About me and the current situation:
I have been a passionate Age of Empires player since my early childhood. I have always preferred AOE2 to AOE1, as it is in every way superior than its predecessor. I had high hopes when AOE1:DE was announced and when it was released it left me disappointed. Except for the (awesome) graphics and a few minor QoL features, not much has been changed with the excuse of “keeping the gameplay as true to the original as possible”. Pathfinding ist still a mess to this day when you compare it to AOE2:DE. I think you could have done much more to bring the game into the 21st century.
I’m currently working on a total conversion mod that makes AOE1:DE playable in AOE2:DE. The further I progress, the more I encounter problems with hard-coded functions etc., which ultimately leads to differences in gameplay not to mention the insane amount of work. Even if I were to finish the mod, I wouldn’t know if I’d be allowed to publish it, since I took all assets, music etc. from AOE1:DE.
The community of AOE1:DE is not dead, but it’s less and less active. Please take your time and read the following suggestions, before it’s too late.
How would an engine port help the game?:
AOE1 and AOE2 are very similar games in terms of gameplay mechanics and they even use the same engine, just different versions of it. You’ve done a great job with AOE2:DE’s engine, and it’s still being developed and improved. Why not use this as a foundation on which you can also build AOE1:DE? You don’t have to turn AOE1 into AOE2, but you can still bring many of the features that made AOE2 so great to AOE1 as well.
Many awesome changes/suggestions were already discussed in this thread:
Let’s debate some game improvements!
People are not discussing this for fun, they love this game and just want to participate in making it better.
Here is a list of the things which you instantly get with porting AOE1:DE to the latest Genie Engine version of AOE2:DE:
- all the amazing new QoL features
- replay functionality
- unit stances
- way better pathfinding (even with units not walking in formations)
- new scenario editing possibilities (triggers!)
- minimap flare
- unit outlining
- mod support and in-game mod manager
- more understandable ai scripting
- more random map scripting possibilities
- better zooming (no need for x4 graphics anymore => smaller game size)
- more multiplayer functionalities
- hero glow and other fancy particle effects
- better performance
- CaptureAge support (!)
…and the list goes on…
The worst thing of AOE1:DE is the pathfinding. Just compare a group of villagers or millitary units in AOE1:DE and a group of villagers in AOE2:DE (which are also not walking in formations) navigating through narrow spaces. You see the difference? It’s huge.
Campaign selection screen:
The current campaign selection screen is really dull. It would be great if you could remake the original briefing screen and make the campaign selection screen more AOE2-like with icons for each campaign placed on a world map.
One of the coolest additions to AOE2:DE are the civilization icons and I would love to see them in AOE1:DE too.
Well, nothing much to say about that. It has been discussed over and over again, it just doesn’t make sense to not have gates in the game.
Garrisoning should be enabled at least for towers. It’s a great function and would add new strategic opportunities.
Formations and unit stances:
Unit stances are a must. Adding them would not affect the nostalgic gameplay experience in any way. Formations are however discussable. You can either make them always available or you can make them researchable as technology for example.
Make civilizations more unique:
Add more units which are shared by a few civilizations (replacing the academy unit, hoplites make no sense for asian civilizations for example). I don’t think that unique units for every civilization like in AOE2 will suite AOE1, but a few new units will definitely refresh the gameplay.
Every civilization should have it’s unique wonder as they have in AOE2.
Give civilizations more complex tech bonuses, which would give the game more depth.
With the new possibilities that the AoE2:DE scenario editor brings, dialogues and all sorts of things you can do with triggers can be added to the campaigns to make them more entertaining, challenging and varied.
Replay function and spectating:
Replay and spectating functions are essential not only for the players but also to content creators. The latter are especially important because they can get more and more people interested in the game (best example: T90’s Hidden Cup 3 => more people get interested, more people buy the game).
AOE2:DE’s mod support is really amazing, huge thanks for that. There are so many things that can be modified, and on top of that, you are also able to up- and download all of this custom content via an in-game mod manager. All these possibilities would also help AOE1 to become a much more long-lasting game.
There is no classic mode in AOE2:DE and that’s fine. I don’t think the classic mode in AOE1:DE is played very often anyway. It would only hold back the development of the “modern mode” since you have to keep everything compatible. What you could still implement is a “classic mode” based on the current state AOE1:DE (with new graphics and current balancing) for people who like the game as it is but with much better pathfinding.
I’m not much into multiplayer so i can’t say a lot about it. But what I can say is that the multiplayer features, that AOE2:DE has, would definitely help to keep the multiplayer scene of AOE1:DE more active.
There is so much potential for new content, like new civilizations or campaigns. In AOE2:DE pretty much all the relevant powers of the world are represented, but not in AOE1. I’m sure many people would buy new content. Make use of this potential!
I would like to thank Microsoft, Forgotten Empires and all the other studios involved for all their efforts to revive this incredible franchise. You’re doing a great job with support and regular updates for AOE2, please consider to also treat AOE1 with such passion.
If you have read up to here, I want to thank you for your time and ask you to make this game really definitive.
Tell me what you think about my suggestions.