The carcols.dat file sets the colours of vehicles for the GTA III era and GTA IV era games. When a vehicle spawns, it will take any of the colours specified in the carcols file. This is usually selected at random, although many spawns are of specific colours.
The carcols.dat file is located in the "
Data" folder in the GTA III Era, and the "
Common\Data" folder in the GTA IV Era. It can be modified by any simple text editor.
The file is split up into a COL section (specifying the available colours) and a CAR section (assigning the colours to vehicles).
The file contains the RGB colour codes for each colour to be used in the file. These colours can be referred to with their ID number, and listed (in pairs) next to each vehicle name to make those colours available for that vehicle (see CAR section). Each game has a separate default pallete of colours, so carcol entries are not generally transferable between games (without the pallete being altered).
Each COL line consists of the RGB value, the name of the colour, the prefix and description of the colour (used in police radio). After the # is a comment ignored by the game.
88,89,90,dark,grey # 3 pewter gray poly is a dark-grey colour, with the RGB code (88,89,90) which the developers called "pewter gray poly". The prefix (dark) and colour (grey) are used together in police radio for describing the vehicle the suspect is in.
This is the start of the COL section in the carcols.dat of GTA IV, which begins with the black and grey colours.
col #BLACK's 10,10,10,-,black # 0 black 37,37,39,-,black # 1 black poly #GREYS/SILVERS 101,106,121,-,grey # 2 concord blue poly 88,89,90,dark,grey # 3 pewter gray poly 156,161,163,-,silver # 4 silver stone poly 150,145,140,-,silver # 5 winning silver poly
In total, 133 colours are specified by default in GTA IV. When rendered, the colours are as follows:
Additional colours can be added simply by specifying a new entry in the COL section. This step is often required when installing Vehicle Modifications, to allow the vehicles to use colours not included in the game by default.
The CAR section is for listing the pairs of colours (from the pallete) available for each vehicle.
All vehicles require (at least) two separate colours for each option. Some vehicles can use these multiple colours, whether for separate parts of the body or for decals (signs). All vehicles have some non-colourable textures (such as the interior, fender, wheels). Some vehicles are entirely texture-based and not affected by colour (such as the Rhino).
For a vehicle that requires two colours, they are specified in pairs (with a comma after each value and pair). Using the above GTA IV colour pallete, this example provides the options for the Kuruma being either black-and-grey (1,5) or red-and-red (33,33):
Kuruma, 1,5 33,33
CAR3 + CAR4
For most of the GTA III Era, vehicles have no more than two colours, and so all have two values (as in the above example). In GTA San Andreas, some vehicles require four colours. Where 4 values are required, these vehicles are listed separately in a CAR4 section.
In GTA IV, all vehicles require a specular (shine) colour and thus have 3 values, and so the main CAR section is named CAR3; whilst some also require a fourth colour and are listed in CAR4. For example, a CAR4 entry could be:
futo, 32,0,30,1, 0,0,8,133
Trainers and car-spawning utilities can override the colour of a vehicle whilst spawning or later, and do not rely entirely on the colours available to that vehicle in the CAR section of carcols. However, they are restricted to the colours available in the COL palette at the top of the carcols file.
On the following pages are the original Carcols.dat files from each game, and a rendering of each game's default colour pallete: