Did Daggerfall go overboard?

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Kaucukovnik
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Did Daggerfall go overboard?

Post by Kaucukovnik » Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:32 pm

I haven't consulted any historical demographic data, but I have a hunch the game went overboard in the exact opposite direction than any other. I think there shouldn't be so many big cities all over the place. I believe the game world's size supposedly corresponds to England, and I doubt you would find nearly as many walled cities even in late medieval /early modern England.

At first I didn't think about this for a long time, because it's definitely much closer to reality than capital cities with 30 houses you see in other medieval fantasy games. It started bugging me recently and I'd welcome other opinions. Especially if someone could prove me wrong, that would be the easiest way to be happy with the world once again. :)

ifkopifko
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Re: Did Daggerfall go overboard?

Post by ifkopifko » Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:31 pm

Well, my explanation would be:

A) The "big cities" in DF are not that big actually. Understand, there are not that many houses, and some of them are really small. My guess would be, about 700 houses for the Daggerfall city. How many people per house do we estimate? 5-10?
B) You should not really compare it to medieval Europe... I mean, with the healing powers and other kinds of magic available in the game world, it is bound to be more populated. :-D

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Zadroter
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Re: Did Daggerfall go overboard?

Post by Zadroter » Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:33 pm

By lore Daggerfall city is one of the biggest in Tamriel. Probably like 100k people population. But hey, by lore Vivec city have 50k population, and in tes3 it was cut very much because obvious game limitations.
Also by lore, Iliac bay is one of the most dence populated regions in tamriel, more populated than south glenumbra (this high rock peninsula) and northen Hammerfell coast is Imperial Heartland (Imperial city and around)

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Jay_H
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Re: Did Daggerfall go overboard?

Post by Jay_H » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:22 pm

Daggerfall ignores some very natural limitations around such numerous settlements. For example, what do all these people eat? One reason settlements would be fewer in older times is that they needed to plant crops and tend livestock over a large span of earth, and then rotate those plots of land with others to prevent sterility in the earth.

People naturally prefer to congregate together when not at war with each other due to commerce, family, and general security. Daggerfall's system of having 20+ well-armed guards in every village of 30ish people is certainly an aberration that wouldn't hold up under the historical lens. Cities would be larger and fewer to be more realistic.

Nevertheless, imagine the bother of entering Daggerfall City and having to walk 20 minutes to reach the Mages Guild each time :lol: Some sacrifices were necessary for an enjoyable experience.
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Tuaam
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Re: Did Daggerfall go overboard?

Post by Tuaam » Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:03 am

Some of the locations of Daggerfall's provinces would have little to no towns. I know in places like the dragontail mountains it's not as dense, but then you have places like the Alikir desert which in theory should have little to no active towns, at least of the size mentioned.

I reckon they were going to add some realistically accurate locations that are lore - friendly (Since they automatically made up 1000 of the towns in the game), but bear in mind this game was developed over 2 years. Maybe there should be an overhaul / mod done to fix it now that we have the tools needed.

The farms you also come across don't really make no sense. Instead of generating large farms around the walled settlements or having some random ones strewn across the terrain, you have these terribly small plots for a single house. I'm sure there would have been much more.

Not too sure about the scale, even though it's very realistic. Maybe in real life it would have taken that same time to travel, but I'm not so sure.

Kaucukovnik
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Re: Did Daggerfall go overboard?

Post by Kaucukovnik » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:57 am

Jay_H wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:22 pm
People naturally prefer to congregate together when not at war with each other due to commerce, family, and general security. Daggerfall's system of having 20+ well-armed guards in every village of 30ish people is certainly an aberration that wouldn't hold up under the historical lens. Cities would be larger and fewer to be more realistic.
Exactly! Instead of many towns with wide roads and houses far away from each other, there would have been much fewer ones with houses crammed against each other, making the best possible use of those expensive walls and guards. And yeah, farms would also be in close vicinity of cities, for both logistics and safety purposes, and there would be way more farmland.
Nevertheless, imagine the bother of entering Daggerfall City and having to walk 20 minutes to reach the Mages Guild each time :lol: Some sacrifices were necessary for an enjoyable experience.
Well, a city that big would certainly warrant multiple guild halls for each faction. Much of the additional population would also be handled by density instead of size.
And what about fast travel in towns as long as you have visited the specific building before? With skipping weeks of travel being pretty much mandatory, skipping mere minutes or hours feels all right.

I am really excited about this sort of conversation. While I'm a purist to a great degree with most games, Daggerfall did so many new things it never had a chance to extensively explore all the ideas and possibilities. I'd treat the game like a sketch - while beautiful and speaking of its author's skills and sensibilities, it is in no way equal to the finished piece of art the creator had in mind. Maybe that face over there wasn't supposed to be cross-eyed, and it's just a stray line, intended to be ignored in the future?
Seeing how this Unity version already challenges Oblivion's single hand-edited valley when it comes to impressive vistas, there is incredible potential to be tapped.

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jayhova
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Re: Did Daggerfall go overboard?

Post by jayhova » Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:36 pm

Since Daggerfall came out, I always imagined being able to move through it like it was a real world. Right now the world is populated by robots randomly wandering in cities and monsters in dungeons. What I really want to see is commerce; Farmers farming, fishermen fishing, shepherds herding, miners mining, etc. In order to have this work the land would need to be covered with actual farms. Farms would need to be connected to towns and cities with roads and rivers. Boats and ships would need to be connected to towns with docks. Goods would need to move from place to place via caravans and ships. Guards would need to patrol the roads to keep them free of bandits and monsters.

All of this is well outside the scale that was possible in the original game. It isn't outside the realm of possibility anymore. We know how humans construct roads. We know how long they take to build. We know where they will lead. This is one of many things that would transform the land. The forces of erosion that make mountainsides rocky and valleys fertile would cut rivers into the land and require bridges to cross it. Some bridges would need to be tall to allow large boats to travel others less so. The land around cities would be heavily farmed do to its proximity to the markets. Land on hill sides might be terraced. Forests would be used to harvest lumber and quarries would produce stone. Cities would demand much of this and the kings, barons, and the emperor would strive to make it so.

Imagine for a moment that when people traveled they just picked the direction of the place they were going and traveled in a straight line there. Pretty soon all the places on the map would be found. Why are these places still hidden? Because people don't do that. Travel across country is more exhausting and slower than by roads. If you had to cross rivers doing so at bridges or ferries might be less dangerous or just the only possible choice. How do you get to an island out on the Illiac bay otherwise? Assuming of course you don't have a ship you would have to take an Imperial ferry.

As it happens there is very good census data on people and their jobs in the ancient world. In a city of 10,000 we can predict how many of those people are likely to be coopers, cobblers, blacksmiths, weavers, thatchers, carpenters, bakers, tailors, etc. Wouldn't it be nice if when you stopped someone they didn't list their job as being a robot wandering through the city, aimlessly, waiting for someone to stop them and ask where the bank is.
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MrFlibble
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Re: Did Daggerfall go overboard?

Post by MrFlibble » Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:49 pm

I suppose that the devs indeed went overboard with the size of the game. Evidently they wanted to make it bigger than Arena, and random content generation allowed them to streamline a large world, at the expense of it being repetitive and devoid of individuality.

I'd love it if the game world were closer to a realistic simulation of mediaeval Europe, but we also need to take into account how this serves gameplay. AFAIK there are some projects out there that aim at a similar result, but they're more of a sandbox/open world variety with a strong survival element. Daggerfall still has an overarching plot line.

It makes sense to consider changing the scope of the game world, e.g. in the context of a mod.

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jayhova
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Re: Did Daggerfall go overboard?

Post by jayhova » Sat Jan 19, 2019 11:15 pm

Julian Lefey and his team did not go overboard because they were not trying to make a video game. They were attempting to make an RPG simulator. It was highly ambitious. A lot of the complaints about the game stem from the fact that it doesn't play like a video game. Games at the time were much more intellectual and grew out of games that had zero graphics. Daggerfall does a great job changing the game play based on the character type you are playing. Skyrim on the other hand tends to make every character the same. To make an RPG simulator you need a large world that feels real. They were not able to get the feels real part quite right due to time and technical constraints but I really liked the direction.
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Usernamicus
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Re: Did Daggerfall go overboard?

Post by Usernamicus » Sat Jan 26, 2019 1:21 am

Just commenting on the Alik'r Desert comment real quick:

Keep in mind that we don't actually see all of the Desert, but only the northern-most tip (next to, as it's already been mentioned, one of the most populated areas of the continent). So with that in mind the Alik'r's population is a little more reasonable than what it may seem. :)

Another thing to note is that the Iliac Bay (especially Daggerfall, Wayrest, and Sentinel) are trading powerhouses, so they probably get a lot of imports (such as Mithril - which is "elven" according to Arena's Valenwood section of its Main Quest, Silver - which is Argonian according to that same section in Arena, and Ebony - which as of Morrowind is Dunmeri). Granted, that also means there should be a bunch of exports too, so that still means there should be more farms, but there's only so much space.

Side note: One thing that's fun is to ride a horse from settlement to settlement for immersion/scenery. Traveling from a large city to a nearby farm or inn is very satisfying. :D

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