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    Let's Play Hearts of Iron III: Das Butt

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    Lurch
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    Let's Play Hearts of Iron III: Das Butt

    Post by Lurch on Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:52 pm


    Update #2
    Update #3
    Update #4
    Update #5
    Update #6
    Update #7
    Update #10

    So what is this?
    Hearts of Iron 3 is a WW2 strategy game by Paradox Interactive where you can play as any nation that existed at the time. While the game is weighted towards historical events there is nothing preventing you from going off the rails and doing strange things. While there are economic aspects they are all minimal and designed to purely supplement the military aspect.

    The scale of the game is large enough that the smallest military unit is the brigade, which is 3000 men for combat units (infantry, tanks) and 1000 for support (engineers, artillery). The map is divided into small 'provinces', which is where all combat, movement and building is resolved.

    A couple of key terms:
    Leadership: Leadership is used to research technologies, exert diplomatic influence, conduct espionage and train military officers. All of these are important to some degree, and as such Leadership is the one of the most important stats. Each nation has a base value and while various things can increase it as the game goes on, for the most part your starting value will determine your overall strategy.
    IC: Industrial capacity, which is also extremely important. It is used to build, upgrade, reinforce and supply every military unit in the game. It can also be used to build more ICs, infrastructure (increases unit movement speed in a province) and various bases and research facilities.
    Strength and Organization: Military units have a number of attributes but these two are the most prominent in game play. Strength is equal to the men in a brigade (3000 for combat, 1000 for support). Organization is based on a units base Organization, modified by technology and other factors. If Org is reduced to 1, the unit is forced to retreat. If Strength is reduced low enough, the unit may shatter, forcing it back to the capital where it has to be reinforced essentially from scratch. In both cases, if a unit has no supply line, the unit will surrender, which eliminates it from the game entirely. Forcing units to surrender is the most effective way of eliminating them, as strength will replenish as long as the unit is in supply and the nation has manpower remaining.

    There are a ton of other things but those will be explained as the game goes along.
    For now, we move onto... nation choice!

    A quick overview of the major nations:

    UK
    Pros: Huge empire, leader of the Allies, tons of resources, great technology, good Leadership and ICs, the strongest navy and a powerful air force, homeland is easily defended.
    Cons: Small army, a lot of overseas territory to defend, as leader of the Allies you have more responsibilities than most factions.
    Hail Brittania! Probably the most powerful of the Allied nations, the UK is practically invincible on the seas and is only rivalled in the air by the USA and the Germans. Like most western democracies, however, the UK is limited by peacetime restraints that vastly restrict her military abilities. As war looms closer, though, these penalties will shrink and eventually disappear.
    Nazi Germany
    Pros: Advanced and highly industrialized nation, leader of the Axis, great Leadership, low starting neutrality, and a mighty, fanatical army made even more powerful by their innovative usage of armor and combined arms. They do not start with the IC penalties that most other Europeans do.
    Cons: Only decent resources which means they will have to conquer or trade to fully utilize their great ICs, few allies, and powerful enemies.
    Score one for the bad guys! Germany is a fitting rival for the UK (and possibly Russia, if the historical route is followed), unrestrained by petty the concepts of sovereignty and international law. They are also one of the most interesting nations to play as, with an early war against Poland kicking off hostilities in Europe. However, they have few friends and a lot of border to defend.
    France
    Pros: Decent leadership and IC (nothing like the UK or Germany though), decent tech, good army and navy, Maginot line
    Cons: Low unity, will take the brunt of the (bigger, faster, stronger) Nazi war machine head on, potential for being surrounded
    Ah, France. The bastion of democracy in Europe. Unfortunately, they are in a bad position and will have to fight for their very existence against Hitler's goons. If that wasn't bad enough, if Nationalist Spain wins the Spanish Revolution, they might end up joining the Axis, forcing an already beleaguered France to fight a war on two opposite fronts, which is very, very bad.
    USA
    Pros: #1 in terms of leadership and IC, powerful (if outdated) navy, great industrial tech, unaligned to any faction in the beginning so there is a lot of room for variety (Axis USA, anyone?), isolated from conflict by two oceans, tons of time to build up.
    Cons: Smallish army, high neutrality and isolation mean they will go a long time without seeing action.
    America has the potential to be the strongest nation in the game. It's also boring as fuck for a long time. Don't choose this unless you want the first dozen updates consisting of me researching new techs and wondering what's happening in Europe.
    USSR
    Pros: Big as fuck, lots of resources, decent IC, terrain is shitty which means Germany will not have a fun time invading. Tons of manpower means that even though your troops are poorly equipped and trained, you'll have so many that it will hardly matter if tons of them die. Leader of the Comintern.
    Cons: Poor leadership for it's size, mediocre tech, some punishing events like the Officer Purge, will probably have to fight Germany, Comintern has very few members.
    The USSR has an interesting game ahead of it. The Winter War against Finland, a likely war against Germany later on, potential for expansion in Asia. This is offset by their relatively poor attributes as a nation.
    Italy and Japan
    Who gives a fuck?

    In addition the major players, you can play as any other nation. However, if you suggest something stupid like Luxembourg I will ignore it.

    The starting date will be January 1, 1936 (the earliest start date).
    Personally, I would suggest France, Germany or the UK, but it's up to you guys (there won't be a poll since there will be a number of decisions like this).
    So... who will it be?


    Last edited by Lurch on Mon Sep 05, 2011 8:04 pm; edited 8 times in total


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    Jordankainen

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    Re: Let's Play Hearts of Iron III: Das Butt

    Post by Jordankainen on Tue Aug 23, 2011 7:33 pm

    IS THIS LIKE A CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE?

    I choose you, USSR!

    Lurch
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    Re: Let's Play Hearts of Iron III: Das Butt

    Post by Lurch on Tue Aug 23, 2011 7:35 pm

    The Jesus wrote:IS THIS LIKE A CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE?
    Kinda


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    R31D L1GHTN1NG

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    Re: Let's Play Hearts of Iron III: Das Butt

    Post by R31D L1GHTN1NG on Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:46 pm

    Make the USSR take over the planet, and then we can all live in a glorious commie world.

    Congslop
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    Re: Let's Play Hearts of Iron III: Das Butt

    Post by Congslop on Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:07 pm

    I gotta go Germany, it makes the most sense as a starter.

    Lurch
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    Re: Let's Play Hearts of Iron III: Das Butt

    Post by Lurch on Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:40 pm

    2 USSR, 1 Germany so far. Whichever has the most by tomorrow afternoon wins.


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    Militia

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    Re: Let's Play Hearts of Iron III: Das Butt

    Post by Militia on Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:03 am

    GERMANY

    Lurch
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    Re: Let's Play Hearts of Iron III: Das Butt

    Post by Lurch on Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:06 pm

    Well, 2-2, if it's still tied in two hours I'll break it.


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    Congslop
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    Re: Let's Play Hearts of Iron III: Das Butt

    Post by Congslop on Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:22 pm

    God, get someone else on here!!

    Lurch
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    Re: Let's Play Hearts of Iron III: Das Butt

    Post by Lurch on Wed Aug 24, 2011 5:01 pm

    Still 2-2. I've decided to break the tie in favour of Germany, as it will make for a more interesting (and easier ) game.
    This first update will be very large, heavy on info and screenshots and light on gameplay, but if you don't know what's going on the game will be pretty boring, so bear with me.

    Before we start the game, however, we'll have a quick look at pre-game settings.

    The items on the left are the victory conditions. Since we control the Axis, we are able to determine what will win the game for the Axis. You can choose as many or as few conditions as you want, but the game will randomly add/prune the list until there are exactly 15 remaining. The default settings provide a decent challenge so we'll leave it as is.
    The list on the right is simply the game options. Difficulty affects whether or not you get bonuses or penalties; game mode is either "Normal" or "Arcade"; in Arcade mode, certain realism aspects like supply are removed for a quicker, simpler game. Again, we'll leave these at their default setting.
    The other five options are simply AI control toggles. These can be changed in-game and for now we'll leave them all at default.
    Also, if you're wondering why Germany has the flag of the German Empire and not the Nazi flag, it's due to quirky German laws forbidding the Swastika flag from being displayed in entertainment that is distributed in Germany.

    Now, let us gaze upon the Fatherland:

    "What the fuck is this?" you may be asking. Never fear, we shall go in for a closer look.

    Here is a closeup of the map. Right now we're looking at the heart of Germany (other nations are cloaked in Fog of War, preventing us from seeing anything other than geographical features and known fortifications)
    Each province has a name; the thicker lines indicate regional divisions. Regions have some strategical meaning but for the most part they are of secondary concern to the provinces themselves.
    1: This is Berlin (the name obscured by unit markers), our capital. Capitals are quite important, as a nation cannot be forced to surrender unless the capital and all victory points are taken (they can still willingly declare peace). The grey squares marked with "HQ" and cross boxes are unit indicators in the NATO format. HQ is a headquarters unit, necessary for proper unit functioning; a crossed box is an infantry unit; an oval is armour.
    2: Schwiebus has a number of features; the two Xs and triangles indicates fortifications in the provinces; the little gun-looking thing indicates anti-air defenses; the blue line is a river (attacking over rivers is much harder; for tanks it is nearly impossible without engineer support), and the thick dotted red line is a national border (in this case, the Polish border"
    3: This is the map mode bar. Each button displays the map in a different way. Very useful. Right now it's on the basic terrain view, which is nice enough to look at but not very useful for war. I'll go into more detail on each map mode as they are used.
    4: This bar has all the various important game functions and nationwide data on it. The numbers at the very top indicate the various resources and points you have. In order they are:
    Power, Metal, Rare Materials, Oil, ICs (wasted/base/effective), Supplies, Fuel, Money, Manpower, Diplomatic Points, Spies, Officer:Soldier ratio, Dissent and Unity. Whew. Power, metal and rare mats are used to fuel ICs at a ratio of 2:1:0.5 per IC point; if you don't have enough resources, your ICs go idle. Oil is converted into Fuel at a rate based on technology. Supplies are all the various things your troops need to fight; food, clothes, bullets, guns. Fuel is used by all "mechanized" units like armor or planes and is vital to their operation; no fuel and your beautiful tanks are just very large paperweights. Diplomatic points and spies are used for diplomacy and espionage (more on that later). Officer ratio is how much officers you have compared to the base needed for your army to function at normal levels; we have 140%, which is as high as it goes. This affects a LOT of military variables and is very important. Dissent and Unity are how the general populace feel about the nation; Germany at this point in time is feeling very unified with no meaningful dissent, which is good.
    5: These little icons are notifications that indicate something requires your attention. The green cog indicates we have points allocated to research that aren't being used; the red factory indicates our ICs are not fully used. We'll correct that in a bit.

    On to the diplomacy screen...

    Oooh boy, another screen full of info.
    The right side of the screen is dominated by the large triangle; this indicates the political leanings of all nations, with faction members at the points. If it's not blatantly obvious, the blue corner is the Allies, the red the Comintern, and the black the Axis. The closer a nation is to a corner, the more likely it is to join a faction.
    Above the triangle are the victory progress bars. The icons indicate who is a member, and the bars show how close that faction is to victory. Since some victory conditions include keeping your own territory, the bars are already partially filled. You can also see how alone we are. Crying or Very sad

    The left side of the screen contains a list of nations (with filters for continent/alliance/etc), diplomatic options, and historical decisions. The latter are rather important; they often give significant bonuses but have specific conditions to trigger. The Anschluss (annexation) of Austria, for example, gives the entirety of Austria to Germany as core provinces, but in order to trigger it Austria has to join the Axis, the Austrian NSDAP needs at least 40% support, and we have to reoccupy the demilitarized Rhineland (which we'll do soon).

    At this point we will simply enable Automate Trade, which causes the AI to attempt to balance resource deficits by trading away surplus resources.

    Now for production:

    A bit simpler than the last screen but no less important. This is where we build everything we need to win wars; units, fortifications, research facilities (if we choose to fuck around with nukes or rockets).

    On the left is the queue; all ongoing construction projects are listed along with their progress and estimated completion date. The three items being built aren't particularly useful but they're almost done so there's no point in cancelling them now. We can, however, use up that wasted IC and build some units. For now we'll build a few infantry divisions with artillery support, a couple of light armoured divisions, and some Close Air Support squadrons, which are excellent for attacking ground units.

    On the right is resources (same information as on the top bar) and the IC allocation sliders. Upgrades and Reinforcements indicate how many ICs are dedicated to upgrading and reinforcing troops; the former when new technology is researched, the latter when people start dying. Supplies are how much ICs are dedicated to producing supplies (obviously). Production is how many ICs go to the queue on the left. Consumer goods, finally, is how much of the nations industry is being used to keep the peons happy. Produce less than the listed amount and dissent goes up; produce more than needed, it goes down. Pretty simple. We'll change this from "Manual Control" to "Prioritize Production" so we won't have to keep adjusting it.

    Below the sliders are supply routes. Since Germany is a (mostly) contiguous land mass with no overseas colonies this is of minimal importance.

    Tech screen:

    Lots of numbers and shit but it's rather straightforward, actually.
    On the left is the research queue and leadership assignment, where we divide up those precious, precious leadership points. Germany will need to invest in all of those fields to some degree, so it's a good thing we have a lot of leadership. Each point of leadership can:
    - Research one technology
    - Produce one spy every 20 days
    - Produce 5 diplomatic points per day
    - Train 4 officers per day

    To the right are all the various techs. The tabs on the top divide them up; there's a lot of them. Techs either unlock new types of units, improve existing ones, or in the case of doctrines (the Land/Naval/Air tabs) affect broad aspects of military technology.
    At the bottom are the levels of practical and theoretical knowledge your country has in each field. Unlike technologies, these go up on their own (practical knowledge goes up as you build units and fight with them, theoretical goes up as you research related techs) but they also decay over time. Higher knowledge levels give minor but useful bonuses, so keeping them high is nice.

    For now, we'll put 5 leadership in spies, diplomacy and officer training, and research 13 techs with the remaining points.
    We'll research some basic things: infantry, artillery and tank upgrades, education (which gives more leadership, always a good choice), basic aircraft bombs, and Schwerpunkt doctrine, which will give our armoured divisions more morale (morale determines how fast a unit regenerates organization, which is very important). Since we only have 12.8 points for technology, the last one will research at 80% of normal speed, but that's fine.

    Time to look at the politics screen:

    On the left is the list of ministers and other head honchos. The Head of State is, unsurprisingly, our old buddy Adolf. You might recognize some of the other names as well. Each minister has a specific "type" that gives bonuses and sometimes penalties.
    On the right is the political structure of the nation; the NSDAP has a pretty solid majority and is unlikely to lose it.
    At the bottom are our laws, which can be changed to give more bonuses but with various causes. Germany's laws are already very close to being optimal for war, which is nice. Once we actually do go to war we can complete the process.

    Right now we'll reassign a couple of ministers; von Blomberg will be replaced as Foreign Minister by Hjalmar Schacht, who gives a +10% IC bonus. Minister of Security Frick will be replaced with Goebbels for a nice +5% leadership bonus. Army Chief von Fritsch will be replaced by the formerly mentioned von Blomberg (ministers can qualify for multiple positions) since he reduces supply consumption, useful when we're not at war. The rest are fine as they are.

    Spy vs. Spy

    The espionage screen covers all the various covert actions you can do. These can have some important effects but at the same time they're not as major as other factors, and the current settings are acceptable, so we'll leave it alone for the time being.

    The Theatres and Statistics tabs are mostly just for strategic information that isn't incredibly useful most of the time so I'll exclude screenshots to save space.


    Anyways, that's all of the big pile of information, so next update will include some real gameplay (and hopefully less giant screenshots).
    If anyone wants to suggest a change of plans, or wants more details about a game aspect, go ahead; main reason I'm doing this is so other people can participate.


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    Jordankainen

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    Re: Let's Play Hearts of Iron III: Das Butt

    Post by Jordankainen on Wed Aug 24, 2011 5:22 pm

    Huhh uhuhuhuh, Goebbels is a funny name

    Congslop
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    Re: Let's Play Hearts of Iron III: Das Butt

    Post by Congslop on Wed Aug 24, 2011 7:29 pm

    The giant screenshots cut off for me.

    Lurch
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    Re: Let's Play Hearts of Iron III: Das Butt

    Post by Lurch on Wed Aug 24, 2011 7:38 pm

    fuck

    That's probably because I have a widescreen monitor.
    try right-clicking->view image, that should show the full thing.


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    Congslop
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    Re: Let's Play Hearts of Iron III: Das Butt

    Post by Congslop on Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:45 pm

    Yup that works.

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    Re: Let's Play Hearts of Iron III: Das Butt

    Post by Congslop on Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:13 pm

    After reading that, my brain melted. So if you concentrate on technology, can you eventually use like 90's tech against Americans 40's tech or something like that?

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