Similar to the background image replacing, we can also use SCs MPQs to change the colour or texture of any of the games models. While this might be a bit simpler to access as we only need to use one MPQ rather than four or five for the backgrounds or having to replace five different folders for the collectors edition thor, this does require a small amount of photoshop knowledge. Nothing that can’t be learned with a few minutes of google.
The MPQ needed to be used for this is called base.SC2Assets and can be found at SC2 > Mods > Liberty.SC2Mod. After opening the MPQ with MPQEditor, go to Assets > Textures and this is pretty much all the stuff you’re going to be working with. This consists of every texture used for units and buildings by each race. Select anything and type out the first few letters of a unit you want to retexture. Whatever you choose, there’ll be a few .DDS files for each unit. The one you’re looking for is the one with “_diffuse” written after it.
After you’ve chosen one, extract it to where you want. Because of the .DDS format, you’re going to need the NVIDIA DDS Plug-In. Unfortunately this only works with x32 versions of Photoshop, and even with that, I can’t confirm that it works with CS5 at all as I don’t think it’s been updated recently. A fairly nice alternative is Paint.NET as it can still be used to retexture with a bit of practice and is fully working with .DDS files. If you really really want to use photoshop to recolour, you can just use Paint.NET to convert the .DDS to png, then do what you want in photoshop and then save again from png to .DDS with Paint.NET. jpeg won’t work.
(Update: After many years of incompatibility, the wonderful people over at NVIDIA have finally released the plug-in to work on all x64 versions of Photoshop, including the recent CS5 release! It’s a fine day for science. That said, if you can’t get your hands on Photoshop, Paint.NET still does the trick.)
After you’re done retexturing them, instead of replacing the old one inside the mpq, go to SC II\Mods\LibertyMulti.SC2Mod and create a new structure of folders here starting with base.SC2Assets, then a folder in that called Assets and another in that called Textures. Put your new textures in here. This solves the lag issue created from simply replacing the old dds files within the mpq, as well as being a lot simpler. Note that this method has been said to be troublesome on US clients.
For my example, I’ve chosen the Colossus texture. It’s 3am here so you’ll have to forgive my lack of effort put into the recolouring. If I’m honest, all I did was press invert.
This also works for buildings. I was feeling generous this time, so I added a nice teal tint. I’m not sure how though, because I don’t usually use Paint.NET. It was actually an accident but I just decided to roll with it.
Lets say you wanted to make a brand new texture by yourself, or were using my tutorial on model swapping, focusing on swapping a model such as Zeratul or the Hero units. One thing you’ll notice is that these textures weren’t designed for team colours. If you swap a model that’s used commonly in team games, you’ll notice this can be quite distracting or could even cause you to A-move your own team mates.
The way team colours work on textures is with the transparency. The actual team colour itself obviously isn’t attached to the texture, else you’d need like 10 textures for every single section of each model. The colour is applied underneath the texture which will then be shown through the transparent parts of the texture.
Using the colossus_diffuse.dds as an example again, take note of the grey and white chequered boxes. This is where my team colour will seep through the texture for others to see.
As you can now see the entire models texture is gone and the model is completely red as that was my teams colour. The light effects are still there because they belong to a separate dds file. You can change that too if you wanted, but it’s not going to kill anyone.
Obviously if you’re going to be remaking your own model and need to do a change like this, you’re not going to be doing a 100% reveal. This is just to give you an idea of how to make team colours more revealing, should you be using a model not designed to support multiplayer.