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Old November 30th, 2012, 01:14 PM
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Default Dominions 3 Troubleshooting

This thread is intended to be used as a guide for troubleshooting Dominions 3 installation issues, mod and map installation issues and other assorted technical problems.


Dominions will suggest C:\Program Files\Dominions 3 as the default installation directory. Do not install the game there!

Install Dominions in some other location outside the Program Files folder instead. This is because everything inside the Program Files folder is subject to increased security measures in Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. Altering anything will require administrative privileges (i.e. programs must be run as administrator, with heightened privileges, even if your account already has administrator rights).

The second reason is that if you install Dominions in Program Files, Windows will store the savegame files, mod directories and assorted other user data directories for Dominions in C:\%APPDATA%\dom3 instead of in subdirectories of the actual installation directory. If you install the game outside Program Files, the savegame and mod directories will be subdirectories of the game directory and MUCH easier to find.

If you went ahead and installed Dominions 3 into the Void (aka Program Files) anyway, then you're going to have a devil of a time finding your files. You must make hidden files visible from Folder Options in the Control Panel before you can find the folder, though.

See the Q&A session below for some tips. These things were previously in the FAQ, but they might as well be put in this thread, since they fit here better. No idea just how accurate all of that is at the moment.


If your key file becomes corrupted, delete it from the Dominions 3 directory. Or if you installed Dominions 3 into the Void, from the %APPDATA%\Dom3 directory. Restart Dominions and enter the CD-key from your manual.

If you have lost your manual, edit the key file and MAKE A BACKUP OF YOUR CD-KEY!

If you get the error message "cannot create config file" after patching to 3.28, try to run the dom3.exe as administrator. Alternatively, you can uninstall and reinstall the game.


Q: How do I install maps?
Copy the map graphic file and the .map file into the Dom3\maps folder. When you start a new game, the new map will be in the list of available maps.

Q: How do I install and enable mods?
Copy the .dm file and any graphics files/directories into the Dom3\mods folder. Create the folder if it doesn't already exist. To use a mod, enable it from the preferences. Enabled mods that have a banner graphic will display the banner graphic in the upper right-hand corner of the Dom3 main menu screen.

When you unzip a mod into the folder, it extracts a .dm file (the mod file) and any images necessary for the mod (e.g. new unit graphics etc) as well as a possible banner image. Sometimes the mod creates a subdirectory for itself where all the images are placed. If you are not sure where everything should go, edit the mod file to see where files should be placed. Please also refer to the Modding Manual for more detailed instructions.

In order to use a mod you installed, you must enable it from the Preferences menu in Dominions (Mod Preferences).

A new game created with a mod enabled will be subject to the changes the mod made. If you disable a mod, you don't need to re-enable it in order to load a savegame with mods. Dominions will automatically load any mods the game requires (as long as they are present) and disable others.

TIP: Make a vanilla savegame with no mods enabled to allow for fast disabling of all installed mods. Makes it faster to enable a different set of mods.

You should note that there is a possibility of conflicts between mods if you have a lot of them installed. A general rule of thumb is to only play with the mods you really want enabled for just that game. Disable any that you are no longer using.

OLD FAQ STUFF (may be obsolete)

Q: I have Windows Vista and I can't find my savedgames folder! HELP!
If you can't find your savedgames folder in Windows Vista and it isn't under the main Dominions 3 installation directory, it could be in C:\Users\YourFriendsVistaUserName\AppData\Local\Vi rtualStore\Program Files\dominions3\savedgames and you must be able to see hidden and system files to find it. You can make hidden files visible from Folder Options in the Control Panel. See this thread for discussion. Installing Dominions 3 in something other than the default directory places the savedgames directory in the Dominions 3 directory where it can be more easily found.


Q: My Dominions screen goes blank when I play, all I can see is the map, but none of the user interface components. How can I get it to work?
This means either one of two things:
  • Your Dominions installation has been corrupted. Reinstall the game, enter the product key that came with your manual and see what happens. If the problem persists, contact Shrapnel technical support. Do NOT ask around the forums.
  • If you do not have a manual with the product key and you have this problem, you are using a pirated version of Dominions and what you have just encountered is the copy protection. Contact Shrapnel to purchase a legal copy of Dominions 3. Reinstalling the game is not going to solve your problem.

Q: My manual was lost/destroyed/damaged how do I get a new one?
Contact Shrapnel technical support. Replacement of a lost/damaged/destroyed manual is possible for a small fee to cover production and shipping costs, BUT your original purchase of Dominions 3 must be verified first. If the purchase cannot be verified, no manual will be provided.


Q: Where can I download the manual?
Nowhere. It is not available for download nor will it become so. You must buy the game to get the manual.

Q: Is it possible to purchase Dominions 3 as a digital download?
No. Dominions 3 is not sold as a digital download at all. It is only available on CD with a printed manual. It will NOT be made availabe via download. This is a deliberate decision on the part of Shrapnel Games. If you are interested in the details by the reasoning, look up posts by Tim Brooks in this thread.

Dominions can now be purchased as a digital download through Shrapnel Games. The old answer to this FAQ is now obsolete, though retained for nostalgia reasons, since it has been up for so many years.
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