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Modding - Basis - Modding Programs

- by Argalius
Created: 5th May 2006
Last Edited: 5th May 2006

Modding Age of Empires III requires a few programs for either changing the files or to be able to change them. Some programs you'll virtually need for every mod, others only for specific jobs. Here you can see the different programs listed and what they do and how they work.

AoE3ED - Download here
This program, created by Ykkrosh, is used to open the bar files, convert XMB <-> XML and DDT <-> TGA and preview the many different file types within the bar files. AoE3ED is made out of two different programs, Archive Viewer and File converter:

How and for what do I use Archive Viewer?
You'll go to File and then Open. In the screen that pops up, go to the map where you've installed Age of Empires III and go into a map like Art or Data to select a .bar file. A huge list of different files will show. To make searching for a specific file easier a search function has been added. Just type in the box a the bottom a part or the whole name of the file you're looking for and only the files that include your search are showed. You can also preview some files by clicking on View/Preview, this will help you determine if you've selected the file you're looking for. When you've selected the file you're looking for go to Extract/Selected and the file will to taken out off the .bar file so you can convert and edit it.

How and for what do I use File Converter?
When opening File Converter, a window will show-up. There you can select four different file types that File Converter can convert: .ddt, .tga, .xmb and .xml. Just the select the file you want to convert and the rest is done automatically.

Now that we've converted the files to an editable format we need to actually edit them. For that we need some basic programs most of use have already installed on our PC. If you've not, fear not, because they're also downloadable.

Editing .XML files
To edit .XML files we can just use Notepad, which comes with Windows. Different programs like Dreamweaver and Programmer's Notepad tend to work better, but need to be bought or downloaded first. To edit a .XML file you can just open it and start editing right away. The XML files aren't very hard to understand and can be edited by virtually everybody.

Editing .TGA files
Editing the texture files (.tga) is somewhat more diffecult. You'll need a program that can read, edit and save .tga files. Programs that can do this are for instance Photoshop and GIMP. Paint is a program that cannot edit .tga files.