Hey guys did you notice this?

After doing some games in Unreal 4 I noticed Unreal 5 is going to be a game changer, and you can keep working in your project using Unreal 5 without a problem. (would make a delay for AoE 4 if that was the case)

Here is the video I took from the game preview: [https://youtu.be/JGBrshY4bhI](https://Realistic AOE 4)

I am quite sure they can achieve this realism for nature and buildings while having a great performance with UE5 new technology (no nasa computers needed). What do you think so far?

Please do not remove the post, I am not complaining about the graphics, I am just doing a little invest to hear opinions from other people.


AoE4 is not made in the Unreal Engine. AoE4 is made in Relics own Essence Engine.

The reason why AoE4 doesn’t look that realistic is simply because they don’t want it to look realistic. They said they want the landscape to look like an oil painting.

Also the UE5 is still in beta, so unless you just start a new game project it’s not recommended to switch to that engine.
The Unreal Engine is generally less flexible as Engines like Unity (unless you change the code of the Engine itself) so it’s rarely used for games that aren’t 1st/3rd person games.
So a lot of games with an RTS like perspective like city builders use the Unity engine instead.


Frost Giant is developing new RTS with UE5. None of the engines made for RTS including Unity. RTS devs have to develop their own engine or tools for which engine they use.

1 Like

I’ve heard of that.
They are veterans though they already coded their own RTS engine in the past so I’m optimistic that they can change the code of UE5 to work for an RTS.

Unity makes it easier to make different kinds of games because the Engine is more flexible, it has even integrated dedicated system for 2D games, but you can not change the source code of the Engine itself. Someone with little experience can make a simple RTS with Unity using some freely available tutorials and resources.

The new Unreal Engine is awesome, so if you have experienced developers in your team that is maybe the best Engine out there.

But yes if you have your own Engine that you have been using for decades it’s better to optimise that. Experience is worth more than a fancy Engine.

1 Like

While there are 2 interesting projects on UE4, Manor Lords and BFME Reforged.

Problem with UE5, it will take years till it would be ready.
And those shooter Engines are not good at handle large scale games.


BFME Reforged got their hands on UE5 a little and tested it out.

Just as some of our fans may already know, ⚙️ Unreal Engine 5 Early Access got released today.

Currently a preview, this Engine features the Next-Gen capabilities, yet to be used in gaming industry, and it’s expected to be working smooth and stable by year 2022.

Our Team has already managed to transfer BFME: Reforged to UE 5, so we could put its features to the test, and so far everything looks good! While those are rough initial tests, we are confident the project will be able to port over once UE5 reaches a stable, released state.

What does this mean for Reforged, you may ask. Well, it means the game will enjoy even newer technologies. Most importantly, it strengthens our development goals as we are hopeful that the new features provide a more efficient development process and improved performance of the game.

Want to find out more for yourself? Watch Unreal’s official Early Access video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1ZnM7CH-v4

UE5 has great new features about optimization and performance boost. If devs are experienced with UE, it won’t be problem at all.

1 Like

There are so far other 3 RTS games out there, where unreal is used.

  • Eximius Seize The Frontline FPS/RTS Hybrid.
  • Ancestors Legacy
  • Frozenheim

Frozenheim and Eximius Seize The Frontline have very bad performance “indie games”
Ancestors Legacy runs very smooth, but is very small scale, just 10 squads for each player , max 6 players.

My point is, RTS needs a decent engine to run well, it is possible to make it on other engines, but they usually can’t keep up average RTS scale without to lagg.


As you said they are indie devs with low budget and time. They are not experienced enough to optimize. And they developed on UE4 or previous versions. Most important thing is that UE5 has nanite feature which will make it easier for devs to create optimized and good looking games.

I see this misconception all the time, so in an effort to clear things up: performance is not the problem for RTS’s; or at least it’s no more a problem than for any other genre. With a big budget you could create an RTS that looked like Battlefield when zoomed in if you wanted to, no problem at all. The problem for RTS’s is ‘responsiveness’ .

Here is an exercise:

  • Open the windows calculator program ( if you’re on win10 ).
  • Quickly hover your mouse back and forth over the buttons; take note of the buttons highlighting.
  • Try clicking various buttons quickly; take note of the numbers appearing on the calculator screen.
  • This is what high responsiveness looks like.
  • Then: Repeat the exercise in a high-fidelity 3D game of your choice, by using it’s in-game UI like an inventory or skill screen. Jump back and forth between the calculator and the game to compare responsiveness.
  • Notice the absolutely colossal difference.

Please note that the responsiveness of a program ( whether game or not ) can not be improved forever simply by getting a better PC; there is a hard limit on how responsive a program can be depending on how it is coded (rendering pipeline in particular).

My example above had to do with UI responsiveness, simply because that is the easiest practical example to give, but UI is besides the point here; what is really important for RTS’s is the responsiveness of the game itself - i.e. how quickly actions in the game are able to respond to your inputs. RTS’s, at least traditional ones like Starcraft / AOE, needs to be the Win10 calculator of computer game responsiveness; if they aren’t they will simply feel terrible to play. Other RTS’s, like Supreme Commander, are designed in such a way that responsiveness doesn’t matter much for it’s gameplay, which allows it lots of freedom to do fancy stuff that limits responsiveness (like unlimited unit-pop and massive zoom levels).

A good comparison genre when it comes to ‘responsiveness’ are FPS’s. You will notice that responsiveness exists on a scale and any given game will be designed around what responsiveness it can achieve. At the low end is Arma 3, it has absolutely terrible responsiveness but gets to do lots of really fancy large scale simulation stuff because of it’s willingness to sacrifice that responsiveness. The Battlefield series is a sort of middle ground with ok responsiveness. Call of Duty has very good responsiveness actually but pretty limited map sizes because of it. High (RTS worthy) responsiveness is achieved by twitch shooters, most notably DOOM Eternal. DOOM Eternal is the Win10 calculator of computer games. Other high-responsiveness FPS’s include CS:GO and Unreal Tournament.

So here’s the challenge for AoE4 in terms of responsiveness: it needs to be able to achieve Win10 calculator / DOOM Eternal levels of responsiveness, but while having hundreds of active units, probably thousands of trees that must be individual interactable objects rather than a single static render, while supporting up to 8 players with their own simulated economy and unlimited building capacity and, most challenging of all, the players should be able to jump back and forth to any part of the map - as often as they’d like - regardless of action going on, without any loss of responsiveness.

EDIT: Ever wondered why games like Total War, or Frozenheim above, always have that smooth momentum to controlling the camera? It’s because the programs aren’t responsive enough to support direct 1:1 camera input; if they allowed direct input as an option it would just feel choppy, delayed and terrible, and the lack of responsiveness would be made clear as day. So they go for that momentum-style camera because it feels smooth and doesn’t require good responsiveness. Of course, for an RTS like AoE4 that kind of camera control is absolutely unnaceptable.


There used to be good RTS engines to depict fluent and responsive large scale battles like Ground Control 2, Supreme Commander or Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars.

Take any recent AAA game like Cyberpunk 2077, Fallout 76, Batman: Arkham Knight or ATLAS 2018. Games performance has rather something to do with the management, then technology.

Best example would be the mismanagement by Electronic Arts Frostbite engine.

“I would say the biggest problem I had with Frostbite was how many steps you needed to do something basic. With another engine I could do something myself, maybe with a designer. Here it’s a complicated thing.”

“BioWare developers say Frostbite can make their jobs exponentially more difficult. Building new iterations on levels and mechanics can be challenging due to sluggish tools, while bugs that should take a few minutes to squash might require days of back-and-forth conversations.”

“EA’s Frostbite engine continued to make life miserable for many of BioWare’s developers, and understaffed departments struggled to serve their team’s needs.”

“Frostbite is full of razor blades,” one former BioWare employee told me a few weeks ago, aptly summing up the feelings of perhaps hundreds of game developers who have worked at Electronic Arts over the past few years.

“Frostbite is like an in-house engine with all the problems that entails—it’s poorly documented, hacked together, and so on—with all the problems of an externally sourced engine,”

As we can see, even an Engine designed for Schooter games, did not really fit to make RPG games.
And they had so much time and money to make it.You can over budget a project by 10 times, if the planning is fundamentally flawed, you won’t get a decent game out of it.

To do a job efficient, you need a tool designed for it. And you need to know the tool.

1 Like

Yes, Ground Control 2 / World in Conflict was fairly responsive games. Not sure if they’re quite at the level of AoE / Starcraft but it’s pretty damn close. Note however that they are kinda MOBA-like which gives them some leeway here and there; not sure if you could have done a full blown empire building rts in that format without making some sacrifices ( given the tech at the time of each release ). Supreme Commander is absolutely not a very responsive game, but it doesn’t need to be either.

You are very much correct, however, that the move away from customized engines has done a lot of damage in this area.


I think it’s probably too late in development to change their engine.

No worries for the motor used by Relic.

1 Like

For sure, Relics engine is up to the task - so long as they don’t go overboard on certain gfx features. The rant on responsiveness was more a clarification for people who wanted UE5/Frostbite style high fidelity in AoE4. Or similar effects shoehorned in Unity or whatever.

Games like Frozenheim, Total War, Spellforce 3, Manor Lords, even Planet Zoo, are absolute slugs when it comes to responsiveness. That approach is absolutely not acceptable for a fluid RTS like AoE.


Very informative. It’s a shame that your comment is borried in this post amongst a lot of others, so that the amount of people stumpling upon it is limited.

Let’s hope so (that Relic’s engine is up to the task), because Company of Heroes 2 is not so responsive as you described.

You’re right that CoH2 isn’t all that responsive for an rts. However that game has a lot of extra calculations to prioritize in terms of gritty detail, destructible environments, dynamic shell holes, and so on. Earlier games made with that engine, like Impossible Creatures, has been very responsive. So it’s more a matter of design choice rather than something inherent to the engine.

1 Like

Bioware is the one who created Dragon Age Inquisition on Frostbite engine and that game was working very well. Now they are blaming same engine because of Anthem’s fail. They couldn’t even decide that mechanics in Anthem until it’s too late. They removed flying several times and re-added it which was the only good thing in that game.

I know that Frostbite was a hard engine but it was not impossible to create a good game like Bioware itself did before.

You can see why Frost Giant choose UE5. The whole video is great. I really enjoyed watching it.

I am quite sceptical if Unreal can be a good engine for RTS.

Most obvious reason is they are not allowed to use their own due to licence problems, they have no money to make new one from ground on, so it’s the only one they can afford.

If an engine wasn’t designed in mind for a certain task, it has to be added to the engine.
And it very likely will take a lot of time and money, but still might not work as intended.

Here is a good article that explains the situation.

“We started with a really solid foundation of the engine but we had to build a lot around it,” said BioWare producer Cameron Lee about using Frostbite on Dragon Age: Inquisition. “The concept of save games didn’t exist, at least as Bioware knows them. The tactical camera, just being able to pause a game and still work within it, Frostbite didn’t have that, it had no concept of that. We’ve had to add all of these things to it over the course of our development over the last four years. We built all of these different tools for the engine.”

Worse, DICE was updating Frostbite with new features because the engine was being used for a host of games. So BioWare’s developers were grafting new things onto an engine that was changing underneath them.
“There’d be times when the build wouldn’t work for a month, or it was unstable as hell. Because the new version of the engine would come in, the tools team would start doing the integration. All the while, the team is still working and moving ahead, so it gets worse and worse and worse,” Lee told Schreier.

One developer, Andromeda designer Manveer Heir, pointed to Frostbite as one of the big issues during the game’s development.
“Frostbite is easily the worst, shittiest, most pain in the ■■■ engine I’ve ever used in my career, and I shipped Wolfenstein off the Doom 3 tech,” said Heir

Considering even a big team had there problems,
even bigger they were for Generals 2 on Frostbite.

Sure, Unreal Engine can produce a nice picture and video, but it does not mean it can transit into a full blood fluent and responsive RTS game, with all the features people might expecting. So far no game on Unreal had large armies and big bases to manage, merely a handful of units on tiny maps.

On Steam there is Ancestors Legacy Free Peasant Edition
It’s a free RTS on Unreal Engine.

Can AoE5 be made on such engine?
It’s not like the team of Ancestors Legacy didn’t try, they just were limited to the technology they had.