Starcraft 2: GalaxyEdit tutorial- creating your first unit

GalaxyEdit tutorial- creating your first unit

At first look, Starcraft 2 GalaxyEdit is a bit overwhelming.  You'll open a screen, and see all the things that it can do, and not realize how simple using it can be.  This tutorial hopes to demystify some of GalaxyEdit for Starcraft II. This will allow you to both create and test your first unit.  This is more then a simple changing of what a unit can do.  It will give you a first hand license to create units.  This tutorial is meant for noobs, who know a bit about the GalayEdit program. If you aren't familiar with it, please read the brief overview first.

by sc2mapster

Creating your First Unit

Ok here we will start with creating your first Unit. In this tutorial we will be:

  • Going over the basics of the Data Editor.
  • Creating a whole new Unit easily, not just editing over an existing one.
  • Placing it on your map.
  • Testing the map.


Step 1: Getting to the Data Editor

Create a new Map, dimensions dont matter, nor does tile set or anything, although make sure dependencies is set to Melee (Liberty)

In the map load up the Data Editor [F7].

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Here you want to make sure that you have the Units tab open to do so follow this picture reference:


Ok so now you have the Units tab open and should the window should look like this:


If it doesnt, Make sure all the orange buttons are clicked as mine are.

Step 2: Exploring the Data Editor

There (for this example at least) are only 4 points to the data editor that are really important and here they are:

OVER uhhhhh 3

  • 1 Object List List of all the objects that can be used on your map, and where the objects come from.
  • 2 Fields List of Fields that go with a selected Object
  • 3 Values Values of the fields for an object
  • 4 Data Type Selector You already used this once! chooses between all the type of data you can use for objects.

Step 3: Creating that unit!

In this Example we will be making a modified Marine. Now since we are making a unit thats based on another unit we have 2 options. 1) Make it from scratch and make our heads explode or 2) chill and take it easy. Well guess what we will do a little of Both

Right Click in the Object list and choose add object. that should net you with this little window here.


For name type in what ever you want to call it, ill be naming mine, Marinie, just so the other Marines can make fun of him. after you choose a name and type it in, just hit the box that says Suggest, and it will create an ID that works pretty well. Leave Defines Default Values unchecked, Leave Based On at Default Settings (Unit), also leave Show Non-Default unchecked, For Object family choose Melee (It really doesnt matter), Race choose Terran, Object Type choose Unit (When choosing this you should see a lot of other Type that would be fun to play with after this tutorial huh =P), and Choose Copy From: and pick Marine from the drop down box.

If that wall of Text lost you, just make your box look like this =P


Now hit ok!

Now Marinie has finally found his place among objects. Good for him for finally being accepted! Now lets go ahead and put him on the Battle Field! Minimize the data editor (Or just alt tab) to get back to the Terrain Editor, make sure you are in the Unit Layer (If not just hit U or go to Layer > Unit at the top). In the Tool box, make sure Player 1 is selected, in the 3rd drop down box make sure Terran is selected and in the 4th make sure Unit is selected. if that lost you again heres a picture for reference


Now you will see a button that has a Little Green Zealot on it, when you hover over it it will say Marinie (Or what ever you named the Unit), click it and go place it on the ma..... wait its not showing up! we need to create an actor class for it now!

Pull up your Data Editor again and go to Data Type (Important thing number 4!) and choose Actors. A new Tab for Actors will open up and alot more Objects will appear. Scroll down in the list until you find Marine and right click it and choose Duplicate like so


Another Window will come up asking what exactly to duplicate, just stick a check box in everything and hit ok. after a few seconds another object will be created named Marine Copy. The name really isnt that important for now what matters is the token in the fields. Select to Value for unitName and Right Click and choose Modify Value


a Small window will show up with a single Drop down box, Find Marinie (or what ever you named it), select it, and hit ok.

Now! Minimize the Data editor again, pull up the terrain editor and try placing Marinie like before. Yay! If everything was done right he should show up now! Lets all do a happy dance.


Custom Weapon

Ok So Marinie has been getting made fun of for his ridiculous name and decided to get personal, Lets make him a new Weapon to completely own the other guys' (or them >.>)

Back in the Data Editor Select the Data Type Weapons from the drop down box. Right click anywhere in the object lest and hit, add new object. Name it Marinie's Weapon and have it suggest an ID, Set the Race to Terran and copy From Marine - Gauss Rifle. again here is a cheat sheet:


Hit OK. Now to Edit our Weapon, Marinie, because of his social issues, started taking way too much Stim packs on the down low and now hes permanently hyped up. So lets edit his weapon to reflect this.

Find the Field for Period and double click the Value of it, another small window will pop up, type in the half of that value (0.4304) and hit ok

not that kind of period.....

Alright, This is Fixed, if you want to test the map you can, just hit the test map button and have fun, but im not, because now Marinie is raging and wants more power!!!!

So in the fields find Effect, this is used for damage but wait... its not a value that we can change! its an Effect. So! Time to choose a new Data Type but this time choose Effects.

Right click in the object list, Create a new one. Name it Marinie's Weapon, MANUALLY set the ID to Marinie (again, doesnt matter, could just hit suggest but we are doing this just so it stays neat) Set Effect Type to Effect Damage Set race to Terran and hit ok


Ok there are only two values to change here, Kind, and Amount. Set Kind to Ranged and Amount to 50 like so

yup like that

Now the Weapon Damage is set up properly! Time to fix it so we actually do that much damage.

Click Back to the weapons tab and choose Marinie's Weapon if its not already selected. There are two fields we have to update. Effect as stated earlier and Damage Display Effect. Effect will adjust the Damage, and Damage Display Effect will set the value on the tooltip when you hover over the weapon in game.

So change both of these to Marinie's Weapon

cause? and Effect!

Now it will help if we Equip the weapon to Marinie. go Back to the Unit tab and find the field for Weapons + and double click on the value. a Window should come up that just has a table with one entry. Click on that entry and In the weapon drop down box choose Marinie's Weapon and then hit ok

mine weapon

Now lets optimize The map real fast for testing.

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Map Optimizing

Ok first thing is first, lets only have one Marinie on the map placed, So if you were like me and got really excited when the model showed up and placed a lot of Marinies lets get rid of them all but one. Go back to the Terrain Editor and depending on your last action here selecting already placed units might be confusing. If your cursor isnt a little white arrow to select units with just press the spacebar and it should revert back to the selection cursor, now you can select units just like you do in game.


Now with them all select them, make them explode by hitting the Delete Key, yea you hear that? you thought i was kidding about the explode. Now just as we did earlier add another Marinie just one this time! Also add some normal grunt marines for player 2, so Marinie can release some anger!

1v3? thats no fair!

Now if you followed my tutorial exactly you made a map for melee, obviously this isnt going to be a melee map so we have to change some triggers so we dont automatically end the game when we start. This isnt a Trigger tutorial so stay with me, imma just talk you through one simple edit and we are done.

Launch the Trigger Editor and you should see this

bang bang suka

Now You see where it says "Melee - Set default melee options for all players" Select that and Hit Delete

im melting!

OK YAY! we are ready to finally test, Test your map with the Test document button (or hit ctrl F9) and your game should run, yeah the camera doesnt look at Marinie right away so go find him and click him and check out his weapon and name

lookin good

Alright now move up some to find those grunt rines


Now just unleash fury!

Holy crap!

So Now you should know the basics behind making a unit and editing it. Hopefully this can help you see how to go about editing other aspects of the unit and creating more unique ones!

31 Responses to Starcraft 2: GalaxyEdit tutorial- creating your first unit

  1. ulukai says:

    nice tutorial. Sadly though every tutorial online is about how to create/edit units so they get overpowered. There isn’t really a tutorial for basic stuff out there. for example: “yeah the camera doesnt look at Marinie right away so go find him and click him a…” I have no clue how to get the camera to “find” Marinie (hehe), now that’s a tutorial I would love (though this one was great as well ;))

  2. MeithKoon says:

    Very helpful… it certainly beat banging my head against a wall wondering why my unit wouldn’t work. I’ve worked with Warcraft III editor quite a bit, but SCII really did go over my head in terms of the unit editor(no more simple copy-paste-alter-stats). Great work!

  3. Ythar says:

    My marinie and my other unit I was trying to do before just comes out as a black blob when I’m trying to place them out (After actor part).

    So it sucks really bad cuz I did everything you said………………………………………….. I’m really pissed off cuz it’s so hard.

  4. Ythar says:

    So it sucks really bad cuz I did everything you said………………………………………….. I’m really pissed off cuz it’s so hard.

  5. Jacob says:

    You also understand that the new beta, was just released, and that GalaxyEdit may have changed since the last release?

  6. Ythar says:

    Yeah… But I was thinking if someone maybe could help me with it?… I just posted my problem I know it has changed…

  7. Anonymous says:

    I am the same problem.. except mine is a white blob 😀

    No seriously my face is more like =[

  8. dm0n says:

    I can’t place any ground units on the map. They are red and it makes a buzz sound if I try. I can play air units just fine. This is a new freshly created blank map. What do I need to do to place units on it?

  9. yeah says:

    yeah same problem with actors black blob.i am getting mad please help:(

  10. TheBeefChao says:

    Ythar: When editing the Actor for Marinie, you must look for the Art – section and change the models from Marine Copy (or whatever they are called) to Marine.

  11. BonneZero says:

    Jesus Christ. Why on earth did they make custom unit making so complicated? What happened to a simple “create new unit” button of the warcraft 3 editor and then modifying their stats and artwork. Instead they further obscure an already overcomplicated program making it even less accessible to the players.

  12. BonneZero says:

    that sounds like you are trying to place ground units on unwalkable terrain

  13. BeeR says:

    Dude really. When changing the Unit Name value, a lot of field values change along. Values like art models, Death effect, sounds and others that will take ages to alter one by one. Why the hell these values change is the biggest bleepin mystery, but are there any steps we should take to stop these values from changing? Unfortunately, most of us can’t do ye old dance.

  14. Rav says:

    Thanks for the tutorial I will try it tonight.

    If the map is played on as a player vs AI game

    Will the Marinie be available at the Barracks (like a Marine?) by default, or do you need to describe in the editor which building creates it, what are the required building for the unit to be available as well as its mineral/vespene/supply cost?

    And also, if you play as Zerg against an Terran AI, will the AI automatically by default have a chance of building that new unit, or is there editing required for the AI to actually build and use it?

  15. Neopulsar says:

    So, had the same problems with changing “Unit Name” in the editor that shipped with the final version of the game. Here is a partial work around (has a limitation to be explained after):

    1) After the duplicate actor step above, right click the new actor you made and select “modify object”.
    2) Under “Based On” is a little check box for “Show Non-Default”. Check it.
    3) Now in the drop down box for “Based On”, select the name of the actor you just duplicated.
    4) Under “Field Values”, select “Copy From” and select the actor you just duplicated.
    5) Click “Ok”.
    6) Over in the Fields and Values portion of the screen, modify the value of “Unit Type” as instructed above to the name of your new unit. Yes, this will change things, hence the next step.
    7) Next to each field that changed except for “UI – Highlight Tooltip”, right click the associated value and highlight “Reset to Parent Value”. You will now see an option to select the actor you just duplicated. Select it. (the reason not to change “UI – Highlight Tooltip” is that this is the name that comes up when you mouse over the unit, so you want it to be the new unit name).

    In case you missed it, the fields that you want to do this for are “Event – Events +”, “Combat – Death Effects +”, “Art – Model (Placement)”, “Art – Model (Build)”, and “Art – Model”. “Art – Model (Portrait)” should be already set to the proper value, though if it isn’t do the same for this field as well.

    So, what’s the limitation? While changes to either the original or the new unit will not affect each other, changes to the original actor WILL affect the fields that you just selected “Reset to Parent Value” for if any changes you make to the original involve these fields. Obviously, for most purposes this isn’t an issue, but it may be in your particular case, so be mindful of this.

    There has to be a way that avoids the above complication, but so far that’s all I’ve been able to figure out.

    Anyways, hope this helps. Cheers.

  16. Neopulsar says:

    Oh, also, forgot this: When you initially go the duplicate the actor, DON’T select “Units” or the check box under it. This will create an additional, probably unwanted unit if you check it.

    Happy editing.

  17. anonymousis says:

    You can’t actually have the camera “automatically” find the Marinie, but he just means click on the part of the minimap where there is a white dot.

  18. anonymousis says:

    Great, great tutorial, i could probably make my very own unit if I knew how to make an original actor. Alas, there seems there is no tutorial of that sort

  19. Neopulsar says:

    Yeah, I mean, really actors seem to just be groups of models, sounds, and animations. I guess the idea is to have “actors” to play the parts of your “units” as in a play or movie. I believe that if you can figure out how to properly define models, sounds, animations, and events (as these describe things such as how the entity enters and exits play), all you need to do to make an actor is just to link them all together under their associated categories to the new actor. Of course, that is far easier said than done.

  20. nighthunt says:

    You could.
    Using a specific Action in Map Init you can move the camera on map start to the marine, you can lock it to the marine etc

    But in my opinion it is good, that there are so many unit tutorials, because unit editor has changed since wc3 in many aspects, the rest not. So if somebody dont find a right tutorial for triggers or terrain it is possible to use similiar wc3 editor tutorials

  21. pws81 says:

    The GE is a way more complex toolset. It’s only a few steps up from just sitting there and plunking in the xml yourself. Consequently, a lot of how the editor works seems mysterious if you don’t know any basic coding.

    The issue you are running into is, essentially, that certain variables are inherited from their parent class. When you associate the actor with the custom unit type, you are altering its parent class. Unfortunately, you do have to go through and reset the variable to the appropriate parent type (just right click the altered variable, click on parent type and go to the closest parent [ie, if you are doing a dupe of a marine, select marine, not unit, etc]).

  22. Gyzmo says:

    You have no idea how hard it is to find a simple tutorial!
    Thanks a million, youv been really helpful!

  23. Spitt says:

    Questions about GalaxyEdit, can now also be asked in the StarCraft forums. Got a guide or tip you want to post for all to read? Post em in the forums.

  24. peter says:

    I have a problem. There are no shooting-sounds and if die my custom made marines they just dissapear.
    Can someone help me?

  25. Dave says:

    It appears that a few things have been updated since this guide was originally updated. Following this guide, my unit comes out like a white blob, and I cannot edit the weapon per the above instructions. Please update.

  26. tyrael says:

    Im having the same problem as peter here, theres no firing audio or animation on custom marines, and no death animation, they just dissapear.

  27. TheEyesOfLife says:

    Hey Guys, I’m running on a mac, and Ive done this with slight difficulties, and the only thing i cant seem to fix is the part where you can see how marinie’s weapon is 50. The uh, Display Damage effect. What did he mean by the “weapons +” thing in the units tab? I got to equip the weapon on my own and everything, but i just cant see the effect when i go to test it, no doubt due to the display damage effect thing. Thanks! By the way, anytime i try to go to my fields, instead of his saying (None) then the Damage Display effect, mine just says “CWeapon_” and then whatever it is. I have some of the things he does, but not damage display effect.

  28. Ronan says:

    Doesn’t work.


  29. SpaceDeath says:

    This doesnt work for me

    #1 all i get is a black sphere
    #2 its wrong version of map editor

  30. Dethly says:

    after i create my unit it doesn’t show up on the tool box on the actual editor. why is this?

  31. Madeloc says:

    Thanks for the tutorial. Wasn’t completely easy at the start since last time I used an editor, it was Warcratf III’s one 🙂 I wasn’t too bad at triggering and scening but 10 years and the complexion of this one 🙂 I made it through though so thank you.

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