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Tip of the Week #16 - The Mouse and Contextual Tab

By N00bKefka - 12th July 2008 - 17:25 PM

The mouse is the most important piece of hardware in all RTS. It is a lot more important than the keyboard and its hotkeys. Without the mouse, you can't even command your army. C&C3 has its very own Contextual Tab; most players will think it's only a tab to view what you have queued for production. However in this Tip of the Week, it is not going to teach you the basics, but the advanced function of the mouse and how useful can the contextual tab be.

Contextual Tab



C&C 3 has its own unique Contextual Tab. However, it has quite a lot of hidden functions that remains undiscovered by most players. This Tip of the Week is going to let you see how the Contextual Tab can aid you in your battle and how this Contextual Tab is able make C&C 3 so different from other RTS games including one’s in its own series.

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The image above shows the great army of the Marked of Kane after pressing the select all units (Q) function. Let's say you want the Vertigo, Shadow Teams and Commando out of the frontline, but your army is just way too spread out to deselect them manually. With the Contextual Tab, you only need to right-click on the group of units that you don't want, and they will be gone. However, if you just want the Enlightened group, you just need to double left-click the Enlightened group and there you have it. Only the Enlightened will be selected.

Using Abilities of Single Units



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Of course you don't always want all of the Enlightened to use the EMP blast together. It is usually more beneficial to use their EMP one at a time. Normally, a player would just click on one Enlightened and use the blast, but that way you will deselect all of your Enlightened. There is a way to use the EMP without deselecting all of your Enlightened and they will still use it one at a time. All you need to do is left-click (NOT double) an Enlightened, and fire the EMP right away. Only the highlighted enlightened in the Contextual Tab will use the ability.

One Payload on One Unit



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The method above however, doesn’t work with regular attacks, but there is an easier way to solve this other than grouping 8 vertigoes as groups 1 to 8. Using the same method to deselect a unit from an army, you can do that in a single group of unit too. All you need to do is attack with every bomber, deselect one and select another and repeat until you left with the last bomber. It also works on Orcas too!

Getting an Injured Unit Out of Action



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Of course in all battles, there is a tendency of a certain type of unit being attacked more then others. The first thing players should think about is getting the injured one out of the way. Once again, it can be difficult to find the injured unit on the main screen. But the Contextual Tab shows which one is severely injured. To get it out without affecting the rest of your army, double left-click on the injured unit and get it back to repair.

Unit Formation Function



Other than this right-click to move and attack and the left-click select and deselect. There is a combination of both right and left click to give a unique function of setting your units in formation.

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Formation should always have this set-up; Epic Units are always first, followed by vehicles, artilleries, infantry, and lastly air. But who wants to leave their air at the back? What you can do is hover you air units right in the middle of your army with the formation function.

Units moving in formation will move at speed of the slowest units amongst the group. It is good in escorting weak units like Engineers and keeping Mantises and Slingshots close to Purifiers and GDI tanks.


Repairing in Formation



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It's always better to organize units in formation when repairing because if you don't, the chance that a unit will get out of the repair radius is pretty high. Although there are better ways to repair air units just by tightening them together with force attack, for ground units, you may need to do it as such.

Crushing in Formation



Spread out your tanks and crush the enemy by using the mouse formation function. It's simple, just by drag to far distance away from the back of the enemy. Then watch your tanks steamroll the man-spam. The man-spam has a very slim chance of survival if the tank spreading is done right.