Welcome to the second development diary for Europa Universalis 4: El Dorado. Today we’ll only be talking about a single feature, but it’s probably the single biggest feature we’ve added to EU4 since launch: The Nation Designer.


As the name implies, the Nation Designer allows players with the El Dorado expansion to create their own, custom-designed nation to play instead of picking one of the historical nations. The Nation Designer is available for both Single-Player and Multi-Player, and can be used at any start date as long as you are starting a new game.

To make a custom nation, you simply click the new ‘Custom Nation’ button during country selection. This will prompt you to pick a capital province for your custom nation: Choose carefully, as the capital province cannot be changed without cancelling your custom nation entirely! You can start anywhere on the map that isn’t water or wasteland.

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Once you have chosen your capital, you will be taken to the Nation Designer interface. From here you can freely add or remove provinces from your new nation, though each point of base tax and base manpower deducts from your 200 point allowance. What does 200 points buy you? A country somewhere between Hungary and Austria in strength in 1444 - a low-end major power. You can’t build France with 200 points, but how many big blue blobs do we need?

This allowance can be changed in the settings (more on that later). If you exceed your points allowance, you will be unable to finalize your custom nation (and thus start the game).

But if EU4 has emphasized anything it’s that there is more to a nation than the land it occupies. You can further customize your nation’s Appearance, Government and Ideas. This is done through the menu on the left-hand side of the screen.

Appearance
The appearance tab is where you configure the name, map color and flag of your nation. A variety of patterns and emblems are available, with the colors taken from the flags of historical nations in the game to keep them stylistically similar. The name and flag are purely aesthetic and do not cost any points from your allowance.

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Government
The government tab is where you configure your rulers and how your state is governed. Here you can set the name, dynasty, gender, age and skills of your ruler (and heir if you’re a monarchy), with point costs depending on age and skill so that a 20-year old 6/6/6 will be more expensive than a 60-year old with the same skills, but a 20-year old 0/0/0 actually gives you a decent chunk points back to spend on other things. (Then you can send him off to die in a war or something, I guess.)

In addition to tweaking your rulers you can also set your culture, religion, government, graphical style and technology group. These are taken by default from your starting position, so that if you start your custom nation in England you will start English Catholic with Western tech and graphics. Culture, Religion and graphical style are free of points costs, while certain, more advanced Governments will have a cost. The cost for Technology Group depends on your location - picking Western tech in England costs you nothing, while doing the same in North America is very expensive.

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Ideas
The ideas tab is where you configure your custom idea set by picking from over 90 different Administrative, Diplomatic and Military modifiers and setting the level of each. Modifier levels range from 1 to 4, with some modifiers being limited to level 1 or 2 - you can’t start with 4 colonists, for example. Your custom ideas set always consists of two tradition modifiers, seven idea modifiers, and one ambitions modifier.

The first level of most modifiers is free, with an exponentially increasing cost for higher levels, and steep penalties for having more than 50% of your total modifier levels come from a single type - you can’t be all Military unless you’re willing to give up the higher level bonuses. Overall, a strong set of ideas will be quite costly and will likely mean you have to start with a small nation.

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Finalizing your Custom Nation
When you’re done setting up the nation of your dreams, you simply hit the green checkmark to finalize your nation and exit the Nation Designer interface. At this point you will be back in the lobby and can start the game if you’re ready to play.

If you realize you forgot something, you can also go back and edit your nation, or create another custom nation somewhere else on the map up to a limit of 32 custom nations in the same game. Just because you created a nation doesn’t mean you have to play it - you can set yourself up with a whole bunch of custom AI rivals if you so desire.


Settings
In addition to the nation designer itself, El Dorado also comes with a bunch of new settings for those who want an even more customized start:

Custom Setup Difficulty
This setting allows you to set the number of points available to all players when making a Custom Nation, ranging from 50 (Very Hard) to 800 (Very Easy). The numbers can also be changed through modding.

Custom Setup Nations
This allows you to change the overall setup of the map in the following ways:
Normal Setup: The map is populated by historical nations, and Custom Nations are available.
Historical Setup: The map is populated by historical nations, and Custom Nations are disabled.
Custom Setup: The map is empty asides from player-designed Custom Nations, and all nations start with a colonist.
Random Setup: The map is empty asides from player-designed Custom Nations in the lobby, but once play is started it is populated with randomly generated states that use the historical tags and names.

Custom Setup Provinces
This allows you to change the base tax and manpower of all provinces in the following ways:
Normal Values: All provinces have their historical tax and manpower values.
Random Values: All provinces have randomized tax and manpower values, weighted by factors such as terrain and climate. Total tax and manpower in the entire world will be the same as the historical provinces.
Flat Values: All provinces have the exact same tax and manpower (4 and 3 respectively).

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Client States & Revolutions
As a free bonus, we’ve tweaked the Client State interface to use the new flags from the Nation Designer, replacing the single-color single-icon flags from Art of War.

We’ve also made use of this system in the Revolution mechanics by having each nation generate a dynamic tricolor based on their national colors that will be used as their flag if they become the Revolutionary Target. No more French tricolor for everyone!

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That's all for today - join us next Thursday for yet another development diary that will be all about the Americas and Liberty.

+ Here are all videos about the Nation Designer:
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqRhPbyFDQWjpJjylLqRQFNbC_vxoORU1

Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado expansion - Nation Designer Highlights

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WX3XGI4BFes

EU4: El Dorado - Nation Designer Livestream - Part 1 - Devs play the beta:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrwHCojtB8o

EU4: El Dorado - Nation Designer Livestream - Part 2 - Devs play the beta:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMUO1ohXZAY

EU4: El Dorado - Nation Designer Livestream - Part 3 - Devs play the beta:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIMLSUjzIp8

EU4: El Dorado - Nation Designer Livestream - Part 4 - Devs play the beta:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgnxapM4WAI

EU4: El Dorado - Nation Designer Livestream - Part 5 - Devs play the beta

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-xqEjSUrEs
 

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Koivin

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Wiz now that I caught you with your pants down, will it ever be possible to modify provinces yourself (modifiers or changing values)?
 
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TheDecider

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Good stream, will multiply replay-ability and the sandbox nature even more. Long live Hochmeister Poppo!

On the stream it was expensive to start as Western in NA, but if you placed your capital in Europe first and you second province in the lower tech area this could be circumvented?
Also what happens to Center of Trade, Estuaries and unique province modifiers ( Dalaskogen ) in the Custom and Flat mapmodes?

Looking forward to this... I will need to clear my schedule for the Spring ;)

I'm sure you already have a backlog of future development of this, in stream mentioned tentatively double bonus per slot (like Austria) and naming them. This can go far this feature...
 
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CzokletMuss

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Glorious!
 

xyloz

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Good stream, will multiply replay-ability and the sandbox nature even more!

On the stream it was expensive to start as Western in NA, but if you placed your capital in Europe first and you second province in the lower tech area this could be circumvented?

It looked like there was a limit to the range between provinces, which would prevent that.
 

klingonadmiral

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So can my revolutionary germany finally fly schwarz rot gold (even if vertically striped instead of horizontally)? I'd love to see some more example revolutionary flags.
 

Slym

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I realized I should have asked this on the stream but didn't think of it until just now, but here it is:

Does it cost more to have a western tech nation in America if you're using the options that either remove the historical nations from the map or the one that fills them in randomly?
 

Hakuromatsu

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Any new ideas being introduced?
 

FreeSoc

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The features in this dev diary alone make the DLC a guaranteed purchase for me. Lovely to hear about dynamic tricolours!
 

LordNeidhart

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Client States & Revolutions
As a free bonus, we’ve tweaked the Client State interface to use the new flags from the Nation Designer, replacing the single-color single-icon flags from Art of War.

We’ve also made use of this system in the Revolution mechanics by having each nation generate a dynamic tricolor based on their national colors that will be used as their flag if they become the Revolutionary Target. No more French tricolor for everyone!

Ohhhhh, this is excellent, I like this.
I must admit, I was more hyped to the idea of a nation designer than I actually am by the fact that we're actually getting one. I don't know why, I just feel like it doesn't work as well as a ruler designer in CK2 where the historical countries are fixed and you're just changing one individual for another and the historical divergence starts from there. But considering EU's nationwide focus instead of being character-centric, already starting the game with an entire nation built from scrap seems like it'd take the beauty away from the entire thing overall.

Still though, even if I raise an eyebrow at this feature I like the way everything is coming along and am excited to hear more about it, especially the whole gold fleets system!

One thing I'd like to criticize though, is the whole point system idea; I fear that it's just not worth the trouble trying to balance the entire thing when instead time and effort could be spent in a host of various other minor features; I understand that maybe you guys feel weary of having a free-for-all system considering that custom nations will also be eligible for ironman and thus achievements [I believe], but in my experience with CK2 the point system was more something of a weak and arbitrary hurdle that got in the way than anything else. If nothing else there should at least be a button that toggles the designer between a "recommended" mode where the points are in place to represent what Paradox things is a reasonable balance system in order to create an enjoyable experience and a "free mode" where players can do as they choose with it.