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Export descr unit.txt

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The "export_descr_unit.txt", often reffered to by modders as the EDU, is an important text file in Rome: Total War and it's 2 expansions (Alexander and Barbarian Invasion) and also in Medieval 2: Total War. The file controls what characteristics and stats a combat unit has, it also determines what model-texture set the unit uses. The file can be found in the data folder of the game's directory (for Medieval 2: Total War the game must be unpacked using the unpacker provided with patch 1.1, otherwise you will be unable to access the file). The file, like all ".txt" files can be opened with notepad. A standard entry in the file looks somewhat like this:

Note all quoted sections are from M2TW - RTW is slightly different, for instance eras and info pic lines are not included in RTW

type Longbowmen
dictionary Longbowmen Longbowmen
category infantry
class missile
voice_type Light
banner faction main_missile
banner holy crusade
soldier Longbowmen, 60, 0, 0.8
attributes sea_faring, hide_forest, can_withdraw, stakes, stakes
formation 1.2, 1.2, 2.4, 2.4, 4, square
stat_health 1, 0
stat_pri 6, 1, arrow, 160, 30, missile, missile_mechanical, piercing, none, 25, 1
stat_pri_ex 0, 0, 0
stat_pri_attr ap
stat_sec 7, 2, no, 0, 0, melee, melee_blade, blunt, mace, 25, 1.2
stat_sec_ex 0, 0, 0
stat_sec_attr ap
stat_pri_armour 0, 1, 3, flesh
stat_armour_ex 0, 4, 5, 0, 1, 3, 3, flesh
stat_sec_armour 0, 0, flesh
stat_heat 2
stat_ground 1, -2, 3, 2
stat_mental 3, normal, untrained
stat_charge_dist 30
stat_fire_delay 0
stat_food 60, 300
stat_cost 0, 560, 150, 65, 50, 560, 4, 140
armour_ug_levels 0, 1, 2
armour_ug_models Longbowmen, Longbowmen_ug1, Longbowmen_ug2
ownership england, slave
era 1 england
era 2 england
unit_info 7, 6, 4

It looks in-comprehensible at first, but at the top of the file is a section explaining it and what each line etc. means. I've copied it here for simplicity's sake, it explains things better than I could.

The quoted sections are from M2TW - RTW is slightly different, for instance eras and info pic lines are not included in RTW

Type          The internal name of the unit. Note this not necessarily the same as the on screen name
dictionary        The tag used to look up the on screen name

Category and class define the rough type of the unit. They're used for setting some default attributes and for determining where units go in formation amongst other things such as tags to support AI army formation

category      infantry, cavalry, siege, handler, ship or non_combatant
class         light, heavy, missile or spearmen
voice_type    Used to determine the type of voice used by the unit
soldier       Name of the soldier model to use (from descr_models_battle.txt)
              followed by the number of ordinary soldiers in the unit
              followed by the number of extras (pigs dogs, elephants, chariots artillery pieces etc attached to the unit)
              followed by the collision mass of the men. 1.0 is normal. [Only applies to infantry]
officer       Name of officer model. There may be up to 0-3 officer lines per unit
ship          Type of ship used if applicable
engine        Type of siege engine used by unit
animal        The type of (non ridden) animals used by the unit
mount         Type of animal or vehicle ridden on
mount_effect  Factors to add when in combat against enemy units that have the specified mounts
              Up to three factors may be specified, which may be classes of mount, or specific types
attributes    A miscellanious list of attributes and abilities the unit may have. Including
              sea_faring = can board ships; can_swim = can swim across rivers
              hide_forest, hide_improved_forest, hide_anywhere   = defines where the unit can hide
              can_sap = Can dig tunnels under walls
              frighten_foot, frighten_mounted = Cause fear to certain nearby unit types
              can_run_amok = Unit may go out of control when riders lose control of animals
              general_unit = The unit can be used for a named character's bodyguard
              cantabrian_circle = The unit has this special ability
              no_custom = The unit may not be selected in custom battles
              command = The unit carries a legionary eagle, and gives bonuses to nearby units
              mercenary_unit = The unit is s mercenary unit available to all factions
              is_peasant = unknown
              druid = Can do a special morale raising chant
              power_charge = unkown
              free_upkeep_unit = Unit can be supported free in a city
formation     soldier spacing (in metres) side to side, then front to back for close formation
              followed by the same measurements in loose formation.
              followed by the default number of ranks for the unit
              followed by the formations possible for the unit. One or two of
              square, horde, schiltrom, shield_wall, phalanx, testudo, or wedge
stat_health   Hit points of man, followed by hit points of mount or attached animal (if applicable)
              Ridden horses and camels do not have separate hit points 

Details of unit's primary weapon. If the unit has a missile weapon it must be the primary

stat_pri      From left to right
              attack factor
              attack bonus factor if charging
              missile type fired (no if not a missile weapon type)
              range of missile
              amount of missile ammunition per man
              Weapon type = melee, thrown, missile, or siege_missile
              Tech type = simple, other, blade, archery or siege
              Damage type = piercing, blunt, slashing or fire. (I don't think this is used anymore)
              Sound type when weapon hits = none, knife, mace, axe, sword, or spear
              Optional. Name of effect to play when weapon fires
              Min delay between attacks (in 1/10th of a second)
              Skeleton compensation factor in melee. Should be 1
stat_pri_ex   Optional. attack bonus vs mounted, defence bonus vs mounted, armour penetration
              primary weapon attributes any or all of
                  ap = armour piercing. Only counts half of target's armour
                  bp = body piercing. Missile can pass through men and hit those behind
                  spear = Used for long spears. Gives bonuses fighting cavalry, and penalties against infantry
                  long_pike = Use very long pikes. Phalanx capable units only
                  short_pike = Use shorter than normal spears.
                  prec = Missile weapon is only thrown/ fired just before charging into combat
                  thrown = The missile type if thrown rather than fired
                  launching = attack may throw target men into the air
                  area = attack affects an area, not just one man
                  spear & light_spear = The unit when braced has various protecting mechanisms versus cavalry charges from the front
                  spear_bonus_x = attack bonus against cavalry. x = 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 or 12

Details of secondary weapons. If the unit rides on, or has attached animals or vehicles then the secondary weapon details refer to their attacks. If the unit has missile weapons the secondary weapon will be the one used for melee If the unit has a primary melee weapon, it may have a secondary side arm

stat_sec      As per stat_pri     (a value of no means no secondary weapon)
stat_sec_ex   as per stat_pri_ex
stat_sec_attr As per stat_pri_attr
stat_ter      As per stat_pri If there is no ternary weapon, then there are no ternary data entries
stat_ter_ex   as per stat_pri_ex
stat_ter_attr As per stat_pri_attr
stat_pri_armour   Details of the man's defences
                  armour factor
                  defensive skill factor (not used when shot at)
                  shield factor (only used for attacks from the front of left)
                  sound type when hit = flesh, leather, or metal
stat_armour_ex    Details of the man's defences
                  armour factor. 4 values. First for base value, then 3 upgrade levels
                  defensive skill factor (not used when shot at)
                  shield factors. First for melee, second for missile fire
                  sound type when hit = flesh, leather, or metal
stat_sec_armour   Details of animal's or vehicle's defenses (note riden horses do not have a separate defence)
                  As per stat_pri_armour, except that the shield entry is ommited
stat_heat         Extra fatigue suffered by the unit in hot climates
stat_ground       Combat modifiers on different ground types. From left to right
                  scrub, sand, forest, snow
stat_mental       The base morale level, followed by discipline and training
                  discipline may be normal, low, disciplined or impetuous. Impetuous units may charge without orders
                  training determines how tidy the unit's formation is. Discipline the response to morale SHOCKS
                  optional lock_morale stops unit from ever routing
stat_charge_distance Distance from the enemy that the unit will begin charging
stat_fire_delay   Extra delay over that imposed by animation, hetween volleys
stat_food         No longer used
stat_cost         Number of turns to build,
                  Cost of unit to construct
                  Cost of upkeep
                  Cost of upgrading weapons
                  Cost of upgrading armour
                  Cost for custom battles
stat_stl          Number of soldiers needed for unit to count as alive
armour_ug_levels  Smith level needed for each armour upgrade
armour_ug_models  Body for each upgrade level
stat_ownership    List of factions and cultures that may have this unit
era 0,            Optional List of factions that use this in multiplayer era 0
era 1,            Optional List of factions that use this in multiplayer era 1
era 2,            Optional List of factions that use this in multiplayer era 2
info_pic_dir      Optional. Dir to find the info pic in (instead of faction dir)
card_pic_dir      Optional. Dir to find the unit card in (instead of faction dir)
unit_info         Info for unit info panel. Melee attack, missile attack, defence


The export_descr_unit.txt file is a ".txt" file, can be opened using Notepad.

External Links

See also The Complete EDU Guide - Guide to EDU for RTW


Not every possibilities are used up in TW games. Some new features are present but not used in any ways. There are some unsued lines in M2TW export_decr_units.txt like info_pic_dir, card_pic_dir, 'someting'_ex lines. Also there is a large undocumentation in the .txt about new features and costants. There is a completely undocumented line, namely : mounted_engine. Also the list of missiletypes, attributes and such documented in .txt is not even the half of the available possibilities in M2TW.

Available 'attributes' in M2TW:Kingdoms are :


Available attack attributes(stat_pri/sec/ter_attr) in M2TW:Kingdoms are :


Available Attack tech_types in M2TW:Kingdoms are :


The last two numbers in Cost mean, when choosing an army for a custom battle :

How many of this unit you can have in your army before the icon turns red. Each additional unit after this has an increased cost, and increases the cost of adding another such unit.
How much the cost is increased by for each additional unit after you reach a limit, which is usurally four units for normal soldiers, and one unit for general's bodyguard.
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