Initial exploration of Silent Hill 2 map files

14-11-2018 - 2 minutes, 38 seconds -
reverse engineering gaming


Recently, I was approached by a member of the Silent Hill 2 Enhancements project with a proposition to work on solving an issue with some models in one of SH2 maps. Given my busy schedule, I could not commit to such an endeavor, but offered to take a look whenever I had time. Over the course of a week, I was able to replicate the issue and lay the groundwork for a solution.


One of the tools mentioned in the bug report is a fan created map viewer. Given the map file in question, I was interested in seeing how the viewer rendered the map. The viewer used OpenGL, so I added apitrace's proxy dll to the executable's directory, changed some paths in its config file and ran the viewer. sh2_map76_viewer One of the objects in question is an object whose vertices can be seen being used by call 94611. A key piece of information is that the glDrawElements render call used to draw the object uses triangle strip mode. sh2_map76_api_trace I exported vertices, texture coordinates and indices from the apitrace tool and used my python script to convert the binary files to an OBJ which I could import into Blender.

python3 --input-type bin --type positions vertex_call_94611_buffer.raw --stride 32 > vert.obj
python3 --input-type bin --type texcoords texcord_call_94610_buffer.raw --stride 32 >> vert.obj
python3 --input-type bin --type indices indices_call_94612_buffer.raw  --mode TRIANGLE_STRIP  --format UNSIGNED_INT >> vert.obj

In this Silent Hill 2 map, and I suspect in all of them, the objects are in world space, so I had to translate, scale, and change the origin of the imported object to make things a bit easier. Here is the imported object with the UV map. sh2_map76_uv

It was time to find the location of the object data in the map file. I searched for the first vertex and texture coordinate, getting a hit at 0x1d05d8 and 0x1c04b0 respectively. At offset 0x01D05D0 is a uint32 of value 32, followed by a uint32 of value 59712 which is 1866*32 which corresponds to the number of vertices in the model. I suspected that the three floats between the vertex position and texture coordinate was the vertex normal, a suspicion that was later proven true.


To find the indices, I searched for the last index with the pattern 0x70057205. It was found at 0x01E07DF, after which I looked backward to the end of the vertex data to find the beginning of indices at 0x01DEF18. sh2_map76_indices

Now that I had the offsets of all the pieces in the map file, I used my python script again:

python3 --input-type bin --type positions --offset 0x1d05d8 --stride 32 --count 1866  > object.obj
python3 --input-type bin --type texcoords --offset 0x1d05d8 --stride 32 --skip 24 --count 1866 >> object.obj
python3 --input-type bin --type indices --offset 0x01DEF18 --mode TRIANGLE_STRIP  --format UNSIGNED_SHORT --count 3043 >> object.obj
python3 --input-type bin --type normals --offset 0x1d05d8 --stride 32 --skip 12 --count 1866 >> object.obj

It can be plainly seen here that the normals are a bit off, just like they are in the game. To fix this, the normals can be recalculated and written to the map file.