Tom said in the latest stream (question asked and answered at 10:26) (and I think at an earlier date more or less the same thing was expressed) that NPC village growth will probably be faked rather than simulated, since it would “feel the same to [the players]” (11:03). I appreciate the development team’s need to focus on core elements of gameplay and avoid big time sinks. However, I don’t think what Tom said would be true exactly; I think you would be able to tell the difference. And even if not, I take geeky pleasure in the knowledge that simulations are going on everywhere in the world.
I wanted to make this post to find out if there was anyone who felt the same who would be interested in modding the game such that this would no longer be faked, but would be true simulation of NPC villages, in case the development team does indeed go for the “faking it”-route? I would do it myself, but I doubt my programming skills in this respect.