Map Detectives: Data Files 2

Time to take a deeper dive into the AppData directory of Map Detectives. This is where the bulk of the game lives. The .DXT and .CXT files are compressed/exported Shockwave Director and Cast files. There are some projects out there dedicated to reverse-engineering and documenting the Shockwave file formats. They're far enough along that you can export some of the graphics and bytecode from the game, but after playing around with them briefly it looks like modifying and repacking them is not yet possible. So no Map Detectives mods yet :-( From the file names it appears as though the game is laid out in a fairly modular fashion, with one Director file per major segment: menu, teacher options, underground map, arrest scene, etc.

Graphics and audio

The AppData/voiceover directory contains all the sound effects for the game, including ambient sounds, UI actions, and voice clips. They're just a bunch of .WAV files, although the bitrate/quality varies from a meagre 88kbps (08-01.wav, 119KB, 11 seconds - Tube train departing) to a frankly obscene 1411kbps (beep-door.wav, 436KB, 2 seconds - door closing). Most files are either 352kbps or 768kbps; I suspect the bitrate was determined mostly by which stock sound clip library the file was taken from. The longest audio file at 32 seconds is music.wav, also one of the highest bitrates.

The Grap directory contains all the map streetview photos and the Underground platform photos. Streetview images are mostly named after the map square they are contained in while the Underground images are 'station-n' and 'plat-n' for platforms with 'inturn-n' and 'outturn-n' for the ticket office images. There are indications the name isn't generated from the location but is assigned manually: some images have a 'pic' suffix and at least one ticket office image is misspelled as 'intrun'.

The GrapN directory contains copies of all the Grap images altered for the night-time mode that can be enabled in the teacher options screen. I'm not sure whether they actually took a second set of photos at night or if they are digitally altered.

Map data

The Appdata/Data directory contains a whole bunch of text files that contain not only the bulk of the in-game text, but also the layout and connectivity for the two map subgames. Files with a -T suffix are for the 'town' map and those ending in -U are for the 'Underground' map.

Underground map

For the Underground files, it appears as though there are three files for each Underground line. Using the Central line as an example, the three files are:

There are also some files that aren't specific to any particular Underground line:

Town map

The 'town' map has a corresponding set of text files, although they aren't split out by train line (since there are no trains in that map). Instead of using station names, the internal location names are map references with a numeric suffix.

Developer reference

The file our reference.txt is most interesting -- it's a set of text notes by the developers keeping track of which file contains what content. It does appear to be leftover from their previous game (Map Detectives: Rural Mystery) as it references 'walking' and 'cycling' maps instead of 'underground' and 'town'. Much of the file structure can be mapped to the current game files, showing that both games have a common lineage. Most likely they were developed in quick succession: the file creation dates are largely in 2005 for the game files, with 'relics' such as this reference file and oldMD.ico being created in 2004.

Full file contents