I very much like where this discussion is going because the massive scale of Anvil and Karthwasten has had me worried for the past months.
It's not really about the workload, though. I'm a huge fan of Morrowind, since it is so true to its own laws. Cities and towns are cleverly crafted, with the layout making players believe that Gnisis or Sadrith Mora are actually significant landmarks, whereas in reality they'd pass for tiny hamlets at best. It may indeed have been merely lack of time and manpower for the last three games - somehow city design in The Elder Scrolls works, though, and it fascinates me. (If you love Morrowind and you can't quite put your finger on why that is, think about if you'd enjoy Morrowind as much if Caldera had 50 interiors and a shitload of NPCs to go along with.)
I'd love to see more of that in P:C and ShotN, to be honest. The goal should not be to create enourmous ecosystems with hundreds of interiors just for the sake of doing it. I get that we may need to think a tad bigger when working on Cyrodiil than TR does when they match Vvardenfell, but I don't want to see these "huge urban centers" (@Saint_Jiub), to be honest; we can do just as well, even though we may be imposing restrictions.
I really can't express how relieved I am to see suggestions about reducing Karthwasten's size on the ShotN forums, I feel in a similarly positive way when I look at Sutch concept art by roerich. It's perfect. It has that Morrowind feel with very few houses forming a city that's fun to explore for players. We need to be clever when we create cities. Level design is art to me.
Overall, for P:C and (even more so) SHotN, we should strive for creating cities that never really exceed the size of Baan Malur. Iirc, it has about 80 interiors and I fit it right into four cells. I'd see this as a general guideline for bigger cities even in Cyrodiil, 4 cells and 80 interiors max. The Imperial City (@Sasquatch) is an obvious exception. The IC is required to be a masterpiece in level design if we want our world to make sense - the island is huge and filling it all with buildings will not work. If you want to see what happens if you build a mostly flat city with lots of interiors and, unfortunately, not really a lot of brainstorming and conceptualising, look at very early versions of Almalexia that had to be mostly axed recently.
I notice I repeat a lot of what Yeti said before, but that is mostly because I really do agree. I remember telling everyone that Anvil should be 80 interiors max. If it doesn't currently exceed that limit, I see no reason to make adjustments. Btw, I am not a hypocrite for building Stirk and bringing this up now; Stirk has 40-45 interiors and that's only half the size of Baan Malur. It is a middle-sized city, I think it feels great and works well with whatever else I said.
(You may remember me saying different things about city size in the past though; you would be perfectly right. My opinion has changed)
I also want to address some other things that have been said here.
Just keep doing what you are doing. You are doing great.
Not always... actually, I'd like to see more planning going on especially when a city is going to be built. If you guys don't know, there was very neat concept art and a proper overview drawing of Stirk that I worked with, the city layout follows that very closely. We should've done the same thing for Anvil and Karthwasten, it would've saved us a lot of trouble.
Please don't regard this as me being hostile to Praedator, I too am a huge fan of his work, but sometimes a level designer is going to have to bite the bullet and work within a certain range of possiblities and restrictions. Creativity is good, but getting carried away is not.
Why reduce cities? In Oblivion and Skyrim cyties are tiny because xbox and playstation.
I'm not entirely sure where you got that from. In fact, GameBryo puts more limitation on us than Morrowind's successors had due to consoles. I've seen many people complaining about framerate issues in Stirk, and I've toned down clutter density immensely (as you will see when Stirk v3 hits). You just can't build such big cities, and frankly, we shouldn't. I'd like to see clever level design as opposed to enormous urban areas.
Settlements are three times too large
Much of this city size argument just seems like pissing contest. TR has huge cities so ours must be larger! or something.
Interesting... you make a lot of good points, but then again, you post nonsense like this. Why not sit down and play "spot the mistake" based on your sentence.
How about we say that an exterior modder has to deliver a plugin with a complete shell+northmarker for each house he/she places in the gameworld?
Interesting idea, I'm not opposed to it. Some things though:
- If we make exterior house models for most architecture sets as we've done in Stirk, why not include a set of shell templates in PC_data (or a seperate plugin) for an interior modder to work from? Find your shell, copy it into your own workspace and work from there. Really, for Stirk it would've been 5 or 6 shells for almost all the buildings we had.
- Most interior modders would probably lose connection to the exterior, I am afraid. I like the idea that you sort of have to look at the exterior in detail before you build your interior because it gives you an idea of what the surroundings look like. If there's a table full of silverware in the exterior backyard of your claim and you don't even have to look at that, you may end up using redware all over the place. Consistency is important, and lack thereof can lead to player confusion.
- I'd like to see something like this though, even if it's just some shell templates for modders to download and adjust freely. Combine that with these clutter templates and designing interiors should be much more enjoyable and faster.