You might have already seen this screen from the last Dev Diary, but I will go through it again quickly. Here we give you the player a choice on what you would like to do in your game. You have the tutorial, three different objectives and the Sandbox. If you missed the last Dev Diary and would like to know more about the Tutorial (click here). Then you have the three Objectives to choose from, we’ll go into those in a bit. Finally, we have a sandbox for those of you who want a completely unguided campaign.
What are Objectives
There are multiple goals we are trying to achieve with objectives. First and foremost we wanted to present the player with some suggested accomplishments to try and achieve before the end of the game. How the player chooses to complete the tasks in the end is up to them.
Another one of our goals is to make an extra challenge for players who have dipped their toes into the tutorial and now want to try and take that knowledge and see if they can carry themselves without the extra help from the tutorial.
Also we see it as a way of giving the player an idea of what to play. Say that you are in that, “I wanna play (insert Paradox Title)” mood, but you don't know what you want to do or who to play as. Now we have a mission for you to complete either as a specific nation or a random one.
One thing I would like to make clear to you is, these are not an extra set of tutorials. These are their own challenges available as an additional option. There are no “How” and “Why” tutorial lessons that guide you towards completing the tasks. It is entirely up to you to solve and complete the task at hand.
Player Agency and Direction
Much like the Journal system walks a tightrope between historical accuracy and the player's ability to create their own alt-history, the Objectives system has to balance agency and direction. Too much direction and you feel railroaded or puppeteered, too little direction and the goal just becomes noise competing for your attention instead of something to strive towards.
In early playtests we found that many players were intrigued by all the systems and how they fit together but didn't know why to perform certain actions in the game, because nobody was pushing them in a particular direction. This was particularly true for strategy players new to Victoria, while those with prior experience could more easily formulate goals for their campaigns before they started: "I want to liberalize Tsarist Russia" or "I want to form Poland as Krakow" or "I want to make Qing the globally dominant economic force".
The Objectives system helps with this in two ways:
- By having the player tell the game what kind of game they want to play, the game can suggest suitable countries and provide relevant challenges
- By having the player decide on a campaign goal ahead of time, they have at least an initial direction for their first steps
Objective pacing and modding
As mentioned briefly in the Tutorial dev diary, the Objective system includes a pacing mechanism that hands out appropriate Journal Entries to players at the appropriate time. This system is invisible during play, but can be utilized by modders to make their own Objectives - or even more tightly scripted long-term event chains or campaigns, if desired.
Each Objective has a series of subgoals, with trigger conditions that can include previous subgoals and effects that happen when they trigger. This means subgoals can become eligible to fire only when a certain subgoal is marked complete, or for as long as a different subgoal isn't complete, or when any of a named set of subgoals are complete. The typical effect when a subgoal triggers is to grant a Journal Entry, but it can also perform any number of other things - setting up preconditions, firing notifications, changing AI parameters, and so on.
Combined with the capabilities of Journal Entries, this technically lets an enterprising modder make entire branching narratives that can change based on the conditions of the player and the rest of the world when the subgoal was triggered. In practice we're much more open-ended in how we use it for the Objectives that will be in the game at launch, since we only use it to provide some player-selected direction for their campaign.
Each Objective will have its own recommended nations to play as that can be easier or more difficult to complete the Objective as. It is also entirely up to the player if you wish to play as one of these recommended nations or if you instead wish to select your own nation to play with objectives on. These countries are selected because they are interesting nations to pursue the stated objective with, and may have their own unique quirks to overcome or leverage as they progress through the challenges.
At game start, similar to tutorial, you will get a notification letting you know that you are playing a certain objective. After letting the game tick for a few days you will get your first task, simply complete the task and move on to the next one.
As stated earlier above, Objectives work like a chain of Journal Entries. Unlike the Tutorial however, there aren’t special triggers that are needed for them to fire after completing the previous entry. Most will appear immediately after you complete the previous Journal Entry.
These tasks are meant as a helping hand, you will need to complete them to get to the final Objective, but you will be free to complete the objectives any way you want. One of these objectives can be as simple as making sure that a good in your home market is not too expensive. Another could simply be a requirement to pass a certain law.
After completing the secondary objectives, you will receive your Final Objective. This objective, which is named after the full Objective, will take much more time and effort to complete. The tasks before were meant to help you along the way and prepare you for the final task. Upon completion of the Final Objective, you will receive an associated Achievement.
Economic Dominance Objective
For those of you who love pie charts or want to put your economics degree to the test, we have the Economic Dominance Objective. For this Objective we want to present the player with a host of tasks that relate to improving your economic power base, with the overall goal being to control a large part of the Global GDP within your market.
These flags are not all correct (yet)! The technical reason for this is that the game hasn't actually started yet, the dynamic flag system can't kick in and alter the flags appropriately for the start conditions, so it falls back on a default flag. We're looking into it
For all you map painters out there we have the Hegemony objective. In this objective you will aim to have a large portion of the global population within your, or your Subjects', borders. Subjugations and aggressive expansion may both be part of your strategy, but ensuring your population growth is on par with the rest of the world is also crucial.
Egalitarian Society Objective
If you aren't particularly into the big number go up or expansionist game, we have a Nation builder objective for you as well. In Egalitarian Society your task will be to make the most equal society you can. You will need to expand your institutions as well as passing more progressive laws to achieve your goal. Once you have established this equality of (legal) opportunity, the final challenge will be to also develop a very high average Standard of Living and education rate among all your Pops.
That's all from me today. As many of you know most of Paradox goes on vacation next month so there will be no Dev Diaries in July, but we will be back in August with more!