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Microsoft Age of Empires III


Readme File
September 2005

Welcome to Microsoft® Age of Empires® III!

This file contains information to help you install Age of Empires III. It also includes late-breaking
information not included in the manual or in-game Help.

CONTENTS
A. Installing Age of Empires III
B. Starting Age of Empires III
C. Getting Help
D. What's on the Disc?
E. Multiplayer Guide
F. Shortcut Keys
G. Manual Corrections
H. Gameplay Troubleshooting
I. DirectX Troubleshooting
J. Video Troubleshooting
K. CD-ROM Drive Troubleshooting
L. Audio Troubleshooting
M. Processor Troubleshooting
N. Performance Troubleshooting
O. Multiplayer Troubleshooting
P. Age of Empires III Information

A. Installing Age of Empires III


To install Age of Empires III, you must have administrator rights on your computer and your computer
must be running Microsoft Windows® XP.

To install Age of Empires III

 Insert the Age of Empires III disc into the disc drive. If AutoPlay is enabled, the installation menu
will appear; click Install, and then follow the on-screen prompts.
—or—
 If AutoPlay is disabled, on the Start menu, click My Computer. In the My Computer window,
double-click the disc drive icon, and then double-click Setup.exe. On the Setup screen, click
Install, and then follow the on-screen prompts.

B. Starting Age of Empires III


You must have the Age of Empires III disc 1 in your disc drive to play.

To start Age of Empires III

 Insert the Age of Empires III disc 1 into the disc drive. On the Start menu, point to Programs,
point to Microsoft Games, point to Age of Empires III, and then click Age of Empires III.

You can skip the opening cinematics by pressing ENTER, SPACEBAR, or ESC.

C. Getting Help
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You can find information about Age of Empires III in the game manual, the in-game Help, and in PDF
files.

To display in-game Help

 Place your pointer over any button or interface item in the game to view rollover Help or tooltips.
You can also right-click any unit portrait or improvement icon in the game to view detailed Help.

PDF files of the game manual and civilization quick reference card reside in the Docs folder on the Age of
Empires III CD. To view the PDF files, you must have Adobe® Reader® installed. You can download
Adobe Reader at <http:www.adobe.com>.

D. What's on the Disc?


The Age of Empires III disc contains some additional information that you may find interesting or useful.

To access the information on the game disc

 On the Start menu, click My Computer. In the My Computer window, double-click the disc drive
icon, and then double-click the Docs folder.

E. Multiplayer Guide
You can play a specific or random map, with a specified or random civilization, with up to seven other
players. The other players can be human connections from the Internet or LAN, computer players, or a
combination of both.

To play a multiplayer game

 On the Main menu, click Multiplayer, and then choose ESO or LAN.

ES Online—Selecting this option connects you to Ensemble Studios Online (ESO) through the
game’s built-in browser. An Internet connection is required prior to game launch to connect to
ESO. ESO is a quick and easy way to find other Age of Empires III players.

LAN—You can set up a LAN two ways:

TCP/IP Connection for Direct IP or LAN Connect using your broadband Internet connection or
a network that uses the TCP/IP protocol. If you do not know which protocol your network uses,
contact your network administrator.
—or—
Modem Connection for Direct IP Modem connection is supported to the Internet or a private
network. Age of Empires III requires a modem speed of 56 KBps or faster. Players behind a NAT,
router or ICS may encounter problems with Direct IP and should play instead on ESO.

To join or host an ESO (Ensemble Studios Online) game

On the Main menu, choose Multiplayer, and then choose ES Online. The ESO Login Screen will
appear. Enter your nickname and your password. Click OK.

If this is your first time, click the New Account button. The Create a New Account dialog box will appear.
Enter the following information, and then click OK:
 Nickname
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 Password (you must confirm it)


 Secret question
 Secret answer (so we can confirm your identity if necessary)
 E-mail address

Click Game Browser to join an existing game or host a game.

 To join one of the games listed in the game browser, select the game you want to join and click
the Join button.
—or—
 To host a game, click the Host button, identify the game type, Home City levels required, and
your password, and then click OK. Your hosted game will be listed in the Game Browser for
others to join, up to seven other players can participate in your game.

To join or host a LAN/Direct IP multiplayer game

On the Main menu, choose Multiplayer, and then choose LAN. A dialog box appears asking you to
enter a single-player skirmish nickname for this session. Type your nickname, and click OK.

You’ll need to choose or create a Home City for the session. If you haven’t created one already, the
Create Your Home City dialog box will appear. Enter the information necessary to create your Home
City.

Before you start your session, you can update your Home City’s Cards and Deck from the Home Cities
screen. When you finish and are ready to start, click the Play button.

The LAN / Direct IP dialog box now appears. The dialog box lists games in progress on your LAN. You
can join a game already in progress, or host a game yourself. If you want to connect to another computer
directly via Internet Protocol (IP), in the Direct IP: field type the IP address of that computer and click
Connect.

ESO (Ensemble Studios Online) Features

The ESO Home screen provides a variety of options that let you host games, join games, configure
Home Cities, chat with other players, and participate in ladders and clans. You can create and manage
different Home Cities that persist across multiple online game sessions, as well as choose new Cards and
build multiple Decks to experiment with different in-game strategies. You can also identify friends to play
against and chat with as well as block those you do not want to associate with online.

Experience points earned while playing qualified ESO multiplayer games will apply toward persistent
Home Cities levels. In other words, you can increase the level of your Home City as long as you meet the
conditions in the first paragraph below. Rated games, however, must meet the criteria in both paragraphs
below. Rated games statistics will be used for ladder rankings.

Experience Points (XP) and Rated games must meet the following conditions:
1. At least two human players are in the game
2. The game must be played for more than two minutes to get XP
3. The game must be played for more than five minutes to get Awards XP (rewarded at the conclusion
of the game)
4. Handicap must be turned off
5. Cheats are not enabled

In addition, a Rated game must also follow these requirements:


1. The game must be played on ESO
2. The map has to be an Ensemble generated map (user created maps do not qualify)
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3. There must be two teams with equal numbers of players on each (1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 4v4)
4. No AI (computer) players in the game
5. Default for the following options
 Starting age must be Discovery Age
 Game speed is set to Medium
 Free For All is not enabled
In any one game, the maximum number of Experience Points earned by one player will not exceed
30,000. Also, the Rated or Not Rated notification will be displayed at the top of the game setup screen
depending on the options selected. However, this notification is not shown on the post game screen.

Multiplayer Settings

The Game Options dialog box lets you configure various Age of Empires III settings, affecting its user
interface, audio, and graphics performance. The Multiplayer tab on the Game Options dialog box
includes a profanity filter, which you can apply to filter profanity from any in-game chat messages
received during multiplayer sessions.

F. Shortcut Keys
The following keys can be very helpful during gameplay.

HOTKEYS
SPACEBAR – Center View on Selected Unit
ALT – Display Details on Selected Unit
H – Toggle Home City Screen
/ – Cycle Explorers
' – Cycle Ships
. – Cycle Idle Villagers
, – Cycle Idle Military Units
; – Cycle Wagons (Covered Wagon, Fort Wagon, Outpost Wagon, or Factory Wagon)

FIND
T – Town Center
CTRL+A – Artillery Foundry
CTRL+B – Barracks or Blockhouse
CTRL+C – Church
CTRL+D – Dock
CTRL+E – House or Manor House
CTRL+F – Fort
CTRL+I – Mill
CTRL+K – Bank
CTRL+L – Plantation
CTRL+M – Market
CTRL+O – Outpost
CTRL+P – Trading Post
CTRL+Q – Field Hospital
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CTRL+R – Arsenal
CTRL+S – Stable
CTRL+V – Livestock Pen
CTRL+W – Wall
CTRL+Y – Factory
CTRL+Z – Capitol

Use the following shortcuts to create new buildings when a villager is selected. For example, to
create a Dock, select a villager, and then press the D key.

VILLAGER BUILDS

A – Artillery Foundry
B – Barracks or Blockhouse
C – Church
D – Dock
E – Town Center (this is for the Explorer only)
E – House or Manor House
F – Fort
I – Mill
K – Bank
L – Plantation
M – Market
O – Outpost
P – Trading Post
Q – Field Hospital
R – Arsenal
S – Stable
W – Wall
V – Livestock Pen

G. Manual Corrections
In Getting Started, under the section “Winning a Game,” the manual states that “Supremacy offers a way
to win without combat—Four of a Kind. You get Four of a Kind by building four Trading Posts either along
a Trade Route or at Native American settlements.” The Four of a Kind feature no longer exists.

The Mini Map no longer includes a "Find Explorer" button. You can still locate your Explorer(s) by
pressing the slash ( / ) key.

The Mini Map now includes a "Player Summary" button, which lets you tribute allies or view information
about your Home City.

The Resource panel no longer displays the current villager count.

Two labels on the In-Game menu have changed. Their functionality hasn't changed. The new labels are:
 Load (was Saved Game)
 Options (was Player Options)
 ES Online (was ESO)
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H. Gameplay Troubleshooting
 Minimized User Interface – To increase the amount of screen display available for gameplay, you
can reduce the size of the Resource Panel, Mini Map, and Command Panel before starting your
session. Choose Help and Tools from the Main Menu and then select Options. Choose the UI
Options tab and turn on Enable Minimized UI. Some users may notice a decrease in performance
when playing with this minimized UI.

 Crashes and scenarios not working/completing correctly – These issues have occurred on
systems using Sound Blaster cards and may be resolved by disabling hardware sound acceleration.
Consult your card manufacturer's guide to disable this feature.

 Key Scrolling – Users that use the arrow keys to scroll/move the main game screen may periodically
experience the screen scrolling in one direction when the keys are no longer pressed. Simply tap the
key that corresponds to the direction it is moving to stop the screen.

 Console Commands – This developer feature is not supported and may cause crashes,
user-interface issues and other problems. Closing the application and restarting it will resolve these
problems.

I. DirectX Troubleshooting
DirectX® 9c or later must be installed on your computer before you can play Age of Empires III. If you do
not have DirectX 9c installed on your computer and you chose not to install DirectX 9c when you installed
Age of Empires III, you will not be able to play Age of Empires III. Install DirectX 9c by reinstalling Age of
Empires III, or download the software from Microsoft Windows Update at:
http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com.

If Age of Empires III installed DirectX 9c but could not update your video drivers to be compatible with
DirectX 9c, when you restart your computer you will receive the message: Age of Empires III could not
initialize DirectX. Make sure that DirectX 9c or higher is installed and contact your hardware manufacturer
for a video driver update. To fix this, you can download updated video drivers from the Microsoft Windows
Update site (http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com) or from the video adapter manufacturer’s site, or install
DirectX in safe mode, which replaces the video drivers.

If you continue to experience sound or video problems using DirectX, go to


http://www.microsoft.com/windows/directx/ for the latest DirectX information. You should also check with
your video or sound card manufacturer for the latest DirectX-compatible drivers.

J. Video Troubleshooting
Latest Drivers—Ensure that you have the latest drivers from your video card manufacturer, or check the
Windows Update site (http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com) for the latest drivers. Users of motherboards
with non-Intel chipsets should upgrade to the latest miniport drivers available from their motherboard
manufacturer.

Age of Empires III does not support the following video cards:

3D Labs Permedia 1

3DFX – All versions


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ATI ES1000
Rage (all)
Radeon
Radeon 7000
Radeon 7000 IGP
Radeon 7200 (32 MB only)
Radeon 7500 (32 MB only)
Mobility Radeon 7000 IGP
Mobility Fire GL

Cirrus Logic - all versions

Matrox G100
Matrox G200
Matrox Millennium
Matrox Millennium II
Matrox Mystique

Geforce 2 (32 MB only)


Geforce
TnT2
TnT
nVidia Riva 128
nVidia Rica 128 zx

S3 Virge_VX
S3 Virge_MX/MV
S3 Virge_MX+
S3 Virge_MX
S3 Virge_GX2
S3 Virge_DX/GX
S3 Trio64V2_DX/GX
S3 Trio64UV+
S3 Aurora64V+
S3 Aurora128
S3 Savage 2000

Intel 945
Intel 915
Intel 810 / 815
Intel 845
Intel 850
Intel 865
Intel i740

Vanta

Rendition - all versions


Number9 - All versions
Oak Technologies - all versions
Chromatic Research - all versions
Tseng Labs - all versions
Neo-magic - all versions

ATI
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Some ATI video cards may experience difficulties with repeated toggling between the game and
another application using ALT+TAB. It is recommended that you do not use this key combination.

NVidia
If you are using the NVidia 6800 - Driver: 6.14.0010.7189 (April 14, 2005), terrain objects, particularly
trees, will have an artificial appearance when the Shader Quality setting is set to low and the graphic
Bit Depth is set to 16. It is recommended that you update to the latest version of these drivers to fix
this problem.

If you are noticing flashing, popping,or pausing on an overclocked NVidia 6800, please be aware that
this is a known issue with no work around.

Matrox
A Matrox Parhelia 128MB or a Matrox Millennium P750 using driver 6.13.0001.1691, reference
drivers 6.13.0001.1873, and 6.13.0001.1914 may not correctly show bump mapping which appears
as snow or solid grey textures in the game world. It is recommended that you update to the latest
version of these drivers to fix this problem.

DirectX
If you experience video problems using DirectX, go to the DirectX Web site for the latest
troubleshooting information at: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/directx/.

K. CD-ROM Drive Troubleshooting


Age of Empires III uses SSI encryption technology and some CD-ROM drives may not be compatible with
this technology.

L. Audio Troubleshooting
If you do not have sound drivers or a sound card installed on your computer, you should use the
no-sound shortcut that is available on the Start menu. To apply this shortcut, select Start, point to All
Programs, point to Microsoft Games, point to Age of Empires III, point to Diagnostics and then click
Age of Empires III no sound.

 Sound Blaster issues – Crashes and scenarios not working/completing correctly have occurred on
systems with Sound Blaster sound cards and may be resolved by disabling hardware sound
acceleration. Consult your card manufacturer's guide to disable this feature.

 DirectX – If you experience audio problems using DirectX, go to the DirectX Web site for the latest
troubleshooting information. Also if this occurs, ensure that you have the latest drivers from your
sound card manufacturer, or visit the Windows Update site (http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com) to
download the latest drivers.

M. Processor Troubleshooting

Age of Empires III requires processors with the SSE instruction set. Setup will fail to install to machines
that do not meet this minimum requirement. Please note that the 1.4 GHz Athlon Thunderbird does not
have SSE.

N. Performance Troubleshooting
There are several ways to improve the game's performance. For example, the game will run faster if you
use the least demanding game settings. These include:
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 Setting the screen resolution to 800 x 600.


 Setting the detail of graphics to Low.
 Turning off shadows completely
 Turning music off.

Most of these improvements can be made from within the game by going to the Main menu, clicking Help
and Tools and then choosing Options, or, if you are playing a game, click the Menu button, and then
click Options.

A hardware solution to increasing performance is to increase the amount of RAM in your computer or to
replace your video card. If you have less than one gigabyte (1 GB), you should upgrade the amount of
memory in your system. If you have 1GB (or more) of memory, you should consider upgrading your
video card.

We also recommend that you:

 Shut down as many other applications running on your system as possible in order to free memory
and processing.
 Defragment your hard drive.
 Activate DMA (on appropriate hard drives).
 Reboot your system before starting Age of Empires III.
 Turn your virus scanner settings down while playing Age of Empires III.

Also, ensure that you have the latest drivers from your video and sound card manufacturer or check the
Windows Update site (<http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com>) for the latest drivers. Users of
motherboards with non-Intel chipsets should upgrade to the latest miniport drivers available from their
motherboard manufacturer.

If you are using the My Documents Redirection feature of Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows XP
(also known as IntelliMirror®) then when you go to load games the games appears to freeze for 5 - 10
minutes before starting the load process. Age of Empires III does not support the use of this feature. For
better game performance, it is advised that you turn this feature off.

O. Multiplayer Troubleshooting
Performance—The following guidelines are recommended for a good multiplayer experience:

 8 Players - Greater or equal to a P4 3.2 GHz, 2 GB RAM, and Cable/DSL, LAN


 6 Players - Greater or equal to a P4 2.8 GHz, 1 GB RAM, and Cable/DSL, LAN
 4 Players - Greater or equal to a P4 2.2 GHz, 512 MB RAM, and Cable/DSL, LAN
 2 Players - Greater or equal to a P4 1.4 GHz, 256 MB RAM minimum (512 MB RAM recommended),
and 56 KBps modem

For more information on how to improve your Age of Empires 3 experience, visit
http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=52125

Home networks and dial-up connections—If you have a network card and you dial in to the Internet via
modem, you may have trouble launching multiplayer games. If this occurs, disable the device that is not
your Internet connection and try again.

Multiplayer Scenarios—Age of Empires III does not support the use of triggers for user-created
scenarios in multiplayer. Triggers may cause “out-of-syncs” errors or other unknown problems. Exiting the
game and restarting Age of Empires III will fix any instability caused by this situation.
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Direct IP—In order to play a DirectIP game, you must have a direct connection to the Internet. In other
words, your machine must have a REAL IP address assigned to it. We have found problems where a
DMZ may assign a fake NAT address that hinders or blocks connectivity for Direct IP. This is not usually
required if you are playing on ESO. If you are uncertain about making these changes, check with your
network administrator.

Multiple IP addresses—If other players are not able to connect to a game you have created by typing
the IP address that appears when you click the IP button on the Multiplayer Game screen, you may have
multiple IP addresses. You can display all of your IP addresses by running Ipconfig (WinXP). If you are
uncertain about making these changes, check with your network administrator.

To run ipconfig

 On the Start menu, click Run.


 Type cmd, and then click OK.
 At the command prompt, type ipconfig, and then press ENTER. The correct IP address will be
displayed.

Disconnection from ISP—If you are disconnected from your ISP and quickly reconnect, you and the
host may be dropped from the game if your ISP assigns a new IP address because the game will not
recognize you. If this occurs, restart the game.

Hard disk space—If you join a multiplayer game but do not have enough hard disk space to download
the scenario, you will receive a message that you must quit the game, clear space on your hard disk, and
then rejoin the game.

External Applications—Some applications like virus scanners and some firewalls may have conflicts or
warnings when running or updating Age of Empires III. Oftentimes these warnings or dialog boxes pop up
behind Age of Empires III and appear to be locked. You can press ALT+TAB to switch out of Age of
Empires III to close the warning, and then press ALT+TAB again to return to the game and continue
playing. You can also disable these programs before running Age of Empires III, or you can select
Windowed Mode from the Options menu if you have problems using ALT+TAB.

Two TCP/IP devices—If you are experiencing issues with dropping network connections or a lack of
ability to connect to other games, please attempt the following:

 Exit Age of Empires III and ensure that you have a network / Internet connection.
 Disable the device that is not your Internet connection and try again.

ICS is not officially supported. For information on setting up your ICS or disabling your second TCP/IP
device, please see http://support.microsoft.com/ and search the Knowledge Base for instructions specific
to your operating system. If you are uncertain about making these changes, contact your network
administrator.

Internet Connection Sharing (ICS), Network Address Translation (NAT) clients or


Firewalls—Although Age of Empires III does not officially support connection through ICS or NAT,
Ensemble Studios Online tries to auto-detect your network setup and configure itself for play on your
network. This should work for the majority of NAT devices, but if you are having problems connecting to
ESO or other players, you can try opening UDP port 2300, HTTP port (TCP: 80), TCP ports 28800-28805
to ensure that you have loaded inbound/outbound TCP/IP and UDP protocols in your network settings. If
you have multiple machines, you may also map those machines by incrementing that port number by one
and using hostPort=2301 (for instance) on the Age of Empires III command line.

Proxy—Some ISPs automatically force the use of a Proxy which may cause Age of Empires III to lock up
when connecting to ESO. Configuring your Internet settings for a dedicated proxy server may fix this
problem. If you are uncertain about making these changes, check with your network administrator.
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Router—Ensure you have the latest firmware updates. This may allow users to host without enabling
DMZ. Also, some routers may have problems connecting and hosting games on ESO when UPnP is on,
but will work fine when it is disabled. If you are uncertain about making these changes, check with your
network administrator.

Setting up or Disabling Internet Connection Sharing—For more information on setting up or disabling


an Internet connection sharing using Windows XP, go to:
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q306126

P. Age of Empires III Information


 For more information about Age of Empires III, visit our Web site at: http://www.ageofempires3.com/.

© & p 2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Microsoft, Age of Empires, DirectX, Ensemble Studios, the Microsoft Game Studios logo, The Age of Kings, and Windows are either
registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

Adobe and Reader are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other
countries.

Other product and company names mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.