Age of Empires IV’s Min Spec Mode Gives More Players More Opportunities to Play

The Age of Empires series is loved by millions of strategy enthusiasts around the globe for nearly 25 years. This series is based on actual historical events from the Stone Age. It challenges players to find out how they happened, and allows them to create their own history. It’s clearly resonated with fans, selling millions of copies over the years.

With that in mind, the teams at developer World’s Edge and Relic Entertainment knew that they had big shoes to fill in developing the upcoming Age of Empires IV. However, they knew it wasn’t enough just to create a game that not only checked all the requisite real-time strategy boxes but also delivered an experience that exceeded fans’ expectations. To let more people play, the teams understood that it was necessary to exceed expectations.

Min Spec Mode allows players with older or lower-powered computers to have a better experience Age of Empires IVYou can find out more. The game will trigger this mode by a combination in-game settings. These settings are created with the help of an auto-detection program when the game is launched. They can be accessed or modified from the settings menu. 

Age of Empires IV - PC Specs Chart

“When looking to bring this new game to the franchise, we knew we needed to support a diverse set of PC configuration,” said Michael Mann, Executive Producer at World’s Edge. “Even looking forward to the next few years, we expect 50% or more of our player base will be playing on machines that use the low spec renderer.”

A substantial portion of those players still play games like Age of Empires II Age of Empires IIIThese were both released in 2005 and 1999, respectively. Age of Empires has a global appeal, so machine specifications vary greatly across different regions. Some regions that are very active in playing the Age franchise also tend to have lower spec’d machines for a variety of reasons. Southeast Asia, Latin America and Latin America both have vibrant Age of Empires communities. Developers wanted to make sure these regions were still playing the Age of Empires. Age of Empires II Age of Empires IIIEnjoy today’s benefits Age of Empires IV

Their technical planning Age of Empires IVIt was discovered by the team that significant numbers of Age of Empires players still enjoy the older Age of Empires titles on their laptops, or even on older PCs with integrated Graphics Processing Units. Since they wanted to reach the largest player base possible, that meant that they had to take both configurations into account and design for GPUs that have their own RAM, as well as ones that utilize some of the system’s RAM. 

Age of Empires IV

Since they were able to estimate how much RAM an individual GPU might have, this was much simpler. Integrated GPUs, on the other hand, were more challenging to design and plan for, since there were more variables that had be accounted for to ensure that the GPU usage didn’t crash the whole system. They created a low-spec renderer to prevent this from happening.

This was, however, not an easy task, at least for the first time. Their greatest technical challenge? “Time. Just time,” said Joel Pritchett, Technical Director at World’s Edge. “The low spec renderer is equivalent to what we would have built for an Xbox 360. That’s what we know. It was just a matter of time. Art, on the other hand, had different challenges, such as building multiple asset sets for example.”

You will have to make compromises if you play the game in Min Spec. Like most PC games. Age of Empires IV has a Recommended Spec that the development teams at Relic and World’s Edge suggest as the ideal way for everyone to experience the game. These specs allow you to expect high-unit counts and high-resolution models. There are also 8 player battles.

Age of Empires IV

Min Spec Mode is designed to work on laptops or desktops with integrated GPUs. The developers wanted to make sure that players could enjoy the campaign in a lower resolution, easier lighting, and less destruction. You won’t be getting some of the added spectacle of larger-player battles or high-end image and texture quality, but you’ll still be getting a great one without having to spend a bunch of money upgrading your gaming desktop or laptop. It’s a trade-off that even players with more powerful machines might want to try. “It’s worth noting that some of our competitive testers preferred the low spec renderer because its visually clearer and you get a better framerate,” said Pritchett. “So, you may want to try out different settings when you play for the first time.”

The team did more than just make Min Spec Mode accessible. “With us going live on day one in Game Pass for PC, we wanted to ensure a broad support of hardware for new users to be able to enjoy Age IV. We’ve kept existing and new players in mind throughout development,” said Mann. “Not just in terms of their ability to play on their machines but with game features like our tutorial and Art of War challenge missions.”

Age of Empires IV

If this team has shown us anything, though, it’s that they’re never satisfied and are always looking for ways to improve player experiences. They’ve made dozens (if not hundreds) of tweaks and changes to the game during private and public betas over the last few years. Most importantly, they’re ready to hit the ground running next week when the game launches to ensure that everyone has a great experience.

“We’re going to be looking for feedback as soon as we launch on all elements of the game, so we want to hear about play experiences. We’ve also got our Customer Support team on standby to help every player get any help they may need to get up and running,” said Mann. “We just can’t wait for the 28th and we can’t wait for people to start playing Age of Empires IV.”

Age of Empires IV Pre-Order

Xbox Live

Age of Empires IV Preorder

Xbox Game Studios

Pre-order Age of Empires IV now and get the Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition “Dawn of the Dukes” expansion as a free bonus in August 2021*.

Age of Empires IV is the return to glory of one of the most loved real-time strategy games. This game puts you in the middle of historic battles that have shaped history. Age of Empires 4 brings a refined real-time strategy experience to the next generation. It offers both new and familiar ways to grow your empire over vast landscapes.

Return to History – The past is prologue as you are immersed in a rich historical setting of 8 diverse civilizations across the world from the English to the Chinese to the Delhi Sultanate in your quest for victory. You will need to build cities and manage your resources to lead troops in battle at sea. There are 35 missions to choose from that cover 500 years worth of history, starting with the Dark Ages and ending with the Renaissance.

Choose Your Path to Greatness with Historical Figures – Live the adventures of Joan of Arc in her quest to defeat the English, or command mighty Mongol troops as Genghis Khan in his conquest across Asia. The choice is yours – and every decision you make will determine the outcome of history.

Customize Your Game with Mods – Available in Early 2022, play how you want with user generated content tools for custom games.

Challenge the World – Jump online to compete, cooperate or spectate with up to 7 of your friends in PVP and PVE multiplayer modes.

An Age for All Players – Age of Empires IV is an inviting experience for new players with a tutorial system that teaches the essence of real-time strategy and a Campaign Story Mode designed for first time players to help achieve easy setup and success, yet is challenging enough for veteran players with new game mechanics, evolved strategies, and combat techniques.

*Expansion bonus requires Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition game, sold separately. Pre-orders accepted via Steam, Microsoft Store and other participating retailers To download content, you will need broadband internet. See retailer for details.

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