It is useful to know what each of the buttons and displays on the interface does.
The first four (4) icons light up if the selected object has one of the following properties: shields, power, stealth, or is a detector.
|The second display, the Tech Level display, shows your current tech level. The next four (4) show the amount of each resource you have (carbon, food, nova, ore). After the resource indicators comes the population display. The first number displays your current population, and the second number displays how much population room you have. Population room is increased by building houses.|
The buttons down the far right side serve various functions that do not have much to do with the gameplay itself. The first access the menu, where you can save and load games, as well as exit the current game. The second shows your current objectives, and the third is used for chat. The fourth button displays the diplomacy window, where you can ally with other players or, set them to enemy, etc. The last button is used to display your civilization's technology tree. You can see what bonuses your civilization gets, and what units are available.
Now for the buttons around the mini-map. The button on the top right lets you place a flare on the map. Click it, and then click on a location on the mini-map or the main display. It will then place a X on the mini-map that all your allies can see. Use this function to show allies where enemy's bases are, etc.
The next three buttons on the top left function as follows: The Advanced Commands button allows you to turn on/off advanced commands such as formations. We assume that advanced commands are set to ON for the rest of this article. The second button is used to display help. When it is on and you mouseover a button or object, help will display in the lower-left corner of your screen. It also will notify you via chat-like messages when units are created, when you are being attacked, and when technologies are finished researching, etc. The last button of the trio turn stats on and off. When this option is on, you will see a small list of players/computer players in the game right above the mini-map. (if alternate mini-map buttons are activated, other info will be displayed here. See below) To the right of each player's name is their score. The second number listed is their total team score. In a multiplayer game, if a player had bad latency, a small icon will display to the left of their name. (green=so-so, yellow=bad, red=terrible)
Moving down to the three (3) buttons on the lower-right side of the mini-map. (these will only display if the Advanced Commands option is on. See above for more info.) The leftmost button of the three is on by default. It shows the mini-map normally. The second button, when activated, shows only economically-related objects. It also displays important economic info such as buying/selling resource prices and idle workers in the stats area. The last button displays only military-related objects, and shows a total of each type of military unit in the stats area. Information on turning on stats is above.
The last two (2) buttons on the lower-left of the mini-map are Idle-Workers and Terrain Options. The first one, Idle-Workers will blink when a Worker is idle. Clicking it will select the idle worker. The last button, the Terrain Options button, turns terrain on and off on the mini-map. If the terrain confuses your view on the mini-map, it would benefit you to turn this option off. However, carbon sources and water are not displayed, and this can be a problem.
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