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Archive format used many Maxis developed games, including The Sims 2, SimCity 4 and Spore.



Most Sims 2 Data is as you probably know stored in various types of archive files that all have the same internal format such as package, cache, etc. This format is proprietary to Maxis and has been used in the SimCity 4, and The Sims Online as well as this one.

Entries may be compressed with RefPack compression depending on their entry data.

For an examination of the Spore DBPF format, see Spore:DBPF


This is the general structure of DatabasePackedFile packages:

Header (96 bytes)

File 1
File 2
File n
Index Entry 1 (20 bytes)
Index Entry 2
Index Entry n 

Header first, individual files following with no filenames and a small file header area at the beginning of each followed by an index of all the files in the archive. Note that files may appear after the index table in files that are updated.


Name Version Type/Size Info
Magic char[4] DBPF
Major Version u32
  • 1.0 seen in Sim City 4, The Sims 2
  • 1.1 seen in The Sims 2
  • 2.0 seen in SPORE
Minor Version u32
unknown 2.0 u32
unknown 2.0 u32
unknown 2.0 u32 Should always be zero in DBPF 2.0.
Date Created 1.0 u32
Date Modified 1.0 u32
Index major version < 2.0 u32 Always 7 in The Sims 2, Sim City 4. If this is used in 2.0, then it is 0 for SPORE.
Index entry count u32 Number of entries in the Index table.
Offset of first Index entry < 2.0 u32
Index size u32 Size of the Index table in bytes.
Hole entry count < 2.0 u32
Hole offset < 2.0 u32
Hole size < 2.0 u32
Index minor version < 2.0? u32 Version 1.1+ in The Sims 2 only. In DBPF 2.0, it has a value of 3, unknown if used.
Index offset 2.0 u32 Offset to Index table in DBPF 2.0.
unknown 2.0 u32
reserved char[24]

Index Table

There are 2 known formats of indexes in the game. The format version is found in the file header.

A third format has been discovered, structure currently unknown. The Index Minor Version is an actual zero, so this would be called "7.-1" by the logic used here. This format has been seen in files that ship with the game, and is believed to have been seen in files generated by the game, but has not yet been seen in user-created files [for obvious reasons ;) ]. These files were discovered by the simple expedient of having a file-scanning tool choke on them during a scan of the entire game.

In order that others may investigate, a list of the files with this previously-unknown index format:

Program directory:

  • Apartment Life\TSData\Res\GlobalLots\CAS!.package
  • Bon Voyage\TSData\Res\GlobalLots\CAS!.package
  • Double Deluxe\Base\TSData\Res\Catalog\Skins\FaceInfo.package
  • Double Deluxe\Base\TSData\Res\Effects\effects.package
  • Double Deluxe\Base\TSData\Res\GlobalLots\CAS!.package
  • Double Deluxe\Base\TSData\Res\UserData\Neighborhoods\NeighborhoodManager.package
  • Double Deluxe\Base\TSData\Res\UserData\Neighborhoods\Tutorial\Lots\Tutorial_Lot1.package
  • Double Deluxe\Base\TSData\Res\UserData\Neighborhoods\Tutorial\Lots\Tutorial_Lot3.package
  • Double Deluxe\Base\TSData\Res\UserData\Neighborhoods\Tutorial\Lots\Tutorial_Lot4.package
  • Double Deluxe\EP2\TSData\Res\GlobalLots\CAS!.package
  • Double Deluxe\SP4\TSData\Res\GlobalLots\CAS!.package
  • Family Fun Stuff\TSData\Res\GlobalLots\CAS!.package
  • FreeTime\TSData\Res\GlobalLots\CAS!.package
  • Glamour Life Stuff\TSData\Res\GlobalLots\CAS!.package
  • H&M Fashion Stuff\TSData\Res\GlobalLots\CAS!.package
  • IKEA Home Stuff\TSData\Res\GlobalLots\CAS!.package
  • Kitchen & Bath Interior Design Stuff\TSData\Res\GlobalLots\CAS!.package
  • Open For Business\TSData\Res\GlobalLots\CAS!.package
  • Pets\TSData\Res\GlobalLots\CAS!.package
  • Seasons\TSData\Res\GlobalLots\CAS!.package
  • Teen Style Stuff\TSData\Res\GlobalLots\CAS!.package
  • University\TSData\Res\Effects\effects.package
  • University\TSData\Res\GlobalLots\CAS!.package

Documents directory:

  • EA Games\The Sims 2\LotCatalog\cx_00000036.package -- This MAY be a copy of the CAS!.package file, and probably is.
  • EA Games\The Sims 2\Neighborhoods\Tutorial\Lots\Tutorial_Lot1.package
  • EA Games\The Sims 2\Neighborhoods\Tutorial\Lots\Tutorial_Lot3.package
  • EA Games\The Sims 2\Neighborhoods\Tutorial\Lots\Tutorial_Lot4.package

DBPF 1.x, Index table 7.0

(20 bytes, some DBPF 1.1 entries use this format)

Type ID (see InternalFormats)
Group ID
Instance ID
Location of the file in the archive
Size of the file

DBPF 1.x, Index table 7.1

(24 bytes)

Type ID (see InternalFormats)
Group ID
Instance ID
Second Instance ID
Location of the file in the archive
Size of the file

Hole Table

DBPF 1.x

A Hole record contains the location and size of all holes in a DBPF file.

Hole Location
Hole size

Holes are created when the game deletes something from a DBPF. The holes themselves are simply junk data of the appropriate length to fill the hole.


Bulk of DBPF packages. Each file is either uncompressed or compressed. To check if a file is compressed you first need to read the DIR resource, if it exists. (See the corresponding entry for a description). If no DIR entry exists, then no files within the package are compressed.


When reading a DBPF file, the first thing you should do is check to see if any chunks inside are compressed. This is done via the DIR resource.

For example code and a description of the mechanics, see DBPF Compression.

Directory Files

These are used for compression lists. See E86B1EEF


Only if the file is compressed

Compressed Size of file
Compression ID (0x10FB) QFS Compression. (See packages for compression information)
3 bytes
Uncompressed Size of file


Raw data of the files. See InternalFormats for a list.


To read files inside a .package file you need to perform the following steps, in order

  • Read the DBPF header
  • Read the Index tables
  • Check for a DIR record
  • Check for the file you want to extract
  • Is this file compressed? If so, uncompress it
  • Read the file data and process accordingly

For an example PHP class for reading DBPF files, see DBPF/Source Code

Visual Format Guide

Having recently started poking around with the DBPF format again for the SimCity 4 community on SimTropolis, I created some visual guides to the DBPF archive format. Hopefully they will be found useful here.

DBPF v1.x Visual Guide
DBPF v1.x
DBPF v2.0 Visual Guide
DBPF v2.0

Some information was taken from old DatGen source code, such as the Created/Modified timestamps and possible Flags DWORD. That information may not be accurate, as it was some time ago that I last chatted with Maxoids about the DBPF format.

- DarkMatter

Examples of packages

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