This engine was first introduced in Europa Universalis 3 by Paradox Development Studio (then still called Paradox Interactive). It is their first 3D engine; their earlier games were 2D maps. The engine was substantially improved and moved to the 2.0 version when Crusader Kings 2 was in development; this improvement added names that dynamically shifted when countries gain or lose land as well as stability improvements.
The engine features many different types of map modes, each different for each game; Crusader Kings 2 has a map mode for dynasties, Europa Universalis 3 has a colonization map mode, Victoria 2 has a infrastructure map mode (railroads). It also tracks weather and seasonal changes, as well as distances; It takes longer to colonize S. America than western Africa as Castille, for example. It is also extremely moddable, with a large amount of the information about the games stored in text files.