ETW Data

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At the heart of any game beats a spreadsheet (the cleverer ones hide this fact well). For complex games, there are several.

Thanks to the excellent Pack File Manager by LtChambers, we can now look at (many of) the data files for Empire: Total War.

When the Steam client caches the game on your system, it tucks the data files into %ProgramFiles%\Steam\SteamApps\common\empire total war\data, as a collection of .pack files. These are archives that contain other files, much like .zip or .cab files.

There are several .pack files: the following sub-sections contain a quick look at some of the interesting things revealed. Note that other interesting files, such as the ETW key bindings and ETW preferences, are kept elsewhere.



6335 files in animations/, from aaa_warscapeframe to test.


103 files in battleterrain/presets/, from afghan_mountains to wooden_fort.


1347 files in battleterrain/: blend_maps/, cliff_maps/, colour_maps/, detail_maps/, farm_templates/, forest_underlays/, grass/, groundcover_density_maps/, groundcover_distribution_maps/, rock_maps/, surfaces/, tiled_maps/, tiles/, and walls/.


Front End User Interface TGA, .fx, and .dds files for initial loading:

  • commontextures/
  • fx/
  • ui/


1 file: groupformations.bin.


1362 Localization resources, in the "en" (English) locale:

  • advisor/
  • font/
  • text/


663 files. This is the Big Kahuna, the key to most of the non-"eye candy" aspects of the game. As of version 1.11, the Pack File Manager does not decode all the contained files. But many that it can understand are quite useful.

See the main.pack topic for details.

Important: the files in patch.pack override the ones here.


13,596 files. See the models.pack topic for details.


movies/ contains the .bik files, from eur_con_vic (European Conquest Victory) to sword_rvg_rk_01.

movies/audio/ contains localized audio from "actor_2," for countries ar, cz, du, fr, ge, hi, it, pe, pl, po, ru, sp, sw, tu, uk, and us.


3402 Files intended to replace those in the original distribution. As of the 30 Mar 09 patch, these include:

  • LUA script files for episodicscripting, events, export_advice, export_ancillaries, and export_triggers.
  • groupformations.bin
  • advisor/ .mp3 files
  • animations/
  • battleterrain/
  • buildings/
  • db/
  • fx/
  • indicators/
  • rigidmodels/
  • rti/
  • scenarios/
  • sea/
  • sfx/
  • sounds/
  • sounds_packed/
  • testdata/
  • text/
  • tutorialbattles/
  • ui/
  • unitmodels/


Patch data, localized for the "en" (English) locale.


The waves and cute lighting effects: wind_level_{0-4}_{sea,swell}.


2 files in sounds_packed/: sound_bank_database and sound_events.


73 files, sounds/ contains CSV files for movie_volumes and sound_categories (currently, only music or weather), and XML files sound_bank_ for ambient_battle_forest to unit_voice_events, and sound_settings.


2,602 .anim_sound_event files in animations/. See the sounds_animation_triggers.pack topic for details.


273 WAV files in campaign/ for various campaign map sounds. See the sounds_campaign.pack topic for details.


228 .mp3 files in music/ for various parts of the game. See the sounds_music.pack topic for details.


25 WAV files, borrowed from M2:TW -

other/med ii/arrows/med2_arrow_flyby_{01-25}_gme.wav


1 file: placeholder/silent placeholder/empty.wav.


3592 WAV files in sfx/ for various special effects noises.

See the sounds_sfx.pack topic for details.


120 subtitle text string files in movies/, in CSV format, for various .bik files, localized to 7 countries: cz, de, en, fr, it, po, and ru.

The Campaign files follow the naming convention {eur,ind,ott}_{con,mon,rep}_vic.bik_lc.csv, corresponding to the culture and Government type at victory.

The RTI files follow the naming convention rti_cs{1-6}_v0n_bink_sound.bik_lc.csv, where the "cs" number identifies each episode, the n is presumably a version id, and the lc is the country (locale) code.


2 files: world_.stpd and world_.stpi. Presumably, the 1st one contains data and the 2nd one contains index information to find the data.


509 TGA files in battleterrain/templates/. See the terrain_templates.pack topic for details.


TGA, mesh and .dds files for animations/, buildings/, campaignflags/, clouds/, coastline/, diplomat/, euroline/, fence/, gun/, legs/, loki/, musketman/, overlays/, ranger/, splines/, terrain/, trees/, victory/, wakes/ and water/, and XML files for the world/.

Very important -- start here before modding!


17430 TGA and compiled LUA files in ui/ for various User Interface elements.

This is the main file for the dynamics of the application. See the ui.pack topic for details.


1 file: movies/frontend.bik.


24,055 .mp3 files, for events from armies_generic_response (for each Government type) to unit_type_selection on the generals_unit, from 7 actors, localized to 17 countries: ar, cz, du, fr, ge, hi, it, pe, pl, po, ru, sp, sw, tu, uk, us, and us_trib).

--MikeV 7 April 2009

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