Introduction

Welcome! This is a feature and bug-fix update for Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Expansion. Its primary focus is to correct several long existing issues with the game, the AI system, compatibility, and related elements. This update will not enable no-cd gameplay and requires a valid, existing installation of Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Expansion v1.0c.

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Installing the Update

Please install the update using the standard method unless you require age2_x1.exe to remain unchanged. See the Features and Notes sections for more information.

Standard Install (update age2_x1.exe)

  1. Download the latest version of the update, if necessary.
  2. Ensure that Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Expansion is not running.
  3. Extract SetupAoC.exe into the "Age of Empires II" folder.

    It should exist next to files such as empires2.exe and eula.rtf.

  4. Run SetupAoC.exe from this location in the game folder.
  5. Select the features you would like to install.
  6. Click the Install button.

Alternate Install (create a separate age2_x1.4.exe)

  1. Download the latest version of the update, if necessary.
  2. Ensure that Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Expansion is not running.
  3. Extract SetupAoC.exe into the "Age of Empires II" folder.

    It should exist next to files such as empires2.exe and eula.rtf.

  4. Run SetupAoC.exe from this location in the game folder.
  5. Select the features you would like to install.
  6. Hold the "Ctrl+Alt" keys and click the Install button.

Uninstall (for both install methods)

  1. Run SetupAoC.exe using your chosen method.
  2. Click the Uninstall button.
  3. Close and delete SetupAoC.exe.

Compatibility Shortcuts

After installing, if you'd like to start the game in Enhanced v1.0c mode or v1.3 compatibility mode, you can find shortcuts inside the "Age of Empires II\Support" folder.

Features of UserPatch v1.4

In this article, you will find details about each of the features presented by the installer. Those that are checked by default are recommended, as they have been more thoroughly tested and are considered more stable. All of the restricted features are hidden by default. In order to install one of the restricted features, please press "F5" after the installer window appears.

Out of Sync Warning

The (sync) mark indicates that a feature will affect multiplayer game setup or synchronization. Everyone in a game must have these types of features installed, or not installed, or you will experience errors.

Recommended Features

  1. Core feature update v1.4

    This required feature will install all of the updates, enhancements, and gameplay fixes required to upgrade v1.0c to v1.4. The checkbox for this feature will always be selected.

  2. New save filename format

    This will modify the format for automatically named save files to type.yyyymmdd-hhmmss.ext. For example, recorded games will be saved as "rec.20130908-063026.mgz". This format should make it easier to sort and order your saved and recorded game files.

  3. Widescreen interface style

    With this, the bottom center area of the in-game interface will span the width of the screen. This may be useful for certain widescreen monitor configurations.

  4. Windowed mode support

    With this feature, you will be able to play the game in a window. When you install this feature, the "wndmode.dll" support library will be placed into the "age2_x1" folder.

  5. Port forwarding support

    This will enable automatic port forwarding for UPnP compatible routers and setup your firewall. When installed, the "miniupnpc.dll" support library will be placed into the "age2_x1" folder.

Optional Features

  1. Multiple building queue (note)

    This will enable the multiple building selection queue (MBQ) system. If multiple buildings are selected, any units that you train are automatically distributed between the buildings. On the game setup screen, the SQ/MQ (single queue/multiple queue) button will change this setting.

  2. Original patrol default (note)

    If you prefer the v1.0c-style 10 second delay for patrol over the 2 second delay, you can enable this option to change your default. Both delays are always available to you in-game. By holding the "Ctrl" key when clicking to set the patrol destination, you can use the alternate delay.

  3. Population caps to 1000

    The v1.4 update provides population caps up to 250 by default. This feature enables caps up to 1000, in increments of 25. Performance and game balance should be carefully considered before using this. Computer players, in particular, may slow the game significantly after a certain point.

  4. Snow/ice terrain removal

    With this, snow will become grass, and ice will become moss. This is purely an aesthetic change, and should not affect gameplay. You can observe the difference on maps like Scandinavia.

  5. Alternate mini-map red

    This feature will change the red dots for player 2 on the mini-map to a darker shade. On certain monitors, and LCD monitors in particular, the default shade of red may be difficult to see when positioned next to orange or purple.

  6. Alternate mini-map purple

    With this, you can change the purple dots for player 6 on the mini-map to a darker shade. As with red, it may be difficult to distinguish between purple, red, and orange on certain monitors with the default shade.

  7. Alternate mini-map grey

    This reverts the grey dots for player 7 on the mini-map to the original light grey of v1.0c. Although this tends to blend with stone and sand terrain on most monitors, some may be able to render it distinctly and effectively.

Restricted Features

  1. Left-aligned interface style

    If you prefer to have the in-game interface aligned to the left, you can select this feature. If this is not selected, and the widescreen interface style is not selected, the interface will be centered.

  2. Delink from system volume

    With this feature, you can delink the game's volume from the system-wide volume controls. This is most useful for older systems, including Windows XP and earlier, to avoid the game affecting the volume of media players and other running applications.

  3. Precision scrolling system

    This feature will enable the precision scrolling system, which allows you to scroll more freely without being confined to half-tile steps.

  4. Restore 20fps for single player

    If the new default speed of 60fps is too demanding for your system, you can install this feature to restore the original 20fps from v1.0c. Only install this feature as a last resort.

  5. Disable extended hotkeys

    Install this feature if you would like to disable the "F7" (always-on-top), "F8" (background mode), and "F6" (m3u music playlist track switch) keys.

  6. Force new gameplay features (sync)

    With this, the multiple building queue feature will always be enabled, the multi-delete system will be enabled for shift+delete, and the SQ/MQ (single queue/multiple queue) toggle button will be removed from the game setup screen. This is intended for use only by mod developers.

  7. Ore resource amount display (sync)

    This feature will present the ore resource counter at the top of the screen, along with food, wood, gold, and stone. The Conquerors Expansion will not use ore. This is intended for use only by mod developers and should not be installed unless necessary.

Notes for UserPatch v1.4

This section provides more detailed information about the new features and capabilities that are included in the v1.4 update. Please read these notes carefully in order to get the most from your game.

Core Features of v1.4

Changes from v1.3 to v1.4

Spectator Stream System

Single Player Recording

Record Viewer Updates

New Statistics Views

Scenario Editor Updates

Multiple Building Queue

New Civilization Options

Patrol Default Modes (Ctrl+F1)

Extended Help Modes (F1)

Always-on-Top Mode (F7)

Background Mode (F8)

Windowed Mode

Port Forwarding

M3U Music Playlists

Color Fix for Windows

DWM Fixes for Windows 8

Maximum Age Setting

Relics Victory Condition

AI & RM Scripts

Scenario Editor

Custom Music Playlists

With UserPatch v1.4, you can provide a music playlist for the game to use as background music during gameplay. This file can often be created by simply saving a playlist in "m3u" format from your media player, naming it "music.m3u", and placing it into the "Sound" folder of the game. For properly defined expansions, the process is the same, except the "music.m3u" file would instead be placed inside the "Games\[NameOfExpansion]\Sound" folder of the game.

However, some media players use relative file paths like "..\..\..\Music\Track2.mp3" instead of absolute file paths like "C:\Users\Person\Music\Track1.mp3". The music will only play if these relative paths are based upon the game's "Age of Empires II" folder. This rule applies to both the core game and any expansions. Finally, some media players may save the playlist in UTF-16 or UTF-32 "Unicode" encoding. This will also prevent playback, as ANSI or UTF-8 text encoding is required.

For these reasons, it's often more reliable to create and manage your background music playlist using the installer's "Music" button, or create one manually as described below.

Create a Music Playlist

  1. Start the Notepad application from Windows.
  2. Enter the absolute file path of each music file, one per line.
  3. Save this file as "music.m3u" in the game's "Sound" folder.
  4. Start The Conquerors Expansion and begin a new game.
  5. Your music should play and switch tracks automatically.
  6. Press F6 to skip to the next track at any time.

Example File Content for "music.m3u"

C:\Users\Person\Music\Track1.mp3
C:\Users\Person\Music\Track2.wma
C:\Users\Person\Music\Track4.mpa

Codec Considerations

Some players like "Media Player Classic" have many audio and video codecs, filters, and parsers built-in and therefore do not have to rely entirely on your installed DirectShow codecs. In these cases, it may seem like you have the codecs required for playback, even though they are not actually installed. If all required DirectShow codecs and filters are present, any music file format can be used. The wave audio format (.wav) should always work, regardless of installed codecs and filters.

Spectator Stream System

In UserPatch v1.4, you can broadcast your game to up to 32 spectators at once in any game mode. To broadcast, the host must forward port 53754 TCP and provide their IP address to spectators for them to connect. If the "Port forwarding support" feature is enabled, the game will automatically open and close the port as required. Spectators do not have to forward any ports in order to watch games.

Setup Spectating as Host

  1. Provide your external IP address to spectators.
  2. Click the spectator button to change the number of allowed spectators.
  3. Start the game and play, as usual.

When the spectator button is set to "S0" mode, spectating is disabled. If set between "S1" and "S4", only that number of spectators is allowed. For "Sx" mode, up to 32 spectators are allowed. Notifications will appear as spectators connect and disconnect, and a counter will appear next to the game clock (press "F11" to display). To avoid flooding, connection notifications are disabled for "Sx" mode.

Connect as a Spectator

  1. Click the "Watching Player" button under single player options.
  2. The game will close and the spectator client will open.
  3. Under "Spectator settings", enter the IP address of the host.
  4. Click the "Spectate" button to begin.

The system will automatically launch the game when it starts. You can late-join a game in progress for about 10 minutes. If your connection is denied, your client will disconnect.

Additional Information

If you typically run the game with administrator privileges, you must also run the spectator client with administrator privileges or you may experience issues during spectator auto-launch. If you usually run without admin, then the same would apply to the spectator client. When the spectator client is launched with the "Watching Player" button, all of this is handled for you automatically.

Spectator View Controls

The in-game viewer will attempt to maintain smooth playback, while remaining as close to "live" as possible. The playback speed scale spans from 0% (slowest) to 100% (fastest/limited only by CPU speed). You can use the rate change hotkeys (usually Numpad+ and Numpad-) to quickly switch between player viewpoints without using the player dropdown box.

The spectator system runs in background mode by default, which means the game will not pause if you "Alt+Tab" or otherwise switch away from the game. This helps to allow spectators to keep their view "live", while chatting with others, multitasking, etc. In addition, background mode frees the mouse from the window boundaries. If you would like to disable background mode, you can press the "F8" key at any time. You can also toggle always-on-top mode with the "F7" key.

Clicking the "Slow" or "Fast" buttons at the bottom of the screen will adjust your playback speed by 25%. If you hold the "Shift" key when clicking these buttons, the playback speed will change at smaller intervals. Use the "Normal" button to return to 75% speed. If the view becomes choppy, it is likely that you have reached "live", so please wait as the system auto-adjusts itself.

Spectator Considerations

It is strongly recommended to allow the system to automatically manage playback speed in order to keep the view "live" at all times. Increasing your playback speed manually will not cause any issues, however reducing speed or pausing playback will naturally cause your view to temporarily drift away from "live". For most games, spectators should not have to make any manual speed adjustments.

If you ever pause or delay playback, you can set the playback speed to 100% by using the "Fast" button in order to catch up to "live". If the players pause their game or are otherwise delayed, the spectator view will enter a waiting state until they will resume. If the host disconnects or the game ends, the spectator view will come to an end.

Setup Campaign Viewing

To allow spectators to watch a campaign game, such as the William Wallace campaign, simply enter the Single Player game setup screen, enable spectating with the spectator button, return to the main menu screen, and play the campaign of your choice.

Advanced Host Settings

If you would like to setup IP filters for allowed spectators, first open the spectator client by clicking the "Watching Player" button under single player options. Under "Server stream settings", enter up to 4 spectator IP addresses to allow into the game, separated by commas. If the allowed spectators list is empty, connections are unfiltered.

For additional control over the number of people spectating, you can set the max connection count anywhere between 1 and 32. After you are done, click the "Update" button to save your changes, and then close the spectator client. You may need to start a new game for the changes to take effect.

Advanced Details

This section describes all of the additional registry keys and command line parameters that the game will accept in v1.4. Registry entries are stored under "\Software\Microsoft\Microsoft Games\Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Expansion\1.0". The game will check under "HKEY_CURRENT_USER" first and then "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE". If both are missing for a given setting, the default will be used. None of the command line parameters will change data in the registry.

Registry Settings

Parameters for age2_x1.exe

Format: age2_x1.exe [ parameter list ]

Parameters for SetupAoC.exe

Format: SetupAoC.exe [ parameter list ]

Saved Game Filename Formats

Restore oos format multiplayer saves instead of vps whenever possible.

Help for Installation Problems

Here, you can find the answers to some commonly asked questions. Please click on a question to see the answer, along with any associated information.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why is it failing with the message, "The data backup could not be created?"

    Cause

    The update will not install if it cannot safely make a backup of your current age2_x1.exe, in order to ensure that you can perform an uninstall in the future. The problem is usually related to user account permissions. Windows protects system folders, like Program Files, by default, in order to keep the system safe from malware. In order for the update to modify age2_x1.exe inside the "Program Files\Age of Empires II\age2_x1" folder, your user account will need to have permission to write there.

    There are 2 ways to accomplish this: the first, and perhaps easier way, is to run the update installer (SetupAoC) with elevated privileges. The alternative shown below is to grant limited user accounts the ability to modify files inside the "Age of Empires II" folder.

    Troubleshooting

    First, you will need to open an elevated command prompt. To do this, please follow the instructions under the "How do I run a command with elevated privileges?" article on this site.

    After you have opened an elevated command prompt:

    To grant limited users the ability to modify the game's files:

    cacls "FullPathToAge2Folder" /e /t /p Users:C

    To restore read-only permissions at a later time:

    cacls "FullPathToAge2Folder" /e /t /p Users:R

    An example of granting permissions with the default installation path (32-bit):

    cacls "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Age of Empires II" /e /t /p Users:C

    More Information

    The actual path to your "Age of Empires II" folder may vary, depending on how you installed the game. Once you have granted limited users the ability to modify files in the game folder, you should be able to install the update.

  2. It is telling me that "required files could not be located." What does this mean?

    Cause

    The update requires a valid installation of Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Expansion v1.0c. In order to verify your installation, it checks for age2_x1.exe in your "age2_x1" folder. If this file is not present, or your installation is in a non-standard state, you will not be able to proceed.

    Troubleshooting

    Please verify your age2_x1.exe file in the "age2_x1" folder.

    1. Browse to the "Age of Empires II\age2_x1" folder.
    2. Look for a file named age2_x1.exe.

    If you are missing age2_x1.exe, please reinstall the game from a valid installation source and apply the v1.0c update before continuing.

  3. Why should I "install the 1.0c update for The Conquerors" when I already have it?

    Cause

    The update requires a valid installation of Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Expansion v1.0c. If you receive this message, it means that the required files were found, but your installation may not be properly updated to v1.0c.

    Troubleshooting

    Please verify the existence of empires2_x1_p1.dat in the "Data" folder.

    1. Browse to the "Age of Empires II\Data" folder.
    2. Look for a file named empires2_x1_p1.dat.

    If you are missing empires2_x1_p1.dat, your installation either requires an update or is damaged. Please reinstall the game and apply the v1.0c update before continuing.

  4. I can't watch a recorded game from v1.0c in .mgx format. What should I do?

    Cause

    To prevent the loading of incompatible data, v1.4 uses the .mgz format for recorded game files. In order to watch a v1.0c .mgx file, you will need to use Enhanced v1.0c mode. In this mode, all game errors from v1.0c are maintained, in order to ensure compatibility. This mode is not recommended for actual gameplay.

    Troubleshooting

    Please open the .mgx rec file from the "SaveGame" folder.

    1. Open Windows Explorer, File Explorer, or My Computer.
    2. Browse to the "Age of Empires II\SaveGame" folder.
    3. Double-click on the .mgx rec file of your choice.
  5. What happened to my custom campaign files? They aren't appearing.

    Cause

    The game will now load and save custom campaign files (.cpx), and all other scenario-related files like background bitmaps (.bmp), to the "Scenario" folder instead of the "Campaign" folder. This makes it easier to isolate user files from core game files.

    Troubleshooting

    Please copy your custom campaign files from the "Campaign" folder to the "Scenario" folder.

    1. Browse to the "Age of Empires II\Campaign" folder.
    2. Look for files that are not cam*.cpn and xcam*.cpx.
    3. Copy these to the "Age of Empires II\Scenario" folder.
  6. Why is the fast-forward playback of recorded games slower than I remember?

    Cause

    Windowed mode performs many additional computations in order to change color depth and translate graphics operations in real-time. For normal gameplay, there is usually no difference, however, when watching a recorded game on fast-forward, there is a distinct loss of speed.

    Troubleshooting

    Please reinstall the update without the windowed mode feature.

    1. Run the installer, SetupAoC.exe.
    2. Uncheck the "Windowed mode support" feature.
    3. Click the "Install" button.

    Please note that it is normal for recording playback to slow down as the game progresses and more units are active on the map.

  7. I can't hear any game sounds. What happened to the volume?

    Cause

    The restricted feature, "Delink from system volume," was installed. This causes the game's volume to be delinked from the master system volume, which allows the volume to be controlled in-game without affecting other applications on the system.

    Troubleshooting

    Please adjust your system volume settings.

    1. Open your system's volume control settings.
    2. For Windows XP, ensure the Wave/MP3 audio volume is not muted.
    3. For Windows Vista/7, set the game-specific volume setting to max.
    4. Start The Conquerors Expansion and begin a single player game.
    5. Raise the game volume to max from the in-game options.
    6. Make slight adjustments as necessary.
  8. When starting a new game, the application crashes. What is causing this?

    Cause

    If your existing age2_x1.exe file is not a valid v1.0c executable, the modifications made to it by the update installer may render it unstable.

    Troubleshooting

    Please verify the version of your existing age2_x1.exe file.

    1. Uninstall the update using SetupAoC.exe, if necessary.
    2. Browse to the "Age of Empires II\age2_x1" folder.
    3. Look for a file named age2_x1.exe.
    4. Right-click the file, select Properties.
    5. Select the Version tab, and note the File Version.

    If the file is version 0.7.26.809, you have a valid v1.0c executable file and there may be another reason for the failure. If your file version is different, you may need to reinstall the game or apply the v1.0c update before continuing.

  9. Why is the host saying that I have a different version? We're all on v1.4.

    Cause

    Some features, like the multiple building queue (MBQ), must be synchronized for all players.

    Troubleshooting

    Please select the same MBQ setting as all other players in the game.

    1. Uncheck the "I'm ready" box.
    2. Click the MQ/SQ toggle button near the "I'm ready" button.
    3. Ensure all other players are on the same setting.
    4. Check the "I'm ready" box.
    5. Try to start the game again.

    If this does not resolve the issue, please refer to the Features section of this guide to learn which other features affect multiplayer setup and synchronization.

  10. I changed the screen resolution, but it's still small. What is wrong?

    Cause

    The non-gameplay aspects of the game, including the menus and game setup screens, are always shown in 800x600. Once gameplay begins, where you can see the Town Center and control your villagers, your chosen resolution setting will take effect.

    Troubleshooting

    Please start a single player or multiplayer game to see the change.

    1. Setup a game in single player or multiplayer mode and start it.
    2. The resolution should change automatically.
  11. Why can't I connect to anyone's game? I've enabled port forwarding support.

    Cause

    Connection issues may occur if your actively connected network adapter (usually named either "Wireless Network Connection" for a wireless adapter or "Local Area Connection" for a wired ethernet adapter) is not at the top of the bindings list.

    Troubleshooting

    Please move your active connection to the top of the bindings list.

    1. Open "Network Connections" (run "ncpa.cpl" from the start menu).
    2. Press the "Alt" key to show the menu bar in the window that appears.
    3. Click on the "Advanced" menu, and select the "Advanced settings" option.
    4. On the window that appears, find the "Connections" list at the top.
    5. Use the arrow buttons to move your active connection to the top of the list.
    6. Click OK to save the changes to the bindings list.
    7. Run the game as usual.

    If this does not resolve the issue, please contact your network administrator for assistance.

  12. I'm hosting a LAN game, but no one can see my game. What should I do?

    Cause

    For LAN games, you may be unable to connect with certain router models if UPnP has been enabled on your router's configuration page. Although UPnP is helpful for connecting to the internet outside a LAN, it can interfere with communication inside a LAN on some routers.

    Troubleshooting

    Please temporarily disable UPnP on your router while playing.

    1. Open the "Command Prompt" (run "cmd" from the start menu).
    2. Type "ipconfig | findstr Gateway" to get your router ip address (usually 192.168.*.*).
    3. Browse to http://your.router.ip.address.here/ for your router configuration page.
    4. Login if necessary, find the UPnP system setting, and disable it.
    5. Host a game and see if others on your LAN can connect.

    If this does not resolve the issue, please contact your network administrator for assistance.

  13. The game is crashing in v1.0c and v1.4 on Windows 8. What has happened?

    Cause

    Support for 8-bit and 16-bit color applications, which includes Age of Empires II, has been removed from Windows 8. However, the application compatibility system can be used to allow these applications to run as expected.

    Troubleshooting

    Please install the update with administrative privileges.

    1. Download the latest release of the v1.4 update.
    2. Right-click the installer, SetupAoC.exe.
    3. Select the "Run as administrator" option.
    4. Install the update as usual.

    If this does not resolve the issue, please browse to the "age2_x1" folder, right-click your "age2_x1.exe" file, and select Properties. On the window that appears, select the Compatibility tab, enable compatibility for Windows 7 or earlier, and click OK.

  14. It's still crashing. Could one of my other running apps be causing a conflict?

    Cause

    Certain applications, including remoting apps like TeamViewer and other graphics intensive software, may conflict with the game and cause it to crash. In some cases, especially with certain graphics drivers, the original fullscreen mode may also cause the game to crash, and running in windowed mode may fix the issue.

    Troubleshooting

    Please close other graphics intensive software before playing the game.

    1. Close background remoting apps like TeamViewer.
    2. Disable any applications that modify your desktop wallpaper.
    3. Ensure that no other graphics intensive games are running.
    4. Run the game as usual.

    Please try the alternate game window style.

    1. Run the installer, SetupAoC.exe.
    2. Switch the "Windowed mode support" feature checkbox to the opposite state.
    3. Click the "Install" button to commit the change.
    4. Run the game as usual.