Help:Unpacking Game Files

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This article has been marked for cleanup for the following reason:
The content here is very similar to Modding:Basics#Step 1 - Unpacking Assets. Having the same information in two places leads to confusion for users and editors.

Since release of Furious Koala, game assets have been packed into a database instead of an uncompiled file structure. This has huge benefits to start-up times, and implementation of mods. While this benefits gameplay, it makes it difficult to access the core files for the purposes of this wiki and modding. Luckily, the tools to unpack and re-pack the files are also included.

Installing Nightly

Remember, Starbounder uses data from the nightly builds. Every day, when the developers go home from work, the nightly build is uploaded to Steam. It is the most current incarnation of the game, including all developer's work from the preceding day. It may or may not be playable, because its stability changes day-to-day.

Unstable Properties.png Everyone has access to the nightly build, but it is not installed by default.

1. To install the nightly, find your game called Starbound - Unstable in Steam, and access its properties.
2. Under the Betas tab, change the drop-down menu to nightly. There isn't a code to get access to the nightly, so leave that input-box blank.
3. Close the properties window.
4. Steam should automatically update to the nightly version. If not, make sure you have the Starbound - Unstable installed first.

Unstable Nightly.png

Finding the Packed File Location

Nightly Properties.png Where your nightly install is will vary on your operating system, but this location can be found easily through Steam.

1. Open the properties of your freshly updated nightly install.
2. Under the Local Files tab, click the Browse Local Files button. Feel free to close this this Properties window.
3. A file-system window will open to the root directory of your nightly install.
4. From this directory, open the /assets folder.
5. You should find packed.pak file. This is the magic file where game's assets hide.

Nightly Local Files.png


Now that you know where the nightly's assets are, it's time to unpack them. If the unpacking process for your operating system isn't shown below, there's a compilation of guides on the forums.


Windows has a unpacker executable: \win32\asset_unpacker.exe that can be run from the command line. If you don't know what a this means, or aren't comfortable using the command line, skip to the next section. If you're comfortable running it directly from the command line, its syntax is:


Running From Command Prompt

If you have installed Steam in the default location, and installed the unstable/nightly in the default location relative to Steam, this code will unpack into a new Starbound Assets on your desktop:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Starbound - Unstable\win32\asset_unpacker" "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Starbound - Unstable\assets\packed.pak" "%UserProfile%\Desktop\Starbound Assets"

A couple notes:

  1. It's very, very not recommended to unpack anything directly into assets/.
    This may cause game crashes.
  2. The unpacking process can easily take 5 minutes or more. If you don't get an error, and only see a blink cursor, it's working.
  3. The code above can be copy/pasted into the command prompt in some versions of Windows.

Writing a .bat file

The alternative to using the command line is to write a file to run it for you. This time, it's totally OK not to know what that means, just follow these instructions:
Using a text editor (if you don't have one, or know what this means, use Notepad), copy and paste this into a blank document:

@echo off
echo Unpacking .\assets\packed.pak into .\assets\unpacked\
echo This may take a long time.
start /wait /min ..\win32\asset_unpacker.exe .\packed.pak "%UserProfile%\Desktop\Starbound Assets"
echo Done.

Save the file as unpack.bat and put it in /assetsthe same folder that packed.pak is in.
Make sure you named the file unpack.bat, not unpack.bat.txt because it won't work.
Double-click the file you just made. This will open two command prompts, one in the foreground, one in the background. Leave both open.

Unpacking ..\assets\packed.pak into ..\assets\unpacked\
This may take a long time.

Like the prompt says, this will take a long time. Once the process is complete, the prompt will indicate it is Done. Once the prompts are done working, close out of them if they haven't closed themselves. You will find all of your game files on your Desktop.