HOI4 Dev Diary - 3 Year Anniversary!

HOI4 Dev Diary - 3 Year Anniversary!

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Hi everyone! On the 6th of June 3 years ago we released a little game called Hearts of Iron IV. Now obviously the 6th is tomorrow, but of course this is sweden’s national day, as well as being earmarked for recovery after the paradox summer party that’s happening tonight. So you get to enjoy my anniversary diary one day early :) But, before we get into all of that, first let’s talk about yesterday’s releases!

Yesterday we released the 1.7 ‘Hydra’ free update which brought the game to 64-bit as well as improvements to AI, front systems and convoys. See here for full patchlog. Together with this update we also release a Radio pack filled with new music as well as the Axis Armor Pack for your tanking pleasure :p We hope these prove popular because we have lots of ideas for future ones we would like to do if it goes well :)


Development
Most of the design was written during the summer of 2013 with me chilling out to documentaries and sipping beer in the sun. Back then we were a lot smaller and the whole original design doc is actually smaller than most expansion docs are now :D Actual development ramped up late 2013 and we actually showed off the game to journalists super early in Januari pdxcon 2014 for some initial feedback. At this point there was no ai, and 90% of mechanics did not do anything. My most vivid memory of it is explaining to Angry Joe how you could nuke the world as Hitler ;D That and Justin Bieber crashing a ferrari in the nearby neighborhood in miami…

I had a couple of goals with HOI4: I wanted a game that would be easier to get into for new players. I wanted a more high level experience focusing less on micromanagement of battle and more on the buildup and planning aspects of WW2 (it’s not very sexy, but in my mind WW2 was won by logistical planning and war production, not heroics). I wanted to dial back some of the complexity of HOI3 and bring back some of the lightness & freedom of HOI2 for players - to let them develop and personalize their countries more. I wanted to ramp up country specific flavor and bring back things like tech teams to a degree. I also wanted to make the best platform for modders we had ever done, because I always felt a bit sad that HOI3 never really had the modding community that HOI2 did.

A lot of these choices were based on experiences working on HOI3 and Vicky 2. Hearts of Iron III had focused very hard on the historical aspects, to a degree that it couldn't really handle small deviations and I wanted to make sure HOI4 could handle this as well as providing a historical experience.

Johan dug this up, which is my first pitch for roughly how I wanted to balance the focus on the new game:
upload_2019-6-5_13-48-58.png


Here was the first section guidelines for feature design I put down:
  • Accessibility. The game should not scare a new player. New target audience outside fans of previous games is people who enjoy CK2 and EU4, and are interested in WW2, it should not be harder to get into than those games necessarily.
  • If a feature doesn't show in an interface its not a feature
  • The effort spent on a feature should be proportional to the amount of player interaction it has. No interaction and its not a feature.
  • a feature should have a clear reinforcement loop in its feedback. eg: "see problem"->"do action to fix problem"->"see problem solved"
  • No AI control cop-outs. There shouldn't be any checkboxes saying "plz automate this". Then we would rather remove the feature.
  • Less complexity for complexity’s sake features while delivering the same or more flavor than before.
  • less micro, more macro decisions, but avoid very very long decisions such as stockpiling that player will always fail on the first time.
  • Prefer planning decisions rather than last-minute decisions. There are many things to keep track of in HOI and sometimes there is a lot of free time and sometimes there is a ton of stuff going on, so if we can make some of those decisions while its calm you get a much smoother workload for the player.
I feel like we mostly lived up to the initial goals in the end and the game launched to very good reviews and sales as well as a ton of new players joining us and the community growing over time.

We had 2 major struggles during development I would say and they together led to us having to delay the release quite a bit.

One was the battleplanner & AI. We went through quite a bunch of iterations on this one. The goal was always a system that assisted the player and would still need the player to go in and adjust things (no playing itself!), but finding the right balance between hand holding and automation was very hard. So were the exact controls. It was tough to find a solution where you could adjust stuff without pausing, and where orders wouldn't override the player too much. On the other hand the system was absolutely crucial for us to give the player the high level experience we wanted and the fantasy of drawing up plans for their units. We also did not think players would accept going back to HOI2 level province counts, which would have been required if it was all manual. It went through several iterations:
  1. A nation level planning tool where all armies were part of the same plan, and the player controller synchronization points (say the northern army group would come in at point X when the southern group had reached a certain point). This worked well… until we added an AI. At this point we realized that the plans needed to be able to adjust to changing circumstances a lot better. At this point plans were more like overlays also and did not follow units or change when enemies took provinces.
  2. We changed the system to adjust based on fronts and province changing. At this point you drew arrows rather than fronts, which felt great… but didnt work so well during unpaused play either, because you also needed to control the width of the fronts.
  3. The final iteration before launch was changing it so that you drew fronts rather than arrows. It felt a bit worse, but gave a lot better control.
The other tricky system was focus trees. We wanted a system to guide new players to what to do, and also use this system to steer the AI. it was also supposed to act partially like a tutorial for the first 2 years. We ended up with a system called “national goals” that kinda acted a bit like the current decisions, but with some more map interaction. The big problem was that it could only really show stuff one step ahead and it was really hard to get an idea for where you could take a nation. As a beginner it also wasn't exactly clear how anchlussing Austria would lead to wargoals on Poland in the end. We ripped this out and replaced it with what you now know as Focus Trees, and some ideas were later brought back with Decisions in Waking the Tiger.


The last 3 years
I suspect anyone reading this knows how Paradox works. We keep support our games over long time both with free updates and paid DLC where we try to strive for a 50/50 balance. This gives us the unique opportunity to rework and improve systems after release, and to adjust and grow the game based on feedback. Some of this feedback also comes from telemetry data which is invaluable because the HOI community is pretty much split right down the middle between historical gamers and ahistorical games, and of course also with a hardcore group of competitive MP players. So we gotto make sure we get the right picture and not just who is loudest :)

Let’s go through all the expansions up to now!

Together for Victory
TFV was our first expansion and we were still putting in a lot of work on bug fixing and balancing at this point so a lot of the free dev work went into that. The biggest feature it gave us was the new subject systems with autonomy levels, something we have been building on ever since. It fleshed out all the british subjects with focus trees, but didn’t go super deep into alt-history quite yet even though we were playing with it.

Death or Dishonor
For death and dishonor we focused on european minors, primarily on the axis side. This is when I think we really started to steer the game towards alt-history. We decided this DLC would be our test and we did pretty out-there stuff like reforming Austria-Hungary. Turns out people really liked these kind of focus trees and we decided from now on to focus on 50% history paths and 50% alt-history going forward. DoD also saw us do our first big revamp of a core mechanic as we changed up air warfare quite a bit.

Waking the Tiger
For Waking the Tiger we wanted to go big (perhaps too big :D). We wanted to flesh out armies and commanders so introduced more traits and the chain of command. We made new focus trees for most of asia and really focused on the China vs Japan conflict. It felt like a bit of a gamble at the time, because it’s simply less known here in the west than the rest of WW2.

Here we also started to revamp old core focus trees and doubled down on alt-history with paths for the Kaiser coming back to power in Germany (you guys loved this one!)

Man the Guns
For MTG the time had come for tackling naval warfare. We wanted this to be the first HOI game with actually decent sub warfare (a tough nut to crack!) as well as other engagements. It was a very ambitious project. Probably the toughest I have done, but I am proud and happy of what we accomplished. In hindsight we should have probably added a naval tutorial though. The original HOI4 never had one, so we didn’t really factor in making a fully new one, but naval warfare has now become just as important as the other two branches of war. On the nation side we revamped USA and UK and did a bit of an experiment with both Mexico and the Netherlands. Mexico because it didn’t really join, and Netherlands because it was defeated early, and was also quite small. I think the way we dealt with both worked out very well actually and shows that if a focus tree is good enough even a smaller power can be equally fun to play.

????
We are now starting development on the next expansion, which is still secret...

I asked on twitter if people had any questions on development, and (not) to my surprise most of it was asking about what is coming next (it’s still secret guys!). Here are a couple:

Q: What was the best tank (thank you mister @grekulf >_<)
It depends a bit on how you define the question. Technical capabilities? Do we factor in cost? Ease of production? I think the Panther is a really cool machine, but if you look at things from a strategic point of viewI think it's easy to say that the Soviet T-34 was the best tank. Technologically solid with sloped armor, mass producible and cost effective, and with a flexible chassi. Do feel free to argue with me in the comments though ;P

Q: Why are you facilitating HOI4 so much towards fast-paced alt-history competitive MP when the vast majority of your players play historical SP, like in previous HOI editions?
Actually, the majority do not play historically. Its fairly split along the middle and for several nations the alt-history paths are more popular than the historical. I think the great thing about HOI4’s design is that it can accommodate both playstyles, while say HOI3 only handled historical games.

As for MP, we do spend more effort on it than the player counts would warrant. There is a small percent of players that play at this level, but balance issues etc that they find are important both for single and multiplayer. Of course we can not always change things right away as the AI will need to also cope with the changes.

Q: Do you think officers should be represented like in HoI3? I know the game has buff/debuffs 'ideas' but I think it would better represent the realities for countries lacking in enough officers to effectively lead divisions. Even Germany struggled with org towards the end of WWII
Officers helped define nations a bit in HOI3. For those things we mostly have it covered with unique national spirits etc though. However, I do think they could exist in some form in HOI4 one day but it would definitely be another way. I was never really happy with how leadership worked in HOI3 and the tradeoffs you had to make were mostly no-brainers.

Q: Would it be possible that the historical events can be also listened through radio news in hoi4?
We have discussed the idea in the past actually. Its a cool idea. I feel like you might need to have alt-history ones as well to make sure it fits in as things change?

Q: When will you update the Soviet and France focus trees?
We’ve had a pretty steady pace to make sure we update the original trees over time. I think its a pretty safe bet to assume at least one gets updated in each major expansion. It has a lot to do with what other countries fit in with it and what the theme is rather than their importance at this point though.

Q: has there been thoughts about reserves and mobilization like there was in HOI3?
I am pretty happy with manpower laws for modelling this, so no current plans.

Q: I'd like a retrospective about Fuel and Command structure. Ppl rly wished for it b4 release, but got told would be better with Oil in production abstraction. Marketing-Lie, because no time for MtG Fuel System, or really convinced by it back then?
Not angry, just curious.

Definitely convinced to try them out. Both add a lot to the complexity of the game, but I think that its ok to move the boundaries a bit after the game has been out for a while and people have gotten comfortable. The way we solved the issues of fuel compared to HOI3, where it was kinda a solvable problem (so you just stockpile once and don't worry anymore), is worked around by having a limited stockpile you had to invest in to build up, and since its the only resource that behaves this way it does not totally change the need for constant resource access.

Q: What has been your favourite feature or expansion to work on?
Tough one. The last expansion always feel the best, so Man the Guns I guess with Death or Dishonor second ;D I am weird when it comes to features and usually have the most fun when I work on AI behind the scenes. If I gotto name one thing though it was probably Decisions from Waking the Tiger. I really felt like we lifted the concept up one more step compared to how we had done it in previous games. They are really cool and flexible now for doing all sorts of gameplay and reinforcement of focus trees.

Q: Will we ever see corps as an army unit in the game? Even just as a UI thing to keep army groups tidier?
You can collapse army groups if things get too much, but who knows, maybe? I don’t see us doing it for UI, but more for being able to place corp level assets on map or the like.

Q: when sweden unique focus tree .....
I’m not sure ya’ll are ready for how overpowered it would be >:-D

Q: What was the most difficult technical issue to overcome during HoI 4's development?
Definitely AI and battleplans. With performance as a second thing. The combination of realtime and such high complexity, and also being expected to be competitive 1-1 vs a player is a tough nut to crack. With most of the other Paradox games we balance vs the player by having AI gang up on them, but in HOI4 that's not really a thing because of the historical situation so we really need to focus on having the ai fight ok in a more fair situation. We probably spend about a month on tweaking AI balance on each expansion.

Q: Would you consider making next designers (air, tank) and what are your thoughts on naval designer, does it fitfull yours awaitings?
I think it ended up pretty cool! Some stuff ended up a little too complex compared to the initial intent though. I think doing it for Air makes a lot of sense as the plane type classifications we use feel a bit weird for modelling certain nations. Potentially for tanks also, although I think that it would need to be a bit simpler here.

Q: What do you think about the changing direction of Hoi. Originally it was a ww2 game but more and more it seems to focus on interwar diplomacy and politics (e.g the Mexican tree)
I went over some of this in the above 3 year development section. Basically I think its a natural progression if you want to support alt history and have nations who didn't join the war do so. HOi4 has always had two halves. Preparing and maneuvering for war and actually fighting the war.

Q: Did you ever consider going abit more in depth into the populations of the game? I feel like manpower and population are just a number when it should affect much more.
If you mean different cultures, no. It's a conscious choice. WW2 is pretty recent and can be a touchy subject without calling out specific population groups. If we are talking about other stuff then yeah probably eventually ;)

Q: Who in the team has got the most hours on the game, and how many is that?
Probably Daniel? He has something like 10,000h while I am just under 6000h.

Q: What was the most difficult game mechanic or system to rework since launch?
Naval warfare. It was in the least iterated state and the amount of balance and iteration was very heavy.

Q: Will you have a globe in Hoi5? Or is paradox really dedicated to that cylinder life?
The only game I could see benefit from a globe would be a cold war game honestly (for accurate missile distances). Globes have a lot of downsides, like not being able to see half the world etc. Maybe something like Imperator’s simulated half-globe camera though, I quite like that one after getting used to it.


What's next expansion about? :D
It’s a secret still!

Today we will also have an anniversary stream special with me and Daniel at 15:00 Stockholm time. I have managed to dig up an old pre-release version of the game for us, and we will be looking at that as well as talk about the last 3 years of development. Don’t miss it!

See you all next week!
 
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Indyclone77

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Can I get in a sneaky first post question and ask why Rod Hull for Non-Aligned Australia Easter Egg and yet not do a true great like Harry Corbett and Sooty for a Non-Aligned UK? ;)
 

kimidf

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you could add in the future to new generals for example eduard dietl, walter reichenau, Nikolas Von Falknhehorst and nagumo etc.
 

Voigt

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  • Accessibility. The game should not scare a new player. New target audience outside fans of previous games is people who enjoy CK2 and EU4, and are interested in WW2, it should not be harder to get into than those games necessarily.
You got me there. I was a big fan of EU IV and CK2, but only was somewhat interested in WW2. I am still no fanatic, other wars are much more interesting. Never really played a WW2 Strategy Game before (beside Strategic Comannd: European Theater, which is borrowed from my local libary many years ago).

But right now HoI IV is my favourite Paradox game, probably only Victoria 3, atleast how I would envision it, would be better than HoI IV. :D

Because I watched quite a lout of dev streams and videos, read the dev diaries before the release, I got quite easily in HoI IV, seemed really easy even. (part was big problem of the ai right after release, now it is much better, although not perfect).

I even became a semi-regular competative 10 player + mulitplayer player.

Q: I'd like a retrospective about Fuel and Command structure. Ppl rly wished for it b4 release, but got told would be better with Oil in production abstraction. Marketing-Lie, because no time for MtG Fuel System, or really convinced by it back then?
Not angry, just curious.
Here I am not sure I got my question right on twitter, really hard to put it in 280 characters.
My question was: Before release many people critized some decisions you made while creating this game. For example that there was no Fuel, but instead Oil was used in the production of Equipment and Ships.
Back then in the discussions in the forum you defended your decision, and said something along the lines: It is a abstraction, which works better than we would implement fuel directly.

But then MtG got announced, and like you already teased around the time, you already thought for a while for implementing Fuel into the game, and go away from the decision of having Oil as a ressource for outright production.

So, back then before of the Release of HoI IV itself, were you really convinced that Oil as a production ressource would work better than a direct fuel system? Or was this more something like: We could create a satisfactory fuel system in time for release, so for marketing purposes, we say the Oil as production ressources would be a better idea, instead of saying outright even before the release of the game, that you aren't happy with the oil/fuel situation, and you will fix it in the future, but could take several years, before you get to it.

Because of the rather critical nature of this question, I want to emphasize, I am not angry whatever your reason was, this is just normal game development. I am just curious how the situation for you were back then. Similar to the position of: Commandstructure with Generals under Field Marshalls, and NATO Counters, which were all not planned for gamerelease (although NATO Counter came back before release, only the rest took more time).
 
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You could add a small discount bonus to the production of German armored vehicles in the future by advising the focus of the destination of Txcolosvaquia.

As it was historically, the Czech industry was vital to the German armored effort, especially when taking Skoda.
 

Telenil

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That was interesting to read :) Looking at your intentions when designing the game, I'd say you've reached them pretty well!
 

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Q: What was the best tank (thank you mister @grekulf >_<)
It depends a bit on how you define the question. Technical capabilities? Do we factor in cost? Ease of production? I think the Panther is a really cool machine, but if you look at things from a strategic point of viewI think it's easy to say that the Soviet T-34 was the best tank. Technologically solid with sloped armor, mass producible and cost effective, and with a flexible chassi. Do feel free to argue with me in the comments though ;P
You forgot one thing here, the T-34 is Soviet, the Panther is German. That can only mean the Panther is better.;)

And I have another argument!:D
Rightnow there's an axis armorpack, not a soviet armor pack. And youre not telling me you made the axis armorpack because the great Italian tanks needed 3d models.:p
 

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Usted podría agregar un espíritu de asesoría alemana, aconsejando el enfoque del destino de Txcolosvaquia, ¿qué le daría un pequeño descuento adicional a la producción de vehículos blindados alemanes en el futuro?

Como era históricamente, la industria checa fue vital para el esfuerzo blindado alemán, especialmente al tomar Skoda.
 

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Hi everyone! On the 6th of June 3 years ago we released a little game called Hearts of Iron IV. Now obviously the 6th is tomorrow, but of course this is sweden’s national day, as well as being earmarked for recovery after the paradox summer party that’s happening tonight. So you get to enjoy my anniversary diary one day early :) But, before we get into all of that, first let’s talk about yesterday’s releases!

Yesterday we released the 1.7 ‘Hydra’ free update which brought the game to 64-bit as well as improvements to AI, front systems and convoys. See here for full patchlog. Together with this update we also release a Radio pack filled with new music as well as the Axis Armor Pack for your tanking pleasure :p We hope these prove popular because we have lots of ideas for future ones we would like to do if it goes well :)


Development
Most of the design was written during the summer of 2013 with me chilling out to documentaries and sipping beer in the sun. Back then we were a lot smaller and the whole original design doc is actually smaller than most expansion docs are now :D Actual development ramped up late 2013 and we actually showed off the game to journalists super early in Januari pdxcon 2014 for some initial feedback. At this point there was no ai, and 90% of mechanics did not do anything. My most vivid memory of it is explaining to Angry Joe how you could nuke the world as Hitler ;D That and Justin Bieber crashing a ferrari in the nearby neighborhood in miami…

I had a couple of goals with HOI4: I wanted a game that would be easier to get into for new players. I wanted a more high level experience focusing less on micromanagement of battle and more on the buildup and planning aspects of WW2 (it’s not very sexy, but in my mind WW2 was won by logistical planning and war production, not heroics). I wanted to dial back some of the complexity of HOI3 and bring back some of the lightness & freedom of HOI2 for players - to let them develop and personalize their countries more. I wanted to ramp up country specific flavor and bring back things like tech teams to a degree. I also wanted to make the best platform for modders we had ever done, because I always felt a bit sad that HOI3 never really had the modding community that HOI2 did.

A lot of these choices were based on experiences working on HOI3 and Vicky 2. Hearts of Iron III had focused very hard on the historical aspects, to a degree that it couldn't really handle small deviations and I wanted to make sure HOI4 could handle this as well as providing a historical experience.

Johan dug this up, which is my first pitch for roughly how I wanted to balance the focus on the new game:
View attachment 487527

Here was the first section guidelines for feature design I put down:


I feel like we mostly lived up to the initial goals in the end and the game launched to very good reviews and sales as well as a ton of new players joining us and the community growing over time.

We had 2 major struggles during development I would say and they together led to us having to delay the release quite a bit.

One was the battleplanner & AI. We went through quite a bunch of iterations on this one. The goal was always a system that assisted the player and would still need the player to go in and adjust things (no playing itself!), but finding the right balance between hand holding and automation was very hard. So were the exact controls. It was tough to find a solution where you could adjust stuff without pausing, and where orders wouldn't override the player too much. On the other hand the system was absolutely crucial for us to give the player the high level experience we wanted and the fantasy of drawing up plans for their units. We also did not think players would accept going back to HOI2 level province counts, which would have been required if it was all manual. It went through several iterations:
  1. A nation level planning tool where all armies were part of the same plan, and the player controller synchronization points (say the northern army group would come in at point X when the southern group had reached a certain point). This worked well… until we added an AI. At this point we realized that the plans needed to be able to adjust to changing circumstances a lot better. At this point plans were more like overlays also and did not follow units or change when enemies took provinces.
  2. We changed the system to adjust based on fronts and province changing. At this point you drew arrows rather than fronts, which felt great… but didnt work so well during unpaused play either, because you also needed to control the width of the fronts.
  3. The final iteration before launch was changing it so that you drew fronts rather than arrows. It felt a bit worse, but gave a lot better control.
The other tricky system was focus trees. We wanted a system to guide new players to what to do, and also use this system to steer the AI. it was also supposed to act partially like a tutorial for the first 2 years. We ended up with a system called “national goals” that kinda acted a bit like the current decisions, but with some more map interaction. The big problem was that it could only really show stuff one step ahead and it was really hard to get an idea for where you could take a nation. As a beginner it also wasn't exactly clear how anchlussing Austria would lead to wargoals on Poland in the end. We ripped this out and replaced it with what you now know as Focus Trees, and some ideas were later brought back with Decisions in Waking the Tiger.


The last 3 years
I suspect anyone reading this knows how Paradox works. We keep support our games over long time both with free updates and paid DLC where we try to strive for a 50/50 balance. This gives us the unique opportunity to rework and improve systems after release, and to adjust and grow the game based on feedback. Some of this feedback also comes from telemetry data which is invaluable because the HOI community is pretty much split right down the middle between historical gamers and ahistorical games, and of course also with a hardcore group of competitive MP players. So we gotto make sure we get the right picture and not just who is loudest :)

Let’s go through all the expansions up to now!

Together for Victory
TFV was our first expansion and we were still putting in a lot of work on bug fixing and balancing at this point so a lot of the free dev work went into that. The biggest feature it gave us was the new subject systems with autonomy levels, something we have been building on ever since. It fleshed out all the british subjects with focus trees, but didn’t go super deep into alt-history quite yet even though we were playing with it.

Death or Dishonor
For death and dishonor we focused on european minors, primarily on the axis side. This is when I think we really started to steer the game towards alt-history. We decided this DLC would be our test and we did pretty out-there stuff like reforming Austria-Hungary. Turns out people really liked these kind of focus trees and we decided from now on to focus on 50% history paths and 50% alt-history going forward. DoD also saw us do our first big revamp of a core mechanic as we changed up air warfare quite a bit.

Waking the Tiger
For Waking the Tiger we wanted to go big (perhaps too big :D). We wanted to flesh out armies and commanders so introduced more traits and the chain of command. We made new focus trees for most of asia and really focused on the China vs Japan conflict. It felt like a bit of a gamble at the time, because it’s simply less known here in the west than the rest of WW2.

Here we also started to revamp old core focus trees and doubled down on alt-history with paths for the Kaiser coming back to power in Germany (you guys loved this one!)

Man the Guns
For MTG the time had come for tackling naval warfare. We wanted this to be the first HOI game with actually decent sub warfare (a tough nut to crack!) as well as other engagements. It was a very ambitious project. Probably the toughest I have done, but I am proud and happy of what we accomplished. In hindsight we should have probably added a naval tutorial though. The original HOI4 never had one, so we didn’t really factor in making a fully new one, but naval warfare has now become just as important as the other two branches of war. On the nation side we revamped USA and UK and did a bit of an experiment with both Mexico and the Netherlands. Mexico because it didn’t really join, and Netherlands because it was defeated early, and was also quite small. I think the way we dealt with both worked out very well actually and shows that if a focus tree is good enough even a smaller power can be equally fun to play.

????
We are now starting development on the next expansion, which is still secret...

I asked on twitter if people had any questions on development, and (not) to my surprise most of it was asking about what is coming next (it’s still secret guys!). Here are a couple:

Q: What was the best tank (thank you mister @grekulf >_<)
It depends a bit on how you define the question. Technical capabilities? Do we factor in cost? Ease of production? I think the Panther is a really cool machine, but if you look at things from a strategic point of viewI think it's easy to say that the Soviet T-34 was the best tank. Technologically solid with sloped armor, mass producible and cost effective, and with a flexible chassi. Do feel free to argue with me in the comments though ;P

Q: Why are you facilitating HOI4 so much towards fast-paced alt-history competitive MP when the vast majority of your players play historical SP, like in previous HOI editions?
Actually, the majority do not play historically. Its fairly split along the middle and for several nations the alt-history paths are more popular than the historical. I think the great thing about HOI4’s design is that it can accommodate both playstyles, while say HOI3 only handled historical games.

As for MP, we do spend more effort on it than the player counts would warrant. There is a small percent of players that play at this level, but balance issues etc that they find are important both for single and multiplayer. Of course we can not always change things right away as the AI will need to also cope with the changes.

Q: Do you think officers should be represented like in HoI3? I know the game has buff/debuffs 'ideas' but I think it would better represent the realities for countries lacking in enough officers to effectively lead divisions. Even Germany struggled with org towards the end of WWII
Officers helped define nations a bit in HOI3. For those things we mostly have it covered with unique national spirits etc though. However, I do think they could exist in some form in HOI4 one day but it would definitely be another way. I was never really happy with how leadership worked in HOI3 and the tradeoffs you had to make were mostly no-brainers.

Q: Would it be possible that the historical events can be also listened through radio news in hoi4?
We have discussed the idea in the past actually. Its a cool idea. I feel like you might need to have alt-history ones as well to make sure it fits in as things change?

Q: When will you update the Soviet and France focus trees?
We’ve had a pretty steady pace to make sure we update the original trees over time. I think its a pretty safe bet to assume at least one gets updated in each major expansion. It has a lot to do with what other countries fit in with it and what the theme is rather than their importance at this point though.

Q: has there been thoughts about reserves and mobilization like there was in HOI3?
I am pretty happy with manpower laws for modelling this, so no current plans.

Q: I'd like a retrospective about Fuel and Command structure. Ppl rly wished for it b4 release, but got told would be better with Oil in production abstraction. Marketing-Lie, because no time for MtG Fuel System, or really convinced by it back then?
Not angry, just curious.

Definitely convinced to try them out. Both add a lot to the complexity of the game, but I think that its ok to move the boundaries a bit after the game has been out for a while and people have gotten comfortable. The way we solved the issues of fuel compared to HOI3, where it was kinda a solvable problem (so you just stockpile once and don't worry anymore), is worked around by having a limited stockpile you had to invest in to build up, and since its the only resource that behaves this way it does not totally change the need for constant resource access.

Q: What has been your favourite feature or expansion to work on?
Tough one. The last expansion always feel the best, so Man the Guns I guess with Death or Dishonor second ;D I am weird when it comes to features and usually have the most fun when I work on AI behind the scenes. If I gotto name one thing though it was probably Decisions from Waking the Tiger. I really felt like we lifted the concept up one more step compared to how we had done it in previous games. They are really cool and flexible now for doing all sorts of gameplay and reinforcement of focus trees.

Q: Will we ever see corps as an army unit in the game? Even just as a UI thing to keep army groups tidier?
You can collapse army groups if things get too much, but who knows, maybe? I don’t see us doing it for UI, but more for being able to place corp level assets on map or the like.

Q: when sweden unique focus tree .....
I’m not sure ya’ll are ready for how overpowered it would be >:-D

Q: What was the most difficult technical issue to overcome during HoI 4's development?
Definitely AI and battleplans. With performance as a second thing. The combination of realtime and such high complexity, and also being expected to be competitive 1-1 vs a player is a tough nut to crack. With most of the other Paradox games we balance vs the player by having AI gang up on them, but in HOI4 that's not really a thing because of the historical situation so we really need to focus on having the ai fight ok in a more fair situation. We probably spend about a month on tweaking AI balance on each expansion.

Q: Would you consider making next designers (air, tank) and what are your thoughts on naval designer, does it fitfull yours awaitings?
I think it ended up pretty cool! Some stuff ended up a little too complex compared to the initial intent though. I think doing it for Air makes a lot of sense as the plane type classifications we use feel a bit weird for modelling certain nations. Potentially for tanks also, although I think that it would need to be a bit simpler here.

Q: What do you think about the changing direction of Hoi. Originally it was a ww2 game but more and more it seems to focus on interwar diplomacy and politics (e.g the Mexican tree)
I went over some of this in the above 3 year development section. Basically I think its a natural progression if you want to support alt history and have nations who didn't join the war do so. HOi4 has always had two halves. Preparing and maneuvering for war and actually fighting the war.

Q: Did you ever consider going abit more in depth into the populations of the game? I feel like manpower and population are just a number when it should affect much more.
If you mean different cultures, no. It's a conscious choice. WW2 is pretty recent and can be a touchy subject without calling out specific population groups. If we are talking about other stuff then yeah probably eventually ;)

Q: Who in the team has got the most hours on the game, and how many is that?
Probably Daniel? He has something like 10,000h while I am just under 6000h.

Q: What was the most difficult game mechanic or system to rework since launch?
Naval warfare. It was in the least iterated state and the amount of balance and iteration was very heavy.

Q: Will you have a globe in Hoi5? Or is paradox really dedicated to that cylinder life?
The only game I could see benefit from a globe would be a cold war game honestly (for accurate missile distances). Globes have a lot of downsides, like not being able to see half the world etc. Maybe something like Imperator’s simulated half-globe camera though, I quite like that one after getting used to it.


What's next expansion about? :D
It’s a secret still!

Today we will also have an anniversary stream special with me and Daniel at 15:00 Stockholm time. I have managed to dig up an old pre-release version of the game for us, and we will be looking at that as well as talk about the last 3 years of development. Don’t miss it!

See you all next week!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY HOI4
 

Meglok

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@podcat
Congrats on the 3 year anniversary! That is a huge achievement and the fact that PDS is still supporting the game deserves our thanks. Enjoy the party, the team has definitely earned it.

Speaking of that support, will there be a 1.7.1 to clean up a few issues in 1.7.0 that didn't make the cut?
 

TheEisenPhedora

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Personally I think a tank designer is needed more than a plane designer. A 109 and a Hurricane having the same stats is nowhere near as egregious as the Matilda II being considered a light tank with the same stats as a panzer II. Even if it's just as simple as hull type, gun type and turret type (td's and spgs could made by not adding a turret) and that's it.
 

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That's so bs, you don't need to go back to hoi2 province count for manual control, look at the predecessor game hoi3! And I'd almost prefer hoi2 province count because at least then the individual provinces had depth and detail unlike the new and lazier state system!
 

Kriegsspieler

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@podcat
Speaking of that support, will there be a 1.7.1 to clean up a few issues in 1.7.0 that didn't make the cut?
Especially the bewildering bug with which armor gets loaded with BC and BB designs.
Congrats on getting to 3 years, podcat. As someone who has been around this game a long, long time, I can well appreciate how deeply you care that it strives for excellence.
 

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Personally I think a tank designer is needed more than a plane designer. A 109 and a Hurricane having the same stats is nowhere near as egregious as the Matilda II being considered a light tank with the same stats as a panzer II. Even if it's just as simple as hull type, gun type and turret type (td's and spgs could made by not adding a turret) and that's it.
One man turrets and mutli-turreted tank tech could be branching tech or something too. That way if you're France and you want to make a lot of tanks to match germany's numbers but don't have the manpower you can make one man turreted tanks. Sure a lot of the stats are worse but you need to save manpower whenever you can.
 

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You got me there. I was a big fan of EU IV and CK2, but only was somewhat interested in WW2. I am still no fanatic, other wars are much more interesting. Never really played a WW2 Strategy Game before (beside Strategic Comannd: European Theater, which is borrowed from my local libary many years ago).

But right now HoI IV is my favourite Paradox game, probably only Victoria 3, atleast how I would envision it, would be better than HoI IV. :D

Because I watched quite a lout of dev streams and videos, read the dev diaries before the release, I got quite easily in HoI IV, seemed really easy even. (part was big problem of the ai right after release, now it is much better, although not perfect).

I even became a semi-regular competative 10 player + mulitplayer player.



Here I am not sure I got my question right on twitter, really hard to put it in 280 characters.
My question was: Before release many people critized some decisions you made while creating this game. For example that there was no Fuel, but instead Oil was used in the production of Equipment and Ships.
Back then in the discussions in the forum you defended your decision, and said something along the lines: It is a abstraction, which works better than we would implement fuel directly.

But then MtG got announced, and like you already teased around the time, you already thought for a while for implementing Fuel into the game, and go away from the decision of having Oil as a ressource for outright production.

So, back then before of the Release of HoI IV itself, were you really convinced that Oil as a production ressource would work better than a direct fuel system? Or was this more something like: We could create a satisfactory fuel system in time for release, so for marketing purposes, we say the Oil as production ressources would be a better idea, instead of saying outright even before the release of the game, that you aren't happy with the oil/fuel situation, and you will fix it in the future, but could take several years, before you get to it.

Because of the rather critical nature of this question, I want to emphasize, I am not angry whatever your reason was, this is just normal game development. I am just curious how the situation for you were back then. Similar to the position of: Commandstructure with Generals under Field Marshalls, and NATO Counters, which were all not planned for gamerelease (although NATO Counter came back before release, only the rest took more time).
It's more so that PDX tries to shloink out as much of your money with as little effort as possible. We still don't even have the resource storage system like in the prior hearts of iron games, probably will be another dlc.
 

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Especially the bewildering bug with which armor gets loaded with BC and BB designs.
Congrats on getting to 3 years, podcat. As someone who has been around this game a long, long time, I can well appreciate how deeply you care that it strives for excellence.
That would be one of them. @Louella reported it yesterday.
 

Olanov

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May 11, 2017
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It honestly feels longer than three years, but couldn't be more happier. Looking forward to how HOI can continue to grow. Congratz to the team. :)

Edit: Gotta love there's somebody respectfully disagreeing with a simple happy birthday post above. What a meanie. :D
 

Kriegsspieler

Field Marshal
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It's more so that PDX tries to shloink out as much of your money with as little effort as possible. We still don't even have the resource storage system like in the prior hearts of iron games, probably will be another dlc.
Anyone here know about fuel silos? :rolleyes:
The storage capacity for other resources was removed for HOI4 for a perfectly well known reason, which is that they made far too rich a treasure box when you captured a country's capital. I would be surprised to see them return anytime soon.

That would be one of them. @Louella reported it yesterday.
Indeed -- that's what I was indirectly referring to.
 

Calle

Second Lieutenant
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Jan 8, 2003
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Will we ever see armies that are somewhat close to what countries were able to field in ww2, and not 5-10 times that number? 150 UK divisions is not unusual. The same goes for planes...