Hi and welcome to the second developer diary for East vs. West: A Hearts of Iron game!
Your country’s fate during the tumultuous years of the Cold War is all decided here, in your war room. In front of you, you have the large map of the entire world. This is where you can ponder your next move, where to build factories, move troops, where to seek allies or places to send under-cover operatives to.
If I had to summarize our goal for the map in East vs. West in one word it would be “authentic”. We strove to create a world map that looks like a map from an atlas, so that you will instantly recognize countries, regions, and provinces by their shape as well as their name.
Why is the quality of the map important? The map is where we make the Cold War come to life for you. And to be frank, to make a historical game, we must be pretty sure we have the basics straight, especially since you can lead any nation in the Post-World War II Era. We suspect that most players will, of course, like to start off as the big boys like the USA or USSR, but we also know that as a gamer, there isn’t anything more exciting than being the underdog and creating your own destiny.
We started with the blank contours of the continent, like the ones you will find here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller_cylindrical_projection
This is a common way of “projecting” the surface of our planet to a rectangle. Those familiar with Victoria II will recognize this, as well. This blank map had to be populated with the three administrative levels our game uses: countries, regions and provinces.
Country borders are well defined, so we populated our map with countries to start.African nations after the end of colonial era
Nations in turn are further divided into regions. Regions, as in real life, are administrative divisions that serve as the basis for the economic and the diplomatic system of the game. We based this division on real life administrative divisions that were in effect around 1990 and on contested areas during the periods. As regions (states, counties, cantons, etc.) have very different sizes (just compare the states Maryland (USA) to Texas (USA), or the Moscow Oblast (USSR) to Yamal-Nenets Oblast (USSR)), we had to merge or split some real life administrative regions to give some sense of consistency to how regions look. Still, we hope people will immediately recognize their country when looking at it on map.South American regions
Finally the lowest level of detail is the a province level, the level where most of you will engage with East vs West. Troops move on the province level, attacking, defending and outmaneuvering your opponents, using the terrain to their advantage. So with that primary purpose in mind, we decided that provinces would be roughly equal in size across the globe. For those of your that are curious about numbers, there are about 15,000 land provinces and 3k sea provinces. Provinces are not only battlegrounds, of course: your people live there, cultivating the fields, tending orchards or toiling in various mines. As such, provinces are equally important in the densely populated Indian coast, the resource rich Peruvian mountains or in the contested areas of the Middle East. All corners of the world have advantages and disadvantages, whether the fringes of the Sahara, the jungles of Central America or the rice fields of the Far East.
This beautiful map is more than an abstract projection of the surface of Earth on which we can place counters, buildings or targets for launching nuclear Armageddon. It is a testament to a timeline of events, from the recent past, many of which that bear the mark of history stretching back several hundred years.
Starting a grand campaign at the beginning of 1946 will bring you into a world just at the end of one of the greatest conflicts in human history, World War II. You will quickly notice the gains and losses of that war are still deeply ingrained in the minds of the people and are clearly visible on the map, as a testimony of the times. Nations are liberated and under occupation but there are also seeds of new nations ready to burst out of the ground ready to grow as independent, sovereign entities. These seeds were planted hundreds of years before, foreshadowing the decades of decolonization struggles that were to come. The struggle of ideas through this time left some nations divided, some reborn while others successfully unified. The basis for all of this and more is the map of East vs. West which faithfully serves both the past and the myriad of possibilities that the future would hold during the Cold War.Yugoslavian provinces
The Baltic States
I will see you on the battlefield!
Ádám (kunadam) Kastytis (Legolas)
Head of Map Team