Adding a New Unit
I figured someone might as well write a tutorial on adding units, since I had enough trouble
figuring it out on my own. The first thing you're going to need is a .BIG file unpacker.
There are lots to choose from, if you know where to look (I personally have been using
Xentax). Once you have that, extract the .INI files to your generals directory. The one that
we're going to look at to start with is FactionUnits.ini (This should be in your
In case you don't know (And yes, you are a n00b if you don't), you can open a .INI file with
Notepad or Wordpad or any other basic text editor. The first thing you'll see is a comment
from the programmers regarding the nature of this file. Read it. Anything with a semi-colon
(One of these -> ; ) before it is a comment. Comments are not run in-game as code, they're
there for the sole purpose of documentation.
Okay, now, the first OBJECT you'll see, is AmericaParachute. I doubt you're really interested
in editing this, so let's skip to something you can edit and see immediate results (assuming
you haven't changed your start map file). Use your text editor's search function to find
AmericaVehicleHumvee. Note the naming convention. All units in C&C Generals follow this.
For instance, there's ChinaTankBattlemaster, GLAInfantryRebel, AmericaVehicleComanche, etc.
All objects have several attributes you can modify. Let's look at the one that will let you
see a change visually (Hopefully you've found AmericaVehicleHumvee by now); the MODEL
attribute. You'll find this under the CONDITIONSTATE of NONE. In other words, this is what
the Humvee will look like when nothing special has happened to it (like damage, or upgrades).
Okay, change AVHUMMER in the model field to.. hmm.. CVPoliceCar. Assuming your file is in the
correct place, you can now start up Generals and look at the opening scene in the main
Ooh. Ah. You've changed the model of the Hummer. Feel special? Good.
Before we move on, a side note: A list of all models can be found in W3D.BIG. The naming
convention is as follows (We'll refer to AVHUMMER):
A for America
V for Vehicle
HUMMER is the name of the object.
In other words, the first two letters are the faction and unit type, the last blog of text
is the model's name.
Okay, so you think you're real special, eh? You've modified the model for the Humvee. Now
you want more. Understandable, let's start a new unit. Vehicles are the simplest, in my
opinion, to implement, so let's copy the good 'ol Humvee (everything from the header down to
the part before the line that seperates it from the next object) and paste it at the bottom
of the file so you can find it easy.
First things first, let's change the name. Call it whatever you want, I'll call mine
AmericaVehicleCopCar (Not real original, but it's simple). You can change the portraits and
such, if you want, but I'm just going to skip to my first main point: the weapon. Scroll down
to the section titled ***DESIGN parameters *** and find WeaponSet. Note that there are
actually two weaponsets, one for before you upgrade to TOW Missiles, and one for after the
upgrade. For now, just edit the first one. Set WEAPON = PRIMARY HumveeGun to WEAPON = PRIMARY
Next, let's change how it moves. Locomotors control every aspect of unit movement in Generals.
Scroll down to *** ENGINEERING Parameters ***. Find where it says Locomotor = SET_NORMAL
HumveeLocomotor. Okay, now change that to Locomotor = SET_NORMAL TechnicalLocomotor
What we currently have, assuming you've followed along, is a unit that looks like a cop car
(if you didn't change the humvee back to it's default model), fires GLA Rocket Buggy missiles,
and moves like a GLA Technical (Moves fast, catches some decent air on good-sized bumps). I
know what you're thinking: "Okay, so I've made a unit, now how do I get it in the game?"
Just hold on a second and I'll tell you.
Go back to your .BIG extractor and pull out CommandButton.INI and CommandSet.INI. Open up
CommandButton, for starters, because now we're going to make a new button to build your unit.
Search for ConstructAmericaVehicleHumvee. This is obviouslly the button that builds Humvees.
It's exactly what you see in the USA's War Factory. Copy the whole thing and paste it right
below the original.
First things first, change the name. I called mine ConstructAmericaVehicleCopCar. You can call
yours whatever you want, but I strongly suggest following naming convention for easy
searching later. The Command = field tells the game what it wants the button to do. In this
case, it's building a unit. Leave that alone. The Object = field tells it what it's building.
Change this to the name of your unit (In my case, AmericaVehicleCopCar). The TextLabel is the
name in the tooltip that pops up when you highlight it ("But wait, I don't have a tooltip
yet..." Hold that thought). Change this to CONTROLBAR:ConstructAmericaVehicleCopCar or
whatever your unit's name is tacked onto the end. We'll come back to tooltips later. For the
button image, you can make it something different, or just leave it alone. The next entry,
like the comment says, just tells the user what the button does. Don't bother messing with
it unless you like confusing people. Finally, the DescriptLabel is the second half of the
tooltip. Once again, modify it to fit the name of your unit. We'll come back to this too.
Fingers cramping yet? Mine are. Anyway... Next, open up CommandSet.INI, we need to tell the
War Factory to use this button. First, refer to the comment at the top to understand the
button layout, then search for AmericaWarFactoryCommandSet. This is the list of buttons that
the US War Factory uses. Note that buttons 6-8 are not in use, and #9 is commented out
(apparently a feature of the Multiplayer Test that was removed). You can use any of these
button slots (even 9) to put in your button. I suggest you just copy the line of text for
slot 5 and change it to reflect your button's name. That was easy, eh?
Okay, time to finish this unit off. Now you're going to need a .CSF editor. Many C&C sites
have them available for download. .CSF files are what Generals uses to store it's tooltips
and other text blogs. Once you have an editor, open up ENGLISH.BIG and extract generals.CSF.
This should go in your GeneralsDataEnglish directory. Open the file with your CSF editor.
Find the CONTROLBAR section and look up a tooltip similar to yours. Copy the name, insert a
new string, and change the name to reflect the appropriate tooltip entry. (NOTE: There ARE
one or two tooltips on the unit itself, you may want to go back and change these too) Make
them say whatever you want. You can tell them the button will give them a million dollars if
they click it, if that's what you really want. I suggest you use an existing tooltip as a
Okay, that done? Everything saved? You're now ready to test your unit. Load up Generals and
skirmish against a computer as USA. Note the new button on your War Factory. Build your new
whatever it is that you called it. Attack the enemy with it, if you want to see the
Woo, you've made your own unit. Now go make more! Or, change more of the details about your
unit. No, I do not intend to go into more detail on this subject, so you're on your own now.
Experiment! That's what modding is all about. Don't be afraid to change a value, even if you
don't think it'll work. Most of all, have fun, but try to remember that sleep and food are
required for survival.
Tutorial Read: Times