User Friendly Main Menu Mod

I am interested in modifying the main menu of the game so that it is more user friendly and familiar. I won’t be changing the style of the buttons, just how they are organized. Is there a tutorial or guide on how to do that?


First, you’ll need a resource to read the .BAR files. This one works very well. [v.0.4] Resource Manager - Viewing, comparing, creating and extracting files from Age of Empires III .BAR archive

The .BAR files you will be interested in are located in the UI folder (file path similar to: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\AoE3DE\Game\UI). The file contains files that control the layout of the pages while the UIResources<1 through 4>.bar files contain the .pngs that can be referenced.

Once you locate the file you want to modify in a .BAR (probably MAINMENU.XAML and MAINMENUOPTIONS.XAML), extract them to your desktop. This should give you the files nested in the correct folders to include within your mod. If it doesn’t, you will need to keep the same folder structure as indicated in the File Name in your BAR editor. If you are adding images, consider keeping a similar file path to ones you will be referencing.

Now create a new folder with a title for your mod in the local mods folder (file path should be along the lines of C:\Users<username>\Games\Age of Empires 3 DE<randomnumbers>\mods\local). Drag and drop the folder you downloaded to your desktop here. You can now activate the mod when you start up AOE3DE (make sure to restart after activating)!

As for editing and actually making changes, you can use Notepad or Notepad++ on the XAML files. I would recommend adding .png files instead of editing them since they may be used in other places. Heaven Games has some resources that should help with understanding some of the commands, but it seems like you’re mainly interested in layout.

Good luck, I’ll try to help if you have questions!


Hi @stopat1453, I was able to figure out how to modify the structure of the main menu in the game as a first stab at it. I may want to look at renaming main menu buttons in the future, replacing “STORY MODE” with “CAMPAIGN” or similar.

My issue now is uploading the mod to the Age of Empires website. I repackaged the files together in and compressed the file into .zip for the website but received the error below. Do you know what might be the issue?

So you do not need to repackage to a .bar file. That might be the issue here.

The way it should be set up is as follows:

  1. .zip folder with the name of the mod
  2. The first folder from the file path (usually data)
  3. Nested folders
  4. The updated files

As an example, my [English] MiChiGan mod was uploaded like so:
[English] > data > strings > English > randommapstringsy.xml.XMB

Not that I do not have a [English] MiChiGan folder within the .zip itself. I also don’t have any .bar files. I did reencode the xml files to XMB


Okay. I zipped the Data folder with the updated files, however the website is still not accepting the mod. :man_shrugging:

sdfprecache.cache is included, not an allowed file type. When manually zipping you have to watch out for extra system hidden files, etc. that accidentally get included.


Alright. That worked. Not sure how that file was included. Mod is now live. Thanks for your help @stopat1453 and @DodoNotDoDo. :smiley:


UI Modding with Visual Studio - Age of Empires III: DE / III - Modding - Age of Empires Forum


1 Like