Computer games are vast and many, however most computer games have something in common - they need a place to store all their important files like images, movies, and sounds. To do this, computer game developers typically store their data into a big archive file.
There are many reasons for storing all your data files in one big archive, some reasons include reducing the number of files on a CD, hiding the data files to stop people hacking the game, and so that all data files can be accessed using a single data stream.
However, the bad news for gamers is that there are almost as many different archives as there are different computer games - every game developer creates their own archive formats, and they even change their formats between games or departments in the company.
This brings us to the focus of the tutorial - how to explore the archives and grab the files from within them. This tutorial will attempt to make it easy for anyone to explore a new format, with the aim of promoting game modifications and enhancements by the community.
In the following pages, we will discuss the terms Game Resource Archives (GRAs) and Game Resource Archive Formats (GRAFs), common data types, and other definitions. From there, we will explain the fundamentals of cracking a file format, including the tools you use, and the patterns to look out for.
Thanks for reading our guide; we wish you the best of luck in your exploration.