DevDiary 29 – Political View
Hello friends and welcome to the 29th DevDiary for “Knights of Honor II: Sovereign”! We were silent quite a while, but it was all for a good reason – thanks to the players that participate in the beta, we feel like we’ve made a great progress towards polishing and balancing the game the last few months.
Today we will talk about the Political View (PV) of KoH2:S, where you can quickly see the most important information on a grand scale, needed for making strategical choices – where to find the things you are looking for, who are your potential threats and allies, where to expand next, what are the problems in your kingdom and the region, etc.
If you have played the first game in the series or other grand-strategies, this feature will probably feel familiar – we have not tried to reinvent the wheel, but rather make it as convenient as possible. To do so, we’ve spent quite a while iterating on what the most useful modes will be, what should be included on them and what indications should be toggleable by players.
We’ve also had an additional goal – we wanted the Political View to be helpful and easy to use, but we didn’t want the players to spend too much time on it, as we felt that this will worsen their overall experience, robbing them from the beauty and atmosphere of the World View. Thus, we took the hard decision to limit the movement and attack commands of armies through PV and we added a possibility to have all those PV modes apply for the minimap as well, so that, combined with the minimap zooming feature, players can check out the most important things without even entering full-screen PV.
There are 12 different modes with custom legends to indicate what color-coding stands in each one:
- Kingdoms – This is the most basic mode; kingdoms have unique colors, so that players can easily see their overall territories and their provinces.
- Stances – This is probably the most important mode of all and a very convenient one to set for the minimap. It shows the stances of selected kingdoms – allies and enemies, sovereign or vassals, trade relations, royal ties, trade partners, non-aggression pacts, defensive pacts, invasion plans…
- Relations – Also a very useful PV mode, which does not so much show the current active agreements between the kingdoms, but indicates the potential of such. As relations have a huge impact on diplomacy, through this view future friends or foes can be found and with proper actions, friendships can be strengthened and wars avoided.
- Marriages – A simple mode, which helps players to find unmarried princes, princesses and kings, in order to try and arrange a royal marriage.
- Stability – Low stability in provinces and rebel presence are indicated in this mode, mainly helping players to quickly oversee the internal problems of their kingdoms, but also weaknesses in foreign ones.
- Trade zones – Trade centers and their zones are indicated here. Trade centers with larger zones can bring significant riches, so these are important to develop, protect, or, of course, conquer.
- Religion – In this mode the religions of kingdoms and provinces are simultaneously indicated. As differences in kingdom and province religion can cause a lot of local tension, it is important to quickly see provinces in and around your kingdom with such religious differences, so that you can convert, possibly “liberate” or culturally influence them. Kingdom religions also have considerable effect on diplomacy and opinions, so players might have а different approach to kingdoms, depending on their religion.
- Culture – Similarly to the previous mode, on this one provinces, that may turn out to be more or less problematic are indicated. As religions, cultures are also grouped into families and sub-families.
- Loyalty – Gaining the population’s loyalty in your kingdom’s provinces is a hard, but important process. Through high influence and some cleric actions, loyalty can be gained even in neighboring provinces, which in terms can ease conquest or even enable diplomatic claims over foreign lands. In this mode players can quickly see which provinces are obedient to the king and which would rather be ruled by another one.
- Province features – As resources are definitely among the most important reasons for conquest, this PV mode helps players to quickly find where they can get those precious settlements and resources they need for their planned buildings, upgrades and advantages. Color-coding in this and the subsequent two modes is always from the players’ perspective, marking in a different manner domestic and foreign provinces where specific features/goods/buildings are.
- Goods – Here is shown where a specific good is produced, and where it CAN be produced, potentially. As goods can be imported by merchants, this mode can quickly help players find trade partners, which produce the goods they need.
Buildings – Similarly to the previous mode, here is indicated where a selected building is constructed, as well as where it can be constructed. This, for example, can be used to find out which are the enemy’s main army recruitment provinces, which in terms might be a good objective to try and siege or overtake quickly in a beginning of a war, to slow down the enemy’s “war machine”.
Each mode can be viewed with Kingdom or Province labels. The elements, that can be visualized or hidden, are towns, battles and armies – kingdoms’ armies, rebels, crusaders and mercenaries, with or without their nameplates, containing additional information. This way players can customize “on the go” their PV indications the way that fits their playstyle the most – some may prefer more information indicated simultaneously, others may not be so fond of that and prefer to have a neater view. In both cases, hiding or showing specific elements when needed is just a button-click or hotkey-press away.
During the beta we’ve added a new feature – players can now not only configure which of the aforementioned elements is visible, but also whether they will be selectable. Some players prefer to select battles and armies from Political view and others prefer to stick only to the simpler province/kingdom selection, so we decided to leave that choice in your hands and let you configure the PV behavior for each element.
We’ll talk more about political view in our DevStream on Tuesday, October 4th, @ 3:00 PM BST / 11:00 AM EST and we’ll be happy if you can join in our conversation. We are easy to find on the map – the Twitch stream will be hosted on the THQ Nordic channel: http://twitch.tv/thqnordic and we’ll be grabbing responses from this post and playing the game live to show how Political View works in real-time!
Until next time, we bid thee farewell. Go forth and conquer!