To build a new Nation
Its that time of the week when I have to write a dev diary again. This week its time for an old feature that has gotten a major overhaul, namely buildings and province decisions.
Buildings have always been part of the EU gameplay, as the game progress you build tax collectors and cathedrals to improve each of your provinces to give you things like more tax, improved stability and lower revolt risk. Later we added the province decisions where you used magistrates to improve your decisions further with things like population censuses, grain depots and monuments. What we ended up with was a collection of lots of cool things you could do with your country but we started to see to many of them where overlapping and quite a few of them were no brainier decisions to take and you found yourself clicking some of them way to often. The time had come for some consolidation.
So for Divine Wind, the first thing we did was to get rid of a lot of the province decisions and merge in their effects in the buildings system. Then we had some unemployed magistrates so we made it so that each building you build requires a magistrate. The good thing with this is that we get rid of the gamey tactic of minting furiously when you know that the workshop is coming up in a tech or two and then carpet your country in them within a day, now you have to manage your magistrates and prioritize.
Then we looked over all the effects of buildings and province decisions and tried to get rid of overlapping and useless effects. After this was done we ended up with 56 different buildings. It become clear that if we wanted to keep the interface and the clicking of buttons on a manageable level we needed to do further refinements.
We then divided the buildings into there types:
1.Regular buildings: These are buildings that you might want to build in just about every province. These are divided into categories for the 6 different technologies plus one category for forts. Each building in a category is a prerequisite for the next one, so you cant build a Shipyard if you don't have a dry dock for example. This 'leveling' system now reduces 42 different things to choose from, when you come into the province screen, down to choosing between 7 at a time. It also give a specialization feel to the system where some provinces become administrative centers and other become army building provinces. To reinforce this we made the last two levels extra juicy but also made them exclusive. Do you want to build a Conscription Center for extra manpower or do you want to build a Customs House to give your merchants 1% extra compete chance?
2.'One Per Country'. These are extra powerful buildings with both local and nationwide effects. The drawback is that you can just have one of each in your country at any given time. Some of these require a certain property of the province they are built in, like the Grain Depot that requires a certain resource or the March that can only be build in non core provinces, while buildings like the War College can be built anywhere.
3.Manifacturies. These are already rather expensive and specialized and the act of building one is a real decision so we felt that these fitted into our design philosophy so we kept them as they where.
Now, as some of you realize, even with this rationalization we where left with the problem of where to fit this into the interface and we realize that something had to give. Our sacrifice for this new system was the city view, which is now gone to give room for a new interface where you plan your province improvements. Another advantage of this is that its less work to add new buildings in the future since its much easier to redo the regular interface than to try to fit new buildings into the 3d city view.
So that's it for now, lets hope you enjoy this new feature that I personally think will have a really interesting effect on gameplay. I will now get back to work on the feature that I will tell you about next week.
Associate Producer and Project Lead on Europa Universalis III: Divine Wind