I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few weeks generating maps and overall there’s a lot more similarity between maps under the new system than I’d like.
For one thing, the rate at which the terrain level changes is remarkably standard. There’s a pretty clear “each z-level up must also be a z-level wide, plus some roughening” calculation going on. The result is that while everything is nicely build-on-able, most of the terrain gets pretty homogenous; finding a dramatic cliffside to dig into or a high spire mountaintop to set up a tower on is extremely difficult. The terrain is all just sortof generic. There’s always a gradual transition between terrain types. The problem is that (for me at least) the interesting fortress sites are ones with sharp contrasts – high cliffs, deep valleys, mountain spires.
The second is that I’ve noticed that there tends to be a surprising degree of similarity between generated maps, often even ones with wildly different seeds. Unfortunately it’s harder for me to illustrate this because i didn’t screenshot all the maps I generated, but generate a hundred or so maps and you’ll notice repeating patterns.
I’d suggest two changes. First, let terrain level make larger jumps; give us cliffs! It doesn’t have to happen all the time, but it should happen a couple times on any given map, just to make things interesting.
Second, I’ve noticed that there’s some degree of "roughening’ that happens between each block. There needs to be a lot more of that – three or four times more. Not only will that make maps more varied and interesting, it will also make it more difficult to exploit z-levels (half the time goblins can’t path to my base).
I realize there may be technical and other gameplay considerations that make these suggestions impracticable, and for some of this we may want to wait on later changes to be implemented (archers, rivers) but I thought I’d add my voice to the mix. Thanks!