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Downloads Home » Miscellaneous Files » Options & Hotkey Setup: New UI

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Options & Hotkey Setup: New UI

Author File Description
File Details
Game Version: TAD
This is a new interface for the Options and Hotkeys Setup game screens.

Now both screens become moveable windows, so you can see what's going on in the game while changing options or setting up hotkeys. It's also possible to move around the map by clicking on the minimap, while still in the options or hotkeys setup mode.

Full features:

- completely re-designed layout for the Options screen to optimise interface ergonomy: buttons are easily accessible and settings can be made fast without losing sight of what's going on in the game

- hotkeys can be changed fast by using a special button which is next to each selected hotkey (on the left) - the button has a >> sign on it

- the interface works in the same way for all game versions and on all platforms

- I included a configuration file which makes it possible to access the options or the hotkey setup windows at one push of a hotkey

Known issues:

There are no major issues with this new game interface. Graphics options which cannot be changed during the game, such as high-poly models (in multiplayer games), are greyed out in the interface, which shows up as a dark overlay over this option. This is not created by UI files, but is probably handled at the executable level.

The "Allow Conflicts" option in the hotkey tab only works in the game with expansions, not in the basic game.


How to install:

Download the file and open the archive which includes 3 files:



Go to the folder where the game is installed (default path: C:\Program Files\Age of Empires 3\) and open the folder \data
Place the uioptions.xml and uihotkeys.xml files here. (If you already have these files installed by another mod, move them to a backup folder.)

Next go to the folder: My Documents\My Games\Age of Empires III\Startup\
Place the user.con file here. If you already have a user.con file installed, open it with a text editor, add these lines and save (without changing the file format or extension):

// Options & Hotkey setup

map ("shift-f1", "root", "modeEnter(\"Options\")")
map ("shift-f1", "world", "modeEnter(\"Options\")")
map ("shift-f1", "game", "modeEnter(\"Options\")")
map ("shift-f2", "root", "modeEnter(\"Options\") modeEnter(\"HotkeySetup\")")
map ("shift-f2", "game", "modeEnter(\"Options\") modeEnter(\"HotkeySetup\")")

I configured the Options window to be called up with Shift-F1 and the Hotkeys Setup window with Shift-F2. You can change them to different hotkeys, but make sure they have a unique combination of keys, so no F1 or any other hotkeys reserved by the game or the operating system.

For those who installed the game from Steam:

Go to the folder: C:\Program Files\Steam\SteamApps\common\Age Of Empires 3\bin\data\
Place the uioptions.xml and uihotkeys.xml files here. (If you already have these files installed by another mod, move them to a backup folder.)
Next go to the folder: MyDocuments\MyGames\Age of Empires III\Startup\
Place the user.con file here or insert the code lines I mentioned in the previous Windows example.


Go to the folder: \Applications\ and search the Age of Empires III app. Right click and choose menu option "Show Package Contents".
Now go to the \Resources\GameData\data\ folder and place the uioptions.xml and uihotkeys.xml files here. (If you already have these files installed by another mod, move them to a backup folder.)
Next go to the folder: \Documents\Age of Empires III\Startup\
Place the user.con file here, or insert the code lines I mentioned in the previous Windows example (if you already have a user.con file).

You don't have to restart the game for the interface options to take effect, but the hotkeys will only work after restart.

To uninstall simply delete these files and the code inserted in the user.con file.


I tested this new interface in singleplayer and multiplayer in ESO and Game Ranger and found no issues with it. Hotkeys and options setup in singleplayer are recognised in ESO and changes made in ESO/GR also work in singleplayer.

It works on all platforms and game versions (nilla, TWC and TAD) and does not conflict with any other UI mods (unless they changed the same thing).

If you have any errors/bugs to report, you can send an email to broflav11@gmail.com
AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
noxinvictum thank you :P
i always love to have more ui and hotkey mod.
i'm using transparent ui though, is there anyway to make these compatible?
File Author
This new interface only changes the Options and Customize Hotkeys screens, which, to my knowledge no other UI mod changed. So, there shouldn't be any incompatibility with other UI mods.

I could also make it transparent, and as a matter of fact, in one of the first few iterations I made the windows more transparent, but it might be more annoying than helpful to have the content of different windows overlaid on top of each other and not be able to see right the options inside each.

So, yeah, it's possible to increase or even make the windows transparent, but it may be more difficult to read stuff inside each window if they are transparent. Most other UI mods made the background from the Command panel and Unit stats panel transparent which increased the visibile map areas, but not also the area which is useable by the player. So you can see more on the ground, but you can't click more.

I might make an alternative version with more transparency, but this version was made after trying this option before and seeing it's not really that useful to have too much transparency in the interface, since you need the background behind the window with options/choices to block the stuff behind it to be able to see what you're changing.

Also, these screenshots have been cropped to show only the windows. They are smaller in-game, but I had to crop them because when I took the screenshots I had a working/testing version of the game UI with the minimap on the right, which might confuse users if that was also part of the changes (it's not). So I took that one out and only left the windows pics.

[Edited on 01/24/14 @ 04:28 AM]

jammainen Awesome mod. Moveable panels is the best feature atm. Is there any way to make that moveable panel toggleable?
File Author
Well, it's a long story. Any gadget that is not hardcoded to be refreshed on screen (like the player score, which can be hidden with an option setting) can be toggled on or off. The Options and Customize Hotkeys screens are a bit different, though, because although their windows are gadgets (they can be toggled like other gadgets) they're also a game mode, which can be entered with a command.

So if you enter the HotkeySetup mode and toggle the hotkeys window gadget off, the game doesn't know you left the mode. (You only leave the HKS mode with OK or Cancel in the hotkeys window.)

I know this because I first tried to make it possible to go into the hotkeys window directly, without going through the Options screen. But I discovered if someone hit the hotkey for this window more than once (by mistake), a copy of the same window was created on top of the other one, which made it impossible to get out of the HotkeySetup mode, even by closing each window with OK or Cancel. This was too risky to leave it to the users to be careful and only press the hotkey once, so I tried to solve this by making the window closeable with Esc or a Close button, like in Windows. Again, I discovered if you close the Hotkey screen without pressing OK or Cancel, you toggle the window gadget off but you don't get out of the HotkeySetup mode. So, now you see the game screen but you can't click units. So, this idea proved to be a failure.

Also, after I tested in ESO, the hotkeys which were setup this way (going directly to the hotkeys mode, without going through options) were not saved after the game was finished. So, it seems the game is hardcoded to only save hotkeys if you enter the Customize Hotkeys window through the Options mode. Simply toggling these windows on or off separately will not work so well if you test on ESO. They have to be accessed in the same way as in the game (Options => Customize Hotkeys => OK/Cancel => OK/Cancel). This is the only way to get out of the Options and Hotkeys modes without having the game get stuck between modes, without a possibility of interacting with the game.

[Edited on 01/25/14 @ 12:15 PM]

JustKING Hi Neuron! How can I contact you?
File Author
Hi. I posted an email address above: broflav11@gmail.com
Bar56 Does this work only for TAD and TWC? Cuz' I tried it for AOE III and it doesn't work... Any help?
File Author
It works on both the vanilla game (no expansion packs) and TAD. Haven't tested in TWC, because nobody plays it, but it should work there too.

If you have an issue with it, you can send me an email to broflav11@gmail.com.

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