Textures in SWG


Staff member
Oct 6, 2010
Magna Germania
I'll expand this into depth when I have the time, this is mostly a run down of the technical basics.

Be sure to check out the previous guides by Tonberry and I, too (Though they're a tad outdated):
Tonberry - Guide Introduction To Textures
Timbab - Custom Painted Textures Workflow (Outdated)

  • You need the .DDS plugin.
  • When you save/export as .DDS, make sure to save it with the right compression, in most cases it's DXT5 Compression (With interpolated Alpha).
  • .DDS files have/use Alpha channels most of the time for things such as palettes and shading.
  • I wouldn't go above 4096x4096, actually, only ever go that high for items, otherwise no point. Stay in the 1024x1024-2048x2048 range, but again, it depends on the file. For the sake of quality, work at a higher resolution and then export it at a lower one, or resize only the .DDS.
  • .SHT files are the texture containers that link to all the 'textures' (Spec/Bump/Normal/Lookup/Main/etc) and also palettes (2 palettes max per .SHT file)
  • .SHT files use .EFT (HLSL containers) files for the actual shaders, so a link to them is also included.
  • 'Tags' inside .SHT and .EFT files are shortened to 4 characters and are reversed, such as NIAM = Main, etc. A list of what most mean can be found here. Those are all the tags that exist in the files, but I couldn't figure out some.
  • .MGN/.MSH files are model files which will link to .SHT files (Middle to bottom of the file if opened with SIE), sometimes models have more than one texture, so if you can't find all, look there.

.MGN/.MSH - .SHT link location example: