Kraken's Guide to Warbirds
P-51 Picture
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D O W N L O A D I N G   C U S T O M   S K I N S
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How do I download custom Warbirds skins to my Windows PC?

   The answer to this question is one of only a few problems I have with this game. It almost seems that if you want to do anything extra in Warbirds other than just flying around and shooting stuff, you have to have a background in computer programming!!

First of all, there are two different kinds of custom skins out there, each with different downloading procedures.

Online
These are skins you can use offline, and since they have been approved by the PDC (Player Development Corps), you can also use them while online in the Warbirds arenas.
Click here for instructions on downloading, installing, and using Online skins.

Offline
These are skins that you can only use offline for your own enjoyment. In order to use a skin online, it must be approved by the PDC.
Click here for instructions on downloading, installing, and using Offline skins.

Note:
Throughout this guide, whenever you see a file or file folder name in quotations, always exclude these quotation marks when looking for or creating your own files.
Also, unless otherwise specified, always assume a standard left-click when the instructions say to click on something.

One more thing.
The steps I've put together here are merely suggestions for carrying out the downloading and installation processes. There are other perfectly valid ways to do these things, but with simplicity in mind, I've mainly listed one (the easiest) way.

UPDATE: I added a complete list of vehicle file names.
March 14, 2008


How to download and install a custom Offline skin
Background information:

Offline skins have two parts that make up two files- a wing part and a fuselage part. They are both saved in a way that Warbirds can use, in a graphic format called TGA, or Targa. The wing file name should be "wing.tga" without the quotes, and the fuselage file name should be "fuse.tga" without the quotes.

To download these two files and make an offline skin complete and ready to fly, you must first prepare your computer by creating a few new file folders (also known as directories, sub-folders, or sub-directories) in Windows. Follow the steps below to do so.

Step 1
Preparing your computer
Locate your "Warbirds2005" main file folder on your hard drive and open it.
   The name of your file may differ, and it may be within another file folder called "iEN Total Sims Series" or "iEntertainment Network". Whatever it is called, this is the game's main file folder and is where most of the game's files are located, and it is the folder from which the Warbirds program runs.

Step 2
Preparing your computer
Within the Warbirds2005 file folder (or whatever it's called on your computer), locate the "skins" folder and open it.
   If you do not have a "skins" file folder, you will need to create a new one. Click here to learn how to create a new file in Windows.

The path, or location, so far should read:
Warbirds2005/skins

Step 3
Preparing your computer
Once the "skins" folder is open, create another new file folder inside the "skins" folder, and use the name of the aircraft as the new folder’s name.
   This step is where it's a bit tricky. Warbirds uses a specific file name for each aircraft, and the game will not accept anything but that exact name.

For example, if you're downloading an offline skin for the P-51b, the file folder should be named "p51b" without the quotes. Click here for a complete list of the aircraft file names.

The path, or location, so far should read:
Warbirds2005/skins/aircraft type

Step 4
Preparing your computer
Once you've created the new folder named for whatever aircraft you're getting the skin, open it.
Step 5
Preparing your computer
Inside the new folder you just opened, Create another new folder named "offline" without the quotes.

The path, or location, so far should read:
Warbirds2005/skins/aircraft type/offline

Step 6
Preparing your computer
Open the newly created "offline" folder.
Step 7
Preparing your computer
Inside the new "offline" folder you just opened, Create another new folder and name it whatever you want the skin to be called.
   Your choice for this file folder name is arbitrary and any name will do, but you will need to remember it later, so I suggest something simple yet significant.

For example, you could name this file folder after the pilot of the plane whose skin this is painted to represent, like "bong" or "punchy" or maybe just the squad or group number, like "352FG" Whatever is easiest to remember for you is best.

This last folder you've just created is where the "wing.tga" and "fuse.tga" files will go. Now your computer is ready for the offline skin files, so read on for downloading instructions.

The path, or location, of this file folder should read:
Warbirds2005/skins/aircraft type/offline/whatever name you chose

Downloading an Offline skin

Most of the time, you will find that whoever created the skin you're wanting to download has put the "wing.tga" and "fuse.tga" files into a compressed file (A.K.A. zipped file), so it takes less time for you to download. Unfortunately, this adds a bit of extra work for you.

These compressed files appear in a "ZIP" format and appear as "filename.zip" without the quotes, where "filename" is an arbitrary name that the file's creator has given. Once downloaded, the files inside will not work unless you extract, or decompress them into the proper file folder. (See steps below.)

If there is no compressed file, and you can download the "wing.tga" and "fuse.tga" on their own, click here to skip to Step 19 below.

Step 8
Downloading the skin
Click on the link for the compressed file to download it.
   Normally, a "File Download" window will appear and you will be asked to Open, Save, or Cancel. Click Save.

If nothing happens when you click on the link for the compressed file, do the following:
   A. Right-click on the link
   B. When the little menu appears, click on "Save As..." or "Save Target As..." or "Save Link As..."

Step 9
Downloading the skin
At this point, a "Save As" window should pop up.
   Select your "Desktop" or another place that you will easily remember, but do NOT save this file in any of the file folders that you created in any of the above steps.

At the top of this "Save As" window, it should read: "Save in: Desktop" or wherever you have selected. If this is correct, click "Save"

Step 10
Downloading the skin
Now a "File Download" window should appear, and you should see the download go from 0 to 100%.
   When the download is complete, the window will say "Download Complete" and you will be given three options: Open, Open Folder, or Close. Click Open.

If the window closes automatically when the file is finished downloading, you will need to double click on the new compressed file on your Desktop or wherever you had selected to open the file.

Extracting the Downloaded Files

Now that you've downloaded the compressed file onto your computer, you will need to extract (decompress) the "wing.tga" and "fuse.tga" files and put them into the new folder you created in Step 7.

Follow the steps below to do so.

Step 11
Extracting the TGAs
Once you've opened the compressed file, Click and drag your mouse cursor over both the "wing.tga" and "fuse.tga" files inside so they are both highlighted.
Step 12
Extracting the TGAs
Click on "Edit" in the upper-left corner of the compressed file window.
Step 13
Extracting the TGAs
In the "Edit" drop-down menu, move the mouse cursor down and click on "Copy"
Step 14
Extracting the TGAs
Close the compressed file window.
Step 15
Extracting the TGAs
Locate the file folder you created in Step 7.
   This is the file folder you created and named for this specific offline skin.

   Go to your Warbirds2005 main file folder,
   then to "skins"
   then to this aircraft type's named folder
   then to "offline"
   then to the file folder you named for this specific skin

Step 16
Extracting the TGAs
Open the file folder from Step 7.
Step 17
Extracting the TGAs
Click on "Edit" in the upper-left corner of the window.
Step 18
Extracting the TGAs
In the "Edit" drop-down menu, move the mouse cursor and click on "Paste"
   This will put both the "wing.tga" and "fuse.tga" files in that file folder you named.

The final path, or location, of the TGA files should read:
Warbirds2005/skins/aircraft type/offline/whatever name you chose/wing.tga
and
Warbirds2005/skins/aircraft type/offline/whatever name you chose/fuse.tga

   If you have completed the above steps, ignore steps 19-21 and click here to skip to Step 22.

What if there is no zip file?

If you can download the "wing.tga" and "fuse.tga" files separately without having to download a compressed file (A.K.A. zipped file), follow the steps below.

Step 19
Downloading the TGAs
Click on the link for the "fuse.tga" file to download it.
   Normally, a "File Download" window will appear and you will be asked to Open, Save, or Cancel. Click Save.

If nothing happens when you click on the link for the "fuse.tga" file, do the following:
   A. Right-click on the link
   B. When the little menu appears, click on "Save As..." or "Save Target As..." or "Save Link As..."

Step 20
Downloading the TGAs
At this point, a "Save As" window should pop up.
In this "Save As" window, you must navigate to the file folder you created and named in Step 7:
   In the "Save in:" drop-down menu, locate your Warbirds2005 main file folder,
   then go to "skins"
   then to this aircraft type's named folder
   then to "offline"
   then to the file folder you named for this specific skin

At the top of this "Save As" window, it should read: "Save in: whatever name you chose in step 7" where "whatever name you chose in step 7" is the file folder name that you chose.
If this is correct, click "Save"

Step 21
Downloading the TGAs
Now a "File Download" window should appear, and you should see the download go from 0 to 100%.
   When the download is complete, the window will say "Download Complete" and you will be given three options: Open, Open Folder, or Close. Click Close.

Now that you're finished downloading, read on to learn how to use the skin in the game.

Using an offline skin in Warbirds

Follow the steps below to use an offline skin in the game.

Step 22
Using an offline skin
Start Warbirds.
Step 23
Using an offline skin
In Warbirds, start a "Free Flight" offline game.
Step 24
Using an offline skin
Before clicking "FLY" select the aircraft for which you've just download the custom skin.
Step 25
Using an offline skin
Bring up the radio text buffer.
   The default key to do this is the / key.
Step 26
Using an offline skin
In the radio text buffer type the following:
  .planeskin whatever name you chose in step 7
where "whatever name you chose in step 7" is the file folder name that you chose.

For example, if you chose the name "punchy" for your offline skin, and appropriately named the file folder you created in Step 7 "punchy" as well, you should type the following:
  .planeskin punchy

Step 27
Using an offline skin
Now you can click "FLY" to see the skin!
   If you do not see the custom skin, obviously something went wrong somewhere. I would recommend carefully re-reading these steps.

How to download and install a custom Online skin
Background information:

An Online skin is a much friendlier beast to deal with than its offline counterpart. Each online skin is made up of just one VFC file, which is a Warbirds-specific file-type that can only be viewed in the game and is much more secure than the offline TGA files.

The PDC (Player Development Corps) is responsible for compiling and releasing these skins and also for making the entire installation and usage process very easy (comparatively speaking!).

To download an online skin, you must first be sure your computer is ready for it, and you may need to create a new file folder. Follow the steps below to do so.

Step 1
Preparing your computer
Locate your "Warbirds2005" main file folder on your hard drive and open it.
   The name of your file may differ, and it may be within another file folder called "iEN Total Sims Series" or "iEntertainment Network". Whatever it is called, this is the game's main file folder and is where most of the game's files are located, and it is the folder from which the Warbirds program runs.

Step 2
Preparing your computer
Within the Warbirds2005 file folder (or whatever it's called on your computer), locate the "PDC" file folder.
   If you do not have a "PDC" file folder, you will need to create a new one. Click here to learn how to create a new file in Windows.

The path, or location, should read:
Warbirds2005/PDC

Downloading an Online skin

All existng online skins are available for downloading on the PDC website.

Each skin's VFC file is contained in a compressed file (A.K.A. zipped file), so it takes less time for you to download. Unfortunately, this adds a bit of extra work for you.

These compressed files have a ZIP format and appear as "filename.zip" without the quotes, where "filename" is a specific name that the file's creator has given. Once downloaded, the files inside will not work unless you extract, or decompress them into the proper file folder.

When you find a skin you like, follow the steps below to save, extract, and install the skin.

Step 3
Downloading the skin
Go to the PDC Aircraft Skins area and find a skin that you would like to download.
Step 4
Downloading the skin
Click on the either the "High Resolution Version" or "Low Resolution Version" links to download either of the compressed files.
   Normally, a "File Download" window will appear and you will be asked to Open, Save, or Cancel. Click Save.

If nothing happens when you click on the link for the compressed file, do the following:
   A. Right-click on the link
   B. When the little menu appears, click on "Save As..." or "Save Target As..."

Step 5
Downloading the skin
At this point, a "Save As" window should pop up.
   Select your "Desktop" or another place that you will easily remember, but do NOT save this file in the "PDC" file folder mentioned in Step 2.

At the top of this "Save As" window, it should read: "Save in: Desktop" or wherever you have selected. If this is correct, click "Save"

Step 6
Downloading the skin
Now a "File Download" window should appear, and you should see the download go from 0 to 100%.
   When the download is complete, the window will say "Download Complete" and you will be given three options: Open, Open Folder, or Close.
Click Open.

If the window closes automatically when the file is finished downloading, you will need to double click on the new compressed file on your Desktop or wherever you had selected to open the file.

Extracting an online skin

Now that you've downloaded the compressed file onto your computer, you will need to extract (decompress) the VFC file and put it into the "PDC" file folder from Step 2.

Follow the steps below to do so.

Step 7
Extracting the VFC
Once you've opened the compressed file, single-click on the VFC file inside so it is highlighted.
Step 8
Extracting the VFC
Click on "Edit" in the upper-left corner of the compressed file window.
Step 9
Extracting the VFC
In the "Edit" drop-down menu, move the mouse cursor and click on "Copy"
Step 10
Extracting the VFC
Close the compressed file window.
Step 11
Extracting the VFC
Locate the "PDC" file folder from Step 2.
   Go to your Warbirds2005 main file folder,
   then to "PDC"
Step 12
Extracting the VFC
Open the "PDC" file folder from Step 2.
Step 13
Extracting the VFC
Click on "Edit" in the upper-left corner of the "PDC" window.
Step 14
Extracting the VFC
In the "Edit" drop-down menu, move the mouse cursor and click on "Paste"

This final path, or location, of the VFC file should read:
Warbirds2005/PDC/whatever the filename is.vfc
where "whatever the filename is" is this specific skin's filename, selected by the PDC.

Using an online skin in Warbirds

Follow the steps below to use an online skin in the game.

Step 15
Using an online skin
Start Warbirds.
Step 16
Using an online skin
In Warbirds, start a "Free Flight" game, or "Play Online" and enter an arena.
Step 17
Using an online skin
Before clicking "FLY" go to the plane selection drop-down menu.
Step 18
Using an online skin
Select the aircraft for which you've just download the online skin.
Step 19
Using an online skin
Click the "PREVIEW" button.
Step 20
Using an online skin
Select the new custom skin from the drop-down menu.

   When the Preview window pops up, you should see a rotating aircraft in the default skin.
Below it, next to where it says "Select vehicle texture" click on the drop-down box and select the skin that you downloaded.

If your new skin does not appear in this drop-down menu, be sure you have the correct aircraft variant selected, and carefully re-read the above steps.

Step 21
Using an online skin
Click the "OK" button in the preview window.
   This will save this custom online skin to the aircraft until you choose another skin. In other words, every time you start Warbirds now, your custom online skin for this plane will always load automatically.
Step 22
Using an online skin
Now you can click "FLY" to see the skin!

How to create a new file folder in Windows
Creating a new file folder using the Right-click method

The easiest way to make new file folders and sub-folders is with the right mouse button function, but there are alternate methods.
Follow the steps below for more info.

Step 1
Right-Click
In any Windows file folder, find an empty or blank part of the window.
   In order for this to work, you must click in an area where there are no icons or files to interfere with this special function.

This doesn't mean that you should remove anything from the file folder, simply place your mouse cursor somewhere within the folder where it isn't on top of anything but white space.

Step 2
Right-Click
Without moving the cursor from that space, tap and release your Right mouse button.
   When you do this, a small menu box will appear with several options.
Step 3
Right-Click
Move your mouse cursor down to "New"
   Shortly after you do this, another menu box will appear to the side with several other options.
Step 4
Right-Click
Move your mouse cursor over to "Folder" and left-click on it.
Step 5
Right-Click
As soon as the new file folder appears in the window, you will need to type a file name for it.
   The default file name for any new folder is "New Folder" but you will likely want to give it a better, more useful name.

Click here to go back to the instructions on Online skins.

Click here to go back to the instructions on Offline skins.

Creating a new file folder using the "File" drop-down menu.

Follow the steps below to create a new file folder with this alternative method. If your right mouse button is disabled, this may be your only method of creating new file folders!

Step 1
File, New...
In any Windows file folder, click on "File" in the upper-left corner of the window.
   When you do this, a drop-down menu box will appear with several options.
Step 2
File, New...
Move your mouse cursor down to "New"
   Shortly after you do this, another menu box will appear to the side with several other options.
Step 3
File, New...
Move your mouse cursor over to "Folder" and click on it.
Step 4
File, New...
As soon as the new file folder appears in the window, you will need to type a file name for it.
   The default file name for any new folder is "New Folder" but you will likely want to give it a better, more useful name.

Click here to go back to the instructions on Online skins.

Click here to go back to the instructions on Offline skins.


Created: November 5, 2005

Updated: March 14, 2008