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Map File Definitions


Recommended Posts




Object Definition Files

These give the game information about objects in the game.

Both Vice City and GTA3 use the same format for their IDEs.


ID #, DFF Name, TXD Name, Unknown, Draw Distance, Render properties


The IDE # is a unique number that the game uses to refer to an object. The highest GTA3 can use is 5000. The highest Vice City can use is 6500.

The DFF name refers to a DFF 3D model in GTA3.IMG.

The TXD name refers a TXD texture dictionary in TXD.IMG (Or GTA3.IMG if your video card supports compressed textures)

The unknown value, is obviously unknown, but is always 1. Leave it at that.

The draw distance is the farthest distance in game units that you can see the object from. There are a few notes on this in 'Misc. Problems' below.

The render properties controls special render properties for the object, like transparency, reflections etc.


Some extra info from ST.MU

The unknown value isn't unknown! It is the number of sub-objects in the dff, e.g. streetlamps have a normal and a damaged model, there are even dff file with 3 objects. And: You have as many distance values as there are objects! Would look like this...

ID #, DFF Name, TXD Name, Object Count, Draw Distance 1 [, Draw Distance 2, Draw Distance 3], Render properties


For more info on the IDE files and some extended properties for them, see Odie's in-depth guide to them.




Instance Location Files

These tell the game where to place objects in the game world.

Vice City has one more value than GTA3. Make sure you take note of this.


ID #, DFF Name, Interior # (VICE ONLY), X-Coord, Y-Coord, Z-Coord, ScaleX, ScaleY, ScaleZ, RotationX, RotationY, RotationZ, RotationR


The IDE # is a unique number that the game uses to refer to an object. The highest GTA3 can use is 5000. The highest Vice City can use is 6500.

The DFF name refers to a DFF 3D model in GTA3.IMG.

The interior number is used in Vice City ONLY, and allows models to be invisible until a mission script command loads their interior, making them visible. For more info, see the Mission Coding forum.

The X,Y, and Z coords all refer to a point in the game world. The center of this object will be placed at this point.

X is east to west.

Y is north to south.

Z is vertical.

For GTA3, the centre of the game world is roughly the middle of the stadium in Staunton Island. The GTA3 game world stretches from roughly -2048 to 2048,


each way. There is no Z limit.

For Vice City, the centre of the game world is roughly the middle of the north Golf Course island. The Vice City game world stretches from roughly -2300 to 1600 on the X axis, and -1900 to 1900 on the Y axis. Again, there is no Z limit.

Scale XYZ doesn't seem to work, so just keep those at 1.

Rotations are a pain in the ass, so just use MooMapper




Collision Model Files

These tell the games what parts of a DFF should be solid. You can't create these by hand, so use one of SteveMs tools, depending on what you need done. Both games use the same format of COL files, so there should be no compatibility problems.


.ZON Documentation thanks to ZanderZ


.ZONs contain zone data. Every zone file starts with the word 'zone' and ends with 'end'. In between is the actual data:


Zone name, type, X1, Y1, Z1, X2, Y2, Z2, island


The first X/Y are the bottomleft coordinates, the second X/Y are the topright coordinates. If there are (most likely) more zones in a file, this data is repeated for each zone.

The island number is only used in GTA3, where 1=Portland, 2=Staunton, 3=Shoreside. In VC this is always 1.

The type can either be 0, 1, 2 or 3. In GTA3, this is always 3, in VC all are used.

I think the types are this:

0: normal zone (navig.zon)

1: zone inside a zone (navig.zon ; occurs only at the Junkyard, which is inside the Airport zone)

2: car/pedestrian zone (info.zon). Tells the game which cartype/pedestrian should drive/walk there

3: load zone (map.zon). Tells the game when a new part of the city should be loaded.


I hope this all makes sense. Feel free to ask me anything about it.




Special Game Files

Some files are specialized, and only used once by the game, so I've got comments for these too.



File Loading List

This file can be found in /DATA/ for both games. This tells the game what IDE, COL and IPL files to load.

The file is set out with the IDEs loaded first, then the COLs and the IPLs last.




This would load the file 'DATA\MAPS\generic.IDE' as an IDE. Note that the filenames begin from the root folder of GTA3/Vice City.




This would load the file 'MODELS\COLL\GENERIC.COL' as a COL file. Note the '0' there? That tells the game that the COL file should always be loaded. This should not be a problem with Vice City, but in GTA3, the 0 refers to the zone that the COL should be loaded in. Portland is 1, Staunton Island is 2 and


Shoreside Vale is 3.




This tells the game to load the file 'DATA\MAPS\COMNtop\COMNtop.IPL' as an IPL.



DFF and TXD Directories

Depending on your video card, you may or may not have TXD.IMG.

Normally, you would put your DFFs in GTA3.IMG, and TXDs in TXD.IMG.

However, the best way to do this for both games is to put both DFFs and TXDs in GTA3.IMG, then delete TXD.IMG and TXD.DIR. The next time the game runs it will rebuild TXD.IMG with the new TXDs. This helps cut down on missing textures issues too.

Thanks to Demarest for the above.




DFF Problems

Not very likely, but it can happen, especially if it is a dynamic object (one that can be damaged, changed etc). Try re-exporting your DFF from your modelling program, making sure you're not trying to put a Vice City DFF into GTA3. Please note that GTA3 DFFs WILL WORK with Vice City.


TXD Problems

These usually won't cause problems, but I still see enough of these to warrent a guide.

If the object is all white, it means that your textures can't be found. Make sure that the IDE (See below) file matches the correct TXD to DFF.

If the object is completely transparent, it means that the TXD is corrupt. This happens most often with TXDGold, but try rebuilding your TXD anyway.


COL Problems

These pop up the most often.

If the game crashes, make sure that your COL file for A SINGLE OBJECT is under 2000 polygons. Also make sure that the DFF and the name INSIDE the COL file is the same.

If your object isn't solid, or is solid in the wrong place, make sure that all axises in your modelling program are reset. Then re-export BOTH the DFFs and X


files. Also make sure that the draw distance in your IDE is under 300.


Misc. Problems

If your game is still crashing, or having problems, try these things.

Make sure your objects draw distance is set to above 0, and under 300.

Make sure your objects coords are where you think they are.

Make sure the interior number is set correctly (Usually 0 (Vice City Only))

Make sure your GTA3.DAT/GTA_VC.DAT has links to ALL your IDE, COL and IPL files.

Make sure you've rebuilt all your IMG files.

Make sure your object limit hasn't gone over. GTA3 can handle only roughly 350 more objects added via IPL files before crashing. Vice City can only handle 222 more, although this can be adjusted with SteveMs Limits Editor



If you're still having problems, THEN post a new topic.


If you have any other common problems with a solution, post them here, and I'll add them to this post, all credit to you.

Thanks punk_rocker.



Question - Why whenever I add objcets into my game, will the game display roads going through buildings, and various objects scattered throughout the game?


Answer - When you want to add new objects to the game, they must be defined in their own IPL, IDE and COL file.

-Thanks punkrocker128.


Question - How do I create a new IPL and IDE file?


Moomapper can create both of there with ease, and if you need more information, theres documentation for both up there.


Question - Why does the Tarbrush Cafe or the blown-up building 'float' around Vice City after I install mods?


Don't know smile.gif. It's a side-effect of adding mods. If you use Bartons stripped mission scripts, it doesn't seem to happen.


Question - Why are my new models non-solid, even though it has a COL file?


COL files are only used if the objects draw distance is below 300.

Bartons Scripts


Copyright © Opius, 2003, 2004. Please do not copy this, just link to this topic.


That is all.

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  • 1 month later...

There's another easy way to make GTA3/VC crash fatally. Some files require a blank line at the end. if you miss this off the game crashes after the intro movies and just before the menu appears. I've done it a few times in handling.CFG so I expect it's possible with other text-based files?


Another one is forgetting the correct sections for IDE/IPL files which you've had personal experience of IIRC. tounge.gif

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  • 4 weeks later...
ghost of delete key

There's another easy way to make GTA3/VC crash fatally.  Some files require a blank line at the end.  if you miss this off the game crashes after the intro movies and just before the menu appears.  I've done it a few times in handling.CFG so I expect it's possible with other text-based files?




Text files which require a terminal Carriage Return: (hex 0D 0A)



animviewer.datcarcols.datdefault.datdefault.idegta_vc.dathandling.cfginfo.zonmap.zonnavig.zonocclu.iplparticle.cfgped.dat- - - - (this one has TWO blank lines at the end! - ?)pedgrp.dat - - (this one too!)surface.dattimecyc.dat - - (again!)flight.datflight2.datfligt3.datspath0.datcull.iplgeneric.idemap0.dat > map7.datpaths.ipl* all IDE's in maps\* all IPL's in maps\* all DAT's in cuts.img (note: these DO have a terminal Return, but are also   padded with 00's to fill up to the nearest 2k)




Text files which require NO terminal Carriage Return:


cullzone.datcullzoneempty.datfistfite.datpedstats.dattrain.dattrain2.datwater.datWATERPRO.DAT - - (the final blanks in this file are a big block 00's)weapon.dat



I don't think I missed any. blink.gif


"I can just imagine him driving off the edge of a cliff like Thelma & Louise, playing his Q:13 mix at full volume, crying into a bottle." - Craig

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* all DAT's in cuts.img (note: these DO have a terminal Return, but are also   padded with 00's to fill up to the nearest 2k)


thats because all data in img files is null padded to 2048 bytes..


Currently working on Top Down City Game, a classics top down game similar to GTA1 & GTA2: 


Thread Info: https://gtaforums.com/topic/911312-new-game-top-down-city/

Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxGfOh3ld7Xm-ic3KEMB6iA 

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