Dev Diary #13 - Arsenal of Democracy Beta AAR - 3.December 2009

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x260bm

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For this weeks development diary I am going to be posting the first AAR for Arsenal of Democracy. The purpose of this AAR is to highlight some of the new features of Arsenal of Democracy and give a brief overview of how a campaign in Arsenal of Democracy is different from one in Hearts of Iron 2. It will also act as a guide for your first game. I have selected the Soviet Union for this AAR because it is large enough to show most of the new features, it is involved in a couple of small wars before the huge battle with Germany, and there is enough leeway to use different strategies. The game was played on normal difficulty and furious AI aggressiveness. The scenario used was the 1936 scenario. Updates will probably occur everyday day until the game is released.

The first thing I am going to show you is the changes in how the production tab is setup.
The production tab probably has the largest amount of visible changes from Armageddon to Arsenal of Democracy. Below are two screenshots taken on January 2nd 1936. The first is from Hearts of Iron 2 Armageddon and the second is from Arsenal of Democracy.

screenshot1qp.png


screenshot2t.png


The most obvious change is that all of the trade information has moved to a separate tab and has been replaced with two new sets of sliders: Conversions and Expenses. The Conversions sliders allow you to decide how much energy you want to convert to oil and how much oil you want to convert to rare materials. Converting is no longer done automatically. You need to build special buildings for the conversions to take place. For example, every Synthetic Oil Plant you build can produce 5 oil a day subject to modifiers. Converting is no longer a function of how much IC you have. It is how many plants you have and your resource stockpile. Since the Soviet Union does not have any plants at the start of the game I can not convert resources until I build some.

Expenses are the other new category of sliders. Expenses are items you spend money on everyday. This has fundamentally changed the purpose of the consumer goods slider. Consumer goods no longer affects dissent. Its sole purpose now is to produce money. If you have a huge stockpile of cash there is no reason to spend any IC on consumer goods as you can draw from your stockpile just like supplies. This has made wasting IC on consumer goods impossible. Civil expenses has become like consumer goods were before. If you spend less than required dissent goes up. If you spend more it goes down. It should be noted that if you have no dissent it automatically spends the minimum amount if the slider is half way or more. This means you can max out the slider at all times and not have to worry about wasting IC if you have no dissent.

I will just briefly describe the rest of the expense sliders. Military salaries is the cost of paying your soldiers. The espionage slider is for automatic spy generation. Spies are sent to different countries depending on your priorities. Research funding is the cost of keeping your tech teams operating at 100% efficiency. Nuclear site funding is for atomic bomb production.

The other thing that is vastly different is resource production. You will notice that resource production is much lower in Arsenal of Democracy than Armageddon. The Soviet Union produces an incredible 550 less energy in Arsenal of Democracy. The old strategy of building nothing but IC for a few years no longer works in Arsenal of Democracy. You simply will not have the resources to support it.

In my production queue I start out with two submarines and a destroyer. Obviously I do not want to produce the level 2 ships because they will be completely obsolete by the time I will need them. When I push the + button next to them, they are upgraded to level 3 ships. There is a cost to doing this though. My completion percentage is reduced by half and a retooling time of 45 days is added to the expected completion date. I still do not want the level 3 ships so I am going to move them to the bottom of the production line. That way I can upgrade the class as much as I want and only have 45 days of tooling instead of the 90 days for starting a new line. It is important to never close a production line on something you are going to be building again later. The other thing I am going to do is to remove the checkmarks from the abandon production line when finished boxes. This ensures that the lines stay open if I accidentally finish all of the units in them.

Moving to the diplomacy tab, I check to see if there are any ministers that need to be changed. Since there are none, I decide to move my slider 1 step towards hawk lobby. This does not increase dissent the first time you move it. I have the option of moving my sliders again because I have dissent of less than 25.00, but I decide not to because moving it now would increase my dissent by 18.00. I am also going to leave my national ideas alone for now because changing them would increase my dissent by 6.00.

screenshot4v.png


Now I am going to move to the technology tab and select my research projects. My current base IC is 154 which allows me to have 8 research projections. I will have to get my base IC up to 180 to have the full 10 research slots. Getting as many research slots as possible is important because research takes a lot longer in Arsenal of Democracy. Even at 10 slots your tech levels will be slightly behind where they are in Armageddon. Since base IC is reduced by bombing/dissent, all I have to do to get my 9th tech slot is to reduce my starting dissent.

screenshot3h.png


Now that I have my research funding costs nailed down I can finish setting my sliders. First, I put a little bit of cash into espionage to keep foreign spies under control. The game will automatically send spies to your country and sweep for enemy spies if you spend some cash on espionage. The next thing I will do is to max out my civil expenses in order to start working on my 15.00 dissent. This will double the amount of money I am spending on civil expenses until I get rid of my dissent. Finally I put some IC into reinforcements as I don’t want some of my low strength division to disappear do to attrition.

After setting my consumer goods and supply sliders, I have around 63 IC to spend on building things. Normally I would use this to build IC, but with my current resource situation I can not afford to do this. In Arsenal of Democracy, resource extraction is based on the infrastructure level of the province. So increasing your infrastructure level increases resource output. The Soviet Union does not have great infrastructure at the start of the game. This is why I have so much less resources than I would have in Armageddon. To correct this I am going to be building infrastructure in my high resource provinces. High infrastructure also greatly increases IC so I am going to be building it in the provinces that receive IC in the lend-lease events. Since infrastructure takes a relatively long time to build so I am going to be using the new feature called rapid production. This speeds up build times by 50%. Infrastructure now has a cap of 200 so using rapid production speeds up the process by about 5 years in some areas. In my opinion, spending the 2 extra IC is worth it with infrastructure.

screenshot5r.png


This concludes the first part of this AAR. Check back tomorrow for the next update.
 

Zer00

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Wow, I'm really looking forward to seeing more of this AAR. Seeing all these features and how they're implemented into an actual game is positively exciting.

Now that dissent is a much more prominent thing, or so it would seem, how fast does it go down if you've got full civil expenses? I for one can see myself tempted to get an extra slider move or two if the dissent payoff is manageable.
 

Oorlog

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Really nice :) I have a question, when you loose IC to support a tech team is the research completely lost?
 

nuclearbob

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Very cool! What effect does neglecting your military salaries slider have?
 
Last edited:

HisMajestyBOB

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Looks very good. We've seen a lot of these new things in the Developers Diaries, but now we can see how it all comes together. Nice work!
 

Mario78

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First of all, let me say that I am very impressed and that I really look forward to buying and playing AoD asap.
I have only one question about gfx : are the graphics you are showing in the AAR the final ones or are they - hopefully - just temporary place-holders ?
And, if they are the final ones ( I hope not...) will there be any compatible graphic pack available soon?
Thanks.Mario
 
Last edited:

x260bm

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Really nice :) I have a question, when you loose IC to support a tech team is the research completely lost?

No it keeps going until the research is finished. You just can’t start a new project when it is done.
 

x260bm

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First of all, let me say that I am very impressed and that I really look forward to buying and playing AoD asap.
I have only one question about gfx : are the graphics you are showing in the AAR the final ones or are - hopefully - they just temporary place-holders ?
And, if they are the final ones ( I hope not...) will there be any compatible graphic pack available soon?
Thanks.Mario

Sorry, don't know the answer to that.
 

unmerged(12990)

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I like the way you can speed up production. It makes all the sense in the world for countries like the USSR or Germany.
 

x260bm

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Wow, I'm really looking forward to seeing more of this AAR. Seeing all these features and how they're implemented into an actual game is positively exciting.

Now that dissent is a much more prominent thing, or so it would seem, how fast does it go down if you've got full civil expenses? I for one can see myself tempted to get an extra slider move or two if the dissent payoff is manageable.

It currently reduces it by .06 a day. This may change before release.
 

Raph

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Very cool, I'm really excited about AoD!
 

MR2

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Great job in putting this together. I really like the compare and contrast explanation. Looking forward to the updates.
 

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simply amazing, I can't wait to play this!
 

unmerged(172138)

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Amaizing please continue, how much the game will cost, from where to buy it and what will be the download size?
 

nuclearbob

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Amaizing please continue, how much the game will cost, from where to buy it and what will be the download size?

IIRC $20 US, GamersGate.com (and probably all other major download portals including Steam), ~600 MB.