Tool to work with .arcd files generated by the Defold game engine
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arcdEx - Defold .arcd file extraction tool

Defold game engine archive v4 file extractor.

Supports manifest files in versions:

  • v4 (since Defold v1.2.183)
  • v3 (since Defold v1.2.142)
  • v2 (since Defold v1.2.133)
  • v1 (since Defold v1.2.97)

Issues (feature requests + bug reports) have intentionally been disabled. Patches welcome.


  • List .arcd contents
  • Extract files from .arcd. Compressed and encrypted files supported.
  • Inspect .texturec files
  • Extract .texturec files
  • Inspect .luac files (compiled Lua files)
  • Extract .luac Lua source code

Decryption is only supported when the default Defold encryption key is used.


Three files need to be available:


Game archive file containing the actual data


Game archive index file containing the data offsets


Manifest file containing the file names

Only the .arcd file needs to be passed, the other paths are guessed.

The web version of Defold games often use multiple .arcd files. They have to be combined before they can be used with arcdEx:

$ cat game.arcd0 game.arcd1 > game.arcd

Basic usage

When examples write arcdEx, replace it with java -jar arcdEx.full.jar:

$ java -jar arcdEx.full.jar --help


List archive contents:

$ arcdEx archive -l game.arcd
Flags: C=compressed, E=encrypted, L=liveupdate
      Size Compressed Flags Filename
        90         -1       /_generated_2e3b32552c42f133.spritec
      5044       1136       /assets/bundle/common/levels/result/1_easy_2.json
      1848        669  E    /world/game/ecs/systems/button_push_system.luac

Extract all files from the archive:

$ arcdEx archive game.arcd --outdir=extract -v
Extracting "/scenes/win_scene/win_scene.luac" to "/home/user/extract/scenes/win_scene/win_scene.luac"

Extract a single file from the archive:

$ arcdEx archive --outdir=extract -v game.arcd /scenes/win_scene/win_scene.luac
Extracting "/scenes/win_scene/win_scene.luac" to "/home/user/extract/scenes/win_scene/win_scene.luac"

Extract a .texturec and all textures contained inside:

$ arcdEx archive -v --extract-textures --outdir=extract test.arcd /assets/images/game/game.texturec
Extracting "/assets/images/game/game.texturec" to "/home/user/extract/assets/images/game/game.texturec"
 Extracting texturec file: /home/user/extract/assets/images/game/game.texturec
  Writing game.texturec-0

Extract a .luac and the Lua source code inside it:

$ arcdEx archive -v --extract-lua --outdir=extract test.arcd /scenes/win_scene/win_scene.luac
Extracting "/scenes/win_scene/win_scene.luac" to "/home/user/extract/scenes/win_scene/win_scene.luac"
 Writing /home/user/extract/scenes/win_scene/win_scene.lua

Lua scripts

Web projects up to Defold 1.3.4 contain the Lua source code. Desktop applications only contain the compiled Lua bytecode.

Show information about a .luac file:

$ arcdEx lua -i extract/libs_project/cameras.luac
Filename: libs_project/cameras.lua
Script size: 1006
Required modules:
- libs.common
- libs.rendercam_camera
Required resources:
- /libs/common.luac
- /libs/rendercam_camera.luac

Extract the Lua source code from a .luac file:

$ arcdEx lua -v extract/libs_project/cameras.luac
Writing /home/user/extract/libs_project/cameras.lua

$ head -n2 extract/libs_project/cameras.lua
local LEVELS = require ""
local WORLD = require ""


Show information about a .texturec file:

$ arcdEx texture -i extract/assets/images/game/game.texturec
Number of alternatives: 1
Type: 2D
Alternative #0
 Size: 1024x512
 Original size: 1024x512
 Format: RGBA
 Compression: basis UASTC
 Compression flags: 0

Extract texture files:

$ arcdEx texture -v extract/assets/images/game/game.texturec
Extracting texturec file: /home/user/extract/assets/images/game/game.texturec
 Writing game.texturec-0.basis

Texture data files often are in a format that can be directly uploaded to the graphics card as a texture. When compressed with "basis UASTC" they can be converted into a .png file with the basis_universal basisu tool:

$ basisu -unpack -no_ktx -file extract/assets/images/game/game.texturec-0.basis
Basis Universal GPU Texture Compressor v1.16.3
Copyright (C) 2019-2022 Binomial LLC, All rights reserved
Using SSE 4.1: 1, Multithreading: 1, Zstandard support: 1, OpenCL: 0
Input file "extract/assets/images/game/game.texturec-0", KTX2: 0
File version and CRC checks succeeded
File info:
  Version: 13
  Texture format: UASTC
  Texture type: 2D
  Total slices: 1
  Total images: 1
Transcode of image 0 level 0 res 1024x512 format UASTC_4x4 succeeded in 0.067 ms
Wrote PNG file "game_unpacked_rgb_UASTC_4x4_0000.png"
Wrote PNG file "game_unpacked_a_UASTC_4x4_0000.png"

Development notes


Put them into the libs/ directory:

Download all files of a Defold web project

  1. Grab archive_files.json via your browser's network inspector

  2. Download the files:

    $ jq -r .content[].pieces[].name < archive_files.json | xargs -L1 -I{} wget{}

Protobuf compilation

Compile all the .proto files in Defold:

$ mkdir generated
$ find . -name '*.proto' | grep -v test | xargs -L1 protoc --java_out=generated -I. -Iengine/ddf/src/ -I./engine/gamesys/proto/ -I./engine/gameobject/proto/ -I./engine/script/src/

Binary protobuf files can be inspected with protobuf-inspector.

  • Unfold - unpacker written in Defold itself. Did not work for me.

About arcdEx

arcdEx was written by Christian Weiske and is licensed under the AGPL v3.

It uses some parts of the Defold game engine source code, especially the ArchiveReader and the protocol buffer source files.