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  Player Power Tip #1:
Customizing Your User Interface

Customizing Your User Interface

One of the niftiest things about the extensive range of console slash commands is that many of them deal directly with aspects of the user interface, or UI. While the game's Options menu lets you adjust many things, you can get really creative using slash commands, both directly and in keybinds and macros.

Resizing Windows Separately

The Options menu lets you scale all of the UI windows using a single factor, and for some players, this is good enough. (If you haven't tried it, scaling the window factor down to 80-90% can give you a bigger view of the important stuff without making any windows too small to read.)

However, you can use the /windowscale slash command to rescale almost every window and menu on the screen, separately from the others. This can let you fine-tune the size of each window to your needs and preferences... and open up even more viewing "real estate."

There are two limitations with this technique. First, not all windows can be scaled. Also, the game will "helpfully" reset everything to the scale selected by the Options slider each time you start the game and each time you exit the Options menu. Not to worry, though, a simple keybind will make it easy to maintain your chosen window scale settings.

Here's the steps:

  1. The most important window that isn't scalable is the "Menu" window, the element with the main menu and the HP, XP and End bars on it. So your rescaling has to start by finding a suitable size for this menu using the Options slider - ignore the size of the other windows for now, just find a good, comfortable size for Menu.
  2. Now experiment with the size of each other window, using the slash command /windowscale windowname factor, where windowname is the name of the window to be adjusted, and factor is the scaling factor. You can find all the window names in Appendix C of the Keybind Guide. The scaling factor can range from 0.6 to 2.0, or 60-200% of "normal" size. Some users may find that they have a more limited scaling range.
  3. Experiment with window positions and size until you have each window scaled and placed where you like it. Be sure to keep a list of each window's scale as you tinker with it, so you'll remember!

    One tip: make the Map window as small as you can in this stage (60% is not too small, probably) - we'll compensate for that in another part of this setup. You want the minimum postage-stamp size that gives you a clue as to your location.

  4. Once you have everything fine-tuned, perhaps over an evening of playing (remember not to go into the Options menu while you're evaluating the window sizes, unless you want to start over!), it's time to lock it down by writing a long "reset" keybind.
  5. Make sure you have the right factors for each of your resized windows. Any windows whose scale matches the Menu window can be omitted, since the Options slider will keep them sized correctly.

    Now write a big honkin' keybind (or macro) like the following, substituting your own values, of course: /bind ALT-F12 "windowscale map 0.6$$windowscale target 0.8$$windowscale chat 0.8[...]", listing each window to be resized from the default and its scale and separating each windowscale call with the $$ symbol. Bind it to an "inconvenient" key, since you won't have to use it in the heat of battle.

  6. And wham! Now all you have to do is whack Alt-F12 whenever your window settings are disturbed, and they'll be returned to your preset sizes.
  7. Thanks to Xocyll for pointing out this feature!

Zoom/Unzoom Map

If you faithfully followed my instructions above without reading ahead... I have this bridge I'd like to sell you, cheap.

Just kidding. if you followed the above steps, you now have a Map window that's barely big enough to tell what zone you're in - which is all you need, much of the time. Here's how to make it even more useful than it was before you squeezed it...

  1. Write the following keybind: /bind CTRL+F12 "windowscale map 2.0".
  2. Write the following keybind: /bind F12 "windowscale map 0.6". Substitute whatever minimized scale factor you chose for Map in the above instructions.
  3. And again, wham. You now have a map that stays out of the way, minimally useful without getting in the view too much, that can be blown up to huge, useful size with one whack (Ctrl-F12) and returned to tiny with a second (F12). Whatever bind keys you choose for this, make the "return to small" the easiest one to hit, so you can clear it for battle.

    You might discover that a 2x Map is just too big - so if you find a smaller zoom factor, redo the Zoom bind to match.

Set Window Colors

You can set the window border colors, and window transparency, easily and interactively in the Options menu. However, some players might find it useful to be able to change the window characteristics with keybinds or macros. Easy enough!

The basic command is /windowcolor R G B T, where the arguments are the Red, Green, Blue values from 0-255, and a Transparency value in percentage, from 0-100. The higher the RGB values, the brighter each color component; the higher the Transparency value, the more transparent the window background will be.

So, for windows with bright yellow borders and 50% background transparency, you would use /windowcolor 255 255 0 50.

For windows with medium gray borders and 20% background transparency, you would use /windowcolor 180 180 180 20.

...and so forth. Bind your color changes to any convenient key, and away you go!

The Vanishing GUI

It can be nice to make the entire GUI go away, so that you can enjoy the lovely Paragon City views... or the ugly wall-o-foes views. The Options menu offers a fixed keybind option to make the GUI vanish and reappear, but some may find it useful to do it with a custom keybind.

The command is (oddly) /disable2D, which takes a 0 or 1 argument for disable/enable. Note that this command is "negative," so to enable means to make the GUI go away, and disable means to make it reappear - sheesh. So /disable2D 1 will make the GUI vanish until you execute /disable2D 0.

As a footnote, note that you don't have to manually disappear the GUI if you want to take a screenshot of just the view. You can opt whether the GUI appears in screenshots or not with a separate setting: /screenshotUI. Set this option to 1 (/screenshotUI 1) to show the GUI when you take a screenshot, and to 0 (/screenshotUI 0) when you just want the scenery.