Terrain refers to the different types of tiles found on the map (a.k.a. the square). Each map is randomly generated and unique, containing different types of terrain in varying proportions and arrangements.

The primary terrain types are mountain, forest, and field for land tiles and (shallow) water and ocean for water tiles. Terrain type impacts which resources can be spawned and which buildings can be built. In addition, certain terrain types may hinder movement by requiring a technology for units to move to them and/or preventing units from moving through them altogether.

Each tribe has a unique set of spawn rates and unique aesthetics for terrain and resources. During the initial map generation, the land is distributed roughly equally between all tribes in the game.

Tribes that start with a technology allowing them to use a resource (namely Bardur, Imperius, Kickoo, Zebasi, and ∑∫ỹriȱŋ) are guaranteed to spawn with least two of those resources in the territory of their capital.

Spawning

Map size

There are five map sizes in Polytopia:

  • Tiny: 121 tiles, 11x11
  • Normal: 256 tiles, 16x16
  • Large: 324 tiles, 18x18
  • Huge: 400 tiles, 20x20
  • Massive: 900 tiles, 30x30

Map size changes based on the game mode. Perfection games use a normal map. In Domination, the map size changes depending on the number of opponents: Games with one opponent are on a tiny map, two opponents on a 196-tile (14x14) map, three opponents on a normal map, and four or more on a large map.

In multiplayer, map size is set by the host when creating a new game. Tiny maps support a maximum of nine players, while other maps support up to 15.

Water amount

  • Drylands: 0% water. Entirely land. (Kickoo and Aquarion terrain will include water tiles.)
  • Lakes: 30% water. A border of land bridges will always generate on the edges of the map. Every player is guaranteed to spawn with land connections to at least two villages.
  • Continents: 55% water. Most similar to pre-Moonrise maps. Every player is guaranteed to spawn with land connections to at least two villages.
  • Archipelago: 60% water. Misshapen and discontinuous landmasses. Almost every city is coastal.
  • Water World: 85% water. Small landmasses of one or two villages.

Spawn rates

The standard spawn rates for land tiles are listed in the table below. "Inner city" refers to tiles that are adjacent to a city or village, while "outer city" refers to those that are not.

Inner City Outer City
Field (Total) 46% 46%
Fruit 20% 6%
Crop 20% 6%
Empty Field 8% 34%
Forest (Total) 34% 34%
Animal 17% 6%
Empty Forest 17% 28%
Mountain (Total) 20% 20%
Metal 17% 3%
Empty Mountain 3% 17%

The standard spawn rate for fish is 50% among shallow water tiles. The spawn rate for whales is 33% among ocean tiles; this rate does not vary by tribe, unlike those of other resources.

All resources spawn only within two tiles of cities or villages. This fact can be used to locate villages and enemy cities.

Spawn rate modifiers by tribe

  1. 1.0 1.1 Reductions to the amount of water are found in the source code but are not translated into the world generation and do not impact water rates.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kickoo and Aquarion have 40% and 30%, respectively, of their tiles replaced with water after the initial map generation. This leads to discontinuities in land bridges on Lakes and water tiles in Drylands.
  3. Polaris is unique in that it has neither its own specific resource spawn rates nor any terrain allotted to it during world generation. Instead, other tribes in the game determine the land and resources, and Polaris simply freezes its territory in the same way as the Freeze Area unit ability. (When a Polaris city is captured, the city's terrain will be converted to the capturing tribe's terrain.) If all players play Polaris, Imperius land, which has the standard spawn rates for all resources, is used.
  4. Cymanti has spores in place of crop.

Spawning rules

Spawning rules can be used to predict the locations of ruins, villages, and cities.

  • Villages do not spawn on the edges of the map, and no more than one village will spawn in any 3x3 area. Resources spawn only within a two tile radius from villages.
  • Ruins do not spawn within a two-tile radius of a village or city[1] or next to another ruin.
  • Any water tile that shares an edge with a land tile is a shallow water tile. Other water tiles, including those diagonal from land tiles, are Ocean tiles.
  • Crop, metal, and whales are not visible until Organization (or Farming), Climbing, or Fishing are researched, respectively.
  • Bardur, Imperius, Kickoo, Zebasi, and ∑∫ỹriȱŋ are guaranteed to have at least two of the resources they can immediately use in their capital. Resources are force-spawned by replacing tiles with a tile containing the resource if the initial world generation does not provide at least two of the resources.
    • Fish in ocean and whales and ruins in shallow water may occasionally spawn due to force spawning, where a water tile is replaced by a resource tile, changing the "depth" of its surrounding tiles. Also, if forced spawning affects what was originally a mountain tile, it may continue to provide the increased sight radius despite no longer being a mountain.
  • Whales do not spawn next to a city or next to another whale.

List of terrain types

Image Name Resources Information Buildings
Clouds.png
Cloud N/A
  • Clouds cover all unexplored tiles. Players cannot see the terrain of any tile underneath a cloud, although ∑∫ỹriȱŋ can see ruins through clouds.
  • Clouds disappear when in the sight radius of a friendly unit.
  • Units cannot move onto cloud tiles until they have been explored.
N/A
Grass.png
Field with Fruit.png
Field with crop.png
Field Fruit, crop
  • This is the default terrain. Most buildings can only be built on field tiles.
  • Ruins can spawn on this terrain, although resources beneath a ruin will be hidden until the ruin is examined or destroyed.
  • The Grow Forest ability turns a field tile into a forest tile, but it will remove any resources present.
  • Crop is hidden until either Organization or Farming has been researched.
Farm (requires crop), Windmill, Forge, Sawmill, Sanctuary, Customs House, Ice Bank, Temple, monuments, roads
Imperius ground with forest.png
Imperius ground with forest with wild animal.png
Forest Wild animal
  • This terrain blocks movement. Land units cannot move through this terrain without stopping unless roads have been built.
  • Ruins can spawn on this terrain, although resources beneath a ruin will be hidden until the ruin is examined or destroyed.
  • The Clear Forest ability turns a forest tile into a field tile and provides a bonus of two stars, but it will remove any resources present.
  • The Burn Forest ability turns a forest tile into a field tile with crop, but it will remove any resources present.
  • Forest tiles provide a defence bonus once Archery has been researched.
Lumber Hut, Sanctuary, Forest Temple, roads
Imperius ground with mountain.png
Imperius ground with mountain and metal.png
Mountain Metal
  • Units cannot move onto mountain tiles until Climbing has been researched.
  • This terrain blocks movement. Land units can never move through this terrain without stopping.
  • Land units on this terrain have a sight radius of two tiles instead of one.
  • Ruins can spawn on this terrain, although resources beneath a ruin will be hidden until the ruin is examined or destroyed.
  • Mountain tiles provide a defence bonus once Meditation has been researched.

Mine (requires metal), Sanctuary, Mountain Temple

Shallow water-1.png
Shallow water with fish-0.png
Shallow water Fish
  • Shallow water tiles normally share one or more edges with land tiles.
  • Ruins normally cannot spawn on this terrain.
Port, Water Temple, monuments
Ocean.png
Ocean with whale.png
Ocean Whale
  • Ocean tiles share no edges with land tiles.
  • Ruins can spawn on this terrain, although resources beneath a ruin will be hidden until the ruin is examined or destroyed.
  • Units cannot move onto ocean tiles until Navigation (or Free Diving for Aquarion) has been researched.
  • Ocean tiles provide a defence bonus once Aquatism has been researched.
Water Temple
Ice-0.png
Ice Fish, whale
  • This terrain is unique in that it is an alternative form of another type of terrain (shallow water or ocean). Ice tiles retain any resources, buildings, or structures present when they change states.
  • This terrain's movement cost is halved for units with the skate skill. If Polarism has been researched, all units without the skate skill gain an extra move when moving onto ice for the first time that turn.
  • The Break Ice unit ability unfreezes all adjacent ice tiles.
Outpost, Ice Temple, monuments
Algae.png
Algae None (Alage is also a building)

References

  1. ZeBiggestPotato on Reddit
Game Mechanics
Buildings and Structures, Cities, City Connections, Combat, Game Modes, Movement, Player Relationships, Population, Ruins, Score, Stars, Technology, Terrain, Tribes, Units, Unit Abilities, Unit Skills, Villages
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