I have not had time to work on this recently, so links may be out of date, and procedures for editing files may have changed slightly as of DLC4, since I have not use WT recently. Please leave a message if you find any information to be out of date so I can correct it.  Dr Hax headshot.png  Skeve613ask Dr. Hax  20:47, November 2, 2010 (UTC)

A foreword from the author

Holy crap, he's calling it a foreword, he's really going to get wordy here if he fancies himself an author already. OK, to the real point now...

Willowtree is a save file editing program designed specifically to work with Borderlands, making game information easier to see and work with than in a traditional hex editor. WillowTree moreover drastically reduces the chances of making a file alteration which will corrupt and destroy your save file, and is a more noob user-friendly program. This guide of sorts is designed to help first time users of WillowTree understand how to work with Xander Chaos' version of this program.

Current WT version download: http://sourceforge.net/projects/willowtree/

Moving your file from USB to PC: XTAF and Modio

WillowTree is only one of the steps in accessing your save file, and perhaps the step in which most people have trouble is in moving their save file from their device to their PC and back again. For this reason, I feel that such programs deserve their own section.

The two programs most often used are USB XTAF Explorer and Modio. Which you use is personal preference, but this section will deal primarily with XTAF, which the author (i.e. me, Skeve613) has used reliably since he started WillowTree work.

When you open XTAF, you will be greeted with a blank window with several options at the top. After inserting your USB, choose File > Open device and you should see lines of numbers and letters pop up. What these are is not terribly important, but you will want to choose the bottommost line and double click to open it. Keep repeating this until you see the text of your save file appear, denoted by something like "Save0001.sav" - this is the file you want. Highlight it, choose Extract, then choose your location to extract and save to on your PC. Having a dedicated folder to hold XTAF, WIllowTree, save files, Modio, etc is a very good idea, though extracting to Desktop is arguably more convenient.

If someone wants to add details about Modio, feel free too do so in the user contribution section.

Editing and creating weapons

Since patch 1.3, certain restrictions have been imposed on the range of weapons that can be created and used in Borderlands. What follows is an outline of these restrictions and how to work within them so your treasured (and hopefully somewhat rational) creation doesn't get destroyed by the powers at be.

  1. All parts in a weapon must be of the same weapon type. Rather self explanatory, but all components used in a weapon must be of the same type as that specified in the first line of text in the item description, i.e. you can't add a Support MG barrel to a Rocket launcher for instance.
  2. Weapon type and manufacturer must be compatible. Not all companies make all types of weapons. Only Revolvers, Snipers, and shotguns, for instance, can have Jakobs as a manufacturer. See BLModding for a complete list.
  1. All parts in a weapon must be from the same manufacturer. Simply put, you can't combine parts from different manufacturers, and all the parts you use in a gun must match the manufacturer specified in the second line of text in the parts listing. This generally means that most legendary parts cannot be cross combined if they are form different companies, so a Dove barrel (Dahl) won't work with an Invader scope (Hyperion). A weapon's material must also match its manufacturer - ex. Hyperion material 3 (Crimson) can only be used on weapons with manufacturer set to Hyperion.
  1. Grips must match. Every manufacturer has only one compatible grip for each weapon type which is sued for all weapons of that type and manufacturer. See BlModding for a complete list of all "Grip Restrictions"
  1. A weapon can have at most one of any type of part. It seems self evident, but no one type of part can appear more than once on a weapon. However, it is important to note that it is OK for a gun to not have any particular type of part at all, done by replacing the code text with "none" instead. When this is done, the gun will spawn without that part visible on the item card and in-game model visible in both first and third person. A weapon can even be made with no parts at all besides its manufacturer and type designation.
  1. In cases of unique or legendary weapons, unique additional restrictions often apply. We will take, for example, The Meat Grinder, and its unique magazine which gives it its special effects as well as its material. Barrel2 is the only barrel allowed by this part; any other barrel used with this material and magazine will cause the weapon to be deleted.
  1. Titles can be mixed and matched in any manner. There are no restrictions whatsoever on the selection of item titles and prefixes, so you can choose whatever titles you want in order to achieve the desired effect. Note though that if you are trying to make a construct within the bounds of legitimacy, then the title and prefix will be determined by the parts the item has, and by the relative priority of the titles and prefixes associated with each (which determines whether designation is overidden by another). This is why so many Shredder Shredder weapons appear, with the associated x5 projectile count as a way of easily increasing damage without any knowledge of parts combinations.
  1. Level and quality must be compatible. A higher quality weapon mandates a higher weapon level based on specific increments, however a high level weapon does not mandate high quality. Specific relations between level and quality can be found on BLModding

Notice here that I do not ever address the abominations known as Stock and Scorpio weapons. Such things exceed what I believe to be the limit of rationality because they can break the game and take the challenge out of even Crawmerax. I do not account for hex editors and the options they offer (such as creating seemingly illegal weapon hybrids of parts and effects) because this is intended to deal only with WillowTree, and I do not assume that most people will want to run the greater risk of file corruption which comes with using hex editors. I also assume that you are making weapons with all parts used, as certain restrictions can be bypassed by simply setting certain parts to "None" in the list.

Item legitimacy and GearCalc

Another important thing to note is that just because a weapon meets these requirements and can be used in-game after creation does not mean it could legitimately appear in-game. The rules I have discussed here are merely the minimum requirements a weapon must meet to be creatable. If you want to see whether what you have made is legitimate (as in being able to be spawned by the game), GearCalc is web program that allows you to build and test weapons for legitimacy. It also allows you to save or import part codes from WillowTree, and create and save item cards as picture files (in .png format). GearCalc may be found on BL Modding resourcehttp://blmodding.wikidot.com/gear-calculator, or at http://gearcalc.50webs.com/

If you prefer to check validity manually, you can check out the weapon legitimacy guidelines and help forum on the "Ask the Experts. Is this modded?" thread.

Editing quests and objectives

WillowTree can also be used to edit a player's in-game progress on all quests and missions, allowing for quests to be rerun on a character, detrimental glitches to be worked around, and for quest reward or one-time enemy drops to be farmed by resetting a quest repeatedly. This can be accessed through the conveniently labeled "Quests" tab. Quests are tracked separately for playthrough 1 and 2, and modifying a quest in one playthrough will not affect its status in the other. For each quest, a drop down menu allows you to select from several options:

  • Not started" sets the quest so that it does not even appear in your quest log. You will need to visit the original person/location as your would to acquire the quest normally.
  • "Started" by default sets the quest as in progress, with no objectives yet completed, indicated by the Objective Value of 0. This is particularly useful if you accidentally glitch any of the armory quests and wish to revisit the armory, as you can easily reset the glitched quest to its normal status by setting objective value to 0 to unmark the "Steal loot" option. By setting the objective value to higher whole numbers, you can mark successive objectives complete individually as well.
  • "Ready to turn in" marks all objectives as completed, so that you need only visit the person in question to receive your XP and other quest rewards. This is useful for obtaining a unique quest reward such as a weapon multiple times in possibly different versions, or for obtaining a higher level variant by finishing the quest at a higher level.
  • "Finished" marks all quest objectives as completed, as well as turning the quest in.
  • Note: it is impossible to set it that you have completed the Mad Moxxi rounds in willowtree.

Editing character stats and attributes

  • WillowTree can be used to manually adjust character attributes, sometimes beyond. Each option is rather clearly marked with drop down menus under the first tab, but you can also input any values you desire
  • Adjusting character level: Your character's level can be set anywhere from 1 to 61 up to as high as 70, i.e. beyond levels reachable through normal play. Higher than legitimate levels mean more skill points and higher base health - but also marks you as a blatant modder to anyone online with who sees your level and will maybe make some people point at you and yell "HAX" before you are violently hit and knocked unconscious by flying computer monitors directed at your head. Setting higher levels than 70 will cause significant... problems which can corrupt your character and get it deleted.

    Mod responsibly and reasonably people

  • Bank and inventory space may be manually set to be any number you desire, allowing you to store more in reserve and carry more items with you.You can even set both to over 9000. The game can take a while to load a thousand items
  • Equip slots: The highest reachable through normal play is four, but this value can be set to be higher so that you can equip more weapons at once for quick access san menu. Note however, that having more than four slots is inhibited by the fact that the D-pad supports only four at once, so to access your additional equipped weapons in game you will have to use the weapon swap button (Y on 360 for instance). Additional weapons will also not show up in your equipment menu, so to swap them you will need to either use WillowTree or swap a gun for something else on the ground in-game.
  • Experience: Let you adjust total XP earned in the game, though somewhat superfluous given you can adjust character level specifically.

Saving, save files, and back-ups

WillowTree does not feature any sort of auto save function, so saving your work before you finish is up to you. There are two "levels" of saving you need to be aware of when working in WillowTree:

  • After building an item (class mod, shield, or weapon), you will need to find and hit the small Save button above the item component list to save what you just made; if you don't, it will disappear once you deselect it and move to something else.
  • In order to save all the changes you have made to your character file, undertake the most arduous half second task of navigating to the upper left corner of the WillowTree window where the circular WillowTree icon is located. Click this, then select Save to permanently save all the changes you have made to your save file. If you don't this before closing the WillowTree window, all changes you made after your last save will be lost.
  • When you save your file from WillowTree using the aforementioned main save option, WillowTree actually saves two separate save files to the location you designate on your computer. The first is your main save file - for example, "Save0001.sav" - which can be accessed and used in both WillowTree and programs like XTAF as is. The second file is an exact copy of your main file, but is denoted by a different file type ending - for onstance, "Save0001.bak" for the example above. This is essentially your automatic back-up file which, if you manage to irreversibly screw up your main file or otherwise make a major mistake, can be loaded to restore all your original statistics. Simply change the name of the file type from ".bak" to ".sav" to make your back-up file readable, noting that this will overwrite your original file because the names will be the same. IF you want to copy your back-up without deleting your original, change the main name in addition to the file type, for instance changing "Save0001.bak" to "Save0002.sav" rather than "Save0001.sav" in roder to keep your original file named "Save0001.sav"

Additional input from other users

If you copy a save file and/or move it to another machine you must rename the file, and ALSO change the save number within the file using a program called willowtree. Failing to change the internal savenumber will cause borderlands to overwrite one of your existing saves.

With willowtree v1.22 :

To edit the save number in willow tree navigate to the 'save info' folder, and right-click on the 6th value. It should be the same as the filename. Change it to a unique number (in decimal) and save the file with willowtree. Note that borderlands will save the file using hexadecimal, so if you enter '10' as the save number, borderlands will save it as Save000A.sav

With willowtree v2+:

Simply change the 'save number' on the 'general info' tab and save the file. - Courtesy of Special:Contributions/125.237.155.159


The following was written by a reader that has been modding for one day. Nov. 4-5, 2010)

I had been trying out Modio to pull out the .sav files from my USB flash drive, but anything I extracted wouldn't open with WillowTree#. I did manage to randomly open two different .sav files with WillowTree#, but once WillowTree# modified them, Modio stopped wanting to accept them. It seems like each one is modifying the files in such a way that the other can no longer use the file.

When I found this page, I downloaded XTAF; it's been working perfectly for roughly 30 different .sav files. It is very well possible that I am to blame for my issues with Modio, but I find it strange that I was able to successfully use XTAF from the very first try. Modio has some hex editing and some other features. However, if you're looking to just transfer the .sav files back-and-forth between your pc and system, I recommend XTAF. It's lightweight and very simple.

A Final Notice and Reminder

Mod responsibly, and remember.... Dr Hax Poster by mangandalf.jpg

You heard Dr. HAX. No overpowered HAX. Even if it takes a giant poster-like notification which will be too big for most browser windows to display properly to get the message across.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.