How to Customize Names in Medieval 2

Written by c.a. rubino
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The medieval period was a time of strife, war and conquest. "Medieval 2: Total War" captures the turmoil, as you select one of the many medieval European countries and try to dominate the known world. Once players are done with historical accuracy, they can let their imaginations go wild, extracting and making changes to the game's resource files. With those files they can customise many aspects of the game such as changing the names of all characters and agents that appear.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Unpack the game's resource files, if you haven't already. Navigate to your Medieval 2 directory, followed by the Tools folder and then the Unpacker folder. Run "unpack_all.bat" to perform the extraction.

  2. 2

    Navigate to the Data folder and delete the "descr_geography_new.txt" and "descr_geography_new.db" files. These files cannot be customised and will cause the game to crash, if left intact.

  3. 3

    Go back to the main Medieval 2 directory and open "medieval2.preference.cfg" in notepad. At the very top add "[io]" followed by "file_first = true" on the very next line. Save and close the file, right click on it and select "Properties." Check the "Read Only" box and apply the changes.

  4. 4

    Download a bin to text converter. Any program that is able to convert valid binary files to text documents will work, but there is one available from the total war modding community; and it is specifically designed for the job. Follow the instructions of your binary converter to convert the "names.txt.strings.bin" file located in the "Data/text" directory. "names.txt" will be created within the folder.

  5. 5

    Open the "descr_names.txt" file located in the Data directory. The file is organised by faction. The names listed under each faction are the possible names the game will choose when generating new named characters. Make whatever changes you wish to the name lists, but keep the overall layout of the file the exact same.

  6. 6

    Open the "names.txt" file located in the Data/text directory. This file lists how every name that is in the game will actually appear in the game. When the game selects a name from the descr_names.txt file, it locates that name within names.txt by matching it with the exact entry within the "{ }" braces. The name to the right of the braces is what will actually appear in the game. If a name selected from descr_names.txt does not have an exact duplicate within the braces, it will not appear in the game.

  7. 7

    Load the "descr_strat.txt" file located in the data/world/maps/imperial_campaign folder. This area sets all the starting values for each faction. Navigate to your faction of choice and change the names of all the default starting characters.

Tips and warnings

  • Unpacking the game only works on version 1.2 and higher. If you are using an older version, you will need to upgrade, before performing the unpacking procedure.
  • If a starting name that is listed in desc_strat.txt does not have an entry in names.txt the game will crash. If a name that is listed in desc_names.txt does not have an entry in names.txt, the name will not appear in the game.

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