Unseen and unused AoE unit / tech icons

I ran into this icon set some time ago and noticed that there are icons which aren’t in game or reported on wikis. Yet their artwork is similar level and most likely never made it into the game.

I’ve checked the DAT files with the Advanced Genie Editor tool and some of these icons are in the game data and some aren’t. So they are really mysterious.

Here is what I found with the Advanced Genie Editor based on the developer’s descriptions on those icons.

Lots of mysterious icons here. Let us go from top to bottom and left to right:

  • Pots? Could it be a market upgrade? Trade upgrade for the trade boats/merchant ships?
  • Forging of sword? This looks like perhaps something that got replaced with Metallurgy eventually or was it an extra upgrade for attack which might have come after Iron Age (see below for that mysterious icon)
  • Archery targets? Could this have been alternative for accuracy just for archers?
  • Crates and pots? Looks like a market upgrade
  • Looks like a map? Maybe a form of cartography which got replaced with Writing for sharing exploration?
  • Stone tablet with tallying? Either primitive form of writing or used for something else
  • Some dude gazing? Could this have been LOS increase tech?
  • Arrows and a bow in the background? Could this have been +1 attack for archers but was eventually becoming Alchemy anyway?
  • Chariot Archer icon - click to upgrade to chariot. The required technology is Wheel. This reminds me of the Short Swordsman upgrade they removed in AoE:DE.
  • Hoof icon - Click to upgrade to Cavalry. Apparently, you didn’t get the Cavalry by default in Bronze Age.
  • Tusks - Upgrade to War Elephant. Just like the Cavalry, you had to upgrade them first in order to get them.
  • X-Age? The Fifth Age? This is the most mysterious of them all. As the “grayed out” icons only go up to Iron Age, yet this is a clickable icon for a fifth age. Could it be that those advanced looking icons like the shining sword, crates and such were all belonging in this secret 5th age? What would’ve even come after the Iron Age anyway?
  • Stone Age Icon. I know this is used in the Tech Tree overview so this isn’t much of a surprise, but why it was added as an icon I don’t know. You always start out in the Stone Age anyway. Or could it be that there had been something before that? Would make no sense.
  • Wood craft/detaling? Could this perhaps improve something for villagers?
  • Berries? Food storage? Could this perhaps improve something for villagers?
  • Stone craft/detailing? Could this perhaps improve something for villagers? Or enable some ability?

Nothing special here except for the horse icon and the 2nd ‘discovery’ icon. The discovery can be placed in the Scenario Editor and I have never seen it being used in any Campaign or Scenario. Guess they had plans for putting horses into the game.

Go wild with your imaginations and guessing, because we will never know.


Original icons for sea trading.

Ah, you’re absolutely right. How could’ve forgotten about those icons. Shows how much we use trade boats/merchant ships.