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.

Resources

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.

Food

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.

Wood

Forest slowly regrows when untouched.

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

Coin

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

Stone Mine same as usual.

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

Iron

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.

Civilisations

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.

Progress

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.

Hardness

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.

Units

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.

Spearman

Counters Cavalry

Swordman

Counters Infantry
Not as weak against Archers

Archer

Counters Infantry and Cavalry Archer

Crossbow and Arquebusier

Higher Piercing but low rate of fire than Archer

Javelin

Counters Archers and Cavalry Archers
Decent against Infantry

Sword Cavalry

Counters Archers and gunpowder Infantry without bayonets

Lancer

Counters Cavalry and Swordman
Better against bayonets

Cavalry Archer

Counters Meele Infantry and Cavalry

Catapult and Cannon

Counters Infantry and Archers
Weak to cavalry

Musketeer

Counters Archers, Meele Infantry and Cavalry Archers
Resists Cavalry

Skirmisher

Counters Musketeers
Weak agains Cavalry

Dragoon

Counters Cavalry and Cannons
Weak to gunpowder Infantry

Trading

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

Moral

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.

Experience

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.

Recruit

No modifiers.

Experienced

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

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

Veteran

Only a few units will reach this Rank.

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

Master

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.

3 Likes

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!

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

Buildings

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.

Palace

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.

Keep

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.

Fortifications

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.

Tower

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.

Walls

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.

Areas

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

Population

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

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.

1 Like

this is pretty bizarre tho, javalins should counter heavy infantry, not archers and archer should counter close range spear throwers.

1 Like

You can carry a shield when using javelins, that’s the main advantage over Archers. Shields are very good against arrows.
Javelins don’t have the same piercing power as a longbow and there for are not as effective against Heavy Infantry and they also have a lower rate of fire. But Archers don’t wear thick armour so javelins can be used against them effectively.
They counter archers too well in AoE2 in my opinion.
Also depends on the time frame. War darts are also a thing (that’s technically what the Aztecs used).

My counter system would be mostly less hard counters. And units can be different, like a heavy armoured Pikeman can counter a heavy armoured Swordsman because they leak penetration and reach.
Archer and Crossbowman can counter cavalry in some scenarios too, like when the terrain is at your advantage.

I’ll add some more of my ideas when I’m at it.

Ages

Bronze Age

Ranging from around 10,000 BC till 1000 BC.
But there are some exceptions. American civilisations are on the same technology level but much later for example.

Stone Age

10,000-3000BC
Start without any building. All buildings are movable until you settle down.
Settling down allows farms and ageing up.
Spearman and Bowman are available.

Early Bronze Age

3000-2000BC (Egyptian Old Kingdom, Early Dynastic Mesopotamia, Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors in China, Pre Palace Minoan)
Early copper metallurgy is available. Basic Infantry and Archer unit types and early defensive structures.

Middle Bronze Age

2000-1500 BC (Egyptian Middle Kingdom, Old Babylonian and Assyrian Empires, Xia Dynasty of China, Minoan Palace Period)
More complex infrastructure buildings become available like additional Town Centres.
Bronze weapons become standard.

Late Bronze Age

1500-1000 BC (Egyptian New Kingdom, Middle Assyrian Empire, Shang China, Mycenaean Period, Hittite Empire)
Weapons become much stronger. Chariots become available and dominate the battlefield.
Trade gets very important.

Classical Antiquity

Ranging from around 1000 BC until up to 500 AD.
Iron is now available as a 5th resource leading to the dominance of Heavy Infantry.
Cavalry is now available for everyone but Chariots mostly disappeared.

Division in Ages becomes less clear because of cultural differences so I’ll reverse the listing.

Greek

  1. Dark Age
  2. Archaic
  3. Classic
  4. Hellenistic

Rome

  1. Mythical period (Alba Longa)
  2. Kingdom
  3. Republic
  4. Empire

China

  1. Zhou Dynasty
  2. Warring States period
  3. Western Han
  4. Eastern Han

Persia

  1. Mythical period (Kingdom)
  2. Persian Expansion
  3. Cultural Phase
  4. Parthian Empire

Generally

  1. Only little military available. Limited to one Town Centre.
  2. Most basic military units become available. More Town Centres can be build.
  3. Siege units and heavy Infantry are available.
  4. Advanced special units like Heavy Cavalry or Chu-Ku-Nu become available.

India is hard to fit in because their Middle Age starts at 200 BC.

Middle Ages

Ranging from 500 AD till 1500 AD.
The period is centred around the rise and fall of cavalry around the (old) world.

Dark Age

500-750 AD (Rise of Islam,
A good variety of military units are available. Early combat is common.

Feudal Age

750-1000 AD (Carolingian Age, start of Islamic Golden Age, Tang Dynasty, Viking Age, Hungarian Invasion)
Heavy Cavalry appears but Infantry spear and shield build the core of most armies.

Castle Age

1000-1250 AD (Crusades, Mongol Invasion)
Knights dominate the battlefield in Europa while the Mongols start their rise in the east.
Fortified Castles appear everywhere in Europe. Crossbows get popular in Europe.
China develops early gunpowder weapons.

Late Middle Ages

1250-1500 AD (Decline of the Byzantine Empire, Rise of the Ming Dynasty, Islamic dominance in India)
Armour becomes very dominant in Europe and new weapons are developed to combat it. Heavy pike formations slowly end the Age of Knights.
First gunpowder weapons appear outside China.

Age options

Normal mode

Most games are played in either of those periods and with all 4 ages each. The game is balanced around that. Of course start and end Age can be changed but not in competitive.

Epic mode

This mode allows to play through multiple periods. Your Civilisation changes when advancing into a new period (You can choose between a selection of civilisations from the same area or similar culture.)
The first Age of each new period is replaced by a different version that makes transition possible. This is because the First Age from the Classical Antiquity would be inferior to the Late Bronze Age or the Dark Age would be inferior to the Last Age from the Classical Antiquity.
This mode is less balanced and advancing into later Periods often doesn’t give you better units right away. Also older units can mostly not be upgraded and have to be replaced. You also loose Civilisation Bonuses and some technologies.

For example if you go from the Roman Empire to the Frankish Empire you won’t be able to upgrade your Legionaries and early Frankish Infantry will be weaker then them but if you go from the Roman Empire to the Byzantine Empire the change will be smother.
Other Example would be from Hittite Empire to Classic Greeks. You won’t be able to upgrade your Chariots and you have to rebuild your army using Hoplites.
But if you go from Mycenaean Greek to Classic Greeks you can upgrade your Infantry to Hoplites.

“China” mode

Same as Epic mode but you choose your End civilisation in the lobby and your earlier civilisations are automatically chosen. This a bit more balanced.

Some possible examples:
If you choose The Byzantines you will get Minoans and Greek.
If you choose the Franks you will get Minoans and Romans.
If you choose the Japanese you will get Chinese and Koreans first.

That of course depends on what civilisations will end up in the game. There is hard to find a continuation from the Bronze Age because most powerful Medieval civilisations where not civilised in the Bronze Age yet. The only Indo-European Empires somewhere close to Europe from that time where the Hittites and the Mycenaean Greeks.

The second problem are American civilisations because they only developed Bronze metal working before the Europeans arrived. The Incas are a Bronze Age civilisation how do they transition into later periods.

Trade

I have reconsidered my concept for trade and made an easier concept.

Trade routes and the placement for Markets is like described in the previous post.

There are 4 differences to the trade compared to AoE2

  1. Trade Carts and Ships can only travel along trade routes.
  2. Destination market has to process trade for a few seconds, one at a time. Duration is independent of distance.
  3. Coin per distance grows linear not exponential
  4. You get 50% of what the other one gets when they trade with you.

Effect is that because the market takes time to process each Trade Unit the number of Trade Units on a trade route is limited. Longer routes allow more Trade Units because they take longer to travel.
2x the distance means up to 2x trade units resulting in 2x income.
Longer distances give more Coin because the time they spend in the Market is shorter relative to the travel time.
This system is easier to understand and works better.

Technologies

Technologies are an essential part of the game. They are a bit more important than in AoE because advancing into a new Age gives you nothing until you research technologies.

Unit Upgrades

The unit upgrades are not split into normal and Blacksmith upgrades like in AoE2 for example.
There are no Veteran/Elite or what every version of Unit. There are only technologies that update certain aspects not just always HP and attack.
A Holpite is always going to be called Hoplite but you can upgrade the equipment and those upgrades will be visible.

For example Hoplite that is available form Age I would get those upgrades:

  • II Corinthian helmet (Improved armour)
  • III Chalcidian helmet (Improved armour)
  • II Muscle cuirass (Improved armour)
  • III Linothorax armour (Improved movement and attack speed removes Coin cost)
  • II Aspis shield (Improved anti arrow armour)
  • III Xiphos sowrd (Improved damage against Infantry)
  • IV Kopis sword (Even more damage against Infantry)
  • II Dory spear (Improved damage and penetration)
  • IV Sarissa spear (Increased range and improved damage against cavalry)

Not every Age gives an Upgrade for every aspect of the unit. Not every upgrade is just for Hoplites. The role of the Hoplite slights shifts over time because of that.
Other units like the Peltast would have half as much upgrades, especially because they are only available from the Classic Age III.

Greeks

Civilisations centred around the Hoplite unit that can fight most other units of its time period.

Barracks:

  • I Hoplite (Main Infantry)
  • I Toxotai (Light Archer)
  • III Peltast (Skirmisher)
  • IV Gastraphetes (Early Crossbow, low rate of fire)

Stable:

  • II Hippeis (Expensive Cavalry)
  • IV Hetairoi (Champion Cavalry)
  • IV Prodromoi (Mounted Skirmisher)

Dock

  • II Bireme (Light ship)
  • III Trireme (Medium ship)
  • IV Quadrireme (Heavy ship with catapult)

I Dark Age

Hoplite and Toxotai are available but only have weak weapons.

II Archaic Age

Hoplites get strong upgrades. They are the most well rounded Infantry in the early game.
Cavalry becomes available but is to expensive to be used in most situations.

III Classic Age

Peltasts practically replace Archers and are very helpful against Archer civilisations.
Hoplites also only cost Iron now allowing a more balanced army.

IV Hellenistic Age

Cavalry finally becomes useful for the Greeks. Hoplites are still the main unit because they are good against Infantry and Cavalry.

Sub Civilisations

Can be chooses when reaching the Archaic Age.
This makes the Civilisation more viable in different Map types like open maps or water maps.

Sparta

Stronger and heavier Hoplites than other Greeks. They get the weaker but more flexible and cheaper Perioeci to compensate for that.

Unique Unit:

  • III Perioeci (Cheaper but weaker Hoplite, benefits from all Hoplite upgrades)

Unique Technology:

  • III Heavy Aspis (Improved anti arrow armour for Hoplites but not Perioeci)

Civilisation Bonuses:

  • More Hitpoints and Attack for Hoplites
  • Hoplites not affected by Linothorax Technology.

Athens

Have the best ships. Speed bonus helps with trading and fishing.
The Agora allows them to adopt to any situation quickly.

Unique Building:

  • III Agora (Allows to choose one global bonus, changing it costs Coin)

Civilisation Bonuses:

  • All ships are faster

Thebes

Civilisation with a good offensive/defenssive balance. They can use cavalry earlier than other Greeks.

Unique Unit:

  • III Sacred Band (Elite Hoplites with limited numbers, trained and fight in pairs)

Civilisation Bonuses:

  • Walls, Towers and Town Centres have more Hitpoints
  • Hippeis are cheaper

Frank Techntree

Civilisation that focuses on Knights. Have knights earlier than any other Civilisations but they only become really strong in Castle Age III. The Paladin is the Elite version but only 12 can be build at a time.

Barracks:

  • I Spearman (Main Infantry) → IV Pikeman
  • I Axe Thrower (Low Range anti Infantry Infantry)
  • IV Halberdier (Anti Cavalry Infantry)
  • IV Longsword (Heavy Infantry that is good against any light armoured unit)

Archery Range:

  • I Archer (Light Archer)
  • III Crossbow (Anti armour ranged unit, makes Axe Thrower obsolete)

Stable:

  • I Light Cavalry (Fast but weak cavalry)
  • II Knight (Strong Cavalry)

Donjon:

  • III Paladin (Elite cavalry, limited to 12)

Artillery Foundry

  • IV Hand Cannon (Gunpowder unit similar to Crossbow)
  • IV Organ Gun (Anti Infantry Artillery)
  • IV Bombard Cannon (Slow anti building Artillery)

I Dark Age

Spearman assisted by Axe Throwers are the main early composition.

II Feudal Age

Knights are available earlier than for any other European Civilisation, this advantage should be used. Spearman are still very strong.

III Castle Age

Knights have much better Weapons and Armour available. Crossbows make Infantry less useful.

IV Late Middle Ages

The armour of Knights and Infantry gets very heavy, new weapons to counter that like Halberds and Pikes appear. Knights lost their dominance.
The first gunpowder weapons change siege warfare.

Sub Civilisations

This is just some idea for possible sub civilisations.

Valois

Military Bonuses

Burgundy

Economic Bonuses

Aquitaine

Naval Bonuses

in reality javelin throwers were not super heavily armored compared to most other parts of the army, reality is you would get shoot to pieces trying to approach an archer line with a shield and a few javelins.

there is no way a javelin man would ever actually beat an archer, even if he got within range the archer could just run away.

Reality is not rock paper scissor but a RTS has to be at last to some degree.
There has to be an anti archer unit for none cavalry civilisations.
Peltast have been historically used against archers and slinger because their shields protected them against archers while their leak of body armour made them weak against Hoplites. The also often carried swords. In reality the separation of unit types is not that easy, some of them had body armour and long spears making them more like light Hoplites.
You also have to consider that civilisations have to be balanced against civilisations they never met historically.

I don’t like the concept of AoE2 were they are very long range anti Archer units either.

Iron and Coin

I want to make a longer explanation of why I think having Iron and Coin instead of just Gold/Coin can make more interesting gameplay.

Having two resources forces you to build different units and adds another strategic layer on resource management.

Coin Units

  • Archers
  • Cavalry
  • Cavalry Archers
  • Siege Weapons

Units that need a lot of training or expensive equipment like horses.

Iron Units

  • Melee Infantry
  • Gunpowder Infantry

Unit that need less training and cheaper equipment.
Closest to trash units from AoE1/2.

Coin and Iron Units

  • Heavy Cavalry
  • Elite Infantry
  • Cannon

Most powerful and there for most expensive units.
Requiring both resources makes them harder to mass.

Coin or Iron Units

  • Crossbow
  • Javelin
  • Skirmishers

The cost of those units depend on the civilisation.
It’s a balancing decision based on what strategic roles those units play in those civilisations.
In an Infantry heavy civilisation they will likely cost Coin but for an Archer or Cavalry civilisation they can cost Iron.
But they won’t cost both because they are not Elite Units.

Why Coin and not Gold?

The answer is relatively simple. I want to have different mines.
Silver mines are not infinite but much more common and there for less strategically interesting. Gold mines are worth fighting for.
Also gives the option to add other mines like Jade, Copper or Diamonds.
Also getting Coin from trade seems more logical than Gold.

Farms

The average fertility of the ground in a map is between medium and low.
Meaning a map has either mostly medium and low fertility land or both high and not fertile land.

They don’t have construction cost.

High fertility farm

  • 2x2 tiles size
  • 25% collection bonus
  • 1 farmer
  • 1.25 Food per farmer
  • 0.3125 Food tile

Medium fertility farm

  • 3x3 tiles size
  • no collection bonus
  • 1 farmer
  • 1 Food per farmer
  • 0.111 Food per tile

Low fertility farm

  • 4x4 tiles size
  • -25% collection rate
  • 2 farmers
  • 0.75 Food per farmer
  • 0.094 Food per tile

Livestock

  • same as low fertility farm
  • one farmer kills animals with 1.5 Food/second.
  • one farmer raises animals.
  • if empty both farmers have to raise animals.
  • animals can be killed by both farmers if needed.

Plantation

  • Needs at last medium fertile land.
  • 3x3 tiles size
  • -50% Food collection rate
  • +25% Coin collection rate
  • 2 farmers
  • 0.5 Food per farmer
  • 0.25 Coin per farmer
  • 0.111 Food per tile

Fertile land also allows to build smaller towns because the resources collected per tile of land are higher.

Fertility

Increase

Irrigation buildings can raise the fertility up to medium.
Swaps can be drained.

Decrease

Most building will reduce the fertility of adjacent tiles. This will be restored a while after destruction.

Terrain

Terrain is not just up and down.

Soft Ground

  • Reduced movement speed for units
  • Cavalry and Siege Weapons is more affected than Food Soliders or Camels
  • Increased construction time from buildings
  • Includes sand, marsh and snow.
  • Often correlates with Lower Fertility.

Normal ground

  • nothing special

Road

  • Units move faster
  • Carts are more affected
  • Zero fertility

For balance reason Camels are better in snow than Cavalry.
Soft ground is generally an area you want to avoid, it can be helpful to include it into your defensive strategy.

Building roads is expensive but it can boost trade and connect your Empire.
Just be aware that they can also help enemies.

Road terrain can exist in random maps.
Some natural terrain can have the same effect like hard plain ground.

A sandy dessert is very different from rocky one. The hard ground might even boost the movement speed.
Dried out rivers can in a sandy dessert can be strategically interesting.

Siege

Siege Weapons

Unlike AoE the Siege Weapons are build not trained.
Special units, Infantry or Villagers can build them.

All of them have to switch between Limber and Bombard mode like in AoE3, some of them can’t move at all in Bombard more like a large Trebuchet.

The best way is to build them directly infront of the enemy castle of transport them via ship.

Must Siege Weapons can’t be used as field Artillery.

Cannons

Cannons are made in Artillery Foundries and give much better Mobility compared to their firepower making them useful on the Battlefield.

Elevation

Scaling with hight

  • Increased Range
  • Increased Line of Sight

Not scaling

  • Reduced incoming Ranged and Melee damage for Units and Buildings

Map generation

High Areas

  • Reduced ground fertility
  • Reduced chance of Gold, Silver and Iron Ore.
  • No Trade Nodes.

Low Areas

  • Fertile ground
  • More Gold, Solver and Iron Ore.
  • More Trade Nodes and Routes.

The idea behind this is that defending high ground is much easier. A defending Trebuchet can easily out range an attacking one.
But the high ground doesn’t have resources. So losing the the areas around a hill will prevent you from reinforcing your army and your Castle will eventually fall.

It is possible to design maps that are not winnable through conquest.

Defence

Walls

Hedgelaying

  • Free
  • 10 Seconds per Villager plus 60 seconds grow time
  • 1x1 Tile but hitbox is only 1x0.5
  • No Armour Low Hitpoints

Palisade Wall

  • 10 Wood per Tile
  • 10 Seconds construction time per Villager
  • 1x1 Tile but hitbox is only 1x0.5
  • Low Armour

Stone Wall

  • 10 Stone per Tile
  • 20 Seconds construction time per Villager
  • 1x1 Tile but hitbox is only 1x0.5
  • High Armour

City Wall

  • 15 Stone per Tile
  • 20 Seconds construction time per Villager
  • 1x1 Tile and hitbox
  • High Armour and Hitpoints
  • Requires City Centre nearby

Castle Wall

  • 25 Stone per Tile
  • 25 Seconds construction time per Villager
  • 1x1 Tile and Hitbox
  • High Armour and very Hight Hitpoints
  • Requires Keep nearby

Resource Balance

Resource production

  • 1-2 Food/Wood per second per Villager
  • 0.5-1 Coin/Iron per second per Villager
  • 0.5 Stone per second per Villager

Coin and Iron are worth around twice as much as Food and Wood, in lategame even more.
Other units like Fishing Boats, Trade Carts etc. produce about the same. They are also counted for the Villager limit.

With a Villager limit of 100 that is up to 200 Food equivalent per Second.
More likely 100 Food equivalent per Second.

Population

There is no Limit!
Houses cost resources and take up space.

  • Town House = 100 Wood 5 Population 1+1 Tile
  • City House = 100 Wood 25 Stone 10 Population 1+1 Tile

20 Wood = 1 Population
10 Wood + 2.5 Stone = 1 Population

Houses always have to have one side that is not blocked by a building. Effectively taking up 1 + 0.5 tiles because that space can be shared with another house.

If you drag the mouse you can build them in a row like a wall.

Typical Unit Cost

Economic

  • Villager 100 Food 1 Population
  • Fishing Boat 100 Food 100 Wood 1 Population
  • Trade Cart 100 Food 100 Wood 50 Coin 2 Population
  • Trade Cog 500 Wood 100 Coin 2 Population

Infantry

  • Spearman 100 Food 50 Iron 1 Population
  • Hoplite 100 Food 100 Iron 50 Coin 1 Population
  • Two Handed Sword 100 Food 100 Iron 100 Coin 2 Population
  • Skirmisher 100 Food 100 Iron/Coin 1 Population
  • Musketeer 100 Food 100 Iron 1 Population

Archer

  • Bow 100 Wood 50 Coin 1 Population
  • Crossbow/Javelin 100 Wood 50 Coin/Iron 1 Population
  • Cavalry Archer 100 Food 100 Wood 50 Coin 2 Population
  • Slinger 100 Wood 25 Coin 1 Population

Cavalry

  • Generic 200 Food 100 Coin 2 Population
  • Light 200 Food 50 Coin 1 Population
  • Knight 200 Food 100 Coin 100 Iron 3 Population
  • Elephant 500 Food 100 Coin 5 Population
  • Chariot 200 Food 100 Wood 100 Coin 3 Population

Siege

  • Trebuchet 500 Wood 500 Coin 5 Population
  • Battering Ram 500 Wood 100 Coin 2 Population
  • Cannon 100 Wood 500 Coin 500 Iron 5 Population

Summery

  • 1 Food = 1 Hitpoint
  • 100 Food = 1 Population
  • Alternatively 200 Food Equivalent = 1 Population
  • Iron = Armour
  • Gold = Range or Speed

Those are general rules there are exceptions.
Generally more than 5 Population is very rare. Siege Units sometimes cost less Population than they should according to the resource costs.
Elephants have high Population and Hitpoints for their cost.

Example

  • 1.5 Food Equivalent Resources per Villager per Second
  • 100 Villagers
  • 200 Food Equivalent cost per Military Population
  • 1.5 * 100 * 60 = 9000 Resources per Minute
  • 9000/200 = 45 Units per Minute

That is less than Imperial Age AoE3 because the unit costs are higher.
Also ignoring the fact that Villages have to walk to drop of resources unlike AoE3.

In Bronze Age the Villager limit is only 50 but there is no Iron and units are cheaper. The Unit production will still be lower but not actually half as much.

1 Like

I though about some of the aspects I talked about and changed them a bit.

Armour

I simplified the Armour system a bit.
There are no armour types like in AoE1/2. Armour is always the same for all attacks

Armour Penetration

  • Every attack has a Penetration value independent of the damage

Hard Armour

  • If the enemy penetration is smaller than the Hard Armour the damage is 0
  • A lot of units have 0 Hard Armour
  • Blocked damage can still cause moral damage
  • Siege damage ignores Hard Armour and turns it into Soft Armour

Soft Armour

  • If the enemy penetration is smaller than the Soft Armour it will be reduced
  • Soft Armour is on top of Hard Armour
  • Every unit has soft armour

Blocking

  • Blocking works similar resistance in AoE3
  • Chance to completely block incoming damage
  • Units with melee weapons can block melee attacks
  • Units with shields can block arrows and melee attacks
  • Blocking can have a range allowing to block attacks targeting other allied units

Examples

Spearman with shield

  • 0 Hard Armour
  • 10 Soft Armour
  • 50% melee block with 1 range
  • 75% arrow block with 0 range

Pikeman

  • 10 Hard Armour
  • 10 Soft Armour
  • 50% melee block with 2 range

Archer

  • 5 Armour Penetration
  • 25% chance to damage Spearman with 50% damage
  • 100% chance to hit Pikeman but 0 damage

Crossbow

  • 15 Armour Penetration
  • 25% chance to hit Spearman with 100% damage
  • 100% chance to hit Pikeman with 50% damage

Calculation

  1. Calculate if attack is blocked, if not continue
  2. Calculate Hard Armour Penetration, if penetrated, subtract Hard Armour from Penetration and continue
  3. Calculate Penetration/Soft Armour ratio (max 1) and divide Attack Damage by it.

Example

  • 15 Penetration and 10 Damage vs. 50% blocking, 10 Hard Amour and 10 Soft Armour
  1. 50% chance to block.
  2. Subtract 10 Hard Armour from 15 Penetration = 5 Penetration
  3. Divide 5 Penetration by 10 Soft Armour = 0.5x Damage = 5 Damage with a 50% chance.

One idea behind this is that most unit will have the same amount of HP. Equipment only changes the armour not the HP.
Only Elite units have more HP showing that they as humans can take more hits before being knocked out.

I’m not sure if I should use the blocking as a multiplier instead of a chance to reduce randomness.

Damage Types

Melee

  • Always have a chance to be blocked
  • Often do the most damage
  • Often have good penetration

Arrow

  • Can be blocked by shields
  • Lower damage
  • Lower penetration

Bullet

  • Can’t be blocked by shields
  • Similar to arrows
  • Include Slingers and Guns

Siege

  • Can’t be blocked
  • Turns Hard Armour into Soft Armour
  • Often AoE damage
  • Can be melee (Ram, Pickaxe) or ranged (Catapult, Cannon)

Buildings

  • Can only be damaged be Siege Damage
  • Keep their Hard Armour
  • Stone buildings have Hard Armour, Wood Buildings don’t

Unit types

I wasn’t happy with my old list. I want to give units more natural and realistic roles.

Melee Infantry

Spearman

  • Main unit of nearly every army
  • High Armour Penetration
  • Bonus against Cavalry
  • Has a shield
  • 1 Range for attack and blocking

Pikeman

  • High Armour Penetration
  • Even better against Cavalry
  • No Shield
  • 2 Range for attacking and blocking

Poleaxe/Halberd etc.

  • Very high Armour Penetration
  • Good against cavalry
  • No Shield
  • 1 Range for attacking and blocking

Two Handed Swordman

  • Medium Armour Penetration
  • No shield
  • 0 Range but 0.5 AoE

Ranged Infantry

Bowman

  • Low Armour Penetration
  • Low Damage
  • High Range
  • High rate of fire

Crossbowman

  • Medium-High Armour Penetration
  • Low Damage
  • Medium Range
  • Low Rate of Fire

Arquebusier

  • Medium Armour Penetration
  • Medium Damage
  • Medium Range
  • Low Rate of Fire

Javelin

  • Medium Armour Penetration
  • Medium Damage
  • Has a shield
  • Medium Range
  • Medium Rate of fire

Musketeer

  • High Armour Penetration
  • Medium Damage
  • Medium Range
  • Medium rate of fire
  • Like a Pikeman in melee

Skirmisher

  • High Armour Penetration
  • Medium Damage
  • High Range
  • Low Rate of fire
  • Bad melee attack

Cavalry

  • Chance to evade arrows when moving
  • Fast speed

Light Cavalry

  • High line of sight
  • Vulnerable to attacks

Lancer/Knight

  • Very high penetration charge attack
  • Very high damage charge attack
  • Charge attack can’t be blocked
  • Switch to sword after the lance breaks (stuck in the enemy) in the charge

Camel Cavalry

  • Like normal cavalry
  • High moral damage against cavalry
  • Move faster on soft ground than cavalry

Cavalry Archer

  • Worse than normal Archer in combat
  • 2 modes
    • Fast firing but only when stationary, fast moving without firing
    • Slower firing while moving slower (still faster than Infantry)
  • Attack damage against cavalry

Dragoon

  • Similar to Cavalry Archer but with a pistol
  • Can’t fire while moving
  • Better attack damage against cavalry
  • Better melee damage