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Modding Dota 2: Episode 4: Editing Item and Skill Icons
In the fourth part of my How to Mod Dota 2 series, I explain how to edit the skill and item icons on the game's HUD.
The method outlined in this guide is outdated, as -override_vpk no longer works and has been replaced by -enable_addons. Everything else remains the same, as far as I'm aware. Any input and requested changes are appreciated.
In my previous guides, I explained how to edit various parts of your Dota experience. Now let's dive into item and skill icons!
Recommended Tools In this guide, we will be editing images. I will be using Adobe Photoshop, but many free alternatives can be used to achieve the same results. I recommend http://www.getpaint.net/ or GIMP[www.gimp.org] if you are on a budget and not an artist. If you are using Windows, the default Paint program may be sufficient for our purposes, but will likely make it difficult due to the lack of features available in other programs. A useful tool for viewing images and not necessarily editing them is IrfanView[www.irfanview.com]. If you would like to dig through Dota's file structures to see what you can edit on your own time, I recommend using GCFScape[nemesis.thewavelength.net].
As always, run an unfamiliar file that you've downloaded from the internet through a virus scanner before opening it.
VPK Override We'll be replacing files in Dota's file structure, so first we'll need to go into Dota 2's launch options and enter -override_vpk so the game knows where to look.
I also use -novid to remove the Valve logo at the game's startup. It's not needed for this walkthrough.
Dota 2 is programmed to look in pak01_dir.vpk for all of its resources, but if we turn on -vpk_override, it will instead look in its default file structure before falling back onto the VPK. When replacing icons, we will place them in \Steam\steamapps\common\dota 2 beta\dota\resource\flash3\images , and the appropriate folders inside. If they do not already exist in your folders, simply add them.
Our first example: item icons
After you've decided which icon you'd like to replace, open up GCFScape, find it in the file structure, and extract it to give yourself an easy template to work off of.
Have you noticed how the default tango icon still has 3 orbs, even though the recent buff to it gave it 4 charges? Let's fix that.
By default, item icons should be 88 x 64 pixels, with 36 x 64 pixels blank immediately to its right. We will be editing within the 88 x 64 pixels, while leaving the 36 x 64 blank.
Special thanks to lerobotsexy for the 4-orb tango design. Download it here[i.imgur.com] and rename it to tango.png
After you've put the finishing touches on it and it fits within the designated workspace, save it as a .PNG file, and place it in \Steam\steamapps\common\dota 2 beta\dota\resource\flash3\images\items . Then, load up Dota 2 to check if your mod worked. Don't forget -override_vpk!
Notice that the number 4 in the bottom corner is placed there by the game, and is not editable. Remember to leave space there so you can see it!
Skill and spell icons work on the same basic principle. When you extract the skill icons, notice that they're 128 x 128 pixels in size, with no blank space.
After you've edited it as you please, save it as a a .PNG and place it in \Steam\steamapps\common\dota 2 beta\dota\resource\flash3\images\spellicons
The Chinese game client icons as well as many other mods can be downloaded here[sites.google.com].
Again, check Dota 2 to see if it worked.
Notice that the mana icon in the bottom corner is not editable, and is placed there by the game. Remember to not put any important details where it would be covered up. Certain abilities also place the skill icon above the health bar as a status indicator, such as Ancient Apparition's Chilling Touch. Some of those abilities will place a number on it, take notice of which ones so you can make the numbers more noticeable if you wish.
All screen captures were created by me. Awesome Ursa picture made by Spacedad. Steam and Dota 2 made by Valve.
If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or constructive criticism, please leave a comment. If you're someone with an expertise who would like to collaborate with me on this project, or would like personal help at a fee, message me on Steam.