Development Diary #14 - National Focuses

Development Diary #14 - National Focuses

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Hello everyone, and welcome to the 14th development diary. I’m Johan, and I got dragged into this devdiary writing thingie today because of a curse.. We have lost a few members of the team to the dreaded “holiday”-curse, including podcat & doomdark, but we hope to have them back in a wee while. In the last few months, we’ve spent quite a lot of time going through features, and redesigning those that did not improve the game significantly enough from the previous iterations of the series.

One of those features that went the way of the dodo was the goals system. The goals system did not have a visible progression, it did not have clear instructions to the player, and was constantly mixing between things happening because you selected a goal, or things you had to do to fulfill the goal. This was not acceptable for a feature in a modern PDS game, so we soaked our brains in the nectar of the gods for a while, and came up with a new system, which according to our QA team, “Is very very fun”, and also creates replayability.

Now its time for us, without further ado, to introduce the National Focus system.

The seven majors in HoI4, Germany, Great Britain, USA, Soviet Union, Japan, Italy and France have their own unique historical national focus trees they can progress through, while all other nations share a generic one. Sadly the development team ignored my direct order to add Sweden as a major power for this purpose.

During peacetime, you can expect to do about five national focuses in a year, with about third of that during wartime. Each tree has about 50 different focuses you can take, but with a war breaking out in 1940, you may end up with about 28-30 at the end if war ends in 46.

A national focus will give you some benefits when you finish it, like inheriting Austria, allow troop-movements into the Rhineland, remove Swedish neutrality, grant you severe research bonuses, access to another tech-research slot, and many many more things.

If we look here at the German national focus, you will notice that there are several paths that you can choose, but you can’t get everything. You can move down through industrial and air innovations to get towards the Wunderwaffes, you can go down through the political path of rhineland, anschluss and focus on balkans or mediterranean, or a naval focus with plan z and befriending the minor western powers.



The game is coming along nicely, and alpha submission is today.. So fingers crossed, in a few weeks time we’ll be on the stretch run, with dev diaries every week during the final months until release.



Please concentrate on the vital feedback on the dev diary this week. ie, the debate on whether it should be called “focii” or “focuses” in plural.


edit Had a dad
This is not the thread for discussions on Maps / CoC / Counters.


Stay ontopic
 
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This is looking like a nice change of pace from HOI3. Will we be able to go for multiple focuses at a time for reduced efficiency or are we locked into one chain at a time? Looks like many of the German focuses are bringing countries into the Axis, will this be the only way to do so, or is there something akin to the drift in HOI3? The possibility of being overly railroaded is worrisome. However the Rhineland actually being demilitarized is awesome, seemed silly I could remilitarize it on Jan.4 on every game.

Also, first time poster, super long time lurker. Had a timely crash in HOI3 because I can't wait for 4.
 
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Is the game in Alpha approved status?

nvm, missed this line.
The game is coming along nicely, and alpha submission is today.. So fingers crossed, in a few weeks time we’ll be on the stretch run, with dev diaries every week during the final months until release.
 

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That cat with the red cross through it in the upper right corner. Nice ;)
 

Dominik

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I like that there is a way to do with ahistorical alliances. Improves replayability, and helps players do what they already attempted in older versions but were usually denied by the scripted nature of the game. What about other alliances, not listed here? Are they possible using some generic diplomacy. What about an option to befriend Poland as Germany (which they were trying for a few years)?

My vote for foci with one i.

edit: sorry, didn't saw "befriend Poland" on my phone screen.
 
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Seems like an improvement over the goals system which kind of came off as a bit convoluted. Shame that Nationalist Chinese isn't considered a major and will come off pretty generic as a result.
They should replace France IMO. France will get knocked out of the game every single time unless a skilled player is playing them. Seems like a waste.
 
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Seems like a RPG leveling up system for Nations.

Instead of a level 4 warrior I will have a level 4 Germany. :)

I could see all sorts of min-max leveling up or trying to find the right hybrid build.
 
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Seems like a RPG leveling up system for Nations.

Instead of a level 4 warrior I will have a level 4 Germany. :)

I could see all sorts of min-max leveling up or trying to find the right hybrid build.
I guess fuhrer mana makes sense in this setting then.
 
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henzington

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China was quite weak during this period so I would put it at best on the verge of being a major power.
 
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Woah, this is crazy early, it can't be far into Friday in Sweden yet, thanks Johan :). And cheers for the DD in and of itself :). Normally I have to wake up tomorrow to see the DD. The national foci (my vote) system looks very interesting, and looks like a great way to help guide the higher-level AI (and players less familiar with the actual and plausible alternative events of the period), but also raises a few question marks:

1) Will we still be able to achieve most things through national focii through other game systems, and national foci is a way of steering nations down paths for which there were historical factors in place that aren't modelled in the game, but should a player want to, they can still do other things? So pursuing and achieving a national focus gives a bonus to achieving something through a mechanic that exists elsewhere already, in general (with I guess the exception of things like remilitarising the Rhineland and other things not worth building mechanics into the game for)?

2) Are they moddable (I'm guessing yes, it looks like it's the kind of thing that could be well moddable)?

3) How does the AI follow the foci - with probabilities assigned to each, or is it something a bit more nuanced where it will 'look' at the factors relevant to that particular decision and this will adjust the probability? Say, for example, if the USSR is going on a crazy tank-building and minor-nation befriending/annexing spree, will that make it less likely an AI Germany takes a naval, western-oriented approach?

4) Are the various bonuses relatively balanced both between nations, or will the national foci system be what's used to hold France and the UK back and give Germany some boosts early?

5) How much has internal politics changed - is it mostly the same other than the national goals, or have other things been adjusted as well?

It does look like an interesting system, although I feel it might take a little while to balance it all out between a sandbox and railroaded style of gameplay. I'm a big fan of how it gives more structure to peacetime (and wartime) gameplay, but hope it hasn't taken too much the place of more gameplay system-based internal politics (which presumably has changed, at least a bit) and that it still allows for players to plausibly formulate their own plans and strategies that may not match those of the national foci (even if they don't get the national foci bonuses).

Edit: +1 for China (or however it's represented politically) having its own set of specific goals, there were a lot of things going on in China at the time. Understand if it has to wait for DLC/mods though.
 

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Waking up early or staying up late? :D
 

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Looking really nice, good to see that the dev team has the guts to change things up! Must have been a tough decision...

Two questions:

Why does Plan Z lead to befriending Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands?

Are there any plans to add non-belliggerent choices for Germany? Befriending France or the USA for example. Not that I would ever want to do that ingame :D
 

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Wait, so if you don't go political path you can't get Rhineland/Austria??
I think you can go multiple paths, it' just a question or organising your priorities in advance.
 

farlite

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nice to see the word beta in the lower left of the second screenshot. ;)