Call of Duty 5: Launcher Overview

From COD Modding & Mapping Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Download Mirrors

1/23/09 - Mod Tools 1.1 Package Released! (requires full install package below)

Download Mirrors:

Data.png Local copy
Data.png Planet Call of Duty Mirror
Data.png FPSAdmin
Data.png MyCallOfDuty

  • Contents: and all .map prefabs associated with it. 
code_post_gfx_mp, flamethrower, vehicle, and water CSV files. 
ambient, attack, and sprint Zombie sound effects. 
destructibledef and destructiblepiece files 

To download the tools, visit any one of the mirror links that have posted the tools:

11/20/08 - Released!

Download Mirrors:

Data.png AusGamers
Data.png Big Download
Data.png FileShack
Data.png GamersHell
Data.png GameZone
Data.png MyCallOfDuty
Data.png WorthDownloading


After downloading the tools, you will need to unzip them into your root game directory.

After installing the tools, go to <root>\Activision\Call of Duty World At War\bin and start Launcher.exe


  • The CoD:WW Mod Tools require your video drivers and DirectX to be up to date (DirectX March 2008 or later).
  • The CoD:WW Mod Tools have been tested and work in Windows Vista. You MUST have administrative rights and/or turn UAC off.
  • The CoD:WW Mod Tools require a DirectX 9 Shader Model 3.0 compliant card and the .NET Framework Version 2.0 or higher.
  • Activision does not provide support for these tools. Please refer to the mod tools wiki at for support.


  • Unzip the mod tools package to your Call of Duty: World at War directory. This is where you installed the game to. The default location is C:\Program Files\Activision\Call of Duty - World at War. Make sure you select "Yes to All" when prompted about copying over files.
  • Once unzipped you will want to make a shortcut to: [gamepath]\bin\Launcher.exe
Launcher is the equivalent to the CoD4CompileTools and ModBuilder from the CoD4 Mod Tools.

Running the Tools

  • When running CoDWaWRadiant for the first time, you will be prompted to load a project file. You will need to load the included codwaw.prj project file which is located in "\bin".
  • When running EffectsEd3 for the first time, you will be asked to provide the location where the game is installed. The default location is C:\Program Files\Activision\Call of Duty - World at War.


Launcher is your user interface for easy compiling, lighting, paths, reflections, lighting grids, and loading levels. It also gives easy access to mod tool applications such as the level editor, effects editor, or asset manager.

To get to Launcher browse to your installation directory, then go to "bin" to find Launcher.exe. You may place a shortcut on your desktop by right clicking on the icon for Launcher then going to "Send to" and "Desktop".

Since Call of Duty World At War is a Games For Windows title, custom content now needs to live in your

Documents and Settings/YOUR_USERNAME/Local Settings/Application Data/Activision/CoDWaW 


AppData/Local Data/Activision/CoDWaW/ 

for XP or Vista, respectively.

You still use the root game directory as a development environment, but to play your content you will need to copy your mods to the new designated area. Launcher conveniently does this for your automatically when you compile a map or build a mod, but when you share your content be sure it is clear to users on where exactly to place your mods.

Trying to run mods from the root directory of where your game is installed is the wrong way in Call of Duty World at War. Forcing the game to run mods from the game installation directory using dvars like fs_BaseGame or fs_localAppData is not intended/supported and may affect your profile/stats, Punkbuster, other users trying to run the mod who store mods in the correct folder, and/or the actual mods if you do not use the Documents and Settings(XP)/Local Data(Vista) folder.


After installing your tools, do NOT immediately run converter as the Treyarch wiki suggests, but edit some of the GDF files first. GDF files define the parameters and search paths for the GDT files. The GDT files store predefined and custom assets as created in Asset Manager. So Asset Manager will look for source material in paths defined in the GDF files. In the current non-final state of the mod tools, unfortunately, the GDF include some of the developers' paths that don't exist after extraction of the mod tools. This will cause trouble when using Asset Manager, hence the necessity of editing some of the GDF files which you will find in {GAME_ROOT}/deffiles/. Make sure to disable the GDFs' write protection first.

The following GDF files' reldir definitions need to be edited:


If you use 'find/replace' in editor then be aware that the developers' paths were set up for cross-platform development. You can't just replace e.g. pc/main/ by raw/ as the file structure of the developers' pc/main/ doesn't match that of the mod tools' raw/. So always copy the complete reldir line and make sure your mod tools path fits the type of file which that path will point to, i. e. xmodels to xmodels, material properties to material properties, and so on. When you are finished, set all GDF files back to 'write protected'.

In a next step, open your


and extract all sounds you will find inside the IWD files (iw_14.iwd - localized IWDs) to the sound folder. You will receive less FILE NOT FOUND errors on map compilation as the mod tools don't include all sound files present in the stock IWD files.

Now you will need to run Converter at least once before actually using the various tools like Radiant, FX Editor, etc to make sure they operate properly.

Note: If you're on Vista, you will more than likely need to make sure to change the property on converter.exe to 'Run As Administrator' or turn UAC off otherwise converter might not generate all the assets properly.

Converter firsttime.jpg

Running Converter generates assets from the GDTs located in the \source_data folder that some of the tools will rely on.

Note: The first time you run Converter it may take a few minutes to complete because it's generating all the assets from the GDTs for the first time.

Converter is an automated process, so just click the Converter button on the Launcher under the Applications tab and let it run.

Attention 256.png
ERROR: dll version number does not match converter version

You will get that error at the very end of running Converter; it is normal.



The applications field gives easy access to launching various applications for the mod tools. Here you can launch the level editor, effects editor, and asset manager. A description for what they are used for is provided for each below:


When running process through Launcher, they will appear in the bottom left field of Launcher. You can take notice to what processes are taking place, and have the option to end a process if need be.


While processes are running, they may spit out information on what exactly they're doing. You can view this information in the console window on the bottom. Should you ever need to clear the console to perform another action, press the Clear Console button on the bottom of the Applications field.


On the top right corner of Launcher you will see Wiki. Click that to open up the official Treyarch Mod Support wiki in your web browser (internet access is required). Here you can find the latest information to help you make mods. ΝΟΤΕ. The Treyarch Wiki is not supported any more.

Compile Level Tab

The “Level Compiling” tab is where you can keep track of your .map files and compile bsp, lighting, paths, and reflections for those .map files.

Launcher can conveniently compile, build your FastFile, and launch your map in-game with one click. You only need to check the options you want to be executed.

Compile BSP

Select the level that you wish to compile from the list. In this example I will use the level called “test” which is supplied with the mod tools. First you will need to compile the BSP for the level. This will convert the .map file that is made in the level editor to an optimized format that is read by the game engine. We’ll need to set some options for this found on the right hand side, right next to the list of levels. You can check boxes to tell it to compile BSP, lighting, and paths. If you made any changes to the .map file you’ll need to recompile the BSP. Lighting can be compiled right after the BSP is compiled, or at a later time, as long as the BSP has not changed. Paths can also be compiled later; however AI in single player levels will not work correctly until paths have been compiled. Multiplayer levels never need to compile paths since they are strictly for AI navigation in single player.

Be sure to set up your BSP Options and Light Options before checking the "Compile BSP” option. Most of the time no BSP options will be used but I’ll go over them anyways since occasionally they may need to be used. Some light options are commonly used however.

Attention 256.png
Full light compile is set by default, you may want to use Fast light compile if you're just doing testing.

BSP Options

Check the box for “onlyents” if you would like to do an only entity compile. Onlyents compiles don’t touch brush triggers, geometry, or lighting. This is useful if you want to quickly recompile a map that you only moved an entity in. (Note that if you move a model that casts a shadow, the lighting will not be recompiled by doing onlyents, so your shadow will still be in its old position, not where you moved that model to.)

Check the box for “blocksize”, then set a value to set a custom grid size for regular BSP splits. A value of zero uses the biggest possible size, and is also the default value if this option is left unchecked. Most of the time this option will remain unchecked.

Check the “samplescale” box, and then set a value if you would like to scale all lightmaps. A value of 2 will double the pixel size, a value of 0.5 halves it. Again, this option should remain unchecked in most cases.

The “debugLightMaps” option is a great way to see in-game how the light maps were compiled and how they are being used. Using this option compiles colored light maps and when the level is loaded in-game you will see colored geometry everywhere that contains light maps. Different colors represent a different lightmap texture. This is great for tracking down why you might have encountered lightmap bleeding or seams.

Light Options

Most of these options will be unchecked; however I’ll explain them for the rare cases that you may want to use them. Often I use the “fast” option during testing for quick light compiles, but then use “extra” for final release as it gives better lightmap detail.

  • Fast Use fast presets for several options (generates lower quality lighting but is much faster)
  • Extra Use high-quality presets for several options (generates high quality lighting but takes longer)
  • ModelShadow Allows model surfaces to cast shadows -NoModelShadow Prevents model surfaces from casting shadows
  • DumpOptions Displays current settings of most parameters
  • Traces Number of traces to do from each sample point
  • BounceFraction Higher values are more washed out, lower values darker
  • Jitter Breaks up aliasing from trace pattern (0 none, 1 max)

Once you have all the options you wish to use, check the “Compile BSP” option to start the compile using your specified options. The BSP will be compile first ( if you chose that option ), then the lighting ( if you chose that option ), then the game will be loaded to compile the AI Paths ( if you chose that option and your level is single player ).

This process can take anywhere from a few seconds to several hours depending on the complexity of your level and the computer you are compiling on. For a frame of reference, most of the retail levels shipped with the game take about 30 minutes to and hour to compile bsp and lighting on quad core CPUs.

Part of lighting is the grid file. Entities (models, players, AI) in a map are lit by the lights in the map. In complex maps (as opposed to small test maps) calculating which lights affect which entities takes a lot of work. To prevent the engine from having to do this in real-time, this information can be written into the bsp using a mapname.grid file. If a map doesn’t have a grid, you will experience harsh hitches when entering new areas where entities are now visible. These hitches feel like texture thrashing. Grids are needed for both single player and multiplayer maps. A map must be recompiled after creating or modifying a grid. Select “make new grid” if you have never done a grid for the selected level, or “edit existing grid” to continue working on one that you previously made. The level will be loaded in grid mode. You’ll see lots of little dots throughout the level. You’ll need to walk around the level and touch as many of the dots as possible. This defines the areas a player will be able to go. For most areas however, you can just place a brush with the lightgrid material on it in CoDWaWRadiant and the touching dots will automatically be collected when the level is compiled. Doing a custom grid is really for certain detail areas. Most of the time you can just place brushes in CoDWaWRadiant to do the work for you.

Compile Reflections

If your characters weapons and vehicles have red outlines you don’t have any reflection probes compiled for your map. Reflection probes are very important for the look of all shiny things in the game. Place one per room and one in each distinct outdoor area and additional ones near any especially shiny objects. They use memory but its reasonable to have 10-100 of them.

After the BSP and Lighting have been compiled you will want to compile the reflections for the level. In order for reflections to be compiled properly the level needs to contain reflection probe entities throughout the map. Each reflection probe in the level will produce a cube map for that area during the reflection compile. The reflections used throughout the compiled level use the cube map from the nearest reflection probe entity so keep this in mind when you are placing the probes. The reflection probes use portals to determine which is the closest probe so you don’t usually need to worry about an inside probe affecting an outside model through the wall.

Check the “Compile Reflections” option when you are ready to compile the reflections. This step may be skipped if you don’t care about proper reflections during the testing and development phase of a level but it should always be used when you want the level to look top notch. You may also skip this step if you have already compiled the reflection probes for the bsp and you have not made any changes to the reflection probes in the level. On compile it will use old reflection probes. You only need to do this step when it’s the first time you’ve compiled the bsp, or you are making changes to the probes or adding/removing probes.

Build Fast File

In order for the level and all of it’s assets to be loaded into the game within a reasonable amount of time a fast file is needed to be made. A fast file is one big file that contains all of the data for the level and all of the assets it uses. Since it is all in one file it can quickly be loaded directly to memory, instead of your hard drive having to search for thousands of files and load them individually which takes much longer.

The first time you try to build the fast file for the level it will tell you that no zone files exist and ask you if you would like to make them. You’ll want to say “yes” at this prompt. Doing so will create [root]\ zone_source\[levelname].csv, where root is the game install path.

Within this .csv file is a list of assets the level uses. It will have some default assets in there that all levels use. This csv is looked at by the fast file builder and all the assets it references will be added to the level’s fast file. The fast file ends up containing the level BSP itself, plus all assets listed in [levelname].csv.

The fast file generated will be created at [root]\zone\[language]\[levelname].ff. This is the file you would want to give your friend or post online when you want to share your level since it contains all of the data used by the level. Anytime you change anything in the level, or any assets used in the level you’ll need to recompile the fast file so that those new or changed assets get put into the fast file for the game to read.

Update Zone File

Attention 256.png
If you have not made a zone source file you will need to make one in [root]\zone_source\[levelname].csv.

Okay so I just talked about what fast files are and how to make them. I mentioned they contain all of the assets used or reference in a level. Suppose you add a new static model to your level, or you give the player a gun through script. These new assets wont be in the fast file, so they won’t actually show up, and may even give errors in the game. Updating the zone file ( the [levelname].csv file ) is necessary to make sure all of these new assets are put into the fast file.

Each time the level is ran and tries to load an asset that wasn’t found in the fast file an output file called missingassets.csv is created at [root]\main\missingassets.csv. This file contains a list of assets that the game tried to load but couldn’t (due to them not being stored in the fast file that was used). If missingassets.csv is not being generated then your level fast file and zone source are either up to date with all assets, or you may need to try running the level using the “developer” and “developer_script” option turned on ( enter it via console or set it under the Run Game tab ).

These missing assets need to be added to the [levelname].csv zone file so that they get included next time you build the fast file. This is as simple as copying the asset list from missingassets.csv and pasting them at the bottom of the [levelname].csv zone source file.

The text inside missingassets.csv is all of the assets that were not loaded correctly. Open up your levelname.csv zone source file. Add the missing assets to the zone source by copying and pasting to your zone source file.

Attention 256.png
Be sure to not have two assets on the same line. One asset per line is required.

If you update your zone source file, rebuild the fast file, reload the level, and missingassets.csv is telling you more assets are missing, it’s perfectly normal. Often times this process has to be repeated a few times before all missing assets are caught. This is mainly because some assets are referenced by other assets. For instance you may get a weapon as the only missing asset in your level. Missingassets.csv will complain that the weapon isn’t in the fast file; therefore you add it to the zone source and rebuild the fast file. Next time you run the level it may complain about another weapon missing. Well why didn’t it tell me there was 2 missing weapons the first time? The reason is because the second weapon it complained about may be referenced by the first weapon in asset manager, such as an alternate fire mode. The game didn’t know that the second weapon was missing until it had the first weapon loaded correctly and tried to load its second fire mode.

When you’re updating your zone source make sure you run the level a second time or more until missingassets.csv hasn’t changed, or is empty. This will ensure that you’re added all assets that are required.

Mod Builder Tab

To make a new mod we first need to make the folders required. Go to your installation directory and then goto [root]\mods. If "Mods" does not exist then create the folder. Inside Mods create a new folder and name it the title of your mod.

Attention 256.png
This folder is only used for development, when building and running your mod Launcher will automatically copy your mod to the appropriate destination in Documents and Settings or Local Data, depending on what Operating System you're on.

Now setup the folders inside your mod folder. Think of this as a mini raw folder just for your mod. The setup and rules are the same as the raw folder in your mod folder so copy all the assets you want from raw to your mod folder. If you don't have a custom model or a custom image then you don't need those folders, the only folders you need here are the ones for your custom assets only.

Now that your mod is setup we need to create a CSV file for it so mod builder knows what to include in the fast file.

Open Launcher (bin/launcher.exe).
  • Make sure you are under the CSV Creator tab at the top.
  • In the pull down menu for "Mod" select your mod that you just made.

==> This may take a few minutes.

  • To the right click on "New CSV".
  • A custom mod will have a CSV type of "Blank" and you can name the csv anything you want.
  • Click OK and your done with this screen, your mod is now setup to compile.

IWD reqs

Your IWD file is essentially your main folder, anything in the IWD files in main go in your mod IWD file. Everything else goes into your fast file which is explained later. Items that go into your IWD file include accuracy files, images, and weapon settings.

To create your IWD file you will first need a zip utility like WinRaR.

  • Highlight the folders you want to include, right click on one, and select "Add to archive.".
  • First select "ZIP" from the Archive Format option.
  • Then under Archive name make sure the name is the same as the title of the mod and rename .zip to .iwd.

Fast File / CSV requirements

Anything that is not in your IWD file is then included in your fast file. This includes common items like maps, sounds, scripts, models, materials, soundalises, vision, and FX files. Since this is made either by the map compiler or mod builder there is no tutorial for this specifically.

Explaination of MOD Builder screen

When creating your mod, first make sure it is selecting the correct mod. Under "Mod" there is a pull down menu that has all the mods in your Mod directory. Its rare but make sure the pull down menu next to Mod has the correct CSV file too.

Build The Mod:

  • Build Fast File - Check this to have mod builder go through your asset list and create the fast file with all your information and assets.
  • Verbose Info - Provide extra information that is used mostly for troubleshooting. Make sure Verbose Info is checked if you copy the log into forums.
  • Build Sound - Used to compile the sound in soundassets.
  • Build IWD File - Builds the IWD file from the files in the far right.
  • Run Game - When all other tasks have completed, run the game.

Center white box:

This where you list your assets you want included, there is more information further down.

Right white box:

List of items in your IWD file.


This is where you can copy a log from and shows you the current progress.

Common assets and their mod builder CSV commands



Example: xmodel,tallgrass



Example: rawfile,maps\mp\_gib.gsc



Example: sound,SoundMod,,all_mp

Sound files:


Example: sound,sfx\weapon\smg\cowgun\cowgun_fire



Example: fx,fx\bio\animals\fx_bats_circling

Building a mod

Once everything is setup as described, Check the "Build Fast File" option and click on build mod. If everything is successful then you should be able to go into the game and load your mod from the Mod menu. If there are issues you cant figure out then rebuild the fast file with Verbose info and post your log into the forums.

Sending to friends

Now that you have your mod made I'm sure you want to share it with your friends or the community. You only need 2 files, your IWD and Fast File. The best way to zip these up while avoiding confusion is to only have those 2 files in your mod folder and zip including the folder so all the user has to do is drag and drop. It is also courteous to include a Readme File with your email or website, version number, and credits.

Run Game Tab

Runs the selected level or mod in the game. You can turn on developer, developer_script, and cheats by checking the boxes below the button. Developer enabled will turn on a lot of profiling functions as well as errors and missingassets.csv output among other things. Developer_script will provide script debugging and script errors when encountering. Without developer_script enabled script errors will be bypassed. The cheats option turns on cheats allowing the player access to the cheat commands such as god mode and ufo mod which are handy when working on a level.