HoI4 Dev Diary - Modding Changes

Hello, and welcome back to another Dev Diary for No Step back and 1.11 Barbarossa. Today we will be pulling back the veil a bit and show you how modders can affect and use the new features coming in 1.11.

For those of you who do not get unreasonably excited by hearing about new script commands and changes to databases, the long and short of it is this: We made some fundamental changes to the way the game handles some things, which will probably require your favorite mods to spend some time updating. On the flip side, those changes also allow for some exciting possibilities down the line. If you came here hoping for a release date, we must ask you for just a little more patience. We promise the announcement is very close - but not today.

Characters

Probably the biggest change is in how we handle people on the backend (or ponies, for that matter - we do not discriminate). In the current live version, the game has no real concept of a person as a distinct thing. It only knows about country leaders, military leaders, political and military advisors, and operatives. Cases where a country leader could also be a general had to be handled manually, leading to lots of exciting bugs when the country leader was removed but the general was forgotten about and other such cases.

We have overhauled that side of the game from the ground up with the introduction of characters. This should dramatically reduce the amount of potential zombie generals shambling around, which I am sure the non-zombie population will greatly appreciate.

Characters are defined in the common/character folder, and their definitions look like this:

Screenshot_4.png


Every character is defined as a container for different roles they can fulfill, like General (corps_commander), Advisor, country leader etc. Due to technical concerns, Operatives remain their own thing. On the character level itself, things like name and gender are handled. This also means that character names can now be localised and you can refer to a character by ID instead of by name (this helps a lot with character names that have non-english characters in them - turns out this broke some triggers and effects).

Screenshot_5.png


This also means that if a character is removed from play - say, through a purge - they are automatically removed from all roles that they could have, which makes such systems a lot easier to do script-side. It also means that if we wanted to allow Zhukov to become a country leader, we could simply add a country leader role for him in the character file, like this:


Screenshot_6.png

Or we could also add the role later on, via focus, event, decision... like we do here with Beriya:


Screenshot_7.png

That means there is a lot less confusion and duplication of effort necessary when putting a character into a new role, since stuff like portraits, name etc. are already handled. A broken portrait only needs to be fixed in one place instead of five etc.

Once defined, characters are recruited in the country history file in order to be added to the game. As you can see in the first screenshot, you can use visible triggers for unit leaders to ensure they are not shown if you don’t want them to be.

Characters that can potentially become country leaders are made into country leaders using the promote_character effect, like so:

Screenshot_8.png


This is a clear departure from the practice in the live version of the game, where you would create a new country leader in that effect. The old script with create_country_leader and other such effects should still be working, but obviously you don’t get any of the advantages of the unified character system.

So let’s talk about some more things you can do with it!

You can set and check character flags for nefarious purposes:

Screenshot_9.png


You can change the traits of advisors without having to make a whole new advisor:


Screenshot_10.png

You can check if a character is a certain type of character:

Screenshot_11.png


You can save the character as a variable to refer to them later, such as spamming debug messages in the console!


Screenshot_12.png

Tank Designer

Next, let’s talk a bit about how the tank designer works on the backend. It shares a lot of concepts with the ship designer, such as modules and module slots. It does, however, work a little differently in some other, important aspects.

While the system pretends that there are only a handful of chassis (light, medium, heavy, super-heavy, amphibious, modern), this is not technically true. Instead, the system maintains a whole host of other, dynamically created chassis. This allows us to make sure that tank designs with the tank destroyer role actually go into tank destroyer battalions etc.

However, these dynamic chassis are still generated from the base chassis, so any changes to them will carry over.

The roles are enabled and disabled on individual modules:

Screenshot_13.png



Screenshot_14.png

For the unlock of new module categories, you can then use this on a module to unlock that category:

Screenshot_15.png


Railways

Railways function a little differently from other buildings. While they are technically province buildings like forts, they are in reality closer to a building that connects two provinces. A railway line is effectively a series of two-province connections, and the lowest one in the chain determines the level of the railroad connection between two supply hubs.

To make it easier to change and maintain the historical railway setup, we have added an option to draw railways into the nudger tool, which you can access by using the nudge command in the console.
Screenshot_16.png


The railway setup is in the supply menu in the nudger, and you can easily add new railway lines to the existing setup in this way. It took me about a week and a half to do the entire 1936 setup, including tracking down reference maps (with a lot of help from some of our testers).

If you want to add railways through script, you have the build_railway effect. It gives you a lot of options, with the most basic one being to lay out the path one province at a time:

Screenshot_17.png


This is obviously a little cumbersome for longer railways, especially if you don’t really care about the exact path. For that, you have the option to define a start and an end province:

Screenshot_18.png


The game will then automatically generate a path from one end to the other using advanced neural network-based self-learning algorithms that use blockchain (read: I have no idea how it works but this sounds impressive).

If finding the province is too much work, or if you want to be somewhat dynamic, you can even use start and end states (also note that you can specify what level of connection should be built):

Screenshot_19.png


Note that you can’t mix these, so you can’t define a starting province and a target state for example.

There are also corresponding triggers like can_build_railway and has_railway_connection:

Screenshot_20.png


The first checks if a railway can be built between two locations, while the other checks if one such connection already exists.

Finally, there is has_railway_level, which checks if the specified state has a railway line in it with the specified level:

Screenshot_21.png

Miscellaneous new effects, triggers, modifiers

In addition to the things described above, we have added a number of useful things that some of you might find useful:

  • Building_cost_factor: a new modifier that affects the construction cost of buildings. This takes the buildings from the 00_buildings file, so it should work with mods that add more buildings.
  • Core_state scope list, allowing you to run effects and triggers on a country’s core states:
Screenshot_22.png


  • Add_equipment_to_stockpile effect can now take a variant name to ensure that you add the right kind of equipment.
That’s all for today, I hope you enjoyed these little insights and we are all excited about what crazy things you will do with the new tools at your disposal.
 
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Before 1.10.8 we used steam argument "-hands_off", which automatically started the game at speed 5 as PAR (in vanilla). 1.10.8 broke it - the game just doesn't start with this argument. Here is the report created earlier. Here is a description from hoi4 wiki:
  • -hands_off: starts a human_ai game as URG, enabling ai_view, speed 4, and various other settings
We actively used it to run AFK games to gather game data, logs and profiler files - it required fewer actions (exactly 1 - to launch the game) than using 'human_ai' console command (launch the game - pick the country - start the game - open console - enter command - unpause the game). Thanks in advance!
Ah gotcha, I misunderstood a bit. I just tried it on our development build and its working (but not in 1.10.8 for me) so hopefully its fixed when barbarossa drops
 
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There are about 800 states in the game, and using any_state excessively already causes measurable slowdown. There are 17000 provinces.
I was thinking more along the lines of eliminating the need for providing an explicit province ID when adding buildings via effects. Some function that would return an integer (or store it in a variable) from a set of state provinces, if that makes things any lighter on the performance (or any sense at all :D)
 
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What are the prospects of eventually placing characters on the map at a division HQ or on a task force flag ship to create a chance of capture?

Modder question: Will it eventually be possible to apply character traits to tank or ship modules?
 
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Hello, and welcome back to another Dev Diary for No Step back and 1.11 Barbarossa. Today we will be pulling back the veil a bit and show you how modders can affect and use the new features coming in 1.11.

For those of you who do not get unreasonably excited by hearing about new script commands and changes to databases, the long and short of it is this: We made some fundamental changes to the way the game handles some things, which will probably require your favorite mods to spend some time updating. On the flip side, those changes also allow for some exciting possibilities down the line. If you came here hoping for a release date, we must ask you for just a little more patience. We promise the announcement is very close - but not today.

Characters

Probably the biggest change is in how we handle people on the backend (or ponies, for that matter - we do not discriminate). In the current live version, the game has no real concept of a person as a distinct thing. It only knows about country leaders, military leaders, political and military advisors, and operatives. Cases where a country leader could also be a general had to be handled manually, leading to lots of exciting bugs when the country leader was removed but the general was forgotten about and other such cases.

We have overhauled that side of the game from the ground up with the introduction of characters. This should dramatically reduce the amount of potential zombie generals shambling around, which I am sure the non-zombie population will greatly appreciate.

Characters are defined in the common/character folder, and their definitions look like this:

View attachment 766436

Every character is defined as a container for different roles they can fulfill, like General (corps_commander), Advisor, country leader etc. Due to technical concerns, Operatives remain their own thing. On the character level itself, things like name and gender are handled. This also means that character names can now be localised and you can refer to a character by ID instead of by name (this helps a lot with character names that have non-english characters in them - turns out this broke some triggers and effects).

View attachment 766437

This also means that if a character is removed from play - say, through a purge - they are automatically removed from all roles that they could have, which makes such systems a lot easier to do script-side. It also means that if we wanted to allow Zhukov to become a country leader, we could simply add a country leader role for him in the character file, like this:


View attachment 766438
Or we could also add the role later on, via focus, event, decision... like we do here with Beriya:


View attachment 766439
That means there is a lot less confusion and duplication of effort necessary when putting a character into a new role, since stuff like portraits, name etc. are already handled. A broken portrait only needs to be fixed in one place instead of five etc.

Once defined, characters are recruited in the country history file in order to be added to the game. As you can see in the first screenshot, you can use visible triggers for unit leaders to ensure they are not shown if you don’t want them to be.

Characters that can potentially become country leaders are made into country leaders using the promote_character effect, like so:

View attachment 766440

This is a clear departure from the practice in the live version of the game, where you would create a new country leader in that effect. The old script with create_country_leader and other such effects should still be working, but obviously you don’t get any of the advantages of the unified character system.

So let’s talk about some more things you can do with it!

You can set and check character flags for nefarious purposes:

View attachment 766441

You can change the traits of advisors without having to make a whole new advisor:


View attachment 766442
You can check if a character is a certain type of character:

View attachment 766443

You can save the character as a variable to refer to them later, such as spamming debug messages in the console!


View attachment 766444
Tank Designer

Next, let’s talk a bit about how the tank designer works on the backend. It shares a lot of concepts with the ship designer, such as modules and module slots. It does, however, work a little differently in some other, important aspects.

While the system pretends that there are only a handful of chassis (light, medium, heavy, super-heavy, amphibious, modern), this is not technically true. Instead, the system maintains a whole host of other, dynamically created chassis. This allows us to make sure that tank designs with the tank destroyer role actually go into tank destroyer battalions etc.

However, these dynamic chassis are still generated from the base chassis, so any changes to them will carry over.

The roles are enabled and disabled on individual modules:

View attachment 766445


View attachment 766446
For the unlock of new module categories, you can then use this on a module to unlock that category:

View attachment 766447

Railways

Railways function a little differently from other buildings. While they are technically province buildings like forts, they are in reality closer to a building that connects two provinces. A railway line is effectively a series of two-province connections, and the lowest one in the chain determines the level of the railroad connection between two supply hubs.

To make it easier to change and maintain the historical railway setup, we have added an option to draw railways into the nudger tool, which you can access by using the nudge command in the console.
View attachment 766451


The railway setup is in the supply menu in the nudger, and you can easily add new railway lines to the existing setup in this way. It took me about a week and a half to do the entire 1936 setup, including tracking down reference maps (with a lot of help from some of our testers).

If you want to add railways through script, you have the build_railway effect. It gives you a lot of options, with the most basic one being to lay out the path one province at a time:

View attachment 766452

This is obviously a little cumbersome for longer railways, especially if you don’t really care about the exact path. For that, you have the option to define a start and an end province:

View attachment 766453

The game will then automatically generate a path from one end to the other using advanced neural network-based self-learning algorithms that use blockchain (read: I have no idea how it works but this sounds impressive).

If finding the province is too much work, or if you want to be somewhat dynamic, you can even use start and end states (also note that you can specify what level of connection should be built):

View attachment 766454

Note that you can’t mix these, so you can’t define a starting province and a target state for example.

There are also corresponding triggers like can_build_railway and has_railway_connection:

View attachment 766455

The first checks if a railway can be built between two locations, while the other checks if one such connection already exists.

Finally, there is has_railway_level, which checks if the specified state has a railway line in it with the specified level:

View attachment 766456
Miscellaneous new effects, triggers, modifiers

In addition to the things described above, we have added a number of useful things that some of you might find useful:

  • Building_cost_factor: a new modifier that affects the construction cost of buildings. This takes the buildings from the 00_buildings file, so it should work with mods that add more buildings.
  • Core_state scope list, allowing you to run effects and triggers on a country’s core states:
View attachment 766458

  • Add_equipment_to_stockpile effect can now take a variant name to ensure that you add the right kind of equipment.
That’s all for today, I hope you enjoyed these little insights and we are all excited about what crazy things you will do with the new tools at your disposal.
I've got a question: can a character have more than one portrait of the same type? Some mods have country leaders that change their portrait (or their biography, by the way), for example, Speer in TNO.
 

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Thank you for what you did to the Characters! Some much potential modding there!
 
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We Have New DLC About Barbarossa but We Have No Still New Dev Diary About Germany. Funny...

The reason why I hit the green button
1634772136053.png

is because there is a certain logic to the statement.

Granted, the new DLC is about the USSR (and not Germany). But I think the OP has a tacit point.

Each successive DLC has introduced more resources and capabilities into the game, especially for the nations featured in the new DLC. I suspect that the USSR will get boosted in Not One Step Back.

But as the OP suggested, legacy nations (such as Germany) will not have that same boost.

I'm concerned that the USSR will have more capability than the legacy Germany.

  • Will Barbarossa be a simple affair for a beefed up USSR?
  • Will legacy Germany fold like a wet taco in the face of an invigorated New USSR?

I trust that the game design rules will ensure a consistency of game play for both newly refurbished nations (USSR) and legacy nations (Germany).

We'll see if the OP's concern is borne out in the upcoming DLC. Looking forward to it! I appreciate the work that the Paradox team has put into this upcoming release.
 
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Granted, the new DLC is about the USSR (and not Germany). But I think the OP has a tacit point.

Each successive DLC has introduced more resources and capabilities into the game, especially for the nations featured in the new DLC. I suspect that the USSR will get boosted in Not One Step Back.

But as the OP suggested, legacy nations (such as Germany) will not have that same boost.
And welcome to my conspiracy theory.

I have long suspected that HOI4 was completed years ago, even before its release. From this original version the conspirators created the released version 1.0 where every nation was nerfed except Germany. They also took out the ship, tank, and plane designer, the railroads, wonder weapons, and the Antarctic weather stations. When the final DLC comes out and everything is perfectly balanced, Germany will not need an update. It was always where it was supposed to be, patiently waiting for the other nations to reclaim their original powers, one DLC at a time.

Ingenious.
 
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Probably the biggest change is in how we handle people on the backend (or ponies, for that matter - we do not discriminate).

Are we just gonna pretend Archangel didnt just use the P word
 
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You can absolutely specify start provinces and end provinces in script. Start and end states are primarily for content designers who just want a railway to go from "somewhere over here" to "somewhere over there".

View attachment 766516
Yes, I understand there are two different functions, I just meant - what technical restriction is there for not having one function do both things?
I gather that state-to-state is a very edge case anyway so it doesn't matter
 

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May I please ask that is it possible to let two countries get the same generals by the same code?
For example, using the code "SOV_georgy_zhukov" from this diary for two different countries and then they can both have this character, does it work? If not then what should I do? Can I delete the code of "legacy_id = 410"?
The most important is that, "Characters are defined in the common/character folder", so is it still possible to add new generals by events, focus and decisions whiout writing the specific country tag? In other words, creating new generals by events and decisions.
Some mods are used to add new generals for any countries which the player is controling, it's impossible to specificly write that which tag it is...
I'm the developer of Maid Corps, I really hope to know it...
You can still transfer leaders that have been created elsewhere to a different country.
What are the prospects of eventually placing characters on the map at a division HQ or on a task force flag ship to create a chance of capture?

Modder question: Will it eventually be possible to apply character traits to tank or ship modules?
Extremely low chance of that happening.
 
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Amartus

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Hi there

There is a "mic_to_overlord_factor" and a "cic_to_overlord_factor" - will this expansion be introducing a "dockyard_to_overlord_factor"?

Many thanks and best regards,
Graham
 
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Axe99

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Cheers for the DD Archangel, and the extra info C0RAX and Podcat :cool: Much excitement! While I'm not actively modding at the moment, I plan to dip my toe back in after NSB/Barbarossa drops and these new changes are both very exciting, and make me thankful I hadn't dipped my toe back in yet, lol (as I have plans to add a bunch more naval leaders). The way characters are handled is super-cool, and will allow for a lot more characters to be modded in, in a much more interesting way, and will make managing the turnover of leaders much better as well - many thanks to all involved (and railway and tank modding also look cool) :)

For those of you who do not get unreasonably excited by hearing about new script commands and changes to databases

Point of order - there should be no such thing!

Add_equipment_to_stockpile effect can now take a variant name to ensure that you add the right kind of equipment.

Woo! Many thanks and great work :)

You can save the character as a variable to refer to them later, such as spamming debug messages in the console!

Hahahaha, love it! More seriously, this is also very cool :cool:

The theme of this week's naval-themed pic for the DD is easy - it's got to be characters (ie, admirals). But which one? Here's Carlo Bergamini, the fleet commander of the Regia Marina on 9 Sep 1943, when they found out on very short notice that they were changing sides. Bergamini had been working hard to instill a spirit of sacrifice into the fleet, knowing it might be called upon to take on the allies in a situation where the odds looked very bad, and suddenly learning that instead of fighting them he was to sail to Malta was something of a shock, and he was initially reluctant. He settled down though, and departed with the core of the Italian fleet, and was sadly killed when the battleship Roma, on which he was embarked, was hit by two German radio-controlled-bombs ("Fritz-X") while travelling in the strait between Corsica and Sardinia.


1634810586904.png
 
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Balesir

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You can still transfer leaders that have been created elsewhere to a different country.
Is that just with events, decisions, etc., or is there a transfer request action anywhere in general play, like the "Request Forces" from puppets and "Expeditionary Forces" from allies, etc.? And any options to volunteer leaders?
 
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GPounda

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Does this mean Generals can now be captured/killed instead of being invincible?
 
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