Alright, so I noticed that just for installing skins, you don't need this entire guide. If you just want to get to installing skins, scroll on down to Part 2. If you want to understand more of the mechanics behind skinning and why it works, start up here at Part 1.
So then, let's get to it. First, I'd like to point out how modding works in World of Tanks. (skins can be defined as mods in a sense)
Let's go to our World of Tanks folder, wherever you installed it, and take a look inside of it.
Yeah, yeah. Go ahead and laugh it up at my desktop. I like it and that's all that matters.
OK, so I'm outlining these two folders res and res_mods. res is where we are going to find all of our default files, and where we'll concentrate on our tour first. The game won't work without the stuff in the res folder, and in essence everything is pretty much backed up for you. There's a specific place to find most of these files, including the original skins, so let's go check it out.
Alright, so inside of the res folder we have all of these folders going on. You may not have all of these, but don't worry. I've been around for quite a long time and still have some of the older modding system in there. Don't mind that and just concentrate on the packages folder for now.
So inside of the packages folder, we have all of these pkg files going on. These are where the default folders are. You need to use a program such as Winrar or 7zip to open them. Now, for skins we want to scroll to the bottom and find the files I've got outlined. These have all of the files for the specific vehicles including the skins. shared_content is a little weird in that it has some vehicle folders in it that you can't find in their respective nation folders. They seem the have files that are used in multiple vehicles.
For now, let's open the vehicles_american file. Obviously, this will contain the files for the American vehicles. Pay attention to the file path and specifically the folder names we have to go through to get to the files, it's important.
So, I'm going to go for the T28 Prototype in this case.
Alright. Notice the folder name for it? Really important. Inside, we've got the default skin files. That's them. For normal skinning, we don't need to worry about those extra folders. Again, the names are pretty important.
You'll notice we have 5 "skin" files, all as dds files. I'll explain what they do now.
The T28_Prototype file is your main skin file. 99.9% of skins you get use this file.
The T28_Prototype_crash file is how the tank will look when it's destroyed. It makes it look less jarring than if the entire paint job changed on you when the tank is destroyed.
The T28_Prototype_CM file is how WoT places their in game camo correctly. It's in black and white where the white parts define where the camo goes. Blacking out or "blanking" the CM file means you won't see in game camo on the tank to ruin the looks of your skin. Some skinners (like me) provide you with the blank CM file for you, but it is out there on its own if you search for it.
The T28_Prototype_NM and T28_Prototype_SM files adjust the finer details of the skin. the NM file can be edited to make a zimmerit-like effect on a tank, while the SM file adjusts how light hitting and reflecting works. I find that not as many skinners edit these.
OK, so we have found our default files. So just so you know, NEVER OVERWRITE THESE. We want to leave the default files alone at all times. Sure, we can open them and edit them, but we MUST save them elsewhere. You will be screwing with the install if you overwrite anything here.
That ends the tour with the default files and the res folder. Now how about the res_mods folder? And I still really haven't explained modding yet. Well here it comes.
Basically, the game checks the res_mods folder first. If there isn't anything it's looking for there, it reverts to the defaults in the package folder. This means we can omit files from the res_mods folder to keep it smaller and the game will still work; it'll just draw from the defaults. The only exception I know to this seems to be the audio folder, but that's not skinning.
Alright, so let's go find out how we install a skin, shall we? In your World of Tanks folder, open up the res_mods folder and you'll find a folder that is named after the current version of the game. Inside of this is pretty much nothing but a readme file (which we don't need. I got rid of it). I really do need to point out now that you have to create your own file paths from here on out. There's a trick to make this a bit easier, but the work in the end seems to balance out. I'll go into it later.
This all means you really need to pay attention to the file paths I'll be giving you as well as spelling them exactly correctly including hyphens and underscores. I'd also follow the capitalization just to be safe.
So you've got your skin you've downloaded off of the internet. Where does it go? Well it's time for some more pictures. I'll reuse the T28_Prototype example.
Hey, notice something? That file path looks awfully similar to when we were hunting for the defaults. That's because it pretty much is. Pretty nifty, eh? Let's use that knowledge to our advantage.
So, with the file path being the exact same means we need to use that code-thing in front of the tank name again. Again, exact spelling is required. This is why I lead you to the defaults first. We need to be able to copy those names.
With that, we now have an empty folder with a pretty cool name. Let's make it better. Go ahead and plop those skin files you got in here. Remember, exact naming. Although the skinners almost always do that for you.
Again, you don't need all of those, and the only real file you need is the T28_Prototype file. You often get the crash and CM files as well, and the NM and SM files are the least common.
And bingo. Your tank should now look different from the default. Wasn't all that hard, was it?
So about that other method to get the file pathing down. This is purely optional.
We need to go back to our packages folder for this, so let's do so. Now, open up whichever vehicles file you want. I'll do the American one again.
You'll notice how it gives you the "vehicles" folder. Select it and hit whatever button it is to extract the file. Tell the program to extract the file to where I'm directing it below.
After extraction, you should now have the entire file path all set up in one fell swoop. Problem is you now have to go through each vehicle's folder and delete everything you don't need. Basically, clean them out. You also don't really need the Camouflage and Tracks folders unless you plan to mod those.
You then just repeat for each country and I would prefer adding in the shared_content stuff manually.
Alternatively, kyphe has provided the whole shebang without any files in them. He still provides those folders we didn't care about, so take them or leave them. Here's where you get it: http://forum.worldof...-now-available/
And that concludes this guide. Hope it helps.
Edited by Cadyshack, Jul 05 2012 - 05:31.