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Extracting The Witcher 2 files

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This article is too short to provide more than rudimentary information about the subject. You can help Witcher Wiki by expanding it.

There are several useful files in the \The Witcher 2\CookedPC folder such as "en0.w2strings, fr0.w2strings, zh0.w2strings, de0.w2strings..." these files contain all of the text, journal, dialogue, quest, character, attribute, skill entries. The first 2 letters of the filenames indicate the language version.

To extract the information, first off use Red Tools to decode them then view/edit them with a .xml editor such as Notepad++. It's easy, but the file structure is a little different than a simple .xml file.

For images, the extracted files are mostly in the globals\gui\icons\items folder, in .dds format, so a program which can open this format and convert them to .png is useful. One such free program is GIMP.

Step by step guide[edit | edit source]

Written by JPulowski

First off let's take a look at basic file types:

Extension Type Contains
*.w2strings The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings string file Text
*.w2ent The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings entity file Models, miscellaneous...
*.dds DirectDraw Surface Textures, images
*.dzip The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings archive file Game files
*.xbm X BitMap graphic file Textures, images
*.xml Extensible markup language Item and character attributes, miscellaneous...
*.swf Shockwave Flash Object Images, HUD, animations...
*.usm Scaleform GFX Player file Video

Requirements[edit | edit source]

Unpacking .dzip files[edit | edit source]

In order to unpack .dzip files, first off all make sure you've downloaded Red Tools. In this tutorial, we are going to unpack pack0.dzip file which contains all of the game files in itself.

  • Open up Command Prompt. (Start › Run... › Open: cmd › OK / ⊞ Win + R › Open: cmd › OK)
  • Locate Gibbed.RED.Unpack.exe which is usually located in C:\Program Files\Gibbed's RED Tools (32-bit) or C:\Program Files (x86)\Gibbed's RED Tools (64-bit).
  • Drag Gibbed.RED.Unpack.exe to Command Prompt or write "C:\Program Files\Gibbed's RED Tools\Gibbed.RED.Unpack.exe" (32-bit) / "C:\Program Files (x86)\Gibbed's RED Tools\Gibbed.RED.Unpack.exe" (64-bit) to Command Prompt.
    You should see something like this on Command Prompt:
    Tw2 guide cmd01.png
  • If you hit ENTER, you'll see options:
Usage: Gibbed.RED.Unpack.exe [OPTIONS]+ input_dzip [output_dir]

  -o, --overwrite            overwrite existing files
      --cdkey=VALUE          cdkey for use with DLC archives
                               (in format #####-#####-#####-#####)
  -e, --extension=VALUE      only extract files of this extension
  -h, --help                 show this message and exit
  • Locate pack0.dzip which is located in /CookedPC folder in The Witcher 2 game directory.
  • Drag pack0.dzip to Command Prompt but make sure there is a space between two directories or you'll get an error message. For instance:
WRONG: Note how there is no space between the first directory in double quotes and the second
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Gibbed's RED Tools\Gibbed.RED.Unpack.exe""C:\Games\\The Witcher 2\CookedPC\pack0.dzip"
TRUE: Here, there is clearly a space between the first and second directories
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Gibbed's RED Tools\Gibbed.RED.Unpack.exe" "C:\Games\\The Witcher 2\CookedPC\pack0.dzip"
  • Locate your output directory which must be located outside of the game directory or you may have some issues when playing the game. For instance I've created a folder named /Witcher2Output outside of the game directory. Create a new folder, name it as you wish. Then drag the folder to Command Prompt. And make sure there are spaces between three directories. So the final result must be something like this:
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Gibbed's RED Tools\Gibbed.RED.Unpack.exe" "C:\Games\\The Witcher 2\CookedPC\pack0.dzip" "F:\Witcher2Output"

Tw2 guide cmd02.png
  • Hit ENTER and wait until all of the files has been extracted it may take several minutes depending on your computer and numbers of the files that it is getting extracted.
    Tw2 guide cmd03.png
  • After all of the files has been extracted, you may close Command Prompt.
    Tw2 guide cmd04.png
  • Now if you open up your output directory, you may see all of the files that has been extracted from pack0.dzip.
    Tw2 guide w2output.png

Editing/Viewing texture files[edit | edit source]

There are two types of textures:

  • *.dds — DirectDraw Surface
  • *.xbm — X BitMap graphic file

DirectDraw Surface files usually contain 2D textures such as icons but also some of them contained in *.xbm files, the ones that contained *.xbm files contains model textures.

X BitMap graphic files contain model *.dds texture files and *.bin files which is needed to convert back *.dds files to *.xbm files.

Let's start with simple *.dds files. For viewing purposes only you may use Windows Texture Viewer. It's a simple program designed for viewing DirectDraw Surface files. After downloading the *.rar file, extract its contents to any folder you wish. For making things easier, you may associate *.dds files with Windows Texture Viewer.

You may find *.dds files at these locations:
...\<Output Directory>\globals\gui\icons\
...\<Output Directory>\globals\gui\maps\
...\<Output Directory>\globals\gui\dreams\

Now let's try to open a *.dds file with Windows Texture Viewer. Locate folder: ...\globals\gui\icons\journal\ then try to open one of the texture files. I chose to open which is Geralt's in-game journal image. If you've already associated *.dds files with Windows Texture Viewer then double click to any *.dds file. If you didn't associate them with Windows Texture Viewer then open up Windows Texture Viewer (WTV.exe) and drag one of the files to Windows Texture Viewer. Now you may see *.dds file. Pink areas show transparent areas in image. If you don't see any pink areas, press A to see alpha channel.

Tw2 guide wtv.png

If you'd like to edit textures, you need to have an image editor such as GIMP or Adobe Photoshop with DDS plugin. (See requirements section.)

Editing/Viewing .w2strings files[edit | edit source]

*.w2strings can be found in /CookedPC folder. *.w2strings files contain all of the in-game text files such as journal entries, character names, item names, item descriptions etc.

In order to view them, first they must be decoded using Red Tools.


cz0.w2strings Czech
de0.w2strings German
en0.w2strings English
es0.w2strings Spanish
fr0.w2strings French
hu0.w2strings Hungarian
it0.w2strings Italian
pl0.w2strings Polish
ru0.w2strings Russian
zh0.w2strings Chinese

In this tutorial, we are going to decode en0.w2strings file.

  • Open up Command Prompt. (Start › Run... › Open: cmd › OK / ⊞ Win + R › Open: cmd › OK)
  • Locate Gibbed.RED.Strings.exe which is usually located in C:\Program Files\Gibbed's RED Tools (32-bit) or C:\Program Files (x86)\Gibbed's RED Tools (64-bit).
  • Drag Gibbed.RED.Strings.exe to Command Prompt or write "C:\Program Files\Gibbed's RED Tools\Gibbed.RED.Strings.exe" (32-bit) / "C:\Program Files (x86)\Gibbed's RED Tools\Gibbed.RED.Strings.exe" (64-bit) to Command Prompt.
    You should see something like this on Command Prompt:
    Tw2 guide cmd05.png
  • If you hit ENTER, you'll see options:
Usage: Gibbed.RED.Strings.exe [OPTIONS]+ input [output]

  -d, --decode               decode strings file
  -e, --encode               encode strings file
  -h, --help                 show this message and exit
  • Locate en0.w2strings which is located in /CookedPC folder in The Witcher 2 game directory.
  • Press SPACE and write -d then press SPACE again.
  • Drag en0.w2strings to Command Prompt and press ENTER.
  • If everything is gone perfectly, you will find a file named en0.xml in /CookedPC folder which is located in your game directory.
  • Now you may open the file with your favorite text editor, in this tutorial we're going to use Notepad++.

After you've opened the file, you will notice lots of texts. There are two types of text in strings files:

key — You may think it as an ID of the text.
text — Description, text, entry etc.

For instance, I want to find Geralt's character journal entries, then search using the keyword Geralt. Continue to search until you find these lines:

    <key id="geralt">99817</key>
    <key id="geralt 0">99818</key>

We can use this method for any character in the game. Now, let's examine these lines.

<key id="geralt">99817</key>, usually the first line is a key for the character's name. If we make another search using the keyword 99817, we'll find the line below:

    <text id="99817">Geralt of Rivia</text>

So that means <key id="geralt">99817</key> corresponds to <text id="99817">Geralt of Rivia</text>.

If we use the same method for second line, we'll find the line below which is the journal entry about Geralt of Rivia:

<text id="99818">Behold our hero: subjected to mutations and rigorous sword and sorcery training as a child, he has become a superhuman monster slayer. Always penniless and often disdained by those whom he protects, he wanders the world seeking work. Fate has little mercy for him, piling obstacles in his way, yet he trudges on. He has more scruples than a beggaring bum has fleas. Doubts haunt him even when a band of ruffians, knives drawn, approaches him on the highway. Is he a good man? I do not think so. Does he try to maintain his humanity? I believe he does.<br>You must know that Geralt of Rivia died once already, or at least everyone thought him dead. During a massacre in Rivia, he sought to defend non-humans and fell to overwhelming odds. Placed in a boat, he floated into the mist, into a realm where he finally found peace. Not for long. Because of forces to be mentioned later, Geralt returned just in time to defend the witchers’ ancient home fortress, and then embarked on a mission to recover the secrets stolen from it. Along the way he took part in a Scoia’tael uprising, shattered a powerful criminal organization, and killed the Grand Master of the Order of the Flaming Rose. All the while his fame as a lover grew. Well, that’s Geralt for you. As if all this wasn't enough, he then foiled the attempted assassination of King Foltest of Temeria and became one of the monarch's most trusted men.</text>

We may use this simple method to find in-game text.

This guide is a WIP and will be expanded very soon. If you have any questions about game files you may ask them on talk page.

External links[edit | edit source]