My RTS concept

Activision owns the rights to Empire Earth ??? :astonished:

Sierra Entertainment published all of the games but also Vivendi.
Rebellion published the complete collection in 2009.
So not sure.

Stainless Steel Studios (the creators of EE1 and EDOTM) closed in Novemeber 2005 and never do games again and Mad Doc Software (the creators of EE2 and EE3) were bought for Rockstar (in really Take Two) in 2008 after the disastrous reception of EE3 and renamed how Rockstar New England,and since then they are developing the games of his powerhouse (Bully,GTA and RDR saga)…

Yes,when Activision was bought for Vivendi in 2008 to merge in Activision Blizzard,Sierra and the Empire Earth IP pass to them (they share the EE IP rights with Rockstar and Rebellion too)…Now,how Microsoft bought Activision Blizzard early this year,the EE IP now belongs to the Bill Gates company…i mean Microsoft has now Age of Empires,Warcraft/Starcraft and Empire Earth in it games portfolio…

2 Likes

Line of Sight

When I played Warcraft 3 for the first I was flashed by the fact that thing like trees block the line of sight.
In all AoE games the LoS is always a circle. No cliffs, walls or trees block it.

But I though why just make it binary. Blocked or not blocked. It would be better if obstacles would reduce the line of sight in different ways. A line of trees shouldn’t make an elephant invisible.

Reducing LoS

  • Walls and palisades reduce the LoS by nearly 100%
  • Trees only reduce the LoS by around 50%
  • Terrain doesn’t reduce LoS (balance issues)
  • Smoke reduces LoS by up to 100% (theoretically only)

The gunpowder smoke had a huge influence on tactics. It also has

Smoke

  • Created by burning buildings
  • Created when any gunpowder unit fires
  • Disappears over time (1-2 minutes from max fog to no fog) ~1%/second
  • Amount of Smoke added depends on how much Smoke is already there (it’s easier to go from 10% to 20% then from 80% to 90%)
  • Reaching 100% is practically impossible (at 99% Smoke 99% less Smoke is added for each shot)

The next though would how visible are units? You’d expect to see a tall unit like an elephant before a foot soldier. A tower should also be visible from a bigger distance.
The visibility system is simple. If an enemy unit has a visibility of 90% it’s visible at 90% of the LoS of your units.

Visibility

  • Cavalry 100%
  • Elephants 110%
  • Infantry/Archers 90%
  • Most animals 100%
  • Small buildings 100%
  • Large buildings 110-140%
  • Towers (and cathedrals) 150%

Some units have different values of course. A Winged Hussar is more visible then other cavalry and a Skirmisher with a green uniform is less visible then normal Infantry.
But the visibility of unit isn’t fixed. If a soldier is standing in the undergrowth of a forest it’s less visible then on an open field.
A soldier is taking cover the visibility is also reduced.

Camouflage

  • Bushes and undergrowth reduce visibility for foot soldiers
  • Being in cover mode reduces visibility a little
  • Trenches and ditches reduce visibility a little
  • “Stealth mode” reduces visibility a lot
  • Standing in one spot provides a little camouflage
  • Moving reduces camouflage
  • Attacking greatly reduces camouflage

I mentioned Cover earlier. It reduces ranged damage.
Cover and Camouflage are not the same but many places provide both.

Cover

  • Bushes provide little Cover but a lot of Camouflage
  • Trenches provide a lot of Cover but little Camouflage
  • On top of walls provides a lot of Cover but no Camouflage
  • Cover mode provides more Cover then Camouflage
  • Stealth mode provides no Cover

Infantry armies are in advantage on a forest because they can hide in bushes.
Cavalry armies are therefor in advantage on an open field.

Building upgrades

I mentioned before that there are multiple upgrades for the Town Centre.
There are upgrades for multiple buildings that give different benefits.
Upgrades are done by villagers and don’t run automatically.

Examples

House

  • Population from 5 to 10
  • HP is doubled
  • Adds Stone Armour
  • Upgrade costs a little Stone
  • Size of house doesn’t change

Upgrading a house is useful if you want to save space in your base. It also makes the houses more durable because they get extra armour and not just more HP.

Military Production Buildings (Barracks, Sable, Archery Range)

  • Increases production speed or unlocks elite units
  • Can increase the footprint
  • Multiple different upgrades are possible
  • Increases survivability
  • Can even add a ranged attack (Tower on top of barracks)

Upgrading a military building allows you to train more units without having to spam the same building.
It can also unlock special units. This is done to make some units harder to get like Gunpowder Units in the Late Middle Ages or Elephants in the Stable.
Some Upgrades can make them a lot more durable. Having a tower and Archery Range in once can be quit convenient.
Those upgrades can be civilisations specific.

Outpost

  • Adds Stone Armour
  • Costs Stone
  • Doubles HP

Similar to AoE4, but you need villagers for it. You can turn a Wooden Outpost into a Stone Tower.

Research Buildings (University)

  • New extensions can unlock new Technologies
  • Can increase Knowledge
  • Also increases HP of course

Market

  • Can increase the amount of Merchants that can be processed at once
  • Can give bonus resources for each trade (like a little Food/Wood for each trade)
  • Also increases HP of course

Temple/Church/etc.

  • Can increase the limit of Relics or Artefacts
  • Can increase Knowledge
  • Can unlock new units (Sohei in a Japanese Temple)
  • Also increases HP of course

Summery

Building upgrades allow to have more different buildings while also keeping the system simple to understand.
For the “Sim City” crowed of people this is a nice way to make their cities look nicer. Generally the idea that you can also trade resources for space. You can build taller houses, that costs more but you get more population per area. This kinda allows to build “tall” instead of always just “wide”.
Upgrade speed depends on supply like building speed so it’s adventurous to upgrade buildings close to your Town Centred first.

Upgrades buildings look more “urban” then not upgraded ones.

Resource Storage

Unlike AoE you can’t just store infinite resources. You have to build storage buildings for them.
Good news. The drop of buildings also always store resources and so do Town Centres. In many cases you won’t need to construct any storage.
There are dedicated storage buildings though, they offer a lot more storage for the same price and building size.
For example Mill is a drop off building for food and the Granary is the storage building.
Some resources can be stored without any buildings. It your resources are below this minimum storage they can’t be lost.

Coin is excluded from this. You can store infinite Coin without any building.

When a storage building is destroyed. Some of the resources are lost and captured by the player that destroyed it.
Resources are always equally distributed between all storage buildings.
It 10% of your storage capacity (ignoring the minimum storage) is destroyed you lose 10% of that resources to the player destroying the storage (there might be some loss for balance reasons).

You’ll finally be able to really feel like playing the Huns!

Concept

On one hand this is to prevent Late Game situations where you have thousands of Wood and Food stored and can spam trash units forever.
On the other hand this is to give some interesting buildings to raid instead of just always being out to kill villagers to hurt your enemies economy.

I’ll need to explain my Ruins System and building capture at a later point because in combination with this concept it will enable to feel a lot more like a conqueror can you could ever do in AoE.
In short. Destroyed buildings leave ruins that can be rebuild. This way you can partially keep the architecture style of the cities you conquer.

Well now AoE 4 does… forests and hills cover your vision and when you climb the hills, you can see further… although the same to see empty moors, I prefer not to see anything xd…

AoE4 has stealth forests but cliffs don’t block vision. It can feel like they do because the way the terrain is distorted.

Ruins

Buildings have 3 health bars that are all the same length.
That means buildings can be in 4 states, switching state when one of the 3 health bars is depleted.

Fully functional

  • Buildings work the way you are used to in AoE
  • They produce at max speed
  • They garrison the normal amount of troops
  • Repairing costs 50% of the Wood and 25% of the Stone cost scaled by damage

Damaged

  • Production speed is reduced (batch training turns into individual training)
  • Garrison is reduced or completely disabled
  • Repairing costs 75% of the total Wood and 50% of the total Stone
  • Only fully functional when fully repaired

Ruin

  • Building is now neutral
  • Units don’t automatically attack the buildings anymore because they are neutral
  • Can still be manually attacked
  • It doesn’t have any function
  • Can be restored by anyone even the enemy (then belongs to the enemy)
  • Restoring enemy buildings can give you access to buildings you usually can’t have
  • Restored buildings look like the original building independent of who restores it
  • Has a little extra Stone Armour unless it’s a Stone defence then it has less Stone Armour
  • Usually allow units to walk though them
  • Restoring it costs 100% of the Wood and 75% of the Stone cost

Destroyed

  • Building is just gone

Summery

Damaging buildings can hurt the enemy even when they are not fully destroyed.
You usually just want to turn enemy buildings into ruins but in some cases when you know you will have to retreat again it might be useful the fully destroy them but when you plan to conquer a place you can save a little Stone by restoring them.

The core idea is to support the fantasy of a conqueror. You conquer an enemy city and rebuild it. There is now some buildings in the old architectural style of you enemy next to some new buildings you build from scratch. Now you can actually feel like a Mongol conquering China or a Goth conquering Rome.

But Ruins also allow yourself to rebuild your city the same way it was before relatively easily. You just have to right click each building with a villager to get them to restore it instead of having to go through the construction menu and placing it again.

Capturing buildings

Foot soldiers can capture enemy buildings.
Some buildings can only be captured when in damaged state, others can’t be captured.

If you claim the territory by replacing the Town Centre in it with your own it capturing buildings will get significantly faster and some buildings can be captured without being damaged.

Military production buildings and defensive structures can only be captured when you own the territory and the building is damaged.

Ruins can always be “captured” because they are neutral and don’t belong to anyone.

Unit tags

I want to keep the tags simple. AoE3DE kinda has a tag inflation issue.

I mentioned the 9 core roles (Infantry, Archer and Cavalry with each Base, Counter and Reverse versions) but those won’t be the tags.
A big part of the counter system is done with Resistances and Armour. Cavalry for example has a good Resistance against Range attacks so a Javalin that deals melee damage at range counters that.

Base tags (You only have 1)

  • Cavalry (includes Camels, Elephants and Chariots)
  • Foot Soldier (Infantry and Archer)
  • Siege (All siege including cannons)

Secondary tags (You can have multiple)

  • Spearman
  • Melee Infantry
  • Archer (Does not include Cavalry Archer, Javelin or Slingers)
  • Horseman (Includes every unit on a horse)
  • Cavalry Archer
  • Camel
  • Elephant
  • Chariot

Examples

Pikeman

  • Tagged: Foot Soldier, Melee Infantry and Spearman
  • Attack Bonus: 2x vs. Cavalry
  • Does not need extra bonus against Elephants because their high piercing value let’s them go thought the thick Soft Armour

Archer

  • Tagged: Foot Solider, Archer
  • Attack Bonus: None
  • Doesn’t need an attack bonus against Light units because their high damage.
  • Doesn’t need a negative multiplier on Heavy units because of the low piercing value.
  • Doesn’t need a negative multiplier against Cavalry because of the Cavalries hight Range resistance.

Crossbow

  • Tagged: Foot Solider, Archer
  • Attack Bonus: None
  • Doesn’t need an attack bonus against Heavy units because their high piercing value.
  • Doesn’t need a negative multiplier on Light units because of the low DPS.
  • Doesn’t need a negative multiplier against Cavalry because of the Cavalries hight Range resistance.

I generally want to avoid negative multipliers. They feel less intuitive.

Also some counters should be more practical. Rifle Infantry has a much higher range then Musketeers but is awful at melee. Making them weak against fast moving Cavalry.

The actual modifiers on each unit can only be figured out by tasting. The concept would be trying it out with as little modifiers as possible at first and then add when necessary. Especially for details like the difference between Horse, Camel, Elephant and Chariot units.
Hard to tell on paper how it will translate into actual gameplay.

Of course, you are right…

Territory rework

  • Territories are roughly equally sized Hex tiles
  • Every Territory has one Strategic Location
  • There is no limit for Town Centres in one Territory

Town Centres

  • Discounted when build in Strategic Location (-50% Stone or something like that)
  • Bonus on armour when build in Strategic Location
  • Provides Supply equally to the whole Territory. Does not increase with more TCs.

Now players aren’t limited to one TC per Territory nor are they forced to build it in a certain location.
A second TC in one territory will still often be worth it, especially if the first one wasn’t build in the strategic location.
Also the Supply modifier gets simplified. It it’s your territory then you build faster, basically.

Healing

The way healing works in AoE and most RTS is kinda strange.
You have one unit walk up to another one and stand next to it (or at some range) until it’s healed.

Medication

Medics walk up to an injured unit and apply medication.
The Medication modifier then stays on the unit until it is fully healed or it takes damage again.
Medication can also be applied by a building, this time to unit walks into the hospital and comes out with the Medication modifier.
It takes a little time to apply medication, so not a while army can just instantly walk thorough a hospital.

This system makes healing in fight nearly impossible but makes healing outside of a fight very convenient.
Your medics walk through your army and give everyone some medication, and then you just wait or let them walk somewhere else.

Inspirational Healing

This is more like the classic healing.
Usually done by Monks, Priests or Heroes.
It can be done at range, within a fight and also might effect multiple units at once.
It is generally slower then Medication and it is performed by more expensive and more vulnerable units.
Buildings like temples might also heal nearby units.

Garrison

Units in buildings heal slowly.

Cure Units

Every Era of the game is designed around one Core Unit.
This unit is not available to all civilisations and not even necessarily the majority but it’s what every other unit is balanced around.
This unit is one of the best units in it’s Era in Price/Performance.
Balance changes avoid touching this unit.

Era I: Spearman

In the Bronze Age the humble Spearman is the Cure Unit.
A soldier with a spear and a shield was the core of most armies for most of human history.
They don’t have the small niche role of Anti Cavalry like they do in most AoE games (AoE2/3/4).

They defeat Shock Infantry while being relatively resistant to arrow fire.
They also trade decently with Chariots.
They are only hard countered by Counter Infantry like Axeman.

Era II: Heavy Infantry

While the Phalanx type of fighting was not practised every where around the World during the Classical Antiquity it was still very dominant and is therefor used as a base.
Many civilisations rely on less heavy Spearman.

It’s kinda of an extreme version of the normal Spearman unit because it is even better against cavalry while being even more resistant to arrow fire. The base stats are also higher making them defeat Spearman armies too.
Their main issue is the slow speed and high cost.
Most weaker units can just simply run away.

Their hard counter is still Counter Infantry units like Swordsman or Axeman, but faster ranged unit can kite them easily.

Era III: Heavy Cavalry and Pikeman

Here the Core Unit is more interesting because it changes over time.
If starts with the Spearman, that is overshadowed by the Heavy Cavalry/Knight but then overtaken by the Pikeman.

In the beginning of the Era the Spearman is still going strong, having outlived it’s heavy Phalanx cousin.
But then the Heavy Shock Cavalry (Like Knights or Cataphracts) have a big power Spike in the middle of the Era. They can brake Spearman with their charge and are resistant against most ranged attacks.
Heavy Cavalry can still broken by a mix of Spearman, Crossbowman, Javelin Riders and Camels.
Towards the end of the Era new units like the Halberdier are unlocked that are a hard counter to any melee cavalry unit.
The Pikemen, which are an upgrade to the Spearman, are the dominant unit at the end of the Era. It’s long Pike make them immune to cavalry chargers, their relatively high piercing attack can deal with most Infantry and Cavalry, including Halberdiers, and their armour makes them very resistant against Archers. And all of that with relatively low cost.
But there are multiple units that hard counter them like Crossbows, Arquebus and Artillery. Some civilisations have good Counter Infantry units with heavy weapons like war hammers and maces.

In this Era you have to adapt to the stage of the game and build different unit compositions.
Some civilisations modify this system though, for example by getting access to Heavy Cavalry earlier then others (Byzantines and the French for example) or by having early Crossbows (Chinese).

Era IV: Musketeer

Here we also have a transition of the Core Unit over time.
Pikemen dominate the early parts of the Era but then get completely replaced by Musketeers.

The Musketeer evolves from the Crossbowman and Arquebusier but changes the way the unit works a lot.
The Crossbowman and Arquebusiers role is to counter Pikemen and other melee Infantry but they are weak to melee cavalry.
The Musketeer loses the weakness to Cavalry while still countering melee Infantry.
The Musketeer essentially makes all melee Infantry obsolete.

To counter Musketeers you need Riflemen and Artillery, but they are both weak to cavalry and even to Musketeers in melee.

In this Ear it’s becoming important how you use your unit then what units you bring to the battlefield since the most important units combines the traits of ranged and melee units.

Industrialisation

I thought about what is the best way to translate the AoE gameplay to the Industrial Age.
This Era of human history saw massive changes in both the economy as well as warfare.

Resources

Food

  • Food is probably the biggest constant in human history and therefor it doesn’t need to change.

Wood

  • Wood loses it’s dominant role in building construction and ship building.
  • Wood is replaced by Fuel.
  • All old Wood is converted to Fuel.
  • Fuel can still be collected from Trees.
  • Coal mines are all a lot better at generating Fuel.

Stone

  • Stone gets replaced by Concrete.
  • Like Wood the old Stone mines now Produce Concrete but other production methods are more efficient.
  • Like Brick creation (old infinite Stone source) it needs Fuel (formally Wood) but is more efficient (1 to 1) and faster (same speed as Stone Mine)
  • Unlike Stone Concrete is not as valuable.

Iron

  • Iron gets renamed to Steel, because that sounds cooler.
  • Iron mines are made a lot more efficient providing you with a constant stream of new Steel at the cost of Fuel.

Coin

  • Renamed to Cash, because it sounds cooler.
  • This resource doesn’t change.
  • Mines and trading stay equally important.

Industrial Capacity

This resource works similar to population in a way that it can’t be used up.
The production of any complex unit or the construction of complex buildings requires Industrial Capacity.
The Industrial Capacity is freed up as soon as the production of construction is finished.
If not enough Industrial Capacity is available all those processes are slowed down.
Industrial Capacity is created by factories, those factories require Fuel and Villagers to work in them.

Examples

An Artillery Factory needs some Industrial Capacity to be able to produce Cannons, but so does your Dockyard to create ships. So you might have to decide which one to focus on.
You can’t just increase the speed of unit production by just building more Artillery Factories, Tank Factories, Aircraft Factories, you also need more General Factories.

While most units that are trained in the Barracks and Stable don’t require Industrial Capacity, some like Maxim Guns or light Mortars do.

Resource costs

  • Infantry usually costs Food and Steel
  • Cavalry usually costs Food and Cash
  • Artillery usually costs Steel, Cash and Industrial Capacity
  • Ships cost a lot of Steel, some Cash, Fuel and Industrial Capacity
  • Tanks cost Steel, Fuel and Industrial Capacity
  • Anti Tank Guns cost Steel and Industrial Capacity
  • Planes cost Cash, a lot of Fuel and some Industrial Capacity
  • Buildings cost Concrete, Fuel and Industrial Capacity
  • Fortifications cost Steel, a lot of **Concrete and a lot of Industrial Capacity as well as sometimes Cash

Eras

The whole time since the Industrial Revolution has seen so many changes that it requires multiple Eras

Era V: Industrial Age

This covers the time from the death of Napoleon until before WW1.
So no Planes and Tanks at the end.

The weapons technology makes massive progresses in this time so research is more important then ever.

I don’t think I’ve seen this Era done well in an RTS yet.
AoE3 technically covers it but it just feels wrong.

Era VI: Modern Age

This Era spans both World Wars.
Units like Planes and Tanks can now be build.
Even the first jets and missiles appear at the end of the Era.
Empire Earth 1 represented this are relatively well in an AoE like game.

Ear VII: Post Modern Age

This Ear spans from around the Korean War till today.
The Empire Earth model doesn’t work that well anymore because the importance of long range missiles as well as the fast speed of aircraft.
Not sure if this style of highly mobile and long range warfare still works on the same scale of map though.

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Interesting that “aging up” is not a feature in your proposed game. I’m used to history-themed strategy games wherein you progress from one era to another, but your system does make some sense because some civilizations are associated with specific eras rather than lasting through the ages.

Aging Up is still a feature.
Each Era is divided into 3-5 Ages (like AoE1/2/3/4).
In the normal gamemode you select one Era and then start in the first Age of this Era, you can advance though the Ages but not into the next Era.
Each Era is kinda like it’s own AoE game.

There will be a second gamemode (that is not as balanced and therefor doesn’t have a ranked mode) where you can advance from one Era to the next. The first Age in a new Era usually has less units available then the last Age from the previous Era and therefor is kind of a downgrade.
When you go from late Bronze Age to the Archaic Age you lose access to Chariots, when you go from Late Antiquity to Early Middle Ages you lose access all the Siege units.
You also often have to change civilisations when advancing though the Eras.

The main reason why different Eras are in the same game is for Single Player. You can have scenarios where civilisations from one Era fight against others form a later Era.
Medieval Aztecs and Inca fight against Early Modern Spanish for example.
Also a lot of content like all the terrain and Gaia units are shared of course.
(One of the reasons why I’m hyped for AoE2 RoR since that will give us access to all the AoE2 terrain and Gaia units in AoE1)

More on the Territory Rework

Town Centre Upgrades

  • The Town Centre Upgrade paths are removed
  • Market, Keep and Cathedral are not their own buildings

Strategic Location

  • Give discount and bonuses to Market, Keep or Cathedral too
  • Market, Keep and Cathedral also provide supply
  • Trade always happens between Strategic Locations, even without a market
  • Strategic locations are often at the coast or a river (important for trade)

Market

  • Can be build anywhere
  • Can only trade when build in a Strategic location
  • Improves the Trading capacity of a strategic location

Keep

  • Can also be build anywhere
  • Bonus range and armour when build in Strategic Location
  • Provides a bonus and/or discount to all heavy defences build in the Territory when it’s build in Strategic Location

Cathedral

  • Can also be build anywhere
  • Bonus to effects of Relics when build in Strategic location
  • Relics provide a bonus to the whole territory (depending on Relic and civilisation)

Other buildings for Strategic location

  • Palace: More defensive Town Centre with extra economic bonuses
  • Centre: Cheaper Town Centre that provides less supply
  • Colonial Trade Post: Improves trade like market but provides less supply
  • Colonial Fort: Lesser version of the Keep that provides less supply
  • Embassy: Ally yourself with Minor civilisation

Building in a Strategic Location is now a strategic decision. What kinda of bonuses do you need most and where do you need them.
Building a Keep there makes sense closer to the enemy while a Market is more useful in a Territory far away from the enemy. Even if you want to trade you might choose a Keep instead of a Market because the improved range from the Strategic location is very helpful to protect your trade carts.

Territory types

Most Territories in most maps are the default type.
Only some maps have other types

Colonial Territory

  • Don’t allow normal Town Centres, Markets, Keeps, Cathedrals etc. only the Colonial Centre, Trade Post and Colonial Fort
  • Heavy Defences can’t be build here
  • Mostly appear on Earle Modern Era maps but might also be on other one like Classical Antiquity.
  • Might only cover parts of the map (like one half is normal Territories and one half is Colonial ones)

Minor Civilisation

  • Like AoE3 there are Minor Civilisations (Natives)
  • They always only control one Territory and they are always Neutral
  • You can build an Embassy to access their units and technologies
  • Your alliance ends when the Embassy is destroyed by the enemy
  • Unlike AoE3 you can declare war on them to capture the Territory in the classical way

No Territory

  • Parts or even the entire map can be without Territories
  • Small Islands are often not part of a Territory
  • Empty wastelands, swamps, deep forests might also not be part of a Territory
  • This means that some bonuses are not available
  • There are no building restrictions independent of diplomatic status

Territories are a game feature that is especially important for Diplomacy games but might get in the way of fast 1v1 matches.
By making Territories a system that just gives bonuses it doesn’t feel forced like in other games.
No one stops you from building 5 TCs in one territory.
Also the Strategic Location is not enforced like Settlements in AoM but instead a bonus that you can choose how you want to use it.

Trade nodes

  • Function like Strategic Locations but only for trade
  • Are never in a Territory
  • Markets and Trade Posts can be build on top of them to improve on the trading speed and capacity.

Generic, Regional and Unique units

No AoE game handles Generic, Regional and Unique units the way I want to.
AoE1 only has Generic one so we can skip that.
AoE2 usually has 1 unique unit per civilisation that is only available in the most expensive building in the 3rd Age. Half of the games end before a Castle us build and even after that in most cases the generic units are the better choice. The Regional Units that have been added since Forgotten Empires are the only thing that make the large number of civilisations possible.
AoE3 started of with a good mix of Generic and Unique units and kind of Regional units. But the Expansions when overboard with Unique units. Essentially ever none European units is Unique which causes a kind of unbalance in uniqueness of civilisations.
AoE4 does the job the best so far in my opinion. Generic units have unique styles for each civilisation so they don’t look out of place and every civilisation has a different number of unique units.
Regional units are essentially missing though. Some rare units like the Culverin exist but their distribution is mostly based on balance and not historical accuracy.
Also some generic units in AoE4 are kinda wrong. European Knights should not have the same stats as Asian lancers. And Mongols shouldn’t really have heavy infantry.
Malians show how that could have been solved better in the first place.

Generic units

Generic units are units that are available to at last half of the civilisations.
Civilisations usually don’t have bonuses for them but instead use Regional or Unique units instead.

Bronze Age

  • Spearman
  • Bowman

Those are the most fundamental units and nearly every civilisations has access to them. For some they are replaced by Regional and Unique units.

Classical Antiquity

  • Bowman

The Spearman gets replaced by many civilisations. The Holpites for example are not the same unity.
Cavalry varies a lot between regions and civilisations.

Only the Bowman is a very consistent role in most armies.

Middle Ages

  • Pikeman
  • Bowman
  • Horseman
  • Arquebus

Cavalry becomes more important for multiple reasons so it’s employed by most armies.
Heavy Cavalry varies to lot to be considered Generic.
In the late Middle Ages most armies in Eurasia employ some kind of Pikeman. A soldier using a long two handed spear.
But the adoption of the Arquebus was very wider spread. It spread very quickly though most of Eurasia.

Gunpowder Age

  • Pikeman
  • Musketeer

Most armies start with using a lot of Pikeman but then switch over to Musketeers.
The Musketeer was used by every European army and many others too.

Regional Units

I’m not going to list all of them but some that might be considered Generic in most AoE games.

Bronze Age

  • Chariots
  • Slinger
  • Javelin

Chariots where used in many places but not all. Also they varied between regions.
Slingers where very common in some places but not others.
While every place on Earth used Javelins in some capacity not all used them in warfare.

Classical Antiquity

  • Phlanx/Hoplite
  • Swordsman
  • Slinger
  • Javelin
  • Horseman
  • War Elephant

The Phalanx tactic was very dominant in the Mediterranean but not in all parts of the world.
Swords become important in some armies (Romans, Calts) but not in all.
Slingers were even more dominant because Iron bullets are much much better then Stones.
Javelins were also used in many armies but not all.
The use of cavalry was still “new” so the way it was used varied between regions.
Elephants where used a lot but obviously only where they were available.

Middle Ages

  • European Crossbow
  • Chinese Crossbow
  • Knight
  • Cataphract
  • Camel Rider
  • Cavalry Archer

The use of Crossbows varied between Europe and Asia so it shouldn’t be the same unit.
Knights, Catapharcts and other Heavy Cavalry are also not the same.
Camels and Elephants where obviously not available everywhere.
Cavalry Archers where very dominant around the Eurasian Steppe and some other places but not everywhere.

Gunpowder Age

  • Rifleman
  • Horseman/Hussar
  • Dragoon
  • Grenadier

Rifles were used in most of Europe and especially in the New World including by the Natives but they saw less usage in Asia.
The use of Cavalry also varied between Europe and Asia.
Dragoons, mounted units with pistols and carbines, were very common in Europe but not necessarily in Asia.
Grenades were also used in many armies until they weren’t anymore. Later Grenadiers where just elite Musketeers. Not sure how to best represent that ingame.
I don’t want to get to deep into cannons here because their categorisation is confusing, names change over time or the same name is used for too many different cannons. I’ll probably just end up naming them by calibre.

The balance between European, Asian, American and African civilisations will become very hard in this game, especially in Late Game. I haven’t found a good solution for this problem that is somewhat historical.
This is the first time in History where the Military of one continent really pulls ahead of everyone else.
Japan can’t just stop getting new military techs after half way though this Era for example.

Some units like heroes heal automatically…

Economy

I have been thinking about the ingame economy. How to balance resources and create interesting decisions and strategically valuable places on the map.
How to balance early, mid and late game resources differently.

Also AoE4 has been released since I made my post about Resources.

Food

In must AoE games the methods of gathering food are more or less the same but the importance between them changes a lot.
In AoE2 you will be seeing farms a lot earlier then in AoE3 where hunting is the main source for food for much longer for example.

Hunting

Dead animals can be moved by villagers. Animals will automatically be pulled to the next drop off building if there are enough villager to do so.
You only need one villager to move a deer but you need a bunch to move an elephant.
Once brought to the drop off building they can be taken apart as usual.
This makes hunting a lot more reliably food income.

Hunting is the fastest way to get food if you ignore the time it takes to hunt down animals.

Animals are able to reproduce and thereby repopulate the map. Every map as a hidden animal population limit that is around 150% of the initial number of animals (can be edited in a Scenario).
Hunting might become a nice secondary food source in later parts of a match too.

Foraging

Foraging is one of the least efficient way to collect food but it also the easiest one.
The big difference to AoE is that bushes don’t despawn when they are empty. They slowly regenerate food after a cooldown.

Not a huge difference to AoE ### #### ##### #### in handy later in a match when there are issues with farms.

Also villagers can walk thorough them at reduced speed.

Fishing

Similar to AoE there are S#### (Shallow Water) Fish, Deep Sea Fish and Whales.
All fish slowly regenerate food over time.
The work rate on Shore and Deep Sea Fish is the same though unlike AoE2/4.
Deep Sea Fish have more food and they regenerate food faster but Shore Fish can be caught by villagers if they are close enough to the shore.
Depending on the Era a technology is needed to be able to fish Deep Sea Fish.
One Deep Sea Fish regenerates as fast as one Fishing boat can collect food.

Whales are a little different. They generate 50% Food and 50% Coin. Other then that they behave like Deep Sea Fish.
Fishing Wales also requires a technology.

Herding

Killing Livestock is similar to hunting, just that they voluntarily walk to the place they will be killed at. Collection rate is identical with Hunting (before researching technologies).
There is usually no wild Livestock on random maps.
Livestock is produced by Livestock Pens but they need villagers to raise them there.
Livestock Pens can’t be build on barren ground.

Certain types of Livestock have unique features and some civilisations have unique bonuses for them.

  • Cows and Goats can produce milk that gives food.
  • Sheep and Llamas can produce wool that gives coin.
  • Pigs grow faster/need less work to grow.

Since Livestock needs villager to raise them they are usually less efficient then farms.
One advantage of Livestock is that it is kind of a bank for food, if needed all animals can be slaughtered quickly.

Farms

Farming requires fertile land.
Land is divided into 3 categories:

  • Barren (No farms and no Livestock Pens allowed)
  • Fertile (Has Nutrients that slowly regenerate)
  • Very Fertile (Has infinite Nutrients)

Farms convert Nutrients in the ground to food that is collected by villagers.
Farms don’t cost any resources to build other then time.

Nutrients:

  • Get reset to 0 if any building is build on top of the ground
  • Is blocked if any building is on top of it
  • Larger buildings also do that for adjacent tiles
  • That includes roads
  • They generate over time but slower then farms can use them
  • Starting Nutrients and regeneration speed can vary.
  • Technologies can improve the Food generation efficiency, taking up less Nutrients.

Farms are 1x1 Tile but need a lot less then one villager to work on so you want to spread them over a large area.
If there is no food to collect farmers will automatically start boosting food growth rate but at a lower speed then the food collection rate.
If there are no Nutrients farmers will automatically start fertilising the ground to boost Nutrient regeneration but at a much lower speed then the food collection rate.
Having more farmers on less land is therefore less efficient because they have to do tasks other then collecting food but it can be helpful if you run out of space or you relatively quickly need more food.

Plantations

They work the same way as farms but with some key differences.
They need 2x as much Nutrients for the same amount of food but they also generate an additional 50% Coin.
The food collection rate is also half as fast as farms.

So you sacrifice 50% of the Food and 50% of the Nutrients to get some Coin.
This is only useful in lategame.
It becomes a lot more efficient on Very Fertile ground where Nutrients are not an issue. There you just get a 2 to 1 conversion from Food to Gold.

Wood

Trees are cut down and then pulled to the next Lumber Camp similar to Hunting.

Wood Plantation

Works the same way but about 50% of the villager time is spend on raising new trees.
It doesn’t work on barren land either.
This is only a viable option in late games or maps with very little natural forests.

Coin

Gold Mines

Gold mines are mined at the surface first.
If the surface mine is depleted you can construct a Mine Shaft on top of it.
The Mine Shaft has a villager limit and villagers working in it are half as fast as surface miners.
Mine Shafts never deplete.

Silver Mines

Only have a surface mine. Once depleted they are just rocks.

Trading

I had a section about that earlier.

Sheep, Plantations and Whales

Mentioned that earlier. They also provide Food.

Stone

Stone Mine

Works like Silver Mine.
Collection Rate is the slowest of all resources.

Bricks

Converts 2 Wood into 1 Stone.
Is half as fast as a Stone Mine.

Iron

The simplest of all resources.
There are Iron mines that work like Gold Mines.
Iron Mine Shafts have a larger capacity then Gold Mine Shafts though.
Also there are usually more Silver then Gold Mines.

Collection rates

In Resources per Second per Villager.
This always ignores walk times or time used to raise animals or grow trees.

  • Hunting and Livestock 1.5
  • Foraging 0.75
  • Fishing 1
  • Farming 1 (on Very Fertile Ground)
  • Wood cutting 1
  • Surface Mining (Coin and Iron) 1
  • Mineshaft Mining (Coin and Iron) 0.5
  • Stone Mining 0.666
  • Brick creation 0.333

Regeneration speeds:

  • Deep Sea Fish 1
  • Shore Fish 0.25
  • Berries 0.1
  • Nutrients 0.1 (0.9 in a 3x3 area!)

There is always a cooldown where those resources can’t be accesses after being fully depleted to prevent villagers from walking up to a Berry Bush with 1 Food on it.

Those rates are not to be considered the base rates nor the max upgrades rates but more like the average Rates.
So a Neolithic Farmer will generate less then 1 Food per second and a Napoleonic Era one more then 1 Food per second.

The numbers are roughly 2x the ones from AoE2 if anyone noticed but the unit costs will also be roughly 2x as high with most units costing 100 Food.