Adam Isgreen about AOE 4 graphic style

Adam Isgreen explains that


Makes sense. I like the color, so now everyone can be happy!

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I don’t remember people complaining “it is bright”, neither here or in the Steam forums. Everyone was complaining about it being too cartoony, which is very different.

Seems he just distorted it, in order to have an easy “solution”. I’m still disappointed.


The proportions of the buildings and the environment are cartoony, I am an architect and from this I understand a little, the relationships between heights and widths, the large size of elements such as the tiles of the roofs in the buildings or the size of the planks in wooden structures it is disproportionate to give an example. The ridiculous appearance of the cereal fields next to the mill is very significant, the area they occupy is ridiculous compared to the height of the crop, from everything that is shown in the trailer this is the most cartoony thing. It doesn’t have the magnitude of AoEO but it is cartoony enough to have made many people think it was a phone game the first time they saw the trailer.


Tone down kid, you are here for one week only. It is good you like the game as it is, now just go play with your friends and stop offending people.


It won’t be a phone game even if this ‘cartoony.’ RTS are very hard to be made for a phone game. I can’t think of any hit games where the proportion to units to building was up to the scale. Starcarft, DOW, Company of heroes, and past AOEs including AOE 2 are all overblown. Only space RTS game had ‘true’ proportion because the environments is just matt black.

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Let’s just be civil here, including @SektorXIII . Obviously the graphics are not cartoony, and it is not realistic in similar vein. The graphics is somewhere in between like between COH 2 and DOW 3. The color choice is tricking most of the people. It is pastely, and it can use some reflections on the objects, and some proportionality. But graphic is doing its job, because it is not obstructing the view of the battlefield. Look the “gameplay” trailer again, tell me if you have problem differentiating environment and units. Be honest!

You know what’s the giveaway that graphics don’t matter in RTS that much? StarCraft series and Warcraft series, they are perhaps very much cartoony too. Heck even MOBA like LOL and HoS have cartoony graphics. The success of RTS games solely depends on the business models, gameplay, and player base. Majority likes the AOE 4 so far (we here only represent couple thousands), and we know there won’t be microtransactions, so let’s just hope they don’t screw the gameplay, otherwise AOE 4 is going down the sewer just like AOEO went.

I don’t know why people are still cling on to the graphics even when they know it doesn’t matter in RTS games, and since AOE 4 has past it’s preproduction, people who are complaining for or against graphics can’t do ■■■■. Stop making noises, focus your energy towards ideas that will make a good Age that will go for next 20 yrs.


BlockquoteStop making noises, focus your energy towards ideas that will make a good Age that will go for next 20 yrs.

I wholeheartedly agree with this. Stop resurrecting same “OH I don’t like the graphics it cartoony” or “OH I love the graphics”. People play rts for gameplay.

If you think AOE 4 is cartoony then Chess is cartoony too. Because units in chess are also disproportionate.


I am in my 30s. Not 80s.

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There is absolutely 0 evidence whatsoever that people do not care about graphics. On the contrary, people do care, a lot about graphics. It’s the reason you see games like Crysis being successful and several other games getting praise like Red dead redemption. People care about graphics because it offers to everything regarding immersion along with atmosphere, aesthetic in general and sounds. That said, people might say they dont like AOE4 graphics in the trailer but that’s another story in comparison to the baseless ‘‘cartoony’’ accusation. RTS is not different when it comes to immersion, all games have to drag you in. Graphics matter in all genres and I believe in RTS a whole lot more since you see everything in bird view.


I care about graphics and Halo Wars 2 has the best visuals for an RTS. I didn’t expect a colorful and low poly models, instead I was looking for real dark ages with realistic graphics. But still I know this game gonna be awesome and I will get used to it like Red Alert 3. Btw RA3 still has the best water/sea in all RTS games.


It is a reasoned argument based on the proportions, the relationship between the height and width of the models. Again, it is not at the Fortnite or AoEO level, but that doesn’t exempt it from being cartoony at a lower level. AoE 4 needs to improve the proportions of the models, especially the appearance of the crops, they are horrendous.


AoE4 does look very similar to this games

Stronghold: Warlords

And The Settlers

And its kind of odd, why Microsoft hired Relic as company that can make this, Dawn of War 2 very realist looking game with dirt and blood. To make a clean and colourful game.


Agreed. Age of Empires IV is an RTS game not a city builder or simulation game. The unit models need to be scaled up higher compared to buildings than what is real world scale because being able to easily identify, select and target units at the appropriate default zoom level for an RTS game is critically important. While the pre-alpha gameplay trailer shows all the great details of units up close, players will be mostly playing the game at a zoom level much further out. Real world scale at the appropriate zoom level for an RTS game is not optimal for direct unit control.

Trailer Gameplay Zoom Level

More Realistic RTS Gameplay Zoom Level


What are you talking about? @GrimStingray833


@Huge5000RTSFan Chess is cartoony also. OMG! I have been playing a cartoon for past 19 years!!

Assumption: RTS are board games.
Fact: Yes they are. I can’t think of any rts where units and objects are drawn to scale.
Opinion: Please play rts/board game for gameplay and strategy (like chess) and not for Crysis graphics.


You’re arguing about the importance of gameplay and yet you’re comparing sequential games like board games, to simultaneous/dynamic games like RTS.
Putting that aside, most people would agree that the way something looks is a crucial factor for most video games in order to be enjoyable (made to be played on-screen, in a complex graphical environment, not on-table).
And although I agree that the unit scales can’t always be realistic, the analogy of a RTS video game with a board game seems very out of place.

  1. Yeah…so I am comparing the same genre, so nothing is out of place. Both are strategy games and require your " simultaneous/dynamic " moves. Then you will say “wait! I can’t move my units when the enemy is moving!” Yeah, you have made all of the moves in your head before you made your move and then you will recalculate when the enemy makes it turns. Just like in the “on-screen” (real-time) strategy games. Thus, it is dynamic. Then you will argue how time management matters to RTS, well you couldn’t be more wrong. We have board games with time moves too, like in chess, if your turn gets to 0, you lose. And so on, my fingers hurt to explain what modern chess looks like. I am trying to get the point across that game which gets played for hundreds of years, in both physical, and your “on-screen” medium has been a cartoon, but people play it for what it offers. The analogy is what we call that in our english language.

  2. At least I am comparing RTS to its origin, the chess, we have people here who are comparing an unknown game that is in pre-alpha state with saturated graphics and bright colors to Pixar movies and freemium phones games just because the graphics look “CARTOONY” and it is hurting their sentiments that they are grown-ups and can’t play “CARTOONY” games now.

  3. Yes, looks matter, but looks are not everything. You eventually have to move on to the core materials look tries to convey. You have seen the product, you have argued that product, although for very minority, doesn’t look good, now move on to other topics. I am seeing same “cartoony” comments and “cartoony” threads since the day game has been announced.

  4. LOL, I wish we had that Reddit upvote and downvote feature, I would downvote every single “cartoony” bait thread.

  5. By the way, you or anyone elser forgot to point out any thing negative from the 2 picture where I compare the height of crops with human. And then where I mentioned the advantage of tree not being to the scale or archers walking on the walls . You will need to make up a lot of stuff to counter those arguments. Relic artistic direction is working, and we know it. We are just b***hurt because game looks colourful.


You do not understand the difference between the two kinds. Simultaneous games are games where both players move simultaneously, or if they do not move simultaneously, the later players are unaware of the earlier players’ actions, this is the “fog of war” in an RTS. When chess specifically is a sequential game with perfect information, a game that each player is perfectly informed of all the moves that have previously made by the other player. They are different kinds no matter if you have made the moves in your head by guessing what your enemy will do. You can’t make up things on this one. Your point was that an RTS is the same with a board game which you called fact. You call it fact, I call it bad analogy. You play chess for what it offers, video games offer many things, one gives more weight to gameplay than graphics and vice versa. And now “my fingers hurt to explain what modern game theory looks like”
No wonder why you turn so fast so defensive when you write in such a distasteful way. e.g.

Arrogance and sarcasm are not going to give you right. Not everyone will agree with everyone and if you are that tired at hearing people talk about the graphics maybe you should leave this topic in peace since that’s what it is about.

On top of that, you are contradicting yourself when you have already expressed your utter disagreement with the lack of blood in the game, which is pretty much the most trivial graphical detail, unless you like spilling blood on your chess board as well.

I didn’t forget anything, the crops look fine by me, what would you like me to say about them? I don’t make things up just to back up my self-righteous opinion and call it fact. I agreed with a part you said and disagreed with another.


Aghhhh…really, you read my lips now. Did you find anything where I have criticised or loved the graphics in my profile yet? I didn’t express anything about graphics apart from I think it serves nothing in any game except action games maybe (if I had, I think i would have said I think the graphics are ok nonetheless, you can check on it, i don’t remember half the time what i say, and I don’t know how you got my past comments, so not gonna waste my time on that).

Edit: I found out that I have said graphics look excellent in past, once, but I still want the blood in the game. That is a common sense.

Yes, I am mad about the blood, AOE 2 DE has it as a toggle, and that got there because good folks had to mod it in AOE 2. I am pissed because someone has to mod it again for AOE 4, can’t we have in the game to begin with? I am not an ignorant buffoon who is blind. This was a lazy move, so I called them out, I am not contradicting to anything I have said (again you can check my comments).

Did you read the keyword else, spelled it wrong with my fat fingers obviously, I forgot who said it, and didn’t bother to check, I edited that towards the end you can check the edits. I apologise, since it wasn’t directed to you, you.

Now to this----

Edit: Enemy moves when playing board games can also be thought of as the fog of war. I am on the side of gameplay having more weight than the graphics.
You made good points, I agree to all. I have no counter to that. Well done :slight_smile: But read this again!

and then this:

I meant in plain english, if you infer, that object scaling, graphics are all there to serve a purpose to make the playing field clear. Graphics is there to serve the gameplay.


let’s take a look at an actual AAA Strategy game, Total War: Rome II from 2013
Man this looks light years ahead of the presentation of AoE4.

-realistic models
-you see blood due to combat on the units
-really nice kill animations

My first impression of AoE4, it does kind of look outdated.
What if there would be in same time Medieval 3 Total War?