I was familiar with the signing units to a particular control group. For instance, in the dark age I assign my Scout to control group 1 by selecting the scout using my mouse, holding Ctrl and then pressing 1. From that point on if I tap the 1 key it selects my Scout, if I quickly double tap the 1 key it selects my Scout and puts it in the center of my screen. Later on in the game, during the Castle age might have a bunch of crossbowman assigned to group 2 and a bunch of rams assigned to group 3.
I was also familiar with assigning the building to a particular control group. In the dark age my town center is on control group 3. I use the 3 key if I want to select my town center without actually navigating to it.
I was also familiar with selecting all buildings of the same type that appear on your screen by double-clicking on one of those buildings. For example If you have five barracks on the screen and you double-click one of them you will then select all five barracks and then you can set a common gather point for all of them so that pikemen for example, that are produced in any of the 5 buildings will automatically go to the same gather point. Nice.
However what I didn't know until today is that once you have selected the buildings of your choice is that you can then assign them to a control group. Then when you hit the number key to select this group of buildings you can then create units from all of the buildings at once.
An example, and I'm labouring the point to try and make it easy to understand.
I use the hotkeys A, S, D and F for all unit production at my all of militarily buildings.
For archery ranges,
A is for archers
S is for skirmishers
D is the cavalry archers
F is for hand cannoneers
Why? Because that is the order they appear in on the screen running from left to right when ever you select an archery range. So I assign hotkeys to them running from left to right in the same pattern.
For siege workshops
A is for rams
S the mangonels
D is the scorpions
F is for bombard cannons.
It means that regardless of the military building I'm using, my hands only have to find 4 keys that are all in a row on the keyboard.
Full monasteries A is for monks. and castles A is for unique unit.
You get the point.
Anyway, back to the topic of assigning the buildings to a control group.
I've just tested this against the computer. I built 4 archery ranges. I assigned them to control group 2 and set a common gather point.
Then I hit the S key 4 times in quick succession and a skirmisher was produced from each of the four archery ranges at exactly the same time. Amazing. I tested it further by then holding shift and pressing S twice.
Holding shift has the effect of queuing 5 units at a time instead of one unit at a time. This is a nightmare if you do it when you've only selected one range because you'll have a queue of 10 skirmishers to produce and it takes ages. Holding shift and hitting the S key twice queues 10 skirmishers.
I was curious to see what would happen if I queued a number of skirmishers that was not divisible by 4, across my 4 archery ranges.
I paused the game and checked. To my delight (I know it's really sad) 2 of the ranges had queued 2 skirmishers and the other 2 ranges had queued 3 skirmishers for a total of 10. The first 4 skirmishers came out of the ranges simultaneously and went to the gather point. They were followed by another 4 in a second simultaneous wave, and finally 2 of the ranges stopped working whilst the other 2 produced the final 2 skirmishers in a 3rd simultaneous wave.
I've been playing this game on my own against the computer desperately trying to improve for the last year or so. I am definitely the noobiest noob out there, no question, but I'm annoyed (at nobody in particular) that even after watching numerous tutorials on various YouTube channels that introduced me to concepts such as control groups, way-points and patrolling units rather than just letting them wander about, none of those videos even mentioned what I have discovered today.
I discovered it after reading a post on another part of this forum. It was posted today, although the author said that it was an old post from another part of the forum. It was in the AOC Random Map discussion but then it was moved somewhere else and I can't find it.
Anyway, that's why I'm posting this now so people (probably noobs) don't lose out.
I can now understand how high level players that I watch on YouTube always seems to be able to continuously reinforce themselves with perfectly timed and evenly spread streams of units from multiple production buildings all over the map. I used to think it was down to insane 2k3+ micro, but now I know there's a good chance they are using control groups