Speculation : Stand-alone “Age of Empires 4 : World War II”
I think for some time to imagine what could be the characteristics of Age of Empires 4 if it was held during the Second World War, as seemed a long time ago a pictorial chronology of the different opuses.
Today I want to share these ideas, and confront them to others so that we can imagine together what such an episode at this time could be (maybe in the next opus or another in the future).
Before I begin, I want to say that this is only a sketch (I have not yet thought about the figures for example), that I tried as much as possible to organize and detail, to which I will invite everyone to participate if you have ideas that I would not have had.
So do not hesitate if you have suggestions, remarks, or even different opinions and how you see things!
/!\ Also, I beg you to excuse me for the bad level of my language: I am French and I will make a google translation, trying to correct the faults that I will see.
Finally, I want to point out that the skeleton of the game and some of its mechanisms sometimes look like to that of Age of Empires 2 which is for me a reference in terms of RTS (although I have not played AoE 3, I cannot be inspired by his positive aspects).
My vision / my speculation or proposals:
Regarding the name of the stand-alone (for my suggestion of extension, please see below), I do not see what to choose other than “World War(s*)”.
- A priori I will indicate it in the singular because it seems difficult to me to pass (even during a system of evolution in several ages as on AoE 2) from the First World War to the Second.
But if we did, we could imagine the following ages:
- The Belle Epoque (civilizations at the beginning, few military units, base of the trees of development).
- First World War
- The 30s (technological progress notably military important)
- Second World War
- Age of total war (all developed technologies)
=> Ideal period: 1939 until 1944 (included)
(to avoid the atomic bomb and allow some countries like Germany to be in the next extension)
Personally, and to finally go back AoE 2 in the matter, I will see more in reality a lack of “technological ages”, simply accessible improvements after looking for other improvements that would unlock them, or waiting for having sufficient resources.
Also, always in reverse of AoE 2, it seems to me impossible to limit to one unique unit (also called elite unite below) each country: several are therefore planned. Beyond that, there will be units specific to each state, without necessarily being elite.
I. Playable Countries:
- France (Free)
- Poland (Free)
II. Campaigns (and countries that can lead **):
Invasion Campaign of Poland (Germany, Poland, USSR)
Norway Campaign (England, France, Germany)
Invasion Campaign of France (France, England, Germany)
Battle of Britain Campaign (England, Germany)
Barbarossa Campaign (Germany, USSR)
Pacific Campaign (Japan, USA)
North Africa Campaign (England, Germany, Italy, France, USA)
Campaign Conquest of Italy (Germany, USA, France)
Campaign of France following the D-Day (USA, England, France, Germany)
German Campaign (USA, USSR, Germany, England, France)
** The idea is that all campaigns can be played and replayed according to the different points of view of the belligerents concerned.
- Oil (land only)
III. Common Buildings:
Command Center (equivalent to AoE 2 Forum)
House + Building / Barracks (house giving more food)
Wonder: Brandenburg Gate (Germany), Westminster Parliament (England), Eiffel Tower (France), Italy (?), Imperial Palace (Japan), Poland (?), Statue of Liberty (USA), Kremlin Fortress (USSR).
Airfield / hangars
Headquarters (equivalent to AoE 2 castle, unlockable after a while)
General Headquarters (improvement of the precedent, technology “spies treason” which reveals the map, as in AoE 2 with a cost in silver function of the number of enemies, on average if several allies)
Walls: sandbags, barbed wire (equivalent to AoE2 palisades), walls (reinforced / armored / reinforced concrete, etc.)
Ditches and bridges
Machine gun bunkers (equivalent to AoE 2 arrow towers)
Cannon turret (equivalent in quickest of AoE 2 bombard / gun towers)
Anti-Air Defense DCA (or Flak for Germany)
Arsenal (equivalent to AoE 2 Forge)
Research Institute (equivalent to AoE 2 University)
Financial Exchange (equivalent to the AoE 2 market)
Radar (limited range / local, not the whole map, except to pay in the General HQ).
Oil well / derrick + Refinery
NB: Are some resources infinite or exhaustible? (please see the issue of planes)
IV. Units (Earth, Air, Sea):
a) Basic terrestrial units (potential)
Worker (man / woman)
Soldier (with 2 grenades)
Attack Dog = anti-infantry, frail
Bazooka = antitanks + grouped anti-infantry (zone damage)
Flame-thrower = antitank + group anti-infantry (zone damage, fragile against them)
Sniper = anti-infantry (long range, powerful attack, slow shooting)
Paratrooper (unlockable with aerodromes)
Engineer (improvement: Engineer-mechanic): can repair vehicles, buildings, sometimes build like bridges. Ability to land antipersonnel mines, acts as a deminer too.
Spy * (a cash payment to the GHQ makes it possible to see the map, is equivalent to “spies treason” of AoE 2)
Counter Spy **
Propaganda agent ***
[Headquarters or Barracks or Academy]
- Spies = they have an enlarged vision and reveal the fog of war + have the ability to take the color of the opponent for a time to be determined (temporary and non-permanent, so as to avoid any godmode and value the micro strategy of the players ) and / or blend in with the decor?
** Counter-Spy = Pretty expensive, they have less vision than spies (for example 2/3) but spot them immediately as soon as they enter their field of vision.
*** Propaganda agent = AoE 2 priests equivalent, they can corrupt / convert distance. For that, one can imagine that they have an animation making them handle bundles of banknotes and leaflets (in good propagandists that they are), possibly with a loudspeaker to illustrate their relative range and to hear them like the AoE 2 priests.
Possible enhancement “Double Agent”: Spies can become propaganda / corrupting agents (they lose their ability to take the colors of the opponent but keep their broad vision.
b) Basic ground motorized equipment (potential)
Transport truck troops (vehicle of rather large capacity but rather slow)
Medical repatriation van (can carry 3 to 4 units but from the front to the nearest infirmary, Red Cross logo, a written warning appears to all when a player has targeted a medical van despite the laws of the war)
Light tanks = mobile, anti-infantry
Medium tanks = versatile, more resistant with balance (attack / mobility / armor)
Heavy tanks = antitanks, anti-buildings, slower (depending on differences), powerful attack
Tanks whipping anti-mine chains
Tanks launch flame? (or improvement technology instead?)
Retractable Bridge Tanks (Military Engineering)
Artillery (cannons towable by all vehicles, mobile artillery, heavy artillery)
NB: Some tanks (if yes, which ones?) do they have a machine gun against the troops on the ground?
PS: Vehicles can crush all land units if they do not deviate in time.
- Mine laying vehicle
o Antipersonnel mines * (also installable by engineers)
o Antitank mines *
NB: Mines do area damage, larger or smaller, when they explode.
. The mines become invisible to the opponent as soon as they are installed (this one can see an engineer or a vehicle to install the mine if it has the field of vision on the chosen ground but it disappears from his sight as soon as placed)
. The mines become invisible after a few tens of seconds (or a minute) as soon as they are installed by the person who placed them, making this powerful weapon a dangerous and tool for everyone.
=> The engineer has a temporary and renewable capacity after a time which is the “detection of the mines” allowing to visualize those closed to them for a given time (the allied mines are visible longer than the enemy mines but end up disappearing again from the menu).
=> One can imagine a feature allowing (especially in multiplayer) to place on the mini-map shared between allies a small flag (like the image of the windows’game Minesweeper) to indicate to his team areas (without specific perimeter possible) where the mines have been laid to prevent them.
Traces of vehicles remain visible for a time after their passage (potentially indicating safe and unmined lanes). The tracks of the tanks are more marked and stay a little longer than those of the wheels (heavier the tank, more this duration increases by a few seconds), but all eventually disappear leaving the ground immaculate.
The mine laying vehicle also leaves traces but less time than the others.
In the same way, the corpses of the soldiers stay for a while, then end up returning to the ground.
Antipersonnel mines (or AP mines) are cheap, accessible quickly in part (with engineers), quick to install, quick enough to clear, and even recoverable by enemy mine clearance engineers.
Tanks trigger AP mines that do slight damage to them. However, if they are affected by a number, it ends up damaging them more seriously.
The antitank mines (or AT mines) are relatively expensive, accessible later in the game, after unlocking the vehicle factory and the technology concerned. They can only be positioned by a specific vehicle, they are slow enough to be installed, endangering the vehicle if it is exposed without being protected. They are not recoverable by enemy mine-clearing engineers who are just trying to defuse them (they disappear from the field).
For submarine mines, cf. sub (d).
Underwater mines targeting motorized ships are similar in their characteristics to anti-tank mines.
/!\ Installation and demining times are to be defined. We can imagine a few seconds for the first and more for others.
In terms of damage:
- AP mines do maximum damage to infantry units (dogs do not trigger them, but may be affected by zone damage)
- An AP mine does rather moderate damage to vehicles on average, but inversely proportional to the quality of protection of the unit affected. However, if the vehicles are affected by a number of them, for example in order to open a passage for infantry in an AP minefield without using the chain whipping cart specialized in mine clearance, this ends with damage more seriously.
In addition, you are not immune to an enemy slipping a few AT mines into an AP minefield to trap your tanks.
- AT mines do maximum damage to powered vehicles (infantry do not fire, but may be affected by area damage)
- A mine AT does damage to a heavy tank but this one because of its armor resists better than a tank of lower quality.
- The most resistant tanks against the mines are the tanks specialized in their demining.
c) Basic air units (potential)
Before talking about the air units, it seemed to me fundamental to think about the functioning of the air system and its mechanisms.
Indeed, I find that we can not apply the rules of many RTS - whatever the time - with all the units that automatically hit their targets (some will do so) and worse, that do everything automatically (some things do will be) while remaining indefinitely in the air.
This seems to me inconsistent with the time of WW2 and the minimum realism necessary that such an opus should have. Not to mention that introducing these new features would be refreshing and allow new strategies and tactics from players.
This is why, in my opinion:
It is possible to indicate a distant destination to an aircraft, to which it goes by the shortest path in a straight line (forcing the player to make detours with the command “shift+ right click”) to avoid certain protected areas or risky; but it is also possible to give it a direction and go straight without stopping.
In the first case, by default the plane that arrives at its destination makes turns over it, attacking any enemy attackable in the zone if the mode “attack” or “defense” is activated (same modes as in the other AoE like the 2nd).
In the second case (also activable after arriving on the target of the first case), the plane continues its flight straight.
The second case is not so much for the hunters but for the bombers, the paratroopers transports, and the reconnaissance planes (but also for the naval military units, see part concerned below):
Bombers: While flying over enemy battlefields and military bases in a straight line, the player activates or deactivates the opening of the bomb bay itself, reproducing the reality and the difficulty of aiming perfectly and sometimes completely destroying goals.
Paratroopers transport: in the same way, the player activates or deactivates the jump of the parachutists of the plane. In this way, just as the player can choose not to drop all his bombs on the same objective as part of the bombers, he can choose to drop some of his paratroopers to one place and others further, or all of them as a result of the others without any dead time between each.
Also, and unlike bombers on the other hand, the player can designate a zone in advance and force the parachute airlifter to drop them into the requested zone automatically.