When multiple units are selected, they are all displayed below with a single card for each type with a number besides it. This might be necessary given the tiny amount of space allocated for unit cards. However this method leaves out two key functionalities that were possible with a grid of cards for each individual unit.
- We cannot deselect individuals to fine tune how many units are selected. For example: You want to convert 8 of your lumberjacks to farmers. You make a box selection and select 10 of them. Now the easiest way to trim down the selection to 8 is to deselect 2 from the unit cards. But this is not possible in aoe4. We are forced to deselect individual villagers on the main screen.
- We cannot select an individual unit from existing selection. This is often useful for splitting one unit out to send them for scouting. Or to remove low hp units and send them for healing.
I suggest some methods how these could actions could be incorporated into the existing system. Currently, ctrl-clicking on a card shrinks the selection to only units of that type. Shift-clicking on a card deselects all units of that type. But there is no extra role for shift+ctrl-click. I suggest
- Shift click on a card removes exactly one unit of that type from the selection. This way, in our example with lumberjacks above, holding shift and doing two clicks on the villager card would just trim down the selection to the desired 8 villagers.
- Shift+ctrl click deselects all units of a type. This is the existing behaviour of shift click. I am suggesting it to be done this way because then ctrl and shift will have fixed meanings. ctrl would be the “all units of a type” key and shift would be the toggle between “select/deselect” key. And so both of them together is “deselect all units of a kind”.
- Double click on a card selects a single unit of that type. The function of a single click is already used for sub-selecting units of a type. So I propose the task of selecting a single unit be given to double click (here conveniently, sub-selecting a type twice in a row had no meaning. So double click doesn’t conflict with two single clicks.)
- The unit getting deselection in (1) and getting selected in (3) should be the one with least hit points. This gives us an easy method to detach wounded units from the army in order to send them back to be healed at a monk.