This has been mentioned before but I want to remind the devs about this subject and so that those who want it could be heard.
The previous road map mentioned that there was going to be an update on biomes and I assumed that it was going to be an update on gaia but the notes doesnt mention anything about this update
Something that would bring immersion to AOE4 is to have different animals.
Instead of scouting for sheep: pigs, chickens and rabbits
Instead of dear: cows, water buffalos, etc
Instead of boars: elephants, bears
I would suggest a “marine boar” boats could kill a whale or a shark and fishing boats could get food from it.
But, I think the game also needs an environmental update. Waters depth is just a painted blue tint on top of the texture instead of being an actual effect, there are no waves and boats cause no ripple effect. Snow, and sand should cover buildings, there should be some kind of atmospheric effect for warmer, colder biomes and different lighting positions for the sun, with maybe day & night cycles. Perhaps some environmental effects like light rain, snow or sandstorms, though I can see this being too much for an RTS.
Yes, worst of all, it uses the same engine as coh 2 and 3… and in coh 2 it’s not only aesthetic, but the weather affects the gameplay, for example, with every snowfall you have to protect the units in the houses or bonfires if they don’t freeze and die…
Indeed, and this includes Elephants as well because consuming the Elephant is also haram from what I’ve heard (though the hunting of the Elephant would likely also be prohibited for Hindu civs). And yeah, adding in Goats is definitely a good idea. Bears, Lions, Tigers, and Hyenas would all be wild animals that try to kill passing by units and for the variations that falls under the same category as the Deer, it can be animals like the Gazelle as an example.
One of the first things I thought is that the hunt-able animals would change according to the biome.
Maybe not the sheep because they need to stand out white and move quickly (I guess Goats or different type of sheep could work), but definitely the Gaia and definitely the Wolf and Boar could be replaced.
Gaia (Deer) Replacements:
Bear (Polar, Grizzly, Black Bear)
I might go into more details per particular biome… but these were just off the top of my head.
I realize there are a ton of other things that take precedent, but putting someone on this project who likes animals to capture the sounds, and movements of these animals would just add all the more to an already immersive experience. I want AOE4 to have a long long life and small updates and additions like this go a long way in helping the game stay and look fresh!
All you mentioned about the lack of water effects, and here I am, with the game running perfectly fine on land maps, but water maps have a huge FPS drop for me. I still don’t understand that. If the water requires so much, I don’t know, physics or something, then why does it somehow look worse compared to AoE3 water, which works fine for me I might add?
And day/ night, time of day is perfectly doable in this game engine, you can easily change those settings in the editor, and when you make it night, you then realise that even lanterns/ fires have an area of effect lighting. So it’s completely doable, not sure why they didn’t take advantage of this. I’m not saying to put a day/ night cycle in the game per se, but maybe different daytime settings or at least campaign maps with different times of the day. Sandstorms/ snowstorms etc have never really worked well for RTS games. Empire Earth 2 first tried it, just as a visual effect, and it really impacted visibility. Company of Heroes 2 tried it, but players didn’t like it so they took it out, just leaving it in about 2 maps in the campaign. Not saying it cannot work, something like light rain definitely could. Or light snow.
in coh2 the snowstorm was taken out due to abysmal performance everytime it appeared (sub 30 fps on best of pcs, dropping down to 10 fps at times, on at the time best cpu i7 4790K, 6700K couldn’t do it either, and ofc graphical load was crazy high for it as well, but didn’t contribute as much to the overall fps tanking)
I can’t remember it really tanking my performance, and I had a similar CPU back then but forgot now what GPU I had but had 16GB ram I remember. I thought people really just didn’t like the cold/ freeze system. But I didn’t really visit forums as much back then, so I could very well be wrong.
It is rather odd that the water in AoE4 is so laggy. With all the requests for it to look different, it might just need a complete overhaul for performance and for visuals.
It is somewhat sad that, while they have beautiful models for different types of ships, they all kind of look like toys in a pond as a result of this implementation of water. Every map with water ends up looking the same, instead of conveying the different feelings that say a lake, a river and the ocean individually invoke.
Are you also experiencing a performance hit on water maps? Sometimes it almost feels like it’s just me and a handful of people that experiences it. It is playable for me, but going from a land map to a water map just ruins it for me with the noticeable lag. (Scroll lag). While land maps work perfectly fine. And I don’t want to go change graphics settings in between, it also then just makes water maps look so much worse then.
ColdTech had a number of issues (it completely broke on SLI / dual-GPU setups which were quite popular at the time - nowadays it’s all about the giant high-end single cards as a rule), but from memory the killer was the impact on competitive play. It still exists / existed, but it the snow-themed maps were taken out of MP rotation? I’m not big on the specifics as I didn’t play the game much.
CoH 2 in general ran pretty poorly, and though this improved over time, if I was going to rank DoW II, CoH 2, DoW III and Age IV purely in terms of performance, accounting for post-release support and expansions, it’d be: DoW III > Age IV > DoW II > CoH 2. I might be being harsh there, I don’t know.
When it comes to expanded Gaia though? I’m absolutely a fan. It’s a very popular suggestion. But I’m also amendable to weather affects - if they’re more superficially-cosmetic (ColdTech was very involved in terms of registered unit footprints and vehicle treads / tire tracks), maybe that’s be a balance between flavour and performance.
That would make more sense why I might have had fewer performance problems compared to people who played multiplayer. Since I only had to depend on my own computer being able to handle the game. Snow-themed maps stayed in multiplayer, just the cold tech system was taken out, as players, from what I remember, complained it’s too much of an RNG factor when your units could just die from the weather.
I really didn’t have any real problems with CoH2 at the time, granted I played on 1080 resolution, and not all graphics maxed out, but good enough to not really see a difference compared to all maxed-out graphics. Now I play AoE4 on 4K, with 64GB ram, i7 7800X CPU, 1080ti GPU, all maxed out settings except image quality to medium and no AA, since I’m playing in 4K, and it runs perfectly fine on land maps. On water maps my only option to increase performance is to either lower game resolution or lower image resolution, both of which make the game look really ugly. Granted though, my GPU is getting old, especially for 4K. But I’m still able to play other new releases maxed or near maxed in 4K. Don’t know what’s up with AoE4 and water.
And they don’t have to go all-out cold tech for AoE4, just make the footprints 2d, I’d be fine with that.
No, the Bear wouldn’t be one of the replacements for the Boar because the Bear is an animal that doesn’t look like a huntable animal. The Bear would be better as one of the Wolf replacements. Meanwhile, the Warthog belongs on the list of Boar replacements. At least you have many good ideas on your list. The Warthog, Hyena, Gazelle, and Goat would most certainly all feature on African biomes (including the already existing Sahara biome) as replacements for the Boar, Wolf, Deer, and Sheep respectively.