In this page I have the info you need to get you going on the road to skinning you're favorite model with your own custom skin !

First of all you will need to get you a decent graphics proggy (program) for editing your skin, I suggest Paint Shop Pro 7 or the newest. If you have it great if not the hyperlink to get it is below. Along with Paint Shop Pro (or any other graphic editing tool) you will need winzip, that is also available for download below.

This is a basic skinning tutorial aimed at anyone who wants to know how to make and use a new skin in the PC version of Quake 3. If there is anything that you think needs to be clearer or you are having problems then feel free to email me and I'll see what I can do to help. All I ask is that you make sure you have read all the tutorial first.


Tools Required:

--Programs you will need--

Paint Shop Pro 7 or some other graphics editor :)

WINZIP  - New to WINZIP?? Check out our tutorial  Download the program here - > WINZIP

  1. Art package - You will need an art package of some kind that supports the editing and saving of TGA images. I use Paintshop Pro.
  2. Zip utility - In order to make or open .pk3 files you will need a file compression utility such as WinZip.
  3. Text editor - To edit the .skin files you just need a basic editor such as Notepad.
  4. Quake 3 Arena or some form of model viewer - In order to see or play your creations you of course need the game itself. However you can still make new skins without Quake 3 if you can find a good model viewer (you obviously can't play them though!). If you can recommend a viewer then please do.
  5. Quickview Plus - you don't need this at all but I find it quite helpful for viewing .pk3 files instead of WinZip because it shows directory paths nice and clearly.




The extra directories that you can see in the diagram are not necessary for a simple skin. They are used for botfiles (computer controlled opponents) and sounds. You can ignore these for this tutorial.


  • Player files explained

    The diagram below shows the files that you now need to place in your quake3/baseq3/steves_models/models/players/skin name directory: 

  • These files are:

  • various.txt - This is not important and is usually just a description of the skin and who made it.
  • icon_various.tga - This is a picture in TGA format that the game uses as the player icon. (All of the skins can be saved as 24 or 32 bit TGA's, however, the icon has to be saved as a 24 bit icon or it won't work at all - thanks to John Duperon for the tip). Here is an example:

  • various.tga - The rest of the TGA pictures are the actual skins themselves. Below is the skin TGA for the Sarge model. This is the thing you have to edit to create a new skin. You can paint it blue black or whatever, put your name across the chest, BUT please do note, that when your painting on this TGA file its a mirror effect, if you paint on the left side of the chest it will reflect out to the right. Hense the whole chest will get the image not just the left.
  • skin_name.pk3 - The final file you have to know about is the .pk3 file. 

    This is just a compressed (ZIP) file of all the files in your working directory just renamed from .zip to .pk3 and placed in the baseq3 directory. 

    An explanation of how to do this is given below.

    Type in a path for where WinZip places the final .zip file so that it ends up in the baseq3 directory. The level of compression you use is up to you Quake3 doesn't mind. Do ensure that the directory structure is retained in the .zip file and that all files will be included by selecting 'include subfolders'. The file won't work if the directory structure isn't in it.


    Let WinZip create the .zip file and then go to the baseq3 directory and change the name of the .zip file to .pk3. Ignore any warnings that Windows gives you. You should now see something vaguely like the diagram below (but with your file name obviously):


    • So where do I get the files needed to do all this?

      Have another look at the diagram above. You will see that my .pk3 file isn't the only one in the baseq3 directory. All of the normal models that come with the game are in pak0.pk3 and so this is where you will get all of your working materials, unless of course you can make your own, but then if you could do that you wouldn't be reading this! Lets say you wanted to make a new skin for the Sarge model, Also if you wanted to edit a skin you have downloaded, use the same idea as in the pak0 pak3, open it with winzip! And then select the files specified.