Europa Universalis IV - Development Diary #0 - Our Vision

Europa Universalis IV - Development Diary #0 - Our Vision

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Barnacle Bill

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The game mechanics are never going to be complex enough to model everything anyway, so it really comes down to a game design choice. Do we want the player to mover & shaker in a world that will otherwise follows its "intended" path, or just another flounderer in a Brownian motion of flounderers collectively producing an effectively random process. I strongly prefer the former.

Again, "butterfly effect" has nothing to do with it. Even in AH and time travel fiction, the author makes assumptions about this that serve the needs of his plot, and those assumptions are all over the map from story to story even by the same author. Games work the same way.
 

WeissRaben

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The game mechanics are never going to be complex enough to model everything anyway, so it really comes down to a game design choice. Do we want the player to mover & shaker in a world that will otherwise follows its "intended" path, or just another flounderer in a Brownian motion of flounderers collectively producing an effectively random process. I strongly prefer the former.

Again, "butterfly effect" has nothing to do with it. Even in AH and time travel fiction, the author makes assumptions about this that serve the needs of his plot, and those assumptions are all over the map from story to story even by the same author. Games work the same way.
I strongly prefer the later, instead - knowing that no, such a thing would have NEVER happened with different premises is enough to make me cut the game.
 

unmerged(63836)

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The game mechanics are never going to be complex enough to model everything anyway, so it really comes down to a game design choice. Do we want the player to mover & shaker in a world that will otherwise follows its "intended" path, or just another flounderer in a Brownian motion of flounderers collectively producing an effectively random process. I strongly prefer the former.

Again, "butterfly effect" has nothing to do with it. Even in AH and time travel fiction, the author makes assumptions about this that serve the needs of his plot, and those assumptions are all over the map from story to story even by the same author. Games work the same way.
They can be more complex to model more and better though. Bad sci-fi or ah is not an argument here, since game would not write interesting story for you to justify simplistic assumptions disregarding butterfly effect. It should be direction for paradox games to evolve IMO, otherwise it would be same games re-released with revamped graphics and some token new features every few years. And it seems to be the case since devs themselves said that they don't want determinism, and that they'll never return to semi-scripted philosophy of EU2. CK2 proves that they can improve upon sandbox concept by setting out complex rules and mechanics. Hopefully EU4 would also go in that direction.
 

Barnacle Bill

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They can be more complex to model more and better though. Bad sci-fi or ah is not an argument here, since game would not write interesting story for you to justify simplistic assumptions disregarding butterfly effect. It should be direction for paradox games to evolve IMO, otherwise it would be same games re-released with revamped graphics and some token new features every few years. And it seems to be the case since devs themselves said that they don't want determinism, and that they'll never return to semi-scripted philosophy of EU2. CK2 proves that they can improve upon sandbox concept by setting out complex rules and mechanics. Hopefully EU4 would also go in that direction.
If they can do it, cool. "It" being come up with rules & mechanics that usually produce a recognizable historical result absent player intervention. If they can't, going on about the butterfly effect doesn't make wierdworld any more palatable.
 

Raen

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I'm very excited about DHE, since I still miss the events from EU II, although I concede that at times they didn't make much sense. In EU III, great game though it is, countries really lack much differentiation from one another.
 

DreadLindwyrm

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1. IMO, having some pointless event chains is actually realistic. IRL, they did not know what was going to happen, and had much less info about the state of the world than we do, playing the same position. The unexpected and seemingly unrealistic is in fact, like life.
I'm not talking "this is unpredictable, I've been blindsided by fate". I'm talking "This event does not make sense. There is no way that this is a reasonable choice to have to make". Things along the lines of being asked to split my country in two because of claims by much weaker nations, or suffer for not doing so.
2. Well, there is always the point of taste, and here there can be no arguing. In EUIII, after at most 100 years, even if I haven't achieved what I mean to do, it's always been clear that I was going to. And thus the game loses interest.
So, 100 year formations of Germany, or France from a minor, or GB? 100 years from game start is enough to be able to tell that you're going to unite the HRE as the Byzantines?
3. I agree about inherited troops, and a fortiori, ships. I'd go even further, and have them even for annexed nations. What I'd do is have a random die roll of (1d10 - x)/10. That will give the % of the unit which is effective, if less than 0, it's gone. 'x' would vary by several factors, depending on the situation and type (higher for ships and arty than for infantry; higher for inheritance than for conquest).
Surely you mean x would be lower for these situations, giving a higher result on the dice?

What is implausible in your examples is not that something historical happens without the logical preconditions, but that the logical preconditions which actually happened IRL are not in place in the game. Again, I make the distinction between AI and human player, but baring human intervention if the AI acts historically then the logical preconditions which actually happened IRL will be in place in the game when the time comes. Burgundy won't have a strong male heir or be dominant in France, the Spanish won't be in the black, Russia won't be divided between a dozen nations, England/GB won't be a republic, and the thrones of Europe won't be different - unless some human player has a finger in the pie.
Rubbish. By the time you get to the Spanish bankrupcy anyone in Europe will have done things that will have affected Spain in some way. If the human player has made even one royal marriage, then they have potentially altered the thrones of Europe. Even more so if that results in a different heir being born in a particular country.
Why is it more logical that given 250 years of history (more or less) a particular situation would apply rather than another, just because the peculiarities of history came out for the first result?

Again, if it is caused by human players its not what I'm talking about. What we see in EU3 routinely, though, is that even if a human player literally does nothing you will see e.g. North Africa & the eastern Med totally out of wack well before 1500.
Doing nothing is still different to the historical actions of a given country.

I could describe a possible mechanic, but it would be wordy. To put it as simply as possible, leverage the existing history files. At game start, the player is "activated" and no AI is. "Inactivated" AI's and all their provinces just follow the history files, including wars, alliances, rules, buildings, revolts, etc... After it becomes "activated", the AI drops the script and behaves dynamically acciording to whatever is going on around it. An AI nation gets activated upon one of a limited number of things happening to it at the hands of a nation already activated. That list certainly includes getting an ahistorical (i.e. not in the history files) war declared on it, or getting called into an ahistorical war by alliance, or becoming on either end of an ahistorical PU or inheritance - but not much else. Yes, by game end probably every nation has been "activated", but gross departure from history isn't going to happen so soon or so radically as in EU3.
Excellent. So we have (player led) England in 1399 decides to go to war with France to recover cores. In the process France gets smashed and forced to release all possible minors, and over a series of wars reduced to a single province. This of course activates France and all of those minors. Later, or in parallel to this, Burgundy, who is not yet activated faces the partition event. This, despite the fact the France is laughably unable to project power out of the single province it controls. Is it logical that France should be able to partition Burgundy this way?

What if the player is Burgundy and refuses the partition? Does this activate France and Austria? Assuming this doesn't activate Austria, does it now activate all the neighbours to the Dutch provinces who now have a different neighbour to the historical one? If so, how far does this ripple of activations go, or does the game have to now check for when the AI goes off plan, before activating all the neighbours to the activated countries?

What if I, as England, attack France and release Normandy as either a vassal or a free country? Does this activate Burgundy who are neighbours to this?
What about neighbours to a country I force a PU on? After all, they aren't now neighbouring Bavaria, but Brandenburg-Bavaria, so any aggression towards Bavaria might need to be reconsidered, but if they aren't activated and were scripted to attack they still will.

The game mechanics are never going to be complex enough to model everything anyway, so it really comes down to a game design choice. Do we want the player to mover & shaker in a world that will otherwise follows its "intended" path, or just another flounderer in a Brownian motion of flounderers collectively producing an effectively random process. I strongly prefer the former.
An incorrect choice.
Do we want the world to continue on blithely unaffected by anything the player does until he deigns to interfere in a particular region, or do we want the world to be able to be able to play out with reaction to things that happen. Several things that happened historically are to put it plainly unlikely even looking back at them.
Again, "butterfly effect" has nothing to do with it. Even in AH and time travel fiction, the author makes assumptions about this that serve the needs of his plot, and those assumptions are all over the map from story to story even by the same author. Games work the same way.
In a novel the main reason that things stay the same unless altered is to make the novel easier for the author since he knows what is happening unless something has happened to change it, and does not need to consider the "what if" of (for example) a 20 year span of time beyond what is immediately happening around his main characters. You can also find some relatively minor changes can make massive differences in AH fiction.
Consider John Adams in this list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...dents#Real_people_with_a_fictional_presidency
Now, had the US effectively surrendered and rejoined the British Empire the entire history of that region would have been different - no war of 1812, no American Civil War - but the changes wouldn't have been limited to that - no alliance between France and the US, less British troops drawn out of the Napoleonic theatre of war; iinstead of the US negotiating with Texas and Spain, it would have been the British Empire, probably resulting in either another continental war in Europe, or entirely different borders for Mexico, and Cuba remaining Spanish.
 

beckdawg

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The event chain sound interesting. One thing I would really appreciate is if the game wouldn't assign you a mission you can't immediately complete. For example, early in the France grand campaign you get annex <x>. And often the second mission is annex <y>. The problem with that is twofold. For one, you can't annex country 1 for 10 years. Then you have to wait another 10. So you end up doing 2 missions in 20 years or cancelling ne and possibly still having the same issue. Another example of this is the generic build a bigger army/navy than <x>. It's fine when your country is a similar size but often they will have you build an army bigger than your force limit. As such, it's almost an immediately useless mission that you cancel. However, then you usually get the naval equivalent.

What I'm really hoping for is a way to make tiny countries more interesting. I recognize you're never going to be able to have tons of form <x> nation type decisions and you're not going to have individual missions for every country. However, some core mechanics that make playing as a minor more interesting would really be appreciated. As a for example, having a war leader like say bohemia granting conquered land to a war ally. This could give a perk of relation improvement or something so that the war leader gets something out of it. This way you wouldn't feel totally useless in a war.

Also, the game is in dire need of more peace time objectives. Playing as a trade nation hopefully will be more interesting. In EUIII the trade nation play is mainly to fund war efforts rather than being a true trader. One area that would be interesting is land purchases. I've never once had the AI offer to sell me land. A good example usage of this would be a case where two large countries are at war and one needs funds to continue(say england vs france with france being blockaded) they might sell Louisiana to the USA or something similar. Also, to go back to the trade thing, make loans more useful and failure to repay grants a CB on land conquest as reparation.

All of these things I think would improve games for smaller countries. The large countries will always be warmongers as AI players because they can. But, improving the small country game would create unique games as different small countries would become middling powers
 
Apr 17, 2011
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beckdawg

Many of your suggestions are in EU3.

You can sell land, but that is a really rare deal because the AI isn't really into it either way (and is all too often broke enough that it can't afford a fair price).

Many small countries can form union tags - France, Germany, Italy, HRE, Prussia, KalmarUnion/Scandinavia, Great Britain, Ireland, Spain, Russia, Netherlands, Greece and a few more are all formable union tags, and this is just Europe. And so many minors have the potential to form one.

The warleader can demand provinces occupied by someone else in the peace treaty, and guess what, the occupied ally will get to own said provinces.


I'm also sure the mission system will be reworked, and even if not then terribad missions will be out. (It should be noted however that build army bigger than X's is almost always doable in 2 months or less if you start building infantry, as you always get an army just slightly bigger than yours. However, if you wait a year then the AI blob will rebuild its army from the low it hit, and you will have no chance of catching up. Also, if the target is at war then sometimes just waiting a few months gives success as the army gets shredded.) But I do agree that annex missions are the worst ones of all.
 
Last edited:

Jazumir

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Read no comments, but from the OP:

´In all our games we aim to have believable mechanics.´

I wish i could find some in real life...
 

zeroFX

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I know that this thread is old, but I just started to read the dev diary, because the game will be released soon. Is it just a coincidence that the second picture in the start post somehow reminds me of Imperialism 2 (SSI)?
 

Grubnessul

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  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Magicka
  • Majesty 2
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
I know that this thread is old, but I just started to read the dev diary, because the game will be released soon. Is it just a coincidence that the second picture in the start post somehow reminds me of Imperialism 2 (SSI)?
Imperialism II is in my top 5 of all time favourite games, it's well worth to create a few homages to it. :)