Which visual improvements can we expect on the first Definitive Edition?

Hey people!

This week we had our first glimpse on the Age of Empires II Definitive Edition. I barely can describe how much amazed and impressed I have felt with everything! It is visually impeccable: the traditional building models, the revised and reworked ones (like the Mediterranean and Eastern European), the units and nature elements, the new HUD.

That said, I believe there are some details on Age of Empires: Definitive Edition visuals that could be improved to achieve the Age of Empires II, far, higher standards.

  • For example, the Egyptian buildings still looks unfinished. Their Tool Age house model is the only one that don’t resembles at all the original one, instead of the other civs.

Their buildings also look to much monochromatic, only stone-colored, despite the historical evidence, which was strictly and beautifully used on the other civs structures. Some examples of what I mean from Assassin’s Creed Origins:


DE Government Center is the structure closer to this look.

The original buildings for comparison.

  • The game HUD could also incorporate the images from the original game, like these ones

and perhaps use the HUD concept of Age of Empires II, adding a different image for each civ. For example, this one

for the Assyrians and this one

for the Persians.

  • As can be seen on this image

the Age of Empires II DE game menu will look similar to the original one. What about have a remade version of the original Age of Empires game menu art on its DE?

  • It would be amazing to see this battle map on the campaign mission briefs again!

  • At last, having remastered or remade cutscenes would be an awesome addition, as they are part of the original game!

As the gameplay and multiplayer issues keep being solved, I hope the developers turns their attention on something on this direction in the future! Please, tell me what you would like to see of the original game incorporated on DE to improve it!


HUD’s are really a thing these days, so I would recommend to introduce theme selection which include the HUD design. E.g. Minimalistic Dark / Light, Classic, Definitive and Custom for modders.

And of course resizable like with AOE DE. Let’s not forget the visually disabled who do want to play this game too.

As graphics of the DE versions are so beautiful I would like to see them speak for itself. Also I would love transparant overlay build menu buttons and map (of which you can control the gamma through settings) with optional displayed hotkey tooltip. Always show map and only show buttons and info screen when group, unit, building or villager or other resource is selected.

1 Like

I agree with most of your suggestions. It would be glorious if they made new cinematics, and that the maps in the campaigns show some units or animals. I really liked that about the original game.
As for the design of the HUD, it would be interesting, but it’s not something that I really care about.

But what I do not agree with is the design of the new buildings. Look at the columns of the Government Center, the interior of the barracks, the Dock, or the pyramid (wonder), they look beautiful to me.
I think they did a wonderful job, and of course some things do not match the original design, for example Roman architecture with red tile roofs. the old design had gray or white roofs and it did not look good at all.
If they took liberties at the time of reimagining, it is because it really needed this.

1 Like

They first needed to reimage current content to new 3D models of which they create the new 4K sprites. Then they probably started to redesign some the 3D models and recreate the sprites, which is still not completely finished yet of course. This was alpha footage they showed. After the beta we can all see and know more about the final result.

1 Like

At first, I didn’t had any thoughts about HUD customization, but now that you have mentioned it seems a great addition to me! Actually, in Age 3 we have 2 HUD sizing options, and I prefer to play with the reduced one. Few games these days have options to help improving the visually disabled people’s experience, so it would be also a remarkable aspect for the developers to consider.

DE graphics truly surpassed any expectations I had when I heard of this project for the first time! My considerations about the buildings are only minor personal concerns, as I absolutely love anything related to the ancient Egyptians.
There’s an option on Age of Mythology Extended in which you could adjust the transparency of the HUD, but I can’t remember if you could do so with or without a MOD.

1 Like

Tool age egyptian house was in last patch notes, for me it’s solved now, but I didn’t check to see the new one.

About incomplete things, I can notice catapult’s bullet’s impact art that was still missing last time I played, there was a basic one during the beta, but removed and… nothing to replace it at release. Same I didn’t check if they updated it.

There was also something missing on fisherman (villager carrying fishes?) but didn’t check if changed too.

I can get my feedback notes about the beta, I’m sure we can find missing things.

But generally I agree with most of the topic, HUD civ themes lack some parts (I noticed some differences but wasn’t as wealthy as in 1997’s), cinematics are missing, and campaign maps were better in 1997, last time I checked texts were barely readable, no assets of the game on them, and don’t know if you can do your own on your custom maps as you did in 1997.

Truly glorious! The cinematic are still epic and remarkable, despite the limiting rendering capabilities of the time they were made! I felt really disappointed they weren’t included on the Definitive Edition; at least a remastered version, nether remade, should have been included!

Now, about the graphics of the Egyptian building set, I actually consider them beautiful, but believe they could be slightly improved on some details to enhance their visual impact, especially on the Iron Age. Consider the Egyptian structures on Age of Mythology, for example:

They look exactly as I meant for DE! If the Egyptian Iron Age buildings set on DE were painted white, and the hieroglyphs were colorful, they would look even more beautiful! Also, this is more historically accurate, as the red tiles roofs are for the Romans. And yes, those white roofs were awful!

At last, the Egyptian Tool Age house model on DE is only a reworked version of the Bronze Age model, instead of the other civ models, that resemble their original ones:

The Age II DE trailer made me feel breathless and astonished, I assume. It strongly renewed my confidence on the Forgotten Empires team capabilities to transform the good and old Age of Empires games on modern jewels.

That said, I believe we all agree the first game DE still deserves a lot more attention from the team. Age II DE, by far, received more care on every detail than the first DE has at the moment, talking about the game visuals. Age II DE is receiving even new units for the Scenario Editor, as it is highlighted by Spirit of the Law on this video:

The FE team are even adding pigs to collect food from!! Pigs!! :pig2::pig::pig_nose:

Of course, Age II is the most famous and remarkable in the series, but I hope they will consider every game with equal quality standards. As you pointed, there are many little things, other not so little, as with the HUD, that makes the game feel more immersive and look better polished.

As the Definitive Edition, it needs more features, not less, than the older and original game!

The Tool Age Egyptian house issue is pointed on my reply to idinow, right above!


That’s what the plan was and still is. They are here to stay and bring this franchise another 20 years further. Transparant HUD option would really be awesome. Customizable HUD and skin would be heaven for modders and new content creators. They can move on a little bit further than with the uplift of AOE DE imho. Why even show the buttons until you click or select something or make that togglable too like the build button in AOE DE. Pro’s know all hotkeys, they only need a mini-map anyway.

1 Like

Very disappointed of Tool age egyptian house new art.

1997’s one was so cool, indeed they should take it… at least it’s different from Bronze now, but… hope this is temporary.


Hmm you have a point here. There are 3 months and a half ahead of us yet, until we finally will have the finished version on our hands!

1 Like

I would not expect to see massive visual improvements coming to AoE: DE as FE’s focus is now shifting to AoE II: DE. There still may be more updates for AoE: DE in the pipeline, however the updates are likely to address a few remaining issues which can be fixed with limited dev time.

It is a pity the little effort they made for Age 1 DE, being that Age 2 has much more content, more varied civilizations, with unique units, unique wonders, audio tracks for unique voices, unique heroes, more complex campaigns with triggers, several extra game modes and many environments, terrains and other elements. In addition to adding all the content of four expansions, they also put new content. It seems incredible to me, but at the same time I think that at 1 they did it fast and without pain or glory, it still has missing content.

Aoe 1 DE was the first time they made something of this scale. They had a lot of problems during development and now that they have experience it should go a lot smoother


I hope so. That chimney on the house is what make it look unique! Also, it is a part of the original game, so naturally we expect it being a part of the DE.

This point of yours makes me feel really disappointed, my friend! I sincerely hope for more consideration from FE team with the community expectations for this DE. At last, I expect for a complete conversion of the original game content to this new one, like the cinematics and the more detailed battle map on the campaigns brief.

Seeing things from this perspective makes the first DE, as it is nowadays, look even more abandoned. If we consider FE’s team present effort is to make the game works as it should had worked already at the launch, we don’t have even a full released, complete game. Alas, consider talking about new, exclusive content at this point!

One of the elements I would absolutely LOVE are unique wonders for each civ! New civs, like the Germanic tribes, and new, snowy environments with it!

Age II DE, at this moment, looks incredible, but Age DE looks only good enough.

I think you’re right. Hope they use this experience to improve DE further, and don’t give up on it! FE’s team are capable of a gorgeous, impeccable work, and the first Age game deserve it.

1 Like

Guys, just take it easy please. People have been wining here on the forum for over a half year that they would never release fixes (update) anymore for AOE DE and that it was abandoned by the developers.

The developers really have put a tremendous amount of work in AOE DE. But like playing this game the learning curve is a steep one. They will focus on delivery of all titles though.

And so the AOE community finally will end up with at least 4 new engines.

Four newer AOE RTS engines. Do you hear me?:heart_eyes::smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

1 Like

Except it’s not 4 new RTS engines, it’s 3 updated RTS engines from 20+ years ago for the DEs and 1 modern RTS engine updated for AoE IV.


Corrected. Let’s say at least two as that UWP version is very different and of course the one used by Relic.

So how many AOE RTS engines do you want? :grin: