For the appearance of Chinese units, I recommend that developers refer to the following

Image source:
This is a conceptual design drawn by an author of Chinese descent for the Chinese civilization of Age of Empires 2

Combining the game plot (1405) and the card “Western Reform (1860-1890)” Age of Empires 3 The era background of Chinese civilization in the game is at least half of the time in the Ming Dynasty, The other half are in the Qing Dynasty, so it is necessary to refer to the military uniforms of these two dynasties in the unit design.
I found some content that can be used as a reference for Ming Dynasty design.
I haven’t seen this kind of stylized design for Qing Dynasty. If there is suitable content, I will post it in the forum in the future to provide developers with reference.

The latter two images on this picture are the most typical images of the Ming Dynasty army, which may be used on “Changdao”.

The third unit in this picture is also a typical image of the Ming Dynasty, which can be considered as a reference for the image of “Qiang” in mind.

The third unit in this picture is also a stylized image of a typical firearms unit (Shenji Battalion) of the Ming Dynasty, which can be considered as a reference for the image of an arquebus shooter;
The second unit has the style of the early Ming Dynasty (Hongwu and Yongle years), and may be considered as the most basic Zhuge crossbow or “Qiang”.

The units in this picture do not have the most typical image of a Ming Dynasty military unit.

The unit on the right side of this picture is a typical frontier cavalry of the Ming Dynasty, and it may be considered as a reference for the image of the “flail cavalry” or “meteor hammer cavalry”.
(Digression: These two weapons are not traditional Chinese military weapons, more like farming tools and things in novels. If historical accuracy is considered, they should be replaced by lancer and Guandao)

The unit on the right side of this picture may be regarded as the armor form of soldiers in the early Ming Dynasty. From the perspective of “typicality”, the reference value is relatively low.

The right side of this picture is a very typical image of elite cavalry of the Ming Dynasty. The armor of the emperor of the Ming Dynasty is of a similar form (of course, is more complicated and noble), which can be considered as a reference for the image of high-level cavalry.

This picture can be used as a low-level image reference for Zhuge crossbow and arquebus shooter.

Please note that I am not saying that the Chinese units in the game should be completely Ming Dynasty style, but I accidentally found this set of very beautiful stylized design drafts, which I think are very suitable for the design style of Age of Empires 2 and Age of Empires 3, Therefore reproduced here, hoping to provide some reference for developers.
And friends who are familiar with Chinese history will know that the armor (cotton armor) of the Qing Dynasty has a clear inheritance relationship with the cotton armor of the border guards of the Ming Dynasty.
The ancestor of the Qing Dynasty, the Jianzhou Jurchen, had long been a courtier of the Ming Dynasty. On any historical map, before the seventeenth century, the Jianzhou Jurchen was the territory of the Ming Dynasty. Nurhachi, the ancestor of the Qing Dynasty, in the Ming Dynasty was 「建州左衛都指揮使」“Commander of the left stationed place of Jianzhou”.
Therefore, referring to the military uniforms of the Ming Dynasty will not deviate too much from the background of the Chinese military uniforms in the game. The biggest difference between Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty cotton armor seems to be that the former had metal arm armor, while the latter did not.

The armor, uniforms, and hats of the Chinese units in the game are not only all wrong, but also extremely weird, which is a legacy of Big Huge.
If there is a suitable historical image of the Qing Dynasty, I will open a separate post to share it.


I’d love for Big Huge Games’s strange artwork to be replaced with some of the current Dev team’s awesome artwork, once their done with the Euros.

I want China to have a more revelant unit roster in terms of names and textures.


Let me add some military uniforms from the Ming and Qing dynasties.
According to the era, the first is the Ming Dynasty:

Ming Dynasty Frontier Army Cavalry

Typical clothes of soldiers in the middle and late Ming Dynasty

Typical arquebus shooters of the Ming Dynasty

Late Ming Dynasty Cotton Armor

Emperor Armor

Great General’s Armor in the Guard of Honor

General’s Armor of the Northeast Frontier Army

The southern army resisting Japanese pirates

soldiers of the southern army

Commander-in-Chief (Jin Hai’s position in the China Campaign)

A comprehensive display of a typical Ming Dynasty cotton armor

Cotton armor and general armor made by another armor lover

The last one is a detail of the inside of the cotton armor. This is not a piece of clothing used to scare people. Apart from the cotton, what really plays a protective role is the large pile of iron sheets inside.


Next is the Qing Dynasty:

First of all, there are two extant Qing Dynasty emperor armors

These are two typical Qing Dynasty cotton armor

Finally, a comparison of typical armor in Ming and Qing Dynasties


Really great examples. I hope one day the Devs will revisit the Asian civs and give some of their fantastic textures/models in the way they revisited the Euro civ Royal Guards.


I’ve put an example here, Perhaps it has a little reference value for developers.

By GE-Erika

The right side corresponds to the image of the most typical Ming basic infantry, and the left side only Import the helmet model of the Ming Dynasty style.


these references may be too heavy-armed to basic soldiers
i find better amateur-made videos of 16-17th century chinese soldier clothing

and there are paintings can be good references


Some very reasonable and historically accurate unit images, made by GE-Erika. It is really recommended that developers can refer to it


I would like to add that the peacock feathers on the hats of some units in the picture should not appear. Because most of the images the author refers to are the Qinbing of the emperor and Wang Ye, but in fact, ordinary soldiers will not have such things on their heads.


Based on the work of GEErika, I made the Ming Dynasty Iron Armor Changdao


I’m all for these kind of changes to Asian Dynasty civs and I will always make comments on this thread to help keep it active for visibility.

In regards to the unit appearance, do you have suggestions for the Chinese unit names?

I always feel that the names are very generic and not particularly linked to anything Chinese and secondary, such generic names actually block possible units in the future.

For example, the Arquebusier was a unit used everywhere in the world where handheld firearms had presence. It seems odd that the Chinese unit has this generic name whereas that could actually be an entirely unique unit slot or replacement shipment for lots of civs.


In China, the arquebus was called “bird gun(鳥銃)” because it was accurate enough to shoot birds.

The light mortar in the game was called Wan-ko Gun(碗口銃)" in ancient China because of its small size and small caliber. “碗口” means the mouth of a bowl.

The flamethrower is known in China as a “cabinet with fierce fire oil (猛火油櫃)”, “猛火油”refers to an extremely flammable oil that the ancient Chinese would use to kill and injure their enemies. This weapon was mainly used by the defenders in siege warfare in the Song Dynasty. The Ming and Qing eras in Age of Empires 3 have been completely phased out.

"Qiang(槍)"is pike, Changdao(長刀)is long sword.

Chu-ko Nu(諸葛弩) is more commonly known as Liannu(連弩) in China, which means a continuously fired crossbow. It is called the Chu-ko Crossbow because legend has it that it was invented by Chu-Ko Liang(Zhuge Liang, 諸葛孔明 亮), a famous prime minister during the Three Kingdoms period. Although the developers of the Age of Empires series love this unit, in fact this weapon was basically only used for civilian self-defense after the Middle Ages in China. The crossbows used in the Song Dynasty were generally giant ballistas constructed with mechanical gears.

Flying Crow is called “Shenhuo Flying Crow(神火飛鴉)”, literally “flying crow powered by magical fire” in China. It is one of dozens of black powder rocket weapons in the Ming Dynasty. It is not well-known in China, and it is far inferior to the “swarm of bees(一窩蜂)” carried by the fire chariot(架火戰車) in Age of Empires 4. Among these rocket weapons, the single ones are called “Shenji Arrows(神機箭)”, and the barreled ones used for handheld launch are called “swarms bees(一窩蜂)”, but they are collectively called “火箭”. China’s gunpowder weapons were exported to Korea on a large scale in the Ming Dynasty, so they are very similar in form. In the Ming Dynasty, there was a famous army called “Shenjiying”(神機營), literally “army of magically dexterous machines”, which specialized in using various gunpowder weapons since its establishment in the 14th century.

The other four types of cavalry will not be mentioned, because no prototype can be found in the history of Chinese warfare. Perhaps the steppe cavalry is a typical performance of the Mongolian cavalry? Keshik is not at all what the guards of the Great Khan in history should look like.

The meteor hammer is not a weapon that will appear in the army in China, let alone the flail.


For the things I mentioned above, you can copy the Han characters into the search box and use Google to see the actual weapons.


To make a digression, the main hot weapon in China after the mid-Ming Dynasty in history was the ship-borne artillery sold by the Portuguese, known in China as “弗朗機炮” (Franks’ cannon). The “Hongyi Cannon(紅夷大炮)” (Hongyi紅夷: Red-haired Barbarian, Dutch), the Chinese also began to imitate.

As for firearms, the Chinese first used the Hand cannon invented by themselves, and then began to imitate and equip Japanese-style matchlock guns during the Wanli Korean War(萬曆朝鮮之役). After that, the “Rumi Gun(魯密銃)” (Roman musket, actually referring to the Ottoman Empire) was regarded as the best gun part to equip the army.

The early Qing Dynasty attached great importance to the use of firearms, and the Jesuit missionaries cast the “General Cannon(大將軍炮)” which was closer to the European level at that time, while the use of arquebus guns focused on improving on the basis of the Ming Dynasty, mainly adding Long barrel to improve the range and accuracy, creating a very uncoordinated “lifting gun(擡槍)”, requiring at least two people to operate.
This level of technology was maintained until the first Sino-British war…


I’d love to see those suggestions make it into a Chinese refresh. I would really love to see the Chinese get their own ‘normal’ units/weapons that were used the world-over, rather than all the medieval gimmicky stuff.

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