The gta.data is a data text file, of GTA: III, GTA: Vice City, GTA: San Andreas, and GTA: 4
This file lists which files define the game map.
It can be opened and edited with any text editor.
To comment put # before what you are going to write.
The file is loaded when the game starts.
Then all the files names in it are loaded shortly after.
Each line links to a map file, unless it's commented out, or
nothing there. Most entries use the following format, which is, in general, very simple:
The file is not split up into any selections, but,
entries are usually grouped by type and arranged in a special order according to the game's loading sequence,
as the file, comments state:
1. Archives (IMG)
2. Item Definitions (IDE)
3. Collision Files (COLLISION)
4. Map Areas (MAPZONE, IPL)
5. Item Placements (IPL)
While GTA: IV has various sub-directories which need to be identified there are new identifiers at the start of the path. They identify the exact location relative to the executable file. Those are:
Internally they will be replaced with the internal directory description and appended to the installation of the game directory:
which finally is transformed to (e.g.)
C:\Program Files\Rockstar Games\Grand Theft Auto 4\PC\DATA\MAPS\MANHAT\MANHAT12.IPL
They link to external image list files, which is located in common\data folder, by default.
They link to external water plane files.
With GTA: 4 an WATER identifier can hold more than one parameter. It is unconfirmed either this also works for other identifiers.
WATER common:/DATA/WATER.DAT common:/DATA/WATERLOW.DAT
SA gta.dat file