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Alex's Fantastically Fabulous Freedom Force FAQ

New to the Freedom Force Universe? Or maybe you're a veteran and are too embarrassed to admit you don't really know the difference between a mesh and a skin? Luckily for you, the World's Mightiest FF FAQ is here! Read on!

General Q&A

Freedom Force game1. What's Freedom Force?
2. What's Freedom Force vs. The Third Reich?
3. Sequel? But wasn't Freedom Force supposed to be a trilogy?
4. I heard Freedom Force doesn't work with the latest version of Windows. Is this true?
5. Can I play multiplayer FF online?
6. How do I take screenshots?

1. What's Freedom Force?
Freedom Force (a.k.a FF) is a PC game (a Mac version is also available), developed by Irrational Games and originally released in early 2002. It allows you to take control of a team of superheroes on missions, as they travel through a great storyline, inspired by the Silver-Age of comic books. It is a hybrid game: part RPG (you can augment your heroes' powers as the game progresses) and part tactical combat. It is fully 3D, has destructible environments, and a built-in character creator. Most importantly, it's 100% FUN!

Freedom Force (FF) is notable not just because it's an extremely well-designed game, but because it also broke the so-called "superhero curse". Until FF was released, the prevailing wisdom was that good superhero computer games could never be released. This thinking was fueled by a few high-profile superhero projects which were cancelled - Champions, Guardians-Agents of Justice, and The Indestructibles.

But the "curse" is dead now! If you are a comic book super heroes fan (or just a fan of well-designed games), RUN don't walk and get your copy of Freedom Force!

Learn more about the game by visiting the official site:

Freedom Force vs The 3rd Reich game2. What's Freedom Force vs. The Third Reich?
Since Freedom Force was so warmly received (and yeah, it made a few bucks too), Irrational Games decided to grace us with a sequel with the comic-booky title of Freedom Force vs. The Third Reich (a.k.a FFv3R).

In it, our heroes end up time-traveling back to WWII (aka The Golden Age of Comics) for some all-new derring-do. The game was released in March 2005. Sadly, it was the last game in the series released (thus far).

And yes, you guessed it, to learn more about the game, visit the official site at

Ultimate Freedom Force3. Sequel? But wasn't Freedom Force supposed to be a trilogy, and wasn't the next game supposed to be set in the 70's?
Yeah, well, sometimes plans change. (And if you know so much, why are you reading a FAQ? :) )

Irrational has stated in interviews that they felt traveling to the Golden Age opened up some interesting story possibilities. So that's why the sequel went in that direction.

It's also true that someone at Irrational at one point mentioned this plan to keep moving forward in time with the series. There were reportedly projects called Freedom Force 3 and Ultimate Freedom Force, but they never quite got off the ground. Irrational worked on a little game called Bioshock instead!

4. I heard Freedom Force doesn't work with the latest version of Windows. Is this true?
I say thee nay! The original FF game had a problem with Windows XP Service Pack 2, but Irrational Games released FF Patch v1.3 which fixed the problem. This is the final version of FF and it works on XP SP2, 2000, Win7 and later. By the way, this is the version you get if you buy FF on Steam.

If you need the patch, get it at the official site:

FFv3R has no problem running with Windows XP SP2 and later versions of Windows right out of the box.

5. Can I play multiplayer FF online?
FF does have a multiplayer mode, but even Irrational will admit it's not as good as it could have been. Basically, it's death-matches against 1-3 other players, each controlling 1-4 characters. You can put a limit on how many Prestige Points each player can use and choose from a handful of different maps.

Playing online requires you install Gamespy software (it's on the FF disk) or share IP addresses with whoever you're playing with. I'd recommend visiting the forums at where a section of the forum is set aside for folks trying to set up a multiplayer session.

FFv3R has a much improved multiplayer mode including additional game types and a built-in game browser. However, it may be hard to find someone to play with online as neither game was ever really big on multi-player.

6. How do I take screenshots?
Just hit Print Screen on your keyboard to copy the screen to the clipboard. Then switch out of Freedom Force to any paint program (MS Paint comes with Windows and works fine for this) and click Edit-Paste. Save your picture!

When FF first came out, you couldn't do this. There was a workaround involving modifying the system file named INIT.PY, but it's not worth the effort since later patches made the above method work. Remember, always use the latest patch! (version 1.3 as of this writing).

Customizing FF

7. How customizable is Freedom Force?
8. What's a Hero File?
9, I downloaded a hero file, but all I see is a big white block, what happened?
10. What if I want to change the mesh the Hero File is set to?
11. How do I change the way my hero's uniform looks?
12. How do I get my custom character into the FF campaign game?

7. How customizable is Freedom Force?
Very! ... What, you want more details? Well, why didn't you ask?

Freedom Force was designed from the ground up to be customized. The basic game lets you create your own heroes and have them join the Freedom Force and participate in the game's storyline. Or you can just create your favorite heroes and fight it out in the Danger Room.

The built-in character editor lets you easily change powers and attributes and create hero files. You change the way your hero looks by changing their skin and/or mesh (more on all these below).

If you get a hold of the free editor, FFEDIT, you can even change sounds, add voices, add maps to the FF campaign, or best of all, create your own Mods. A mod is an entirely new game that uses the FF engine. (see the Mods section below for more). There is a dedicated FF fan community which is still putting out new things to download all these years later.

A lot of the custom content (such as skins) can be used in either game. Some things (certain meshes, hero files) require tweaking so they work in the sequel. I have tools (EZ Hero, EZ NifConvert) that help you convert content

8. What's a Hero file?
A hero file is a data file ending with the ".hero" extension (for example: "hyperguy.hero") These files are where Freedom Force stores the information about custom characters you create. You can think of it as the "blueprint" for your hero and his/her powers.

If you installed Freedom Force in the default directory, hero files are in one of these folders:

  • For CD version, Win7 and later ->    C:\Program Files (x86)\Irrational Games\Freedom Force\Data\Heroes
  • For CD version, WinXP/2000 ->    C:\Program Files\Irrational Games\Freedom Force\Data\Heroes 
  • For Steam version ->    C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\Freedom Force\Data\Heroes 

For FFv3r, CD, GOG, and Steam all handle hero files the same way. They go in your User Apps Data folder. For example if your PC User is ALEX, they would be in

  • Win7 and later ->  C:\Users\ALEX\AppData\Local\Irrational Games\Freedom Force vs. the 3rd Reich\Custom\Heroes
  • WinXP/2000 ->  C:\Documents and Settings\ALEX\Local Settings\Application Data\Irrational Games\Freedom Force vs. the 3rd Reich\Custom\Heroes

In the Recipes section on this site, I have placed some hero files I've worked on for you to download. All my hero files are designed to be balanced with each other. (and oh yeah, I call them "recipes" sometimes, because I was watching a lot of Iron Chef when I built this site).

9. I downloaded a hero file, but all I see is a big white block, Help!
Relax, this just means you haven't installed the mesh this hero file was built for or you installed the mesh incorrectly. So just double-check what meshes you have installed (see Skins and Meshes section below for more info) and you should be OK.

10. What if I want to change the mesh the Hero File is set to?
Unfortunately, the built-in FF Character Editor doesn't let you do this. Luckily, various fans have made stand-alone utilities to let you do this (as well as otherwise tweak hero files in ways FF alone doesn't allow). The first of these was my own EZ Hero editor.

11. How do I change the way my hero's uniform looks?
After creating a few heroes with the FF Character Editor, you will realize that the powers are great, but you really want HyperGuy to have a green cape and you want to add his purple logo. Like I said before, FF is very customizable, so this is all possible. To change the way your character looks, you need to create or download a new skin and install it. More info on this below.

Skins and Meshes

12. What are Skins? What are Meshes?
13. Where can I get Skins and Meshes?
14. How do you install Skins and Meshes?
15. How can I make my own Skins?
16. How can I make my own Meshes?
17. Can I get the meshes for the FF characters?

12. What are Skins? What are Meshes?
A Skin is an image file that "wraps" around your character to make him look the way he or she should. In Freedom Force, all skin files are TGA format (and thus have .TGA extensions). In FFv3R, skins can be either TGA or DDS format. You can create skins with paint programs like Photoshop or GIMP.

A Mesh is a 3D model (with a .NIF extension) thats works like your character's "skeleton". That is, it gives your hero a specific shape (tall, short, female, dinosaur, etc.). Mesh files usually are named CHARACTER.NIF and are placed in individual folders which indicate that they are, such as "male_basic" or "female_basic"

A mesh will also have a corresponding keyframes file (KEYFRAMES.KF) in the same folder as the mesh. This file contains all the animations (running, punching) a specific mesh can do.

13. Where can I get Skins and Meshes?
Talented artists are making these all the time. I happen to host a bunch of them on this site (check my Skins and Meshes section). Also, check my Links page for some of my favorites sites devoted to FF skins and meshes. However, this is far from a complete list as there are plenty of FF skins and meshes all over the net. Do a google search to find more.

folders for skins and meshes14. How do you install Skins and Meshes?
Ah, if there's one thing I get asked more than anything else, it's this! OK ... here goes ...

Mesh and Skin files you find on sites will almost always be compressed as ZIP files. Download , unzip and place their contents in a specific subfolder named for the mesh. Example (as show in pic) - male_basic is the mesh folder where NIF and KF files go. In that there's a folder always called "skins". In skins, there's a subfolder for each skin that is for this mesh. The pic shows a skin called "standard". As you can see, the skin TGA files go in there.

For FF, I would in:

  • For CD version, Win7 and later ->    C:\Program Files (x86)\Irrational Games\Freedom Force\Data\Art\Custom_Characters
  • For CD version, WinXP/2000 ->    C:\Program Files\Irrational Games\Freedom Force\Data\Art\Custom_Characters
  • For Steam version ->    C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\Freedom Force\Data\Art\Custom_Characters

For FFv3R, I would install this in:

  • For CD version, Win7 and later -> C:\Program Files (x86)\Irrational Games\Freedom Force vs the 3rd Reich\Custom\Art\library\characters
  • For CD version, WinXP/2000 -> C:\Program Files\Irrational Games\Freedom Force vs the 3rd Reich\Custom\Art\library\characters
  • For GOG version-> C:\Program Files (x86)\\FFVTTR\Custom\Art\library\characters
  • For Steam version -> C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\Freedom Force vs. the 3rd Reich\Custom\Art\library\characters

Sometimes, you will download a mesh without a keyframe file. If your character just glides around without moving their legs or arms, their mesh is probably missing a key frames file.

This is done to save space as key frames are much bigger than the mesh files. The creator of the mesh will usually tell you what key frames will work with their mesh. Just copy the right keyframes.kf file to the mesh folder and your mesh will be good to go.

Freedom Force Character Tool15. How can I make my own Skins?
Skins are just image files. To make new ones (or change existing ones), you will need a graphic editing program (such as Photoshop or GIMP) that can edit TGA files. I would also recommend Irrational's free Character Tool, so you can see how your character looks as you work on it. Get it a

It may seem hard at first, but even I can do skins now. Give it a try, it's easier than you think.

16. How can I make my own Meshes?
Meshes are not as easy to make as skins. You would need a copy of 3DS Studio Max (version 4 or 5), as well as the Character Studio add-on and NetImmerse exporters. The NetImmerse exporters are downloadable for free from Irrational (at, but a copy of 3DS Studio Max will cost you in the neighborhood of $5000.

This is basically what the 3D artists at Irrational used to create the characters you see in the game, so, as you can imagine, it's fairly complex and not something I can give you a quick tutorial on. You'll need a book (or school course) and lots of time. So unless you are already a 3D artist yourself or studying to be one, you probably won't have the time to really get into meshing. Luckily, Irrational provided some generic meshes with the game which are used by hundreds of skins. Also, the FF community has created literally hundreds of additional meshes you can download.

There is a new free tool called NifSkope that allows for basic editing of NIF mesh files. Using Niskope you can make changes to existing NIF files and even combine pieces from different ones. It's an easier way to do some "meshing". Get it here:

17. Can I get the meshes for the FF characters?
Yes, most of these are available for download at (go to the Modforce section).

Or you can find the FF game file called ART.FF on your hard drive. This is actually a ZIP file, so just temporarily rename it to ART.ZIP and take a look inside. There, you will find all the game meshes in a folder called DATA\ ART\ LIBRARY. Don't forget to rename this file back to ART.FF when you're done!

Mods and other Add-Ons

18. What's an FX?
19. FFEDIT? Sounds scary! Isn't there an easier way to install FX?
20. So what's FFEDIT anyway? Where do I get it? What does it do?
21. I installed FFEDIT, and it's messed up my FF game!
22. How do I make a Mod?
23. I'm trying to make a mod, but I keep getting an error saying "DAT files" not found!
24. I have the Mac version of FF, can I play Mods?
25. What's FFX?
26. Hmm, is there a special order I should be installing all this stuff in?
27. Gimme some cheat codes!

18. What's an FX?
An FX refers to an effect or the visual graphic you see when a character uses a power in the game. With FF's built-in Character Editor, you can assign different FX to different powers when you are creating your custom heroes.

The FF game itself came with plenty of FX, but over time, the FF community has developed hundreds of new ones. To install new custom FX , you need to use the FFEDIT modding tool.

19. FFEDIT? Sounds scary! Isn't there an easier way to install FX?
It's not that hard, but if you aren't an FFEDIT kind of guy, you can download an install EZ FX, my add-on which automatically installs hundreds of community-created FX for FF or FFv3r (there are two versions of EZ FX, one for each game) Get EZFX on my Goodies page.

20. So what's FFEDIT anyway? Where do I get it? What does it do?
FFEDIT is the official Freedom Force Editor. Shortly after the release of FF, Irrational released FFEDIT, so fans could change the game as they liked. FFEDIT is the same tool the Irrational developers used to set up the original game (actually it's a cleaned-up version that's a little nicer than what they had to work with), so it's very powerful.

Like anything official from Irrational, you can get FFEDIT at

FFEDIT allows you to change pretty much anything in the original game and add new items, characters, FX, maps, etc. One of the most important things FFEDIT does is allow you to make completely new games, such as my JLA mod - get it on my Mods page.

21. I installed FFEDIT, and it's messed up my FF game!
After installing FFEDIT, if you get this error message when trying to play the game:

alert: CCampaignIMP: GetNextCampaignMissionDef(), invalid campaign mission index.  

Delete the file called campdef.dat in your data folder and all should be OK.

Freedom Force Mod Editor22. How do I make a Mod?
Practice, my friend, practice.
FFEDIT is basically a tool to edit the internal data files (DAT files) that hold FF's information for maps, characters, fx, powers, etc. You can completely change them all or just add a few new ones.

Depending on your mod, You might also want to add new art files such as character skins or meshes. Finally, you use the Python scripting language to create new scenes for your mod's storyline (just like the scenes in FF) and the mission objectives your characters need to complete to finish a mission.

FFEDIT comes with documentation on editing the FF DAT files and Python script commands to use when writing mod missions. A word of warning, not everyone can become a modder, a programming background helps (but is not necessary) for the Python scripting. The best way to learn is dive in, follow the tutorial Irrational provides, and ask questions on the forums. If you stick to it, you can do it.

23. I'm trying to make a mod, but I keep getting an error saying "DAT files" not found!
Before using the editor to modify any data, you will have to extract the original FF DAT files from their archive. To do this, find the file called DATA.FF  in your Freedom Force folder. It's actually a ZIP file, so unzip it to get the DAT files inside. Create a new folder for your mod inside the main Freedom Force folder (example: MYMOD\ ) and put the DAT files there. You should then point FFEDIT at this folder.

More details on all this are in the FFEDIT documentation.

24. I have the Mac version of FF, can I play Mods?
Pretty much all the FF fan-built stuff works on Macs. This includes meshes, skins, and even mods. The only thing I know doesn't work on Macs is FFEDIT itself.

To use FF mods on Macs:
- If the mod comes in ZIP format, just extract right to your Mac's Freedom Force folder.

- If the mod comes as an EXE file, you need to run the EXE on a PC and copy the extracted files to your Mac (via CD or network)
OR Use PC emulation software (Virtual PC) on your Mac to run the EXE and get the files
OR Use StuffIt Expander to get the files out of the EXE (I haven't tried this myself, but have heard it should work)

FFX25. What's FFX?
FFX , also know as FFX-squared (and not to be confused with FX) is a mod of the original game by the fan known as Dr. Mike. It adds a tons of new powers and attributes to the original game. Really amazing stuff! Unlike most mods, this one actually changes the original DAT files. But that's OK, it's supposed to. Because of this it's really more of an add-on than a mod and FF fans need to have it!.

There are two version of FFX that you may need. FFX 2.6 is the last version for the original FF game. There is a new "3" series of FFX being developed by the community for the FFv3R game. Latest version as of this writing is FFX 3.3

  • Get FFX 2.6 (for FF) at Dr. Mike's site
  • Get FFX 3.3 (for FFv3R) at the FFX site.

26. Hmm, is there a special order I should be installing all this stuff in?
Good thing you asked, you definitely need to install certain things in a certain order in order to prevent technical issues. Here's a recommended install order:

For Freedom Force:

  1. Install Freedom Force game (duh)
  2. Install Character Tool - good to have if you're skinning
  3. Install FF Editor - needed if you're modding or manually installing FX or voice packs
  4. Install FF patch v1.3 - needed to run if you have Windows XP SP2 or later
  5. Install EZFX 5.1 - my add-on that installs almost 900 additional FX
  6. Install FFX 2.6  - gives you additional attributes and AI

For Freedom Force vs. The Third Reich:

  1. Install FFv3R game (duh)
  2. If modding, Install the FFv3R Mod Tools: Original or My Repack which can be used with Steam and GOG versions
  3. Install Superhero TV - my add-on that lets you watch superheroes fight it out
  4. Install EZFX 6.0 - my add-on that installs 180 additional FX
  5. Install FFX 3.3 - gives you additional attributes and AI

NOTE: Skins, meshes, and self-contained mods can be added at any time and other tools, like EZHero and EZNifConvert, can be installed at any time.

NOTE: The Steam version of FF is already patched to v1.3

27. Gimme some cheat codes!

There are plenty , but here's one:

If you created a really high-priced hero (you big cheater), it may be hard to get him to join the team as the recruit cost is too high. One way around this, is to use cheat codes to get more PP. To do this:

1. Step One - Enable the console.
Look for this file:
C:\Program Files\Irrational Games\Freedom Force\System\INIT.PY
Open it with Notepad and add these 2 lines (exactly as written), if they're not there already:

import off

Now, you can press the "~" key while in FF to bring up the console where you can type codes/commands.

2. Step Two - While in a base screen (between missions), hit "~" and type (exactly as written):


This will give you 100,000 points which you can then use to recruit heroes. Note that recruiting a mega-point uber-hero will make the campaign too easy and what's the fun in that?

* Any Comics characters are TM and of their respective owners.
These are FREE third-party add-ons that claim no license to any of the likenesses contained herein.
We are just lowly fans showing our love for the characters!
Irrational Games (TM) and Freedom Force (R) are trademarks of Irrational Games LLC and/or its affiliates.
Freedom Force is the copyrighted property of Irrational.