Make food from animals realistic! (Just for fun 😉)

Resources in the Age of Empires series have always been a little abstract. How much is “1”? One what? Use units man. It’s a rabbit hole down layers of abstraction. You could try to find how much one gold is by looking at how much revenue a country continuously at war might actually generate from owning a holy relic over several centuries, or you could try to determine how much one stone is by looking at how many castles real world nations could build out of their primary, secondary or neutral stone mines. But with wood and food we can get a little more concrete than that. A map I’ve been developing made me ask myself: when consuming the animals available around the map, how much meat is 1 food?

So what I did is look up the range of weights a real world animal represented by the in game animals might have, and then determine how much edible meat that means by just taking 60% of the live weight and calling it a day. This is across wild species and domesticated breeds within a group and for small young adult females to large fully grown males (where there is a difference). Because these ranges are rather large I then tried to nail it down to a “typical” value, taking into account which species, subspecies or breed an army would be most likely to encounter within the setting of the DLC the animal came in and such. In the graph and table below I name the specific variety this typical value is for between brackets behind the name. These typical values are guesstimates as much as the ranges themselves, but I’m fairly sure I got most values within about a factor three of the truth. I also included the sort of joke unit iron boar and two of the (many) inedible animals in the game (six if you count horse, wild horse, camel, wild camel, bactrian camel and wild bactrian camel all as separate entities).

Once I had typical numbers I could determine for each animal how much meat there is to 1 food. The lowest amount I found was just about 35 grams for both the goose and the javelina. The highest value was 6 kg of meat per 1 food for the elephant. I’ll be honest, that number was disappointingly small. I then determined the average, the median and the modus (sort of) of these values and plugged those values back into the system: how much food would these animals give if one food actually represented a tangible amount of meat? (For these calculations I took into account sheep and goats being separate entities, I just merged their numbers because they’re really similar.) I used colors to indicate how close these values came to the current ingame values of food each animal gives. Green is within a factor 2 of the current value, yellow is between a factor 2 and 5, orange means there is between 5 and 10 times more or less food on the ingame animal than justified by these numbers, and a red number is more than ten times off.

I also arrived at a conclusion. From now on one food should absolutely represent as close as possible to 500 grams of food. A goose will now give 7 food, so you’ll need 114 of them to get to the regular amount of herdable food around the TC. An elephant will give 4800 food, roughly twice the total you can currently harvest from your boar, sheep and berries combined with a few deer tossed in for good measure. It’s only realistic.

(Sometimes I just feel like weird thought experiments, and in the spirit of the old Wololo Wednesdays I also try to provide some visuals to the forums every now and then.)


This is the kind of hard-hitting, completely unnecessary, yet fairly awesome analysis that makes it worth wading through the many nonsense posts on this forum.

I’ve done semi-similar things with gold and stone in scenarios, where 1 gold (coin) becomes some standard of value, or 1 stone represents 20 bricks. Mainly to give Castles higher costs (with scaled up power and durability), or making it feel like there’s a monetary system in the game, beyond the cost of units/techs.


Ermergerd please let me eat my Burmese elephants! :heart_eyes:

But tbf almost everything in the game is just a singular representative of varying quantities of something. One house is more like a few houses supporting dozens of villagers producing handfuls of spears against a couple of Knights

But that being said, imagine everything was scaled up to be more accurate (in a similar manner to the food)

So like we have a few knights and 100s of spears everywhere . And herds of geese instead of one phat turkey


Yeah, this is the best way to think about them. In other contexts as well, “military unit” refers to a group that fights as one rather than to an individual. And it makes some of the silly game mechanics (healing, unarmored units tanking multiple direct weapon strikes, 200 pop) seem slightly less silly.

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In general, in most RTS games where there is a limit pop space, I’ve just started seeing units, houses, resources etc as just a visual simplification of a larger army.

After all, it’s very hard to put the real world into a realistic game, you’ll have to simplify some things to make it work in scope. In other games, (using Warcraft as an example), the in-game world is also a visual representation of the world in books, where one yard would represent a much larger distance. Same in AoE2 - the three villagers would likely represent a small tribe, and likely each additional villager would be a scaling population.

Then again, I wouldn’t say no to having one Elephant giving me 2400 food. Would be a good dream for Mongols. 11

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Infinite food! Until we update the cost of the unit that is…

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Something divided by 0 is not infinite.

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You buy an elephant for 120 food and 70 gold, it gives you 4800 food. Even at minimum market rates you spend like 100 food to buy 14 gold or something? So that’s 500 food to pay the gold cost, so you’re trading 620 food for 4800 food, or almost 8 more battle elephants. Infinite food!

(My students are allowed to call something divided by zero infinite. They’re also allowed to call it “error”, or just impossible. Let the record show I don’t teach future mathematicians. Though that’s beside the point, I’m not using divisions by zero here. What did you think my calculation was?)

I thought your calculation considered
herdable elephant has 400 food
Burmese battle elephant is a military unit so has 0 food. And thus when you scale it to get actual meat per food you get infinite/or more correctly error.

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Ah, right, like that. I see.

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I know it’s off topic, but I’m really intrigued by this. What kind of students are they? I can’t think of a context in which division by zero would be relevant, but it would be safe to say it’s infinity, and you would know that your students aren’t future mathematicians. Maybe I’m just being unimaginative. (Also I do teach future mathematicians.)

On topic, this thread is magnificent. But I don’t think I’ve ever played a strategy game with units for the resources. Is there one? I think the closest I’ve come is Catan, where one of the resources appears to be sheep (so the unit is sheep)… but if I recall correctly, it’s actually supposed to represent wool, and just has a picture of a sheep on the card.

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Actually, in mathematics there is a structure called Riemann Sphere that allows division by 0: Riemann sphere - Wikipedia

But yes, usually it’s not a good idea to divide by zero.


Did the first one over PM. I’ll probably share what I do exactly some day, but maybe not today.

In my mind it’s just “animal products”, including wool but also meat, milk, leather, horses for riding, oxen for labor, dogs, cats, eggs and manure as fertilizer and for gunpowder (despite the prescence of knights the game reads more “early age of exploration” to me). Using it for settlements and developments seems pretty fitting. It missing from the upgrade to a city (more people who never have to leave and can go about their day on food, more reliance on staple crops for food) seems pretty reasonable too even.

Catan really has quite an elegant resource system, I can’t really name a resource a colony on an uninhabited landmass at the time would have used that does not fall under any of the five resources. The best I can do is probably hunt and scavanged animal products separate from domesticated animals or peat, which is a bit of a hybrid between clay and wood in some ways.

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just 4 of these elephants would put death match starting food to shame

Yes… but anyone learning about that probably is a future mathematician!

If you abstract them far enough, I guess the resources are animal, edible vegetable, inedible vegetable, hard mineral, soft mineral. So I guess if you’re being pedantic, fungus and seaweed?

The AoE2 resources aren’t quite so all encompassing even if interpreted broadly, but I think four resources is just right for type of game it is.