Time cycle

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The timecyc.dat data file contains the most important settings about the game's appearance. Basically it stores important information like colors and lighting for different hardcoded weather situations for each time of day. The settings themselves are constant and build a cycle around the whole day. So the exact name of the setting is time cycle.

In Vice City the timecyc.dat file additionally stores settings for different interior appearances. There are 23 of those extra settings in one extra section (internally called "EXTRACOLOURS"). Each game hour represents one constant setting.



File format

A comment in the timecyc.dat file is preceded by a series of slashes ("//"). The game's parser simply ignores comments so that the number of uncommented lines must be a multiple of 24 for GTA III and Vice City (representing one for each ingame hour) and a multiple of 8 for San Andreas (representing 00am, 05am, 06am, 07am, 00pm, 07pm, 08pm and 10pm in the order they appear). Each value of one entry gets interpolated with the previous and the next setting of the current ingame weather.



Data types

The file uses the following different data types directly or indirectly on an abstract level inside structures:

  • INT8/UINT8 - signed/unsigned 8 bit integer (1 byte)
  • INT32/UINT32 - signed/unsigned 32 bit integer (4 byte)
  • FLOAT - single precision floating point number (4 byte)
  • TColor - UINT8[3] representing the red, green and blue level (in the order they appear) of a color. (3 byte)

File hierarchy

As mentioned above each setting consists out of a constant number of entries separated by whitespaces. The following table lists the entries and their descriptions in the order they appear:

GTA III Vice City San Andreas Name Data type Description
X
Static ambience color TColor The color of ambient light on map objects (see IPL).
X
Dynamic ambience color TColor The color of ambient light on dynamically created objects like pedestrians and vehicles.
X
Static ambience blur color TColor Blurrig color value for static ambience color.
X
Dynamic ambience blur color TColor Blurrig color value for dynamic ambience color.
X
Direct light color TColor The color of direct light on dynamicly created objects like pedestriants and vehicles. Present in the timecyc.dat of GTA SA, but not loaded and unused by the game.
X
Sky top color TColor The color of the top of the skysphere.
X
Sky bottom color TColor The color of the bottom of the skysphere.
X
Sun core color TColor The color of the core sprite of the sun.
X
Sun corona color TColor The color of the corona sprite of the sun.
X
Sun core size FLOAT The size of the core sprite of the sun.
X
Sun corona size FLOAT The size of the corona sprite of the sun.
X
Sprite brightness FLOAT The the brightness of the above mentioned sprites.
X
Shadow intensity INT32 The intensity of the shadows of objects like pedestriants, vehicles or poles.
X
Light shading value INT32 Value used for the shading algorithm on pedestirants and vehicles [?].
X
Pole shading value INT32 Shading value for map objects with flag 32768.
X
Far clipping offset FLOAT The distance of the far clipping plane from the camera.
X
Fog start offset FLOAT The range of the distance fog from the camera.
X
Light on ground FLOAT Amount of light on the ground of the sea [?].
X
Lower clouds color TColor Color of the lower clounds.
X
Upper clouds top color TColor Color of the top of the upper clouds.
X
Upper clouds bottom color TColor Color of the bottom of the upper clouds.
X
Blur color TColor The color of trails.
X
Water color TColor Color of the water vertices.
X
Water alpha level UINT8 Alpha level for water vertices.
X
Color correction 1 alpha UINT8 Alpha level for first color correction value.
X
Color correction 1 TColor First color correction value.
X
Color correction 2 alpha UINT8 Alpha level for second color correction value.
X
Color correction 2 TColor Second color correction value.
X
Lower clouds alpha level UINT8 Alpha level for lower clouds.
X
Upper clouds alpha level UINT8 Alpha level for upper clouds.
X
Water fading to white, amount of white light on water UINT8 Usually 0.

Timecycp.dat

Timecycp is a version of timecyc.dat that came alongside the regular time cycle configuration file. Similar to the water1.dat file it is a leftover from the original PlayStation 2 version of San Andreas. The file isn't used by the game and can safely be deleted. The only difference to the actual file is the encoding method. However it's content is the same, apart from an additional character lighting setting that was absent on the PC version. Replacing the timecyc.dat with timecycp.dat by renaming the files, as stated above, will result in improved ped lighting. Other than that the game's ambient lighting and sky colours still remain the same.

Images

GTA III Vice City San Andreas Liberty City Stories Vice City Stories
Sunny Image
Cloudy Image
Rainy Image
Foggy Image
Sunny Image
Cloudy Image
Rainy Image
Foggy Image
Extra Sunny Image
Rainy (hurricane) Image
Sunny Image
Cloudy Image
Rainy Image
Foggy Image
Extra Sunny Image
Hurricane Image
Extra Colors Image
Snow Image
Sunny Image
Cloudy Image
Rainy Image
Foggy Image
Extra Sunny Image
Hurricane Image
Extra Colors Image
Extra Sunny #2 Image

Tools

External links

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GTA 4 Grand Theft Auto IV
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San Andreas Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
File Formats.col.cfg.cut.dff.dat.fxp.gxt.ide.ifp.img.iplnodes*.dat.rep.rrr.scm.set.txd
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Vice City Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
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ModificationsGTA: Liberty CityState of Liberty
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