Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise dev diary 6: Colonial nations

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Besuchov

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As you read this, the Paradox Development Studio offices in Stockholm are probably much more quiet than usual. Why you ask? Well, tonight is the official Paradox Christmas party and I’m writing this week’s dev diary ahead of time, before the party takes place. Better safe than sorry, you never know what happens at these events… ;)

On to more serious matters: in this week’s developer diary for Europa Universalis IV, I’m going to talk a bit about the colonial regions that form the basis of the colonial nations.

Colonial nations

As you probably already know, one of the main features (besides the Native American gameplay and the random new world) in the Conquest of Paradise expansion is the addition of semi-independent Colonial Nations. Historically, the huge distance between the New World and Europe meant that the American possessions of the European nations had quite a bit of independence. Not to mention the fact that English North America was largely the product of freelance corporations as much as it was the crown. In Europa Universalis IV, however, you could run them just anyway you wanted, only with slightly less income from them. They were, in effect, distant provinces. In the expansion Conquest of Paradise, we have created a new type of dependency called Colonial Nations. They work similarly to other dependencies (like vassals or unions) but with quite a few interesting special rules, which I’ll touch on in a later dev diary.

Colonial Nations are formed automatically in the New World as Old World nations starts to colonize. To assist in this we have divided up the North and South American continents into Colonial Regions. When a nation amasses 5 or more overseas cities in a single colonial region, those provinces will unite to form a new Colonial Nation. The colonial regions are defined via script, and we’ve tried to divide them based both on geography and on historical colonies. Some examples of Colonial Regions are Eastern America, Louisiana and Mexico. As a nation gets more provinces in the New World these cities will automatically be transferred to any existing colonial nation.

As some of you might know, our game has never had these kinds of generated countries before. To assist us in this, we have had to add a system of dynamic country tags that can be used by the game engine to create new countries. On creation, these dynamic countries are given a flag and a name.

The flags are combinations of the mother country’s flag and a color, split in half. This was the best solution that was both reasonably compatible with our current system and also distinct enough to make for easy recognition. The Colonial Nations will have different colors on the map and on the flag. The flags need to be very distinct, but we didn’t want to take away from the colonizing nation’s effort to paint the world in its colors. So the flag and border color will be the color assigned to the region, while the map color is a lighter version of the mother country's color (but this will change if the Colonial Nation becomes independent).

We’ve tried to be a bit more creative with the names of these Colonial Nations. We have made a system of scripted names for each Colonial Region. These scripts use our regular trigger system so there is really no end to how many names we could have (naturally there is an end to how many names we have time to script for release but…) For example, if Britain colonizes Eastern American you get the Thirteen Colonies while a French colony in the same region might be called Nouvelle Flandre. We have added quite a few alternatives for likely and not so likely colonizers, with Jadida Granada perhaps not appearing in all our games (even though it did appear in our office MP with Johan playing Morocco :) )

So, not that much gameplay detail in today’s dev diary but I hope you gained some insight in how we are trying to build a more immersive New World.
Now the Christmas party is drawing near, after an inspirational speech by our CEO.

Morituri te salutant!

colonials.jpg

So it appears most of us survived after all, a somewhat quieter office today though :)
 
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Captain Gars

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So there are now dynamic state tags. Will it be possible for modders to use it to create different tags for revolutionary countries etc.?

No. They are generated when needed by the engine.

Will we be able to re-take full control of these semi-independent colonies??

No.

Sorry for being a little inquisitive, but: will the Colonial Governments use the same combat AI as vassals (e.g. 'stick to player's armies')? I am really excited about new colonial system and if they will independently (or will have some switch a'la asking for expeditional corps / rejecting them with HoI) I'd consider playing colonial power at last!

They work the same way as other dependencies. But there is nothing stopping you from playing a Colonial Nation. There is nothing forcing you to actually help your motherland in a war ;)
 

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Will different regions have different names? For example, if I play France, and I totally colonize all of the new world, will the entire new world be owned by the one massive colonial nation? Would a new one be formed in the different regions you mentioned?

I would not like to fight a pan-American (N&S AMerican) nation if they revolt.

Whenever you get 5 or more province in one colonial region, a new one will form. But an existing one can grow on its own by expanding into other regions through conquest and the use of colonists.
 

Captain Gars

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Russia and Alaska. No?

It will become a colonial nation.

So you get a new flag when you colonize one area? like brazil?

If you get a colonial nation in that area it will get a flag where the left half is the left half of your flag and the right half is the color of the colonial region.
 

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If the Colonized areas become (semi)independent nations, how will my country continue to bring in riches from the colonies?

More on those mechanics in coming dev diaries.

Question : regarding the colonial uprising, does the colonial nation become independent ? or does the regular nations revolt from the colonial nation ?

The old revolutionar events that formed countries like USA, Colombia etc. are gone and replaced with mechanics, but as I said above, more on that later.

What are the chances of the USA getting formed under this new system?

It happens fairly regularly in our overnight games.
 

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What about colonizing Africa, Siberia, Oceania and Indonesia? Will there be independent colonial countries there too? What happens when Russia expands eastwards or when a nation starts too expand in Africa with new colonies?

No. The colonial nation mechanic is only for the New World (North and South America) as most other things in this expansion.
 

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Captain Gars

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Will colonial nations get the same NIs and idea groups as their motherland?

No they get their own unique group.

Will they be able to explore and colonise in their own right, or will the motherland need to keep sending colonists in order to expand the colonial nation?

They are able to colonize on their own.

If they break away, will they automatically form countries like USA, Brazil and so on, or will this be a separate decision?

Nope. They are formed from a decision, so the first colonial nation that breaks free in a region has the choice of forming it - but you don't have to. And in some regions there can be several tags formable to choose from.

Can a colonial nation conduct its own warfare and diplomacy (e.g. with New World tribes) while still under the aegis of the motherland?

More on this later :)
 

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1. If two countries both have five provinces in the same colonial region, what will happen? Both become their own regions?

They will spawn one colonial nation each.

3. What will happen to the name and flag of the colonial nation once it becomes independent?

They will keep it unless they take a decion to form a nation like USA, Colombia, Mexico etc.
 

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So if you cannot integrate your colony, would waiting until it becomes independent and reconquering it make it part of your country? If not, would it revert back into a colony?

No, conquering would just set up a new colony of yours from those provinces. I.e. you're not supposed to directly own provinces in the New World.

Captain Gars, sorry to ask again but in case you missed my question before - can you confirm if the 5 province number for automatic breakaway will be moddable via defines or similar method? E.g. can we mod it such that they breakaway after only 2 colonies, or after 8?

It's not in the defines right now but that could be fixed.
 

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Are all colonial nations republics or is it possible to have a monarchy (viceroyalty)?

They function sort of as republics, but just like other ruler titles they can be culture/religion specific, so a Castilian Governor will actually be called a Viceroy.
 

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2 questions
1: do you have dynamic naming for any and every country that can colonize the world, such as China, India, and even say the hordes or Swahili?

No. Every region contains a number of flavor names connected to either tags, cultures, etc. And then each region has a list of generic names that anyone can use.

2: can colonial nations with the same mother country war with each other (without making the mother country going to war with the aggressor)?

No, no fighting between colonies of the same overlord.

As much as I love the new colonial mechanics, please please do NOT further butcher Arabic in your games. It's bad enough we have Al Surya Arabic and the like, calling New Granada "Jadida Granada" is like calling New Zealand, "Zealand New". While Jadida does mean new, its placement is not the same as English's. If you do want to call it New Granada but with Arabic "flavour", Granada Al Jadida is much much better and actually correct kinda!

I guess we don't a have a beta who speaks Arabic, but we will look into this on Monday.

So if I (or God forbid, the AI) happen to colonize a group of provinces which straddle a region boundary, and even though I have more than 5 contiguous colonies, no one region contains the magic number, nothing happens? That sounds super lame. It would be much better if colonial clusters were identified procedurally, both for the purposes of determining the borders of these new colonial nations, as well as colonial revolters (since it sounds like one of these new nations could span multiple revolter nations' worth of territory). Having hard-coded colonial regions currently leads to ridiculous colonial core patterns when colonization doesn't match historical boundaries, and it seems likely to do the same with this new mechanic.

Since the regions determine what names to be used and what potential countries they can turn into later we need to stick to predetermined regions. And you have a special map mode for it so there's no reason to "happen to colonize" in the wrong place. However once a colony is formed, that colony can in itself expand beyond the colonial region border.

Any theories as to what the "colonial regions" may be? We've seen the Thirteen Colonies already. Historically, the real-life "colonial nations" included all these at various points in time:

The Thirteen Colonies (Great Britain)
Rupert's Land (Great Britain)
Newfoundland (Great Britain)
Quebec (France)
Acadia (France)
Louisiana (France)
Viceroyalty of New Spain (Spain)
-Mexico
-Peru
-Hispaniola
-Cuba
-California
Alaska (Russia)
Brazil (Portugal)
Suriname (Netherlands)

There were also several minor colonies from other nations that didn't fare so well, like New Sweden and New Netherlands, which were both absorbed into the Thirteen Colonies, and even a small colony from the Baltic state of Courland/Kurland.

  • Alaska
  • Canada
  • Eastern America
  • Louisiana
  • California
  • Mexico
  • The Caribbean
  • Colombia
  • Peru
  • La Plata
  • Brazil
  • Guyana

And all of the names you mentioned in your post are used as potential names :)
 

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Isn't it more historically correct thats why their doing it ?

Also do they count as vassals so you only get the same amount of gold you get from european vassals? because that would suck money wise

I'm not allowed to spoil future dev diaries, but don't forget tariffs :)
 

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These concerns regarding auto breakaway is exactly why I wish breakaway could be delayed by the player, at increasing cost/risk. This adds to strategy and player choice.

But in the absence of that, please can we get the breakaway moddable. So the defines entry for number of provinces before breakaway, as we talked about on Friday, and also adding triggers that can allow decisions/events to cause an immediate breakaway in a given region.

This mod-ability is all that's needed to keep everyone happy, and I will happily create mods around this to provide different options for different players and play styles. My personal preference will be to set the auto breakaway at a much higher province count, but then increase revolt risk and decrease base tax in those provinces until the player agrees to trigger it himself via a decision, or regularly appearing events. This gives the player a decision to make, with scaling risk/reward.

There's not much point in retaining provinces in the New World that don't form a colony as they won't give income.
 

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devchaps, any chance you could clarify whether colonial nations will feature in the dlc only, or whether they'll be available to all 1.4 users?

Dlc.
 

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Can these flags be modified? Can the names of the countries? During the game, of course, through the scripts.

If not, well, you know there's a lot of us obsessed with some measure of accuracy when it comes to flags. Some colonial nations could deserve their own flag, especially the ones that almost always are there. Mexican and Caribbean New Spain, Québec and Labrador for France, the Thirteen Colonies, etc...

Needless to say, I am very excited about the content of the new DLC.

No, the colonies don't have flag files, they are just a combination of the mother country and the region color. The post-colonial states they can later form, like USA, Peru, Mexico, Canada etc. of course have their historical flags just like before.
 

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Any word on how moddable these generated flags will be? For example, if we want to have just the cantons of the flags be from the mother country, rather than the full hoist of it, will that be possible?

Beyond that, will we be able to tweak the scope of the mother country's flag? In the canton-only example, it would make sense to use the entirety of the mother country's flag, rather than just the hoist of it (think of the Union Jack, in its entirety, in the canton of various colonial flags, rather than just the corresponding quarter).

Regarding the assigned color of any given region, will that also be moddable? Even so far as to make, perhaps, something more complex than just a color? Say, rather than have the Thirteen Colonies with a solid Red fly, it could be a striped white and red?

At the moment it isn't moddable at all, other than changing the color of the colonial regions.

1. What happens if I have a colony dependency in a region already, and I send my colonist agent to an empty province in that region? Does the new colony automatically join the dependency as soon as it reaches 1000 population?

Yes.

2. Will dependencies prioritise expansion within their own region, or will they colonise any province in range?

They will prefer their own region, and there will be some rules to make expanding outside it somewhat restricted.

3. If I have two colonial dependencies in adjacent regions, will they try to expand into each other's territory, or will they respect the region border? Will there be a system to transfer provinces from one dependency to another - either automatic or under player control - or will we potentially get very tangled borders?

They can expand into each others colonial regions, but not each others territory (although there are some events for such conflict). No system for transfering provinces.

4. As the motherland, can I still spend my own money and monarch points to improve provinces in my dependencies?

No.
 

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No, the colonies don't have flag files, they are just a combination of the mother country and the region color. The post-colonial states they can later form, like USA, Peru, Mexico, Canada etc. of course have their historical flags just like before.
How's that supposed to work if there's both an East Frisian America and a Ragusan America, or some such? Only one can turn into USA and the other will forever be a colonial state?
 

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Suppose East Frisian America forms the USA I'd imagine that Ragusan America could still break free from their colonial overlord but would still be called Ragusan America.

Correct.

I'd also imagine that East Frisian America wouldn't necessarily be able to take the USA decision unless they own so much of that region that Ragusan America is basically a footnote. Just speculation, though.

No, anyone who manages to break free in a region where there is a post-colonial tag available can form it (in most cases, there are a few that have some restrictions to what provinces they need to own).

So new Granada will became Brazil ?

They can become Brazil if it's not already taken. They don't have to.

Will cores for colonial revolters still be plastered across their historical territory without any regard for the borders of actual colonies?

When forming a tag like USA, you will ger claims on the rest of that region (eastern_america). But no automatic cores.

What I'm wondering is, when they do become independent, are they like any other nation? Or do any different rules apply?

They become like any other state.

If someone conquers an independent colonial nation when they have a capital outside of the new world, they'll probably become a non colonial nation again. So if England creates the thirteen colonies, they gain independence and become USA, but England then reconquers them, they'll probably just become the thirteen colonies again.

Correct.

Well then... are "post-colonial states" still just limited to the historical ones, hamfisteddly crammed into every colonial nook of the world to give us Louisiana in Alaska and Haiti in Argentina? If enough manage to break free, will it prevent anyone else from being able to do so due to all the colonial tags already being assigned? Or would they just retain the colonial name and flag and otherwise operate as an independent post-colonial state?

Post-colonial states are indeed limited to the ones that were already present in EU3, but no, there won't be any Haiti in Argentina. All of those tags have a connection to one of the colonial regions each. Some regions like Alaska have no tag while others may have more than one.