OpenKh

This is a project centralizes all the technical knowledge of Kingdom Hearts series in one place, providing documentation, tools, code libraries and the foundation for modding the commercial games.

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Kingdom Hearts II - Area Data (ARD file format)

Describes how the game should behave before loading the map. This is responsible to spawn the player, NPC, enemies, run cutscenes, change music, invoke MSN files and way more.

Internally it is a BAR file, composed by micro files of different purpose:

Spawn Point

This is the easiest micro-format of an ARD file. This is mainly responsible to spawn objects inside a map, to describe how NPCs should roaming around, to describe how to interact with a specific NPC or even triggering an event like a cutscene or just by changing a map.

File structure

Offset Type Description
00 int File type; always 2.
04 int Spawn descriptor count

Spawn descriptor

When referring to entrance it means that is the index where to spawn the character to when loading the next map (simplified: which part of the map you’re coming from). When the entrance is 99, the playable character is spawn where the save point is located.

Offset Type Description
00 byte Type
01 byte Flag
02 short Id
04 short Entity count
06 short Event activator count
08 short Walk path count. Usually 1.
0a short Unknown tableA count
0c int Signal count
10 int Always 0
14 int Always 0
18 int Always 0
1c byte Area ID of a world
1d byte Entrance
1e byte World ID
1f byte Unknown
20 int Unknown
24 int Unknown
28 int Always 0

Entity

Offset Type Description
00 int Model ID
04 float Position X
08 float Position Y
0c float Position Z
10 float Rotation X
14 float Rotation Y
18 float Rotation Z
1c byte Spawn type
1d byte Spawn argument
1e short Unknown
20 int Unknown
24 int AI parameter
28 int Talk message
2c int Reaction command
30 int Unknown
34 int Always 0
38 int Always 0
3c int Always 0
Spawn types
ID Description Argument purpose
0 Do nothing  
1 Spawn at entrance Filter by entrance index
2 Used by enemies Unknown
3 Used by enemies Unknown

Event activator

This is an invisible wall that is responsibe to activate an event. Which event is it, it is described in the spawn point descriptor. One common usage is changing the map when the player touch the map’s “border”.

Offset Type Description
00 short Collision box shape
02 short Option
04 float Position X
08 float Position Y
0c float Position Z
10 float Scale X
14 float Scale Y
18 float Scale Z
1c float Rotation X
20 float Rotation Y
24 float Rotation Z
28 int Flags
2c short Type
2e short BG group on
30 short BG group off
32 short Always 0
34 int Always 0
38 int Always 0
3c int Always 0
Event shape
ID Description
0 Parallelepiped?
1 Sphere?
Event option
ID Description
0 Change map?
1 Show next map name?

Walk path

Instructs all the entities to follow a walk path, defined by multiple points in the map.

From some early tests, the entities would pick a random point in the walk path and walk there from they were started from. There is no known way to make it follow in order. Also when the map is loaded, the entity can be randomly teleported in any of those walk path points.

Offset Type Description
00 short Serial
02 short Walk point count
04 byte Flag
04 byte Id
06 short Always 0

Walk point

Just a 12-byte structure, read as Vector3f.

Unknown table A

Offset Type Description
00 byte Unknown
01 byte Unknown
02 byte Unknown
03 byte Unknown
04 byte Unknown
05 byte Unknown
06 short Unknown
08 int Unknown
0c int Unknown

Signal table

Offset Type Description
00 short Signal ID
02 short Argument
04 byte Action
05 byte Always 0
06 byte Always 0
07 byte Always 0

Script

This is a micro-code that is responsible to change the behaviour of a specific map.

Every map have three script files: map, btl and evt, loaded in this very speicfic order. Each file have a list of programs, where every program is represented by an unique ID. When a map loads, the game instructs the map loader which program to load (sub_181cc0). A map can load only a single program per script file by their ID. This is done by the Local Set or by reading those information in the save data area. The IDs varies from 0 to 50 and it is unique per area. While all the IDs starting from 51 are unique per world. For instance, you can find the Program ID 6 in both TT02 and TT04. But you can only find the Program ID 55 in for the area 4 for Twilight Town world. This is helpful be coherent with the Local Set based on the story progress.

Structure

The file begins with a list of programs, defined as followed:

Offset Type Description
00 short Program ID
02 short Program length in bytes
04 byte[] Program data

Program

Each program is a list of functions, defined as followed:

Offset Type Description
00 short Operation code
02 short Parameter count for the operation
04 int[] Parameters

Operation code

There is a total of 30 operation codes for the spawn script. The parser can be found at sub_181d30.

Spawn

Loads a Spawn file. The parameter is a 4-byte string with the name of the spawn of the ARD’s BAR file. This is the most used opcode, with a usage count of 11949.

MapOcclusion

Specify a 64-bit mask that is responsible to enable or disable specific map meshes and collisions. This is very common and used 2186 times.

RandomSpawn

This is used to randomly spawn a group of enemies. It is very similar to Spawn but it defines multiple spawns and the game will randomly choose one of them.

Not common (25 times), used in maps like bb00, bb06, ca14, etc. .

CasualSpawn

Casually spawn or not a specific enemy group. Defines an integer and, if the random number is inferior to the one defined, then the enemy group will spawn. The smaller the number is, the less are the chances to trigger that specific spawn. The enemy group is specified as a 4-byte string, exactly as Spawn. Very uncommon, used 17 times and only in the worlds BB, CA, LK and MU.

Capacity

Set the memory area 01c6053c, which represents an integer that holds the capacity of the current map. The bigger is the capacity the better is the amount of enemies that can be loaded at once. It’s found 465 times and only in btl.

AllocEnemy

Set the memory area 0034ecd0, which represents the amount of memory reserved for enemies. It is not exactly clear why and how this is used. Found 34 times almost every time in btl.

Unknown06

Set the memory area 0034ecd8 with the 4-byte parameter. The purpose of that memory area is unknown. Found 64 times and only in btl.

Unknown07

Set the memory area 0034ecdc with the 4-byte parameter. The purpose of that memory area is unknown. Very uncommon as it’s ony found 7 times in the maps ca12 and nm02 in btl.

Unknown09

Looks like similar to Spawn, but it’s way less used. Found 210 times, mostly in map and just once in wi00 as evt.

Unknown0a

Found 73 times. Purpose unknown.

Barrier

Set the memory area 0034ecc8, which seems to define which parts of the map are blocked by an invisible barrier. It might be related on enabling or disabling certain collisions of a map file. Found 203 times and only in map.

AreaSettings

Enqueue a message to perform a series of actions. Here it is possible to play an event, jump into another map, set the story flags, set the menu flags, set specific party members, obtain items or invoke the party menu. Refer to Area settings script to know more. This is commonly used, as the usage count tops 2408 times. It is only found in evt scripts.

Unknown0e

Set the memory area 0034ece0 with the first 4-byte parameter. The purpose of that memory area is unknown. Used 323 times and only in map.

Party

Set how the party member needs to be structured. According to dbg/member.bin, those are the only allowed values as a parameter:

Value Name Description
0 NO_FRIEND Allow only Sora
1 DEFAULT Allow Donald and Goofy
2 W_FRIEND Allow Donald, Goofy and world guest.
3 W_FRIEND_IN Same as W_FRIEND but forces the world guest to be in at the beginning.
4 W_FRIEND_FIX Same as W_FRIEND_IN, but you can not swap the world guest.
5 W_FRIEND_ONLY Allow only with Sora and the world guest.
6 DONALD_ONLY Only allow Sora and Donald.

Bgm

Set the map’s background musics. The single 4-byte parameter can be read as two 2-byte integers, which represents the field and battle music ID that can be found in bgm/music_xxx. When the values are different than zero, they overrides the default field and battle music used in the current map.

Unknown11

Set the memory area 0034ece4, which represents the message displayed below when the player touches an invisible wall. Found 80 times and only in map.

AllocPacket

Set the memory area 0034ecd4, which is related to the amount of memory reserved for the cache buffer. This opcode is unused.

Unknown13

Set the memory area 0034ece8, which sets the camera mode for the map with the first 4-byte parameter. It does have a parameter of 1 or 2. Found 39 times and only in map for hb17, lk13, mu07 and po00.

StatusFlag3

Purpose unknown. Set the 3rd bit of the memory area 0034f240. Used 89 times.

Mission

Loads a mission file by specifying its MSN file name without path and extension.

Bar

Loads a BAR file by specifying the entire path. The %s symbol can be specified in the path to not hard-code the script to work just for a single language. The BAR file can be a layout or a minigame file.

StatusFlag5

Set the 5th bit of the memory area 0034f240. This is only used twice in mu07 and might be related to the mechanic of Sora entering in the tornado.

AllocEffect

Set the memory area 0034ecec and 0034ecf0 with the first two parameters, which seems to be used by the particle system. It is only used by hb33, hb34, hb38 and he15 in btl.

Progress

Set story flag.

VisibilityOn

It seems to do something with 01c60548. It is only used 3 times in hb13 by evt.

VisibilityOff

It seems to do something with 01c60550. It is only used 3 times in hb13 by evt.

Unknown1c

Seems to recursively call the spawn script parser, but it is only used in he09 for 130 times. Purpose unknown.

Unknown1d

Purpose unknown. Used 196 times.

BattleLevel

Override the battle level of the playing map. Usually used for special boss battle only.

Unknown1f

Purpose unknown. Very similar to Unknown03

Area settings script

The scene script contains functions with a variable amount of parameters.

Opcode Name Description
00 Event Play an event. Parameters: type, event name.
01 Jump Change maps. Parameters: padding, type, world, area, entrance, localset, fade type.
02 ProgressFlag Update story progress.
03 MenuFlag Unlock options in the menu.
04 Member Change party member.
05   Unknown.
06 Inventory Obtain one or more items. It is possible to obtain up to 7 items in a row.
07 PartyMenu Shows the party menu.
08   Sets a flag. Purpose unknown.

Notes

*¹ When referred as always 0 means that there are no game files that set it as a value different than that. Still it is unknown if the field is actually used in-game, which would potentially lead to unused functionalities.

*² When sub_xxxxxx or a memory address is read, they refer to the values found in the retail version of Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix, executable SLPM_66675.elf.