Respectful appreciation of the developers

I thought this was actually going to be a dev appreciation thread as the subject line indicates, which I looked forward to as a breath of fresh air, but then I read the OP :open_mouth:

I understand your and others’ wish for them, but their exclusion is likely a gameplay decision and not a “Hmm, I wonder how we make siege operator units and animations in the year 2021” thing.

There are several things AoE4 does that games 15 years ago didn’t do, but just because games 15 years ago did something it doesn’t mean a game 15 years later must do it. I’m personally glad no siege operators are there to slow siege units down more for turns, firings, packs, and unpacks, and create clunky movements like I feel they did in AoE3. Moving siege units around and attacking with them in AoE3 is just ‘ugh’, imo. So, by not having to constrain siege units to operators, siege gameplay feels tighter and less arbitrarily cumbersome to myself and probably many others.

And that’s not to mention the additional visual clutter brought to the screen from operators possibly misleading you when you try to select actual units, and the additional CPU/GPU processing that’d probably be needed to keep track of 1, 2, 3, or 4 operators per siege unit and all their animations, etc.

  • It’s evident they’re trying to keep performance manageable, otherwise why are the graphics textures/clarity a constant concern by the community.
    • I’d imagine (but could be wrong) that adding 1-4 operators per siege just makes it harder to have other cool stuff going on for the rest of the game, including (but not limited to) pathing and AI algorithms which are a load on your system, too.
    • If operators are added, what are you okay with excluding from the game to compensate? Even lower pop caps? Less detailed textures? Fewer polygons on-screen? Less FX? Worse pathing? Even smaller maps? Siege units that take up 5 pop instead of 2 or whatever they do now? Lessened input or chat responsiveness? Etc. Since we’re not devs on the game, it’s hard to know what rationale they had, but these are certainly possibilities.
  • And sometimes it’s just a matter of taste. Maybe the majority of the studio(s) working on the game, combined with the Community Council, just decided their preference is to not have siege operators. At some point, a game just needs to be made; and it’s impossible to please everyone unless you make a mile-long list of toggleable options in the game menu, which never happens. I really don’t like the battle horn/alarm sounds of AoE2, AoE3, and AoE4, but I don’t see any toggleable options for me to change their sound, volume, or repetition frequency yet… yet I still play AoE2.

If siege operators are added and their animations look funny because they’re trying to keep up with the movement of the siege units’ current speeds for turning, firing, moving, etc., are you sure the community wouldn’t then demand that the siege units, themselves, be slowed down so that the operators aren’t jumping pixels, sliding, and going in hyper-motion sometimes? I tend to think that to make the operator anims look smooth and cool, some in the community would ask for siege units to be retrofitted to the operator anims because ‘immersion’ is lost.

Either way you look at it, their inclusion or exclusion is likely a can of worms no matter whichever side you’re on. There are pros and cons for each way

As a ‘dev appreciation thread,’ I don’t see how bluntly calling them out like this is appreciating them? Bugs happen for probably every game and piece of software ever released. We even witness bugs in major AAA games that have been out for 5+ years. It’s common, it’s unfortunate, but it happens and seems inevitable that no piece of software is ever perfect, is it?

Are you really not sure what the ghosts are doing, or are you just saying that? If you’re not sure, well, the game hasn’t come out yet. They may provide a description in a tutorial, mouseover tooltip somewhere, or a Help file/documentation for the game that players can view/read. Let’s wait to see what the released game has

I think the vast majority consensus of the community, though, is that the ghosts show accelerated time; a bit like time-lapse photography. They represent the passage of time as the building is constructed, or as the siege unit is packed or unpacked. This was done, probably, because people complained in earlier AoE titles that it wasn’t realistic to have one or two villagers build a building or castle over the course of 30 or 90 real-world seconds. Apparently, like self-propelled and self-firing siege units, some felt it was unrealistic and not immersive. Ghosts is a nice solution to that ‘issue,’ imo. With ghosts, you don’t need to show 200 units working on a building for a month or 12 months in real-world time. You can instead just show time-lapsed workers to give a representation of what’s going on for 30-90 seconds.

If ghosts are removed, then those who think it looked bad to construct buildings with one villager in 60 seconds will just say how unrealistic and non-immersive it is, and that the game is, therefore, unplayable. It’s just another example of, “You can’t please everyone,” it seems.

Personally, I think it’d be nice to have options to adjust their opacity and color. If I’m playing as Green, I’d want my ghosts to be a green hue of some sort… maybe slightly brighter and bit toward lime green… and their opacity knocked down to like 5% or 10%. If I’m Blue, I’d similarly want them to be blue, etc. Or maybe there are times where I wouldn’t want them at all, so an ability to turn them off would be great. Maybe that will be possible in the final game? We just don’t know.

For ghosts, they wanted to innovate and do something that wasn’t done 15 years ago which solves an issue the community raised, and now you say it’s a design mistake or not implemented well. How would you have solved the community complaint about buildings being made in 30 seconds by two villagers? If you have a better idea, maybe they will take a liking and implement it someday

Statistically, there are quite a few likes (over 100) to this post, too. I’m not aware of very many threads in the forum here that get over 100 likes:


I completely agree. Not just AOE3’s siege but the whole speed balancing of unit groups (and related to that the “snaring” practice) were big turn offs for me. But thats something to iterate on. Just removing those systems completely is a kneejerk reaction. It leads to instantly turning racecar siege which influences other aspects (like dodging, in part leading to homing torches and arrows). It’s all interconnected and just ripping out a piece doesn’t seem like a good way to design on an existing concept (all the borrowed AOE2/3 systems that form the core of this game).

This on the other hand is something I can only call bs on. Its more polygons and more complex animations for sure, but nothing a modern system (-6 years old or newer) can’t handle. They are also bound to the siege engine… it’s not as if you move multiple entities. It’s still the same thing, animated differently. Exactly as in AOE3.

The same is currently true with the ghosts and their pack/unpack/reload “animations”. They are sped up like crazy and only distract and break immersion. So I don’t see how that point was helped by including them? Completely unmanned siege should have been the goal with your theory in mind, and any time spent implementing the ghosts was a wasted effort.
They obviously weren’t completely sure about unmanned siege themselves, or the ghost would never had been added.

Whenever people come up with all the supposedly gained performance… I ask myself: Where did it go? Into which systems did they reinvest it?
Particle effects are horrible in this game (smoke puffs galore)… thats certainly can’t be it. The muddy textures? Low poly units compared to other games running on the same engine? Again, I doubt it. The animations range from allright to laughable. No terrain deformation like in CoH. Building destruction is fully predefined. Dead units neither stay on the battlefield (very few), nor get handled by physics to not clip into the environment. Siege just poofs out of existence, … the list goes on and on.

A bit of transparency could certainly go a long way here and debunk a lot of theories and lay issues completely based on artistic choice to rest. Since they don’t say anything, we speculate based on the little info we get and the varying technical and (game-)historical knowledge each of us brings to the table.
If you want none of that as a dev team, don’t have forums, don’t ask for community interaction (including betas) and create your product in peaceful silence.

That’s entirely an in-house problem. They never asked the fans directly before creating this game and releasing the 2019 footage. If anything, watching people play and interact with the previous games over 20 years acts as a better survey than anything.
It’s less of an issue of pleasing everyone, and more of making things adjustable where it helps certain user groups and is not a lot of work. A slider here, a checkbox there, really hurts nobody and can go a long way to individualize the experience. And those groups were either known very well since they relate to owned brands (e.g. AOE2/AOE3 as well as CoH/DoW players through Relic) or offer publicly known data (e.g. checking out the UI and hotkey system of SC2).
It’s just plain wrong to not include staple UI/UX features of the genre if they are an intern work week away from implementation (something like making UI elements move-, scale- and dockable). Especially if you market your game as the next big thing for AOE and the RTS genre.

Heard this theory now few timea around here and it needs citations like no other… I never heard any such issue voiced for any of the previous games before the AOE4 fanboy-squad showed up.

I guess the title was somewhat lost in translation : P

1 Like

If you consider the global userbase, which they probably are and judging by decisions with the zoom level and others, they may be aiming for playability for 7+ year old computers/CPUs/GPUs.

I don’t know, I’m not on the dev teams and I’m not privvy to what restrictions they have and don’t have. Is it the exact same engine as CoH without any modifications? If so, source please

Great, lumping people into some group just to put them down and aid in some effort to divide because of some superiority complex; nice work. Talk about the game, not the people, please – as the forum rules say to do.

Just because you haven’t seen discussions or posts about it doesn’t mean they didn’t happen. I’ve seen them firsthand in the AoE2 forums. If/when I get the time or feel like it, I’ll try to dig up some sources for you to appease thee

1 Like

It’s the Essence engine, yes (used for CoH 1/2/3 and DoW 2/3). No clue how to tell you which version and how it differs… should I send them my application, get a job and leak that info for you? : P

You want me to give you proof for what engine version and variation is used (clearly not public info) and at the same time have a problem with pointing to those discussions? Hypocracy much?

I cannot change that those are exactly the nonsense theories they create around here to use as strawmen arguments. I mock the theory and their creators as a whole, not a specific person or member.

Good to see that you only try to discredit me and don’t care about the rest of the post. Again a re-occuring behaviour around here. Pick out a few lines and take them personally, then ignore the meat of the post which is actually engaging your arguments, then take your tail between your legs and run off to the next.

Are you sure that were problems? Afaik few people building entire structures was seen as an AOE meme, just like multiple elephants fitting on a transport ship.

Clickbait for the devs


Unmanned siege is also one of those issues that community has raised and far more often than “one villager building up entire castles” (which was not only rarely brought up, but also considered as a meme rather than something that needs an immediate improvement in those rare instances), but no “this game does not need siege engines with little men around”.


There is one clear benefit: with the ghosts there is no need to implement building animations for all units because they can now stand there idle and command the ghosts to do it for them.


Yes,but remember that they have the coh 3 in development to launch it at the end of next year or early 2023,so the aoe 5 would not start its development before that date,so it would be launched in 2025 or in 2027…

That’s assuming Relic would be working on future titles in the franchise…if we get any. To me it just seems like they’re hired guns for AoEIV.

One would think World’s Edge would take over the reigns as far as developing future titles…

Of course,in fact World Edge is like the parent studio that is responsible for the entire franchise of AoE…is the studio that coordinates the DE versions with Forgotten Empires and Tantalus Media,the AoE 4 with Relic and the mobile games of Xbox Game Studios with Timi Studios…

Tantalus is doing such a stellar job with AoEIIIDE I’d like to see them brought into the fold. Make them part of the AoE family on a more permanent basis.

Unfortunately I think the current state of aoe3de is how it should have been released (with all the qol improvements and bugfixes, not necessarily counting the dlc contents). But they have to go for that hurry release one year earlier. That’s of course not the real “dev”’s responsibility but more of a business decision.
I have fear that aoe4 would suffer similarly from a similar business decision, having many “not really dealbreaking but irritating” problems and bugs remain unfixed at the release.

Of course,they will…that is already a habit in the industry for years…

1 Like

Well,despite having a bad release,aoe 3 DE is getting a lot of content and patches…3 new civs and one on the way,new game modes,cooperative missions,etc etc etc…

Will Age of Mythology 2 really happen? Some people have been mentioning it a lot :smiley:

1 Like

Call me greedy but I’d like a DE of the first one then AoM 2.


Of course,in fact the Middle Ages are already overused in the saga (aoe 2,aoe 2 ds,castle siege,world domination,aoe 4,aoe return to empire,etc etc etc)…and please stop with the Middle Ages…there are other historical epochs as well…


The engine version of aoe 4 and coh 3 is the Essence Engine 5.0 (that of the coh 2 is Essence Engine 3.0 and dow 3 is the Essence Engine 4.0)…


In fact they already do it since its creation…both de and aoe 4 versions are under the supervision of World Edge…