In this answer, I had to put some restriction: IGE modification only. For some reason my friend did not use worldbuilder.

My friend asked me on how to make settlers to not placed in a certain location at start and how to make some spot is favorable for start location.

My question would be:

The Question:

  1. in Civilization 5, how do computer pick initial units location in the map? What kind of landscapes do computer like to put initial units on it?
  2. how to make them avoids certain location?

1 Answer 1


The placement is pseudo-random. It picks a random location and then determines if it's viable. Viability is determined by tile type. The game then, based on your civ, looks for a tile in that area. The tile is called your 'starting bias'. It attempts to put you close (or far from in certain cases) as many of those tiles as possible.

For example, Greek has a starting bias of 'Coast'. So the game will start you basically as close to a cost as possible.

Byzantine, Greek, Korean, Japanese, Indonesian, Portugese, Venetian, English, Danish, Ottoman, Carthaginian, Spanish and Polynesians all have 'Coast' as their starting bias and will spawn close to water.

Arabian and Morroccan both have 'Desert' and will spawn you in the middle of a desert if possible.

Aztec and Brazillian both have 'Jungle'

Iroquiois and Celtic both have 'Forest'

Indian and Dutch have 'Grassland'

Russian and Sweedish have 'Tundra'

Mongolian, Polish, Shoshone all have 'Plains'

Austrian and Incan have 'Hill'

Zulu, Hunnic and Egyptian have 'Avoid Jungle'

Egyptian, Hunnic, and Siamese have 'Avoid Forest'

If you want to change them you can AT YOUR OWN RISK in this file

C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\sid meier's civilization v\assets\Gameplay\XML\Civilizations\CIV5Civilizations.xml

For expansions check

C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\sid meier's civilization\assests\DLC\DLC_xx\CIV5Civillization_CIVNAME.xml

When the game searches for a viable tile from its initial random location, it will seem to only check so far before giving up and then placing you on a different tile. I don't know how it decides second choice nor how far it looks before giving up. I have had it happen where a Civ was not near their starting bias because it didn't exist anywhere near. With multiple players, human or computer, this chance increases in some case......

  • As a side note, this I believe has been the same at least since civ 3 as I used to hack the game settings and configs all the time. That and I've seen the source code for civ 3 but civ 5 uses mostly the same mechanic.
    – ydobonebi
    Jul 26, 2015 at 19:10
  • And come to think of it, you can have a positive and negative bias, and I don't know what order it checks or how that would affect it.
    – ydobonebi
    Jul 26, 2015 at 19:12
  • Nice answer, after this long. I like details provided in this question. Will try it first, and if this works, I'll pick this as the best answer
    – heno72
    Jul 30, 2015 at 7:23
  • The files are xml, I don't recall the structure and I'm so used to xml I just take it for granted so I hope you can figure it out.
    – ydobonebi
    Jul 30, 2015 at 7:33

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