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PatchTool Idea

Pretty soon after GTA came out, people would distribute changes they'd made to some GTA files: a MISSION.INI with all powerups changed to machine guns or a FXT file with the real car names, for example. Because these files contained only very few changed material, they were unnecessarily large and contained lots of lines that were original DMA material.

From that observation, the idea was born of tool that would only take the short, changed parts and apply the changes to the original game files which the player already posessed. The advantages are obvious: Very small files to download, and no distribution of DMA-copyrighted material.

Here's the original concept:

Patchtool - A tool that can put changes in MISSION.INI and FXT Files


compute checksum on game files (MISSION.INI, ENGLISH.FXT etc.) if checksum is incorrect, then check for old change log if old change log exists then confirm undoing changes undo changes else display message 'buy full version or reinstall game' else // Checksum is correct open change data file(s) display description of change contained in change data file confirm change create new change log change game files close change log

This should make it easy to test and distribute changes to the game files - no need to distribute everything, and no violation of copyright.

The change data files should look like smaller versions of the files that are to be changed. They should be put into a single file for distribution. This might be a special format with a special delimiter such as [ChangeFileMISSION.INI] or a ZIP file. In the first versions the user would have to unzip the thing manually or use a provided batch file; later version might have Unzip ability built in.

The change log is there to always be able to revert the change we made. Imagine the confusion if different conflicting patches were installed on top of each other!

This idea was about half a year old (and published) when Darren Latham set to work and produced two C programs that go a long way to realizing it:

MakPatch and BinPatch will generate and apply patches for binary files of the same length. This is most commonly used to distribute modifications to Style Files that add new cars or change some textures. Download (65 kB) / View Readme

fxtPatch can do Download (37 kB) / View Readme

With the advent of Map Loader utilities, my

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Created by Michael Mendelsohn 1. Aug 98