CNC3 RBB UI Mod v1.1

CNC3 User Interface Mod - removes contextual window and common command bar. For advanced CNC players who know shortcut keys and want to maxi...

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CNC3 User Interface Mod - removes contextual window and common command bar. For advanced CNC players who know shortcut keys and want to maximize their viewing area and minimize redundant distractions.

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RBBUIMod Summary:

Name: RBBUIMod 
Version: 1.10 (created 28 June 2008, updated 10 September 2008) 
Description: Mod to disable Contextual Window and Common Command Bar in Command and Conquer 3 (version 1.09)
Author: Richard Bruce Baxter
Updates: version 1.00 -> 1.10 removes the 'Sample' text from the sidebar image (a relic of mod development)

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RBBUIMod Installation Instructions:

1. Ensure you have installed CNC3 and patch v1.09
2. Create a new folder ...My DocumentsCommand & Conquer 3 Tiberium WarmodsRBBUIMod 
3. place RBBUIMod.big and RBBUIMod_1.0.SkuDef in this folder
4. Run CNC3 via Start Menu - (All) Programs - Electronic Arts - Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars - Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars Control Center
5. Select - Game Browser - mods - RBBUIMod - Launch Game
6. Play anything (Eg skirmish or singleplayer);
7. Note both the Contextual Window (bottom right panel) and the common command bar (bottom left icons) will be removed



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RBBUIMod Requirements:

1. CNC3 with patch 1.09
2. This mod is for advanced users only who know a) the common command Bar shortcut keys, and b) the Contextual Window (Unit Abilities) shortcut keys




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RBBUIMod Development Instructions:

How this mod was created;

Here is how to create a Mod to disable the CNC3 Contextual Window (bottom right panel).

1. 
install CNC3 with patch 1.09

2. 
install Mod SDK according to EA instructions in ...Command & Conquer 3MOD SDKDocumentation

3. 
create a new mod (or edit existing sample mod)

4. (or overwrite TacticalHUD.const provided with this mod)
open Command & Conquer 3MOD SDKModsSampleModdataAptUITacticalHUDTacticalHUD.const using a hex editor (Eg Cygnus)

5. (or overwrite TacticalHUD.const provided with this mod)	
here is how to create a Mod to disable the CNC3 Contextual Window (bottom right panel);
Change "TacticalHUDSelectionDetails.swf" to "TacticalHUDMainCommandBar.swf" 
Change the last instance of "selectionDetails" to "mainCommandBar" ([?] Pad missing characters with NULL characters - because mainCommandBar is shorter than selectionDetails, after replacing selectionDetails with mainCommandBar, add 2 additional NULL characters after mainCommandBar)
(Not sure exactly if this hack is doing what it is doing the way I think it is doing it - it was a first time shot at trying to kill the contextual tab by editing this file and it killed the contextual window instead - which was an OK outcome).

And here is how to disable the common command bar (bottom left icons);
Change "TacticalHUDCommonCommandBar.swf" to "TacticalHUDMainCommandBar.swf" 
Change the last instance of "commomCommandBar" to "mainCommandBar"
(NB the naming convention EA uses for these 'constants' seems to correlate slightly to their published description of the CNC3 interface eg; http://au.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/commandconquer3/news.html?sid=6159834) 
	
6. 
build and run mod according to EA instructions






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RBBUIMod Keyboard Shortcut Recommendations:

Stop - S
Hold Ground Stance - Ctrl S [similar to Cnc1]
Force Move - Alt [similar to CnC1 / shift]
Way point mode - Alt W
Power Mode - V
Production - Q
Support - W
Vehicles - E
Units R
Aircraft -T
Slot 1->10 Keypads 1->9, 0
Select all units - ,
select matching units - m
scatter units - X [same as CnC1]
Zoom commands - Ctrl keypad x instead of keypad x
Unit Abilities - Ctrl A, Ctrl Q, Ctrl W, Ctrl E





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RBBUIMod Rationalle:

Since the replacement of Dune2 with CNC1, a number of UI features were made redundant - in particular repetative display of unit health in contextual panel

Many of these redundant features were reintroduced by EA in order to;

"... add a healthy dose of accessibility and ease of use based on the lessons we've learned with our more recent games. The end result is an in-game UI that is approachable, intuitive, and easy to use for the novice RTS gamer... Since Generals, we've been through two more generations of in-game UI and learned even more about how to make great RTS controls, especially about how to build an RTS UI that is intuitive, accessible, and easy to use ... it consists of a traditional C&C side bar interface with the contextual information and object-level control of the Generals UI... The design seems to be living up to its potential in terms of flexibility, power, and accessibility."
http://au.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/commandconquer3/news.html?sid=6159834;

See RBBUIMod History below for my opinion on the motivations for and consequences of the re-introduction of contextual panels.







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RBBUIMod History:


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http://forums.ea.com/mboards/thread.jspa?threadID=371766&tstart=15

Due to contextual tab auto switching in CNC3 (which i dont support), there needs to be a keyboard shortcut which takes the user to the production/defensive structure tab which is closest to build completion (or first to have completed being built). Pressing this shortcut key again will cycle through the production/defensive structure tabs in order of nearest build completion status.

This keyboard shortcut will allow the user to not waste a second between structure build completion and structure placement.

(For context, see this thread;
http://forums.ea.com/mboards/thread.jspa?threadID=364809
A more complex solution to this problem was provided by Valdez here;
http://i138.photobucket.com/albums/q279/XC_Valdez/buildqueueconcept.png)

Richard

*****

Another even simpler option would be to use the tilda ~ key to toggle between the contextual tab and the previous build tab selected (ie the build tab which was showing before a unit was selected and the contextual tab automatically replaced it) 
---



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http://forums.ea.com/mboards/post!reply.jspa?threadID=362223
	Thread: "'CNC3 is dying...'"

People stop playing CNC3 when they realise they dont have absolute control over their base and units. People feel frustrated when they know they cannot operate efficiently with a new user interface. The user interface should reward people's multi-tasking abilities (instead of mocking them by arbitrarily removing the build status information from the side bar - the defining feature of the command AND conquer interface);

http://forums.ea.com/mboards/thread.jspa?threadID=364809

(a more complex solution to this problem was provided by Valdez here;
http://i138.photobucket.com/albums/q279/XC_Valdez/buildqueueconcept.png)
---


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http://forums.ea.com/mboards/thread.jspa?threadID=332130
	Thread: "interface improvements"

Primary:

Contextual Tab not automatically selected when units are selected. 

(see thread 364809, http://forums.ea.com/mboards/thread.jspa?threadID=364809)

I recommend change is done in a patch. 

The next items listed are less important, some are questionable, and would take longer than 1 minute to implement.

Secondary:
(See Thread 316597)
- Remove Contextual Window (bottom right) and double size of build panel (show twice as many icons)
- remove production subtabs - these are artificial as buildings can currently be placed anywhere on the map (and not just in the vicinity of the corresponding construction yard / crane)
- use Tabs to bias which base a unit is built from, and Subtabs to select unit type. (Currently in CNC3, Tabs are used to indicate unit type, and Subtabs are used to indicate build structure). Note a player "base" may have multiple build structures of the same type, one of them being designated the primary build structure of a particular type at that base. A player may have multiple bases. A group of player structures are automatically defined as a new base if they are at a separate location to another group of structures (base).
- Split build panel into two visible columns (left column is either production or Support, right column is either Vehicles/aircraft or Infantry) [basically the CNC1 interface]
- See Valdez's solution to the build status issue; http: //i138.photobucket.com/albums/q279/XC_Valdez/buildqueueconcept.png 
---


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http://forums.ea.com/mboards/thread.jspa?threadID=364809
	Thread: "Contextual Tab"

I recommend CNC3 is modified such that the Contextual Tab is not automatically selected when units are selected. 

This change is critical as it is impossible to simultaneously/efficiently command and conquer with CNC3 in its current state.
- A contextual tab was required in Dune2 [before CNC1] when health bars were not displayed above units
- A contextual tab of this nature is not a hindrance in a Warcraft2/3 UI [as opposed to the CNC1/2/3 UI] as once a building is designated to be built in warcraft2/3 (and peasants assigned), nothing else has to be done. Ie; the building does not have to be placed once built. However in CNC1/2/3 buildings must be placed once built and it is therefore extremely inconvenient having the CNC3 game remove view of the build status when units are selected.
- a 1 second delay in placing a defensive structure while fending off an enemy attack may result in a decisive loss.
- I have examined a few personal replays and it is amazing how these structure placement seconds add up.
- (only when selecting a unit group via 1, 2, 3 keys on keyboard should the contextual tab be automatically selected)

A more complete solution to this problem has been discussed in the past (thread 316597); but this alternate change proposed is easy and effective. 

Richard
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RBBUIMod Future:

I would like to find out a method to disable contextual tab autoswitching (ie, when units are selected, stop the contextual tab from automatically appearing). This would enable structure build status information to be viewed simultaneously during combat situations to increase/restore building placement efficiency. It is not an ideal solution to the EA RTS UI problem but is a feasable mod for CNC3. Note the ideal solution to this problem has been proposed by Valdez; http://i138.photobucket.com/albums/q279/XC_Valdez/buildqueueconcept.png

[The fact that the contextual tab panel does not even display Aircraft missile loads is another indication that the contextual tab was a premature introduction into the CNC3 UI. (And note confirming the Group, commonly aircraft groups, one has selected via a group shortcut key [Eg '1'] is the primary benefit of contextextual tab autoswitching).



Peace.

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Richard Baxter


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Registered 2nd July 2008

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