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v0.31:Macros and Keymaps

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This article is about an older version of DF.

Playing Dwarf Fortress means lots of typing. The game has an internal macro/keymap system. Using it or any external program can save you a great deal of time when dumping, rewalling, designating, and so forth.


[edit] DF macros

[edit] Creating macros

The controls for creating macros within DF are as follows:

  • Ctrl+r = record
  • Ctrl+p = play
  • Ctrl+s = save
  • Ctrl+l = load

To create a macro press Ctrl+r to begin recording your actions. When you have recorded all the action you want stop recording by hitting Ctrl+r again and save (Ctrl+s) the macro. The macro is then added to your macro list. To load a macro from the list just press Ctrl+l. You can then play the macro using Ctrl+p.

There is a directory data/init/macros for them. The macros are saved in .mak format. Even a recorded file for a simple macro - for example to create a 3 tiles wide ramp - may already consist of up to 50 commands listed. This is because every possible binding of the key pressed is included in the macro and put in a block (and r for ramp has many by default).

	End of group
	End of group
End of macro

For this example the recording was started, enter was pressed and the recording was stopped. When using this macro every underlying command in the file will be called, if possible. If you are in the designation menu, it will react as a select, the other commands will be ignored. If you are in the burrow menu, it will work like pressing enter there. The macro alway ends with a block containing the end of it's recording. But executing macros seems to ignore this command. If you have changed your key bindings you'll get another result, because the underlying commands are recorded, not the keys pressed.
When creating or editing your own macros it is a good idea to use only those commands you really want.

	End of group
	End of group
	End of group
	End of group
	End of group
	End of group
	End of group
	End of group
	End of group
End of macro

This selfmade example will designate a 3 tiles wide ramp one z-level below and place the cursor to make the next execution of the macro continue the way down. The first line has to be the name of the file. You can see that there are grouping tags for every single keypress. These are important for a working macro.
It is unknown if there is the possibility of creationg loops/iterations, other programming features or comments.
There seem to be problems with changing removing and adding macros while the game is running. Save, quit and restart the game when you want to change something.

[edit] Tuning macros

The fewer commands a macro consists of, the faster it runs. This means you should avoid unnecessary steps by optimizing the "path" of your designations.

The second and most effective way to increase speed is to remove all unnecessary commands DF recorded with an external texteditor. While the extra commands are ignored by the game, however they take time to be processed. To move a cursor 3 (up/down) or 4 (right/left) commands are recorded, most other keys are bound to more commands. Pressing d for example records more than 30 commands. Depending on what you do, you can increase the speed by 4 or more by reducing the number of commands in every group to the one you need. If you edit a macro, you'll have to restart DF afterwards.

The third way is to change settings in the init-files. In the base init file (data/init/init.txt) you will find the follow lines:

If you set KEY_REPEAT_ACCEL_LIMIT above one, then after KEY_REPEAT_ACCEL_START repetitions 
the repetition delay will smoothly decrease until repetition is this number of times faster 
than at the start.


This controls the number of milliseconds between macro instructions.


This means that the speed between macro commands will gradually increase until it hits the limit. The secondary command is when the gradual increase in speed increases.

[edit] External utilities

[edit] Quickfort

A spreadsheet-driven construction tool for Dwarf Fortress. Converts CSV files containing a "graphical" (or at least two-dimensional) representation of what you want to build into efficient DF macros. Comes with a number of scripts to get you started, some of them quite complex.

[edit] AutoHotKey

  1. Go to Utilities#AutoHotKey and download AutoHotKey. Installation is simple and the program uses few system resources.
  2. Write macro scripts (file type .ahk), which may contain any number of commands. You activate scripts by double-clicking .ahk files and deactivate them by right-clicking the AutoHotKey icon on the task bar. Both of these can be done at any time - even right in the middle of a game. AutoHotKey also allows for automated activation of scripts.
Please see also the 40d macros page, as much of what is there works perfectly fine. If you can verify it works, please move it to this page.

[edit] Troubleshooting Scripts

Users may experience some issues in getting scripts to work, particularly when using looping scripts when experiencing low frame-rates.

  • If experiencing low frame-rates, try adding delays ("Sleep 100" to pause for 100 milliseconds for example) within loops to allow the interface to keep up. If there are nested loops, sometimes adding a pause at the end of an inner loop is all that is needed to flush the keyboard buffer
  • Another way to add delay during and after each simulated key press is to put SetKeyDelay, 40, 40 at the start of the macro.
  • Make sure that Dwarf Fortress maintains focus. IM windows are the enemy! Who needs friends anyhow? You've got Dwarf Fortress.
  • This may go without saying, but most macros assume standard key-mappings. If you're using non-standard ones, you may have to edit the macro to get it to work.
  • Visiting liaisons can bring up screens that eat keystrokes, throwing a long-looping script out-of-phase with where it expects the game to be. Wait for the farewell screen before running a long script.
  • The SendPlay function supports keys that the Send function does not, for example Shift-Enter. According to the AutoHotKey documentation, SendPlay may also be better at preventing dropped keystrokes.

[edit] General Fortress Mode Hotkeys Script

An attempt at speeding up various designations. Includes an up/down stair builder, a fast move up/down, and some select-and-advance keys. Please see user:DDR#Dwarf_Fortress_General_AHK_Script.

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