HOI4 - Development Diary - September 23rd 2016

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podcat

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Hi everyone, with the release of Sunflower and a smaller hotfix it's time to start looking at the long game.

Some people here might have gotten Hearts of Iron IV as their first Paradox game, or are new around here, so I best explain what I mean with that. For us the release of a game is just the beginning, and we plan on improving it for as long as people are interested. Crusader Kings II has been out for over 4 years and just had its 11th expansion as an example. Always together with each expansion we also release a bigger patch, usually with a bunch of free features too. There are often smaller patches in between also, but the big stuff happens when we release expansions.

For Hearts of Iron that means the next step is an expansion combined with the next 1.3 patch we've named Torch. The name of the expansion is still secret but the core theme will be around allied cooperation and the commonwealth (but not limited to this). Long term (and honestly at this point it's mostly speculation), I plan the next expansion to focus on the core of the game - the land war, and after that perhaps naval or air focus. Those are just rough themes and not strict limitations and might change of course. The first expansion will be a bit heavier on content and flavor while the second is likely going to be slightly more code heavy. We will be talking details in future diaries, both about fixes, UI improvements and free or paid features.
For the Torch patch the top priority when it comes to AI development will be the island hopping campaign to make playing USA vs Japan more exciting. Expect a future diary on a roadmap for what parts of the game we feel work well, which could do with improvement and roughly in what order we consider priorities for these and ai improvements.
We aim to have expansion and 1.3 out before Christmas if all goes well :)

I hope you are all as excited as me to see where we will be going over the next years of development and growing HOI4 :)

Starting next week we are going to be doing dev diaries on Wednesdays instead. That means Wednesday will be HOI day with both the World War Wednesday stream (and expansion related streams in the future) and dev diary on the same day (Fridays are always hard to get the time to answer questions on so this will work better I think). Next week the topic will be the HOI4 dev team. Since release and patch development we have been reorganizing ourselves and I think it's important to present the team as it looks now.

p.s @Sideburnout apparently had a bunch of requests for a wallpaper for the Sunflower patch, so here goes! Both Debug Dog and Sergeant Console on an afternoon drive in the desert ;)

bark_wagon.png
 
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podcat

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@podcat, a quesiton about last weeks DD, you mentioned statistics and that 12% play MP. What does "play MP" mean? Spend a given time of their playtime in MP? Or do ppl count in those 12% if they even so much as started the Lounge? Becaues 12% seems a high number to me.
the percentage is for daily unique players playing MP. It moves around a bit as its daily, but sits roughly there
 
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podcat

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And this DLC will be included in the marshall ed. ? I can't wait for this.

season pass people will get it free yes

Are you planning to focus on MP balancing aswell (mainly focuses,tensions,forts) ? Lets face it the SP is too easy anyway, unless you give the AI massive pasive bonuses to production/research etc.
A few of those for sure. but I consider forts messing up SP balance too.

@podcat Any chance air force UI will arrive in 1.3? It is really, really tedious and inconvenient even with undmoded game having 3-5 times less airplanes than historical production.

Why did you decided to go for allies cooperation? AI Axis is still so weak, I can`t see how that is exciting game.

There was a lot of requests for it :) the Air management is one of those big things that didnt turn out as great as we imagined so you can be pretty sure its going to improve in the future. I dont think we will have time for any major changes to that in 1.3 though. Its more likely for expansion after that perhaps.
 
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podcat

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Those priorities sound spot-on from my angle (well, other than doing land before naval :p *).

there is a very good reason for that actually in the Grand Plan. Stuff that needs to be in to make future improvements possible. You'll understand when we show it next year for next expansion.

As a friendly "please don't forget about it", a lot of features in the game are still a bit hidden behind the UI - I don't need pop-ups, but it would be nice to know when an army had finished its offensive, or finished planning for one, or an air wing was getting mauled (or mauling), or all the other things that were mentioned the last time this came up. As has been noted before, and counter to the design goals, the lack of information presented through the UI means that in many instances the game does, in effect, play itself (and, at least from my perspective, in many situations where I'd much rather be involved).

improving UI and information to players is high prio and each major patch/expansion will improve that.
 
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podcat

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I have to say I was a bit skeptical with the game as so many Problems were reported in the beginning so I was waiting for sale and started my first game after the 1.2 patch and.... wow this game really was an amazing experience. I love what you did there how the game feels and Looks. I didn't recognize any bigger AI failure or anything. Can't say that the game was easy (I was France and got crushed by Germany and Italy) as many People say here on the Forum. But I mean These People are probably pretty good Players and I am not (not yet).

I am looking forward spending more time with the game and seeing more dlc and stuff.

Good Work, Respect!

Thanks :) I quoted your post to the team as well. Its really nice to hear positive things because as devs most of our contact will be bug reports or people with problems, so hearing from the guys without problems and just having a good time adds some much needed balance :)
 
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podcat

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Redo air mechanics so that wings over 100 planes are not penalized(having to micro thousands of planes in wings of 50-100 is only slightly decreased by absence of air bases), get rid of teleporting to far away air region, because you can`t set up your wings to intecept over Channel&Nederlands even with great radar, if Brits want to bomb Berlin, that is where you need to put your planes in, and once AI changes air region, you too, have to. Change air mechanics so short ranged planes are not automatically penalized in large air regions, ex, ex. Plenty of stuff to work on, hardly very simple.
yeah its a big one
 
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podcat

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Long term, I think the air mechanics could really use a 'paradigm shift' to where an air wing is handled like the ground force division -- that is, you use the "division planner" to put squadrons (battalions) in groups (columns), use the existing unit training interface to crank them out, and then such units are attached to the current battle plans just like the ground force divisions, and handle support/bombing/interception in the marked/assigned area/province(s) accordingly.
I dont necessarily disagree with that :)
 
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podcat

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Great game!
Possibly already discussed elsewhere, but I'll take the chance - I really, really, really miss the unit hierarchy from HoI3! Meaning I would like to group my divisions together into corps, possibly including a couple of artillery or other brigades, and maybe even some CAS, and then bunching the corps into armies and the armies into army groups... Having 100+ divisions just flat under one army group just isn't realistic. And I like realistic. Please?
I dont really care that much about what is realistic or not to be honest. At least its not a very good argument for doing something gameplay wise. I do think at least a 1 level heirarchy would add a lot to gameplay as well as realism though. Field marshals sittign at the same level as generals atm feels a bit messy and doesnt really make you care so much about their traits
 
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podcat

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Way to trigger half of your user base.
aww come on, I was aiming for at least 99% >;-D

Applause.

One request, please include a fix for the expeditionary manpower issue in 1.3. Losing your own manpower to replenish allied division losses really makes the expeditionary force feature sub-optimal to use.

yup
 
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podcat

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Can you tell us if you plan on adding more constraints to the NF system for the AI. Pretty much every game I play is in some way ruined because the AI took a war dec NF and used it despite being in no position to win that war.

Do report a bug with these with savegames and we can add checks, but you have to realize that to get any historical game AI must be forced to make stupid choices also or germany would never start ww2 and japan would never attack china or USA.

Wow, those are impressive numbers. When you first released this KPI, people here expected it to be share of users, who ever joined an MP session. 12% of DAU is very solid. Congratulations! @podcat Do you have comparable data from the EU4 launch (3 months after launch before first expansion?)

Sadly we have no metrics from back then I think. at least not ones I can read. MP play metrics on EU4 atm is about the same as HOI4.

- No Japan-USA war in the Pacific since Japan is only able to get destroyed in China and so never invades south-east Asia.
- Axis forces are quite weak yet.

You might be incredibly unlucky, but I see japan win in more than half my test games (being conservative here, its probably more around 70% tbh). I see germany beat soviets in roughly 50% of games and I havent seen them struggle before attacking soviets in weeks.
Are you basing this on the 1.2.1 patch?
 
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podcat

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Can we get any clarification on the scope of expansion to the land war? Like will the core combat mechanics get some more love?
For example: I advocated for Artillery to be powerful. But without ammunition use being a factor it can lead to wacky divisions for min maxing.

No, I was just hinting roughly at the next expansion to give you an idea for where we are going. Realistically we might be talking about this in late Q1 or such.
 
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podcat

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mods are probably very popular because of the bad state of the single player game

Thats not how the world works. Games that are good and people enjoy get mods. Bad games dont get mods in general.

Is the "Expansion Pass #1" on Steam, just the next DLC released, or does it cover other future DLCs as well? I couldn't immediately tell from Steam.

Thanks


Smiles

This is the relevant quote from the store page.
Expansion Pass #1
Includes the first 2 expansion and it’s related content, to an estimated value of $49.99.

Very nice, looking forward for the first expansion.

Are there going to be any cosmetic DLCs, lets say more 2d and 3d units? That would be very cool too.

future diaries will give more info on the expansion.

Out of curiosity, in those games where the Soviets lost, were they able to finish the focus to move industry to the Urals? Because from what I've seen, Germany usually is pretty good at grabbing one of the three provinces that the focus needs before they can finish it, and that cancels the focus if it is going, and locks the Soviets out of the focus that grants the free emergency forts around Moscow, making them even easier to beat.
not sure actually. from a balance perspective the optimum is that germany beats soviets (but not super easily)
- player plays soviet = tough opponent
- player plays germany = doesnt matter, its up to them
- player plays allies = tough opponent
- player plays japan = you can skip allying with them for more challenge, but you still have USA to deal with and germanys navy wont be very helpful
- player plays non-aligned minor somewhere = outcome doesnt matter as long as germany doesnt die early and war doesnt escalate
 
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I agree mostly, with some minor modifications.

I think most players tend to play Axis because they want to be the underdogs and want to see if they can change history, so they are looking for a tough Soviet.

From that standpoint you don't want to make Germany too powerful.

The Optimum balance IMHO is a Germany that has an early advantage so even when AI it can secure Europe reliably, but a Soviet that has super strong defensive positions / bonuses helping them survive around Moscow/Stalingrad as historical, and gets very strong around 42/43 industry wise (via LL or otherwise), so Players playing Germany/Italy/Japan get a challenge. And a USA that is a pretty much historical steamroller powerhouse endboss that's supposed to be more or less unbeatable in the air and on the seas making invasion of USA the final challange regardless of if you play Axis or Soviet.

Very much agree with this. While I enjoyed HoI3, it wasn't quite good enough to draw me into modding it. HoI4 has been (and my HoI4 playtime is now more than half my total HoI3 playtime, much, much more quickly than it got there with HoI3).



I've always preferred a 'historical' balance where players choose their challenge based on the nation, rather than trying to 'balance' everything (which, with the difficulty sliders, should be much easier for people to do if they want to go down a balanced playthrough path), but understand where you're coming from (and can always mod in the balance I prefer for my games). That said, as Alex posted, this is a bit of a soviet-focussed prospect. For people who want the historical challenge of playing Germany (not an unrealistic thing for someone to expect from a WW2 GSG), I wouldn't say that it doesn't matter.

ok, I might have worded it badly. As a german player you can strengthen Soviets if you want to make it harder. You can strengthen allies also. Historically soviet was very strong, its not compeltely implausible that they would have managed with much less help from allies on its own and if we make them (without sliders) strong enough to defend against germany in every run there isnt much incentive and fun playing UK & friends because you wont have to work very hard at it.
 
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