Dota 2
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Modding Dota 2: Episode 1: Editing the In-Game Text
By Silentman
The first in my How to Mod Dota 2 guide series, I explain how to edit the killstreaks, names, and tool-tips as they appear in-game, as well as various other plain text UI elements in Dota 2.

Dota 2 is an amazing, well-loved game. What many people might not know, however, is that it's also a very flexible game, both in gameplay and the way it works, internally.

For example: did you know that almost all of the in-game text is easily editable?

In this guide, I'll explain, step-by-step, how to edit the in-game text to say what you think is best, without raising any hacking flags or being punished in any way by Valve, Perfect World, or Nexon. Everything done in this guide will only be seen by you, and will not affect anyone else's gameplay experience.
File locations and programs

First things first, we're going to want to set up everything we need before we begin, and we'll need a good text editor.
Chances are, you probably already have a text editor installed along with your operating system, notepad.exe if you're on Windows. That'll do for basic things, but a text editor with more features will do you favors. In this guide, I'll be using Notepad++[] because of its line counting and more detailed "find" feature.

The basic Notepad++ interface

I'll also be showing you how to use a simple program I wrote in Visual Basic specifically to help with the process of editing, available {LINK REMOVED}. Use it if you wish and pass it through the virus scanner of your choice, it's up to you.

I like Ursa, all right? So sue me

File Locations

First things first, point the file explorer of your OS to your Steam folder. The default on Windows is C:\Program Files\Steam\ or C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\. If it's something else, you probably know where it is.

It makes Speedy Gonzales look like Regular Gonzales

From there, click on "steamapps", then "common", and then either "dota 2 beta" or "dota 2". From there, click on "dota", and then finally "resource". Bookmark or favorite this location, we'll be visiting this place often. The "dota" folder is also important, as it will be the nexus of all of your modding efforts.

If you modded here, you'd be home by now

Locate and open the file dota_english.txt, or the one for whichever language you will want to edit.
First example: Intro to editing dota_english.txt
Unless they make any major changes between when this guide was last updated and when you're reading it, the file should look like this:

Before we begin anything important, remember Rule 1: DON'T DELETE ANYTHING! We're only going to be replacing things. Deleting anything will cause unintended problems. If at any time something goes horribly wrong, right click Dota 2 in your library, choose "properties", move to the "local files" tab, and click "Verify Integrity of Game Cache" to undo everything we've done.

This is the file in which all of the text that is in Dota 2 is located, organized wonderfully by Valve's programming team. On the left column is the text that the Source engine will search for in this file in certain events (kills, mouseovers, etc.) while on the right is what Dota will display once the text in the left column is called. For a quick example of how this works, hit Ctrl+f to search for "Ursa," and hit Enter.

Rule 2: Never, ever touch anything in the left column. That's off-limits. Rule 3: Everything in the right column must be in "quotation marks".

It should send you to the first location of the text "Ursa", which will be in the area of the file where all of the heroes are named. In the right column, replace "Ursa" with "Ulfsaar", his real name. Hit Ctrl+s to save the file, and then go into your library and start Dota 2. Once inside, head to the "STORE" tab and your loadout cards, and then find Ursa.

Here, you can see that most instances of Ursa's title will be replaced by his real name. It will also do this in-game, although it probably won't replace any instances inside of a paragraph or when Dota 2 pulls up a website, such as in the "LEARN" tab. For other instances in which Ursa's title will pop up, go back to dota_english and search again, hitting enter to cycle through all found instances. You can do this for any of the heroes in the game, for example: changing "Nature's Prophet" to "Tequoia" or "Furion", or changing "Skeleton King" to "Leoric" or "Invincible Bone Guy".
Other Useful Things to Edit.
In Step 2, we edited the Heroes section, which starts (at the time of the original writing of this guide), at line 892. Feel free to look through the file in your spare time, but allow me to point out some parts that may be of interest:

Chat wheel messages (which appear whenever you use the chat wheel in-game) at line 227
Player Killed -> Killstreaks (which appear whenever someone is killed) at line 254
Runes, drops, courier and fortification notifications at line 328
Various misc. names at line 1002
Buildings, including individual towers and barracks at line 1164
The in-game shops at line 1215
Attribute and ability names at line 1415
The hero selection panel at line 7344
Stuff for the learn tab at line 7448
The main menu at line 7585
Strange item levels at line 10610

Feel free to edit these as you wish, but remember: only you can see them! This is obviously for your own entertainment, as setting something to call someone a "feeder noob" in the chat wheel will not do anything but confuse whoever you're trying to insult.
Using the Killstreak Editor

Inside the .zip file you downloaded earlier is the program "Killstreak Editor". Unzip this file to its own folder, and run it after passing it through a virus scanner (never run a .exe file you've downloaded without scanning it first).
The way the program is set up allows you to edit what will appear in-game without fear of mis-formatting it or accidentally deleting something. Just hit the button when you're done, and a text file called "dota_output.txt" will be placed in the same folder the program is in. Then just take the contents, and copy-paste them into dota_english.txt at the appropriate lines. This also allows you to save the killstreaks that you've chosen, as the ones placed in-game will be put back to default whenever there's a major patch or you choose to verify the game cache.
Entering nothing but a space will make it so nothing appears in-game when the text would normally appear, if that is your choice.

When it first comes up, you'll be confronted by a bunch of text boxes and Ursa. Let's take a look at each of the sections of the program.

The first section: standard kills and destruction

When you first start it up, a set will already be in place, making it so the kill announcements are more uniform, and the killstreaks are more informative of how many kills have been made. In the first section, you will be able to change what displays when someone is killed, denied, or commits suicide as well as when a tower is destroyed. %s1, %s2, and %s3 are all variables that the game will put into the correct place when the need arises, and will only work in the places where variables already are. %s1 is usually the first player in the phrase, %s2 is usually the second player but sometimes the bounty, and %s3 is almost always the bounty. They are always used correctly when the program is started.

The second section: kills in quick succession, or "multi-kills"

The second section covers kills that happen within a reasonable amount of time of each other, as well as the animated red text that appears during a rampage. You may notice that the quintuple kill shows up twice: that is because in the default messages, there needs to be two different ways for it to appear while still being grammatically correct in the two instances. Whatever you put into the rampage text box will still flash the same way the default does.

The third section: kills in a single life, or killstreaks

The next section is dedicated to the text that appears when you or someone else kills multiple enemies in a single life, the killstreaks. It covers both when they happen and when they end, and the gold bounty involved. Note that the game does not cover killstreaks higher than 10, and will simply repeat whatever you put into the "10 or higher" boxes each time they kill someone again. Also worth noting is that the text can have dedicated font colors, shown in six-number hexidecimal as well as bolding.

The save button, as well as the prompt to rename the main menu

Finally, the STORE rename prompt and the save button. Checking this box will add another text line to the output, which will change the "STORE" tab on the main menu to "ITEMS", which is more encompassing in my opinion.
Hitting the save button will save everything you've entered into the boxes to dota_output.txt in the same folder as the program. It should look similar to this:


Highlight everything from "DOTA_Chat_PlayerKilled" to "%s1 ended %s2’s <font color='#FF8000'><b>double-digit kill streak</b></font> for %s3 gold!" and hit Ctrl+c, and open dota_english.txt up. Ctrl+f to search for "DOTA_Chat_PlayerKilled" and highlight everything from that to "%s1 ended %s2’s beyond <font color='#FF8000'><b>GODLIKE</b></font> streak for %s3 gold!", and then hit ctrl+v.

The formatting will not match. That is ok, as long as everything is in the correct order and nothing was deleted, it will work

Hit ctrl+s to save, and then do the same thing with the "STORE" line if you so choose. Then, open up Dota 2, create your own lobby with cheats enabled, and double check to make sure everything works.

It worked for me!

Then rename dota_output.txt as something else, probably something descriptive of what you've chosen. This will ensure that if you use the program again, what you have now will not be overwritten.

DON'T FORGET! Every time there's a major patch that changes something in dota_english.txt, everything will revert back to default, so having your killstreak of choice on hand will be necessary to avoid a lot of headaches! An easy way to replace them was provided by Knorssman at /r/dota2modding here.
Credits and thanks.
All of the in-game and program pictures used were screenshots made by me.
The Ursa picture used in the killstreak editor taken from
The main Ursa icon for this guide taken from
Special thanks to Skyl3lazer for help on the program.

If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or constructive criticism, please leave a comment.
If you have a custom killstreak that you'd like for me to include in the next update of the killstreak editor program, or if you're someone with an expertise who would like to collaborate with me on this project, message me on Steam.

Other guides in this series:

Modding Dota 2: Episode 2: Editing Sounds and Testing Custom Announcers
Modding Dota 2: Episode 3.1: Editing Loading Screens
Coming soon (Valve time): Modding Dota 2: Episode 3.2: Editing Character Textures
Modding Dota 2: Episode 4: Editing Item and Skill Icons
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Pirate Aug 14, 2015 @ 12:52pm 
Hi, I have few questions about the guide, could you please add me?
Merry Xmásacre Dec 30, 2014 @ 10:36am 
Can you do the same thing with ability names?
Ainz Ooal Gown-Sama Aug 7, 2014 @ 8:50pm 
Is it possible to change dota2 skins back to dota1 skins? For heroes, items, skills, creeps, tower and map. Seriously cannot stand the dull look of dota 2 >.>
Gloriuam Virtus™ Jun 11, 2014 @ 3:23am 
Hero Confirmed:
Abysaal Underlord (Pit LORD)

Jeff the killer Mar 19, 2014 @ 3:06pm 
Sprite Jan 8, 2014 @ 3:02pm 
I'm putting this here, the guide needs to be updated. Editing still works, but the place where you put the edited text in is no longer at line 250. It's now 412.
YLCSM Dec 31, 2013 @ 5:11pm 
quack :acduck:
Rincewind Dec 28, 2013 @ 4:58am 
Yay! Windrunner, Wisp, Arthas, PANDA!
dxdy Oct 8, 2013 @ 2:26am 
Io -> i/o :io:
Randy Butternubs Aug 12, 2013 @ 11:42am 
I can finally change Io back to Wisp! :d2brewmaster: