World Editor FAQ: Import/Export
 
  
Q:
Where do I import/export files?
A:Warcraft reads most of its data from several MPQ files. These are the files you import to or export from.
Q:
What is an MPQ file?
A:You can think of an MPQ file as a ZIP file. They store multiple files under one file name. All the game content is stored in a few MPQ files in the root directory of Warcraft. Also, all maps are MPQ files. A similar format is used for other Blizzard games, including Starcraft. MPQ files often have extensions other than ".mpq" including ".w3m" or ".w3x"
Q:
What can I do with the MPQ files?
A:
  • You can export any game content, like the icons, models, or campaign maps.
  • You can import any new game content, like new icons, models, or sounds.
  • You can delete files from your map. Using this technique it is possible to make a semi-corrupt map that will not open in the editor, but can still be played in the game.
  • Q:
    How do I modify the MPQ files?
    A:The Import Manager built into the editor does everything for map files (except exporting base map files). To extract content from the main MPQ files you will need a 3rd party program. https://www.google.com/search?safe=off&q=mpq+extractor&oq=mpq+extractor
    Q:
    What are the main MPQ files?
    A:
  • war3patch.mpq - files that have been updated by patches
  • war3x.mpq - files used only by The Frozen Throne (rename this file and the editor will act like the RoC editor)
  • war3xlocal.mpq - files that are localized (translated into your language)
  • war3.mpq - files used by both Reign of Chaos and The Frozen Throne

    If Warcraft needs a file, it will first look in your map, if it isn't there, it will look in the main MPQ files in order. This means you can "override" most files in the main MPQ by putting a file with an identical name in your map. Do not import your files directly into the main MPQ files, this can cause you to disconnect if you play a multiplayer game.
  • Q:
    What file types are used in the main MPQ files?
    A:
  • .txt - A standard text file
  • .slk - A spreadsheet, in Microsoft Excel import format
  • .blp - An image
  • .mdl - A text model file, can be edited like a text file
  • .mdx - A binary model file, not easy to edit
  • Q:
    How do I view units and models?
    A:Warcraft 3 Viewer here: http://www.wc3campaigns.com/download/index.php?subcat=21
    Q:
    How can I make a custom minimap in the game menu screens?
    A: Import your image as a 128x128 or 256x256 TGA file called "war3mapPreview.tga". Make sure it has a custom path in the Import Manager (it can't be under any directory, including war3mapImported). This will not change the minimap in-game.
    Q:
    How can I make a custom loading screen, like in the map "Monolith"?
    A: This was done by importing a modified version of the model file for one of the original loading screens, as well as four TGA images, one for each corner of the screen.

    Open the monolith map at "Maps\FrozenThrone\Scenario\(4)Monolith.scx" (Monolith is a Blizzard map that comes with TFT). Open the Import Manager and export the 'LoadingScreen.mdx' file, and the four 'LoadingScreen*.tga' files.

    You can then modify the image files and import them and the model file into your map. Make sure the image files are not under any directory. Finally, select your imported model in the Scenario->Map Loading Screen dialog.
    Q:
    Why does my custom loading screen need to be split into 4 parts?
    A: Video cards have limits on the sizes of textures they can load.
    Q:
    How do I protect (lock) my map so other people can't edit it?
    A:
  • Import a file (can be blank) into your map.
  • Double click on the file.
  • Check "Use custom path".
  • Change the path to "war3map.wtg".
  • Save your map.

    Keep in mind that you will be unable to edit your own map. If you open the map in an MPQ editor and delete the bad "war3map.wtg" file you will be able to open it in the World Editor again. However the GUI triggers will be gone permanently.

    There are several similar techniques that can also be used. In all cases the JASS version of the triggers can be retreived. See this page for details: Wayback machine's version of http://www.wc3sear.ch/?p=FAQ
  • Q:
    How do I change the files the World Editor uses?
    A:The World Editor (unlike Warcraft) will look for files in your Warcraft directory. If you want to modify the editor you can put modified version of the editor files in the appropriate directory ("UI\" for example).
    Q:
    Why do my imported files disappear when I save in the World Editor?
    A:The World Editor saves a new copy of your map. If you used the Import Manager then your imported files will be recognized and copied over to the new map. If you used another MPQ editor, then the world editor doesn't know about those files and so doesn't attempt to copy them.
    Q:
    What are skins and models?
    A:Objects in most 3d games such as Warcraft III are created in two parts, a model and a skin. The model part is a collection of points connected to make polygons. It defines the shape of the object and any animations it may have. The skin is a picture that is "wrapped" around the object to give it color and texture.
    Q:
    How can I edit models in Warcraft?
    A:It is very complicated to edit 3D models. You can't do it in the editor, you will need a dedicated 3D art program. Blizzard created their models in 3D Studio Max. They have released the art tools they used to move the models from 3dsmax to Warcraft, so if you have 3dsmax you can create models the same way they did.
    Q:
    How can I edit skins in Warcraft?
    A:
  • 0. Create a backup copy of your map.
  • 1. Extract the BLP format skin file from one of the main MPQ files.
  • 2. Convert the skin file from BLP format to TGA format.
  • 3. Modify the TGA format skin file using any image editing program.
  • 4. Convert your modified skin file from TGA format back to BLP format.
  • 5. Import the your modified skin file into your map, using the same path name that was used in the main MPQ.

    In more detail:
  • 0. Create a backup copy of your map.
    Nothing in these steps has any danger of corrupting your map, but you should be creating backups often anyway.

  • 1. Extract the BLP format skin file from one of the main MPQ files.
    The easiest way to do this is to use Wc3 Image Extractor II. You can get this program at wc3campaigns. It will probably be faster to register for an account there than to try and find a current version elsewhere. The image extractor expects to be in the same directory as your Warcraft data files (not in a subdirectory). If the skin you want is new in the expansion, then you will need to open "war3x.mpq". Once you have the correct MPQ file open, find the skin you want and save it as a TGA file. Keep track of the directory the image was in, you will need it when you go to import it into your map.

  • 2. Convert the skin file from BLP format to TGA format.
    If you used the Image Extractor program to do step 2, then you have already done this. Otherwise find a program that converts BLP->TGA and use it.

  • 3. Modify the TGA format skin file using any image editing program.
    This is the hardest step. Make sure your image manipulation program does not compress the image. Most programs will try to compress the image at some point, you may need to change your options or uncheck boxes in the save dialog. If the TGA file is smaller after you edit it than before, then it has been compressed and Warcraft will not load it. If you don't have an image manipulation program you can use the GNU Image Manipulation Program for free.

  • 4. Convert your modified skin file from TGA format back to BLP format.
    Technically you don't need to do this, as Warcraft will use both BLP and TGA files. However BLP files are much smaller so you should always use BLP. If you are using Image Extractor then first open the TGA file then save it as BLP.

  • 5. Import your modified skin file into your map, using the same path name that was used in the main MPQ.
    Import your skin using the import manager, then double click on it and set the custom path to what the skin file used when it was still in the MPQ. The path should look something like "Units\Human\HeroPaladin\Heropaladin.blp". Once the skin is in your map, every time Warcraft goes to find the skin file it will look in your map and find your skin file instead of the normal one. This only happens when someone is playing your map. It is not permanent and will not show up in the editor.

    Note that (except for trees) you cannot have one model with multiple different skins. If you want to use multiple different skins, you will need to copy and modify the model to reference a different skin (not covered here).
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