Age of Empires Series Wiki
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All information about how game files of certain games are stored go here.

Note: One cannot browse through files of games downloaded through Microsoft Store. Hence, most of this information is about games launched through Steam.

AoEIIDE icon Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition[]

For Steam versions, the installed game files are located at ...\steam\steamapps\common\AoE2DE.

User files are located at C:\Users\<username>\Games\Age of Empires 2 DE\<a long number>, which consists of:

  1. Installed Mods from in-game browser in ...\mods\subscribed
  2. Mods installed locally in ...\mods\local
  3. Hotkey profiles in ...\profile
  4. Saved games (.aoe2spgame format) and recorded games (.aoe2record format) in ...\savegame
  5. Created custom scenarios, campaigns, and xs scripts for AI in ...\resources\_common in their respective folders
  6. For Return of Rome, number 4 and 5 above can be found in ...\modes\Pompeii

Modifying game files[]

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.
  • Unit and building graphics:
    • These are in the installed game location, in the directory ...\steam\steamapps\common\AoE2DE\resources\_common\drs\graphics.
    • Prior to update 66692, these graphics files were in .smx format. SMX files can be extracted with SLX Studio. They consist of a text file in .slx format, which is almost like a CSV file and can be opened manually in any text editor, and lots of PNG files which are the frames for the animations, the PNG files suffixed with "d" are like "masks", and the colour in each pixel determines if that corresponding pixel in the colour file is given transparency, or is modified by player colour, or is used as it is.
    • Since update 66692, the game graphics files have been changed to .sld format, which is yet to be fully reverse engineered by the community. One tool which offers converting sld to image files (but not vice versa) is this.
  • Audio:
    • Most audio is in .wem format (Wwise Vorbis and Wwise Opus), which can be created and edited with Audiokinetic's Wwise software. On the other hand, other software can also extract/open these, such as "Ravioli Game Tools", "BNK Tools", as well as "foobar2000" with "vgmstream decoder" plugin. Some audio is compressed into formats such as .bnk and .pck, containing mp3 or mp4 files. These can also be opened by the afore-mentioned software.
    • The compressed audio can be found in ...\steam\steamapps\common\AoE2DE\wwise. Most audio files and the file paths to use for them are listed here. For audio modding for the game in general, this guide is more in-depth.
    • The terrain ambience files are located in ...\steam\steamapps\common\AoE2DE\resources\_common\drs\sounds. For a list of ambience used for various terrains, see the Scenario Editor page.
  • Terrain
    • Terrain textures are .dds (Direct Draw Surface) format, with linear RGBA 8-bit settings. The texture files are located in ...\steam\steamapps\common\AoE2DE\resources\_common\terrain\textures\2x. The topright corner of the texture file corresponds to the north corner of a tile in-game, and the bottomright corner in the file with the east corner in the game. The terrain texture is divided into tiles of 10 on each side when rendered in the game. For a list of terrain texture files associated with the various terrains, see the Scenario Editor page.
  • User interface:
    • These consist of png files which are the images used in the user interface (UI) and heads-up display (HUD), plus .json and .xml files which determine their position, size, and even behaviour, as well as colour, size, position, and font of text appearing in the user interface.
    • The json files can be found in ...\steam\steamapps\common\AoE2DE\widgetui.
  • Palette files
  • Data file:
    • The game data file is ...\steam\steamapps\common\AoE2DE\resources\_common\dat\empires2_x2_p1.dat. This contains all gameplay data, and can be opened in Advanced Genie Editor, which is included in the game files in ...\steam\steamapps\common\AoE2DE\Tools_Builds\AdvancedGenieEditor3.exe.
  • Icons:
    • Icons for units, buildings, technologies, command panel buttons can be found in ...\steam\steamapps\common\AoE2DE\widgetui\textures\ingame. The icons are in .dds (Direct Draw Surface) format, with linear RGBA 8-bit settings. These files can be opened and edited in image editors such as Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, Paint.NET, etc. The same directory also contains images for civilization user interface, buttons, etc, which are in plain PNG format.
  • RMS (Random Map Script) files
  • XS files

Aom original icon Age of Mythology[]

Files are by default located at Programs\Microsoft Games\Age of Mythology, while custom files may be saved at Documents\My Games\Age of Mythology. With Age of Mythology: The Titans, some folders gain a copy which are loaded exclusively to it, called foldername2, which will overwrite the vanillas game files.

Extraction of modifiable data[]

Modding relevant game content is mainly stored in *.dll and *.bar-files. The *.bar-files contain, when extracted through AoMeD or other extraction tools, *.xmb-files. *.xmb-files can be converted into modifiable *.xml-files, which can be edited with basic text editors.

While extracting has to be manually, the insertion back into the game is done manually by starting the game. All loose *.xml-files will be used to create new *.xmb-files, which overwrite the old *.xmb-files. The *.bar-Files remain untouched and load the basic game up front, but every *.xmb with different content will modify the started games status.

File types[]

Below are the various file-types used by Age of Mythology, The Titans, and the Extended Edition:

  • AVI: Used for the various movies and scenes such as the introduction cinematic, and ES logo.
  • BRG: Used by the game and is composed of a unit's model. The BRG is a 3dsMax origin file.
  • BTI: A .txt file used to define alphas, and formats for .TGAs when they are extracted to become .BTX files.
  • BTX: Converted TGA files, typically converted by the game during loading. Only used officially in pre-release versions, although some mods, such as Expanded Mod, also use this system.
  • CFG: Used to configure certain aspects in the game, only found in the /startup/ folder.
  • CPN: File used by Age of Mythology for campaigns, but unlike Genie-era Age of Empires games, does not contain scenario data.
  • CPX: File used by The Titans for campaigns, but unlike Genie-era Age of Empires games, does not contain scenario data.
  • DCL: Used to define certain special effects for models, used exclusively for shadows and 2D texture maps (i.e. Plenty Vault base tiles, Farms, etc.). It is also used to define ambient lights in the Extended Edition.
  • DDT: DDTs are used for textures, such as terrains, unit textures, user interface designs, etc. This is the native texture format for the games, albeit not the only one. The Extended Edition uses a .TGA based DDT file, whilst The Titans and Vanilla Age of Mythology use a .BMP based DDT. Since Extended Edition version 2.0, all Vanilla-originated DDT files are now compatible with the Extended Edition, however steam-origin DDTs are not compatible with Age of Mythology or The Titans.
  • DLL: Composed of non-XML data read by the game, and is used (for example) by The Titans, and Vanilla for language text (i.e. rollover descriptions).
  • DSO: Format used for shaders, and is not convertible via normal means. Exclusive to the Extended Edition.
  • GFX: Used to define default loaded graphics when Age of Mythology and The Titans are loaded with certain graphics cards.
  • GRN: Used by the game to render skeleton-dependent models, and exclusively cinematic models.
  • LGT: Used for the various global lightings used in the game.
  • LNG: Used to define lighting bolts, such as those used by Bolt, Lightning Storm, and the Son of Osiris.
  • MP3: Standard music format used in Age of Mythology, for music, and ambient sounds in cinematics.
  • MRTL: Used for the rendering of textures on models in the Extended Edition. Without this file, models will be rendered black.
  • MSK: Used to define fonts, used by the game.
  • PFX: Use for certain files that control bloom and tonemaps for the Extended Edition.
  • PRT: Used to define particles, and special effects not possible with .BRG files, and is made up of various 2D image maps, and is only composed of .XML data when extracted.
  • RCX: Used by the game and consists of recorded gameplay.
  • RTF: Only used for files in the /docs/ folder, and is not read by the game.
  • SCX/SCN: Used by The Titans/Extended Edition and Vanilla respectively, and is used to define scenarios.
  • SPR: Used to define 2D sprites. It is however, unused officially.
  • SVX/SVN: Used by The Titans/Extended Edition and Vanilla respectively, and is used to define saved games.
  • TGA: The other format for textures, and the one used as a base for Extended Edition .DDT files. Despite this however, all games have the ability to read and convert .TGA files into .BTX files. Unlike .BMP-origin DDTs, TGAs allow the ability to use alpha masks, instead of a color/transparency mask.
  • TSS: Used to define certain effects (such as fog and water bump maps) by the game.
  • TXT: Used for history, mythology, and lore text, as well as logs.
  • WAV: Standard sound format used in Age of Mythology, for non-music sounds, and non-cinematic sounds.
  • XMB: A converted variant of .xml, typically used to store data, and is converted by the game, and it's expansion's executable file during loading.
  • XML: A format known as extensible markup language, which is both human, and machine-readable. XML is the editable extracted variant of XMB.
  • XS: Used for scripts, and is a raw C++ file, used for the artificial intelligence, random map scripts, and triggers.
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