Yeah, good point Daddio,
I presume you tested with 5 or 6 nations when you say they are too close, or was that with even less players?
I'm still learning how it all works, in that what you have been tested is very close to the original set up, which is already there with the default installation. I have mainly done subtle changes, eg starting resources, starting pieces, etc...
I'm still tweaking how it works with the layers, for example where it will put the starting pieces ( such as stone mines, gold mines etc...)
Many more samples will be needed to give it a more random look , rather then a repetition of the current samples.
The version you have been testing generates always the same type of trees for example, which i have already changed to more different trees ( more oak etc...) in a later version.
I'll have a look in to the position it puts the players starting peasants on. I also noticed that with the lack of samples ( only 2 stone mines have been setup inside the first layer) that the AI will build its first townhall near it, so it should have more stone mines and closer to the initial starting point aswell so the ai doesnt loose time by walking to the nearest stone mine.
I also noticed it sometimes generates the mines too close to eachother, and if you have those coal mines which are rather large on it, it leaves no space to build on the other mines, again an issue with not enough layers been set up. I'll have a look into that aswell.
The main thing i have focussed on up till now, was adding the interface for it and that it didnt give a defeat message on start up. There is not just gonna have to be a lot of work done to make it playable, but an immense lot of work to get it working properly. And then we havent even tackled the AI or other issues that come with this.
About the size of the maps, I'm pretty sure that there is a maximum limit to it, if i do it manually from within the map editor trough the CTRL+E options, the maximum surface stats i get is 15315x15315. I checked with Alexander and Haoe and its the same there, so I think there is little hope to get larger maps than that, this must be hardcoded in the engine. And even if we get gsc to change it for us, i dont think its a good approach, because it will inevitably cause lag, just think how hard the x16 ( huge) maps can lag in Cossacks I, once there is a large army on it.
I can only suggest to play with no more then 4 players on it, 6 or 7 will give problems.
The only way to increase building and play space, is by making sure as little as possible water is generated with the maps and all map space should be buildable or accessible. So as little mountains as possible, etc...
The difference with the original skirmish maps is in that, with the original skirmishes , the resource villages take up more space then needed really, because you got these buildings around the mines, etc... a issue you dont have with the random generator.
It's gonna take a lot of work and testing to get everything balanced, not just how it generates the maps but aswell regarding buildings, mines, troop production etc...
more things come to my mind, but thats for another time
Thanks for your feedback Daddio