HUMANKIND™ Feature Focus: Reimagining Terrain

HUMANKIND™ Feature Focus: Reimagining Terrain

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(Mathias) In all historical strategy games like Humankind,
the terrain is a game pillar. The player will be able to explore the world, create cities, develop battle strategies and tactics. Our objective is to have something that is not necessarily realistic, but that is plausible enough while being stylized and coherent, to also have vegetation, various type of terrain, mountains
and a world that makes sense. To make the world believable, we felt that it was very important for us to give the player a strong shape of the world, with flatlands,
hilly countryside, and mountain ranges that are clearly distinct. (Aurélien) Basically we wanted the terrain to inform the player’s strategy, so depending on the neighboring tiles, you will have a gentle slope that you can climb on, or a steep cliff that is impassible to you. So this is a way to create challenges and opportunities for exploration and even battles. For example, when you are exploring, moving through a valley will block your line of sight, so it’s always better to scout from higher ground. It can also give you advantages in battle. The elevations, mountains, cliffs, it’s something super cool, but in order to do something complete, we have temperature and humidity variations that are accompanied by changes in vegetation, like firs, cactus, and something that is plausible, in line with the evolution of the world, between poles and equator. (Timothée) For that reason, we gave each territory of the map a distinct biome, based on where it is on the map and its elevation. This way we can create appropriate landscape for every territory, because we can control the spread of features like forest, floodplains or rocky terrain, while keeping the effect of the gameplay consistent and readable. (Aurélien) To make the world more visually appealling
and strategically interesting, we also added various landmarks. So each tile has a different terrain type that gives you different yields. It also has strategic and luxury resources that fuel your economy and military. If you are the first to find the highest mountain,
the longest river, or the biggest desert, you will be able to name it, and it will give you more cultural influence. If you are lucky, you will be able to find a unique natural wonder, and it will make you even more famous. (Mathias) The natural wonders and what we call “landmarks” are elements that will greatly affect the in-game economy. As such,
players will feel encouraged to try and discover or conquer them so visually, we tried to do something
with them that would highlight their importance in-game. All the work that we’ve put on this game, it’s for the players
to have a different experience every time they start a new session of Humankind.

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