It’s been about a year and a half since the release of the mod tools. State of both the tools and mods remains essentially the same as the day it was released. While there have been a few fixes and minor UI improvements within the game client, let’s be honest here - it’s absolutely underwhelming, and none of these changes have truly addressed the issues modders face with the tools.
Now, onto the topic why this is most likely the end for AGS:
1. Feedback is ignored.
Over half a year ago modders compiled a document that highlights numerous issues with modding AOE4.
Speaking for myself, it feels completely ignored and thus it contributed to my final decision.
2. Lack of communication.
This isn’t a new issue, but it persists. I wouldn’t even call it silence. There is communication, but it’s limited to only a few chosen people. Everyone else is left in the dark.
This is baffling to me, as it just doesn’t help anyone. I don’t see any bright future, or any promise that things are going to get better for me. And with all the issues being ignored for so long, this makes it even worse.
This got a lot worse after Relic laid off devs. As they also got rid of the only dev that was still actively communicating with modders on discord. After that, there is only silence.
3. Update lottery.
You may ask, what is this? Well, it’s the one thing that drives me mad and discourages me to even touch the mod. Each time I try to update the mod I encounter one issue. I can’t! Well unless I want to repeat extremely entertaining process of launching the game, pressing “update mod” and closing it once it fails. Then do it once more, hoping that the mod will eventually pass the check and update…
Why ? They decided that all mods are checked by profanity filter. I can guarantee that this feature never worked properly. Unless the desired behaviour was to frustrate modders. In that case I am probably the one affected the most as I dared to have multiple localizations for my mod as community desired it.
Anyway, the best way to see this issue and why it’s so frustrating is to head to the modding discord and see the update-lottery thread from a few weeks ago. Here is link to modding discord and to update lottery thread that perfectly summarizes this issue and how it’s ignored.
4. XBOX version and mods.
All mods are available on both PC and XBOX versions. However, modders can’t access the Xbox UI on the PC version, making it impossible to update the mods to work properly on Xbox. Thus I can’t update the mod to work properly on the XBOX. Due to this one of the core aspects of the mod (diplomacy) is not available. So as someone who never owned a console, and I definitely do not plan on buying one, with another copy of the game just so I could finally update the mod for folks that want diplomacy on XBOX.
5. Updates breaking mods.
It is expected that patches will break mods. On the other hand, there is also a way for developers and modders to communicate about this. Bare minimum is a proper changelog that includes all breaking changes being listed. Other is to also provide migration guidelines, which in general are not really that hard to produce. It’s good to remember that these are official modding tools…
Problem is that we do not receive anything. Each patch I have to go though the process of extracting game files and maintaning private repository to see diff of all the changes made by the patch to both scripts and attributes as any of these could break the mod.
For context last few patches broke mods in subtle ways, such as changing attributes on all markets made it impossible for the mod to detect market. Even a Halloween biome update broke the mod as it introduced new sacred site without any warning… (nope it wasn’t just a cosmetic change, biome used separate sacred site entity)
6. No PUP and early access for modders.
The absence of a Public Update Preview (PUP) and any early access for modders is what I consider the final nail in the coffin for me as it leads to my final point.
7. Lack of respect.
All of the above can be summarized as being disrespectful towards me and the time I have invested in making and maintaining the mod.
I spent AT LEAST 3 months working on the mod, with work being equivalent to a full time job, and additional time helping other modders…
So I really feel that World’s Edge has no respect toward me as a person and as a member of the AoE community. In the end, my mods are not revolutionary ideas or impossible features to implement. They are mostly basic features that were available in previous games in the franchise and should have already been part of the base game.
While there are a few additional points I could mention, they deviate from the mod-related topic, even though they played a significant part in influencing my final decision and choosing this over alternatives that I was considering.
Thus, I have decided to suspend the development and updating of all my mods indefinitely.
Author of Advanced Game Settings, Outback Octagon 2 and few more…
Thank you for your mod .I use it all the time.
I totally agree with you, Relic doesn’t care about modders. I personally tried to modernize the AI but I have nothing to do as Relic does not give full access to the AI files and game files. And surface modernization in does not change the stupid behavior of the AI.
Without this mode, I think I won’t be able to play this game.
But your points are valid and perfectly reasonable!
They are making choices against the AOE players!
Thank you for your hard work!
World’s Edge don’t deserve you!
I am the author of AOE battlegrounds (my English is not good), and I also developed Arena Mode and Archon Mode, and I understand the decision made by ####### I am also announcing that Arena Mode and Archon Mode will be stopped indefinitely, and AOE battlegrounds will only be updated slowly and sparingly, and if there is no official response in the near future, it will be stopped completely.
We love this game and have spent a ton of time working on mods. i’ve asked questions on discord and forums several times about a problem and have gotten no official response. Combined with the application for early access status for the dlc, I personally came to the conclusion that modders (in-game content creators) are not creators in the official opinion, and that AOE4 probably doesn’t need community mods.
I think we’ll see only minor update for Aoe4. MS Is already thinking to AOE5 (It was pretty clear from the last poll). And i suppose Relic Will not be the new developers: too much layoffs and Sega Is in troubles. Also Creative Assembly faced hard layoffs .
it is always hard to see a modder give up on a game due to poor handling by developers, but its absolutely justified here, your mod made this game smt it’ll likely never be able to be on its own, as someone who modded aoe2 and 3, both equipped with proper software to work with and access to ALL relevant files i don’t even wanna try any UI modding for aoe4 precisely because of all the locked files, editor that is clearly not in a reasonable state or user friendly in any sense and relic’s lack of progress with the tool, unless smt drastic happens the modding will be as good as dead
Sad to see one of the best mods for 4 discontinued, but I guess it makes sense. Sadly, it seems this sentiment of disappointment is being felt in every part of the franchise.
And to think that some used to claim the mod tools for 4 were the most complete and promising of them all, and that people needed only to know how it worked because it was so complete. I’m sure with all the work you’ve done you’ve realized it is not the case.
The past arguments about mod tools always tended about usability; about getting people on started with the tools (and how the complexity doesn’t help that). That said, this thread is from a veteran modder who’s put a ton of effort into making re-usable, functional code, who’s been a massive help in the (often-advertised) modding Discord. I don’t think we should try and distract from that with our own agendas
Unfortunate. But, I’m guessing Relic will take this as an excuse to finally stop pretending to care. There are so many departments that likely needed more workers and effort to properly finish, but it is clear they have simply pruned their workforce again and again.
I doubt we will ever have the kind of modding tools we have been expecting since launch. The fact that this was released long after launch, shows that it was simply an afterthought. Yikes. It holds no creative power for casuals either, being entirely made for advanced modding, but not actually being good enough for that audience either.
Just like there is no one taking in bug reports anymore, I doubt they have anyone actively working on this too.
Hate to say it, but it feels like they simply are not all that invested into this game and their players.
Thank you for all of your wonderful work on Advanced Game Settings. You’ve provided my friends and me with countless hours of fun playing AOE 4 together. So I appreciate all of your hard work! Do you have a Patreon where we can support you?
I 100% agree with you. Worlds Edge needs to step up and support you directly, and if they won’t communicate or improve their modding tools, I would go as far as to say they need to pay you for all the work you’ve done on this mod and then maintain it as an official mod themselves. You’ve added so many features that they should be adding in the base game. Many features that the community keeps asking for (pop increase, diplomacy, treaty, etc) but that Worlds Edge won’t even add in the upcoming DLC themselves (yes I’m blaming Microsoft directly, Relic is just a scapegoat at this point, but Worlds Edge are the ones actually making the decisions). I’m sure they have all the information/documentation now with the groundwork you’ve laid out. Advance Game Settings is hands down the best mod created for AOE 4, and the Devs need to respect and appreciate that your game mode would have extended the life of AOE 4.
Microsoft, you definitely have the money to throw behind the development of your most iconic franchise, so appreciate and respect your own history and your community. Also please give serious modders the same attention as you do the pro gamer scene. You put up 10s of thousands in prize pool money, just maybe you can invest in hard-working modders too.
On a side note, Microsoft just bought Blizzard which makes Starcraft. So, this is the perfect time for Microsoft to invest serious resources into the modder and casual gamer community of AOE 4, because once Starcraft 3 comes out with bigger tournaments and cash prize pools… do you think the pro gamers will stick around AOE 4? My personal opinion is, nope. So Worlds Edge… Now is the time to treat modders and casuals with the attention and respect they deserve, so that you actually have people who still feel loyal to AOE 4 and who want to continue buying future DLCs… even if the pro gamers leave for a better opportunity. Just some food for thought.
I was so hopeful and excited about the future of AOE 4 and just pre-ordered 2 copies of Sultans Ascend last night. Now I’m seriously considering refunding, as Advanced Game Settings is a huge part of this game. It’s a sad day indeed.
100% agree. The devs need to show the same level of respect and attention to modders as they do for the pro gamer scene. Personally, I don’t think pro gamers will be into AOE 4 long-term once the next competitive RTS comes along with bigger tournaments and cash prizes. I think the devs at Worlds Edge are making a big mistake on this and hope that their leadership can change things in the future. Relic is contracted by Microsoft, so it’s really up to MS/Worlds Edge to make this right.
Yeah, this is the question that I should avoid… but I will still answer it.
There is a donation link (ko-fi) hanging around on GitHub page of the mod. I have made it, when someone asked for donation link in the past.
But I really don’t want donations for the mod now. I have just literally killed it… I have considered all the options I had. Ultimately I have decided that keeping working on the mod just for the money (to justify time spent working on it) is not something I want to do or should do as it does not solve the problem. All it would lead to is making it worse for everyone else.
exactly! This is why Worlds Edge should really start investing in the modding community which benefits casuals, and the game overall, because modders and casuals will be the only ones left once the the pro gamers move on. It just seems like a smart business move to ensure they have a community that still wants to keep buying new content even if the pro-gamer scene isn’t around in the future. I just wish the devs would give serious modders the same level of attention and resources as they do for the pro tournaments.