Europa Universalis IV - Development Diary #0 - Our Vision

Europa Universalis IV - Development Diary #0 - Our Vision

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Hello everybody, and welcome to the first development diary for Europa Universalis IV. We've been working on this project for quite a long time, with the first design dicussions starting not long after Divine Wind was released. During last year we spent a lot of time working on the design concepts, and late in 2011, the core team was assembled, and actual development started.

Earlier this month, we announced the game at Gamescom, and showed a minor subset of the features for the game. Today we start a series of weekly development diaries where we'll go into detail about the game. Our goal is to release an entry each friday, with breaks for holidays.

The subject of todays diary is 'Why do Europa Universalis IV and what is our goal with the game?'.





Why are we working on a sequel to Europa Universalis?

Well, first of all, the team we are all major fans of this series, with me personally being the core guy behind the original game, back in the late 90's, and the others being involved for quite a lot of time on it. We are a group who love playing Europa Universalis (EU), both in singleplayer and in multiplayer together, so you could definitely say it is the favorite series for the people working on Europa Universalis IV.

Originally EU1 started development in 1997, EU2 in 2001, EU3 started in 2005, so we were overdue a new take on the genre. During those years we've accumulated quite a lot of ideas, and discarded far more. We've come to understand what Europa Universalis is about for a lot of people, and what it means for ourselves.

One important thing though, is that while we had lots of cool and interesting ideas for EU, we simply couldn't just add them all in, as the game would become an unwieldly mass. EU has a complexity level we do not want to dramatically increase and while improving the interface can reduce it a fair bit, it is a very fine balance when it comes to designing a game.

So we took a step back and looked at what Europa Universalis was and what we wanted to do, and since its a new game, we had quite a large amount of flexibility. We could rewrite entire systems from scratch, and do some paradigm shifts. One such example is the complete removal of the old trade system with centers of trade, which was replaced with a new trade system with dynamic flow of trade. This flexibility has been a great benefit when it comes to designing the game.


So then, what is our goal with Europa Universalis IV?

In all our games we aim to have believable mechanics. When playing a Grand Strategy game it should be about immersion and suspension of disbelief. You should feel like you are playing a country in the time period. This is something all our EU games have managed to achieve, and it is very important that EU4 will have that same feeling.

The game should, as we mentioned earlier, not increase its complexity levels dramatically. We are happy with the level of complexity the Eu-series has, and want to keep it at this level.

One of the most important aspects of EU4 is to make an interface that is both easier to get into, and less hassle for an expert user. This a fine line to balance, and we are rather happy with the interfaces we have done so far for EU4.

We also want to make sure that players feel that this is a new game, that this is worth paying money for, and this comes from new mechanics and better interfaces. With detailed dev-diaries every week until release, we are rather confident that you'll all be excited about it when its finally ready.

So, now we've just talked about history and visions, I'll try to clarify a confusion about sandbox, historical events and plausibility. Europa Universalis have always been about historically plausible outcomes, as I mentioned over six years ago , and EU4 is no different in that regard. No determenism or full sandbox will ever be in the EU series. In EU3 we scrapped historical events and added lots and lots of system and mechanics to create more plausible gameplay. While we are continuing on that concept and keep making more plausible mechanics, we are in EU4 doing something new...

We'e adding in Dynamic Historical Events. We'll have more of those than we had historical in EU2, and together with a fair amount of other planned features, this is creating an even more immersive type of gameplay, where countries feel far more unique than they did in any previous game in the series. A 'dynamic historical event', or DHE for short, is an event that has some rather rigid triggers that they feel plausible to happen with, ie, no Spanish Bankruptcy just because its a certain date, but events that tie into mechanics rather heavily.

The example I want to talk about is War of the Roses for England. At any point of time, before 1500, if England lacks an heir, then the chain for War of the Roses can start, which creates a lot of interesting situations for the player, as well as giving unique historical immersion.

Next week we'll talk more about the map, so enjoy for now!


 

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unmerged(63836)

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Sounds promising, but I'll have two questions:

- Did non-country specific, generic events/mechanics suffer because resources were devoted to writing country specific events? Is there significantly more of generic events/mechanics than in EU3?

- Is it safe to assume, that further game goes, less likely historical events would be to fire? (after all, situation diverging from historical would make it difficult for an event to have all necessary 'rigid triggers')
 

flame7926

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Wow, starting DD's early. So there will be maybe 40-45? It all sounds great.
 

Sathariel

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DHE = I`m sold.

What I missed in EU3, that was aplenty in EU2, is the historic feeling of the game. Anything that improves it is a great news for me.
 

Seli

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Sounds great, and I like the philosophy behind the design and development a lot.
 

FOARP

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As a Lancastrian, I'm utterly stoked to hear that the War of the Roses can be simulated in detail in-game. EUIII (as I recall - ages since I last played it) had a very generic event that didn't simulate the War of the Roses at all, but it sounds like we're going to get the chance to properly put those namby-pamby southerners where they belong (FYI - Yorkshire was a Lancastrian stonghold throughout the war, which just goes to show that Lancashire has always kicked Yorkshire's arse) .

Red Rose forever! Death to the Yorkists!
 

Unready

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Did it (words about war of the roses) means what we can have some kind of noble civil war for the throne in anyone europian (or world) monarchy?
Or it will be just county specific events?
 

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Does the aim to recreate suspension of disbelief through accurate portrayal of historic eras mean that we might finally see an overhaul of the naval combat system? Because it seems conceivable to make away with some simplifications (like the ships' amazing capabilities to intercept each other while finding an enemy at high seas is usually the toughest part in a time before radio and radar) without a dramatic increase of complexity...

By that I don't mean to imply that it'd be neccessary to portray individual ships in more details or such (the age of sail game I'd love to see will probably never appear, and I am aware and at ease with the fact that EU is not a naval game!) but could it be possible for technological advances to recreate more the changing role and naval strategies the period, instead of just providing an edge without changind the nature of combat? While examples can be found (not introducing blockades until certain tech levels for example) those elements are too few and far between to make naval combat more than a neccessary evil...
 

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Are DHEs defined per country tag? If a different nation recreates the same exact prerequisite conditions for a similar war of the roses, will it never trigger because the country isn't England?
 

Johan

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Did it (words about war of the roses) means what we can have some kind of noble civil war for the throne in anyone europian (or world) monarchy?
Or it will be just county specific events?
Are DHEs defined per country tag? If a different nation recreates the same exact prerequisite conditions for a similar war of the roses, will it never trigger because the country isn't England?
Country specific, all the texts are rather country specific, and they are unique for that country.
 

Seli

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Country specific, all the texts are rather country specific, and they are unique for that country.
Wow, quite an effort for a series of events that will only show once every few games. But I guess CK2 has shown that people do enjoy these rare sequences.
 

RedRalphWiggum

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This sounds great an I'm delighted to hear the philosophy and design behind the events. I must confess, one of my gripes with EU3 was always that playing France, Nejd, Ming or Kongo didn't really feel that different. Sounds like this will no longer be an issue in EU4, and I reckon that will extend replayability greatly (and it was already pretty damn good).
 

Letar

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Sounds like a solid planning philosophy and without a doubt lots of love for EU4. I have never been a fan of determinism a'la EU2, thus DHE sounds like the answer to my prayers.
 

Jia Xu

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So how will your new system handle historical civil wars like the War of the Roses? Will it always create the same Lancaster and York cores in the same provinces? Is it possible for other dynasties to take a crack at wars like this or are these events strictly bound to historical conflicts between historical dynasties?
 

lucaluca

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OMG YESSSSS dynamic historical events! Love them, they should have been in EUIII as well! The would create alternative histories. I guess the war of religion in France will be in, in EUIII is very generic with the fact that France cannot join the counter-reformation, but it's not enough. I want history to come alive again.
 

unmerged(63836)

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This sounds great an I'm delighted to hear the philosophy and design behind the events. I must confess, one of my gripes with EU3 was always that playing France, Nejd, Ming or Kongo didn't really feel that different. Sounds like this will no longer be an issue in EU4, and I reckon that will extend replayability greatly (and it was already pretty damn good).
Unless you select country without special events, or with only few of them...
 

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Unless you select country without special events, or with only few of them...
For me, a big part of Paradox games (especially Victoria) is what's happening to other countries as well as the one I'm playing, so either way it's a win for me.
 

Jia Xu

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Unless you select country without special events, or with only few of them...
I guess that's the big issue, eh? Some countries will likely have dozens of DHEs while other may have only a couple or none at all. So the immediate question for the developers is how is the team planning to distribute DHEs? 70 for France, 2 for Korea? :p
 

Checco

Plotter who lurks among you
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I suppose it means 'favouring a nation' is hardly the right term in this case, if country specific events require the game to fulfill historical criteria to trigger.

It sounds really good to me, it should quell down a lot of current forum discussion AND provide a new dynamic approach when we start playing ;).

Nice one, guys :)!