated the entire world for every plot added or removed from the world.

Guild aligned Beacons:

In Release 211 we wanted to solve a persistent point of tension for players where they would be annoyed and frustrated that their settlement would merge with another.

Our solution is to allow players to Align their Beacon with a Guild. Aligned Beacons can then form another settlement. (Sometimes called a Guild aligned settlement - but it has all the presentation of a standard settlement.) Guilds define membership and can be opted into and managed by players.

Players is a settlement would then be able to align their Beacons to their Guild and that association would always create a settlement following the normal touching logic and Guild alignment. For other Beacons touching this settlement that aren’t Guild aligned they would form another another settlement without taking away the identity of the Guild aligned group.

I picture this as “Kingston by Kingstonians” that is part of “Greater London”. Or “Hollywood” that is part of “Los Angeles”. A group with identity within something larger around them. Everyone who has sufficient prestige can have their own identity.

Problem with Chunk Resolution:

The problem with Chunk resolution is that with the new Guild aligned Beacons it became very confusion and appear broken when they met. It was possible for 2 different Beacons to be in a single chunk each with different Guild alignment. Which Guild settlement should this chunk be part of? It would be wrong for someone.

We ultimately decided that we needed to fix the core issue and switch from chunk resolution to plot resolution. Touching would then mean genuinely touching.

Plots touching is a tighter constraint that chunks touching.

As above, chunks can touch with 1 and 2 plots gap between Beacons.

But plots must touch.

NOTE - For those interested, the settlement calculation is now spread over multiple server frames to make sure the 4x additional scale doesn’t put any additional load on the server.

Plot Resolution:

In Release 211 Settlements are evaluated at a plot resolution.

Beacons’ plot columns must touch for the Beacons to form a settlement.

NOTE - Beacon plot columns meaning that it’s possible for a Beacon at the top of the world to “touch” a Beacon at the bottom of the world. So the columns need to touch. Not the plots themselves. (Sorry, it’s never simple, is it?)

Because of this change of resolution and associated update to the road evaluation it’s likely that some settlements will split. Any settlements that contained any 1 or 2 plot gaps between Beacons which used to be touching at the chunk resolution scheme will now break apart.

You may need to patchup your settlement to get everything merged again.

If you’re on PC you can use the settlement and Beacon debug visualisation accessible via F1. (Remember to enable it in the Settings.)

NOTE - We’re not allowed to release a PS4 game that presents any debug GUI. We’re exploring options for including this map in the official GUI for all players in the future. But decided it was best to give it to some players now rather than no one.

Why did we do this?

Because we wanted to solve the problem of players losing their Settlement identity.

It does work. It’s a good improvement. But some settlements will need to be patched up because of the resolution change. Once you get used to the plot resolution everything will make much more sense.

Hoped this helped.


ADDITIONAL:

The Settlement and Beacon visualisation is confusing some players - and I think it’s important to explain something else.

ROADS are all around my BEACON and SETTLEMENT!?!

When individual plots are considered at the very edge of a settlement or Beacon they will sometimes be presented in the debug visualisation as “roads”. Because by their position they’re at the edge and have very few neighbours. The visualisation hence presents them as “road” plots.

BUT - when a settlement is formed we always create a 1 plot buffer around the edge of the plots - this turns these “road” plots back into being part of the valid settlement.

So the visualisation is misleading players. Yes they’re presented as road plots, because we’re showing the internal workings of the system.

BUT - when you walk into a settlement the newflash notification is triggered when you enter these edge plots.

So please take this into account.

(If this is confusing and misleading players then it potentially demonstrates that we shouldn’t share these developer tools until they’re player-ready and have these presentation confusions ironed out.)


ADDITIONAL2:

We’ve just released a patch that makes the road evaluation in the new plot-based system better match the road evaluation in the old chunk-based system.

Some Beacons and hence settlement were become fragmented due to this. The update will hopefully make the Beacons and hence settlement no longer fragment.

If your settlement is disconnected the only reason will be that Beacons are genuinely not touching. This is best solved by added a plot or 2 to make them touch.

If you find other cases please share the locations and we’ll check them out.


I’ve shared some more information about similar stuff in the following places.

More details are here:

and

and throughout the thread.


What makes a settlement? Also why the noise about footfall?
When Looking At Beacon Settlement Section It Crashes
Release 211: Empires - CONTINUED
Help me understand plot theory
Help Dev
#2

#3

pennyNO


#4

Some additional comments that attempt to deal with concern and confusion about “road” plots.


#5

I wish the system could’ve been simplified, this seems excessive. It also makes the problem worse imo


#6

My settlement was concentric rings 1 plot wise by 2 plots tall with several plots between the rings which was acceptable before. Now with over 1 million prestige it doesn’t even classify as a settlement. I’ve spent a lot of money for plots and things for this game and now everything changes and doesn’t even work right? Can someone help figure this out? I’m on raxxa coordinates. -729N 1569E


#7

So you have “empty” plots between the rings? If so, you need 3-plot wide connectors between each ring. Plots need to touch now.


#8

They do touch. Between the rings are walkways connecting all the rings. 1 plot wide x 2 plots high. Which was acceptable before @Biv


#9

@Locust7

It worked before because the settlement area extended beyond the plots. They don’t anymore so you need to make those connectors 3 plots wide. (Height doesn’t matter)

You don’t have to build anything on them, just claim them.


#10

So by that logic the rings being the same size ( 1plot wide x 2 plots high) won’t count either? So the entire settlement won’t be considered @Biv


#11

You are probably correct. Anything thinner than three plots is a road and doesn’t count.

That’s tricky, though.


#12

What is the name of your settlement?

@Locust7


#13

The Floating City. On raxxa. -729E 1567E. It worked fine before the patch


#14

Okay, what I’m missing in this is the need for 3 plots to touch 3 plots of another beacon in order to not be regarded as bridging settlements!

Everything, and I mean everything, was plotted right next to each other, but 2 of the main problem areas were 2 plot high ‘road’ connectors to connect to somewhat further away beacons we own. This means that the columns were touching each ohter in at least 2 plots but it wasn’t enough. This had to be changed to 3 plots high otherwise we would get the dreaded bridging messages…


#15

Make them 3 high and it should go back to normal!


#16

Wide, not high. Height doesn’t matter.


#17

not true. As I said, there has to be 9 plots between your plot and the 8 neighbours and it doesnt matter if there is 9 in one plot, or 1 in each of the 9 plots.

JA - after Release 211.2:

there has to be 6 plots between your plot and the 8 neighbours and it doesnt matter if there is 6 in one plot, or 1 in each of the 6 plots.


Poll: Are you tired of reading about Footfall and if it broke or not?
#19

I found this explanation very helpful, especially the part about how the edge plots in the debug tool showed as roads.

In my opinion there will be some pain adjusting to this change but it really will be for the better in the long run for everyone.

It took me about an hour to place a few plots here and there to fix my settlement area which was inconveniant, sure.

If anyone wants help with their settlement feel free to pm me or hit me up on discord @DaBuilder.


#20

I just told you we solved it by making the connection 3 high, why don’t you believe that then?


#21

I had to do that in one settlement…if you have builds or “neighbors” that are vertical, sometimes it’s needed.