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In this blogpost, I talk about a new feature I'm implementing: land ownership.

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Hi all, last week I've been working on one of the first features I came up with when I decided I wanted to make this game: land ownership. Land ownership means that a particular patch of land belongs to a particular town, and that no one else can build here. There will be a toggle button in the GUI which you can use to see which land belongs to which town. This is me, on the border between two towns:

Every town has an official color (see the [previous blogpost]) - the towns here picked blue and yellow. Currently only red blue and yellow are possible, but eventually dozens of colors will be implented. At the moment the official colors are used only for showing territory and the flag at the town hall, but I hope to use it for many more things; urban decorations, or the color of capes with minigames between cities, perhaps?

To make things easy for myself (and the players), I'm using a system with rectangles. If you start a new town, it will be given the rectagles the town hall is on, and the rectangles directly around it.

To 'conquer' more land, all citizens have to do is build houses at the edges, like this:

Although I'm taking the easy approach with the rectangles here, it still creates plenty of practical problems. Three of the many things I'm wrestling with:

  • What to do when two towns are built very close to eachother, and their territory starts to overlap? For now, it's first-come, first-served (so the town that first conquered a patch of land will always keep it), but I wonder whether that will always make sense. Imagine a small abandoned city on an important spot, and a gigantic growing metropole next to it. My guess is that eventually the metropole will grow around it, but is that what we want? Huge cities, with little towns as islands inside? I think a server side option that towns will disappear if no citizen shows up for a month or so will help a bit, but it doesn't solve the problem completely.
  • What to do against expansionism (=desire to own more land)? I imagine that being part, or even mayor, of a large city will be something prestigious, and thus something some players will desire. Like I said, you can expand by building houses at the edges of your territory, so I wouldn't be surprised if some players would ONLY build houses at the edges of their cities. If this becomes a problem, I think I'll implement a server side option that towns can only grow when they have x citizens per rectangle.
  • I've noticed that the area around the portal (which is where you spawn) is very popular, so I think cities built here will be quite large. When players will be able to build their own portals, this will be change a bit, but the area around the main spawn point will probably stay very important. In practice this means that you will almost always spawn in someone else's city... is that what we want? Wouldn't it be more 'natural' to spawn in a forest? I can of course make the areas around portals unconquerable, but then this will probably happen:

If you have any ideas on how to tackle these problems, feel free to share them in the comments.

If you want more development, see [twitter] or [facebook]. If you want to be a tester, you can subscribe on [olvand.com].


You could have it so the first portal is surrounded by a few rectangles of territory of it's own, enough that it cannot be built inside a city and a city cannot build too close to it. I don't imagine it would be possible to completely stop someone from coordinating their city around the territory of a portal no matter how far out it goes, if anything a larger territory could cause some interesting conflicts over territory control.

I do like the idea of population factoring into expansion, if you look at the player city system that was in Star Wars Galaxies, they basically had to place a town hall, and then entice players into living there, the more players that moved in made more options available to build as the city grew in status. I cannot remember if the actual bounds of the city moved but this basically forced you to make the city in a great location along with making the buildings packed in nicely with the space you had to work with instead of expanding to ridiculous distances to make it bigger.

You might want to simply have it grow to a limited distance too, like you start with 1 block adjacent but can only expand to say 10 blocks for example. This might stop cities from growing too big and give people good reasons to start their own cities elsewhere.

Really liking the look of the game so far, keep up the great work!

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Woseseltops Author

I think you might be right that giving the portal a bigger territory keeps the problem away longer, so I'm going to follow your advice if giving portals their own territory is really needed.

About the limited distance: enormous cities is not something I necessarily want to avoid, as long as I can make cities look varied. I am actually afraid the other thing will happen: 300 cities on every server with only 2-3 houses. But we'll see :)

Thanks for your comments, very interesting!

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Ah good point, it could still work with limited distance, just don't have a maximum limit, as in the city itself needs to 'rank up' by having a certain amount of people. That way it could potentially expand forever but only if enough people join it.

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