gta.dat

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The gta*.dat file lists which files define the game map. It can be found in the game's data directory, and is known as gta3.dat in GTA III, gta_vc.dat in GTA VC, and simply gta.dat in GTA SA. The same file format is also used for default.dat.

Format

Each line links to a map file, unless it's empty or starts with a # (denoting a comment, which are ignored by the game). Since there are different types of files, a keyword is needed for each entry. Most entries use the following format, where the path is relative to the game's base directory:

<keyword> <path>

Although the file itself is not split up into sections, entries are usually grouped by type and arranged in a special order according to the game's loading sequence:

Keyword Games Description
CDIMAGE GTA III Vice City IMG archive
IMG San Andreas GTA 4
IMGLIST GTA 4 Image list
WATER GTA 4 Water
IDE GTA III Vice City San Andreas GTA 4 IDE item definitions
COLFILE GTA III Vice City San Andreas Collisions
MAPZONE GTA III Zone map areas and IPL item placements
IPL GTA III Vice City San Andreas
TEXDICTION GTA III Vice City San Andreas Texture dictionaries
MODELFILE GTA III Vice City San Andreas DFF Model files
SPLASH GTA III Vice City San Andreas
HIERFILE GTA III Vice City San Andreas

Since GTA IV has various subdirectories which need to be identified there are new identifiers at the start of the path. They identify the exact location relative to the executeable file. Those are:

platform:
common:

Internally they will be replaced with the internal directory description and appendet to the installation directory of the game. Example:

platform:/DATA/MAPS/MANHAT/MANHAT12.IPL 

gets

PC/DATA/MAPS/MANHAT/MANHAT12.IPL 

which finally is transformed to (e.g.)

C:\Program Files\Rockstar Games\Grand Theft Auto 4\PC\DATA\MAPS\MANHAT\MANHAT12.IPL

Keywords

IMG and CDIMAGE

IMG: GTA SA only, CDIMAGE: GTA III and VC

These entries define additionally used IMG archives (other than the hardcoded ones). In SA, you can only define a maximum of five entries. Any more will crash the game. CDIMAGE is supported in GTA III and VC, though unused in the default data files.

Example (GTA SA):

IMG DATA\PATHS\CARREC.IMG
IMG DATA\SCRIPT\SCRIPT.IMG
IMG MODELS\CUTSCENE.IMG

IMGLIST

GTA 4 only

These link to external image list files.

Example:

IMGLIST common:/data/images.txt

WATER

GTA 4 only

These link to external water plane placement files.

Example:

WATER common:/DATA/WATER.DAT

The WATER identifier can hold more than one parameter. It is unconfirmed either this also works for other identifiers.

Example:

WATER common:/DATA/WATER.DAT common:/DATA/WATERLOW.DAT

IDE

GTA III, VC and SA

These entries link to item definition files.

Example:

IDE DATA\MAPS\generic.IDE

HIERFILE

This section is incomplete. You can help by fixing and expanding it.

COLLISION

GTA III, VC and SA

With these entries collision files are defined. An additional parameter between keyword and path defines the map part they belong to. If this is 0, the col file is used by the whole map; a higher number (1 to 3) assigns it to one of the map zones.

Example:

COLFILE 0 MODELS\COLL\GENERIC.COL

IPL and MAPZONE

GTA III, VC and SA

These keywords are used to link to IPL-style item placement and zone files. MAPZONE is only used in GTA3 and can only contain map zone data.

Example (GTA3):

MAPZONE DATA\MAP.ZON
IPL DATA\GTA3.ZON

Example (GTA SA):

IPL DATA\MAP.ZON
IPL DATA\INFO.ZON

IPL DATA\MAPS\LA\LAn.IPL
IPL DATA\MAPS\LA\LAn2.IPL

TEXDICTION

GTA III, VC and SA

These link to external, mostly generic texture dictionaries.

Example:

TEXDICTION MODELS\GENERIC.TXD

MODELFILE

GTA III, VC and SA

These link to external, mostly generic model files.

Example:

MODELFILE MODELS\GENERIC\WHEELS.DFF

SPLASH

GTA III, VC and SA

These define the splash screens that appear while loading the map. The argument for these is not a path, but just the name (without extension) of a texture dictionary in the models/txd directory. Might be ignored, though.

Example:

SPLASH loadsc2

EXIT

GTA III, VC and SA

This command stops any further processing of the gta.dat file.

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