Creating Custom Icons

By Darg

Icon Basics

All icons in Warcraft 3 are 64 x 64 pixel 24-bit pictures in TGA or BLP format.

What you Need to Make Icons
To make the icons, you should use a picture editing program that can save images in TGA format, such as Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, or PhotoImpact. If you don't have any software that does this, you could save the image as a JPG instead and use IrfanView to convert your graphics into TGA format (

Note that there is no such editor that can open or save BLP images, as this format belongs to Blizzard (BLizzard Proprietary format). Therefore you must first save in TGA format and then decide whether you want to do a TGA->BLP conversion.

You can use either TGA or BLP format.

After the editor compresses your map file, they are almost the same file size for both formats. Please note:

  • If using TGA format, DO NOT save alpha channels.
  • If converting to BLP format, DO save alpha channels.

Ignoring those instructions will result in bogus icons that do not work.

File Format for Icons

There are 2 available tools that can do TGA->BLP conversions.

Each icon graphic for a unit / building consists of 2 icons, the main icon you see when normally playing the game, and the darkened icon that you see when you hit F10 to display the menu. The main icon is called the BTN icon and the darker icon is called the DISBTN icon. You do not need a DISBTN icon if you don't want to, but the BTN icon is compulsory.

Naming your Icons

When naming your icons, make sure you put the letters "BTN" at the start of the BTN icon filename. Put "DISBTN" at the start of the DISBTN icon filename. e.g. BTNLightning.tga , DISBTNLightning.tga

Standard buttons have a frame around them. ReplaceableTextures\CommandButtons\BTNLightning.tga
Passive buttons have no frame. ReplaceableTextures\PassiveButtons\PASBTNLightning.tga
Disabled buttons have no frame and are much darker. ReplaceableTextures\CommandButtonsDisabled\DISBTNLightning.tga
Disabled passive buttons are the same. ReplaceableTextures\CommandButtonsDisabled\DISPASBTNLightning.tga

Importing your Icons

When importing your icons into your map, use the import manager, and set the import path to:

ReplaceableTextures\CommandButtons\BTN + Lightning + .tga = BTNLightning.tga
ReplaceableTextures\PassiveButtons\PASBTN + Lightning + .tga = PASBTNLightning.tga
ReplaceableTextures\CommandButtonsDisabled\DISBTN + Lightning + .tga = DISBTNLightning.tga
ReplaceableTextures\CommandButtonsDisabled\DISPASBTN + Lightning + .tga = DISPASBTNLightning.tga

If you don't have TFT, use WinMPQ to do exactly the same thing, import and change the path as stated above.

Viewing Icons in the Editor

If you make a directory called ReplaceableTextures\CommandButtons\ in your Warcraft 3 folder and put your icons in there, you can also instantly see the icons when assigning them in the editor. Otherwise, you may only be able to see them in the game.

My Icons Don't Work

If you get a green box or a black box where your icon should be, it appears your graphic isn't properly working.

Firstly, make sure your import path is correct, typically most problems that occur are because the person has not imported the icons into the correct path.

If you decided not to use a DISBTN icon, that the green box you are seeing is NOT the DISBTN, because that is expected.

If that is not the case, make sure you have merged your icon properly onto the graphic and that there are no "floating" images in it. Consult your picture editing program help guide on how to do this.

Did you save the alpha channels right? You SHOULD NOT save alpha channels if you are using TGA icons. You SHOULD save alpha channels if you are using BLP format.

Green: Icon not found.
Black: BLP with without alpha channels.
Crash: TGA with saved alpha channels.

Also make sure your icons are 24-bit and not 32-bit or 16-bit. Failing that, post your icons on our community forum and we will look at them.

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