Hearts of Iron IV - Dev Diary 6 - Division Design

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Game Director <unannounced>
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Hello, and welcome back to another Hearts of Iron IV developer diary! Today I'm going to talk about the new Division Designer we're making. In a Hearts of Iron game, you spend a lot of time with your Division, and being able to customise them gave it a personal touch - You're not just using any Infantry Division, you're using your patented Infantry/Tank Destroyer/Artillery combination which makes them winning a battle all the more satisfying.
For those who don't remember, let's recap how it worked in HoI3: There, any time you made a division you mixed and matched 2-5 Brigade types to create a Division. While you had to research a tech to use 5 Brigades and the Combined arms system in Their Finest Hour gave you bonuses for using a variety of types, there was no limitations on what you could do. This meant that players could use their knowledge of WWII and game mechanics to instantly re-organise their army along the optimum lines for their situation. More importantly, any time you wanted to change your Division makeup you had to deploy new Brigades and rearrange them into your divisions, it was a lot of clicking! For HoI 4 we want to keep the idea of customising your Divisions, but make it both harder to jump right to the optimum setup and easier to carry out your changes.

So, what's new? The key thing now is that you do not design each Division, you design a Division Template per type of Division you want to use and then build copies of that Template. If you decide to change your Division Template you will be told how much Equipment and Manpower it will cost (or return, you might make your units smaller or swap, say, Anti-Tank guns for Tank Destroyers, etc.) to upgrade all Divisions and then all your Divisions will start upgrading to the new design, subject to things like having enough Equipment and Divisions being in supply and not in combat.

A Division Template is made up of Brigades which are made up of Battalions, this is represented by a grid of cells in 6 columns of 5 rows with each column being a Brigade and each cell being a Battalion - With the exception that the left-most column are Support Units of varying sizes. Support Units are different in that they either lend useful abilities such, as an improved reconnaissance ability, or powerful direct or indirect fire to your frontline troops.

If you can build a type of Division, you have access to a basic/historical Division Template, and you can customise it using Land Combat Experience. You can use Experience to swap out Battalions, or unlock either new Brigades or Battalions, but you cannot simply optimise your division makeup on day 1. Despite the name, you earn a little Land Combat Experience even while at peace, but the primary gain is from combat. The rate of gain depends on the proportion of your units in combat, the more of your units that are fighting, the faster you gain Experience. This also means that smaller nations do not necessarily earn less than larger nations, as it's not the total number of units that matters, and large nations will likely not get much Experience when rolling over small ones.

div_design.png


Certain techs can give you a Combined arms bonus from combining certain unit types within a Division, when you unlock these techs you may simply enjoy more powerful Divisions, but alternatively you may want to down-size those divisions and re-use the returned Equipment to outfit more Divisions of approximately the same combat power as your units before you researched the tech.

The division design screen also gives you an overview of your divisions expected performance in different terrain, so in the example above the tracked vehicles will give it a movement advantage in deserts, but penalties on river crossings despite fielding engineers because of the heavy vehicles.

You can, if you wish, have multiple Division Templates for a given type, for example perhaps you want a Line Infantry Division to be you main frontline unit, and a Heavy Infantry Division type to assault heavily defended areas. You can copy and split off Templates as much as you want, however you must buy upgrades for each Template separately so having too many will limit the customization possible for each type.

Oh, and don't pay any attention to the stats yet, it's all under construction :)
 
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Ooooh ... interesting :)

For me the HOI3 Division Designer was one of the big features that didn't quite work, and it didn't quite work for me for the very reasons you identified.

Linking this to Experience will be a great step in making division design a meaningful challenge for players.
 
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TY for the DD... but i am a little bit stupid right now:

1. What do the icons on the left(top --> bot) represent?
2. the other icons?
 
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I think this looks great. Will there be any features to allow some cobbling together of equipments/men on the fly, ala Kampfgruppe??
 
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Looks good through the icons could be related to the country. Silly to have Stuart as the light tank if you´re playing as Germany.
 
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Hmmm . . . spending XP points to slowly re-organise your divisions into something else sounds a bit "bitty" if you know what I mean - it sounds like something you would have to spend a long time doing without getting much enjoyment from. I'm assuming you wouldn't have to manually re-design all the divisions one-by-one, but even waiting whilst points build up and slowly shuffling battalions around on a general template sounds not like too much fun.

I'd probably find myself waiting until enough points had built up to do it all in one go to avoid the micro of making an incremental change every time there was a small increase in points. I find myself doing the same in other games with a "spend XP points to incrementally improve your stats" feature (e.g., Far Cry 3's skill's feature).

The good news is that everything is arranged (probably notionally with battalions just representing modifiers that are summed to a total for the division, but whatever) in battalions, meaning divisions are very customisable.
 
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Hmm, I am starting to dislike those experience points. That is just way too artificial for my taste. HoI3 had a pretty good implementation of experience when it came to building stuff. I just prefer multipliers over an amount of points that you can spend by clicking on some buttons.
 
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Cool. :)

I wonder how this system will be able to model for example for USA that fielded quite large and diverse divisions early on in the war even though they had limited experience .
 
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TY for the DD... but i am a little bit stupid right now:

1. What do the icons on the left(top --> bot) represent?
2. the other icons?


Well i think I can safely answer that.

Top left (the spade) is an Engineer battalion
Below that (binoculars) is a Recon Infantry Battalion/Recon Battalion of some sort
Below that (the AT Gun) is an Anti Tank Gun Battalion Non motorized
Below that (artillery piece) is an Artillery Battalion Non motorized

The means that the items on the left in the vertical are the support components to the Division, and are individual attached battalions, and the 5 and the star at the bottom is the land experience cost to buy/unlock another support slot for this division.

Now the next Vertical column is the first of the Brigades this one being a Tank Brigade of sorts made up of the following

Medium Tank Battalion (maybe heavy tank I'm not sure)
Light Tank Battalion (maybe medium tank depends what the first is)
A second light tank battalion
and a second medium tank battalion

The star and cost at the bottom is how much it costs to add another battalion to the lead brigade.


Next vertical column is what appears to be a mechanized Infantry Brigade made up of two mechanized infantry battalions, with a cost of 5 Land combat XP to unlock the next battalion slot for the brigade.
The next vertical column along appears to be a Motorized infantry brigade made up of two motorized infantry battalions, with a cost of 5 Land combat XP to unlock the next battalion slot for the brigade.
The final slot that costs 25 to unlock is obviously to add another brigade.
 
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I wonder how enormous, unwieldy and useless Soviet prewar formations will be played out.
Overall - more choices, which is good in designing your dream division.
I am afraid that German flexibility is also not possible in this type of setup.
No more making 10 engineer brigades and attaching to various units in appropriate terrain, which is a shame.
 
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I wonder how enormous, unwieldy and useless Soviet prewar formations will be played out.
Overall - more choices, which is good in designing your dream division.
I am afraid that German flexibility is also not possible in this type of setup.
No more making 10 engineer brigades and attaching to various units in appropriate terrain, which is a shame.

But Engineers are rarely if ever used on a Brigade level they are generally attached to units at a Battalion level. This is a step toward improving the realism of the division structure which I personally approve of.
 
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