Making NS2 Crosshair Mods

Executive Admin
18 May 2013
27 October 2020 - 00:30 CET
A small "HowTo" on making crosshairs.
Hopefully it is clear enough. Is sections are unclear, let me know on discord and I will edit it.


Get any program which can edit DDS files. Examples are GIMP and
The above 2 examples are free to download and use.

* Create a folder to store your NS2 mod source files.
* Go to your UI folder. The default is "\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Natural Selection 2\ns2\ui"
* Copy the following DDS files to your NS2 mods folder:
(can be the exo one is no longer used, can not remember. Its still in the game files)
* Open the DDS file in your NS2 mods folder, in your editor of choice.
* Save the file in the format of the program in question. so .pdn for or .xcf for gimp.
* Do all your editing in these files and formats.

## CROSSHAIR FILES: is a file showing the crosshairs from top to bottom. These are the normal crosshairs. Note 'empty' areas can exist. is a file with the crosshairs from top to bottom. These show how the crosshairs look when you hit a target. Exo crosshair, probably outdated.

The above editors use layers. Layers lay on top of each other, where one take precedence over the other.
Imagine the following:
One layer is fully black (square canvas).
The top layer is transparent except for a white circle.
The end result would show as a white circle over a black square.

This means you can make new layers to do edits in to not destroy the underlaying layer. You do not have to do this, but it can make things easier.

Remember that layers can be transparent. In most programs this is shown as a checkers background.

Use the original crosshair files as a example layer for the positioning of your new crosshairs. (The bottom layer).
You can also copy the dds files outside the folder of a mod and use those as examples.
My mod ("DCDs Crosshairs" for example) can be used as an example.

The position of the crosshairs for each weapon is predetermined. They match the location on the dds file.
The middle dot of a crosshair is 4 pixels. Not one.
Do not shorten the original width or height of the canvas.
Undefined (alien/exo) use the bottom crosshair

Safe the image as a dds file. It will merge all the layers. (One of the reasons why you should edit in the editor programs format.
Quality, filesize & NS2 compatibility depends on the type of DDS file you use.
Some compatible formats are:
* ARGB8888
* DXT5RGBA (with Interpolated Alpha channel)
* DXT3
You need no mipmaps for crosshairs.
But feel free to experiment on the format of DDS file to use.

In your NS2 folder "\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Natural Selection 2\" is a "LaunchPad.exe". This is used to make mods and publish them.

It is good to keep your source files (the or gimp files) in their own folder.
You need another folder for your actual mods. These can be mixed if you do it correctly, assuming you do not find that confusing. We do this as follows:

* Make a new mod by pressing "New".
* Give up a location where you wish to store your mods under "Mod Location". This is the location of THIS specific mod.
* Give a mod name.
* Select "Create from a basic template" if you are unsure which folders we need. You can delete these later. If you do not use the template, you will have to create the folders yourself. (Deleting them after is easier)
* Press "Create".
* The view will new swap to your mod. This view is the same as if you used "Open" and selected your mods folder.

"output" is the end result of your mod. Output can be filled automatic by the builder. You can also make your own folder structure and place files in manually.
"source" is the folder the builder uses to make your mod. You can place your editor source files in here if you wish.
"mod.settings" is a textfile containing basic information about your mod, like the name.
"preview.jpg" shows a preview image on the workshop.

You can safely delete content from the output & source folders which you do not need.
The folder structure in output matches the structure in the NS2 folder.
Crosshairs are in the "ui" folder. So the Output folder needs to contain a "ui" folder ONLY for crosshair mods.
Your dds files go into this folder. This makes it "\CrosshairMod\output\ui".
If you wish to use the builder, you place your sourcefiles in "\CrosshairMod\source\ui"

You should end up with:
* A source folder only containing a ui folder. Editor files inside.
* A output folder only containing a ui folder. dds files inside.
* A mod.settings file.
* A preview.jpg file.

Delete all other source folders & files if they exist. We do not need them for crosshair mods.

Configure your mod. Press "Configure" and check the modname & description. Also have a look at Mod type and compatibility type.
Set the mod type to "Crosshairs" and the Compatibility to "Passes Default Consistency"

The builder takes whatever source files it can process and converts them to files NS2 can use. If the builder made it, it will run. That is the advantage. So if you can not get a DDS file which works in NS2, builder can do it.
However you have no control over the format of DDS file. So no control on for example compression and colours (due to compression). Please note the names have to be similar for builder.

So your choice is:
* Do not use builder. Place your correctly named dds files in the output\ui folder. For crosshairs this is advised.
* Use builder. Do NOT place dds files in the output\ui folder. If you use rebuild it will overwrite any file existing in the output folder.

Please note builder will keep running in your taskbar if you "close" it. So it minimizes to taskbar.

Last minute check. Is everything in \output\ named correctly? Is there only stuff in that folder which you need? Stuff which does not belong there for your mod can have it fail consistency!
So for crosshairs, there should only be the crosshair dds files in the "\output\ui" folder.

* You can launch the game via "Launch Game" and test the mod locally on a listenserver.

* Publish the mod. If its set "Public" everyone can see it.
Alski Syndrome
Munich, Bhutan
18 September 2014
27 October 2020 - 10:31 CET
Ref Admin
Omsk (Siberia), Russian Federation
3 December 2012
23 February 2021 - 16:40 CET
> Use the original crosshair files as a example layer for the positioning of your new crosshairs.

For BIG crosshairs, people should remember that crosshair square size is x64 pixels, so if they use vanilla crosshair as default positioning then crosshair pointing is between pixels 32 and 33 (both in height and width), so -32 and -33 offset is a border between different crosshairs, same +32 and +33.

Better to use special font with borders or squares marked and calculate squares center individually

Here is my old template file CRaZyCAT #222106
New Reply