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Hello folks, and welcome to the first entry in the development diary for Crusader Kings II!

I am Henrik Fåhraeus, project lead on this sequel to the original Crusader Kings (on which I worked as co-designer.) Crusader Kings was a game quite different from our other franchises, in that the focus was on the powerful people of the era rather than on countries. You played a ruler, got married, had kids and watched them grow up to stab you in the back. As such, Crusader Kings was a bit of a role-playing game, while still retaining the strategy game elements of our other titles. Personally, I loved the combination, and, judging by the clamor for a sequel, it appears many others did as well. We are still proud of Crusader Kings, but time waits for no man, and the game is getting on in years...

As it happens, Crusader Kings II is coming along nicely, and, starting with this one, you should be seeing monthly CKII development diaries coming your way (on the first Thursday of the month). With Crusader Kings II, we are not trying to reinvent the wheel. Rather, we want to build on the strengths of the original game and fully realize its potential. That is not to say that Crusader Kings II will be the same game with new graphics, but it should feel instantly familiar to CK players.

What makes CK unique among our games is its character system and its RPG-like elements. The role of the player is clear since there is a ruler, a character, to identify with. The player is the king, and it's good to be the king! In Crusader Kings II, we aim to really hone in on the importance of characters - their personalities, interests and interactions - and to tone down the relevance of "countries". The sum total of the Prestige your successive rulers have gathered throughout the game determines your final score; not the size of your realm at game end. Of course, a major source of Prestige is the power of your family, your Dynasty. In fact, die without an heir from your dynasty and it's time to INSERT COIN.

The core gameplay, then, revolves around increasing the power of your dynasty and ensuring that you always have a legal heir with strong enough support. The death of your current ruler is the moment of truth: who will support the legal heir? Have you even managed to ensure one? Will anyone contest the succession? Unlike Crusader Kings, where your vassals would declare war on you simply because they disliked you (regardless, even, of their chance of success), in Crusader Kings II they are much more likely to bide their time and cause trouble during a succession crisis. The key is to choose the best Succession Law... For example, Gavelkind is almost guaranteed to be safe from succession crises. On the other hand, Gavelkind will divide your titles equally among your sons, splintering the realm and potentially decreasing your power.

I mentioned toning down the concept of countries. Here are some highlights: there is no Infamy/Badboy. Neither do characters have "loyalty", and neither is there a persistent relations value between countries. CKII is all about the characters, their opinions of each other, and their clash of interests. Therefore, we have merged the aforementioned concepts into a single opinion value between -100 and 100. I.e. what one character feels about another character... and why. The value is a sum of modifiers, like "Friend of Father's: +5", "Granted a Duchy: +30", "Betrayed Alliance: -20", etc.

Of course, characters will have traits, genetics and neat portraits like in Crusader Kings and EU:Rome. If you want to breed a dynasty of redheaded Harkonnen look-alikes, go ahead (with my blessing). Oh, and characters will age visibly; I shall leave you with a screenshot demonstrating the effect!

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Next month: Barons - why Vladimir hated Leto
 

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Count of Reval

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I copy this post from Dev Diary 6 (Events) here to continue a discussion on new portraits under this thematic thread...

yeah now I see they portraits are different....I dont like the 3d look :( not at all :(


edit: they look like The Sims: Medieval

1st disappointment for me so far....

Although I've been a proponent of era-authentic painting-like portraits (in half-face or semi-profile view), I think that this changed look actually suits with the new 3D terrain map which dominates the screen much better than previous "hand-drawn" portraits. There seems to be less contradiction in style between those two important visual components of the game - map and portraits - now. If the chosen path is realism (reference to map), then there has to be some coherence to maintained. In particular portraits I like the believable physiognomy and fine facial expressions (and we have heard there will be more details, nuances and variation).

newck2portraits.jpg
 

RedRooster81

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I copy this post from Dev Diary 6 (Events) here to continue a discussion on new portraits under this thematic thread...

Although I've been a proponent of era-authentic painting-like portraits (in half-face or semi-profile view), I think that this changed look actually suits with the new 3D terrain map which dominates the screen much better than previous "hand-drawn" portraits. There seems to be less contradiction in style between those two important visual components of the game - map and portraits - now. If the chosen path is realism (reference to map), then there has to be some coherence to maintained. In particular portraits I like the believable physiognomy and fine facial expressions (and we have heard there will be more details, nuances and variation).

newck2portraits.jpg

I agree. In my initial response to DD6, I noticed the changes in facial expressions, which I guessed was tied to events. (Royal birth make me happy, brother claiming throne make me sad.) And I also agree on the overall 3D approach: consistency is a good thing one way or another. (will there be a face modding tool like FaceGen that was used for Mount & Blade and TES: Oblivion?) Keep up the good work.
 

Serkanner

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Of course, characters will have traits, genetics and neat portraits like in Crusader Kings and EU:Rome. If you want to breed a dynasty of redheaded Harkonnen look-alikes, go ahead (with my blessing). Oh, and characters will age visibly; I shall leave you with a screenshot demonstrating the effect!

Next month: Barons - why Vladimir hated Leto

Cool ... Another Dune fan! I am a huge fan of the books. If you like them as much as I do, send me a message and I send you a link to the largest Dune forum ( mind you the real Dune, not the crap Frank's heir has published ).

On-topic. Really looking forward to the game. It promises to be a great one and I am sure I will spend many hours "building" my own dynasties.
 

unmerged(67401)

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Question: could you supply is with some more information about the
character portraits? I'm assuming that you are still making progress om those?
I'm saying this because in the 12 minute wargaming video à lot of tje portraits lome pretty similar to me? I personally would love itnif THE faces are quit distinced, even of it would make it à bit less realistic. I got really attached to the big nose, large jaws and my fat girls in my CK1 families.
 

Captain Gars

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How many different portaits will there be? Will we often see familiar faces on other nobles or is there a lot of variation?

There are quite a lot of variations. Even if two characters share the basic look of the face, there are still hair, beard, moustache, scars, age, clothes etc to differentiate them. See more in the dev diary on portraits:

http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/showthread.php?530197-Crusader-Kings-II-Dev-Diary-7-Character-Portraits-and-Modding
 

Had a dad

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sigh
 
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