Hello, and welcome to the 29th issue of the development diary. This week, I was going talk to you about the little details that make the game so much easier and fun to play.
First of all we have the outliner. The outliner made its first appearance in EU3, and has been an invaluable tool for our games since then. It gives you quick overview of details, and also allows a quick selection mechanism. In Hearts of Iron, it lists all your land, naval and air units, as well as all current bombings and battles. The units in each theatre can be browsed like in a file explorer in windows for easy access.
Second on our list, is the indication and details on counters where they may be heading. Small red arrows indicate attacks, while green arrows indicate normal movement.
If you select a moving unit, you will see the movement arrows coloured depending on what type of movement it has. A normal movement is a green arrow, while a red arrow indicates an attack. A retreat is a grey arrow, while a strategic redeployment is a cyan arrow.
Sometimes as a developer you do not see the forest for all the trees. One great suggestion by the beta tester Luka, was to show combat progress on the map, where the battles are actually fought. So I went ‘DOH’, why did not I think of that, and told podcat to code it. Here’s how it looks, with red blocks indicating where you are defending, and green blocks indicating where you are attacking. The numbers indicate your progress of either losing or winning the battle.
One thing that has been in all our games since Victoria Revolutions, is the concept of Alerts. In HoI3 they exist as well, with some good, and some bad. Good ones are coloured green, and bad ones are coloured red. Tooltips give you the information about what they are indicating, and clicking of them takes you immediately to a relevant interface. Clicking this one in this screenshot lets you toggle through the units that have a poor supply status.
Sometimes messages are good, sometimes messages are too much, and sometimes you only want a small hint on what happened. This is where the “Show on Map” option comes in handy, where lots of messages can be depicted as a small animated text on the map instead.
Have you ever cursed the slider interfaces in Hearts of Iron? With the new “need” buttons you can always just click it to get the slider at the position for what is required. Of course, if you lack enough IC for all your needs, you still have to manually adapt your slider.
Hearts of Iron 3 also lets you easily track how well a faction is doing, and who is the closest to victory. These progress bars are visible in the diplomacy screen, and lets you see how close you are to victory or defeat.
One thing I personally really like in this game, is the details you can get from messages. Here is one example of how the messages looks when you are being attacked by hostile forces.
There is plenty more of nice things in the interface for this game, but this is enough for today.