The following is a guide to creating an entire Civilization (also known as an empire) in Civilization IV. This walkthrough will cover XML basics along with the XML files requiring modification, how to handle the art files, leaderheads, flags, buttons, along with some tips to get desired effects. This tutorial is designed with the inexperienced modder in mind. There will be many sections dedicated to nearly step-by-step processes included in this rather large tutorial. Such as creating the leaderhead, designing U.U.s, setting up the A.I. of a leader, creating custom diplomacy text, and more. PLAN AHEAD! Before you begin, it is always a good idea to lay out a design before rushing into creating your own Civilziation. Some things you should consider: City Names You can have as many city names as you want or only one. The problem with having only only one city name is that when the A.I. makes its second settlement, it'll go to your Civilization's city name list, and if it has no more names to choose from, it will select "ANY" city name. If you removed all of Japan's city names except Kyoto, when the AI or yourself makes a second settlement, you'll get something like Damascus or Mecca as the recommended/chosen city name. I recommend having at least 12-24 default city names. Starting Techs Each Civ usually has starting technologies. These technologies can be any technology in the game. All the regular Civilizations/Empires choose two from the following: Hunting, Fishing, Mining, The Wheel, Mysticism, or Agriculture Unique Units/Buildings Consider the various units that can be replaced by your unique units. If you're designing a civilizaion for the Warlords/Beyond the Sword expansion pack you should also plan a unique building to add to your civilization. You might also want to have a good idea of how to balance them with specific promotions/bonuses in mind. Also consider the possibility of skinning the unit, which will be covered briefly in this tutorial. Leaders Having a good knowledge of the leader in particular along with their personality/handle of government is a must for creating a new leader. With XML files we can create some AI quirks for your new leader to make use of. Along with their A.I. personality you can assign various traits. In Civilization IV leaders take two of the following traits: (Aggressive, Creative, Expansive, Financial, Industrious, Organized, Philosophical, and Spiritual (Warlords/Beyond the Sword adds Imperialistic and Protective traits as well). SECTION 1 The Art Files When modifying the art files in Civilization IV, you're going to need a proper program to modify, DirectDraw Surface, or .dds files. .DDS files are basically similar to regular bitmaps, except that they contain the same image at different resolutions from large to small. Firstly, you're going to need a proper program to edit these .dds files. Personally I prefer DXTbmp, which properly generates the mipmaps (the same image at multiple resultions) and is relatively user friendly. SECTION 1.1 Creating the Flag The very first task you'll need to do to create a flag for your Civilization is a source image to create the flag from. Once you have your source image -- you want to resize its proportions to 128x128. Here is my Carthaginian flag from my Carthage mod on the left. As you can see it looks pretty nice at 128x128, and it's nicely set in the middle so it doesn't wrap around the actual flag mesh. There is only one problem however. When the game actually loads the image is actually "squished" by about 25% in the width, as you can see the results with the image on the right. To remedy this, we stretch the original image's width by 125% to cancel out this effect. Which results in a properly scaled image within the game. Now, with a properly scaled image, we can actually load the image into DXTBmp and create the .dds file. To do this, simply load up DXTBmp. Then select File -> Open and open up your 128x128 bitmap. Now, double click the white area labeled "Alpha Channel." This should load your default paint/image editing program. Now use the paint bucket tool and fill the entire white area with black. This will make the game use your RGB values rather than the player's in-game color to define the flag. Now, click File -> Save as -> DDS Texture. Before you save the image, click on the "Save as type" bar, and make sure that the image type is DDS DXT3. Try to keep the name of the file simple (LikeThis.dds). For implementation of the flag, skip to Section 2.3.1 of this guide. SECTION 1.2 Creating the Leaderhead Firstly, it's best to have a source image. Here I have a painting of Abraham Lincoln -- although it's been shrunk down for internet use. Now, when creating a leaderhead, it is a good idea to use the ideal proportions of 512x512, and remembering our law of 125% width from our previous enounter. With this in mind, I stretch this image to the proper proportions. Now it may look rather ugly in that sense, but once put into the game, you can see the results in diplomacy look MUCH more pleasing to the eye! Now, you want to treat the leaderhead file exactly as you did before with the flags. To create the .dds file, get DXTBmp and start it. Then select File -> Open and open up your 512x512 bitmap. Warning: Don't set the alpha channel black, otherwise there'll be problems with your 2D leaderhead. Click File -> Save as -> DDS Texture. Before you save the image, click on the "Save as type" bar, and make sure that the image type is DDS DXT3. SECTION 1.3 Creating Buttons Before you start creating buttons. Typically you'll need three buttons. One for the leaderhead, one for your Civ flag, and one for your Unique Unit. Make your buttons with this in mind for your Civilization. Button sizes are typically 64x64 pixels. The best idea when creating a button is to firstly create the image for the 64x64 image file. Then, put the image into the Civ4 border. The reason behind the border is that they create an illusion of a button shadow when the alpha channels are applied. This is the border I use; feel free to use it in your mods. The only difference now is the alpha channel. Here is the actual alpha channel used globally for Civ4 buttons. Make sure to set this up before you save your DDS DXT3 files. SECTION 1.4 File Arrangements Now that you've created the Art files you need to create the actual mod directory and place the files in their proper directories. Firstly, go into your Program Files\Firaxis Games\Sid Meier's Civilization IV\Mods directory. Now, create a directory of your choosing therein. So it'll be something like Sid Meier's Civilization IV\Mods\YourCiv\. Alternatively you can put your mods in the Warlords/Beyond the Sword expansion directories depending on what game you'd like to play your Civilization in. Note: Do not go into _Civ4CustomMods directory or your My Games\Sid Meier's Civilization IV\Assets directory. Or else save files may not work properly with your modification. Although I will say that you can put game modifications in the My games\Sid Meier's Civilization IV\CustomAssets\ folder, which will produce immediate results when starting CivIV instead of needing to load a Mod to produce the desired results. I recommend only using CustomAssets if you're simply changing graphics of existing civilizations, and not if you're adding new civilizations/leaders. Anyway, inside the mod directory -- create the following folders and place the art files. YourCiv\Assets\Art\Interface\Buttons\Civilizations\(your civ's button here) YourCiv\Assets\Art\Interface\Buttons\Units\(your UU's button here) YourCiv\Assets\Art\Interface\TeamColor\(your flag here) YourCiv\Assets\Art\Interface\Leaderheads\(your leaderhead here) YourCiv\Assets\Art\Interface\Leaderheads\(your leaderhead's button here) Fortunately, you do not actually need to specify a .ini file, as you will see in most mod directories, within the directory. It will be created automatically when the modification is loaded. It need only be modified if you feel it nessicary after you load your mod the first time.