Ok, let's see.
The building pointed at by the white arrow (which is on the larger side for an house) has an area of 276 px, and it is ~10px wide * ~27px long (the shape is not perfect of course, because pixel are discrete quantities).
The one with the black arrow is more typical and has an area of 188px
The one with the red arrow is smallish at 141 px.
There are others that are even much smaller, like 80px or so, but most are of within the average previously stated.
I think this thread has gone a bit crazy (in a good way). Perhaps you are both being a bit too literal about the number of people and the size of buildings. Estimating population in historic towns is UNBELIEVABLY difficult. There are so many factors that are unknown and unknowable.
Jalyha is right, extended families might live in the same house, but then again, people had a shorter life expectancy, so how many grandparents are actually going to be alive? People tended to have a lot of children (owing to the economics of medieval life and the lack of birth control) so families of five or more wouldn't be unusual; until, that is, you factor in infant mortality and child mortality rates (not too mention women's deaths in childbirth). Jalyha also mentioned servants. Few households in a village would have servants (the lord of the manor might be the only one); in a town, a few of the richer burghers would have household servants; in a large city, yet more. 5000 people is a medium-sized town, so should have a few families wealthy enough to have burghers--but how many? Then you need to factor in tennants. Many families would supplement their income by renting out a house/flat upstairs or in the backyard to another family. As the town grows larger, the demand for land increases, and food is usually easier to acquire. Thus, the larger a town, the more common subdivision of a plot becomes. Then there are also vagrants, travellers, and people with a high level of mobility.
And you are forgetting how crowded these cities could be: I read someone earlier suggesting about 20m^2 per person; this is extremely unlikely. A wealthy person might have that much space (if you pretend he/she doesn't have servants); a poor person would have perhaps 3-4m^2 to call his/her own. In some of the slums of the 19th century, a family of six would occupy a single room (and often it could be even more crowded).
Overall, I don't think it is a worthwhile task trying to calculate population (although, granted, it might be fun), and I suggest instead going with 'gut feeling.' My gut feeling about this town at the moment is that it is not 5000 people; I would be willing to estimate 3000, probably. To make this look like a town of 5000 (or larger) I think the number one thing you should do is make it look more crowded. Buildings in historic towns were not the detached housing we see in today's suburbia; they were built right up against one another.
I've added some diagrams that show a process common to European cities known as the burgage cycle. I would suggest that your town, at its current stage, should be starting to show signs of stage 2 or even stage 3 in its central areas (note, the diagrams also show how urban farmland diminishes over time). The burgage cycle also explains how towns get alleys and lanes which are so useful for novel-writers (the passages leading to houses behind are the lanes, in case it wasn't obvious). Try to ignore the messiness of the diagrams, and the lack of scale (really, those plots should be much longer or narrower)
Last edited by TheHoarseWhisperer; 02-10-2014 at 06:55 PM.
yep yep. I was getting that "it's not a town, it's a village" feeling, and trying to explain why. You stated it much clearer ^.^
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@TheHoarseWisperer: you are saying two things that are contradictory. On the one hand 20mq/person is too generous, on the other hand 5000 people is too many for this town. Well, if you use 20mq/person you actually get more than 5000 people, so...
In general, both Jalyha and others are assuming that this is a medieval european settlement. It is not. Most notably, it has not a strongly family-based social structure. If you want to imagine it as something historical, imagine it as an early Greek colony in the first period after its foundations. Families are sure important, but they are not necessarily the main structure according to which work and living is organized.
For sure most families would not have that many children/grandparents, but that does not matter since if a family is smaller that would just leave space available for another family to leave in the same building, thus the population number would not change. Again these are NOT necessarily single-family housing units. The reason why they are building dwellings that are larger than a single-family unit is that building many more smaller buildings is less efficient than building a smaller number of larger ones, and at this point as I said labour is still scarce (later on, they will still have to build larger, and taller, building because at that point space inside the city will come at a premium).
I get your feeling that the town is too "empty", but that is justified in-world; as I said they overbuilt the palisade relatively to the size of the town-village, as part of their strategy for material and symbolic dominance over the other settlements in the area (notice that they also wanted to enclose their harbors on both rivers, since having those is another relevant strategic advantage). If they had not done that, then probably you would have the houses clustered around a smaller area, and the fields outside the palisade, but they had, so you haven't.
@Jalyha, regarding pixels. For example, the building that you have at 153px in the lower half of the pic you posted actually covers an area of 232 pixels. The discrepancy is probably due to anti-aliasing, the mixing of the colors with the shadows and the ground, and possibly exacerbated by jpeg compression. As good as you can be at counting things, I still think the computer is likely to be better :-)
Last edited by feanaaro; 02-10-2014 at 07:34 PM.
I don't think that THW is saying isn't contradictory. You're making homes that (by the measurements you stated) are too large.
But you don't have enough buildings, close enough together, to feel "town" instead of "village".
I'm not assuming medieval, though that is the similar *time in developement* to the age you gave for your town. I'm most assuredly not assuming European.
Whatever your *social* structure, humans have the same basic *needs* and cities grow according to those needs. There's no 5000 population early greek "towns" that looked like this either.
However many families you have in a building, it isn't going to make it *look* or *feel* like a town. You simply need more buildings.
Even taking the counts where I said you could squeeze 5000 people in, that's still leaving you without buildings that would be required, in any society, to support that amount of life.
As for the pixels... if you are the only one who is ever going to use this map, you're right.
There WERE the right number of pixels, but any person can count those pixels and come up with the same number. Maybe it *was* the anti-aliasing and compression. I believe it probably was. But whatever number of pixels you used, originally, that's not what's there *now*.
And people need to be able to see/follow your scale when they have the map, without all this discussion, yes?
And no, the computer can't necessarily count better, especially when it's numbers a preschooler can add up, because *people* input those numbers into the computer. It has 153 pixels *now*. If you count the shadows, it's 178. There are not 232, however many you put in there to begin with :/
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This thing's still going? I salute your persistence.
Feanaaro, I accept all of your comments about my post. I certainly WAS assuming a medieval European town (because that is my expertise). If this were a Greek town, I cannot help you much. Your comment implies that you don't want to make historical comparisons; Elinore is not Greek, or Persian, or French or anything--it is not a part of the real world, and so real world comparisons are irrelevant (if this is your attitude, I like you very much).
Even better still, those things which seem wrong are explained in-world--I like you very very much.
That said, Jalyha is also right--no matter what historical counterpart (or none) you are using, people do still have needs that must be met. As far as I can tell, your town meets all of those needs.
Basically, this is just my long-winded way of saying, you are right.
EDIT (regarding the apparent contradiction in my post): 20mq/person is exceedingly generous. That is a matter of historical fact. No pre-modern town in history allowed that much space to its population (the amount afforded the rich balanced against the lack of space among the poor). When I made that comment, I was not paying any attention at all to the scale you have described (1pixel =1m, right?). I have no idea what the population would be when you combine the two factors--in-map scale and historical population densities....I suppose, thinking about it, the buildings you have are too large: in 16th C London, the average house would be about 3x3m with 2-3 storeys (in Ancient Greece, I have no idea). So the average building here should be 3x3 pixels, right?
Jalyha makes a good point--people do need to be able to assess scale more easily. Perhaps you should consider adding a scale bar, or a grid, or something to make it clearer.
Last edited by TheHoarseWhisperer; 02-10-2014 at 08:15 PM.
THW is right. You asked, so I answered, but I did lose track of the fact that this is *your* world, and, having heard all the commentary, if you are happy with it, I think it's fabulous.
I'm sure your players will be more open minded than I have been... most people are
Waiting for the next update! ~
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I think that the 3*3 tiny houses stemmed for the fact that society in those cities was strongly organized around families. I am not even sure that that was always the case in medieval-early modern cities, but I won't argue that since I don't have enough competence. I am pretty sure though that houses for poor people in Rome (usually but incorrectly called Insulae) were way bigger than 3*3. Again, if you don't have the assumption that only one family build and live in the dwelling, then making houses so tiny doesn't make sense.
This is the finished version of this stage. I forgot to add a scale but I will for future updates (if I remember!).
I added a few more buildings, and made most of them smaller than the previous average, so I hope Jalhya and TheHoarseWisperer will be at least marginally happier.
Since I was sick of painting farm plots, let's just assume that they go on for a while outside of the area here showed.