Victoria 3 Guide how to make new country – Mod

Victoria 3 Guide how to make new country – Mod 1 -
Victoria 3 Guide how to make new country – Mod 1 -

This article will assist you in creating or modifying a nation. It will describe how to establish a nation with its own area, customs, and people. Formable will be added later.


This guide will explain how to create/make/modify a new country in the game so it exists at the beginning of 1836.

Important notes for beginners:

  • It is better to use a text editor than Notepad to edit text. I recommend Notepad++ (. This guide will use VisualStudioCode) and Sublime.
  • All.txt files must have the UTF8BOM encoding. They won’t work properly if they don’t. If you don’t know how to set the encoder, copy an existing file.
  • Everything after a # is “commented-out” in a text document, meaning the game ignores any content after the #.
  • If you make errors or something goes wrong, you likely make a mistake. There is almost nothing in this guide that isn’t useful, so pay close!


Definition of the country

We mean two things by “defining”

  • A human meaning of “deciding where the nation will be and what it’ll look like.”
  • A code that tells the game information about the country so that it can identify the country

Consider first what country you would like to live in, and then where it will be situated.

My country will be called Cyrenacia. It will be located here on Tripolitania’s soil. (Edit. I am now aware that the region is Cyrenaica. Please forgive me.)

Victoria 3 Guide how to make new country - Mod - Defining the country - 1BE2478

I think it is my wish to own the entire Libyan Desert.

Victoria 3 Guide how to make new country - Mod - Defining the country - 84209EB

Now that I have made these decisions and thought about others, I need a tag (. It is a three-character code name for the country). I think CYR is a good choice for a tag.

Let’s verify that CYR wasn’t used in the base-game game. We can use Notepad++’s Find in Files function and see if CYR appears in any base-game country definition files.

Victoria 3 Guide how to make new country - Mod - Defining the country - F00AA94

It doesn’t. Great! Now, I’ll open my mod’s folder on country definitions.

Victoria 3 Guide how to make new country - Mod - Defining the country - ACE8FA6

I’ll even add a definition.

Victoria 3 Guide how to make new country - Mod - Defining the country - F4383DB

As you can see, there are many important parts to defining a country.

It begins with the tag. Next, add a color (. This can either be in HSV360 or RGB) formats. You can find the colour you want using an online RGB color-picking tool or image editing software.

You then decide what kind of country you want.

  • Recognized – Most commonly used for “western”, countries
  • unrecognized: Used for “nonwestern”, similar to Vic2’s “uncivilized”.
  • Decentralized – Countries without a central government. Usually used for indigenous people
  • Colonial – For countries that are colonies of recognized nations

Then, indicate its tier. This refers to the country’s overall size.

  • city_state
  • principality
  • grand_principality
  • Kingdom
  • Empire
  • Hegemony – At the time of release in the base game only India is a country that is considered a hegemony. It’s a mega empire.

Then, you will need to add the cultures. The in-game spellings are almost always the same as those used in code, but this is not always the case. You can always double-check the base game’s common/cultures folder.

Finally, state the capital. This is similar to what you see in the game. However, underscores are used for spaces. This is why my capital state is STATE_LIBYAN_DESERT and not the Libyan Desert. Your state will always be STATE_(NAME). If unsure, check in map_data/state_regions or common/history/states.

You should also include a closing bracket. Many word processors, such as Sublime and VisualStudioCode, have a way of doing this. Proper bracketing can make a big difference!

Making the country lookup (ft.).’s history folder

Now that we have defined the country let’s make it appear in the game. The game is aware that CYR could be a country, but it hasn’t been told. This is why we need the history folder and specifically these three files.

Victoria 3 Guide how to make new country - Mod - Making the country show up (ft. the history folder) - A65ED8E

Let’s start with the states. The file(s) within this folder tells the game who owns which states (, or which provinces in the) state at the beginning of the game. It also contains information about what cultures consider the state their home. Let’s move to STATE_LIBYAN_DESERT.

Victoria 3 Guide how to make new country - Mod - Making the country show up (ft. the history folder) - A8C38E5

As can be seen in the highlighted section, TRI(Tripolitania) currently holds the state. Let’s make this change:

Victoria 3 Guide how to make new country - Mod - Making the country show up (ft. the history folder) - A846487

Launch the game now and you’ll see that CYR controls it, but it doesn’t have any information about the population or buildings.

Go to the pops folder to find STATE_LIBYAN_DESERT. Here, you can also change TRI from CYR.

Victoria 3 Guide how to make new country - Mod - Making the country show up (ft. the history folder) - 90D822B

Also, do the same with the buildings folder.

Victoria 3 Guide how to make new country - Mod - Making the country show up (ft. the history folder) - 13BAA59

We can see that there is no building in the state. It makes sense, considering the state is mostly deserted and has a very tiny population.

Now, we can close the history folder entries.

Country history file

To personalize the game’s starting point, your country will need a history. This will tell it what technology it has as well as other information. I recommend simply going to a country with a similar history. This is what I did to my country’s past.

Victoria 3 Guide how to make new country - Mod - Country history file - 6BBBD13


There are currently seven “tiers,” or levels, of technology in the game. These can be viewed in common/scripted_effects/00_starting_inventions .

  • effect_starting_technology_tier_1_tech – For the strongest of western countries (UK, USA, Belgium, France, etc.
  • effect_starting_technology_tier_2_tech – For strong western countries
  • effect_starting_technology_tier_3_tech – Average European tech level
  • effect_starting_technology_tier_4_tech – Basic, for most unrecognized countries and very “backwards” European countries like the Ottomans
  • effect_starting_technology_tier_5_tech – Pretty basic for “very backward” countries
  • effect_starting_technology_tier_6_tech – Very basic techs, for “extremely backwards” countries
  • effect_starting_technology_tier_7_tech – 0 techs, only for decentralized countries

As you can see in this file, you can specify which laws it has. If you don’t specify any for a particular category it will default the most recent law in that category. You might get errors when choosing laws (they are listed in common/laws)), so pay attention. Documents/Paradox Interactive/Victoria 3/log) and what it suggests for laws there.

This file can also be used for renaming interest groups to improve flavor. You can also see history files for more examples.

Final touches – Information about localization and the population

Our country is now available for play, but if the game launches, it will be called CyR instead of a country name. That’s where the localization comes in.

Localization is the process of translating code into human languages, such as English. Let’s go to the mod’s folder for localization.

Victoria 3 Guide how to make new country - Mod - Finishing touches - Localization and population info - D495EE0

You may notice that I have a custom name for my file. Although the game supports this type of thing, some things are extremely important. The file must:

  • be.yml format
  • If your localization in English is), you should add _l_english after the file name (
  • Start with l_english:.

I recommend that you just copy the localization files from another mod or base game and empty it (, except for the l_english: section).

As shown here, the localization is quite simple.

Victoria 3 Guide how to make new country - Mod - Finishing touches - Localization and population info - CADE158

TAG: "country name"
TAG_ADJ: "country adjective"

You can replace TAG with your TAG, i.e. In my case, I use CYR.

An quite optional file to do: Population information. The population folder is located in the history folder and contains information about the people living in the country, including their wealth as well as their literacy. You can create new files for your country. The following two things can be added to them:

Wealth: (defined in common/scripted_effects/00_starting_pop_wealth.txt)

  • effect_starting_pop_wealth_low
  • effect_starting_pop_wealth_medium
  • effect_starting_pop_wealth_high
  • effect_starting_pop_wealth_very_high

Literacy (defined in common/scripted_effects/00_starting_pop_literacy.txt)

  • effect_starting_pop_literacy_baseline
  • effect_starting_pop_literacy_very_low
  • effect_starting_pop_literacy_low
  • effect_starting_pop_literacy_middling
  • effect_starting_pop_literacy_high
  • effect_starting_pop_literacy_very_high

I’m going with the following:

Victoria 3 Guide how to make new country - Mod - Finishing touches - Localization and population info - D2915E7

This is a good idea to help the country balance its initial resources. It will also have significant effects on the country’s future.

Finished! Or are we?

You can launch the game and voila!

Victoria 3 Guide how to make new country - Mod - Finished! Or are we? - 4FA6729

But are we finished? If you don’t care much about rulers or flags, this is enough to get you started. Let’s get to the important stuff.


I don’t like the flag and ruler automatically generated by the program. Let’s make them better!

If you want a specific character to be your country’s ruler, you’ll need to make an entry for your country in a file in the character history folder (common/history/characters). I recommend that you go through the base and/or your favourite mod, and then copy stuff from there. The base game’s common folder contains possible settings for characters. Look out for folders mentioning character.

Victoria 3 Guide how to make new country - Mod - Characters - 365742D

Here’s how I did it. I chose a first-name and a family surname. Important note: If you want to localize your names because they are character or culture names, then you will need to do so separately. In my case, both names had been localized by some other file. If you need to localize the names, you can do so in any file (. However, localization should be organized so people can easily find what they are. You can put your localization wherever and whenever you like, but I recommend that you organize it by category).

Localizing the name is easy. It’s the same process as for country localization.

Name: "Localized name"

This is how my localization would have looked if I had to localize the family name.

al-Idrisi: "al-Idrisi"

You might think, “But Savs, that’s exactly what it is.” Yes, it is. You’re now entering the wonderful world of locale. If the game cannot detect localization for a given name, it will not use it. It’s okay to do this, even if you think it’s silly.

Moving on, let’s look at the birthdate. Our character is supposed the be the country’s ruler, so we write ruler = yes. You can also play other roles like an heir. You can find more information in the other character files of the base game and your favorite mod. The UK has many characters! It is possible to have the ruler be a general at the game start. But I don’t want it. You can see the result of my commenting on it so that the game doesn’t ignore it.

Then, it would be best if you mentioned which Interest Group the character is a member of. I’ve decided to follow the Senussi’s lead and make him a member (of the Ulama, a Muslim devout Interest Group. Our name was) for the Ulama.

Next, an ideology. These are found in common/ideologies/00_leader_ideologies. This suits me best because my country is not very urbanized and lives primarily on subsistence.

Lastly, a few traits can be found in the character_traits file in the common directory.

Here’s my list!

Victoria 3 Guide how to make new country - Mod - Characters - 30A53C2


I’m going to take inspiration from the Ottoman Eyalet of Tripolitania for my new flag and make some minor changes.

You only need an entry for the basic flag in Vic3 in a file common/coat_of_arms/coat_of_arms . Flags can be put in as plain images. However, this is less convenient if you need to make changes and takes up more space. Here’s the code that I created:

Victoria 3 Guide how to make new country - Mod - Flags - D477D2F

A brief explanation: All flags require a basic pattern as their base. These patterns can be found in gfx/coat_of_arms/patterns. For flag components to work correctly, you must include the file extension (.tga

Then, you’ll notice that I have color1. That is the first colour that can go in the flagged item. In my case “pattern_solid.tga”, I only need one colour. I can add more colours later if I need to. For example, instead of having color1 = “yellow” within all three crescents, I could have written color2 = “yellow” beneath my pattern’s 24-A03399793A. This would allow me to quickly change the colours in all three crescents. I don’t have to change “yellow”, but it would be faster than changing “yellow” three times.

I have now got my three crescents. These are the files that I used to choose them. gfx/coat_of_arms/colored_emblems You can see that they all use the same emblem. As mentioned above, you must set the color of the coloured emblem. If you don’t want the default size and center of the flag to be used, you can tell the game, “this instance should have this size, and the center of emblem should be located here”, which is what my instances are doing. The scale is the x and the y-axis distortions. If you want it normal, use the same number for both. I have reduced both axes by half so that these crescents are one-quarter their default size. I also placed my first crescent at { 0.25 0.3 }. That means that 0.25 is a quarter way from the left side of the flag (0 is at its left edge), and that 0.3 represents 30% of the distance between the flag’s top and the flag’s bottom. 0 is at its top). To ensure they don’t face the same direction, I’ve also set rotation for my second crescents.

Another important note: I recommend opening the game’s command-line (, right-clicking on the game in your library, and then looking at Preferences. There, you will find -file watcher -debug_mode. The first will automatically update files as soon as they’re saved. This saves you the need to restart the program to make flag adjustments.

All done with the flag

Victoria 3 Guide how to make new country - Mod - Flags - 8220AFF

Closing thoughts

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments. But let me remind you that if something isn’t working, I highly recommend that you compare your files with a working one to see if everything is okay, and then ask me!

Although I’m open to making more guides in the future, my skills currently are limited to editing maps and country maps. Let me know if there are any other topics you are interested in!

Finally, Discord servers have many knowledgeable people that may be willing to help. I recommend the Victoria 3 Modding Coop Server. – []

Written by Savs

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