Two graphs tell you why AoE4 is lacking texture

It is, you’re right. A ton of RTS games already implement LODs (levels of detail), because they render more on the screen at any one time compared to an FPS / TPS / racing game. The tricks used to optimise each kind of 3D scene are different between these genres (though obviously, FPS and TPS will share more similarities than not). Can you tell me, on a technical level, that Age IV hasn’t implemented levels of detail for its graphical assets?

The Forza games look excellent, they really excel and putting you in the driver’s seat - pun fully intended.

I think the problem here, however, is the association with photorealism as an indicator of graphical quality. Would you say that, for example, Civilisation VI has good graphics?

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I’m not claiming that AoE 4 doesn’t have different levels of detail for its assets, I’m just saying that there is no problem with having highly detailed models close up like in FH4 (the interior of the shop you can see through the glass in my screenshot is itself a 3D model, you can drive up to it and look around inside), and also being able to show huge numbers of those models on screen when viewing a wider area. It is technologically possible to do it, so there is no reason why AoE 4 can’t do it.

Re Civ 6, I do own that, having got it free on Epic some time ago, so I’ve just installed it again to have another look. Its graphics are clearly intended to be a particular art style. For my personal taste, the graphics have no aesthetic appeal to me, so I would only play the game if it appealed for other reasons. They are purely functional in nature.

AoE 4 isn’t so obviously a different art style, and it is a new game in a franchise that has had quality of realistic-looking graphics as a fundamental part of its appeal since its inception. I played AoE 2 when it first came out, and thought the graphics were fantastic at the time. Compared to Civ 6, AoE 4 looks much more like it is trying, but failing, to be photo realistic, mainly due to poor lighting. I have bought AoE 4, though, and having played the released version a bit just now, I think it probably can be salvaged, as it can be greatly improved with some fairly small changes:

  1. The graphics are much better when zoomed in than when zoomed out. When zoomed out, they become hazy with a lack of contrast. If they are simply made to look when zoomed out like they do when zoomed in, that will be a nice improvement for starters.

  2. Some types of trees have very plain leaves. Some texture on those leaves will make it look a lot better.

  3. The lighting on trees and berries is particularly bad. If this were improved, it would look a lot better. At the moment, the look of them is out of keeping with the lighting of other objects.

  4. Building features, such as roofs and walls, are rather washed out, with a lack of local contrast, even when zoomed in and lacking the haze they have when zoomed out. An increase in local contrast would make these look a lot better.

  5. There are quite a lot of issues with shimmering/flickering that I’m sure can be addressed.

  6. The zoom range should be increased. When most zoomed in, it should show half the horizontal distance it does at present, and when most zoomed out, it should show double the horizontal distance it does at present. My wrist is literally physically hurting after playing the game just now, due to how much I had to move the mouse about to constantly pan everywhere.

If the above things are done, I’ll personally be reasonably happy with the graphics.

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when aoe5?

hopefully we can actually see some next gen rts at that point :slight_smile:

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I am just gonna sound like a boomer saying this… but honestly kids these days have much lower standards or simply just don’t know what they were missing out from the “golden era” of RTS.

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I too don’t understand why the whole AoE IV looks as if it was smeared with grease all over. It’s too blurry even at max settings and 4k. It looks like it’s both a combination of very poor textures and bad post-processing. I’m experimenting with Nvidia’s settings to increase sharpness to see if it improves somewhat.

I took this screenshot just after installing the game and changing the settings to max and the blurriness is incredible:

The roofs, the bags, the “water” in the bucket, the fricking terrain itself.

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If you wanna look at the unit models

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The point is that AOE-4 lacks vigor. With the above games you can show off the beauty with a screenshot. That doesn’t happen in AOE-4 yet. AOE-3 from 2005 didn’t have great textures like now, but it had a lot of artistic details in all aspects.

AOE-1 DE

AOE-3 DE


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This is the best analogy of AoE IV graphics’ current state:

X019 curated trailer:

Release version:

Having posted that, I now wonder if someone can replicate a scene from the X019 since we now have the ability to do 1:1 comparisons.

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Exactly, I wanted to show the screenshots and videos to my friends to create hype, but they just don’t find them impressive. The only goal here is to defeat the enemy. It’s sad that there isn’t much beauty to zoom in and keep watching our town and flora and fauna. :slightly_frowning_face:

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Not only the game devs but movie productions too. They keep hammering people with so much mediocre stuff that they start liking it and eventually lose the ability to differentiate between good and bad. They will never know that better things existed before.

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sad to see such a shameful work and how people adore those mediocre visuals, just cant believe that people are paying 60$ for that, what a shame again

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The forum re-compresses images, so they look much worse than what you upload. I was playing about with applying different types of unsharp mask to a screenshot, and it can be made to look a lot crisper, but the edges become jagged. But the original screenshot looks much better than your image, so I’ll upload it here for comparison. The forum will re-compress it, so maybe that will make it look as bad as yours.

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And for comparison, here is the above screenshot, but with 2 levels of unsharp mask applied, first a large radius to improve local contrast, then a small radius for a sharpening. It makes it “pop” a heck of a lot more than the original. I kept it fairly mild, it could reasonably be done with stronger settings, but the edges do get jagged.

To compare the two images, right click on each one and choose open link (not image or it will be a small version) in new tab. Then switch back and forth between the tabs and you’ll really see the difference.

You really can’t be serious. The Age of Empires IV screenshot is one muddy, compressed 720?p image, and AoE2DE was rendered in 4K and close up.

  1. Sprites can be SUPER detailed because you look at a pre-rendered sprite from one angle only. 3D is not like that. So yes, you can’t really compare AoE2 to AoE4 like that. You can compare AoE3DE to AoE4 because they’re both 3D so it’s fine.

  2. Here’s a decent screenshot of a rooftop of French Houses. The detail is there.

  3. There is definitely work to be done on many building models - as not every building is as detailed. AoE4 needs work. But it’s nowhere near as bad as the screenshot you sent.

TLDR; AoE4 needs further polish, but graphical fidelity at 4K is mostly good.

4 Likes

I removed the antialiasing and played with sharpening settings and now the buildings look great! Smudge is gone entirely, but grass is a bit weird now.

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You can use my Images for your videos, of you want

  1. Graphics (models quality and textures): this is the most controversial element for this game and it appears also in many professional reviews. I don’t think the main models are ugly but they need of some improvements. I tried to make different screenshots for every units of Dheli, English and China civilizations. In this version of the game, developers chosed to block the zoom in so i have to play with the same map “mongolian Hills” and put the units on the hills theirself. Only in this way i can show you how they appear closely. All images are taken with all maximu settings and 4k resolution (RTX 3080). Click on them to see at native resolution

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China
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as you clearly see most of models are not detailed and the most critical elements are:

  1. weapons: they seem plastic. For example, the spears seem pencils. Developers should absolutely improve them. They don’t help with readability but are very very ugly and unrealistic;
  2. chainmails and armourw: smost of models seem don’t have chainmail but clothes and it’s just funny. In this case we don’t ask impossible changes because some models already have good textures for chainmail

English cavalrymen, for example have good textures

3)faces and hands: yes i know, some of you will say: why should you want to see the faces of soldiers? Immersion, simply immersion. Most of units have too low textures about that.

However i have to admit that developers are starting to improving some models as you can see about heavy cavalry of delhi sultanate.
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And there are other two units which seem pretty detailed in my opinion: the elephants drivers.
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This means that developers already have some good models and it would be cool if they could improve all models and make them more detailed and realistic.
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So, this game is pretty good but unfortunately the textures quality is broking the immersion for me. Developers already created the “Min Spec Mode" for all of people who don’t have good PC to play Aoe4. So please, give to players who would like to have more graphic details the possibility to play with more realism and immersion.
I know you have different priorities for the next updates and Dlc but i’ll ask you this:
Is there any chance to see a Graphic DLC or “a 4k textures DLC”?

Dear Relic and World’s Edge, I really appreciated your efforts on this legendary franchise. You are doing your best. With more improvementes this game could become one of the best RTS ever made. But please, hear what community ask.

Cheers, Jimmy.

4 Likes

Those who play AOE-3 will have noticed that in African markets there are chickens that are not static, they are animated. The horses in the stables are lively and proportionate. In AOE-4 they look like monuments.

In artistic terms, what is really well done in AOE-4 is the terrain (weeds, grasses and others) and the boats (although very small).

Projectiles of all kinds look fake. I think you were the one who made a video about how unconvincing the buildings hit by catapults look.

The remastered games raised expectations and not even AOE-3 had been shown. The game was shown in 2019 before showing AOE-3 DE. Until it looks better than AOE-3, there will be criticism.

I liked the gameplay a lot, but for some reason the battles don’t feel convincing like in previous games. Soldiers have good proporsions and that’s why I wouldn’t call them cartoonish, but they lack a more organic touch, and not such a plastic look.

7 Likes

I did the same thing via Nvidia Control Panel and it looks a lot better. I have a 4k monitor and even at that resolution the stock textures and postprocessing have this blurry feeling.

1 Like