Developer Diary 3 – Design Philosophy

RedRalphWiggum

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Small point, but I really like the look of the small amount of the interface we can see in that screenshot. The (I dont know what you call it, but it sometimes features as a decorative part of furniture) to the right of the topbar looks really cool.
 

Temrek

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Historical events should be likely to happen, just not nessacerly trough "events".

Given how much more deep victoria is when it comes to modelling societies, it should be easier to model the historical reasons that where present that caused the war. If the AI is done right, it will declare war becouse of those reasons rather then the war happening just becouse.

I would say that "events" are really only needed to compensate for the lack of depth in modelling of the world. They can never truly replace great AI and handling of the processes and trends.
 

Rich Oliver

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I think its great that hard coded historical events are on the way out. I think we need to distinguish between allowing the game to follow alternative paths and things happening that were either totally impossible or extremely unlikely. The latter seems to be the problem in HOI3. I think you have to accept that if you want to play within a later period of history you need to start your game at a later starting point. So maybe you might want to start your HOI game on June 22 1941, your Vicky game in 1866, or your EU game in 1618.The play to event strategy, where the player used his / her knowledge of the event files to craft a long term strategy based on taking advantage of hard coded date specific date events, made for far less historical games not more.
 

Quarto

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While I'm glad to hear that there will be a bit more freedom in gameplay, I'd like to play the devil's advocate for an instant - are you sure this is really what 95% of Victoria's fanbase wants? ;) I mean, if I'm to judge from VIP, the fanbase of the original game seemed to get a huge kick out of a very, very, very hardcoded experience.

(...to this day, I recall uninstalling VIP in disgust after my excellent Peru game was suddenly ruined when, out of the blue, I was told my excellently-managed nation was in fact horribly mismanaged and had just gone bankrupt)

Of course, given Victoria's sales, I suppose you could have decided that the original game's hardcore fanbase is not a significant factor to consider - and that would be fair enough too ;).


But, I am curious about how far this freedom in the game will go. The thing I loved about EU2 was that it had a tendency to stay more or less historical - outside of the player's area of influence, things didn't depart too far from history. Later on, in Victoria and HOI2, this balance between freedom of play and history was upset, both of those games went too far in the direction of scripting (of course, that had its fun too - I always got a kick out of leading the USCA through the arbitrary "union dissolves" events and reaching success in spite of event-imposed hardships...). But then, in CK and EU3, the balance was tilted in the opposite direction - with virtually no historical events, the only historical thing about those games was the setting on the game's starting date. Afterwards, things just went crazy, and not in the "alternative history" sense, but in the "just plain ridiculous" sense - the celibate Llamas of Tibet inheriting China's empire through dynastic politics, and so on.

So... what I'm getting at, is this - as wonderful as it is to have a sandbox game, I really, really hope that you guys get a lot closer this time to getting the balance right. I'm intentionally avoiding using phrases like "I hope you go in the right direction" or "I hope you put in more effort", because watching - and playing - most of Paradox's games, I know this is more or less what you're trying to achieve. The experimentation in each game's design more than proves that you're aware of this issue and are actively looking to find that balance. It's a darned ambitious thing, trying to model the world so that comes even close to following history without just hardcoding it. So... uh, well, good luck - can't wait to play the game and seeing your progress on that count :).
 

Zelvik

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There might not be a historical crimean war event, but if Russia takes a decision to try to secure dominance over the Turkish Straits, and the British and French have a decision regarding whether to contest that Russian attempt by helping the Turks, the result is what happened in history, a war between Russia and the West over the territorial integrity of the Ottoman core lands.

It might happen a few years earlier, or a few years later than 1853, but so long as the general conditions exist that led to the historical Crimean War in the first place, then a reasonable approximation for in game play can result.

Then once the modders get a better understanding of the system used in V2, the potential will most likely exist for creating end-of-war scenarios and, if the conditions are right, the post-war geopolicial impact can then be modelled from there (things like Romanian unification movement of the late 1850s for example, could become viable if Russia is defeated in its attempt to secure hegemony in the Turkish Straits).

So long as we don't fetishize exact dates of things happening, the system of decisions as elaborated in HoI3 is actually quite capable at replication large macro-scale episodes such as the Crimean War without giving the human player the advantage of being able to prepare for it happening within a certain specific period of time, thus helping to level the playing field between player and AI.

I am very satisfied with the first part of your statement, and that such a system can work has been established by several mods. But the question remains how the vanilla game will work out. Will it be enjoyable for the part of the paradox community that like to see historical resemblence in their games? I realy like the road paradox went with the Clausewitz engine, but what I dislike in the vanilla settings is that it does not include many of the important factors that affected history, leading to a very "sandbox" style of gameplay with little resemblence to history. It just starts to look like fantasy after some time. Its not wrong if it deviates from the historical path but that path should still produce plausible reactions to your actions or the actions of AI controlled countries. Vanilla EU3 even with its expansions is a realy good example for that, you see various blobs (especially the BBB) form that will anihalate most of the starting minors. There is no diplomatic system that restrains them from doing this, there is hardly any real ingame consequence for it.

I hope these problems will be adressed with Victoria. Maybe the new sphere of influence systems and the like from HttT might aleviate this a bit.
 

Sarmatia1871

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Small point, but I really like the look of the small amount of the interface we can see in that screenshot. The (I dont know what you call it, but it sometimes features as a decorative part of furniture) to the right of the topbar looks really cool.

Indeed - even from the alpha screenshots, Vicky 2 is shaping up to be the best looking Paradox game so far by a considerable degree.
 

Erispoe

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Will a system of Sphere of influence be implemented , like the new one of HT ? It could be very useful if more african nations are introduced (Toucouleur, Ashante, etc). A such system would allow soft annexion (Sphere of influence -> protectorate -> annexion) and colonial tensions if spheres of influence are too close each other.
 

Johan

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in the "just plain ridiculous" sense - the celibate Llamas of Tibet inheriting China's empire through dynastic politics, and so on.

Like how a tiny polish duchy could dominate entire Europe...
 

Sarmatia1871

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I think its great that hard coded historical events are on the way out. I think we need to distinguish between allowing the game to follow alternative paths and things happening that were either totally impossible or extremely unlikely. The latter seems to be the problem in HOI3. I think you have to accept that if you want to play within a later period of history you need to start your game at a later starting point. So maybe you might want to start your HOI game on June 22 1941, your Vicky game in 1866, or your EU game in 1618.The play to event strategy, where the player used his / her knowledge of the event files to craft a long term strategy based on taking advantage of hard coded date specific date events, made for far less historical games not more.

Exactly, it always annoyed me when people say that a WW1 scenario, for example, must start a year before the historical outbreak of war to 'give you time to build up' for a war which came as a complete surprise to the vast majority of people alive at that time.

With the greatest respect to Aloyzy, no, it is not possible to write event chains which cater to all the variation of what might occur over a 100 year+ game. Within a few decades the game goes beyond what is foreseeable, not least because of the actions of the player who is as often as not playing with the goal of changing history. Even trying to write event chains for a four-year-long war like WW1 is exceedingly difficult, and still allows victory events to fire in ways which seem most artificial.

'Blobbing' is not prevented by events, unless those events are essentially rules doing exactly what the AI should be able to do itself (i.e., create alliances against powerful, aggressive countries).
 

Rich Oliver

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While I'm glad to hear that there will be a bit more freedom in gameplay, I'd like to play the devil's advocate for an instant - are you sure this is really what 95% of Victoria's fanbase wants? ;) I mean, if I'm to judge from VIP, the fanbase of the original game seemed to get a huge kick out of a very, very, very hardcoded experience.

(...to this day, I recall uninstalling VIP in disgust after my excellent Peru game was suddenly ruined when, out of the blue, I was told my excellently-managed nation was in fact horribly mismanaged and had just gone bankrupt)

Of course, given Victoria's sales, I suppose you could have decided that the original game's hardcore fanbase is not a significant factor to consider - and that would be fair enough too ;).


But, I am curious about how far this freedom in the game will go. The thing I loved about EU2 was that it had a tendency to stay more or less historical - outside of the player's area of influence, things didn't depart too far from history. Later on, in Victoria and HOI2, this balance between freedom of play and history was upset, both of those games went too far in the direction of scripting (of course, that had its fun too - I always got a kick out of leading the USCA through the arbitrary "union dissolves" events and reaching success in spite of event-imposed hardships...). But then, in CK and EU3, the balance was tilted in the opposite direction - with virtually no historical events, the only historical thing about those games was the setting on the game's starting date. Afterwards, things just went crazy, and not in the "alternative history" sense, but in the "just plain ridiculous" sense - the celibate Llamas of Tibet inheriting China's empire through dynastic politics, and so on.

So... what I'm getting at, is this - as wonderful as it is to have a sandbox game, I really, really hope that you guys get a lot closer this time to getting the balance right. I'm intentionally avoiding using phrases like "I hope you go in the right direction" or "I hope you put in more effort", because watching - and playing - most of Paradox's games, I know this is more or less what you're trying to achieve. The experimentation in each game's design more than proves that you're aware of this issue and are actively looking to find that balance. It's a darned ambitious thing, trying to model the world so that comes even close to following history without just hardcoding it. So... uh, well, good luck - can't wait to play the game and seeing your progress on that count :).
I agree with what you say, however getting a game to feel plausible is a quite a tall order. EU3 and CK compare very favourably to the Total War series, Civilisation or Age of Empires. Is anyone else really trying to produce historical games with the same scope as Paradox?
 

ComradeOm

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Looking good. I'll leave the POP questions until a later DD

I note bureaucrats now have to be paid... wonder how that works. Handled through the budget maybe?
I'll be interested to see how this works. One of the challenges faced by post-Vienna European states was how to maintain the efficient but very costly Napoleonic administrative states. Doubly so in the face of aristocratic resistance. Just another aspect of the game that I'm looking forward to
 

Emp_Palpatine

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At the same time this is a historical game, so instead of adding in hard coded scripts to steer a country, we add game mechanics that place historical constraints on your freedom of action. Let’s take Russia here as a very good example of a country that was considered by many to be overpowered in Victoria and I’ll talk a little bit about what we mean here. First off is POP promotion; it is going to be automatic. Now there are various things you as a player can do to influence it and I will return to this subject in future developer diaries, but for now just take my word for it. The population of Russia has lower literacy than Western European powers; because of this they are less aware of opportunities than Western European POPs. This in turn makes them less likely to promote. We are trying to model Russia’s relative backwardness in the period, and at the same time giving means for the player to overcome them.
Interesting, no more "pop rushing".

We’ve also mentioned somewhere that we have bureaucrat POPs who represent the administration. However, absolute monarchies have aristocrats who will serve in the administration (and unlike bureaucrats do it free of charge), so the classic Victoria no brainer tactic of immediate reform is no longer so obvious. If you are a more backward state where the aristocracy forms a pillar of the state, you can’t simply just ditch them immediately; you need to encourage a bureaucracy first. But wait, you are too busy encouraging a working class because you are afraid of economic backwardness...
Interesting!


What Victoria had was two classes of event; major and flavour. We are looking to shunt the major events in decisions and make them more generic, thus if things are right in Japan you will get the Meji Restoration, but you can play another uncivilised country and get the same effect. The flavour events remain. Now, overall a point of prestige here or a small increase in CON there is not going to make or break your game, but this is your country that made a huge scientific breakthrough and won a noble prize this year and a not generic country. Thus, we are trying to balance the goal of a sand box game while trying to provide the immersion of playing a particular country.
Well, I loved the EU2 combinaison of history on rail + openness.
But here I'm glad to see that it will be possible to have some interesting what if even with random exotic country. I just hope it will be quite difficult to achieve. I'm not an absolute fan of total randomness, but I prefer it to a closed game event if a mixed game, with historical as well as randomness things is perhaps what suits best the time period.

Overall, interesting diary, I just hope AI and game mechanics will lead to historically possible results.
 

finyou2

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I wouldn't truly care is there events or no, because every HOI3 game that I have played have always gone differently exactly because of lack of events :)

I begin to feel that Victoria 2 will go exact same way :cool:
 

OHgamer

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Exactly, it always annoyed me when people say that a WW1 scenario, for example, must start a year before the historical outbreak of war to 'give you time to build up' for a war which came as a complete surprise to the vast majority of people alive at that time.

With the greatest respect to Aloyzy, no, it is not possible to write event chains which cater to all the variation of what might occur over a 100 year+ game. Within a few decades the game goes beyond what is foreseeable, not least because of the actions of the player who is as often as not playing with the goal of changing history. Even trying to write event chains for a four-year-long war like WW1 is exceedingly difficult, and still allows victory events to fire in ways which seem most artificial.

'Blobbing' is not prevented by events, unless those events are essentially rules doing exactly what the AI should be able to do itself (i.e., create alliances against powerful, aggressive countries).

Bold emphasis added because it needs to be restated, this was one of the greatest weakensses of VIP (and this is coming from the former lead developer of the mod) - the old event system simply could not account for every possible situation a player or the AI could create, meaning that most major event chains in VIP have had several major rewrites to expand triggers to cover more situations players bring up that should be "exceptions" to the general triggers.

Having 40+ line triggers may look impressive, but it is something that gives the game engine all sorts of migranes and definitely slows down game speed.

With Clausewitz giving a much more powerful and more contexutal trigger and command toolbox to play with, modders will be able to do a lot more, and a lot more cleverly, to try and model history without making it into a straitjacket.

Just ask the Magna Mundi modders, they're work is excellent at getting that balance right.
 

Dagfinn

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For what its worth

..., the post-war geopolicial impact can then be modelled from there (things like Romanian unification movement of the late 1850s for example, could become viable if Russia is defeated in its attempt to secure hegemony in the Turkish Straits).

This is excatly what Im afraid of in a sandbox modell. How to let countries like Romania and Bulgaria form in a plausable way. Not to mention modelling Norway's road to full independence.

IMHO some historic happenings looks impossible to acchieve without some kind of events. Ofcourse there should be triggers that must be valid, but events nontheless.

I guess we will have to wait and see :)

So long as we don't fetishize exact dates of things happening, the system of decisions as elaborated in HoI3 is actually quite capable at replication large macro-scale episodes such as the Crimean War without giving the human player the advantage of being able to prepare for it happening within a certain specific period of time, thus helping to level the playing field between player and AI.

I totaly agree :)
 
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