My RTS concept

I’ve been thinking about making my own RTS for nearly 20 years already but never really got to actually start working on it.
AoE (+AoM) is my favourite game series but I also got some inspiration from other games like Empire Earth 1/2. I also like other games like Down of War or Starcraft 2 but they don’t combine well with AoE.

I’m curious what AoE fans think of my ideas.


The main resources are Food, Wood, Coin, Stone and Iron. There is also Progress but that’s something different that I’ll talk about later.


Farms are infinite. The fertility of the soil modifies the efficiency of farms. There is High (in some maps especially near rivers), Middle (most area in most maps), Low (Grassland in some maps) and None (desert, rocks, etc.). Maps equal out the areas of fertility so in the Nile map you have to fight about the fertile land but in a Central European Map you can build farms everywhere.

Livestock is a building that works like farms but you have the ability to kill all of it in emergency giving you a food boost but they take a while to repopulate, it also takes more time at the start to get the population up. Works on any soil fertility other then none. As efficient as Farms on Low fertility soil.

Fishing is like in AoM. Whales give Coin when you have the technology for it.

Plantations Give half as much Food as Farms, need at least Medium fertile soil. In addition they produce half as much Coin than Food.

Hunting animals repopulate when untouched.


Forest slowly regrows when untouched.

Wood plantation workers spend half the time on raising new trees making them half as good.


Mines have either Silver or Gold. Gold has 2x the collection rate and gives 2x as many resources.

Mine shafts can be build on depleted Gold mines. Only give a fraction of the resources, have a worker limit, but are infinite.

Trading I will make an extra section for that.

Plantations and Whales also provide Food.


Stone Mine same as usual.

Bricks converts Wood to Stone 2 to 1. Takes longer than mining Stone.


Iron Mine Like Gold mine, also allows Mine Shafts.

Usage of the Resources

Food, Wood and Stone work like in AoE. Coin is not used for all units. It is used for units that require good training (Archers) and expensive upkeep (Chariots, Cavalry or siege weapons) while Iron is used for units with good armour (Infantry or Heavy Cavalry), some units cost both (Knights).
Some siege weapons might cost Stone. To balance out defensive and offensive gameplay styles.
There will be no military units that cost neither Coin nor Iron but both can be collected more reliably in late game, especially Iron because all mines allow the construction of Mine Shafts while only the rare Gold mines allow it and the more common Sliver mines don’t.
“Trash” units are units that only cost a little Coin or Iron.


Other than AoE the civilisation are grouped into 3-5 Tiers. Those Tiers are roughly equal to time periods but there are exceptions. Only civilisations form the same Tier are balanced against each other.
Tier 1-3 is something that should be in the game, Tier 4-5 are more nice to have.

Tier 1 Bronze Age

Here are all civilisations that did never have a large scale Iron production (Hittites used some Iron for example but never for a huge portion of the Army). They don’t have Iron as a resource and there for play more like AoE1. They also mostly leak Cavalry but some of them have Chariots.
Combined arms are also rare. Units have weak counters.
Civilisations like Egyptians, Hittites, Minoans, Summerians, Shang Dynasty China, Assyrians, Babylonians, Elamite, Harappa (Indus)
But there are also American Civilisations from later Ages here like Aztecs, Mayans, Olmecs or Inca. They all didn’t never develop Iron working and didn’t have cavalry either.

Tier 2 Classic Age

All civilisations here are able of Iron working. Armoured Infantry becomes more common. Chariots are a thing of the past but Cavalry is rarely the main fighting force.
Siege weapons like catapults become available but fortifications don’t get much better.
Civilisations like Romans, Greeks, Persians, Zhou Dynasty China, Korea (Silla), Carthaginians (Phoenicians), Celts, Germans, Maurya (India), Skythes, Xongnu, Huns, etc.

Tier 3 Middle Ages

Cavalry is the main army of some civilisations. Siege weapons become better but so do Defences. Making the game much more siege focus.
This game feels more like AoE2 naturally but the addition of Iron mixes up the gameplay making it harder to mass some types of units. Also the Feudal Age is more expanded. More on that later.
There are also gunpowder units available at the end.
I’m not making a list of possible civilisations because that would get to long. But Civilisations like the Goths or Huns are not included.

Tier 4 Early Modern Age

This Tier includes gunpowder Civilisations that still use Melee infantry essentially. Covering the time from the Renaissance till the end of the 30 years war.
Pikes make the main force of most armies and Canons aren’t too powerful yet. Gunpowder Infantry is weak in close combat. Archers mostly dissapeared.
Civilisations like Portuguese, Spanish (Castile), French, Austrian, English, Italian, Polish, Russian, Swedish, Ottoman, Morocco, Persian, Mughal, Ming China, Joseon Korea, Japan etc.

Tier 5 Napoleonic

Covers the time from after the 30 years war till the end of the Napoleonic wars and before the Industrialisation. All Infantry uses fire arms, some use smooth bore ones with bayonets others rifled ones without bayonets. Melee cavalry is still strong especially because there are no pikes anymore.
Civilisations are mostly limited to Europe with the British, French, Purssian, Austrian, Russian, US-American, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish and Ottomans.


New mechanic that replaces normal aging. Ages aren’t technologies anymore that can just be researched. You need to collect Progress to start advancing into the next Age. In later Ages there more thing that give Progress but ageing also costs more Progress.
This extends the time spend in Age 2 compared to AoE1-3 where going to Age 3 quickly is a common tactic. But it also removes the window of weakness while aging because you don’t have to invest resources to do so.
The number of Ages will be around 3-5 depending on the Tier.

Permanent Progress

  • Every technology you research
  • Building some buildings for the first time
  • Destroying an enemy technology building (Library, University etc.)

Losable Progress (can be killed or destroyed)

  • Every villager you have gives a little Progress
  • Having at least one of a kind of technology building (Library, University etc.)
  • Every Town Centre gives you a little Progress
  • Special buildings give you a little Progress

Progress trickle

  • Having at least one of a kind of technology building (Library, University etc.)
  • Having at least one Town Centre

There are game setting for Fast, Normal, Slow and Very Slow progress if you want to play like this. On normal an Age should last like 10-15 minutes (depends). The setting changes the impact of the different types of Progress differently, especially trickle gets reduced on slow and very slow.
Not all things are unlocked by this mechanic. A lot of buildings require other Buildings and there are still a lot of Technologies to research.
Advancing into a new Age just unlocks new technologies, units and buildings but doesn’t improve any existing units or buildings.

Armour System

Before I talk about units I have to talk about the armour system.
Other than AoE it has two different values for each attack, Damage and Piercing. If an attack has higher Piercing than the opponents armour it does full damage. If it has less than the damage gets reduced.
There are two different kinds of Armour, Soft and Hard.

Soft Armour

Damage = Piercing / Armour but max 1.
For example 5 Piercing hits 10 Armour results in 0.5x damage.
Both 5 and 10 Piercing hitting 5 armour will result in 1x damage.

Hard Armour

If the Piercing is lower than the Armour the attack will make 0 damage.
If the Piercing is higher than the Armour the same calculation as for Soft Armour applies.
Damage = (Piercing - Armour) / Armour but max 1 and min 0.
For Example 5 piercing against 5 hard armour will make (5 - 5) / 5 = 0x damage.
10 Piercing against 5 hard armour will make (10-5) / 5 = 1x damage.
6 piercing against 4 hard armour will make (6-4) / 4 = 0.5x damage.


Armour will rarely be 100% hard armour. The Hardness is a value between 0% and 100%.
It determines the ratio of hard Armour.
Units like Archers normally have 0-10% hardness while extremely heavy armoured Infantry might have up to 90%.
Most units will be below 50%.

Blacksmith technolgies will increase the Piercing and the Armour instead of inceasing the attack.

Example for Piercing/Damage differences:
Spears have higher Piercing than Swords but repiers have high Percing.
Crossbow bolts have much higher Piercing than Arrows from Bow while having sim ilar damage. Crossbow are a lot less usful against lightly armoured units becuase they have a lower rate of fire.


There are flowing main unit types: Spearman, Sowrdman, Archer, Crossbow, Javelin, Cavalry(Spear), Cavalry(Sword), Cavalry Archer, Catapult and than the gunpowder units Arquebusier, Musketeer, Skirmisher, Dragoon, Cannon.


Counters Cavalry


Counters Infantry
Not as weak against Archers


Counters Infantry and Cavalry Archer

Crossbow and Arquebusier

Higher Piercing but low rate of fire than Archer


Counters Archers and Cavalry Archers
Decent against Infantry

Sword Cavalry

Counters Archers and gunpowder Infantry without bayonets


Counters Cavalry and Swordman
Better against bayonets

Cavalry Archer

Counters Meele Infantry and Cavalry

Catapult and Cannon

Counters Infantry and Archers
Weak to cavalry


Counters Archers, Meele Infantry and Cavalry Archers
Resists Cavalry


Counters Musketeers
Weak agains Cavalry


Counters Cavalry and Cannons
Weak to gunpowder Infantry


Trading is kind of a mix between AoE2 and AoE3, I’ll explain.
The map has Trade Notes at least on per player. Those are connected by Trade Routes. Not all of them are connected. They are often at the shore.
Markets can only be build on Trade Notes.
You can only trade when both ends of a Trade Route have a Market (own or Allied/Neutral). The number or Trade Units is limited per Trade Route and per Player.
For example on a route of the length 1 you can build 10 trade carts if you trade with yourself. If you trade with an Allie he can also build additional 10 trade carts.
If someone trades with your Market you will get 50% of what the other one gets whithout them loosing anything.
So trading with an Ally gives your team 3x as many resources!

There is a minimal length (for map generation and scenarios).
2x the lenghts allows 1.5x the treade units and they give 1.5x as much resources resulting in 1.125 as much resources
3x length will allow 2x the trade units and give 2x the income resulting in 1.3333x as much Coin.
3x is the maximum length.

Sea Trade routes are better than Land ones. Ships carry more Coin and move a bit faster while having the same limit.

There are off map Trade Nodes they are always considered as if the had a Market.

A usual layout for 1v1 is each player as a Trade Node at the spawn and they are both connected to two Trade Notes between the players. The player that holds both of them will have much more Coin in lategame.
In most 2v2 maps there is a Trade Route between the two players.
Off map Trade Notes are rare.

The resons for this design are:

  1. Limit the ammount of Coin that can be generated by trading
  2. Allow selve Trading
  3. Make trading with allies more provitable than selve trading
  4. Create points of intrest on the map
  5. Make building up Trade Lines an investment
  6. Make Trade Lines raidable by enemies
  7. Remove the problems with silly Market or Dock placement
  8. Prevent annyoing collsions by limiting the ammount of Trade units


Most units have moral (Except Heros and Villagers).
Moral impacts the combat capabilities of a unit but will never take away control and will never be more important than thing like Hitpoints.

Moral will automatically go back to the base value over time. They go back to the base value the qucket the father away they are.
Moral can go from +100% to -100%

Inceating Base Moral

  • Hero or othe leader nearby
  • Flag or similar unit nearby
  • Relic nearby
  • Home territory

Base Moral is limited to +25% and can’t go below 0%.

Increasing Moral

  • Active ability of Hero
  • Killing enemy Hero
  • Killing enemy Flag carrier
  • Killing any enemy unit

Decreasing Moral

  • Hero dying
  • Flagg carrier dieing
  • Allied unit dieing
  • Getting hit by Arrow, Siege weapons, Canons
  • Elephants (for countire that don’t have them)
  • Horses (for Native American countries that don’t have them)
  • Camels (for Cavalry)

As you can see there are more things that reduce moral that increase it during a battle. This will resault in a moral los on both sides. Some untis are not very strong in combat but have a big moral impact like Elephants. It can also help shooting arrows at units that don’t take damage from them to lower their moral.

Moral impact

  • +100% +25% attack +25% attack speed +25% movement speed
  • +50% +25% attack
  • 0% No modifire
  • -50% -25% attack
  • -100% -25% attack -25% attack speed but +25% movement speed

The growth is linear between those values. The units will have different animations for >+50% Moral and <-50% Moral as well as some UI indicators.
At >+50% and <-50% the impact of Moral changes is be reduced.

Moral calculation

Moral will be calculated in intervals.
First the Moral will move towards the Base Moral.
In the second step the Moral will be Adjusted according to other allied units in the surrounding. This will have the result that an army wont have very different Moral values between different units. Destroying the moral of one unit can reduce the moral of the whole army. Like killing a Hero will reduce the moral of units that are outside of the range too because the low moral will slowly trains fair over to them.
But that also applies to the Base moral boost of a Hero it will also boost the Moral of far away units because they adjust to their neighbouring units.


Units collect experiance while fighting. Indpendent of if they lost or gained Moral.
With enout Experiance they will Rank um. The costs of Experiance per Rank increase a lot. There are only 4 Ranks including the base Rank.


No modifiers.


Relatively easy to achieve a lot of units will have this Rank after a battle.

  • -25% Moral Damage
  • +25% attack
  • +50% HP


Only a few units will reach this Rank.

  • -50% Moral Damage
  • +50% Attack
  • +100% HP
  • 1%/second HP regenerations outside of fight


Very rare. Those units will get a golden glow like Heroes but they don’t have Hero features.

  • -75% Moral Damage
  • +100% Attack
  • +100% HP
  • 2.5%/second HP regeneration outside of fight
  • 1%/ second HP regeneration in fight

The impact of the Ranks depends from Unit to Unit and so does the Experience required to Rank up.
Elite Units like Elephants, Chariots or Heavy Cavalry will need more Experience and will gain less HP and Attack while cheap units like a Spearman will get more boni and need less XP but they will stay weaker than a Knight of the same Rank of course.

One of the most important improvement is the reduced Moral Damage.
It reduces all types of negative Moral including the one of the Adjustment system but it doesn’t reduce the positive Moral they get. That means that Veteran and Master Rank units will rarely lose moral in a battle but instead gain more over time.
Because of the Adjustment system the higher Moral will spread through the army.
So for example if a Veteran with 50% moral stands next to a Recruit with -50% moral
they wont equal out at 0% moral but at a positive moral

  • +50% and -50%
  • +25% and 0%
  • +18.5% and 12.5%
    and so on

The Moral and Experience system will make it a wise decision to retreat from a battle instead of letting the complete army die.
In early game both sides might lose so much moral that both want to retreat and fight again with more Experienced troops.
Attacking an enemy base early might result in an Experience gain for the defending army that is bigger than the economic loss the attack might cause.
The speed boost for very low moral will allow you to retreat from battles more easily while the enemy will likely not have very high moral because the moral normally goes down for the winning side too.

It will also change up late game fights because just throwing in trash armies is less helpful because it will give the enemy experience and make their army stronger.

What do you think of my ideas?

It’s not all Ideas that I have but the important ones.
I’m open for criticism.

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So will there be secondary resources which aren’t used as much or change as you age?

I love this idea. To make more interesting, soil should lose fertility depending on the length of time there is farm/cattle on it (if cattle can be a food source).


Good! Maybe different wood types have different advantages/disadvantages. Some may make boat building cheaper, or make buildings more fire resistant etc.

Interesting concept but idk about Bronze age civs (Hittites) in the Napoleonic Era. Perhaps they ‘evolve’ into more recent nation from the same area as they go along? What if you start as Babylonians but then advance along into Persia/Turkey as you age? And same thing with Hittites. This offers unique Bronze and Classic Age while making it more interesting as you go.

Also could you pause progress if you wanted?

I couldn’t really understand what you meant, you might need to rephrase this part.

I assume these are just general names but will branch off into each civ so they are unique? EG. Macedonian Phalanx will differ to other Phalanx because of Sarissa.

Could be good but I imagine difficult to balance.

All up I very much love your ideas. A game made like this would be the best historical RTS ever.

No, just Progress. Housing is also kind of a resource.
Maybe there can be a civilisation specific resource.

Not planned. But that could be used to prevent to much food being available in late game.

Sounds to complicated.
To fire resistance. I will use the armour system for that. Wood buildings have Soft Armour and stone buildings have Hard Armour. Fire attacks will have low penetration but high damage. Infantry can quickly burn down houses but they will struggle to take out a fortified tower, while a cannon destroys stone walls but isn’t efficient at destroying economic buildings.

You misunderstood my concept. Hittites will always stay in Bronze Age and they will only play against Bronze Age civilisations.
The Franks from the Middle Ages are a separate civilisations from the French from the Napoleonic Age.
There is no progression between the different time Periods planned.
Civilisations will Age within their time periods.

Maybe I should make graphics for that.

Yes. But your example will be an upgrade for Greek Hoplites when going from the Classic to the Hellenistic Age. Macedonians won’t be their own civilisation.

That will be the hardest part, definitely.

There are some aspects that I haven’t talked about


Town Centre

Town Centres work similar to AoM as they can’t be build anywhere. They can only be placed in specific spots, called Settlements in AoM (I’ll likely use a different therm but I’ll use that one here).
Town Centres produce free Villagers when Villagers are stationed in them.


Is an upgraded version of the Town Centre that boosts resource production in the area.
For most civilisations it’s limited to 1. It’s available for some civilisations like the Minoans.

City Centre

Upgraded Town Centre that allows better buildings in the area. Including City Walls. Available for most Civilisations.


Fortified version of the Town Centre allows Castle Walls and Castle Towers in the area. Boosts local military production.

Religions Town Centre

This one will have different names like Cathedral or Mosque depending on Civilisation. This will give global boni instead of local ones, but they aren’t as strong.

There might be more variants of this for some Civilisation.
Tier 1 civilisations (Bronze Age) will normally not be able to do any Town Centre upgrades with some expeditions like the Minoans.
Tier 2 civilisations (Classic Antiquity) will often have the City Centre available.
Tier 3 civilisations (Middle Ages) will often have the choice between the Economic (City Centre), the Military (Keep) or Religious (Cathedral/Mosque) version for each of their Town Centres.


Generally there are multiple versions of the Tower and the Wall depending on where they are build.
Towers in the area of a Town Centre are stronger and constructed more quickly than in other places in the map. This prevents Tower rushes and makes it harder to fortify places that are far away from your Town.
City Centres and Keeps allow even better Towers with more HP, Attack and Range.


Outpost The version of the tower that can be constructed anywhere.
Guard Tower constructed in the area of a Town Centre is constructed quicker and has more attack than Outpost.
City Tower constructed in the area of a City Centre more HP, Attack and Range than Guard Tower
Castle Tower constructed in the area of a Keep more HP and Attack than City Tower

Villagers only have one Tower button in the UI, depending on where it is build it will turn into one of those. Upgrading your Town Centre also upgrades your Towers.


Same as towers. Constructed quicker next to Town Centre and get more HP when Town Centre is upgraded.

I like the AoM system because it lest the map shape your town in a way. But forward Town Centres feel kinda strange because you don’t build economy around them, and a Town Centre in a remote area is mostly just there to get more population.
My system would allow to build a Keep in an offensive position that has heavy Caste Towers and Walls around it.
If you find a Settlement in a remote area you can build a Cathedral that will give you global bonuses.

Those Settlements will often, but not always, share the position with Trade Nodes.


I haven’t decided on this. Either it’s a fixed territory that is generated with the map (or designed in the Editor than can be claimed with a Town Centre and all the bonuses of it apply in the Territory.
Or it’s just a radius around the Town Centre.
Having Fixed Territories might feel unflexible but it could nicely divide the map in different regions and every sport on the map can be covered by a Town Centre.

I didn’t misunderstand. Rather, I don’t think 3 games in one is a good idea, but instead, civs should age into their more modern descendants as time passes. This isn’t limited to one civ becoming another civ, but it could mean multiple Bronze age civs become the same civ over time.

This is probably one of the few things I disliked about AoM (and RoL). I think being able to build more would make the game more fun and strategy focused.

Nah this will be bad. We need the flexibility.

That’s one too many in my opinion.

I don’t like it when games do thing like trying to find a transition from Bronze Age to Iron Age and even all the way to modernity. In the Civilisation Series that’s refereed to as “China syndrome” because no other civilisations was this consistent from Bronze Age till today.
Basically all of Europe, Persia and India would be the same civilisation in Bronze Age.
While most of the Bronze Age civilisations dissipated.
What should the Hittites or the Elamites turn into? Persia? But than more than half of the Bronze Age civilisations would turn into Persia.
Other games solved that very badly where China suddenly turns into Russia (not even a joke).
The reason why I want them in the same game is because they still share a lot of common elements like all of the maps.
Also you want to be able to combine Civilisations from different Tiers in campaigns. It’s dumb making the Aztecs or Inca as strong that their units can fight modern plate armoured Spanish heavy cavalry or even Musketeers like in AoE3.

Also Civilisations form the Classic Age start of weaker than Bronze Age civilisations in the lategame.
The same with Classic Age and Middle Age. A classic Roman Army would have good chances against an early Middle Age Frank army.

Transitioning between many Ages in one match doesn’t work and is not a fun gem mechanic. Empire Earth proved that only playing a small number of Ages is the most fun.

Allowing infinite Town Centres wouldn’t work if I want to implement the other features. If you can just build multiple Town Centres next to each other and upgrade all of them to different variations the balance wouldn’t work anymore.
I also want to force players to spread their civilisation over more than just one big city.
Giving players an arbitrary distance limit likely doesn’t feel fun but it could be an alternative. Simple the radius of two Town Centres can’t intersect.

There will be other ways to increase the villager production. Upgraded Town Centres can produce more for example. But the game is not designed in a way that you can keep producing villagers forever.

I would rather combine Food and Wood than getting rid of Iron.
The Iron/Gold balance is what makes Empire Earth more interesting for armies.
AoE only knows Gold units and trash units.

One thing that I also thought about


Villager Limit

Every economic unit (Villager, Fishing Boat or Trade Unit) take up Villager Limit.
The Villager Limit is different for the different Tiers.

  • Tier 1 : 50 (Original AoE1 population limit)
  • Tier 2 : 75 (Original AoE2 campaign population limit)
  • Tier 3 : 100 (AoE3 Villager limit)

Some Civilisations will have a higher limit as a bonus.


Houses increase the population limit for units but there is no limit for houses. City houses provide more population.
The Maximum population is a technical limit not a gameplay limit. (Maybe 10,000 per map)
There are no real trash units and the number of Villagers limits the unit production.Getting an army size of over 1000 units is practically impossible in a normal match.

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