Balance of immersion and competition and why scaling is a problem that needs fixing

As one of those who have been playing AOE since childhood, I’m excited as the game is about to release. Overall I think the game is good and have lots of potential, but like many in the forum, I think something is wrong with the scaling and that must be fixed, here’s why.
In short, AOE is a game about the balance of immersion and competition, AOE 2 does it particularly well and that’s why it has the biggest fan base. (Without AOE 2, there won’t be an AOE 4) However, the current AOE 4 graphic design is breaking the immersion and shifts the game toward a more competitive end, breaking the balance (players that would like to immerse themselves in building up an empire will feel something’s obviously wrong with what they are building). So i see it a must to fix the scaling in order to restore the balance and satisfy both sides. It has already been proved feasible, by AOE 2.
The argument above is based on a theory of mine. Games are made to satisfy our two basic needs, to create and to destroy. From the POV of gameplay, creation is related to immersion, because in order to build a town, you have to image what a life there will be, and destruction is related to competition, of which the reason is pretty obvious. In practice, games like Farming Simulator, City Skyline, Settlers etc. are on the creating(immersion) side, players could build a small town, help it grow into a metropolis and thrive, with few or none war(competitive) elements. Games like Starcraft, Supreme Commander, Command and Conquer etc. on the other side of the spectrum are about destruction(competition), with few or none immersion elements, and even if there are, they mostly serve the purpose of war. For competitive players, immersion is not a concern because the town they build only serves as a huge barrack. Just look at Starcraft, would you image a life in the Protoss base with gigantic interstellar gates which are basically wormholes, or a life in the Zerg base with the opportunity to engage in a glorious evolution(mutation)? And finally, games like AOE, Stellars, Total War series reach a delicate balance of creation and destruction. In AOE, you build a kingdom, guide villagers to construct churches, houses, windmills, work in the farm to feed each other, or to fortify them with walls, castles, towers, protect the realm with a grand army, engage the enemy on the battlefield, win the game by force or by culture. Though immersion and competition contradicts with each other, but if they work together it’s often better. If the game is too far on the creation(immersion) side it gets boring, while too far on the destruction(competition) side it gets painful because the fear to lose is so strong that playing the game just became a struggle to beat the opponent. That’s why some RTS is more fun to watch than to play. AOE is not only about competition, there are plenty of players like me would like to explore the immersive side of the game, enjoy kindom-building and competitive battles at the same time. Among games that offer this experience, AOE is the BEST, but also has its limits. For gameplay and performance reasons things can’t be too realistic. But when the simplification goes too far, immersion will be damaged. Even if we are trying to persuade ourselves that this is only a representation, it’s obvious something’s off.
Inconsistent scaling among unit and building:

Inconsistent scaling among units:
Inconsistent scaling among buildings:

Inconsistent scaling is everywhere. It’s so hard to ignore, it’s hard to enjoy the kingdom you just built because the components are form different universes. This not only breaks the immersion, but also breaks the balance that keeps AOE unique. If they stick to AOE 2 scaling it shouldn’t be a problem in the first place since AOE 2 did a wonderful job. Given the number of complaints, I think in the long run, leaving the problem will harm the overall player-base. So either devs fix this themselves, or let the modders do the job. Make AOE great(2019) again!


Aoe2 or aoe3 scaling are pretty good, but they choose to scale similar to aoe1. :rofl:


the problem with scaling is i think because they decided to make “landmarks” which are gigantic building.
I would love if they fixed the scale, but than buildings would be really huge/or units far to small.
My solution is to redo all building to make them look like great buildings, but have doors and stables that actually units can enter. I know this is undooable, couse developers wont go moddeling all buildings again. but this sucks. why i need a chatedral when it could be a church in it style. would look great and would still be an impressive building. Save “landmark” buildings for campaign and make em proper scale.


I would add that AoE2 is 2d, so that’s a bit different, but both AoE3 and AoM is 3d and the scaling was never an issue there (or at least to a much smaller degree). So it is definitely possible and doable.

The problem is with the approach the designers took when creating the buildings, that they gave them exterior features corresponding to realistic interior sizes, which was never a thing in any AoE game before and it unfortunately does not work very well.


Yes, this is were the root of the controversy stems from; no matter which side of the issue you are on.

AoE 1/2/Myth/3 had abstract architecture that was designed to make buildings feel coherent in relation to units and to other buildings. Other popular rts’s like C&C and Starcraft/Warcraft also had this. Take a look at this screenshot from C&C; notice how neither architecture nor proportions are realistic ( the tanks are almost as big as a barracks, and infantry are clearly taller than tanks), yet nothing feels noticeably “wrong” about this because they are designed to fit together as a coherent style. C&C is framing things in a way that “feels appropriate” when the entire picture is taken as a whole.

AoE4 does not do it this way, and it was clearly a conscious decision. Building proportions are made to be consistent only with the building itself rather than to the rest of the world around it. As a result there is no coherent meta-style that people can latch on to and proportions seems to be a bit all over the place when different buildings and units are place beside each other.


AOE 1 scaling is the best

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Imagine Zoom with version of 2019. Either 1/2 screen is a building or units soo small, that they unpickable.

Just say, u dont care for competitive play and multiplayer.

PS to better understand problem with scaling, just run Anno 1800, it has realistic proportion, but will u able to play RTS? it’s impossible - units too small

PPS may be it can be adjusted in some ways…
but read reviews on cossacks 3, where some civs have different sized baraks and how it negatively impact gameplay.

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when playing the game hardly notice this, thus I think this is not an issue which hurts function of the game. In AOE games everything is symbolic, when you scale down units, then you will need more zoom in or it will be hard to click, The AOE 4 units are all on par in size of AOE 2.


LOL the stable horse does not fit in its own stable. So… the stable is a building out of proportion to itself!


Poor horse, they’re forcing it to bump its head on the door. It’s left out in the cold otherwise, that’s animal mistreatment.


OMG don’t tell PETA! :open_mouth:


The game developpers whent the wrong way, when they try to fit a building into their grid cubic system.

Look at the stable and his yard!

The developer tryed to fit all that in a 4 cube grid.

Has i see it, that stable should have taken 8 cube (6 for the yard and 2 for the building.)

It would not have affected game and we would not have this conversation.

Sadly, all the buildings feal like stuck, like if developers tryed to fit every thing into a pixel. XD

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Things look silly for me on the currently proportions to be honest, at the point that i wouldn’t even want to play singleplayer due to immersion breaking, looking forward to multiplayer though.

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