'True' size of Daggerfall (and TES) world

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L57
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'True' size of Daggerfall (and TES) world

Post by L57 » Fri Jan 17, 2020 1:59 pm

I have seen many people assume that Daggerfall in-game world has 1-to-1 scale for some reason. Can't understand really why though, looks absolutely unfounded to me.

If you assume that Nirn still has the same basic physics as real world (force of gravity depends on the mass in the same proportion, etc) and about the same daily/monthly/annual cycles, it's safe to assume that In-game time scale (1 min to 1 real-time sec) already implies Iliac Bay is still much larger than what is seen in a game.

Fast-travel indicates the journey from Daggerfall to Wrathgorian Mountains takes nearly a month, though we don't know how well developed transport infrastructure in High Rock/Hammerfell. Take also into account relatively rapid changes in climate zones, and I think it's reasonable to pre-conclude that Iliac Bay is as large as Mediterranean Sea.

However, it can be entirely incorrect to rely on any in-game data at all, since Morrowind clearly breaks the Daggerfall scaling — ship and silt-strider trips take just few days, that should be impossible given Daggerfall fast-travel timing. I tend to believe that Morrowind/Oblivion/Skyrim world scalling is complete crap though and Arena and DF gave relatively believable estimates.

What do you think? Is there any reliable in-game evidence regarding world size at all? :D Is there anything in the lore that indicates its world size?

Also, how long do jorneys take in Arena in relation to Daggerfall? Would be interesting to compare trips between the same locations in both games.

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King of Worms
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Re: 'True' size of Daggerfall (and TES) world

Post by King of Worms » Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:27 am

Fast travel times are really rough estimation and if you look more in depth to it, it makes no sense in many cases.

The way to measure would be to estimate the walk (run) speed and just run for lets say 10 hours on some semi flat terrain. Than measure that distance on the map.

So if for example the run speed is 7 km/h than the measured distance on map is 70km..

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BadLuckBurt
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Re: 'True' size of Daggerfall (and TES) world

Post by BadLuckBurt » Mon Jan 20, 2020 3:19 pm

There is no 'true' size except maybe Arena but I never played it. Fast-travel is just a formula made to convey the scale they want the world to imply. This is also why there is a timescale in the gameworld.

This page https://en.uesp.net/wiki/Arena:Maps gives the second image a scale of one pixel being 20KM. Drawing a box roughly around the entire continent gave me a rectangle of 440x350=154000 pixels total. 154000 * 20 = 3.08 million square kilometers

Earth is more than 160 times that at 510 million square kilometers.

Daggerfall's map is 1000x500 pixels in size, 1 pixel is roughly 800x800 meters so the entire map of Daggerfall, water included, is around 400.000 square kilometers.

There are plenty of discussions and videos on the subject of Tamriel's size but no-one has the definitive answer because there is none and it doesn't matter.
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L57
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Re: 'True' size of Daggerfall (and TES) world

Post by L57 » Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:41 pm

BadLuckBurt wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 3:19 pm
Fast-travel is just a formula made to convey the scale they want the world to imply.
I supposed you can rely on this fast-travel formula to get an idea about the size of the world in accordance with the Lore, but, I see, the formula is too primitive to provide any coherent conclusions.

Just hoped to find out if there any hint provided by in-game books at least or other sources regarding this stuff.

It seems that nowadays Bethesda doesn't care at all about these scaling issues.

PS as I remember, Arena has no any size at all, it's just endless random generated wilderness. It was much more entertaining than Daggerfall though - it had roads, rivers, rural houses, dungeons, etc

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Re: 'True' size of Daggerfall (and TES) world

Post by BadLuckBurt » Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:57 pm

L57 wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:41 pm
I supposed you can rely on this fast-travel formula to get an idea about the size of the world in accordance with the Lore, but, I see, the formula is too primitive to provide any coherent conclusions.

Just hoped to find out if there any hint provided by in-game books at least or other sources regarding this stuff.

It seems that nowadays Bethesda doesn't care at all about these scaling issues.
One thing that is very clear about the Elder Scrolls universe is that it wasn't fully fleshed out when they started making the games. Especially when it comes to the world, a lot of things just don't make sense and it got worse in the later games.

Even if an in-game source states a distance in miles or another measure of distance, the question someone inevitably brings up is what kind of mile or whatever? I suppose these unknowns are part of TES' appeal, a lot of things are open to interpretation.

They stated back in the days that Daggerfall was around 200.000+ square kilometers which holds up pretty good when you take the water pixels out of Daggerfall's map, the total land area is slightly bigger.

And true, Bethesda doesn't care about scaling the worlds properly. They haven't since Morrowind and I can't fault them for that, producing something like Morrowind on a Daggerfall scale is pretty insane. They made the choice to handcraft things over generating them so I don't think we'll ever see a large world from them again, pretty sure it would be quite boring if they did too.
Daggerfall Unity on UESP: https://en.uesp.net/w/index.php?title=T ... fall_Unity
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L57
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Re: 'True' size of Daggerfall (and TES) world

Post by L57 » Mon Jan 20, 2020 5:29 pm

They made the choice to handcraft things over generating them so I don't think we'll ever see a large world from them again, pretty sure it would be quite boring if they did too.
Personally I would like some kind of a compromise. Lots of handcraft things and also some randomized stuff thown in for good measure - with vast landscapes. I don't think these two approaches are incompatible — on the contrary, it opens up new perspectives if done right.

You could live like a mad sociopath werewolf who wanders from region to region razing whole villages and terrifying inhabitants - who, in turn, spread creepy rumors about the mysterious Beast all over the province, attracting brave adventurers to fight... It's just impossible to feel anything like this anymore in principle. You even can't hide in deep forests and secluded caves, because there are none of them.
I suppose these unknowns are part of TES' appeal, a lot of things are open to interpretation.
Yeah, I definitely can agree on this.

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Re: 'True' size of Daggerfall (and TES) world

Post by BadLuckBurt » Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:16 pm

L57 wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 5:29 pm
Personally I would like some kind of a compromise. Lots of handcraft things and also some randomized stuff thown in for good measure - with vast landscapes. I don't think these two approaches are incompatible — on the contrary, it opens up new perspectives if done right.

You could live like a mad sociopath werewolf who wanders from region to region razing whole villages and terrifying inhabitants - who, in turn, spread creepy rumors about the mysterious Beast all over the province, attracting brave adventurers to fight... It's just impossible to feel anything like this anymore in principle. You even can't hide in deep forests and secluded caves, because there are none of them.
I agree although it takes a lot of work and expertise to do it right. After some time in a game it becomes pretty easy to pick out what has been handcrafted and what has been generated. You can try to keep content as modular as possible and have it pieced together dynamically but even then, we are too good at spotting repetition and patterns.

I don't think a realistically sized RPG world would be very fun to play though. When it takes days to travel from one village to another, the gameplay surrounding it has to be crazy engaging to hold anyone's attention.

That said, I do agree that the way Daggerfall's villages and towns are spread out is too even. This probably happened because there are no real landmark features terrain wise that would prevent that. There's not really a good way to fix that sadly but if someone finds a way, that would open up the way for forests like you describe.

We will see exterior caves at some point, I can easily see that happening, all you need is models.
Daggerfall Unity on UESP: https://en.uesp.net/w/index.php?title=T ... fall_Unity
Daggerfall Unity on Nexus Mods: https://www.nexusmods.com/daggerfallunity
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L57
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Re: 'True' size of Daggerfall (and TES) world

Post by L57 » Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:59 pm

I don't think a realistically sized RPG world would be very fun to play though. When it takes days to travel from one village to another, the gameplay surrounding it has to be crazy engaging to hold anyone's attention.
I actually agree on this. 'Real-sized' game is definitely not a goal and such a goal would be even pointless. Game like this will be too 'overstretched' geographically and it would feel... unrealistically empty! Because you need to throw in realistic economy and social system as well then (detailed agriculture, water mills, cities producing materials and goods and so on and so on), to make this world feel real. It's impossible to achieve.

A middle ground is needed here, I think.

My idea is that TES since Morrowind (and especially Oblivion) went to the other extreme — you can't even feel there are proper cities at all. The problem isn't that they are relatively small. The problem is that you can easily notice that they are unrealistically small!

I mean, you can remember every resident of Imperical City in Oblivion... That was even worse experience than empty Daggerfall wilderness to me! It just instantly feels fake to me. The game is trying to fool you, talking about the great drama, the Empire, big metropolis, great armies fighting Daeda invaders... but you just see there are no Empire, no armies, no civilization, nothing. That was a total deal-breaker to me.

I'd like Imperial City big enough to get lost in it a little, and populated enough to barely meet the same NPC. Again, that doesn't imply to create real-sized (or Lore-sized) cities and maps. Just big enough to not notice its... smallness :D
pretty easy to pick out what has been handcrafted and what has been generated
Yes, it is true. But it's still tolerable, in my opinion. There are no perfect game in existence anyway, there will always be some kind of trade-off. And this is a reason why we have different games and different genres.

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Re: 'True' size of Daggerfall (and TES) world

Post by BadLuckBurt » Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:36 pm

L57 wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:59 pm
My idea is that TES since Morrowind (and especially Oblivion) went to the other extreme — you can't even feel there are proper cities at all. The problem isn't that they are relatively small. The problem is that you can easily notice that they are unrealistically small!

I mean, you can remember every resident of Imperical City in Oblivion... That was even worse experience than empty Daggerfall wilderness to me! It just instantly feels fake to me. The game is trying to fool you, talking about the great drama, the Empire, big metropolis, great armies fighting Daeda invaders... but you just see there are no Empire, no armies, no civilization, nothing. That was a total deal-breaker to me.

I'd like Imperial City big enough to get lost in it a little, and populated enough to barely meet the same NPC. Again, that doesn't imply to create real-sized (or Lore-sized) cities and maps. Just big enough to not notice its... smallness :D
Yeah, they all suffer from that theme park feel, both size and NPC wise. Gamebryo doesn't handle crowds well which is a shame, it could do with some crowds the scale of say Dynasty Warriors. I saw some footage of restored siege content for Skyrim which showed that they do try to make larger scale events but engine and platform (consoles) limitations probably make them drop it every time.

There are plenty of PC mods that change cities in all games to become much larger, I think the main cause of them being so small in the original games is that it needs to be able to run on a console.
Daggerfall Unity on UESP: https://en.uesp.net/w/index.php?title=T ... fall_Unity
Daggerfall Unity on Nexus Mods: https://www.nexusmods.com/daggerfallunity
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L57
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Re: 'True' size of Daggerfall (and TES) world

Post by L57 » Mon Jan 20, 2020 8:20 pm

There are plenty of PC mods that change cities in all games to become much larger, I think the main cause of them being so small in the original games is that it needs to be able to run on a console.
Seems like that. Still, to credit of Morrowind, Vvardenfell looked pretty well I must admit and I liked this game a lot. Balmora never felt that small to me, and Vivec City was impressive and huge, even more so since you can't simply run in a straight line through the city. And, after all, it's not the heart of Empire but mostly desert wastelands, so these small locations felt ok.

The only thing had to be addressed is the absence of random NPCs. But there was a gread mod which added NPCs with random names, just like Daggerfall NPCs (Starfire's NPC Additions, if you are curious). I had streets of Vivec City full of citizens. Finally busy and noisy city. That was cool!

Oblivion really was the point when I thought they went too far.

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