A More Efficient & Ergonomic Hotkey Layout

Hi everyone,

I want to share my hotkey setup with you. I have spent many hours crafting it based on my passion for optimization and ergonomics (I am an industrial engineer and also a piano player). My goals while designing this were:

  1. Minimize distance your hand/finger has to travel in between hotkeys

  2. Improve efficiency of common player actions with intelligent workflows

  3. Reduce the memory/processes load on the brain by overlapping hotkeys for buildings

I will explain some of the major concepts here:

  • First, all - make the general hotkey settings are all set to “Select Only” (not “Select and Focus”, not “Follow”). I have added several hotkeys to the “Focus on Selected” to mimic this setting of forcing a focus for everything.

  • Scouts are cycled & added to hotkey group 9 with `/~ (i.e. left of the 1 key).

  • Special control group 8: Control + /~. /~ [2x] focus to group. I use this for my primary scout while collecting sheep and later for accompanying my army or raiding party.

  • Set idle military to group 1: F1, F2, F2. This will select idle military, add them to group 1, followed by selecting and removing the scout group so scouts can remain on their own. ** Only slightly awkward thing with this workflow is that you need to make sure at least 1 scout has been selected/grouped first with `/~ or else continuing with F2+F2 will ungroup the idle military you just grouped into group 1**. You’ll see what I mean if/when you try it out…not a big deal really.

  • IdIe Villagers Within Radius: Capslock, followed by Spacebar will select then focus each group. Capslock [2x] will select all idles. Alt+Capslock will cycle idles to help find idle fishing boats.

  • TC: Spamming Tab will produce villagers from all TCs without focusing, while Control+Tab will cycle and focus so you can adjust waypoints when needed. Docks work similarly.

  • Building mills/farms: double tap Q to switch between farms and mills

  • Add monks to group 5 with F3. F4 cycle+focus on 1 monk and ungroup them from all groups. Benefit of this is it finds and isolates monks to then assign to relic collection or sacred sites without worrying about selecting them accidentally later via group selection.

  • ASDFGB keys are now exclusively used to select military buildings (and dock). ASDFGB in the construction menus have been reassigned to correspond/match with their selection hotkey. All technology research in rows other than QWERT have been reassigned to Control + the original hotkey so they do not conflict with selecting military buildings. This allows a smooth selection transition from one military building to another.

  • Selecting a specific number of villagers from food/wood/gold/stone is accomplished by Alt+Q+Q+Q (Wood) + Thumb Mouse Button. This can be useful when you want exactly 8 villagers from wood to build a farm. However…when you have multiple wood locations this will not guarantee all villagers come from the same lumber camp area, but rather it will select villagers in the event/time-based order they were produced from all TCs. So not optimal for early/mid-game but better for late game when you need to focus more on raiding/armies.

  • Control+Q and Control+R now select and focus mining camps.

  • All villagers on screen seek shelter: Shift+Space to select all units on screen, then Alt+/~ to seek shelter. Then to send back to work: Alt+/~ [2x] (villagers must be unselected before issuing this command).

  • Army formations: Q is spread formation, Q [2x] is line formation. Can go back to no formation with Q, Q. Thinking here is that spread formation should be quickly accessible after selecting a control group to avoid incoming mango shots asap.

  • Keep selection: Z to select all keeps, then Z again for alternative UI to quickly access unit-producing hotkeys

  • There are probably a few things I missed that you will discover if you play around with it long enough…

This will take you at least an hour to familiarize yourself with the concepts and play around with them. It’s a big investment but I think most of you will find at least one thing you will like enough to incorporate in your hotkey setup.

Do not test this on Mongols as they have many unique buildings/hotkeys that are currently not remappable (please fix this devs).

If you have any questions I am happy to answer them!

Edit: Text file was missing F4 for ‘remove from all control groups’
New Test Layout.txt (160.0 KB)