Definitions

Enginering an Empire

Victoria: An Empire Under the Sun

Victoria: An Empire Under the Sun, also known as Victoria, is a real-time strategy game by Paradox Entertainment (now known as Paradox Interactive). It covers its namesake the Victorian period, specifically 1836-1920 and runs on a modified version of the Europa Universalis engine. The lead game programmer was Johan Andersson. The game was later ported to Macintosh by Virtual Programming

Unlike previous Paradox Games, which either focused on exploration and colonization (Europa Universalis) or warfare (Hearts of Iron), Victoria focuses on internal management, covering the industrialization and social/political changes in a country. The game itself gives a lot of importance to the economy of a country, having a complex market system which is described as being one of the best economic simulators ever made. Fans of Paradox's games have noted this one for being the deepest game Paradox has yet made, making it quite popular with the Paradox fanbase. However, Victoria received largely indifferent reviews on release, averaging only 60.4% on Game Rankings. Critics cited reasons such as the game's steep learning curve and its relatively dated graphics.

Game mechanics

Victory conditions

The main goal is to end the game with most Victory Points. To get victory points, you must score in three categories:

  • Prestige - claiming colonies, implementing social and political reforms, researching technologies or through historical events.
  • Industry - building factories, converting farmers and labourers to craftsmen and by improving your transportation network.
  • Military - the size and quality of your army and navy.

The combined score of the above three categories determine the 'winner' of the game.

Economy

The economic system in Victoria attempts to simulate the flow of resources in a world market. Every province in the game produces a resource. Some resources, such as wheat, are demanded principally by POPs (population units), and can be sold directly. Other materials, such as timber, are consumed mostly by industry - but can nonetheless be sold directly for less profit. The player possesses a wide range of options with which to build their economy, provided they have access to the proper raw materials. All resources can be collected or produced by industry. They can also be acquired on the world market, access to which is granted based on a country's prestige rating.

Resources

Victoria has 47 separate resources, produced by collection or production (or in one case both). Important resources include:

  • Steel, important for the building of industry, railroads and some war goods, and generally profitable to produce;
  • Coal, used in the production of a formidable number of resources;
  • Sulphur, a bottleneck good in the production of arms and ammunition;
  • Precious metal, a very expensive luxury good, with a minor role in changing POP classes;
  • Opium, an expensive luxury good and a major motivator for aggressive imperialism in Asia;
  • Machine parts, vital for the building of industry and generally the bottleneck in industrialization.

Industrialisation

The game focuses on industrialisation in a country, which is driven by technological research. The acquisition of machine parts is crucial to industrialization, as they are needed to build factories.

Diplomacy

Diplomacy is managed bilaterally; nations can engage in diplomacy using a variable yearly supply of diplomats, offering various treaties and entreaties to other states. Players can use money to improve relations with the other power; offer to negotiate for technology, territory, colonial claims, and money; sign pacts of unilateral or mutual defense or full alliances; demand the cessation of colonialization of certain areas; and, if all other efforts fail, declare war.

Warfare

Warfare in Victoria is a special circumstance of diplomacy wherein two players attempt to invade one another's (national or colonial, depending on the war) territory. It is abstract, and consists of divisions marching to hostile territory and fighting a hands-off battle that the player has no control over save by sending reinforcements or withdrawing. Combat efficiency, however, can be influenced decisively by the player. Appointing generals or admirals influences the morale and organization of the troops, as do technological improvements. An advanced railroad system in a province grants the province's owner bonuses in combat, as well as increased mobility. Provinces can also be fortified and troops will entrench when left alone long enough, both giving enormous combat benefits.

The ultimate objectives in warfare vary from war to war, but are dramatically different from those of other strategy games: it is generally very difficult to do severe damage to an enemy's economy in a single war, occupied territory is only temporarily in the hands of the occupier, and post-war territorial gains are generally modest and difficult to subdue.

Declaring war or seizing provinces from civilized countries without pre-existing claims on them accrues points in what is called the 'bad-boy system', which makes diplomacy more difficult and can eventually lead to preemptive war from nearby powers. Warmongers tend to discover themselves radically isolated from the rest of the world and forced to engage in warfare almost continuously.

Mods

Like most popular Paradox games, multiple mods have been made for Victoria. The most popular of these mods is the Victoria Improvements Project commonly referred to as VIP. VIP includes new AI personalities, changed economy rules, new events and new nations. Other players who have become bored with the default situation of the world in the beginning of the game, create alternative history mods, with other great powers. The Mod Franchil is one of most popular for French-speaking people.

Victoria: Revolutions

On 7 June 2006 Paradox announced an upcoming expansion for Victoria to be made available only on GamersGate, this was later changed, however, due to fan pressure for a boxed version. Victoria: Revolutions has the following new features:

  • 15 extra years of game play, extending Victoria into the interbellum.
  • An expanded tech tree to cover the interwar period, including aircraft and carriers.
  • A DOOMSDAY converter which allows players to continue their game in Hearts of Iron II: Doomsday.
  • A revamped election and politics system, adding a new level of realism to the game.
  • A new ideology, fascism
  • An overhauled military system, which will be linked with the player’s policy decisions.
  • A new economic system that brings more realism through various economic models.

With this expansion, it is now possible to link Paradox's four principal strategic games (Crusader Kings, Europa Universalis II, Victoria and Hearts of Iron II: Doomsday (with Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon)) into one nine-century long scenario lasting from 1066 to 1964. However, due to the great alternations history is likely to undergo in such a long playing time, conversion between the games might not work as expected.

References

External links

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