Now that GTA III for iOS (and other platforms) has been released, we can now dig inside of the file structure to see what everything’s about. Turns out that it’s basically a direct port of the PC version (with some minor changes for touch and various resolution support).
Using the standard GTA III modding tools for Windows, I was able to replace the Kuruma, the first car you drive in GTA III, with an Alfa Romeo 156. The best part about this is that you don’t need to be jailbroken to do this, as this was done for an iPad 2 running iOS 5.0.1 (9A405). You’ll find everything you need to know below. The video tutorial is also at the bottom of this post.
Backup Your Files
Since we’ll be modifying various files, you’ll need to make sure that you back them up so that, should something go wrong, you’ll be able to quickly put them back. Most of the time, we’ll be modifying gta3_pvr.img and gta3_pvr.dir. The first file contains all of the textures and models for the game, while the second file provides a list of files that are within gta3_pvr.img.
To do this, you’ll need a copy of IMG Tool 2.0 (mirror), which is currently Windows only. I imagine this should work with applications such as Crossover or Cider.
You’ll also need a copy of the mod that you’d like, whether it be a map area, a custom car, or something else. The GTA Place has a nice selection of mods to download.
It’s also best to have an extracted copy of the game. Simply open the .ipa file with, for example, WinRAR, and extract the gta3.app folder to your computer. You can also rename the .ipa extension to .zip to get it to open.
Finally, you’ll need a copy of iExplorer (Windows & Mac OS X), which lets you access the file system on your iOS device, even without a jailbreak (to some extent, enough for us to do what we want to do).
If you’re interested in the Alfa Romeo 156 that I used for this test, you’ll find it here.
First, open up IMGTool.exe, and open gta3_pvr.img. Alternately, you can drag gta3_pvr.img on top of IMGTool.exe.
Most graphical mods have a .dff and a .txd file. You’ll want to find the name of the file that you’re planning on replacing within the list of files. Once you find them, right click on it and select delete. As mentioned, most mods have two files, so delete them both, or whichever ones that came with the mod (maybe it only came with one file?).
Now, we need to add our new files into gta3_pvr.img. From the “Commands” menu, go to “Add”. Find the files that you want to add.
Next, you’ll need to actually save the changes that were made to gta3_pvr.img, which you can do by choosing “Rebuild Archive” from the “Commands” menu. This shouldn’t take more than 5 seconds to complete.
To copy the modified gta3_pvr.img and gta3_pvr.dir files to your iOS device, fire up iExplorer. Find your device in the left sidebar, and expand “Apps”. Look for “com.rockstargames.gta3ios“. From there, go into “gta3.app“. It may take a while to load this folder, as there are a lot of files.
Find gta3_pvr.img, and rename it to gta3_pvr.img.bak, so that you’ll have a backup of the file locally on your iOS device. Also rename gta3_pvr.dir to gta3_pvr.dir.bak.
Lastly, drag your modified files from your desktop into this window (again, it should be at gta3.app). It may take a while to do so, as iExplorer likes to refresh the entire folder list whenever a new file is transferred.
To test your results, open up gta3 on your iOS device, and your changes should be made.
Here’s what the Kuruma looks like once replaced with the Alfa Romeo 156:
Kuruma > Alfa Romeo 156
I’ll be doing some more vehicle tests and actual map tests soon.