Friday, November 30, 2018

E Unibus Pluram

The most recent thing I've done in my world simulation is to break up the 1:1 correspondence of languages and nation-states. Each tile on the map can now contain any number of different population communities, each with its own racial makeup, language, national identity and "culture" (for the moment, just a flag indicating whether or not they use agriculture), and each state is a collection of tiles.

States start out tied to a single language, nationality, and racial composition, but as populations expand and intermingle, these change: small speaking populations switch to more common languages, racial compositions converge, and communities take up agriculture when surrounded by other farmers.

Conflict and trade decisions are still made at the state level, and states can still expand and break up over time, though these mechanics both affect and are affected by the new variables. Polyglot states tend to stay that way, but if a state with a strong dominant language absorbs neighbors, the conquerors will either convert people to the dominant language or find their own language subsumed into the conquered's (if a resource-rich state is able to conquer a more populous one). When nations break up, the lines of fracture are more likely to fall along national and linguistic lines, which has the potential to have states overextend imperialistically and then balkanize.

I think one missing possibility here is when there are a bunch of adjacent fellow national/linguistic minorities in distinct neighboring states (Kurds would be a real life example): they should be able to break off together into a new state (or be absorbed into a similarly composed neighbor), but right now the decision about whether a state can break apart is based only on its own size.

A small state highlighted on a world with a bunch of different states.

This screenshot highlights the state of Ridhef, in which after 50 years of history, its founding Rid people still constitute the majority, at 61% of the population. They speak three dialects of their original Ridchiz language (languages branch into dialects when their speaking populations are cut off from one another).

The Ungyech are a sizeable minority of 17% (their original state was probably conquered), and while many speak one of the Ridchiz dialects, others speak Ugea (not sure if that is their original language, as languages are currently named by adding a suffix to the nationality name and "Ugea" seems pretty far from "Ungyech").

Also significant are the Thithe and Wid people, at 10% and 9% of the population respectively. Thithes speak two different Ridchiz dialects as well as five dialects of E'pez (again, not sure where that came from, does not seem etymologically related to "Thithe"). Wids mostly speak three dialects of their original Widmi language, and some speak Ridchiz.

There are three more small minority nationalities, whose populations probably migrated rather than being conquered: the Se speaking their original Sebezh, Echash speaking Ngiegem and Ethe speaking Neqe, though only the Se don't have a majority speaking Ridchiz.


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Making History

The next phase of the planet simulation involves the history of people on a smaller scale. First, every terrestrial hex tile is subdivided by two levels, from its prehistorical status,

Sphere of coarse hexes shaded according to population levels

to a view with national boundaries along finer boundaries (two "steps" finer, roughly 120km apart, versus the coarser tiles separated by about 365km):

Sphere of finer hexes, with distinct nations colored like a map

The next step is populating each tile with flora and fauna, based on the local climate (lighter tiles support more species):

Sphere with yellower tiles over more temperate regions

Nations are created by picking random capital tiles probabilistically based on the tile's characteristics (climate, whether its population is agricultural or not), then assigning other tiles to a capital based on proximity modified by local concerns (mainly terrain features, like what Martin O'Leary describes here).

Each nation gets its own language, currently just a word for each species within its bounds; they evolve through sound changes and borrowing words from other languages (through trade or conquest). There's a separate mode to play with languages:

Interface with tools for applying sound changes to languages

As time advances (also on a smaller scale, 25 years or a single human generation, per tick), nations trade with neighbors when they can benefit mutually, merge together when one has the strength and reason to take over another, and split up when they get too big. Languages borrow words for species as they encounter them (through trade or expansion).

Here's the same world from before, 450 years later:

Planet with one large nation and many small ones

The yellow highlighted area shows one huge nation that's selected, with part of its language visible in the detail panel on the bottom. Dark green tiles are boundaries between nations with trade relationships and dark red ones represent unresolved conflicts.

Code here.