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There are a number of files that are generated when you create a new level in Sandbox. Here's a run down of the common files. For these examples, we'll be referring to the files for Forest, the sample map that is shipped with the SDK.

LevelData\Environment.xmlEnvironment variables defined in the Environment Panel in the RollupBar are stored here.
LevelData\GameTokens.xmlGameToken libraries created inside this level are stored here.
LevelData\Heightmap.datTerrain Heightmap data used by the Engine.
LevelData\TerrainTexture.xmlTerrain texture tile data is stored here.
LevelData\TimeOfDay.xmlVariables defined through the Time of Day tool are stored in this file.
LevelData\VegetationMap.datVegetation data used by the Engine.
auto_resourcelist.txtSee here for more information: Auto Resource List Files.
auto_resources_sequence.txtSee here for more information: Auto Resource List Files.
filelist.xmlStores information (MD5 and size) about critical files. Done during "Export to Engine" process.
Forest.cryThis is a container file which is used by Sandbox. This can be opened with an archive program and contains several files which contain information/data for the level. Changes to this file do not effect pure-game.
Forest.xmlThis script file contains information for use in the Launcher. It defines the loading screen, minimap display information, loading description text and game rules for the level.
level.cfgEach level can have its own individual configuration file that is only loaded when loading that level. If you wish to run certain CVars for a single level use this file.
level.pakThe level.pak file houses lots of information about your level that is used by the Launcher. This file is (re)generated when you "Export to Engine" in Sandbox.
LoadingForest.ddsThis file is the loading screen for use in the Launcher. The file can be called whatever you like but it needs to be defined in the Forest.xml file.
MinimapForest.ddsMinimap file that is generated from Sandbox to give a birds-eye view of the level. The file can be called whatever you like but it needs to be defined in the Forest.xml file.
tags.xmlWhen you create camera locations in Sandbox (CTRL + F1-F12) these locations are stored inside this file and can be called (SHIFT + F1-F12) to relocate the camera. This file is updated with any changes when you save the level.
terraintexture.pakTiled terrain texture data that is stored when you Generate Surface Textures inside Sandbox.
timedemo.tmdSee here for more information: Recording Time Demos.


When you create Layers inside Sandbox, a "Layers" sub-folder is created in your level folder. Each layer gets its own .lyr file which allows for collaborative editing. If a layer inside Sandbox has sub-layers within it, another sub-folder is created.

Backup Files

Backup files are automatically generated by Sandbox each time you save your level. When you save over your .cry file, your existing .cry file is renamed to .bak and if in the event a .bak file already exists, .bak2 is created as a secondary backup. These .bak files are exactly the same as the .cry file, only with renamed extensions.

If you wish to use or restore from a backup file, there's two ways in which you can do this (using Forest as an example):

  1. Rename the Forest.bak file to Forest.cry. When prompted about changing the extension, select 'Yes'.
  2. Open the Forest.bak file in Sandbox (you'll need to view "All Files") then "Save As" the Forest.cry file.
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