EU4 - Dev Diary - June 18th

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Hello and welcome to another inter-expansion development diary for Europa Universalis 4. While I've been out sick for a few days, the team has been hard at work tracking down and fixing the various technical issues resulting from the engine upgrade we did in 1.12. We now believe we have the majority of issues resolved and aim to release hotfix 1.12.2 later today if testing goes well.

So while QA does their job, I thought I'd dig a bit into the past and talk about old mistakes. Specifically, features that didn't end up as we'd intended them to, why they ended up the way they did, and what we're planning to do about it. Note that this is not an exhaustive list, I just picked the ones I most wanted to discuss for one reason or another.


Random New World
There is of course, no talking about old features that didn't work out as planned without bringing up Random New World. Random New World was perhaps my personal single most anticipated feature in EU4, but ultimately ended up a disappointment. It's not that the feature is broken - it works according to the design specifications, and besides a few quirks is a fully playable feature that does what it says on the tin. Rather, the problem with Random New World is that it feels wrong. The landmasses it generates don't look quite right, and you always have the sense that something is just off about it. Contrary to what some people believe, the reason for this is not that we spent too little time on RNW (more work went into it than any other feature for EU4, Custom Nations included) or that it was badly coded. Rather, the problem for this feature is that the original design specifications were impossible to achieve.

The design for Random New World set out three goals: It should not require pre-generation, it should generate quickly enough that players don't sit around for 10 minutes waiting for the game to start, and it should look and feel good. It was only after weeks of work that we realized that we could not have all three: We could have a good-looking world that took a long time to generate (either through pre-generation or having to wait a long time in-game) or we could have a not so good-looking world was quicker to generate. At that point picking the former option would have required throwing out nearly all the work we'd done up to that point and starting over, so it was decided to press on with what we had and try to do the best we could with it.

Ever since taking over as Project Lead, it's been a personal ambition of mine to improve the Random New World feature. The problem, of course, is that I am still left with the same choice and limitations that we had back then: With the implementation we have, there is very much a limit to how good-looking we can make random map generation without having the player wait 10-15 minutes each time they start a new game or load a save. As such, the only possible path to improvement is to throw out what we have and start anew with a different implementation. Given that the feature does work, and given the massive time investment that would be involved in redoing it from the ground up, you can perhaps understand why that ambition has yet to be fulfilled. Nonetheless, something *may* be happening on this front in the not too distant future. No promises, though.


Hotjoin
Similarly, I feel that I have to bring up Hotjoin, as it'd be strange to leave it out of this dev diary. Yes, we're aware Hotjoin is still broken. Yes, we're still aiming to fix it. We've actually been fixing issues with it in each major patch since 1.8, but there's still a good deal more to fix. We probably shouldn't have let it get this broken in the first place, but we still have to prioritize fixes to new features over old ones. We'll get there though.


High Altitude Lakes
Perhaps this doesn't quite qualify as a 'feature', but I don't think it's escaped the attention of anyone who's played the game for a while that there are a few... odd looking lakes in the game, Siling Lake and Lake Titicaca being the prime examples. This is because EU4 was supposed to launch with the ability for the artists to create high altitude lakes, but this was cut for time and we ended up with all lakes using the global water level, resulting in what we internally dubbed 'Mt. Doom' in Tibet. As of a few days ago this has now been fixed, and come late June, Sauron will have to find a new place to live.

This is how high altitude lakes used to look:
nNRXfmd.png


This is how they look now:
4GFcMQW.png

UbZXstt.png


I had intended this dev diary to be a bit longer, but I'm going to have to stop here for lack of time. Perhaps I'll continue it next week, or perhaps we'll talk about something else. For now, I leave you with this fun fact of the day:

Fun Fact of the Day!
Did you know that the most popular player nation (measured by number of campaigns started) in EU4 is to play a Custom Nation? It is closely followed by England, France and Castile. Of the top 10 played nations, the only (non-custom) one that isn't in the 'Interesting Nations' in 1444 is Brandenburg. It appears that our Byzantine fans have nothing on the lovers of Prussia.
 
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Short, but good and very interesting. One of the things I love about Paradox is that you guys listen to the fans and aren't afraid to admit mistakes, so this was a really fascinating dev diary for me. And I would have never guessed the most popular nation was to play as a custom nation, so thanks for that little tidbit. Anyways, on behalf of the forum, we all hope you get better.
 
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Moranic

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Ah, those lakes look so much nicer. A nice yet subtle change.
 
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herupandir

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Personnaly I liked the random new world but it was indeed kinda off. A new reshaped random world would be great!
 
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Wizzington

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Couldn't the random new world be generated onces at the campaigning start and then stored in the save game folder? This would allow for generation time, because it would be one-shot action and then allow user to share generated random new world as files, or reuse them.

We know how we would handle it if we were to do it all over again, but the current implementation does not support such a solution and it would have to be remade from scratch up, as the dev diary says.
 
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Of the top 10 played nations, the only (non-custom) one that isn't in the 'Interesting Nations' in 1444 is Brandenburg.

Well, Brandenburg has a lot of growth potential and more importantly turned out into the most populous country in (western)Europe. Do you have/can disclose stats about how much of theses Brandenburg plays are from Germany. I feel like most people love to play with the country they grew up in and see "what it would have become had they let me in charge".
 
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Happy to see your thoughts on old issues and your plans for them. I would love to see another dev diary on this topic next week, especially with regards to EU4's naval gameplay.
 
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Wizzington

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Well, Brandenburg has a lot of growth potential and more importantly turned out into the most populous country in (western)Europe. Do you have/can disclose stats about how much of theses Brandenburg plays are from Germans. I feel like most people love to play with the country they grew up in and see "what it would have become had they let me in charge".

We don't really do that sort of data correlation. I suspect Prussian fanboyism transcends borders though.
 
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Alerias

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When it comes to Random New World, my best opinion is that it'll never worth pouring a single more manhour in.

People dont like random, they want to start with a historical setup and only then throw in randomness.

If anything even randomly generated tradegoods are something I'd do away with if it was optional. I prefered the old early Eu3 setup where you knew what province produced what. That should give you an idea how lukewarm I am to random new worlds.
 
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Thanks for posting your thoughts on these things, interesting to read about issues like that as well.
 

Grand Historian

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We don't really do that sort of data correlation. I suspect Prussian fanboyism transcends borders though.

Prussia and Gilbird are awesome. :D
 
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Nice! Are non-sealevel lakes also available for modders? I can see some nice uses...

Iirc water was done via the heightmap? Will any prov marked as sea now automatically be rendered as water?
 

Wizzington

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When it comes to Random New World, my best opinion is that it'll never worth pouring a single more manhour in.

People dont like random, they want to start with a historical setup and only then throw in randomness.

If anything even randomly generated tradegoods are something I'd do away with if it was optional. I prefered the old early Eu3 setup where you knew what province produced what. That should give you an idea how lukewarm I am to random new worlds.

The claims about 'people prefer historical' has never been backed up in our data. Your personal preferences are not automatically those of the majority.
 
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Heh, yeah, the Random New World creates abominations... but hey, I can respect the sentiment. Thanks for the input and keep up the good work :)


Side note: who was project lead before and when did the change occur? Was it over CoP's mixed reception?



Reg. historical - dunno about you, but I play for historical revisionism and alternate timelines. I'm pretty sure many others do, too.

Furthermore, I consider that Muscovy must be destroyed.
 
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Wizzington

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Nice! Are non-sealevel lakes also available for modders? I can see some nice uses...

Iirc water was done via the heightmap? Will any prov marked as sea now automatically be rendered as water?

Yes, high altitude lakes can be created through map modding.

As a nice little bonus to modders, there will be console commands in the next patch to reload the heightmap and province map ingame, so restart isn't required for most map editing.
 
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Mailosz

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Hmm, Byzantium not in the first 10?

If they measure it by number of started campaigns it should definitely be, because 9 of 10 byz starts you need to restart :)
 
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Cymsdale

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The claims about 'people prefer historical' has never been backed up in our data. Your personal preferences are not automatically those of the majority.

What % of CoP owners play with random new world checked?
 
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