The Aesthetic Problem of AOE2

With the addition of new civs with unique castles and monasteries and even some unit upgrades such as Persian Savar and Roman Legionary etc which are all great on their own the game is becoming more and more aesthetically inconsistent. This such a shame because the new additions to the game are really great but the more we add these one off token unique skins the more glaringly obvious the problem becomes. There is now a big difference in the level of aesthetic uniqueness between newer civs and older ones. Not only that but so many units from so many civs are just so glaringly inappropriate that it is just immersion breaking. European monks being used for non European civs is one example.

The artwork and presentation of a game is an important aspect what makes a game great, and AOE2 is generally a beautiful game to look at. The devs have a responsibility to treat this aspect of the game with the respect that it deserves and take as much pride in it as they do with other aspects of the game. When will the devs start to take this seriously? There are already so many assets in the game that can be used to give civs a more unique and accurate identity. Their underutilisation is criminal at this point.

The original devs released the game essentially unfinished due to time restraints and limitations of the time. We no longer have those limitations and furthermore expectations regarding representation and general accuracy of historical games is much higher now. Also the scope of games geographic representation is much greater now than it was increasing the need for more regional skins. We don’t need unique skins for every single civ. But we do need at least 4 very broad regions. Africa, Middle East and South Asia, East Asia, and the Americas.

More people seem to be getting vocal about this and I hope the devs take note. There is even some people making some compelling videos on YouTube demonstrating how by just using some in game assets cobs can be given a more accurate visual representation.

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Edit: why can’t I post a YT link?

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https://youtube.com/watch?v=H9c9dhO0NL8&si=q3wZH0LCweiS0GjE

Architecture sets and unit skins should be paid DLC. Good way for the devs to make money from players who want it, but also keeps the game simple for people like me who dont need it because I want readability and playability to take priority over aesthetics. When I am in the mood for realism, I play other games like Total War or Chivalry 2.

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I’m here for you buddy.

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The issue here is that the basegame would be really big. That’s the issue. Regional skins or even unique skins can be enabled in a few clicks, make it toggleable and let the modders do their stuff, but you’d need a lot of slx files for each region or civ

I mean this is all well and good but I want something official. Specially for buildings and specially for ranked play.

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Me too. It’s a crying shame that The Mountain Royals reused the Mediterranean set instead of making a new Caucasus set. I’m sure nearly everyone on the forum shares my sentiment.

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Some of the things the player base of this game say to justify their views genuinely baffles me. Like its not 1999. Harddrive space is not a scarce commodity anymore. Have you guys not seen the size of modern games??? AOE2 is a fraction the size of any modern game. Presumably people who play AOE on steam also play other games which take up several times the amount of space AOE2 does yet I’ve never heard anyone from any other game’s playerbase ever complain about the size of a game. Only AOE2 players are somehow terrified about their game’s storage space requirements to go up by a couple of GB.

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Yea, I think they need to split that architecture set. I think it suits Portugese, Sicilians, Spanish and maybe Italians (I don’t even think it suits Romans). And then they need to introduce something that is a bit more Byzantian/Eastern Mediterranean and have that for the other civs currently using that architecture set.

Also I think generally its not a bad idea to make sure that Romans and Italians DON’T use the same architecture set to really emphasise that they are supposed to be distinct civs from different time periods. At the moment it makes no sense. I’d almost suggest to just completely get rid of Italians all together and just keep Romans since Italy as a unified cultural and political entity doesn’t even make sense in this time period.

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I’d say so, yes, especially if they decide to introduce Balkan civs without designing a new set (I think there should be a new set, but mainly because the Mediterranean one is overused, as it’s not THAT unfitting).

Side note: Apparently there is no way to add strikethrough to text on this site.

I somewhat agree. It obviously suits the Italians, but I think it’s not a terrible choice for the Romans (not the least of which being because the first two towers are obviously Roman). The Spanish and Portuguese should have their own set, which could be used by other Spanish civs if they ever do that kind of split. So that leaves Italians, Romans, and Sicilians with that set.

I take back what I said about Balkan civs. Having more than one civ use that set instead of a Balkan one would bring that exact same problem back. Three is a good number for a set.

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I have 2 TB of SSD space, I can asure I have enough space, and one of the things that stopped me from going from HD to DE was that there wasn’t and Independent architecture and units mod, so I do want skins, BUT, not everyone here has access to good internet or enough space. I remember one of the participants of this conversation said once that the game was too big

That was about AoE3, which is a much more technically demanding game.

Well, I didn’t want to single you out, but then, it was kind of obvious. Sorry

Anyways, if you use minumum settings, there’s a chance you can run AoE3 DE. I have a PC from 2014, with a 1GB graphic RAM, that can run it, and a 2019 notebook, with integrated Intel graphics card, that can also run it

The settings aren’t the issue. It’s that it takes up more space than my computer has left.

Anyway, this thread isn’t about AoE3, so might as well not derail it.

It’s okay. Not like I was offended or anything. Even bringing it up wasn’t going to bother me.

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No, if course not, but what I was pointing at, is that you don’t need state of the art machines to run AoE2 and AoE3 at minumum. But now, I don’t know what I wanted to say with this.

But whatever, having Independent Architecture and Units would be awesome, but the disk space would be a lot

Thank you for saying this, most people seem to think that Romans are meant to represent Rome and surroundings. No that’s Italians, Romans are the late Roman people from all over the Mediterranean during the western empire and the Germanic kingdoms who took its place. “Romans” does not refer to Rome anymore in late antiquity since the capital of the empire hasn’t been Rome since Diocletian. They should probably use a byzantine set if it will ever be added, taking inspiration from baptisteries in Ravenna and also to civil basilicas from the period.

As you said some regional models are already in game so it would just be a matter to switch them. Damn, it’s already possible to do it just with the editor! For example, I switched all infantry appearance in a Berber campaign I made from longswords on to the eastern warrior or all Germanic factions infantry to the Norse one, the Persian knight to the Sogdian cataphract, monks to imams and so on… The difference is that I can’t create new models but Devs are payed to do this supposedly.

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I actually disagree with this for reasons stated above. The Mediterranean towers, aside from the Keep, are clearly Roman, so it would be a shame if the one civ that actually built those lost access to that style. Besides, the Feudal and Castle Age styles aren’t that unfitting.

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Wait so you don’t even play DE and here you are giving opinions about how other people may or may not feel about my proposals. I’m sure people with HDD space problems can speak up for themselves man, unless you think maybe they don’t have enough HDD space for the cookies required to visit this forum. :joy::joy::joy:

Yea I mean the Byzantine architecture could be very similar, they could have the same towers I don’t care. I mean my initial suggestion was just getting rid of Italians all together tbh.

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I play DE since years ago

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For sure, this mod is kinda my wishlist for what I wish AOE4 or a more asymmetric civilization mode could be like.