Total Annihilation: The Nuts and Bolts

Last updated: 11/07/98 00:14

The first step in understanding how Total Annihilation is put together is to understand where CaveDog put all their files, and what all the different files do. In Total Annihilation, everything begins with the HPI, UFO, and CCX files.

CaveDog compresses all of their information into an HPI file. For all practical purposes, you can think of the HPI file like their own home-grown ZIP file, containing its own directory structure and groups of files. Since the addition of the expansion packs (The Core Contingency and Battle Tactics), as well as the addition of new units through their internet web page, fiiles with extensions of UFO and CCX were added. These other file extension, however, are formatted and compressed in the same way HPI files are compressed.

File and/or File Extension Description
HPI Nearly all of the original Total Annihilation data is stored in HPI files.
  • totala1.hpi
    This is the "main" HPI file that is placed in your Total Annihilation install directory (such as C:\CAVEDOG\TOTALA).
  • totala2.hpi
    Found on the original TA Disc 1 (The Skirmish CD). Contains maps and other miscellaneous bitmaps use for multiplayer games.
  • totala3.hpi
    Found on the original TA Disc 1 (The Skirmish CD). Contains information used during the installation of the Total Annihilation game from the original CD's.
  • totala4.hpi
    Found on the original TA Disc 2 (The Missions CD). Contains all the campaigns, maps, etc
UFO Typically used for the release of new units, UFO files almost always contain the data needed for a single unit, map, or a small group of units. Think of it as a "tiny HPI".
CCX Additional information specific to TA:CC (Total Annihilation: The Core Contingency)
  • ccdata.ccx
    Additional data used by the TA:CC expansion pack, such as new units, terrain features, etc.
  • ccmaps.ccx
    Map information for the TA:CC expansion pack.
  • ccmiss.ccx
    Mission information for the TA:CC expansion pack.

Keeping in mind that the contents of an HPI, UFO, or CCX file is simply a compressed directory structure, you could just as easily create directories with the same names under your C:\CAVEDOG\TOTALA directory, and put the desired files in the appropriate places. Total Annihilation sees the contents of the compressed files exactly as it does the actual file system directory structure.

The best tools to use to view the contents of a compressed Total Annihilation file, and to pack and unpack the contents of such a file are:

Other utilities and files can be found at Fileuniverse.

Subdirectory File Extensions Description
anim3d BOS Additional animations - left on the Total Annihiation CD's.
ai TXT Artificial Intelligence (AI) factors for computer-controlled players.
anims GAF Pictures, textures, and animations; typically for map features, such as trees, etc.
bitmaps PCX Bitmaps used for TA screens and menus. Additional directories may also exist, such as "bitmaps-French" and "bitmaps-German" for foreign language versions of TA.
bitmaps/glamour PCX Bitmaps used for the full-screen "glamour" shots. These are the pictures that are briefly displayed after completing a mission.
camps TDF Map groupings for campaigns
camps/briefs TXT Text briefings for campaigns. Additional directories may also exist, such as "briefs-French" and "briefs-German" for foreign language versions of TA.
camps/useonly TDF For campaign missions, describes what units can and cannot be used in a particular mission.
docs TXT Typically, a downloaded map or unit will have an accompanying "readme" file that comes with it. The file will typically have the same name as the unit, and a simple TXT extension
download TDF Information to assign a unit to a location on a given build menu.
features TDF Contains information about miscellaneous features, such as corpses, trees, scars, etc., that may or may not be specific to particular maps or map types.
features/corpses TDF Information about wreckage left behind when a unit dies.
features/allworlds TDF Information about features (such as trees, scars, etc.) for specific world maps. Other subdirectories may exist alongside "allworlds", such as "crystal" or "green".
fonts FNT Fonts for displaying text
gamedata TDF General information, such as sound assignments, can-build information, and other such data.
guis GUI All the information for the graphical user interface. They specify buttons, textboxes, etc.
Install <miscellaneous> Only found on TA installation Disc 1. Contains information used during the installation of Total Annihilation.
InstallRes <miscellaneous> Only found on the two TA Discs. Contains information that is used during the CD's autorun.
objects3d 3DO 3D object definitions for units, unit corpses.
maps OTA Schema, starting points, and other information pertaining to a particular map.
TNT Map layout, heights, and features information.
palettes PAL, ALP, LHT, SHD Color palettes.
scripts BOS Text description/subroutines that describe how a unit moves, animates, etc.
COB A compiled version of the .BOS file.
sections SCT Map tile sections.
sounds WAV Sounds.
textures GAF Bitmap textures used on units (buildings, kbots, vehicles, etc.)
unitpics PCX "Large" (96x96) color pictures of units.
units FBI General properties of units.
weapons TDF Contains the definiteion and properties of particular weapons that are used throughout the game.

 Additional Information

For people wanting an in-depth specification of the actual file format, you can view this file: