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Fürstbischof

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my VIP:R naval mod

During the last weeks I've started to put the parts of my naval mod for VIP:R together. To give you more information about the changes which I've made I'll present them to you in a well known format: as a series of development diaries. These will be published in a loose order over the next weeks.

#1 * Re-introduction of the Armoured Cruisers
#2 * A new life for the heavy cruiser sprite
#3 * Improved conversion VIC-to-HOI
#4 * In favour of 'realistic' build times and costs
#5 * Seaside revisited
#6 * More flavour to your units
#7 * Potential additions to my mod
#8 * Russia and its (naval) unitnames
#9 * France and its (naval) unitnames
#10 * minor changes to graphics

EDIT: release is planned for VIP:R only atm, but once released I might add the modified vanilla files, too
 
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mod developer diary 1 - Re-introduction of the Armoured Cruisers

Although we've quite a lot of naval unit types in vanilla Victoria Revolutions, some warship types which played an important role during the naval arms races which happened during the latter stages of the nineteenth century and also during the first decades of the twentieth century are not portrayed properly or simply missing. Somewhat irritating is also the absence of the Jeune École which had so far reaching implications. Sadly, even VIP:R didn't touch this issue.

The starting point of my naval mod was therefore to re-introduce Armoured Cruisers to the game. Luckily this could be done quite easily, but it involved a lot of tweaking. What have I done? The starting point was, that the Monitor is only a very short time span available in the game, so that we'd easily do without it. My plan was to use the unittype monitor to represent the Ironclads instead, so that I'd re-use the unittype ironclad to represent the Protected Cruisers. The unittype cruiser would then represent the Small/Light/Scout Cruisers instead of the Protected Cruisers, while the unittype modern_cruiser (i.e. the former Light Cruiser) would be re-used to represent the Armoured Cruisers.

Armoured Cruisers will be available in the mid 1880s once you've researched the Blue or the Brown Water School; they'll be scrap iron once the first Battlecruisers will be introduced past 1905.
 
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mod developer diary 2 - A new life for the heavy cruiser sprite

Another motivation for this mod was to have more sprite variety in the late game. Many unittypes have their own sprites but some of the unittypes which have been added by Revolutions are using the same sprite. BCs being represented by light cruisers is not funny. Therefore I've decided to re-introduce the heavy cruiser sprite, which absence - being a fan of bebro's sprites - I heavily disliked.

sprites used by unittypes:

manowar.............manowar
frigate.............frigate
commerce_raider.....commerce_raider

monitor.............monitor
ironclad............ironclad
PC+CL...............cruiser
CA1+CA2.............cruiser
BC1+BC2.............cruiser

PDN.................PDN
DN+BB1+BB2..........BB
CV1+CV2+CV3.........BB
All unittypes which used the (light) cruiser sprite will now use the heavy cruiser sprite instead, while the cruiser sprite is solely be used by the unittype ironclad which is now used to represent the Protected Cruisers.

monitor.............ironclad
ironclad............PC, cruiser
PC..................CL, heavy cruiser
CL..................AC, heavy cruiser
CA1+CA2.............heavy cruiser
BC1+BC2.............heavy cruiser
It'd have been nice to assign the (light) cruiser sprite to the Light Cruisers, too. Neither are real battlecruiser sprites for the BCs possible since it's not allowed to modify the .exe file.

While using bebro's sprites you've to keep in mind, that you'll have to re-adjust your country.csv file so that you can actually see the special national naval sprites which he's created. I.e. you'll have to change its entry in the column 'coat' from MIN to their own tag. Once you've changed this, you'll see his new national sprites for FRA, GER, RUS & USA. (a revised country.csv file can be provided)
 
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Fürstbischof

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mod developer diary 3 - Improved conversion VIC-to-HOI

This is how the VIC-to-HOI-converter works:


PDN................BC1...!
BC1................BC2
BC2................BC3

DN.................BB1
BB1................BB2
BB2................BB3

CV1................CV1
CV2................CV2
CV3................CV3

ironclad...........---
PC.................CL1...!
CL.................CA1...!
CA1................CA2
CA2................CA3
As you can see, it doesn't drop the outdated Protected Cruisers during the conversion instead it makes them the first model of the Light Cruisers, while the true Light Cruisers are converted to the first model of the Heavy Cruisers... :( This issue is solved by reshuffling the unittypes which leads to using the unittype of the former Light Cruisers to represent the Armoured Cruisers, which are represented in HOI as the first model of the Heavy Cruisers. Since Protected Cruisers are now represented by the unittype ironclad they won't be converted any longer...


PDN................BC1...!
BC1................BC2
BC2................BC3

DN.................BB1
BB1................BB2
BB2................BB3

CV1................CV1
CV2................CV2
CV3................CV3

ironclad=PC........---
PC=CL..............CL1
CL=AC..............CA1
CA1................CA2
CA2................CA3
But tbh this fixes only two (naval) issues of the converter while several others still persist.

Although you can research improved submarines while playing Victoria from 1836 to 1935, the converter still gives all submarines model 0. To reduce the overall number of submarine flotillas in the game I'm considering to push back the start date of submarines to the first decade fo the 20th century. This seems appropriate since the introduction of reliable Diesel engines vastly improved their tactical/operative usefulness.

Testing has also revealed that the VIC-to-HOI-converter doesn't disregard old naval brigades instead all naval brigades (even corvettes!) end up as being DD1 in HOI2... :( Although I've some ideas how to counter this I won't promise that these will be included in the early versions of my mod.
 
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mod developer diary 4 - In favour of 'realistic' build times and costs

If you look more closely at build times and build costs of naval units you'll discover that these are rather schematic than modelled according to their capabilities, e.g. BC vs DN: gun_attack = 12 vs 20, visibility = 6 vs 10, detection = 2 vs 4, defence = 21 vs 30, supplyconsumption = 75 vs 125! Building a BC costs 50-80% of the resources which are needed to build a DN - and it requires also 20% less days to build.

Atm I'm tweaking the build costs of all naval units to make them appropriate to their actual size and historical build costs. To find a proper balance, especially re: build times, will require quite some play-testing once the first version of my mod is published. My plan is to use the build times of german capital ships as the basic buildtime for naval units which would be effectively lowered by events and technological breakthroughs via research. This should lead to effective build times which are - hopefully - similar to the build times of british capital ships.

In addition I've revised the number and types of goods which are needed for the construction of naval units. The size of the crew is represented by adding an appropriate manpower cost. Armoured capital ships require now also several units of iron or steel to represent their armour. But tbh I don't know if making naval units more expensive will do the trick to reduce the overall number of late-game capital ships. Adding a leadership cost should have an effect, too.

While doing some cross-reading I've also stumbled across the historical build time and costs of the Suez Canal, which are quite impressive: 10 years and 19 million Pound sterling. To reflect this I've have increased the costs of the event 'The Suez Canal' from 50000 to 190000. As you can see 100 pound sterling are represented as 1 pound sterling in the game - I've picked this rate up from the build costs of naval units of the VIP:R mod to be precise. All build costs of naval units are now using this rate; their build costs are based on the actual ('averaged') build costs of british naval units.

Looking more closely at the Panama Canal you can see that its build time (1881–89, 1904-14) and costs easily exceeded those of the Suez Canal: the United States spent 375 (or 386?) million U.S. dollar to finish the canal. By using the exchange rate of 1914 (1 Pound sterling = 4,86 U.S. dollar) the build costs of the event 'The Panama Canal' should rise from 100000 to 770000! If you keep in mind that the French had already spent 287 million U.S. dollar before the United States took the project over, the price should even be higher.
 

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To be honest, it'd be nice to have a full chain of events which are covering the history of these canals and not only their construction. If anyone is interested, feel free to do so. :)
 

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mod developer diary 5 - Seaside revisited

While adapting the scenario, event and ai files of AOD to the E3 map I'd made first plans to make playing with the new map more rewarding and enjoyable. Looking more closely at the locations of ports and also the layout of naval areas and regions was disappointing but nonetheless had inspired me to revise them step by step. The same I've done when I've started this mod. I've revised the location of many ports (and their respective sea zones) and removed a bunch of not so realistic ports. Roughly 300 ports have been moved or removed. Now you'll discover that Kiel is actually a baltic port while Plymouth is located in the English Channel. A new navaldist.tbl file will be provided.

While improving E3 map files I've also revised the names of (all) naval provinces, but tbh that was so time consuming that I haven't even thought about doing the same with the names of the Ricky naval provinces. However, should I discover a simple solution for the misnamed Tonga Islands & Samoa Islands I'll include that in a later version of my mod or as a fix for VIP:R 0.4. Btw, I've already prepared some sort of fix for the latest version of VIP:R. Ship names and locations of several great powers have seen some changes, too.
 
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mod developer diary 6 - More flavour to your units

The names of all land and naval units which you can build while playing the game are stored in the unitnames.csv file. The size of the file which has been used by vanilla Ricky is 60Kb. Although there are many names of ships included, the names of infantry and cavalry are entirely missing (exception: Belgium). This had inspired many gamers to participate in improving the unitnames.csv file. Their efforts culminated in the unitnames mod by Schnee0 (1625Kb), which was based in parts on the earlier mod by Guinnessmonkey (650Kb). Sadly, this fairly large mod was not ported to Ricky. Instead a new project by Gaius Marius I (192Kb) evolved, which was included in the VIP:R mod.

In addition to these mods I've heavily relied on wikipedia and the links provided by it.

To make playing with the reshuffled unittypes more worthwhile (your Armoured Cruisers should be named like their historical predecessors!) you'll also need a fully revised unitnames.csv file. Using the unitnames.csv file of vanilla Ricky was out of question. My starting point was to unify the existing unitnames mods by adapting them from vanilla Vicky to vanilla Ricky. Then I've started to compare them and added missing content from the others to a new unified file. While doing so I've also fixed typos and mispellings. Btw, I've also added long lists of names for transports and subs for many nations. Land units saw some major expansions, too.

Then I've started with the OOBs of the german minors and I'm also slowly reworking Germany, but it's not so easy to come up with an enlarged list of plausible ship names. The old lists are simply too short for the huge numbers of ships the ai can build or had simply copy-pasted the ship names over and over again which won't help you once you actually start building a navy. Looking at GER, I'm trying to follow the historical naming conventions (e.g. marshalls & admirals for ACs/BCs/CAs) but that requires a lot of research. (e.g. in search for proper german CV names I've checked the fighter aces of WW1 for their home town so that I'd assign them to their (german minor) nation which is also the basis for proper NGF & SGF CV names). I've significantly expanded the lists of light cruisers ('Town-class'), too.

I've toyed around with the russian army and navy. To find proper names for their battleships I've went all the way back to the navy created by Peter the Great. Knowing all used names allows you to identify those which have been reused again and again, so that you'd make a guess if it might have been used to name DNs or even modern BBs. Now you'd be able to build 240+ PDNs. The cyrillic script proved to be a tough nut but I hope that the chosen transliteration of the unitnames is acceptable for you.

Well, having a somewhat finalised version of the unitnames.csv file will take some time. My plan is to release a preliminary version of my naval mod for testing at the end of September.
 
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The_Unificator

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awesome, i will look foward to any future development, i love Ricky + Vip 0.4, is the perfect mix
 

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awesome, i will look foward to any future development, i love Ricky + Vip 0.4, is the perfect mix
Thanks. :)

I've indeed been thinking of some additional changes, which might also be included. Adding them will take quite a lot of time which - atm - is best spent finishing the mod as planned. But it might be a good idea to post them in one of my next DDs... ;)
 

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mod developer diary 7 - Potential additions to my mod

I was never really pleased with the role of the unittype "Commerce Raider" in the game. All early steamers (paddle/screw) were mostly improvised or slightly modified conventional sail vessels - their steam engine was simply an extra. Since there were also no major changes to their armament until the Crimean War we could simply remove the "Commerce Raider" from the game and instead keep the ship of the line and the frigate available until the introduction of the ironclad.

The invention of the Paixhans gun (1823) and the Dahlgren gun (1849) and the usage of explosive shells instead of solid shot marked a turning point in the history of naval warfare which was clearly demonstrated in the Battle of Sinop in 1853. The events of the Crimean War made unarmoured wooden sailing ships obsolete and led to the development of ironclad warships. The ship of the line was replaced by the armoured frigate (Gloire, launched 1859) while the frigate remained unarmoured but slowly transformed into the composite and later iron-hulled corvette. Therefore the unittype "Commerce Raider" could be re-used to represent these unprotected cruisers. (I haven't yet decided which date might be a good starting date for them)

Pushing the "Commerce Raider" two decades back leaves a gap which can be filled by re-using two of the other naval brigades. Newly built sailing ships could be upgraded before their construction by adding a steam engine as their brigade. Well, we've no unused brigades so I'd remove the minelayer brigade. Since this brigade and also the minesweeper brigade are converted into DDs by the VIC-to-HOI-converter it seems to be a good idea to get rid of them. The minesweeper brigade would also be available for ships of the line and instead be used to represent the additional fire power of the three-decker ships of the line. Frigates can also have this brigade to represent the purpose-built super-frigates (e.g. USS Constitution) or those ships of the line which have been razeed and then been used as heavy frigates. Both naval brigades would be obsolete with the invention of ironclad warships, although the new firepower brigade might be kept longer.

Would these changes be implemented it has some influence on how the ship names are organised in the unitnames.csv file. Names of historical wooden screw ships of the line and also wooden screw frigates would no longer be allowed to be used for the unittype "Commerce Raider" and would have to be added to their parent ship types, i.e. ships of the line and frigates. Nonetheless the names of historical wooden screw frigates would re-appear as replacement names for unprotected cruisers. In addition, all ai files have to be revisited and also supplemented by additional ai files with improved building priorities to make the ai fully aware of the new brigades.

Well, I won't promise that these changes will be implemented soon - or at all -, but since I've been tinkering for a long time with this idea ... ;)
 
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mod developer diary 8 - Russia and its (naval) unitnames

Over the last months I've spent quite a lot of time searching for russian ships and naval units. Besides wikipedia I'd to rely on several websites whose content was - not surpringly - mostly russian. Nonetheless I've gathered a lot of historical ship names which will be available for you once you start building a huge navy. Yes, you'll be surprised by the large number of historical ship names - Russia has a rich naval history and has built a lot of sailing ships. Each unit type starts with its historical ship names and then picks up the historical ship names of its predecessors. To avoid numerous double-entries in both groups I'd to assign several ship names to one of the groups.

Ship names are organised into two groups: the cruiser group and the battle line group. The battle line group also includes the Battlecruisers and the Aircraft Carriers as sub-groups, i.e. the early unit types share the same names while later the Battlecruisers will be split off. Very helpful for generating additional ship names for their BCs was the impressive military history of Russia and its abundance of military victories - on land and at sea. BCs will be named after victorious battles which have been removed from both lists (last usage for PDNs or PCs), i.e. once these old ships have been destroyed this name is exclusively used for your BCs hence the drop in numbers for Dreadnoughts. Carriers will borrow their names from the Battleships - and (not yet decided) maybe even from BCs. Armoured Cruisers will work similar: they start with their historical names and then continue with historical names of russian Cruisers.

the cruiser group

206.....frigate
322....."commerce raider"
348.....PC
348.....AC
367.....CL
376.....CA+
the battle line group

233.....manowar
248.....ironclad
277.....PDN
229.....DN
225.....DN+

165.....BC

225.....CVs
 
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mod developer diary 9 - France and its (naval) unitnames

Well, it's not very surprising that my research of the french navy and its history allowed my to add a lot of historical french ships. Luckily, looking for french ship names was easier than looking for russian ship names. wikipedia was again very helpful. Nonetheless the sheer number of french ships made the collection of names an interesting challenge. Just look at the numbers: the part of the french unitnames which deals with naval names expanded from 309 (VIP:R) to 9723 lines... :D Since RL also took its toll I've spent way more time finishing this part of my mod than originally anticipated. Not surprisingly the date for the release of the preliminary testing version has been pushed back several times...

Each unit type starts with its historical ship names and then picks up the historical ship names of its predecessors. Thanks to the large number of usable ship names you'll be able to build a huge navy. Similar to the russian unitnames the french ship names are organised into two groups: the cruiser group and the battle line group. To avoid numerous double-entries in both groups I've decided that BCs & Aircraft Carriers will simply follow the same naming patterns than Battleships. To counter this I've expanded the number of availabe ship names for PDNs+, BCs and CVs by adding historical french provinces (33) and a list of (the missing) former french kings (69). French Armoured Cruisers are an integral part of the cruiser group and they'll start with their historical names and then continue with historical names of french Frigates and Corvettes.

the cruiser group

338.......frigate
630......."commerce raider"
625.......PC
634.......AC
650.......CL
651/665...CA+
the battle line group

372.......manowar
426.......ironclad
500.......PDN
529.......DN
533/535...DN+

533/535...BC

492/533/542.....CVs
 
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Just posting as a proof of life. Sadly work has come almost to a halt for the last 3 months, RL was way too demanding. Nonetheless minor improvements are happening, mostly with regard to preparing a new hotfix for VIP:R 0.4! Before that I'd toyed around with some new load screens. Tbh, easier said than done. Atm looking for a new file hoster to show my first iteration.

The research for DAN and SWE is already done, compiling their lists would be the next step. GER is slighty ahead, but not finished. The german minors have seen quite a lot of additions, but are waiting for GER to finish. South America has got quite some attention, too. Looking more closely at the most important playable nations you'll discover that most of them have (almost) the same shipnames for each naval unittype, which in itself makes the re-introduction of the Armoured Cruisers to the game not easier. I.e. I'll have to revise all of their shipnames for every (well, at least the earlier ones) naval unittype, too! Therefore I'd spent also quite some time with USA, ITA and ENG for preliminary works.
 

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Just wanted to say that I appreciate the efforts to mod the game!
 

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Fürstbischof

Lt. General
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Jan 25, 2009
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Thanks for the support. :)

I've still not delivered yet, since another project deemed to be more important: the major part of my spare time went into fixing/improving VIP:R itself. Thus I'm able to release an un-official hotfix for VIP:R 0.4 soon. But I've done way more than that, including a revision of the config files and (the appearance of) the interface texts. Now you can also play in different languages. (well, theoretically) Seems to be a good idea to sum up my changes so that you can get an impression what I've done...