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Technical Information

Overview: Sources on the Web - Helpful MISSION.INI Stuff - Why do I hack the game?

Sources on the Web

Much technical information about GTA has been researched by users (see the SOTW awards ceremony for historical details and names). Once DMA became aware people were trying to produce an editor for the game, they released some of their internal documentation files. Three Cheers for that support!

The official DMA Design site contains two important documents. CityScape Data Structure contains GTA's world model (cmp and style files). GTA Mission Template Description has the stuff MISSION.INI is made out of.
Since these documents were initially drafted for DMA internal use, they are not always easy to read and may not always reflect the final state of the product. However, having access to them has greatly alleviated the task of writing useful GTA add-ons. Kudos to DMA design for that support!

Michael Mendelsohn's Unofficial GTA Reference Handbook is still fairly incomplete, but what's there is genererally well researched and helpful. It has sections on the format of FXT, CMP, STYLE.GRY and MISSION.INI files as well as sundry other information. Thanks to everyone who contributed!

Olivier Mengué complements the Unofficial Handbook with his Road-Killers Rendez-Vous as it contains extensive MISSION.INI statement info, detailed RAW files analyses and a Perl script to decode the player_a.dat file.

While researching the info for gtacars, Jeff Matthews found some STYLE information (esp. G24) that was not entirely clear from the DMA docs.

On VCTA, you can find more links to HowTo texts and GTA editors.

Helpful MISSION.INI stuff

MISSION.INI contains definitions of mission-relevant objects and triggers and codes that describe responses to triggers. If GTA was a pinball game, this would be the underside - the works!

Darren Latham has produced a commentary for the MISSION.INI statements for that mission. His insights are enlightening even if not everything is cleared up yet. His commentary follows the program flow and not the way the lines are listed in the MISSION.INI file. He has also compiled a documentation of the keywords which has been added into Olivier's Road-Killers Rendez-Vous MISSION.INI docs, as far as I know.

It can be of use to have a printout of MISSION.INI when trying to hack it ;-) I have printed the first section (Easy Liberty City) on 16 pages (that is 8 doublesided pages!) and want to share the layout with you. It is done in DIN A4 format (approx. 8"x12") and should be adaptable.

NYC.SDW.ZIP for StarOffice 4.0 - I use StarOffice all the time

NYC.DOC.ZIP for WinWord 6.0 - I checked this file using Win95 WordView

Why do I hack the game?

Well, hacking is being thoroughly occupied in a difficult, self-selected technical task to perform things that were not planned to be performed. Hacking is a wholesome intellectual activity. Hacking is fun.

Cracking is the (partial) destruction of software with the end to annoy, defraud or harm others. Sometimes the ends justify this. Cracking a game that costs 60 DM (40$) and delivers great gameplay for the money is not an end that justifies this. Even if you used the Timer-Crack to play the demo for more than 6 minutes, buy the game to play the other two cities - it is worth it.

Any Mission or City Editor I create would (in the tradition of editors for Doom, Descent and other games) work only with the full version of the game - not the demo.

Such an editor would enhance the freedom experienced in the game (being able to move about the cities and selecting my missions at will) by allowing me to shape my own cities. Any Multiplayer Game should come with an editor!

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Created by Michael Mendelsohn 8. Sep 98