Since Decentraland’s initial white paper proposal, and up until our latest SDK, the dimensions of each individual LAND parcel have been set at 10 meters by 10 meters. With a total of 90,000 parcels in Genesis City, 100 square meter parcels would add up to 9 square kilometers.

Now that more and more people are creating complex structures, natural landscapes, and games on their LAND, many builders are beginning to notice that the size of individual LAND parcels might be too small, limiting their creativity and the potential of the SDK. Based on this feedback, a new Agora vote that suggests increasing the size of each LAND parcel to 16x16 will start.

Starting next week, a poll on Agora will allow the community to determine whether the current 10 meters by 10 meters dimension is good enough, or if the size should be increased to 16 meters by 16 meters.

We know this is a big deal, so let’s dig into the pros and cons. We’ve got a couple of different screenshots comparing each parcel size, and you can even hop into a live demo here!

Feel free to discuss the details of this post in our Agora Discord channel, here.

What are the benefits of increasing LAND size?

The first and most obvious benefit to increasing LAND size would be making it easier for single parcel owners to create realistically (and believably) habitable structures and buildings. We know that not everyone can have their own personal castle, but 100 square meter parcels is barely enough space to build a modest house - and what about that front yard, back garden, and garage?

By increasing LAND size, LAND holders with only one or few parcels would be far better equipped to make use of their virtual real estate - whether they want that two story house, or a space hanger for their rocket ship.

The second benefit to larger parcels is an improved aesthetic across the entire map. Imagine walking down the streets of Genesis City, with the style and content of your surroundings changing every twenty paces. It would be interesting, but it would also be visually distracting. Try out the demo! You’ll likely find that the smaller parcel feels cramped.

Finally, by increasing the size of each parcel, the number of parcels within your field of vision goes down. This means that there would be fewer parcels for the client to render at a time, resulting in an appealing boost in performance.

Side-by-side size comparison with current 10m x 10m parcel on the left, and 16m x 16m on the right.

Why should we keep LAND the way it is?

One of the biggest reasons for leaving LAND at its current size is the fact that this change could negatively impact content that’s already been created for Decentraland. If you already have some scenes built, increasing your parcel size will suddenly add a lot of empty space surrounding your content.

Second, by increasing parcel size, we would be slightly reducing the discoverability of different content - for the same reason listed above about improving visual and aesthetic consistency. By reducing the number of parcels you can see at once, you’ll have to walk further to see a wider variety of experiences.

Finally, larger and more expansive LAND would mean having to walk much longer in order to get from one side of Genesis City to the other.

Side-by-side size comparison with current 10m x 10m parcel on the left, and 16m x 16m on the right.

How else could this impact the Decentraland experience?

Would the height limitations also increase with an increase in area?

Yes. The building height constraints would increase in proportion with the area increase, according to the formula used to determine your building height limits.

Would larger parcels increase the triangle count limits or entity count per scene?

We’re always working to optimize Decentraland’s performance and your experience within the world given different file formats and scene requirements. This change wouldn’t necessarily impact those limits right away.

Would larger parcels increase the max view distance?

Not necessarily, right now the view distance for players is reduced by a layer of fog that we’ve intentionally added to reduce strains on performance. How much fog we use is determined based on performance requirements in the Decentraland Client. This may or may not change in the future, regardless of LAND size, based on performance requirements at scale.

Why 16 meters by 16 meters?

After running some tests and doing some thinking, we came to the conclusion that 16 meters by 16 meters would be a good increase in size for a couple reasons. First, 16x16 is divisible by 8, 4, and 2. This would make things easier for developers planning out the content of their scenes.

We feel that 16x16m sits at a sweet spot, increasing the value of LAND by giving parcel owners more flexibility while retaining the spatial scarcity that organizes and structures Decentraland.

Also, by bumping up to 16x16, we could gain 156 square meters! If we increased the size to 12 meters by 12 meters, we’d only gain 44 square meters.

Do you have more questions? Excited for the change? Concerned? Jump on over to our Agora discussion channel in Discord.