HOI4 Dev Diary - 4th Anniversary
HoI4 Dev Diary - France Rework
Archangel85, Leading Content Designer HoI4
Bonjour! Today we will be talking about the upcoming rework of the French focus tree. At this point in development, not all the art is in, so some of the things you’ll see are still work in progress.
podcat, Oberkommando HOI4
Hi everyone! Thisweek is Hearts of Iron IVs 4th anniversary. I’ve got some cool data to share with you, new armor and radio packs as well as patch for you to celebrate! All of this releases tomorrow :)
A Look Back & Cool Numbers
We are well aware that the France Focus Tree currently in the game is perhaps not the worst of the remaining vanilla trees, but we believe that reworking France allows us to better integrate some of the new features coming in the upcoming DLC. For that reason we have decided to split “the French Experience” (™ pending) across three weeks. Today we cover the base tree, next week we will be looking at the reowrk of the resistance and occupation system, and in two weeks we return to take a look at Free France and Vichy.
It's crazy how Hearts of Iron keeps growing. I personally started with playing HOI2, and worked on HOI3 as a coder and game director on HOI4, and while people still call it a niche experience for WW2 buffs, it has also grown to be so much more (or us WW2 nerds are more numerous than we think :D). Around La Résistance release we clocked a new record on monthly players of 899k (the 1000 of you that didn't log in that month are responsible for my OCD flaring up!). HOI4 is quite unique in how stable the growth is. Most games that aren't multiplayer or the like usually has big dips between releases. I think the two big factors that keeps us so stable is the replayability as well as the amazing mods that keep updating giving people new stuff to play with continuously :) Here is what the curve has looked like over the years:
I also took a look at country popularity between the last year and the release year. These are the top 10 nations currently with comparison to 2016:
While the basic French Focus Tree was good, we wanted to improve on it a bit. Specifically, a France that survived past about 1941 would find itself entirely out of focuses, so the new focus tree would have to be deeper. In addition, we wanted to have a more accurate representation of the many issues that impacted French policy-making in the period, and to have decisions you make come back to haunt you (“Short-term solutions cause long-term problems”).
Most see relative reductions here because we have in general made a lot more nations playable with more focus trees and other improvements (in 2016 Poland had Hungary's spot while now its pushed below both Spain and Hungary). There are a couple of obvious increases who all seem to come from focus tree changes also :)
We also wanted to give proper representation to the unusual state of affairs that existed between the Vichy government and the Fighting French under de Gaulle, but you’ll have to wait for a bit longer to see just what we have in store for them.
The French tree as it is currently in the game represents fairly well what has become the unofficial focus tree design philosophy: Separate branches for industry, the armed forces, politics and alternate ideologies. So the base structure should still look familiar.
Allied Armor Pack
Tomorrow we also release the followup to last years Axis Armor Pack, this time for the allies. This includes 45 armored vehicles for USA, UK, France and Soviets. On top of this we also add in 32 tanks from the Colonel Edition for those nations also for a total of 77 :) This is one of the reasons that we stopped selling the Colonel Edition last month - it was making it messy to buy cosmetic packs and we didn't want to split stuff up further. To make sure previous colonel edition players don't feel like they get as much, and also because its been such a great year for HOI4, we will be giving the whole pack for free to all those who had the colonel edition. Enjoy!
The Industry branch has been expanded by a system that I, in all humility, consider to be pretty clever: the “Invest in…” focuses give you building slots in a number of states in the area, with later focuses adding factories into each of the states previously invested in. That means the longer you wait in pulling the trigger on the Colonial/Civilian/Military Industry focuses, the bigger the payoff - but it comes later in the game. If you take all the investment focuses, you can get a whopping 18 civilian factories and 14 military factories in just three focuses (numbers are, of course, absolutely, 100%, final and won’t ever be changed for any reason).
(the observant players may remember that there is some ships in the colonel edition also, people who have that will keep them but they are not included in this armor pack. We will sort those boat boys out in the future).
Below are some examples of vehicles included:
In the political sphere, we decided not to introduce a fully new gameplay mechanic for France when we already have a perfectly functional stability and war support system that works fairly well in representing the internal politics of the Third Republic. To put it simply, you will have to tread a narrow line between raising your stability by lowering your war support and raising your war support by lowering your stability. Should your stability drop below 25% for too long, a civil war breaks out. To make matters worse, you have to contend with far-right and far-left groups taking to the streets in anger if you make decisions that they disagree with, potentially lowering your stability even further. You can ban these groups - at a stability penalty depending on their relative popularity, which might be difficult to recover from.
The threat of civil war is removed when you go to war with another country, and the political violence stops if you can get stability above 70% but it returns if stability drops below 50% without political action being taken to remove the causes.
And if all that wasn’t enough, France suffers from rather significant issues with manpower. The gruelling losses of the Great War had demographic effects down the line - fewer Frenchmen meaning fewer children being born, meaning fewer men reaching military age some 20 years after the war ended. This is represented by a national spirit reducing your recruitable population factor. Simply increasing your recruitment laws won’t save you, since you are now pulling workers away from their workbenches, causing a severe production penalty. You will have different ways of dealing with this issue, but expanding the citizenship and encouraging immigration might not be welcomed by everyone (the timescale of the game means you can’t make up the shortfall through new family policies).
In better news, France will have a slightly bigger industrial base to play with to balance out these factors. The new diplomacy branch will also allow you to not just invite countries to the Little Entente, but to also invest in them and grant them some military factories, and later invite Britain and the Commonwealth to join your faction. It also allows you to exchange guarantees with the Soviets, or try to form a common faction with Italy. The so-called Stresa Front was already pretty much over and done in 1936, due to differences in opinion between Britain, France and Italy about the Italian-Ethopian border (mostly because Italy believed it shouldn’t exist). To revive that alliance, you’ll have to make some concessions and hand over some territory to Italy. If you can convince Britain to back you, it will make Italy even more likely to join you.
- ARL-V39坦克歼击车、“圣沙蒙”自行火炮版自行火炮、拉弗利W15（法军将其定义为“tank hunter tractor”，反坦克炮牵引车，游戏里可能直接作为轻型坦克歼击车）、雷诺UE57坦克歼击车
All ideologies get the option to intervene in the Spanish Civil War, but as you might expect for such a historically contentious topic, it comes with a stability penalty, which, in the worst case, can tip you over the edge into your own civil war.
Should you, for reasons passing understanding, not want to experience the historically accurate French experience, we have greatly deepened the alt-history focus trees. Starting with the formation of the Popular Front under Leon Blum (no relation), you can choose to invite the communists to the government (instead of simply having them tolerate you). From there you go on to implement more of the communist agenda, such as legal equality for women, economic centralization and propaganda to prepare the population for the inevitable revolution (we are, after all, talking about France). After you have forced the issue by essentially breaking up the temporary alliance with more moderate forces and having communists take power directly.
People seemed to like the radio addition last year, but this year we wanted to test something a bit different and more tied to gameplay. We have added 70 minutes of speeches from allied leaders and commanders, set them to music and trigger them based on ingame events. So for example when Japan declares war on USA you will be able to hear Roosevelt deliver his "a date which will live in infamy" speech.
Here is a sample using one of Churchill's more famous speeches to give you an feeling for how it will sound:
Its a great feeling when they kick in and adds some really nice historical flavor :) Note also that they are playable like any other tracks should you want to.
For this patch we wanted to focus on naval issues and improvements as we didn't touch that very much for La Résistance. To summarize the most important changes:
Naval tech rebalance
It's best to check the changelog for details here, but our goal has been to make tech investments into more efficient submarines more expensive and sub countering and investments into capital ships cheaper.
Convoys and stun-locking
A very annoying strategy in multiple and sometimes in SP has been being able to essentially stun lock an enemies transports of troops in place at sea by lots of small naval engagements with submarines. Even if well screened they still need to wait to retreat and then would get caught again and again, sometimes taking months to get across the atlantic. To deal with this we have increased there treat speed bonuses from being well screened and also implemented a cooldown system. This system will give transports a cooldown after being caught where they can not be re-spotted again. The length of it depends on the length of their path as well as how well screened they are. For an unscreened vessel they will be caught pretty quickly in more interceptions while a properly screene done can continue on until the invasion beach if its not too far.
Carriers and other naval changes
Carriers in the pacific really struggle with the large air zones and the weather penalties. It didn't make sense to us to apply the area size penalties to a mobile base with so few planes, so now any mission targeting a specific location (port strike, CAS etc) for planes stationed on a carrier will not have this penalty.
On top of this it didn't make sense to have carriers planes suffer a 100% penalty from bad weather when land based ones had a much smaller one. While I doubt any planes could take off during a really bad storm, it makes little sense when we only really have one level of weather here to make it so brutal, so this penalty has been reduced to 80%. We also felt that if the weather is truly this bad guns really should be struggling more than they do as well as doubled that penalty to 20% to close the gap.
Carriers now also help the fleet overall. The side with the carrier plane advantage in the battle will penalize positioning of the other side, similar a bit in spirit to the effects of air superiority on land. We also made light guns a bit worse and buffed targeting and power of bigger guns to try and strengthen mixed fleets. We have also increased t