Domed city concept art

Procedural cities refers to full-scale cities that are made with procedural generation. These will probably be domed cities or have shields to protect against threats. A planet population could be billions of people. This is a highly anticipated feature.

On 1st March 2016, David Braben said: "There are very big challenges once you start talking about planets with populations that are measured in billions. You would expect cities and things like that. But I think futuristic cities is just thinking about their life cycle. They're likely to be protected by domes anyway. Just because if you think of the cycle of settling a planet. Chances are either life would be very threatening to you or there would be poisonous things in the atmosphere. So we might want to start off living in a dome and people might feel safer that way. There's lots of ways we can look at it, but the scale of things is always a challenge."[1]

Some important points:[2]

Faction Civilization city patterns art

  • Sheer scale, big challenges with planets with populations measured in billions. City cycle suggests they'll be domed, to deal with initial threats.
  • Juxtaposition of scales, large ships, to smaller, to people. Challenges to balance gameplay. Can't just have someone nuking the site from orbit etc, so need mechanics that prevent that. Domes or shields could deal with that.
  • Question of whether future societies would 'despoil' planets, or would they make hotels be just tiny huts, or hidden and unobtrusive. Tourism planets in particular may be like that.
  • Frontier has a rough idea of the resources on planets driving different economies, e.g. what materials are being extracted. Braben said agriculture economies may be hunting small cute animals on the surface etc.

The Guardians lived in domed cities as well: The war raged for many years and eventually destroyed the Guardians’ habitats, forcing them to retreat into ‘sacred’ domes protected by powerful shields. Eventually even the domes were destroyed, or their shields failed, and ultimately the population died out.[3]

The major factions will have distinct city patterns that can be viewed from space. Some human cities may not need domes such as shown in the megalopolis concept art.

Elite Dangerous Human City Concept Art

Human Megalopolis concept art

A megalopolis is defined as a chain of roughly adjacent metropolitan areas. Some examples on Earth: the Taiheiyō Belt in Japan has 81 million people in 2016. The Northeast megalopolis in the USA has 52 million people.[4]


On December 14, 2012, David Braben said “What I want to see down on the planet is interesting things, cityscapes, even animals, live trees, being a big game hunter. All of the things that we’ve been very, very excited about for a long time, we want to be able to realize. The amount of work required to create those things is so huge we want to do it properly."[5]


  1. Lave Radio Episode 100


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