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[aoe II] Units are Difficult to Distinguish

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仲夏正午 | UID=84 |2019-12-14
  Mentioned in pieces of other posts, but figured I’d consolidate.
  I am simply not a fan of the new graphics.  They make differentiating between units at a glance nearly impossible.  The excess detail distracts from the mechanics of the game, forcing me to spend a lot more energy discerning unit attributes when I could be allocating those mental resources to my strategy and execution.  The result is that I leave each game feeling frustrated and lacking a desire to play more (usually heading back to User Patch where it feels like home).
  I 100% understand that you’re not going to bring new players to the game by rolling out visuals from 1999, so it’s fine that the game has new sprites and graphics available to players who might enjoy them, but I’d greatly appreciate the option not to partake in that change.  I’d rather have the look and feel of the game I’ve been playing for the past 20 years.  The same holds true for the sound effects.
  Is there any chance you can give us a “classic” option?
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彬跑骚年 | UID=295 |2019-12-14
  While a classic option would be cool (though quite unnecessary since we have the HD Edition for just that) I really don’t get the problem with differentiating between units. Can I ask how long have you played DE for? Because sure, on your first try it will be hard to spot the differences as fast as you could in the original game but just with spending a bit more time with the game it will become second nature again.
  Make sure to disable or tone down some of the special effects (mainly animate fog, bloom and depth of field) though to improve the game’s general readability because the default settings are pretty darn terrible.
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虚构人物 | UID=641 |2019-12-14
  If you want to play the original AOE2 Conquerors game released in 2000, just for nostalgia sake, it is available for download at https://oldgamesdownload.com/age-of-empires-ii-the-conquerors
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水煮尘浮 | UID=353 |2019-12-14
  Hi guys,
  @Sance231 I was part of the original beta for DE back in June/July.  I’ve logged about 40 hours of gameplay between the betas and the official launch.  While my mind has adapted to an extent, the new graphics remain an element that adds strain and unhappiness to my experience with the game.
  As for your suggestion that I simply play HD, that won’t work for me.  I play the game at a fairly high level, so I’m kind of stuck playing wherever the competitive scene is (which was never HD; it’s always been Voobly).  At the moment, the competitive scene is on DE because the top players have been enticed by lucrative Microsoft-sponsored tournaments and increased stream viewership opportunities.  Given my discussions with multiple top 50 players, many would welcome the old graphics.  Several of them, myself included, have simply curtailed our playing because DE isn’t much fun, and our thoughts on the new graphics are a part of that.
  Of all the improvements long-time players have hoped for over the years, enhanced graphics was never one of them.  The new visuals are simply a means to get new players through the door.  An option for players who don’t want those distractions would be most welcome, and if offered, I’d be willing to wager that a majority of the top 50 would switch over to them.
  I don’t really see what the drawback to offering a classic graphics option would be.  The sprites already exist, so I can’t imagine it’d be a massive change.  I’ve inquired on the mod forums if this is something feasable for the community (rather than the developers) to accomplish, and was told that modders are presently not allowed to make changes to the unit visuals.  Is that true?  Can you shed some light on the reasoning behind this?
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关关 | UID=169 |2019-12-14
  @csaArmistead Usually the reasons behind that are the less pro player friendly ones I’d assume: basically the same “marketing” reasons that come up with most competitive games.
  Naturally pro players are “kept around” by companies because they have promotional value through tournaments, streams and whatnot. In those it’s important for the publisher for the game to be represented in the way they want it to be represented. As you’ve said graphics are an important factor in getting people interested in buying a game so the game should look the best it can in tournaments and on streams = pro players can’t “dumb down” the looks for the sake of functionality.
  Personally I don’t think there’s much problem with that since a middle ground is usually achievable and well: of course there are reasons why getting back the classic look would be hard on the development side. We don’t know how much the engine was altered and the Genie engine was always affected by the resolution of the assets so some serious scaling work would certainly have to be done (and as a result the original assets may look terrible in this modified engine). On top of that the gameplay was changed for the DE so some units don’t even exist in the old game, for example the kipchaks or the steppe lancers, some wonders etc…
  The way I see it if there are visibility issues then those should be addressed by the developers but bringing back the original graphics is a legacy feature that frankly not that many people are interested in since the original game exists and it’s still very playable either through the HD Edition or the Userpatch. I know that high level players usually have this tendency of wanting to dictate how things should be but overall it’s the casual / avarage players who decide if a game is successful or not = they are simply more important than the pro scene in this regard.
  Like you know, even though the competitive scene quit HD Edition that game still constantly brought in 3 times the player numbers of what you see on Voobly so this may sound harsh but overall the numbers decide what is preferable for the larger community.
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林林 | UID=141 |2019-12-14
  I also do get your point csa, however, I dont really see the urgency either. I expect most people being happy with the graphics (Viper e.g., as a pro, said he likes them, on the other hand, most casual playing friends I have really prefer the new version as well). There are several issues with just implementing the old graphics like units which did not exist before as Sance said or Enginge issues (Viper constantly complains that while buildings collapse, you cannot build a new building there while being able to walk over it. This is obviously a hint of changed Engine issues afaik, since it was possible in HD/voobly).
  So… It would probably need a LOT of time. Developing time, for which I (and I expect most people to agree here) would have other preferences like

  • bug fixes (feels like HD at times atm),
  • balancing (best eco, best cost effective cavalry and maybe best cav archer all in 1 civ),
  • matchmaking (yeeeeeeey 40 games so far and arabia… once for me o.O),
  • RAM issues (see other threads for that),
  • campaign issues (too hard? too easy? Shouldnt there be BETTER options to make it either one? See other thread for that) etcc…
  I think we know there are more issues, and I am afraid, since it took 'em 2 years to fix AOE1 DE, every developer minute should be invested into things that maintain the community as a whole - and I am not sure how many people really have an issue with (better) graphics…
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熊仔看动漫 | UID=111 |2019-12-14
  Hi @csaArmistead, Let’s keep this topic centered around discussion on remaining issues with distinguishing between units.  As you know there was discussion during the beta on being able to easily distinguish units from one another.  Would you please post specific examples, including screenshots, of units which still are not easily distinguishable?  This will be helpful to the developers.
  If you would like to offer additional feedback on audio in the game please comment here for feedback on the sound effects.  There is discussion for modding the game with original music and sound in this topic as well.
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金鱼佬 | UID=529 |2019-12-14
  @Sance231 and @eisfuer1euro I couldn’t agree with you more about the type of user driving the community and development.  You’re both right, and Sance you bring up a good point about how modding the visuals might be more difficult than it seems and that Microsoft might not want to make a classic mod for fear that streamers would in fact use it.  It’s a sad reality for me I guess.  At its core, DE is trying to be a step forward for AoE II, but my personal opinion is that it robs the game of many of the qualities that made it so enjoyable for the past 20 years.  I’d liken it to being an avid league bowler and being told by the bowling alley, “From now on, we’re only going to do glow-bowling because the kids really like it.”  I understand it from a monetary standpoint, it’s just not what I’d hoped would happen.  I hate being the guy actively rooting for DE to fail in the eyes of the competitive community, but I guess that’s the situation…
  @eisfuer1euro I’d take anything the successful streamers say about DE with a grain of salt.  They have a vested interest in the success/popularity of the game, and I’m quite sure they’ve been briefed on what they should and should not criticize - this is why you’ll find them complaining about balance issues and building foundation problems, but they tiptoe around the fact that the game doesn’t feel that good (or they’ll always refer to how it’ll be fine in later releases).  Heck, mbl has disconnected in like 30% of his games and he seems to just calmly take it despite the fact that he generally cares about points and has a fiery personality.
  @RadiatingBlade thanks for the response.  I’ll compile some this evening and report back.
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林进强 | UID=40 |2019-12-14
  Honestly give it some time you get used to it. I at first had difficulty telling difference between Cavalier and Paladin now I don’t even need to look twice.
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即时行乐 | UID=804 |2019-12-14
  I used to feel the same way but later on i got used to it. But fair enough soon when the modding tools for smx and smp are out we can bring those old graphic looks back through separate mods or a mod pack.
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召振四海 | UID=965 |2019-12-14
  I don’t find the game easy to “read” either. Though I’m sure, this is also due to being able to zoom out so much and preferring a more zoomed out perspective for the overview, but just not having the experience with distinguishing from “on high” in general.
I’d prefer to have an “old version”-mod for each unit line or building, so I can slowly get used to it. But at the moment it feels like I’m playing worse than before in many situations, simply because of the visual overwhelm.
Perhaps I should play a few games, where I restrict myself to low zoom settings to learn to deal with one challenge at a time. Also I found it much more difficult to play with Flux on, than before.
  I hope though, that I’ll get used to it all. I don’t think it’s impossible, but it will be awkward for a couple more months/a hundred more games, whatever comes first.
  I haven’t been playing this game intensely at any point, but I’ve known those units since I was a kid. Growing up with the old look, having childhood memories of it, makes this especially challenging for many players, I believe.
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一切随风 | UID=271 |2019-12-14
DSC0000.jpeg DE2048×1199 1.42 MB
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风铃 | UID=99 |2019-12-14
  It feels like they removed the percentage of the unit that’s colored?
  In HD you can’t really see the weapons and the riders nearly as well. Now we can see them and are wondering who the ■■■■ those people are.
I’m still confused even about the exact fact why I’m so confused. But I am.
Might be due to “shading” as you say, but I don’t know what that means.
  It might actually be that the unit shadows have gotten more realistic. I don’t exactly know what my brain does to figure out what a unit in less than 5ms, just that it’s not very happy right now DSC0001.jpg
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洋仔 | UID=75 |2019-12-14
  Speak for yourself. In your comparison picture, it’s much harder to differentiate between the three types of cavalry in the middle formation in the HD version than in DE.
  This is all purely a matter of habit. You are used to the old sprites so you can pick them out more easily, that’s all there’s to it. If the new graphics - the main selling point of DE - bother you, just play HD.
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风铃 | UID=99 |2019-12-14
  I’ve already explained above why HD isn’t an option for me.
  Besides, I’m not petitioning the developers to take away your precious graphics; I’m asking for the option to not have to endure them myself without having to abandon the competitive scene by switching to HD.
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