Game Files

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Not-for-profit, just-for-fun reverse engineering.

Contains a quick introduction to using a most unlikely program to edit your game files, and suggestions on other editors out there.
Information on how to manage directories, files, plus other neat tricks that can be done through the command console that should not be forgotten in today's era of point and click madness.

Hatfarm / Chris Voss and DaiShiva (see file formats) also have notes on a number of XCOM's file formats not yet detailed on this wiki.

Program Files

These are program files and static data files that are not part of the saved game files.

GEODATAText for localization. Includes OBDATA.DAT object data file.
GEOGRAPHGraphics for UFOpaedia and research screen backgrounds.
MAPSPre-generated Battlescape terrain blocks (.MAP). These are filled in with terrain tiles. A few dozen blocks make up a battlescape.
MISSDATHolds the data from the previous mission. (Can be exploited).
ROUTESAlien route maps (.RMP) for moving around the pre-generated Battlescape terrain blocks.
SOUND1990-era sound drivers, or MIDI files for Windows version.
TERRAINBattlescape graphic tiles for buildings, ships, and terrain.
UFO2EXE\TACTICAL.EXEThe "Battlescape" program in DOS-release of UFO.
UFOEXE\GEOSCAPE.EXEThe "Geoscape" program that handles base management and aircraft.
UFOEXE\BLACK.EXEThe black screen UFO.BAT puts up when swapping between the above two programs.
UFOGRAPHMisc graphics (.PCK) for soldier equipment screens, smoke, motion detector blobs.
UFOINTROHolds the introduction movie (.FLI) and the endgame pictures (.LBM).
UNITSBattlescape graphics for soldiers, aliens, and the pixelated guns they hold. (.PCK and .TAB).

Geoscape Files

These are savegame files used by the Geoscape portion of the game. This can be considered a 'standard' save.

ACTS.DATContains information which acts with which priority in respective zones aliens are going to try.
ALIEN.DATContains Alien activity in Countries and areas, for graphs.
ASTORE.DATHas the info on aliens in alien containment.
BASE.DATHas all of the base layout and contents information, radar scanning abilities and other base information.
BPROD.DATList of goods being produced.
CRAFT.DATHas all the craft info, weapons, fuel, damage and items onboard. Also stores UFO information, although information is handled differently from friendly aircraft.
DIPLOM.DATDiplomacy info.
DUM.BINDummy file for keeping directory structure. Not used.
FACIL.DATInfo on facilities you can build.
IGLOB.DATDate and time.
LOC.DATLocation of bases on the planet as well as other things like ships, waypoints and missions. Basically anything that is an icon on the Geoscape.
MISSIONS.DATContains counters and race info on the ongoing alien acts.
PRODUCT.DATInfo on things you can produce.
PROJECT.DATThese are things you are researching.
PURCHASE.DATInfo on stuff you can buy.
RESEARCH.DATCompleted research.
SAVEINFO.DATName of the saved game.
SOLDIER.DATData about the soldiers.
TRANSFER.DATPersonnel and goods being transferred.
UIGLOB.DATThe name suggests global user interface data, but this file appears to store scores earned for completing research.
UP.DATUFOpaedia info.
XBASES.DATAlien Base information.
XCOM.DATContains X-Com activity in Countries and areas, for graphs.
ZONAL.DATInformation on which zones and with what priority aliens are going to attack.

(28 files. Note that if you find a geoscape save with additional files, this simply means a battlescape save was made in that slot at some prior point. UFO does not remove unused save files).

Battlescape Files

These are savegame files created and used by the tactical portion of the game. They are only created if the game is saved while in the battlescape. Battlescape saves also contain all the files used in a standard save.

BGLOB.DATDescribes ambient light on map.
MAP.DATStores tile information for the whole map. Basically all static structures, such as trees, walls, floors and furniture.
MISDATA.DATContains information on craft in use and which alien artefacts are available for use in combat.
OBPOS.DATStores all the objects that your soldiers can pick up (guns, corpses, etc).
ROUTES.DATStores nodes for soldier and alien spawn points, also acts as waypoints for AI pathfinding.
SEEMAP.DATFog of war overlay.
SMOKBIT.DATSmoke particles and fire patches on the map.
SMOKREF.DATSmoke particles and fire patches on the map.
SOURCEMP.DATLight source overlays for mobile light sources (i.e. your soldiers).
TERMP.DATLight source overlays for ambient (or fixed) lighting.
UNITPOS.DATControls ownership, visibility, whether the unit is under temporary mind control, etc. Works hand in hand with UNITREF.DAT.
UNITREF.DATContains the primary stats for all units in combat. X-Com owned soldiers in this file are virtual copies of the soldiers in soldier.dat. Works very closely with unitpos.dat.
WGLOB.DATBattlescape map global information such as map dimensions and the number of turns that have elapsed.

(14 unique files, plus all 28 standard save files, totaling 42).

Missdat Files

These temporary files are used at run time, when a battlescape game is in progress. The missdat folder also contains all the files needed to create a standard Geoscape save for the game in progress.

When the tactical game engine starts, it first checks SAVEINFO.DAT to see if this is a new battle, or if you're loading a battlescape save game. In the case of the former, it generates a new map, based off these files:

If you load a game, the tactical engine loads from the save slot directly, as according to DIRECT.DAT (which details the path to the slot in concern).

When combat ends, these files are created:

(12 unique files, plus 27 standard save files (does not use dum.bin), totaling 39).

Did You Know? If your game crashes and you are returned to previous mission, the game is actually referring to the battlescape information in the MISSDAT directory.

Also, if a tactical mission is abnormally aborted, the results are obtained from the MISSDAT folder as well. Because the game was not able to update the files that hold the results of the last mission, your current game will be updated with information from the previous mission that was able to end normally.

Abnormal program termination simply means that the tactical game engine crashed or was forced to crash by the user.