High Resolution Loading Screens

Mayday

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  • In this tutorial, you'll find how to get a HD Loading Screen.
  • There's two methods available. ".dds" & ".tga"
  • The one you choose is based on the Warcraft 3 version you have.
  • Users on the Latest Patch can choose between either, although using a ".dds" import is superior as it uses a lower file size and is more performance friendly.
  • Users using a Classic Warcraft Patch do not have ".dds" support enabled, and therefore will need to use ".tga"
  • Let's take a look at some of the tools you can use to complete this task. You'll need a decent photo editor, such as:
  • Note: Your version of Photoshop may not support ".dds" and you'll need to install the Nvidia Texture Tools Plug-in. Both GIMP and Paint.net support ".dds" natively and no plug-in is required.
  • Now that we have the tools required, we're going to need to find or create an image to use as our Loading Screen.
  • This is where you'll need to pick a resolution size. Realistically, a 1920×1080 image is ideal due to its high quality and low file size. You may, however, use much higher resolution images, although it is not recommended unless it's a single player game.
  • "But wait, what's the maximum?" - I've tested up to 7680×4320 with success.
  • Now that we've chosen our size and image, it's time to make it compatible for the game to read it.
  • This is where you'll choose between ".dds" and ".tga" depending on the version of the game you're using.
  • From here on, all examples will be using an image from my own map and GIMP as the tool.
VampBeastLS.png
  • Here we have a 1920×1080 image to use, with some empty space on the bottom so the loading bar doesn't intrude.
  • If you own Reforged, but play on SD graphics only, do not worry, ".dds" is still supported. It's what all the in-game files use, and it's what you should use too.
  • REFORGED (1.32+) USERS: Now we're going to use our tool to convert the image to ".dds"
  • Open the image in your tool of choice, double check the sizing of the image, and save the file as "Fullscreen.dds"
  • "Why 'Fullscreen.dds'?" - It's the path I've set for the texture on the model I created. You'll be able to download the model at the end of the tutorial.
  • Once you've saved the file, it will ask you what special settings you wish to use. We're going to use the settings I provide for you here:
unknown.png
  • Now we have the image for the Loading Screen. Hang tight while I show Classic users how to do theirs.
  • CLASSIC (1.00-1.31.1) USERS: Now we're going to use our tool to convert the image to ".tga"
  • Open the image in your tool of choice, double check the sizing of the image, and save the file as "Fullscreen.tga"
  • "Why 'Fullscreen.tga'?" - It's the path I've set for the texture on the model I created. You'll be able to download the model at the end of the tutorial.
  • "But wait, what if I want to use '.blp'?" - You'll never see me support the use of ".blp" in any of my guides, but you can use ".blp" just as you can use ".tga"
  • Once you've saved the file, it will ask you what special settings you wish to use. We're going to use the settings I provide for you here:
unknown.png
  • Now we have the image for the Loading Screen.
  • Next, we're going to look at how to actually use this image in-game for your map.
  • Import your converted image file through Asset Manager/Import Manager under the correct path, "Fullscreen.dds" OR "Fullscreen.tga"
  • Download and import LoadingScreen.mdx with the path "LoadingScreen.mdx"
unknown.png
  • In World Editor, select Scenario -> Map Loading Screen
  • Under Loading Screen Graphic, select your imported "LoadingScreen.mdx"
  • Note: If you want no default map text to appear on your loading screen, simply input a "space" on each line of the three description boxes.
  • Note: If the image appears as completely black, double check that you have removed the "war3mapImported/" from the path file on the imports.
  • Now, it's time to test out our new image.
  • Simply test your map and check out your awesome new loading screen!
unknown.png
 

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Dr Super Good

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One can also obtain HD loading screens using the classic loading screen models and new higher resolution textures. One just has to make sure that the textures are enlarged for all components of the loading screen equally and probably by powers of 2.

For example I made a 2,048x1,536 loading screen that way. This gets stretched to whatever aspect ratio the display is. Since it is DDS, the textures are compressed with DXT5.
 

Mayday

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A slight oversight by my part, i was looking at the start of the guide to keep all names similar to each other, and focus only on the converting to .tga part. The model I use is looking for a "FullScreen.tga" however, so it is required to change the path to such for it to work.

edit: Sorry, to answer your question, no, there is not a reason to export it under a different name. You may export it as "FullScreen.tga" and it will operate the same as I have shown throughout the guide.
 
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Dr Super Good

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Use of .tga is utterly pointless. One can edit the loading screen model to use the texture file "FullScreen.blp" and then import a .dds file to FullScreen.dds and it will work.

Attached is a map showing this.
 

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  • DDS Loading Screen.w3m
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Dr Super Good

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DXT1 only supports alpha masking. If a complex loading screen model is used that relies on alpha blending then one has to use DXT5 since that supports alpha gradients. DXT1 is otherwise recommended since it achieves a compression factor of 6:1 as opposed to 4:1 from DXT5.
 
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I was using War3ModelEditor to create my loading screen before Reforged. It worked great and was very simple but Reforged totally missed it up.
So I found this tutorial which is very clear, complete and show simple ways to do it.

I still have an advice to make the tutorial better : make the sentences bigger in the method 1/2/3 parts because it is possible to not see them between all those big images : )

Thanks again for the tutorial Mayday and for the nice request you made me.
 
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Thanks for the tutorial, Mayday.

I've implemented a loading screen as such but use loading screen text from the world edit.
It moves that text to the bottom left instead of the usual mid right, is that configurable or do I have to edit the image for proper text position?
Also, I'm using a 21:9 Monitor, is that supported for custom loading screens yet?

Here's a screenshot for reference: Screenshot
 

Mayday

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Thanks for the tutorial, Mayday.

I've implemented a loading screen as such but use loading screen text from the world edit.
It moves that text to the bottom left instead of the usual mid right, is that configurable or do I have to edit the image for proper text position?
Also, I'm using a 21:9 Monitor, is that supported for custom loading screens yet?

Here's a screenshot for reference: Screenshot

Hey UnholyOne, the pic is looking great! Unfortunately, you're not able to move the text around on the loading screen, but you are able to write the text in on the image with a image editor (gimp, photoshop, paint.net)

In order to hide the text located there, you need to apply a single space bar on each line.

For 21:9 monitors, you may use an image that is scaled accordingly. For example, 2560×1080 will cover your entire screen, while retaining the same quality as a 1080p image. You can of course use higher, if that is your intent. I've tested up to 7,680 x 4,320 for loading screens. You can probably go even higher, but the file size on that image was 50 megabytes, not ideal for something that doesn't effect gameplay.
 
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Hey UnholyOne, the pic is looking great! Unfortunately, you're not able to move the text around on the loading screen, but you are able to write the text in on the image with a image editor (gimp, photoshop, paint.net)
I thought as much and went ahead with it since my last post, see Screenshot
In order to hide the text located there, you need to apply a single space bar on each line.
I left it completly empty, which worked as well.
For 21:9 monitors, you may use an image that is scaled accordingly. For example, 2560×1080 will cover your entire screen, while retaining the same quality as a 1080p image. You can of course use higher, if that is your intent. I've tested up to 7,680 x 4,320 for loading screens. You can probably go even higher, but the file size on that image was 50 megabytes, not ideal for something that doesn't effect gameplay.

I tested this and didn't get it to work, the result looks like this for me: Screenshot.
The image is exactly 2560x1080 (stretched for test purposes) but the loading screen constrains it to 16:9.
 

Dr Super Good

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16:9 is kept for visual consistency between clients. This is because simply stretching a loading screen might not always be a suitable behaviour. Especially if complicated artwork is used, it would suffer from distortion which might ruin the appearance and go against the author's intentions with the piece.

What is needed is StarCraft II style loading screen scaling controls which allow the author to specify the scaling mode of the loading screen image. This gives flexibility by allowing fixed ratio scaling for pieces that require it and full screen stretch scaling for those that do not. Of course many map authors failed to use this correctly but still.
 
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Well, for some obscure reason, I had oddly changed the .mdx everything works now. excellent tutorial!
 
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Hey, at first thank you for the Tutorial, but i dont know how to get it work ^^
I'm working first time with the asset manager, and i dont know what you mean with "Import your converted image file through Asset Manager/Import Manager under the correct path."
I imported both, my image i want to use and your loadingscreen.mdx, but if i choose the mdx as loading screen, its just black.
Screenshot is under attached files.

Edit: Okay i found the solution by myself :) i imported both files, then i saved the map as a Folder (Save Map as -> File Type - Folder).
After that just drag an drop both files from the war3mapimported folder to the mainfolder, and it works!
 

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Mayday

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Hey, at first thank you for the Tutorial, but i dont know how to get it work ^^
I'm working first time with the asset manager, and i dont know what you mean with "Import your converted image file through Asset Manager/Import Manager under the correct path."
I imported both, my image i want to use and your loadingscreen.mdx, but if i choose the mdx as loading screen, its just black.
Screenshot is under attached files.

Edit: Okay i found the solution by myself :) i imported both files, then i saved the map as a Folder (Save Map as -> File Type - Folder).
After that just drag an drop both files from the war3mapimported folder to the mainfolder, and it works!

Hi Zankh, you need to remove the `war3mapimported/` from the path files in order for them to work.

edit: Looks like in my rewrite, I neglected to list the path required for both. It's fixed now :)
 
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This guide is great! I do have a question though, does anyone know how to keep the player names showing, along with the Map Name and Map Creators like the default view has? Obviously the latter 2 I can do in an image, but just curious if it's possible to use a custom loading screen, but keep the player names part?

Seems like no matter what I try, the Custom loading screens aren't working with the player names.


Note: From what it looks like in my map (I'm a 3rd generation developer, so this was set years ago by the original creator) and online, this used to work in Classic WC3 by just overwriting these files (with no mdx necessary) in Import Manager. And then using "Default" in the loadscreen settings. However, it appears the 'new default' doesn't use these, and I can't find what the new default is using to overwrite them like we used to be able too...anyone have any ideas? Or is there another new way to still keep the player's names on the screen?
UI\Glues\Loading\Multiplayer\Loading-BotLeft.blp - for your bottom left picture
UI\Glues\Loading\Multiplayer\Loading-TopLeft.blp - for your top left picture
UI\Glues\Loading\Multiplayer\Loading-Human-BotRight.blp - for your bottom right picture
UI\Glues\Loading\Multiplayer\Loading-Human-TopRight.blp - for your top right picture
 
Last edited:

Mayday

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This guide is great! I do have a question though, does anyone know how to keep the player names showing, along with the Map Name and Map Creators like the default view has? Obviously the latter 2 I can do in an image, but just curious if it's possible to use a custom loading screen, but keep the player names part?

Seems like no matter what I try, the Custom loading screens aren't working with the player names.


Note: From what it looks like in my map (I'm a 3rd generation developer, so this was set years ago by the original creator) and online, this used to work in Classic WC3 by just overwriting these files (with no mdx necessary) in Import Manager. And then using "Default" in the loadscreen settings. However, it appears the 'new default' doesn't use these, and I can't find what the new default is using to overwrite them like we used to be able too...anyone have any ideas? Or is there another new way to still keep the player's names on the screen?
UI\Glues\Loading\Multiplayer\Loading-BotLeft.blp - for your bottom left picture
UI\Glues\Loading\Multiplayer\Loading-TopLeft.blp - for your top left picture
UI\Glues\Loading\Multiplayer\Loading-Human-BotRight.blp - for your bottom right picture
UI\Glues\Loading\Multiplayer\Loading-Human-TopRight.blp - for your top right picture
I believe you can set your minimap picture to be a loading screen image (512x512, probably) and then dynamically change your minimap in game; have you tried anything like that? You can't change the background image of the map or whatever it is, though. So you'll have a tiny looking loading screen in place of the traditional minimap art
 
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I actually don't care about the minimap part of it. I could take that or leave it. Just would like it to have the player names at least. The other stuff I can insert into a background picture myself.

Take a look at my screenshots here:
Classic.png --> This is what used to display on WC3 Classic. The players names are all there, along with the map name.
Reforged Default.png --> Without my changing anything, when Reforged came out, it automatically changed to this. Notice it's got the map name, created by, and all the players names currently in game (along with computer names)
Reforged after updating.png --> I updated the background using methods described here, and you lose the player loading, the map name, (technically the minimap, but I don't really mind that.) (PS I know I need to make updates to remove the black box, but this was just testing. I also manipulated it to fit 16:9 on purpose, and cut out the bottom of the image for testing purposes.)
 

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  • Classic.png
    Classic.png
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  • Reforged after updating.png
    Reforged after updating.png
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  • Reforged Default.png
    Reforged Default.png
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