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Archangel85

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Hello, and welcome to the first dev diary of 2018!

Although considering today’s topic perhaps we should call it the first dev diary of the year Heisei 30.

When we decided to expand on China for Waking the Tiger, we also decided that we would need to take another look at the Japanese focus tree and maybe do some minor rework and some alt-history expansions. While we were basically happy with the existing German focus tree, we felt that Japan might need a somewhat more extensive rework, so we asked our QA to compile a list of issues they had with the existing tree.

QA noted the lack of flavor and interesting choices, as well as the lack of really unique gameplay. Their final recommendation was fairly short:

Burn it down. All of it.

So we did.

japan_ft_3.jpg


As you can see, we have expanded the focus tree somewhat in comparison to the old one. The choice between striking north or south was a single focus each in the old tree, but has now been expanded into a full branch.

The first basic choice is what to do with the Kodoha (“Imperial Way”) faction in the military. This faction wanted to remove the last remnants of civilian government and restore the Emperor to his rightful place (i.e. a figurehead while the military has the actual power, as things were before the Meiji Restoration of the 19th century). Historically, supporters of this faction launched a coup in February of 1936 which failed within days as the rest of the military refused to support it.

For reasons of transparency and playability, we decided to not have the coup be an event that fires on or around a set date but made the choice of whether to support or purge the Kodoha faction part of the focus tree. Purging the faction sends you down the historical path to attack China, strike south and attempt to seize the European colonies for their resources.

As you can see, we decided to make Japan form its own faction in the historical path instead of having them join the Axis. The cooperation between Japan and Germany does not fit neatly into our current faction system. While Japan did join the Tripartite Pact, it did not join the war against the Soviet Union, and indeed the Germans concealed preparations to attack the Soviet Union from their Asian allies. While there was some military cooperation and exchange of technical know-how, it wasn’t anything like the scale to which the Western Allies cooperated and indeed closer to the military cooperation between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union.

Still, it is a historical fact that Japan joined the Tripartite Pact, and as such you can do so in the historical path. But instead of joining the Axis faction, it creates a set of mutual guarantees between Germany, Italy and Japan. Should either of them be attacked instead of being the aggressor, they can be called into each other’s wars (and frankly, that is a lot closer to the relevant Article 4 of the treaty).

While still not perfect, we believe that this solves more problems than it creates. In particular, it means that Germany isn’t considered to still be fighting until Japan is taken (which led to amusing side effects such as the Luftwaffe forming the Legion Pekingente and evacuating to Japan when Germany falls). Speaking of taking Japan: AI Japan will now surrender if they have been nuked twice or lost Manchuria and Korea when they aren’t holding any territory in China. A player has the option through the same decision but can, of course, choose to fight to the bitter end (the AI is simply scripted to always pick the decision as soon as possible).

Capture_nuke.JPG


Simulating the war in China itself has come with its own challenges. We wanted to make the war feel like the long campaign it was (lasting, historically, from 1937 to 1945), not least because a Japan with a secure China can bring far more resources to bear on other targets than it did historically. At the same time, China starts with crippling penalties to its army, which means that Japan could easily defeat them. This is not particularly historical, as the Japanese expected a quick victory and were rudely surprised as the Chinese divisions fought very tenaciously.

So in order to make the campaign in China feel historical and give the Chinese player a chance to survive the initial invasion, we gave Japan some penalties for fighting in China (or, specifically, when fighting against Chinese troops). These penalties can be reduced through decisions, which raise world tension, so you will have to balance out the need to finish the campaign fast against raising world tension too quickly. We feel that this best represents the disdain the Japanese military held their opponents in - the Chinese simply weren’t worth a proper effort. Of course you, as the player, can hound your military into actually taking this conflict seriously, but the rest of the world may not like the idea of all-out warfare in China.

If you decide to side with the Kodoha faction, you effectively decide to strike north against the Soviet Union (as many in the Kodoha faction believed that the Soviets were the bigger threat). Subsequently, you will have to do some diplomatic maneuvering to keep your southern flank secure: Where historically the Japanese signed a Non-Aggression Pact with the Soviet Union while they were engaged in China (at least in part because the Battle of Kalkin Gol revealed some serious shortcomings in the Japanese military) to secure their northern flank, now you will have to sit down with the Western powers to ensure they will stay out of your hair while you deal with the Soviet Union. The London Naval Treaty reduces your dockyard output quite dramatically, but should serve to keep the Allies happy enough to look the other way when you go to war with the Communists. You will also have to send some equipment to your Manchurian “ally” to enable them to actually be somewhat useful in the war.

Later on, you can join a technological exchange program with Germany and even gain access to German Rocketry. Going down this path will also allow you to prospect for resources in Siberia.

But of course, you don’t need to follow history quite so closely. The democratic branch assumes that there could have been a significant pushback against the militarization of Japan from forces inside the civilian government. After all, Japan did have a functioning system of democratic elections and a working parliament during the Taisho period, a mere 10 years before the start of the game.

However, the militarists will not go quietly and will rather flee to Manchukuo than to surrender their position. Those elements of the army that can’t or won’t go abroad will start a civil war. Once that has been dealt with, you can rewrite the constitution to turn the Emperor into more of a constitutional monarch like the Europeans have. Afterwards, you can either try to reach out to the British and revive the Anglo-Japanese Alliance that has served so well during the beginning of the 20th century, or you can form your own West Pacific Treaty Organization (or WPTO).

But that still leaves the problem of Manchukuo, now firmly run by the Kwantung Army and supported by the very militarists you kicked out of the country. You will have to go and remove this threat to your freedom with some good old fashioned liberty bombs. From there, you can go and ensure that the colonial powers actually make good on their promises of freedom and self-determination for the native people. After all, if you can have a functioning democracy, why can’t the rest of Asia?

Capture_usa.JPG


Finally, there is the communist branch, which is not quite as far fetched as it may seem. Historically, Japan experienced the same rise of leftist agitation as the rest of the world, and the Japanese Communist Party enjoyed some successes until new legislation effectively banned it. Extensive measures by secret police agencies ensured that by 1936, the party posed little threat to the establishment. That, however, does not mean that there wasn’t a potential for a revolution. A large number of young officers came from a peasant or working-class background, and many civil servants considered socialism to be the way of the future (or in any event better than the Japanese form of capitalism dominated by the huge industrial conglomerates, the Zaibatsus).

hoi4_102.jpg


Historically, these civil servants were quickly banished to Manchukuo or “encouraged” by the secret police to reconsider their political stance. The first step towards a communist revolution in Japan, therefore, is to recall those civil servants that have kept the faith back to the homeland as well as sending a number of militarist hardliners to serve in Manchukuo instead. By arranging for a number of younger and more revolutionary minded officers to be promoted, you will also gain three very loyal and reasonably capable Generals who will definitely serve on your side in the unlikely event that a civil war should break out.

In the next step, you trigger a civil war.

Here, the decision to send the militarists to Manchukuo is both a blessing and a curse, as the Japanese holdings in China are taken over by loyalist troops - who are nonetheless unable to interfere in the civil war in the homelands. Once you have secured the Home Islands, you face another problem: The Emperor has been the foundation of Japan’s political system for thousands of years, and you have just deposed him. Your government has very little legitimacy in the eyes of the people, so you will have to rebuild their trust and stabilize the country. Only then can you go over to the Asian mainland and eradicate the pest of militarism before making common cause with either the Soviets or the Chinese Communists.

Capture_rivalry.JPG


The Japanese military was famous for the poor relations between the Imperial Army and the Imperial Navy (for example, it took the Navy until 1943 to confess that the Battle of Midway hadn’t gone exactly as planned and had in fact included a minor setback). In the game, this is represented by a number of decisions about the prioritization of resources and resolving conflicts between the two parties. Each decision affects a national spirit representing the balance of power between Army and Navy, which affects things like factory output and dockyard construction speed.

Capture_bicycles.JPG


Finally, as part of the rework, we decided to give Japan a bit more flavor by adding two units that are currently unique to Japan: Bicycle Battalions and Torpedo Cruisers. The former are about what you’d expect: infantry mounted on bicycles move a little faster than regular infantry but require some more resources. Although they are currently restricted to just Japan, they might end up being accessible for the rest of the world if we can find a place to put them in the tech tree. The Torpedo Cruisers were a fad in the Japanese Navy, who refitted a number of light cruisers with no less than 40 torpedo tubes (20 per broadside). Together with the Japanese bonuses to torpedo range, they can become a very terrifying force on the high seas - if you can manage to lure the enemy into a decisive surface battle.

Capture_torpedo.JPG


In the process, we also fixed a small issue that pestered some fans of Japanese aviation:

Capture_aircraft.JPG


Similar to the German focus tree, parts of the new focus tree will be part of the Waking the Tiger DLC. While most of the new focuses are free, the communist and democratic branches of the political part will be paid.

We will continue to rework vanilla focus trees in future DLCs (assuming, of course, that this meets with approval from the community), with an eye to which countries make sense with the overall theme of that DLC (for example, reworking the Soviet Union doesn’t really fit into a naval-focused DLC). Expect further updates on future plans after the release of Waking the Tiger.

DLC focus trees will see occasional updates when necessary to accommodate new mechanics (for example, Hungary now inherits Austria’s generals if they manage to form Austria-Hungary) but probably won’t see major reworks.

That is all for today. Tune in next week, when we open up Bag of Tricks #3. There is no World War Wednesday stream today, but it will be returning next week as normal.

Rejected Titles for this dev diary:

It’s pronounced YA-PAN

Glorious Nippon Focus Tree folded 1000 times

We’re not making this focus tree because we like you or anything

While you were waiting for dev diaries, we studied the blade

This focus tree makes our hearts go doki-doki

Girls und Schwerpunktbäume

Basically Sengoku 2

The Emperor demands Focus Trees

That wasn’t even the Focus Tree’s final form

FIXED: Japan’s Focus Tree no longer a Shameful Display

Samurai Communists are the best Communists

No Kaiju were harmed in the making of this Focus Tree

Japan 2.0

Japan Digital Remastered Edition

Japan HD Edition

Japan: Online Tactics Advanced
 
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Archangel85

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@Archangel85
question: does that mean that the bicycle troops other nations used are not going to get their bicycles? Everyone deserves bicycle troops :p
Like I said, now that we have them I can see us using them in different places.

Question: how modable is the surrender feature japan has?
It is very trivial. We have a way to set the surrender progress needed for a country to surrender (mostly to make France surrender on time in historical mode). This decision simply sets the surrender progress needed for surrender to 0%, so Japan will instantly surrender.
 

Archangel85

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So the pearl harbor-strike is a decision now I suppose. No more 2½ months warning, that seams a but unfair doesn't it? Every war should come with a 2 month warning, it would be immoral otherwise.
I would argue that Pearl harbour is the exception that proves the rule.
 

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The problem with the air tech tree is the link between land based and carrier based aircraft. The US Navy contracted separate aircraft for carriers and naval attack from suppliers. The Dauntless dive bomber is a prime example of these separate contracts. The US Army Air Corps did not have Dauntlesses in its inventory. The fighters used by the two were also totally different. The war department (Army) and the Naval Department were cabinet level posts with a Secretary of War and a Secretary of the Navy. They contracted separately. If you are going to change the air tech tree please consider changing all the air tech trees to reflect reality.
I would love to have different branches for navalized versions of land-based planes (Seafires, Me 109T) and purpose-built carrier planes (Zero, Wildcat). We shall see.
 

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Would you be so kind as to give us an example as to how Japanese troops would perform worse exclusively against Chinese troops? I'm rather curious as to the type of modifier/debuff someone playing Japan could expect to have (numbers being subject to change, of course).

Also, would the "range focus" simply award air experience which a player could then choose to invest or would it give (all or some) Japanese aircraft a range modifier?
It unlocks a design company that adds significant range.

I have to ask, will japan still be able to demand french indochina? I just do not see it on the new national focus tree, or is it a decision now?

I was just curious about it.
Decision.
 

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Just techrush nuclear weapon and bomb japan twice, it seams a bit of a gamey solution.
You still need air superiority over Japan. Which means fighters in range. Which means a base in range or a lot of carriers.
 

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Hmm, interesting.

Have you seen one of the mods that I made ? It has the carrier planes on their own research branch, separate from the land based aircraft, and navalised land-based aircraft could be implemented as sub-techs. I had them as carrier light fighters, a separate unit type to regular carrier fighters - representing that the UK operated Sea Hurricanes and Seafires alongside the Fulmars and Fireflys.

the problem with introducing new aircraft for carriers is that the carrier air wing default composition is 50/50 fighter/bomber, and not yet modifiable by tech or doctrine. Could this be changed ?
Well, I would simply make them carrier fighters with different stats.
 

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Does this mean you're changing around the Japanese cores? Because right now those islands Japan acquired in WWI are considered core territory.
Yes. It also helps with the industry focuses since you'll no longer build factories on some godforsaken Island in the South Pacific (funny though that was)

It's rather egregious that the Japanese unconditional surrender only really cares about how often mainland Japan has been nuked. The loss of Manchuria should, at the very least, be a requirement to take the decision. Soviet entry into the war propelled Japan to surrender more-so than the nuclear strikes.
Those are fair points made in this thread and we'll take another look at the requirements. I still think that the idea that one can just rush nukes is a bit overblown. Yes, you can probably game stuff but a) not in Multiplayer with a human Japan (and why should I care if you decide to game yourself in singleplayer?) and b) you essentially have to set up your game from day one to game the surrender of Japan.

is 'fate of the imperial family' a focus that gives you a pop up event choice about their fate, or a set result?
Event.

Will there be:
1. Banzai charge feature?
2. Kwantung 701st special unit?
3. IJA 23rd infantry division near Mongolian border for Khalkhiin-Gol incident in 1939?
4. Unrest in Outer Mongolia against communist regime backed by Inner Mongolians and Japanese Kwantung Army Intelligence Service and create Outer Mongolian japanese puppet in parallel to Mengkukuo and Manchukuo?
5. Kwantung army special elite units, divisions such as 7th and 23rd infantry divisions will be featured?
6. in 1939 at Khalkhiin gol, there were the largest ever Air Battles at easternmost Mongolian border between Soviet and Japanese Air Forces whoses number of aircrafts reached sometimes 1000 per battle. Will there be such concentration of aircrafts and air battle events whose outcomes give you air experience and bunch of ace pilots?
7. Nanjin massacre, that makes unite Chinese factions and worldwide infamy to Japanese Empire?
1. Already in the game as a special tactic for the Japanese. Some Japanese Generals also get a special trait (Samurai Lineage) that makes them more likely to use it. Japan also gets the "Desperate Defense" Command Ability at a lower cost if they research the right focuses.
2. We have no systems in place to simulate biological warfare and in any event that unit strays a bit too close to our "no Warcrimes" Policy.
3. We're working on using the new Border Conflict mechanic to represent Kalkin Gol a bit better.
4. Not at the moment
5. Not as such
6. See 3
7. No
 

Archangel85

Oberbefehlshaber, Content Design, HoI4
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Jan 27, 2005
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Does that mean that you can fully annex Japan as China if you kick them out Korea and Manchuria? Even if you have not the means of invading the Japanese islands?
It would be more logical if states from the Japanese islands could not be taken in the peace conference if such decision is taken by Japan and accepted by the winning side (e.g Nat China). Although I don't know if this would be possible with the current peace conference system.
We might just replace the surrender with an event for the Chinese player, giving him the option to accept a peace in return for all Japanese mainland territories or continue to fight until the bitter end.