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Industry is a key game concept covering the economic and military production elements of grand strategy. Most industrial items are covered under the Industry Tab on the main screen which allows player control over several industrial items, including budgeting, production, convoys, and trade.
Hearts of Iron is a lot more than a pure wargame, but is a grand strategic game encompassing economic, political, demographic, and diplomatic elements in addition to pure military affairs. One of the most important elements of grand strategy is the management of the country's industry, providing the right flow of new military units, replacements for losses, and supplies and upgrades to support existing forces.
In the game, the most basic measure of a nation's economy is Industrial Capacity, commonly called IC. IC represents the sum of the country's factories and ability to output finished goods, and its base IC is determined by totaling the number of factories in each controlled province. Effective IC is the number of IC points or units actually available for the budget, and is a factor of the base IC modified by all manner of elements, including technology, ministers, provincial status, infrastructure, availability of natural resources, diplomatic state, and others. The final effective IC number is what is used when determining the budget for the country. The effective and base IC will be reported to the player in the upper right corner of the main screen by a series of numbers located by the industry icon and separated by slashes. The first number is the excess IC in certain budgets, described below. The second is the effective IC, and the third is the base IC.
The national budget is how the country's industrial capacity is actually applied to areas of production. There are five basic areas industry can be applied to:
- Consumer Goods: Essentially domestic spending on keeping the people satisfied within the country, not providing enough funding here will incite dissent. Naturally, democratic and peaceful nations will demand greater spending in this area than dictatorial warmongers. Luckily, the requirement is a percentage of effective IC, so when a country's IC drops, so will demand for goods. This means that unlike other areas, a country will never have a demand for consumer goods that outstrips its capacity. A side benefit of goods production is that it produces money. At times a country may need a higher than required allotment to maintain positive cash flow.
- Production: The most basic element of production is the creation of new units. Each unit requires a daily IC allotment and the amount dedicated to production will therefore determine the bandwidth of how many new units can be under construction at once. Decreasing the budget below that required to maintain production of all ordered units does not cause cancellation of a program or any loss of invested IC, but merely causes a halt in production until such time as IC are made available again. Interrupting series production will however cause a loss of accrued gearing bonuses.
- Supplies: Supplies are the key element of keeping your existing forces effective in the field. The IC supply budget will determine daily production of supplies to be added to supply stockpile. So long as a stockpile exists, a country can afford to produce fewer than its armed forces are using, but running low will risk units going without supply and convoys being unable to deliver supplies to remote territories. Total supply production is further modified both by technology and ministers.
- Replacements: Once a country engages in combat, it will suffer losses to unit strength in engaged units. The replacements budget determines how many damaged units can regain strength. Replacements also require a small draw on manpower, so the budget alone is not always sufficient to restore strength.
- Upgrade: As technology improves, a country will find existing units needing to be upgraded to match current levels. Much like production, upgrade of each unit costs a certain daily allotment and takes a certain period of time to upgrade to the next level of equipment. Which units are upgraded first is automatically handled, but individual units can be marked to not upgrade. This is usually done to force the upgrading of other units first, but in some situations, a country may not find that an upgrade is worth the cost for a unit.
At times, budget items will be set higher than required. In the case of supplies, this will simply result in a buildup of the supply stockpile, but in all other cases, the excess spending will be turned into money. Excess Consumer Goods production has the added bonus of reducing dissent. Players will be alerted to excess spending in the production, replacements, and upgrade budgets by the listing of wasted IC next to the IC icon on the main screen.
The core of industry is the factory. Each province has an IC value equal to the number of factories within the province. Most provinces in the game have no factories, and only a handful have ten or more, signifying major centers of industry. See the List of provinces by IC for a detailed listing. Factories can be built, with a basic build time of 1 year and daily IC requirement of 5 IC. This makes them cost effective early in the game, especially in Doomsday and in longer running mods, as there will be many years of extra production received from the factory. Factories require natural resources to operate. Each factory consumes 2 energy, 1 metal, and 0.5 rare materials.