How to Extract Homeworld Assets

In creating Naabal Yards – I needed to be able to export ship assets from the game. I used the following steps to extract these models.

Tools You Need

CFHodEd –

GBXTools – Install this from Steam

BIGDecryptor –

Getting Started

1. Install all of the above tools. This should be self explanatory, just visit the links and start downloading. Below are some descriptions of what these tools do

  • CFHodEd : Used to view and extract models from the .HOD format of ship files
  • GBXTools : A Gearbox released tool for the packing and unpacking of .BIG files
  • BIGDecryptor : A fan created tool for the decryption of .BIG files

You may be curious as to what the various files are:

  • .HOD : These can be thought of zipped up ship assets. These files contain meshes, textures, and materials. Meshes are sometimes split into various files – usually if something is a door, a gun turret, or something that moves and has an animation.
  • .BIG : If the .HOD is for ships, then .BIG is for all the game assets. You’ll find a lot more in these files than .HOD files, things like cinematics and music. The major departure about this filetype in HW:RM that’s different in HW2 and HW1 is that this file is not encrypted.

2. Extract BIGDecryptor somewhere.

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3. Drag and drop the .BIG file from under C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\Common\Homeworld\HomeworldRM\Data to the dropBigHere.bat file from step 2

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The .BIG files of interest would be HW2Ships.big and HW1Ships.big

4. You’ll notice that the .BIG was decrypted and put back into the C:\ path that it came from. It should have the suffix _decrypted.big Grab the path to that file.

5. Now you need to use the GBXTools that were installed. Open up your command line and now navigate to: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\Steamapps\Common\Homeworld\GBXTools\WorkshopTool and the file you’ll be working with is called Archive.exe

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6. Now run Archive.exe -e path\to\destination -a path\to\big\file . This will extract the assets to your destination path.

7. Great, you have all the .HOD files. Now open up CFHodEd and navigate to the extract path and open the ship directory. In it you’ll find folder and folders of ships and their .HOD files within. I won’t go into too many details at this point, because it’s pretty straightforward to the the .obj file and the textures. But at a high level:

  • Click on the Textures tab and click Export All
  • Click on the Mesh tab, select the LOD0 (you want LOD0 because in HW : RM, the LOD0, or Level of Detail 0 has the most detailed model). Click export. You may have to export multiple meshes for gun turrets etc. Be sure to click YES when it asks to Reverse UVs. This will properly orient your models on export (right now they are mirrored)

What’s Next?

So what do you have now? You now have a .obj file and textures. These can be loaded up into pretty much any 3d rendering tool. You can use DeepExplorer, Maya, Blender, etc. All of these can handle the object file. Of note, you’ll notice when you load the model, you’ll need to match the texture to the mesh. Play around with it and it should become clear. See below for a good tutorial on Deep Exploration: