Hello everybody and welcome to our first development diary for Hearts of Iron 3.
It is two weeks since we showed our first alpha screenshot, and as you all know, we've been busy little bees here, working hard at implementing our designs since then. The focus the last weeks have been on the land combat algoritms, which we will talk about in a few weeks, and on politics and diplomacy.
Since everyone looks at the map quite a lot when they play our strategy games, I thought it would be a good idea to explain these philosophies in our first diary here. There are two aspects to the map philosophy, style and setup.
When it comes to style, our vision is to create a map that feels like a WW2 map, like it could be a map which upon a commander in the War would be looking at himself. We're going with an almost flat 2d-style, with pale-grey coloring scheme to give that special WW2 feel. I personally feel our artist have managed to move towards that goal rather nicely so far.
10,000 provinces, the Hearts of Iron 3 map has over 10,000 land provinces. To put this in perspective there were exactly 2608 total provinces in Hearts of Iron 2. We didnít do this just to add more; we could of added 100, 200 maybe even a 1,000 more provinces and went there you go Hearts of Iron 3 gives you more. In fact when came to set up the number of provinces we had no hard number in mind, 10,000 was just the result. However we knew we wanted a bigger map with more provinces and to do this we had to solve a number of technical problems. However we are rather pleased that we have managed to create a map that is 9 times bigger (the length and breadth have been increased by 3 times) without everyone having to go out and buy the very latest graphics cards. Weíve also achieved this without having to compromise on the modability of the map, for those of you who enjoyed modding or playing mods on the EU3 or Rome map, Hearts of Iron 3 will be able to offer you the same.
With that in mind you are probably asking why did we do it? Well the first reason is that we can give more provinces to areas that didnít have as many in Hearts of Iron 3. All continents have more provinces now, but we could add more to places that were not as favoured in Hearts of Iron 2. The Asian mainland is a big winner here, the Sino-Japanese war and the War in Burma now have a broader front in which people can plan and manoeuvre. Adding something to these wars.
What we did is to create three size groups of provinces, for ease we will call them small, medium and large. We aimed to make the provinces approximately all the same size inside these groups. This map is not about modelling various administrative regions inside countries but a place for fighting wars.
When it came to placing these provinces small provinces are usually found on coasts (like the east coast of America) and places were there were combat, Europe, large parts of China, South East Asia. The medium sized provinces then appear adjacent to the small provinces, and finally the large provinces are in places that are considered less important, large tracts of Siberia and the inland parts of the Sahara desert come under this category. Essentially the medium sized provinces act as transition provinces between large and small.
So to give you a sense of scale, the Burmese and Manchurian border have had their total number of province roughly tripled. While the Soviet Unionís 1936 border has seen its province total double (note I am not giving out hard numbers at the moment because the map is most definitely not set in stone and we will be seeking to continue to improve it all through development). This is something we really wanted, double the provinces means double the choices of where to attack and doubles the number of spots you have to think about defending. Giving players choices like this is always good; more choices like these means more strategic thought is required.
We also wanted to give combat a more blitzkrieg feeling. With more provinces there is more opportunities for you to carve out armoured breakthroughs and exploitation. Creating opportunities for encirclements or battles of manoeuvre were both sides. Mobile troops attack and counter attack. We are aiming to try and create a canvas were you can practice the operational art.
Here is an example of our philosophy, as we look at south of england.