CMDL (Donkey Kong Country Returns)

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See CMDL (File Format) for the other revisions of this format.

The CMDL format is DKCR's model format. It's similar to the CMDL format found in the Metroid Prime trilogy, but with a lot of additions and changes, and some layout changes.

Morphball wirerender.png This file format needs more research
The visibility group data in the header has a lot of unknown values.


Like the previous CMDL formats, DKCR CMDL files are split up into a number of 32-byte aligned sections. Every section both starts and ends on a 32-byte boundary. These are used to separate different parts of the file; different types of sections typically indicate different sets of data. The header declares the section count and the size of each one; using these is the only way to navigate the file.


Offset Type Count Name Notes
0x0 u16 1 Magic Always 0x9381
0x2 u16 1 Version Always 0xA. See hub article for a list of possible version numbers.
0x4 u32 1 Flags See below
0x8 float 6 Model Bounding Box
0x20 u32 1 Section Count Count of data sections in the file.
0x24 u32 1 Material Set Count Count of material sets in the model.
0x28 Visibility Groups 1 Visibility Group Data Only present if flag 0x10 is set.
u32 Section Count Section Sizes
End of header; pad to multiple of 32 before first section starts


The following flags are possible:

Bit Hex Description
0 0x1 Indicates the model is skinned
1 0x2 Unknown
2 0x4 Unknown
3 0x8 Unknown
4 0x10 Enable visibility groups
5 0x20 Store vertex positions as shorts

Visibility Groups

Visibility group data is present in the header if bit 0x10 is set, after the material set count and before the section sizes. Visibility groups are used to toggle the visibility of certain surfaces on or off during animations; for instance, Diddy's jetpack is part of his model but doesn't render in most of his animations.

Offset Type Count Name Notes
0x0 u32 1 Unknown
0x4 u32 1 Visibility Group Count
0x8 Visibility Group Name Visibility Group Count Visibility Group Name Array
u32 1 Unknown
u32 1 Unknown
u32 1 Unknown
u32 1 Unknown
u32 1 Unknown
Visibility Group Name
Offset Type Count Name Notes
0x0 u32 1 Name Length
0x4 char Name Length Visibility Group Name Zero-terminated.


See Materials (Metroid Prime 3)

DKCR uses the same material format as Metroid Prime 3, with the main differences being what pass types and UV animation modes are supported (a few have been added/removed). The only other significant difference in DKCR compared to Prime 3 is that in Prime 3, each material set would get its own section. In DKCR, every material set is in the same section. Each material set begins with a material count, and each material begins with its own size.


See Geometry (Donkey Kong Country Returns)