Well time for instalment number 2 of the developer diary process. In order to inject some much needed controversy we decided to go for something everyone can disagree about, the map.
The map it is one of the most important parts of a Paradox game. Therefore we do put a lot of thought into the map. We do this for two reasons. Firstly you are going to spend a lot of time staring at it so it was to feel right and secondly it is the canvas on which the game is played so it has a game play function to fulfil as well.
Well you’ve seen a mock up of the map and we also have a handy map screenshot from the real game (see bottom of the developer diary) to see what we were thinking. As you can see the map is far brighter than the Hearts of Iron 3 map. World War II was a pretty bleak era with terrible global warfare taking death and destruction across the globe, but we felt that this look did not fit the 19th century. The 19th century was a more optimistic era where the belief in the unlimited potential of scientific and moral progress was taken for granted. To reflect this we went for a much brighter look for the map.
Then we are left with the ever so simple task of how do we divide up the world into provinces. When we first began this process we started from the angle that, well, we already have a perfectly good map for Hearts of Iron 3. We felt that if we moved a few provinces from places that were important in the Hearts of Iron 3 era to places that were important in the Victoria era we would have a perfectly serviceable game map.
However this idea was ditched even before the map began to be created. Basically, the Hearts of Iron 3 map was built for war; for armies moving around, for sweeping encirclements and massed battles, but that is not Victoria. Victoria is about the rise of new nations and the break up of old empires, painting Africa your colour, of empires, nationalism and imperialism. Essentially, the Hearts of Iron 3 map just did not fit the bill. So we had to go back to square one.
We are back to a blank map of the world with no provinces at all; we need province boundaries for political rather than military purposes. We felt that to capture the essence of the Victoria era we need to capture the shifts in country borders very specifically. We needed the countries to look good and be able to shift in an historical manner. Just where could we find a map that looked like that?
Fortunately for us there was a perfectly good map buried in the scenario and modifications forum for Victoria, going under the title CLIO. So we sought permission to use the map and the people agreed (we felt it was a bit rude to just take it), and began from there. Here was a perfectly good map of the Victoria era, with the added benefit that the community made it so no one is going to need to complain about the province boundaries.
Here is a screenshot of Scandinavia. I sense a certain amount of bias to that region amongst my co-workers. However that aside we had one clear objective with provinces in Victoria 2, that the terrain type should be clear. So we have tried to make the provinces a single terrain texture for clarity. Now those of you with a keen eye for detail will notice a shortage of rivers and province names on the map, this because we haven’t added those yet.