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main.dat is the data archive that contains resources used by the game, including sprites, dialog text, and lua scripts used to control actor actions. This archive is a .rar archive, which can be unpacked using standard tools (WinRAR or 7-zip for Windows, UnRarX for Mac OS X, etc). main.dat does not contain sounds, which can be found in the sounds.dat archive.

For information about the internal structure of many files found in main.dat, see File Format.


The location of main.dat varies with platform. These are summarized in the table below.

OS Location
Windows (stand-alone) main.dat is in the same directory as the Prison Architect program
Windows (Steam) main.dat is in the Prison Architect folder under steam/steamapps/common/Prison Architect
Mac OS X (stand-alone) main.dat is contained in the Prison application bundle (there is no guaranteed install location, though Prison Architect should be in either /Applications/ or ~/Applications/ for most installations). Right-click on Prison, select the option "Show Package Contents", and navigate to Contents/Resources/.
Mac OS X (Steam) main.dat is contained in the Prison application bundle, which can be found in ~/Library/Application Support/Steam/SteamApps/common/. Follow the directions for the stand-alone version, above.
Linux (stand-alone) ??? [verification needed]
Linux (Steam) main.dat is in ~/.steam/steam/SteamApps/common/Prison Architect


Folder.png data
Folder.png advisers - Contains the images used to represent the ingame advisers.
Picture.png arrow.png - An arrow.
Notepad.png biographies.txt - Defines possible names and crimes for prisoners.
Picture.png bluescreen.png - A background image.
Folder.png campaign - Contains the files used for specific campaigns in the game.
Folder.png conviction
Folder.png deathrow
Folder.png epilogue
Folder.png food
Folder.png riot
Picture.png clipboard.png - The report background.
Picture.png clothes.png
Picture.png cloudyglow.bmp
Picture.png codex.png - The main menu background.
Picture.png complaints.png - Icons for prisoners' complaints
Notepad.png complaints.spritebank - Defines where in the spritesheet for complaints.png each image should be taken from.
Folder.png dialogs - Contains text files describing the locations of UI elements
Notepad.png biography.txt
Notepad.png build-toolbar.txt
Notepad.png workshop-error.txt
Picture.png digital_clock.png - The digital clock.
Notepad.png dsp-effects.txt - Some sound effects parameters.
Picture.png effects.bmp - Some effects graphics used in the game (e.g. shoutings, flags).
Notepad.png events.txt - Defines the events and their conditions.
Picture.png flags.png - flag sprites for the language selection.
Notepad.png flags.spritebank - flag sprite data.
Folder.png fonts - Contains files for in-game fonts
Picture.png catalogue.bmp
Picture.png verdana.bmp
Picture.png glow.bmp
Notepad.png grants.lua - Defines the grants available to the user.
Notepad.png interface.spritebank - Defines where in the spritesheet for ui.png each image should be taken from.
Picture.png introversionlogo.png - Introversion Software's logo.
Folder.png language - Contains translations of the game.
Folder.png czech
Folder.png simplifiedchinese
Notepad.png base-language.txt - Defines the translation for each element in the game. The base is in English.
Notepad.png fullgame.txt
Notepad.png manifest.txt
Notepad.png tablets.txt - Some texts that are different for the tablet version of the game than in the PC version.
Picture.png letter.png - CEO's letter, without text.
Picture.png letterblank.png - CEO's letter, with text. [verification needed]
Picture.png loading.png - A "Loading..." graphic
Notepad.png lua_function_list.txt - Documentation for some of the Lua functions available for modding the game.
Notepad.png materials.txt - Defines all the objects, materials, rooms and staff in the game, as well as their properties.
Notepad.png mod_types.txt
Picture.png mugshot-bg.png - Background for the images in the prisoners' biographies
Folder.png mugshots - Contains mugshots of players who have purchased the "Digital-Immorto-Criminalise Your Face" package
Notepad.png names_in_game.txt - List of the prisoners created for people having purchased the "Name in the Game" or "Face in the Game" packages of Prison Architect.
Notepad.png needs.txt - Defines the prisoners' needs and the ways to relief them.
Notepad.png needs_female.txt - Defines the female prisoners' needs and the ways to relief them.
Picture.png objects.png - The spritesheet used for objects.
Notepad.png objects.spritebank - Defines where in the spritesheet for objects.png each image should be taken from.
Picture.png orgchart_blank.png - Some background.
Picture.png orgchart.png - Some background.
Picture.png PAlogo.png - The Prison Architect logo.
Picture.png paper.png - Some background.
Picture.png papersheet.bmp - Some background.
Picture.png people.png - The spritesheet used for items, contraband, staff, prisoners and vehicles.
Folder.png polaroids - Polaroids
Notepad.png prefabs.txt - Defines which Quickbuild prefabs are available.
Notepad.png production.txt - Defines which items are produced and consumed where.
Picture.png qualification.bmp
Notepad.png reform_programs.txt - Defines the programs.
Notepad.png research.txt - Defines the different research options.
Picture.png screenedge.png - Some GUI element.
Folder.png shaders - Some WebGL shader codes.
Folder.png shapes
Picture.png skin.png - Different shades of skin colour.
Picture.png sound.bmp - A loudspeaker symbol.
Notepad.png sounds.txt - Defines all sounds that are played in the game, including music.
Picture.png special-entities.png - The spritesheet used for "Face in the Game" prisoners.
Picture.png starburst.png
File.png steam_controller.vdf
Picture.png stripes.png
Picture.png tab.png - A tab graphic for the reports.
Picture.png target.png - A crosshair.
Picture.png tattoo1.png - The full body tattoo sprite for gang #1
Picture.png tattoo2.png - The full body tattoo sprite for gang #2
Picture.png tattoo3.png - The full body tattoo sprite for gang #3
Picture.png texture_corkboard.png
Picture.png tileset.png - The spritesheet used for materials.
Picture.png ui.png - The spritesheet used for UI elements.
Picture.png viewcone.png - A CCTV camera's viewcone.