Hotkey Guide

By Mokon

“Since the dawn of computer games the experts have attempted to optimize how fast they can do things. One of the main ways of doing this is with hotkeys.”

Since the dawn of computer games the experts have attempted to optimize how fast they can do things. One of the main ways of doing this is with hotkeys. While they won’t make you an expert, if you don’t use them, you certainly won’t become one.

Now, before I give you mine I want to say that there is no “best” hotkey map, what is best for you might not be the best for another person. However, it is possible to have a bad hotkey map. If you follow these rules, you will be fine though.

  • Don’t use the default hotkeys, some say that they do just as well with these but really they don’t.
  • Keep the hotkeys to the left side of the keyboard.
  • Use a logical approach that you will remember.
  • Whenever possible, use hotkeys with the mouse.

When using your hotkeys, only use them when you need to. Getting your speed to 3000 means nothing. Concentrating and thinking is much more important. Also, if you have to look down at your hotkeys to know where they are, it’s worth it; they should be second nature. Start out with one or two: i.e. villager creation and TC selection and than expand slowly as they become second nature.

The hotkeys I am currently using are as follows. Note that I have only included the ones that I use a lot, I need to work out the best places for the other hotkeys.

Unit Production: Q, W, E, R, and T (according to what slot they are in the barracks)
i.e. Soldat is Q, Mortar is W, and Sergeant is E

Building Creation:
Settlement – Q
House – W
Barracks – A
Airport – S
Dock – Z
Siege Factory – X
Armory – E
Tank Factory – D
University – C
Idle Villager – Tab
Idle Military – Spacebar
Unit Abilities – Q (all of them)

TC Selection – Ctrl Q

These are the basic ones I use regularly. Personally, I wish I could use the Ctrl for creation of some of the buildings to limit how much I have to move my hand, but alas I can’t get it to map. I hope that SSSI can fix this and also add a toggle through hotkey for production buildings.

Anyways moving on to groups. Normally at the start, I put my scout on to the first group then my barracks onto the second and finally my first armies to the third key. If it is a water map, I put my dock to the second and move the barracks and army to three and four respectively. Later on, make sure you do so to these. As the game gets increasingly complex, your macro-management will lack if you don’t do so.

As for my mouse hotkeys, I currently don’t have any mapped to them but I will map these to the toggle through for the production buildings, if SSSI were to add this function (a toggle is like the TC selection hotkey, so for the barracks it would toggle through any available barracks).

Last but not least, I want to quickly cover what you should have for a keyboard and mouse. As for the keyboard almost any will work. I have also heard some people say that a keyboard with a left keypad is good but I have yet to use one. One last idea for the keyboard would to get one with a little rest to the left, I’ve seen a few, but once again, I haven’t tried this. I say this because for my hotkeys I only use my thumb, which I place on the ctrl key and space bar, and my pointer finger, which I use for everything else. If any of you try out a keyboard with a left rest, tell me about it for I’m interested in how well it works. As for the mouse, I would recommend to never get a cordless mouse.

Well I hope this helps. Just remember: never ever ever get that Zboard thing. It’s useless.