My Rendition of a Non Generic Chinese Civ

Hi guys, just wanted to show what I felt would have been a more unique and accurate look for the chinese civ. Instead of the generic asian look it currently has Photos are made roughly so they aren’t perfect. :rofl:







Changes made:

  • Important buildings were replaced with golden roof tops referenced from Meiji architecture
  • House roof replaced with black colour which was more accurate for that time
  • Some extra red added to some buildings like Town Center
  • Walls darkened as per referenced below
  • Gold roofs on a couple of buildings was replaced with better gold roofs
  • Gold accents added to gatehouse and towers for aesthetic appeal, not really historically accurate

I feel like these changes really pop and would stand out from the background. I felt the generic look was a bit washed out. I’d probably recommend to the devs to make the red colour pop out a bit more as it also seems quite washed out. But these new colours give chinese more of their culture, a bit more referenced from history, and is unique from other asian civilisations when they come in the future.

Reference Photos


I definitely like the color scheme of it, and it matches the art style of the game well. Bravo.

I think they should also match the automatically spawned plants and bushes with some more South Asian greenery instead of the standard plant life we get. Maybe even rice paddies instead of typical European wheat farms.


For such a rich post, support it.

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I also like Chinese architecture with golden elements, which is in line with the style of the Tang and Ming Dynasties.

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Thank you! Yes, Tang and Ming used Gold a lot. Yuan was the dynasty ruled by Mongols hence they used more blue/green. They used a lot of white however which was gorgeous. But you already have a Mongol civ!

The Yuan Dynasty lasted for a short time, less than 80 years. The architectural style should inherit the style of song and Jin Dynasties. The capital of the Yuan Dynasty is Beijing, and the architectural style should be inherited from Jin Dynasty.

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Great job! I think yours it looks much better.

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The architectural style should reflect whatever dynasty stage the player happens to be in the game.


The architectural style should reflect whatever dynasty stage the player happens to be in the game.

That would be the ideal, but we already know and have seen the whole architecture set is (posited as) being Ming-only with regional variation throughout the ages.
I would argue it’s not really doing that correctly and the era progression only follows the same village city to capital precedent set by Europe (and not well).

It’s always the same fake building set that makes fantasy cities like Liyue in Genshin or Gongmin in Kung Fu Panda look like multimillion documentaries in comparison. They just change the building materials with the early ages having rag-tag wooden poles stuck in the ground progressing into stone and later brick walls.

That city wouldn’t look Japanese even if you were to be a half-blind old man. The bar of expectations for the eventual Japanese architecture is super low, but even so. Medieval Japanese cities and residences of important figures or barracks used almost no rooftiles, those were restricted to a very limited selection of buildings. The normal progression of poor to rich was hay → wooden planks → decorative tree bark.

To illustrate: Takeda clan residence

Same thing built IRL

And a period drawing from inside Kyoto, the capital.

It is nigh impossible to confuse those with a (fairytale) Chinese city. And besides, AoE2 already used that architectural style somewhat correctly. As obsessed with AoE2 as this game is, it is highly likely even AoE4 will follow suit. I hope so.


If the AOE IV devs are not making a city that shines Chinese culture and screams Chinese, what makes you think they will stick true to Japanese?

Look at how generic the English, French and HRE civs are. They look practically the same. The English church looks exactly like the French church but with different colour roof. The houses are copy and pasted throughout each civ. The shrubs in the French city is exactly the same as the shrubs in the HRE. HRE castle is 6 orange pointed roof while french is 4. They are soooo similar you need to closely look and nit pick the differences. Even the walls for the french and HRE have absolutely no diferences!!

Dehli Sultanate and Abbasid Dynasties look almost the same. Which is absolutely ridiculous! The only thing the two shared was religion. Dehli Sultanate ruled over a majority Hindu population, whose land was filled with mostly hindu temples and hindu architecture. Yes some Islamic mosques and structures were built but AOE IV shows practically a whole rendition of Saudi Arabia.

There’s no doubt they are going to use that generic civ lay out and copy and paste things here and there when they release the next asian dynasties. The purpose of the “fantasy” style buildings are to ive the civs their unique culture. Chinese celebrate red and gold throughout their dynasties but also their festivals because those colours are important to them. Red means good luck and gold needs good fortune. Hence why I used them. I wanted to make the red pop more but it destroys the capability of being able to read the player colour. maybe it’s somethign that can be added as a mod.


No offense, but everything seems getting worse in after. Not everything look delightful if it is golden.

It is all within the details. You are comparing 3 european empires that shared a lot of culture with one another. Even then Aoe IV attempts to draw distinct details between the civ’s houses. I can go into this with exhaustive detail but I will mainly show you a bunch of screenshots:

General features of a Rus house:

English houses:
Notice the sharp angles on the english roofs. Notice the tubular chimney tops.
French houses:

Notice how the roofs are less angled and are wider. Notice the different chimney designs. Notice the “tower” features that jut out of the roof.
HRE houses:

HRE houses have the steepest rooves compared to all other civs. The roof shape in general is different than that of the other european civs. A lot of their houses also have a variation of “tower” jutting out of the roof.

Dehli Sultanate:


Yes they look fairly similar, but this is because they are both examples of Islamic architecture.
And as with the european houses we can look at the details and know who’s house belongs to who.


Do you have a foundation in painting? The first picture is good…


Oh thanks! Yeah I’ve been doing art for a few years.

Love the art :joy: thank you for the effort in explaining

I agree the challenge in doing civs that are within the same geographic location makes it very hard to distinguish between each other. Hence why it would come down to the finer details but unless you were really zoomed in trying to distinguish the finer details like you did so beautifully above, it looks and feels the same.

What is needed in this case is the exaggeration of the cultural stereotype at the time. It’s not 100% historically accurate but it’s not a historical.

For example, red and gold is so important to Chinese people, so go ham on the red and gold to really sjout Chinese. Use the fobidden palace as inspiration.

With French, English and HRE.

English has a stereotype of stony brick like structures. With their stubby castles and walls. They could have used some aspects of Winchester as an example.

Like they could have done this church for the English as it is very common in England

French are famous for their gothic architecture most notable the Notre Dame. And their Cathedral in Bordaeux

I reckon the way they are now is perfect and don’t need to be changed. Except walls could be more like carcassone, France. A preserved medieval French city.

With HRE, because
Charlemagne was Frankish, and Barbarossa was the King of Germany, then you could grab a city in Germany and blow that up as a representative.
For example, the city of Nördlingen is a well preserved Frankish German medieval city.

And then for the castle you could have used Burghausen Castle

This would stay true to history, but also vastly display the unique differences between all 3 civs. I even think AOE II was inspired from this with their civ

And yes, that’s the genericicity I’m talking about. Although Delhi Sultanate had Islamic Architecture, 90-95% of the country was Hindu architecture. Just because they were an Islamic leadership, they shouldn’t have made all these Islamic Architecture. They should have mixed it up like have some mostly Hindu architecture with maybe a mosque and house of wisdom.

It adds more asymmetry in the game and will make the campaigns feel so much more unique!

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I think with Delhi they should have made the military structures and the mosque have an Islamic look, while the civilian structures have a more northern Hindu-like look.


In my opinion, the buildings in Europe are similar…I think the architecture of the Roman Empire and ancient Greece is quite different from that of other parts of Europe…

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My opinion about emphasizing the gold/red colors of Chinese buildings is that it may cause too much visual conflict with determining who’s who. When I see your AFTER renderings, my immediate thought is that those buildings belong to the player who has been assigned the yellow color rather than purple (as is shown in the picture).

The emphasis on the reds/golds in the building color schemes need to be more muted compared to the actual player color in order to facilitate playability.

I’m not totally against this, I think the visual aspect of player colors is something that’s often missing from these discussions/examples.

Looks a lot better than what we have now. Good work