Procedural generation

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Ashes of Creation will predominantly have curated content, but procedural mechanics will be leveraged in a places where they don't appear to be 'procedural'.[1]

Wherever we can leverage procedural mechanics in such a way that does not appear procedural we should. There's a healthy blend between the things that we do in having defined parameters for it and then incorporating a procedural component; and in that sense it will be perceived well, but where we the predominance of what we're implementing should be curated or by design.[1]Steven Sharif


Road blocked by an environmental hazard due to a caravan event in Alpha-2.[9]

Our road system in-game is essentially driven by pre-placed routes that lead to this main artery of what was once the ancient highway system of Verra; and from there there are roads that become exposed when nodes advance; and we call those veins. They come off the main artery and then as nodes advance there are points of interest as Jeff was discussing earlier. These POIs that exist around the world and some of them share coverage with multiple nodes, but depending on which node advances to the stage that activates the point of interest it'll create these capillary roads so to speak that then stem off of the node itself. So you go from the main artery ancient road that's large- that runs through different zones and whatnot- and that breaks down into the veins that lead to the specific encampments and villages and towns that then spawn off separate capillaries that lead to the points of interest in these areas that are hunting grounds. Those are not exposed initially and they come online as players advance the world.[8]Steven Sharif

Roads adjusting to adjacent node progression.[10]

As nodes advance, these pre-laid road spots that exist connecting every possible route between certain node structures is going to adjust and adapt, both its material presentation, the type of roadwork that's present: It'll move from dirt road type, to perhaps a brick road, to perhaps some super ornate beautiful metropolis style road that will adjust around the world according to how these node structures begin to populate and advance.[10]Steven Sharif

Roads in Verra are both pre-generated and player influenced.[8]

  • The largest roads are referred to as arteries. These are remnants of what was once the ancient highway system of Verra.[8]
  • As nodes advance smaller roads, referred to as veins, connect the arteries to the nodes.[8]
  • Depending on the stages of node advancement, capillary roads will stem off the node to connect to points of interest.[8]
  • Roads or pathways are not worn into the landscape by repeated traffic over the same area.[8]
  • The quality, safety, and maximum transportation speed of roads is influenced by node building upgrades, policies, relics, and the level of nearby nodes.[11][12][13]
Q: Could you upgrade roads in the node to upgrade the roads and speeds of caravans?
A: Absolutely. So that buff that you saw is a buff that can be changed in the world based on the world state. Some of those world state interactions include certain types of relics that the nodes which govern your area might have access to and might be actively employing. Some of it might have to do with policies: You might be able to extend the guard influences across the road radius further out for certain nodes if you have certain policies. You might be able to enhance and empower those guards through itemization choices that are granted by building upgrades that the node selects to build.[11]Steven Sharif

Different seasons and events may affect access to various roads.[14][15][16][17]

  • Pathways that are open during summer may be closed during winter.[14][17]
  • Seasonal affects may cause obstacles or blockages to the transit of goods via caravan.[14][15][16][18]
  • Caravan events can cause roadways to be blocked off or hostile mobs to spawn to attack the caravan.[9][15]
    • Obstacles may present barriers on roads that players must remove or bypass to allow transit of goods.[9][14][17]
  • Water turning to ice in winter, enabling players to walk over the water but blocking access to what is underneath.[17]
    • Ice will make roads bumpy and slippery.[19]

Underrealm routes will open or close dynamically (based on node states).[20]

  • The location of Underrealm entrances throughout the world is focused around natural geographic choke-points that exist above ground. This provides alternate subterranean routes that can be used by caravans, raids, and other player activities.[21][20]
  • Not all entrances to the Underrealm will be open at the same time. This can shift dynamically (based on node states) that cause different routes to open up, which may be more or less advantageous than other routes.[20]

Caravan components can be utilized to improve on-road or off-road speeds of caravans.[22]

You will travel faster over roads, but that obviously comes with the increased risk of running into other players or monsters that are blocking the road.[22]Chris Justo

Freeholds may not be placed in close proximity to roads.[23]

Node layout and style

Racial architecture of the same Village (stage 3) node on different servers. Dünir Dwarven influence (top). Kaelar Human influence (bottom). Alpha-1 Non-NDA screenshot.

The layout and architecture within a Node’s development area are determined by influential race. For example, a stage 3 Node with the majority of player contribution being Py'rai would have a Py'rai village with Py'rai architecture. Most NPCs would be Py'rai elves, and offer questlines within the Py'rai narrative.[4]Margaret Krohn

Each player’s contributed experience is flagged with their character race and other identifiers. When a Node advances, the race with the highest experience contribution determines the Node’s style and culture. This style and culture change can happen at every Node Stage. For example, if a Node advances to Level 2 - Encampment Stage and 51% of all experience was earned by Ren’Kai players, the Node will be a Level 2 Ren’Kai Node. If that same Node advances to a Level 3 - Village Stage Node, but the Py'Rai contributed 62% of all the experience earned, then the Node will be a Level 3 Py'Rai Node.[24]Margaret Krohn

Node layout and style is determined by several factors:[6][7]

The way that the node system is built is that they can exist across a spread of 18 biomes, but at the same time have to represent the cultural influence of these cultures that are intrinsically a part of a specific biome.[25]Steven Sharif
Currently the way that the platform system is set up, is it's capable of adjusting the topography of the node's footprint, regardless of the surrounding terrain. So the reason for that is we want to have flexibility in the presentation of the node's layout and how it is essentially both from an aesthetic standpoint as well as a mechanical standpoint with node sieges- how it's constructed and that construction should have the ability to take on a variance of different types of topography. So it shouldn't be dependent on the surrounding area. Now that's not to say that the surrounding area isn't going to have some influence over. So for example... we're experimenting a little bit with the platform tech and putting up a node up against the side of a mountain or on the edge of a cliff or something that has a beautiful vista. Those are things that we're going to test out obviously as we continue to work on the node tool and how that platform system works, but the idea is to have the node independent of the surrounding terrain.[26]Steven Sharif
Some parts are determined by the area it's in. Some parts are determined by the type it is. Some parts are determined by the race it is; and then the rest of it is determined by the mayor.[7]Jeffrey Bard
All nodes, whether they're associated with a castle or associated with normal node structure, has cultural influences that replicate over to the buildings that are produced and the NPCs that are present.[31]Steven Sharif
  • The rest is determined by the node's mayor.[7]
    • It should be possible for a node to complete several building projects within a mayor's one month term in office.[32]
Q: How long would you say it will take players on average to fill/build up a node completely from wilderness to metropolis?
A: It's one thing to get a node to a certain level: it's another thing to develop the node; and I can't really give you an on-average expectation, because there's a lot of variables at play. There's how many citizens does the node have attracted to it; what's the type of traffic that the node is attracting to it based on things like its tax rates, or the specialization that it chose to spec into, based on the building types it's chosen to build. All of those things are variables that can affect the quote-unquote "average build-out time" of a particular node. So it's difficult to give you an average when there's so many variables along those lines. But the idea is that if there is a particular project that players are interested in in developing based on the node stage, that they would have the ability to complete several of those projects as within a single term of a mayor; and a term of a mayor is one month.[32]Steven Sharif

World manager

The World manager is an algorithm in Ashes of Creation that controls dynamic world elements. It acts as both a throttle and an incentive system for various activities to ensure certain parameters are within acceptable thresholds.[33]

A world manager is a technical term to define a server process that lives alongside the game server; and when the game server needs to do things- communicating with other game servers within that grid- it tells that manager and that manager sends it down to the appropriate server.[34]Steven Sharif
For example if you know iron is being used as a raw resource for a specific crafting path that might drive up the price of mithril or silver; and that will incentivize the market to course correct a little bit. The idea is to provide soft incentives that help to alleviate the demand and also to prop up the supply that might not be present from the economic systems.[35]Steven Sharif

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Livestream, February 25, 2022 (1:07:36).
  2. procedural generation.png
  3. 3.0 3.1 Livestream, May 19, 2017 (37:03).
  4. 4.0 4.1 Blog - Know Your Nodes - The Basics.
  5. A reactive world - Nodes.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Livestream, October 30, 2020 (39:17).
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 Livestream, September 27, 2018 (53:06).
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 Livestream, January 29, 2021 (1:13:04).
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Video, October 31, 2023 (34:12).
  10. 10.0 10.1 Livestream, January 28, 2022 (33:25).
  11. 11.0 11.1 Livestream, October 31, 2023 (1:16:34).
  12. Video, October 31, 2023 (28:06).
  13. Livestream, February 9, 2018 (45:48).
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Video, May 27, 2022 (15:50).
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Podcast, April 11, 2021 (23:36).
  16. 16.0 16.1 Livestream, June 26, 2020 (1:29:06).
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Livestream, May 8, 2017 (20:27).
  18. Our immersive world - Environments.
  19. frosty-roads.png
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Livestream, October 30, 2020 (1:19:13).
  21. Livestream, August 26, 2022 (53:26).
  22. 22.0 22.1 Video, October 31, 2023 (20:17).
  23. Livestream, May 19, 2017 (32:23).
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Blog - Know Your Nodes - Advance and Destroy.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Livestream, February 25, 2022 (41:00).
  26. 26.0 26.1 Livestream, February 26, 2021 (1:12:18).
  27. Livestream, March 31, 2022 (4:57).
  28. Podcast, April 11, 2021 (29:47).
  29. Interview, May 11, 2018 (54:34).
  30. Livestream, May 26, 2017 (21:23).
  31. 31.0 31.1 Interview, May 11, 2018 (47:27).
  32. 32.0 32.1 Livestream, July 29, 2022 (1:13:09).
  33. Interview, July 19, 2020 (1:10:55).
  34. Livestream, October 14, 2022 (57:22).
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 Interview, July 19, 2020 (1:08:22).
  36. Interview, July 18, 2020 (10:04).
  37. Interview, July 8, 2020 (1:00:15).