How To Create Unit Cards

By SubRosa

When making unit cards, there are two pictures needed. Both must be .tga files. The first is the picture you see when you view a unit's stats. This file must be 160 x 210 pixels. This file goes in the Data\UI\Unit_Info\[Faction] folder. It is named [dictionary name]_info.tga. For example: amazon_chariots_info.tga

The second is the picture you see in the user interface along the bottom of the screen. This file must be 48 x 64 pixels. This file goes in the Data\UI\Units\[Faction] folder. It is named #[dictionary name].tga. For example: #amazon_chariots.tga

The dictionary name can be found in the Data\Export_Descr_Unit.txt file. If you do not have the folders, simply create them, using the internal faction names (i.e. romans-julii, seleucid, etc... The same as they are listed in Descr_Strat.txt.)

Using The Existing Unit Cards

You can use the unit cards for another unit that came with the game. All of the unit cards are contained in the game's pack files, which are located in your RTW\Data\Packs folder. To uncompress them download Vercingetorix's Pak Extractor place it in the Packs folder, and run the Xpak.bat file. It will take a while to unpack your files, especially if you have an older computer, so be patient. When it is finished you can find the existing unit card files in the same places indicated above, the Data\UI\Unit_Info\[Faction] folder, and Data\UI\Units\[Faction] folders.

At that point you can either rename them and use them as they are for your unit, or edit them and change the faction colors. They are .tga files, so you will need a graphic editor which can save them, such as The Gimp, Photoshop, or Paint Shop Pro.

How Can I Make New Cards?

There are basically four approaches to making new unit cards.

The first is if you are taking an existing unit and merely giving it to a new faction, or slightly altering its skin. In this case you can make copies of the old unit cards and change the faction colors to fit the new owner, as indicated above.

The Second is to start from scratch and make all new artwork.

The Third is to use the unit in a Custom Battle and take some screen prints of it. The -movie_cam command line switch can be helpful here as you can get pictures down at eye level with it. Then crop down the picture to the correct size and edit out the background.

The Fourth is you can use 3ds Max to create your unit cards. This is by far the best method of doing so. For a full tutorial on how to use 3ds Max to create unit cards, look here.

Transparent Unit Cards

To make the backgrounds of the unit cards transparent, do the following:

Use the Magic Wand tool and use it to select the image by double-clicking on the background. Hold the Shift key down to select multiple areas. You will see it outlines the unit in dotted lines.

Create a New Raster Layer. The name does not matter. Blend Mode normal, Opacity 100, Group 0, Layer Visible, Transparency unlocked, Mask enabled, and Mask locked.

Now save it to an Alpha Channel. You will see a new window pops up with the outline of the unit filled in with white, and the background black. If the preview shows it the opposite, then use the invert button to swap it. It does not matter what you name the selection, just click ok and save the new channel. Save the image. Done!

Note that when you resize the image the alpha channel resizes with it, so it does not need to be recreated. However, if you change the outline of the unit itself in editing (such as by mirroring or flipping it), the alpha channel does not change. This will cause the unit to appear very strangely in the game. In that case you will have to delete the alpha channel and create a new one.