Post tutorial RSS Dawn of War Mission Editor Basics

The basics of how to use the Dawn of War Mission Editor quick and easy. Saved from relicnews. Originally made by Star Wars Kid (relic news member). All credit goes to him.

Posted by on - Basic Mapping/Technical

Mission Editor Guide

Dawn of War Mission Editor Guide

This guide is designed to teach new mappers the basics of how to use the Dawn of War Mission Editor. It is in no way complete (or grammatically sound) but it is a good start and will be constantly updated as I think of more things to add. If you have a question or want to add something just let me know and I will add the information to the relevant section with the proper credit.

Mission Editor Basics

First, I will cover the mission editor controls and then I will go over each of the tools.

Mission Editor Controls

select -- [mouse1] (note: will sometimes require you to hold and drag to properly select)

select multiple -- hold [ctrl] + select with [mouse1]
bandbox around desired objects (note: often will require ctrl clicking to remove unwanted objects)

adjust camera -- hold [alt] and drag mouse

zoom in/out -- [mousewheel]

return to default view -- [backspace] (note: actual ingame view is zoomed in a bit more then the default view for the mission editor)

rotate object -- hold [shift] and drag mouse
hold [mouse2] and drag mouse

adjust object height -- hold [shift]+[mouse2] while dragging mouse

adjust size of decal -- hold [shift]+[mouse2] while dragging mouse

toggle skybox -- [ctrl]+[k]

toggle fog -- [ctrl]+[f]

toggle decals -- [ctrl]+[d]

toggle markers -- [ctrl]+[m]

select all objects -- [ctrl]+or [ctrl]+[a]copy -- [ctrl]+[c]

paste -- [ctrl]+[v] (note: pasted object will appear exactly where the original was when the “copy” command was given so be sure to move the original before pasting)

toggle fps/system strain graph -- [F9]

Object Selection Tool
The object selection tool is used rarely but is helpful for finding specific objects as well as looking at their properties. Also available is the option to hide specific entities which can make selection easier if you have an especially large object near objects you are trying to place. Please note that the object selection tool doesn’t allow you to move objects you have selected.

Object Placement Tool

The object placement tool is one of the main tools you use. It allows you to place and move objects.

The main window has several options:

Height: Haven’t really experimented with this.

Snap to Grid: When checked, this will make objects snap to a grid. This makes creating buildings much easier as it will make the walls line up nicely. The grid size can be adjusted with the slider. The 1m setting should be fine in most cases.

Use Random Rotation: Objects will be placed with a random facing.

Player: Determines who the object belongs to. In most cases, this should be set to “World”.

Objects: This window contains several folders of objects, divided into two major categories, “Environment” and “Races”. “Environment” contains scenery elements in addition to player start points, strategic points, and other gameplay related objects. “Races” contains each race’s buildings and units. These are generally not used in multiplayer maps.

Decal Placement Tool

The decal placement tool allows you to add details to your map. There are decals for rubble, pavement, craters, foliage and all sorts of other things.

Snap to Grid: Useful when creating road borders or other places where good alignment is necessary.

Snap to 45°: When rotated, decals will snap to nearest 45°

[i]Tip from Sps: Using the 'snap to 45' option instead of arbritrary rotation can improve performance.

Use Random Rotation: When placed, decals will have a random rotation. Useful for avoiding unnatural looking decal alignment with grass or rubble.

Specify Size: Allows you to change the size of the decal. Decal size is adjusted with the slider. If the box isn’t checked, a random size will be used.

Decals: Select the decal you want from the different folders.


Markers are used to attract enemy AI to a location as well as other tasks, usually involving singleplayer maps.

The only marker that is really used in multiplayer is the “ai_chokepoint_marker”. These are supposed to attract enemy AI to a location if the AI is having trouble finding it on its own. To do this, simply select “ai_chokepoint_marker” from the list and click near the location you want the enemy to attack. Look in the upper window labeled “marker info” and find the appropriate marker. Double click on the line labeled “proximity”. Change this value to increase the area the marker applies to.

Entity Editor

I have no idea how to use this. If you do, please let me know.

Heightmap Editor

The heightmap editor allows you to adjust the elevations of your map.

Please note that the water level is set at ~4.5

Mode: Changes the mode the brush is in. There are four modes:

Additive: Increases the height of the area underneath the brush. Will continue to add height until the mouse button is released. In most cases, you will want to use the additive mode with a low strength so it is easier to control.

Subtractive: Decreases the height of the area underneath the brush. Will continue to lower area until the mouse button is released. Also best used with a low strength setting.

Set Value: Area under brush is brought to height specified by height slider. You can use [ctrl]+[shift]+[mouse1] to set the height slider to the height beneath your mouse.

Smoothing: Softens harsh edges in terrain. Good for making terrain look more natural as well as getting rid of impass issues (see impass map editor)

Brush Size: Adjusts size of brush

Feather: More feather creates smoother transitions between elevations. Less feather make more harsh edges.

Height: Adjusts height of brush. Only works when brush is in “Set Value” mode.

Presets: A list of preset heights. Good for ensuring that water is the proper depth.

Strength: Adjusts how hard the brush is. Lower strength with “Additive” or “Subtractive” will make the two work slower and be easier to manage. Low strength with the “Set Value” brush will result in intermediate heights. Adjusting the strength with the “Smoothing” brush will change whether it smoothes only really sharp edges or whether it will flatten pretty much anything.

Texture Stamping Tool

The texture stamping tool allows you to tint the underling terrain as well as add details such as trails and tire tracks. Texture stamping is also useful during the early stages of mapping for creating a plan of where things will go. Some detail textures are more responsive to texture stamping then others.

Spacing: Determines how often the bush will stamp the ground. Lower numbers will create a smoother effect while high numbers will create a more patchy effect.

Strength: Determines the transparency of the brush. Lower values will create a more subtle effect and allow multiple colors to be blended.

Color: Either select one of the colors from the box or make your own using “more colors”.

Textures: This is a list of brushes of varying size. BRUSH_SOFT_TINY01 is the smallest and BRUSH_SOFT_LARGE is the biggest.

Detail Map Edit

This allows you to change the base detail texture. Detail textures are applied in large squares and often will need decals and texture stamping to create a natural looking border between two different detail textures.

To place detail textures, just select one from the list and click where you want it. It is a good idea to save before and during detail texture application because it seems to cause a lot of crashes.

Terrain Type Editor

The terrain type editor does two things, it tells the game what type of terrain the units are moving over (dust, water, rock, etc.) and also what type of cover it is (heavy, light, negative, etc.).

Category: Select from “Footfall” or “Cover”.

Footfall: Used to determine what type of effect is created as a unit moves over that area of terrain.

Cover: Used to determine what type of cover that area of terrain counts as.

Terrain Type: The category of terrain. If the category is set to “Footfall”, the options will be “Unknown”, “Dirtsand”, “Rock”, “Grass”, and “Water”. These will create the appropriate effect when applied to an area of terrain. If the category is set to “Cover”, the options will be “None”, “Light”, “Heavy”, “Negative”, “Blocking” and “Stealth”.

None: Just as it implies, no modifiers.

Light: Slower movement, more protection from damage.

Heavy: Very slow movement, very good protection from damage.

Negative: Slower movement, more damage taken.

Blocking: Prevents players from building in the area.

Stealth: I don’t know if this actually works but, “Stealth” cover is supposed to cloak units that enter it.

Impass Map Editor

The Impass map editor is used to tell the units in game where they can and cannot go.

Passability: Used to select the type of passability you wish to apply.

Generated: Returns the area to its default passablity. Generated Passable is dark grey. Generated Impassable is dark red.

Passable: Forces the game to allow units to travel over selected terrain. Will probably look really odd and should be avoided in most cases. The better bet would be to use the “Smoothing” tool under the heightmap editor.

Impassable: Prevents units from traveling through the area. Usually used for preventing units from walking through models.

Creating a New Map

Open up the editor. Select new map. A dialog box will appear with several options.

Size:This determines the size and shape of a map. Keep in mind that only about half of this area is actually playable. 256 x 256 is a good size to start with.

Cell Size: This affects the movement speed and level of detail of your map. If set to 4m, units will move faster but at the expense of detail. 2m will work best in most situations.

Mod:This should be set to “Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War” unless you are doing something special.

Hit “OK” and you map will be created.

After a few seconds you map will load. First, you will want to toggle the skybox off by pressing [ctrl]+[k]. This will make it much easier to see what you are doing.

Before you get started, it is helpful to mark off the playable area and maybe make a plan of where you are going to place objectives or scenery. To see what portion of the map is playable, go to

Overlay ->Terrain Type. The red area is the actual play area. The rest is for looks and helps to make the map feel like it is part of a larger environment. Make some marks with either the texture stamping tool, the detail map editor, or the heightmap editor at the corners of the playable area for future reference.

At this point, you can export your heightmap to Photoshop or a similar program and edit the elevations of your map from there. To do this, go toFile->Export->Export Height Map . Select the appropriate heightmap and location and hit ok. Now you can go to Photoshop and open up the file to edit it. To import the heightmap back into your map, go toFile->Import->Import Height Map and select your file from wherever you saved it.

Saving Your Map: When you save your first map, you will need to create some folders first. Go into your C:/Program Files/THQ/Dawn of War/W40k/Data folder. Now create a new folder called "Scenarios". Open up the scenarios folder and create a new folder in there called "MP". Place all of your map files in this folder.

Note: Please use proper nomenclature for your final copy of the map. The proper method is


where # is the number of players the map supports. Using this method will make your maps look more professional and make everyone else's lives easier.

Menu Bar Overview


Scenario Properties

Map Name: This is where you change the name of the map as it will appear on the in-game list. Proper format is Map Name (# of players).

Map Type: This determines whether the map is a singleplayer of multiplayer.

Map Desc: This is where you put the backstory/quote/flavor that appears next to the map icon when it is selected on the map list.

Terrain Properties


Sunlight Colour: guess what this does

Shadow Colour: same as above

Time of Day: changes the angle of the sun. Avoid very early morning, late night and exact noon. It will create odd shadow errors.


Sky Model: determines what sky model will be used. Toggle the skybox back on with [ctrl]+[k] to see what you are doing. Some of the sky models may not work properly in-game.

Sky Scale: Changes the size of the sky box. The skybox should be somewhere in the 120x-150x range for good performance.


Start Distance: Determines fog starting distance.

End Distance: Determines fog ending distance.

Note: Fog becomes denser if it is set to a thinner setting. A good place to start with fog is from 50m to 80m.

Colour: Adjust the color of the fog.


Detail Texture Repeat: Changes how many time the detail map textures are repeated per 32 unit square. In most cases a value of 2 or 3 will be good.


Water Set: no real options here

Colour: change the color of the water

Alpha: determines how transparent the water is.

Anim Speed: determines how fast the waves move.

Repeat: change the size/detail of the waves

Tip from Phrackwulf: If the water is not visible in your map, turn down all settings as low as possible to improve performance.

Entity List

This tool is used to find specific entities (models). You can also use it to hide entities so it is easier to work in cluttered areas.


This tool is used to group sets of models together (it may also work with decals). This tool isn’t particularly useful because objects in a group are still selected as single objects.


Toggle Overlay: Turn the current overlays on or off

Grid 5/10/32: Turns on a grid overlay of the selected size. Useful for when you are placing objectives or other things that you wish to be balanced.

Terrain Type: Displays an overlay that shows terrain type.

ImpassEdit Map: Displays impass map. Useful in conjunction with the terrain tool to ensure that terrain is passable.


Thanks, this guide is very helpfull for me

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Merci, on peut ajouter des decals, mais il faut bien les noter pour les transmettre lors de publications ;) bon premier tuto (y)

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Units can shoot through objects on my maps, any idea how to correct this?

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