Hearts of Iron II is a game that lends itself very well to modding, primarily through being rather easily able to make and alter events, scenarios and even graphics. Paradox did a great job with the pictures of hundreds, if not thousands of leaders, ministers, tech-teams and unit portraits. The community continues with the job, and we now have several contributions that raise the quality. Leaders can now come in colors, unit icons can convey the differences in units more thematically and backgrouns can instill the feel of a nation. The aim of this thread is to shine a light at the possibilities that are out there for enhancing the graphics, or rather artwork really, in HoI2.
(Click images to enlarge)
The Graphics I use
First things first
Get the Generic Mod Swap Utility. Put it into your HoI2 folder and run it once. It will create a folder named "mods". Inside that you can create additional folders (which will be the names of your mods) and put the different mods into order. Activating any mod with the utility will copy over all the files from the respective mods folder, and take a backup of the original data. Very usefull. Over to the mods then...
GIP or DMP?
There are two major distinct "complete overhaul" mods out there. The Graphical Improvement Project and Design Mod Project . Both of these will replace much of the default black-and-white photos of ministers, leaders, tech-teams and more. I personally prefer GIP (which uses real-life photos for everything) over DMP (which has drawings for tech-teams, combat events, unit pictures and etc, but real ones for leaders/ministers). DMP comes in many packages which also changes map-colors, unit icons and more. What I do is to only use the pictures of leaders and ministers from DMP (by downloading only the packs with those pictures and taking them out from gfx/interface/pics), and everything else from GIP. This gives me color photos of pretty much every leader of the major powers (where DMP has a more complete coverage), but also the IMO higher quality of GIP (but which has not gotten to as many leaders).
I have also started doing some colorizing myself (it`s actually quite easy I found out). I hope they can be included in GIP in the future, but until the next official release of GIP, I provide you with my addition as an add-on. This first release includes a couple of chinese leaders, and a few norwegian ones. Get it here: Kinseeks GIP add-on 0.2
Preview of some of my work:
Improving Map Colors
I didn`t really notice the slight shortcoming at first; but Atruejedi showed that by editing some palette settings or somesuch, the colors can be more vivid and pleasing to the eye. His Sexxicolors mod will do just that. But as much as I feel the Soviet Union has to be red, the US has to be blue. In Sexxicolors Atruejedi opted for the US to be green, which I didn`t fancy. So I changed it to blue. Get my edited version here.
Changing unit icons
It is possible for each division, flotilla and air unit in the game to have its own icon, varying between country and model. Modders out there have greatly added these icons; so now the icon of a chinese militia will differ from a us marine. I think there are two "packs" that stand out here Cpack's Icons and Scytth & Kristoff`s. Both are very high quality. They differ in that Cpack is portrayed from the side in 2d you could say, and describes just the unit while also adding a nice flag, while Scytth & Kristoff`s puts them in a dramatic setting. I personally use Cpacks, but a coin toss could easily convince me to use Scytth & Kristoff`s. I will also give honorable mention to Ostheims German Icons though. These, while sadly being limited only to the Germans, are of extremely high quality. They should go well with Scytth & Kristoff`s. So again; combining stuff is perfectly recommendable to do.
Cpack______________Scytth & Kristoff_____Ostheim