Some things that I think should be done to improve AoE3 in the remastered version:
- Whatever necessary to remove lag: regional servers (like LoL), a server-client networking model (like SC2, LoL etc), in-game ping meters, option to disable HomeCity animations, removing treasure guardians idle animations etc. If a server-client model is implemented, the game should be synched with the server, so player-caused OOS becomes impossible.
- The game should be adapted to different screen ratios, not just 4:3, so that it adapts to other ratios without shrinking UI fonts/textures or stretching them.
- The list of supported GPUs needs to be updated with more modern configurations. Some people can't install/execute AOE3 because the game doesn't recognise the graphics card. The cause is the fact that Ensemble created a limited number of GPU profiles and probably thought they would patch it later to support more. They never did, so now the game fails to fully use modern GPUs.
- As a consequence of the above-mentioned, shaders need to be re-written, because modern GPUs have way way way more capabilities than cards from 2004-5. AOE3 was made to support Pixel Shader version 2 maximum, now we have 5.1 going on 6.0, based on DirectX 12. We're 3-4 generations away from the current AOE3 version.
- Unit pathing needs to be improved. There are some edge cases where unit pathing in AOE3 fails: such as vills taking suboptimal paths to reach a point (sometimes completely retarded paths), getting stuck in objects (mines, stables), or straight up failing to obey orders and doing the opposite of what you commanded them to do. Explore the possibility of raising the limit of selectable units beyond 50 / group.
- Fix sound bugs. I never had them, but lots of people complain about them.
- Update the UI to a more modern concept of user experience. The UI can have the option to be scalable, so that you don't get stuck with only 2 sizes/versions of the UI. Make it possible for users to toggle off/on different parts of the UI.
- Anti-cheating: Make UI console commands non-synchable. Block any other commands which allow cheating.
- Rebalance maps and add new maps.
- Improve game balance, by implementing at least those changes that fix broken civs, if not more.
- Fix game bugs like Alt-D explorer stance bug
- Improve artillery rate of fire and micro consistency (especially falconets and warships) -> basically fix the "lock-on-target" behaviour which causes these seemingly "random" artillery behaviours
- Remove any possibility of game going OOS. LoL uses an interesting method, by forcing every unit that is not properly synched to go back to a default position until it's synched on every client. Instead of crashing the whole game, better just force a unit to reset to a certain position. This should probably apply to non-playing units only (hunts, guards), but maybe it could be applied to playing units too, if there is a method that is fair to all players.
- Make the game use multithreading and adapt it for 64-bit CPUs
- Rewrite the ESO client, especially the player networking part, which is notoriously bad and makes many newcomers leave because of fail-to-join errors and router/port issues
- new content, if possible (textures, soundscapes, one new civ, new natives, maps)
- implement native observer UI on a server-based model - so that observers don't lag the game
- give new players at least a fully-unlocked homecity for one civ (if not for more civs or all)
- add game support for streaming
- remove elephants from the game - just kidding!
Ok, so these are a few points on a maximal list. Obviously, they're not going to implement not even 30% of these points. Most likely, if experience is an indication, they will just adapt the game for 4K, revamp the UI a bit, add a few textures for extra eye candy and call it a day. Sell it for 50 bucks.
But some of these proposed changes are not expensive to implement. UI changes don't cost a lot, it's easy stuff. Rebalancing maps is not a resource-intensive change. We might get lucky with a native observer UI, because AOM:EE got it. And since AOE3 has basically the same engine as AOM.. there's hope. Starting with a completely unlocked homecity is also something that can be done in a few hours, probably, by changing one XML homecity configuration file.
So, if you know the game's inner workings, it's possible to implement lots of fixes and improvements, but if you don't know the game and it takes months for your devs to first understand what's going on under the hood, some changes will take more than necessary. That's why they should listen to the community of modders and experienced AOE3 scripters, if they want to speed up development and avoid unnecessary costs.