The philosophy behind unit training design is interesting. Obviously, there is no one, best solution or way to do that. Even if did exist it would be, at best applicable only as a part of the greater design in a specific type of an RTS game, not as the end-all gold standard for the genre.
What you mentioned is not wrong, invalid and not even debatable - everyone has own preferences and expectation.
And there is not a lot of point in arguing how should it look- I think it’s the best to leave it to devs because they know what are they good at at they are responsible for the design of the entire game.
Maybe on the stage of alpha, but game is done now.
But since you mentioned me, all I could add to what I’ve said- this system is just a very old, basic and just uninteresting way to do that, we had few daced when it was a standard and I want something new, fresh and exciting. AoE2 already exists and this game is not trying to remake it and I don’t think 2’s approach ought to be replicated.
On top of that it enhances-puts a spotlight on many aspects of the game that are just poor. There is one big topic of camera settings, building scale and size, map size and I won’t repeat what was said 1000 times. Also building process alone is as shallow as it was in AoE1 and no additional depth was given to it, or the building themselves, that would TRULY force people to put a lot of thought and caution into settlement design. It stands opposite to the inclusion of walls that can be manned with archers, which at least partially were meant to enhance the weight of the game and give depth to player expansion and defensiveness.
Now it’s just spamming mil prod buildings as fast as you can, wherever you can since the building area is often not as generous as in AoE2/3. It doesn’t look too bad in 1v1-2v2, but on big maps with a lot of people later stages of the game look completely ridiculous and just lame. It’s crazy!
You have entire screen filled with training buildings. Where’s the depth in that?
I’d rather focus on proper city design and defence against siege, on the strategy behind commanding armies or expansion, than making sure I flood the land with as many buildings as fast I can. In the end you’re selecting all and spamming unit icons - it’s just a janky way to do that.
Then you add total laziness when it comes to the visual quality of what’s available- how the better game would look if there was at least a small number of building variants, with small visual changes that add uniqueness and more natural look to our settlement? Just like you have many variants of houses.
Nothing big- maybe in one version you have few more shields laying around, in other- couple extra torches, in next a guard walking inside the building or some variation of wood and wall textures.
Would that ruin the game if any depth was added? Yes some civ can have special batch technology, somewhere you can research tech along with training, but in general, it’s like going back to 1993.
Would that be above the abilities and skills of people in Relic to include some cool, new features?
Like a system where building the same type of building next to each other enhances them and creates ‘upgraded’ version- bigger (but smaller than 200% of the basic one), with a different model, more hp and merged capabilities? Building second archery range next to each other would create advanced archery range where two units can be trained at the same time. Like with additional production cranes in Command and Conquer. There are small hints of that- with autogenerated map props like moats, fences, fields around houses etc. But it’s all cosmetics now.
Or giving a tiny cool feature to map generation, like abandoned ruins and defensive buildings, that can be garissoned. It’s a very important feature in ther DoW and CoH series.
Ensemble tried that in III and they added super cool treasures, that make exploration interesting and exciting. Even on water you have treasures like shipwrecks of floating wood or turtles as a source of food. Still it’s balanced well and treasures alone are just a small boost during the first age, maybe partially second when powerful ones (like +xx% hp for explorer) are generated.
But there’s just nothing Without even a basic model rotation map looks super boring later on. Not even the quality of the models and textures makes up for it. Clarity was never a big issue and the current design is unnecessarily fixated on making sure, that even the least capable, young players won’t have a single issue with analyzing the map…
I guess that’s just the part of a bigger complaint- IV is not really trying to push anything forward, to innovate, expand what’s already there and really impress people with utilization of modern technology and capabilities offered by current tech, including fast storage, RAM, multicore processors.
I’m slowly coming to the conclusion it shouldn’t be named ‘4’. Feels like a sidegrade filler that should’ve come in maybe 2015
Seeing every sequel made made me say ‘wow’ - Age of Kings, III. Even partially Online, as much as I don’t need that type of online-heavy design.
Here? IV is fun, sometimes super fun. And good in general. But I’m not really close to being amazed by it.
BTW I don’t like using just pop cap to talk about that separate subject. It’s a very old school, simplistic approach - pop cap alone, in a more intricate system, means nothing without knowing how does economy work (and as a result how a big portion of that is reserved for eco units- including vills, carts, eco naval, misc support units) what is the differentiation in pop ‘weight’
I love AoE III’s approach of adding more depth and making it more interesting. I think it’s fun and reasonable to have a heavy mortar that takes up 4pop. You can clearly see 4 people carrying it, and it’s justified by it’s power in the general balance of the game.
At the same time the general pop cap should be highly customizable within the range of 50 to even 1000 if the engine can support it (maybe limited as needed in games with 4-6+ players etc)