Getting new decals can take a pretty long time. With this guide, you’ll be able to either swap your current decal graphic with a more exclusive one, or even make your own new one. Like any mod, things like this are client-sided, meaning no one else will be able to see that you’re using it unless you’re livestreaming or uploading vods. Also remember that anyone who uses the same decal as you will also visually be using your custom decal, but only from your perspective. So don’t go asking them about it. This also means obviously having a slightly more exclusive decal yourself reduces the chances of seeing others with it, as a huge majority of players use the default.
The MPQ needed for this is base.SC2ASSETS which is located at C:\Program Files (x86)\StarCraft II\Mods\Liberty.SC2Mod. Remember to back this up in case you change your mind later. In order to open this MPQ file, you need to use MPQEditor. Once inside the MPQ, go to Assets\Textures. This is where all the decals, as well as various other hundreds of textures are stored. If you type “de” it’ll bring you straight to them. Here you can see the basic structure behind the decal names. In order to use a different one, you’ll need to find the name of your desired one and then rename it to the name of your current one. You can download all the decals for Protoss, Zerg and Terran as well as a few other decals that aren’t actually obtainable here. I’ll add a reference to the end of the page so you can see what decal has what code.
Now say this is your desired decal. According to the reference, it’s called “decal_terran_0028_01″ So, to get it to work, rename the DDS with this name to “decal_terran_0003_01″ and then copy it in to the MPQ archive, replacing the old one.
You might be tempted to mix and match races’ decals. While it’s totally possible, some of them can be hard to make out.
If you want to make your own entirely new decal, that’s possible too. Unfortunately it’s pretty difficult to do unless you have Photoshop. The allowed size of decals is pretty restricted. If you use a program like Paint.NET to make the decal, the size is usually three times too big which causes the game to freeze on the loading screen. If you have your own method to compressing them without ruining the quality, or different software that doesn’t make them so bulky, then by all means go ahead. The default filesize you should aim for is 85.4kb. If you do have photoshop, you have nothing to worry about as they all default to this size using the correct dimensions. First, you’re going to need a DDS plug-in in order to export DDS files. This is freely provided by NVIDIA. Once you’ve got that installed, you can start working on your custom decal. The canvas dimensions must strictly be 256×256. Once you’re done, save as DDS. When you get the popup box from NVIDIA, click on the drop-down box at the top left and select “DXT5 ARGB 8bpp l Interpolated Alpha” and make sure the name is the same as the current decal you’re using. The decal in the screenshot will also be provided in the download.
I’ll add the names of every file included in the download, as well as ones you can’t actually obtain in the game, for those of you who don’t have a DDS thumbnail viewer. Alternatively, you can download MysticThumbs which has a 30 day free trial or something. Apparently there are more free ones out there now, but a lot of them are buggy with win7. I ended up buying MysticThumbs when it was the only reliable DDS viewer as I obviously needed one for all the work I was doing, and can vouch for it being pretty reliable. The DDS used in the screenshot is just called “example”.