CMDL (Tropical Freeze)

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

Tropical Freeze features a new model format (necessitated by the hardware jump from Wii to Wii U) that bears little-to-no resemblance to the CMDL format of past games. There are three extensions used for models:

  • CMDL: Generic models
  • SMDL: Skinned models (ie. animated characters)
  • WMDL: World models (ie. level geometry)

All three share the same basic format, with SMDL and WMDL each containing an extra data chunk at the start of the file.


Morphball wirerender.png This file format needs more research
There's a lot of unknown data.


Format

File layout:

Type/Name Notes
Form Descriptor Form ID is CMDL, SMDL, or WMDL.
Skinned Model Header Only present in SMDL files
World Model Header Only present in WMDL files
Model Header
Material Data
Render Meshes
Vertex Buffers
Index Buffers
GPU Data

Skinned Model Header

Offset Type Count Name Notes
0x0 Chunk Descriptor 1 SKHD Chunk Descriptor Data type is SKHD
0x18 u32 1 Unknown
0x1C End of Skinned Model Header

World Model Header

Type Count Name Notes
Chunk Descriptor 1 WDHD Chunk Descriptor Chunk ID is WDHD
u8 1 Unknown
Render Octree 1 Render Octree
u32 1 Unknown AABox Count
AABox Unknown AABox Count Unknown AABox Array
u32 1 Unknown Float Count
float Unknown Float Count Unknown Float Array

Render Octree

This seems to be an updated version of the AROT format seen in previous Retro games.

Offset Type Count Name Notes
0x0 FourCC 1 Magic Always AROT (Area Octree)
0x4 u32 1 Unknown Always 1. Version number?
0x8 u32 1 Unknown
0xC u32 1 Unknown
0x10 u32 1 Unknown
0x14 AABox 1 Octree Bounding Box Bounds of the entire octree; matches the bounding box from the main model header.
0x2C u32 1 Unknown Count A
0x30 u32 Unknown Count A Unknown Array A
u32 1 Unknown Count B
u8 Unknown Count B Unknown Array B
u32 1 Unknown AABox Count
AABox Unknown AABox Count Unknown AABox Array

Model Header

Offset Type Count Name Notes
0x0 Chunk Descriptor 1 HEAD Chunk Descriptor Chunk ID is HEAD
0x18 u32 1 Unknown
0x1C u32 1 Unknown
0x20 u32 1 Unknown
0x24 u32 1 Unknown
0x28 u32 1 Unknown
0x2C AABox 1 Model Bounding Box
0x44 u32 1 Model Data Source Count
0x48 Model Data Source Model Data Source Count Model Data Source Array

Model Data Source

Offset Type Name Notes
0x0 u32 Model Data Source Type Controls the type of data present in this data source. Valid values are 0, 1, 2, or 3.
0x4 Model Data Source Data Structure and size varies depending on Model Data Source Type. See below.
Type 0: UV Animation
GravitySuitIcon.png To do:
Needs research. The loader function doesn't reveal much because the game just loads all the data into a couple big buffers.
Type 1: Wind
Type Count Name Notes
u32 1 Wind Set Count Count of Wind Set elements in the next array.
Wind Set Wind Set Count Wind Set Array
u32 1 Unknown Count
u8 Unknown Count Unknown Data
Wind Set
Offset Type Name Notes
0x0 Vector3f Unknown
0xC Vector3f Unknown
0x18 float Unknown
0x1C End of Wind Set
Type 2: Caustic
Type Count Name Notes
u32 1 Unknown Count
u32 Unknown Count Unknown Array
Type 3: Fur
Type Count Name Notes
u32 1 Unknown Count A
float Unknown Count A Unknown Array A
u32 1 Unknown Count B
float Unknown Count B Unknown Array B
u32 1 Unknown Count C
float Unknown Count C Unknown Array C

Material Data

The MTRL section has a 32-bit material count, then lays out its materials one after the other. Materials are composed of basically a MTRL asset ID which contains the shader the material is rendered with, then per-instance material parameters (textures, scalar/color parameters, etc).

Type Count Name Notes
string 1 Material Name Zero-terminated string
Asset ID (MTRL) 1 Material Shader Asset ID Points to the MTRL file containing the shader for this material.
FourCC 1 Material Type Can be PHNG (Phong), LAMB (Lambert), SURF (Surface), FURM (Fur), or REFL (Reflect). REFL may be unused.
u32 1 Material Flags Bitfield used to toggle various settings on the material. None of the flags are known.
u32 1 Parameter Count Count of parameters in this material definition.
Material Parameter Parameter Count Parameter Array

Material Parameter

Each parameter has a fourCC parameter ID as well as a parameter type enum. There are five possible parameter types that each have a different layout in the file.

Offset Type Count Name Notes
0x0 FourCC 1 Parameter ID
0x4 u32 1 Parameter Type Determines what type of data this parameter contains. Can be either 0, 1, 2, 4, or 5. (Note: 3 is an invalid value, not an unused type.)
0x8 Parameter Data Structure and size varies depending on Parameter Type. See below.

Type 0: Texture Token Data

Offset Type Count Name Notes
0x0 Asset ID (TXTR) 1 Texture ID Texture asset ID.
0x10 Texture Usage Info 1 Texture Usage Info Note: Not present if the TXTR asset ID is invalid.
End of Texture Token Data

Type 1: Color Data

Offset Type Count Name Notes
0x0 Color4f 1 Color Value
0x10 End of Color Data

Type 2: Scalar Data

Offset Type Count Name Notes
0x0 float 1 Scalar Value
0x4 End of Scalar Data

Type 4: Layered Texture Data

Offset Type Count Name Notes
0x0 u32 1 Unknown
0x4 Color4f 1 Unknown Color
0x14 Color4f 1 Unknown Color
0x24 Color4f 1 Unknown Color
0x34 u8 1 Unknown
0x35 Texture Token Data 1 Unknown Texture Token Data
Texture Token Data 1 Unknown Texture Token Data
Texture Token Data 1 Unknown Texture Token Data
End of Layered Texture Data

Type 5: Int4 Data

Offset Type Count Name Notes
0x0 u32 4 Int4 Value
0x10 End of Int4 Data

Texture Usage Info

Offset Type Count Name Notes
0x0 u32 1 Unknown
0x4 u32 1 Unknown
0x8 u32 1 Unknown
0xC u32 1 Unknown
0x10 u32 1 Unknown
0x14 End of Texture Usage Info

Render Meshes

The MESH section defines render meshes.

Type Count Name Notes
Chunk Descriptor 1 MESH Chunk Descriptor Chunk ID is MESH
u32 1 Render Mesh Count
Render Mesh Render Mesh Count Render Mesh Array

Render Mesh

Offset Type Count Name Notes
0x0 u32 1 Unknown Always 3?
0x4 u16 1 Material Index
0x6 u8 1 Vertex Buffer Index
0x7 u8 1 Index Buffer Index
0x8 u32 1 Start Index This is basically an offset into the selected index buffer.
0xC u32 1 Index Count Number of indices for this mesh in the index buffer.
0x10 u32 1 Unknown
0x14 bool 1 Unknown
0x15 End of Render Mesh

Vertex Buffers

The VBUF section defines vertex buffers; each buffer can have different vertex types, with different strides and attributes.

Type Count Name Notes
Chunk Descriptor 1 VBUF Chunk Descriptor Chunk ID is VBUF
u32 1 Vertex Buffer Count
Vertex Buffer Vertex Buffer Count Vertex Buffer Array The model will contain a separate vertex buffer for every unique vertex configuration needed.

Vertex Buffer

Type Count Name Notes
u32 1 Vertex Count Number of vertices in the buffer.
u32 1 Vertex Component Count Number of components in each vertex.
Vertex Component Vertex Component Count Vertex Component Array Definitions for each component in the vertex.

Vertex Component

Offset Type Count Name Notes
0x0 u32 1 Unknown
0x4 u32 1 Offset Offset of this component within the vertex.
0x8 u32 1 Stride Distance in bytes between elements of this component within the vertex buffer. (This is equivalent to the full size of a single vertex.)
0xC u32 1 Unknown
0x10 u32 1 Unknown Likely component type/format
0x14 End of Vertex Component

Index Buffers

Just like how the VBUF section defines vertex buffers, the IBUF section defines index buffers. Each index buffer only has one value associated with it, so it's fairly simple, and you generally will only see one or two index buffers per file (as there's only two possible index buffer configurations).

Type Count Name Notes
Chunk Descriptor 1 IBUF Chunk Descriptor Chunk Descriptor is IBUF
u32 1 Index Buffer Count
Index Buffer Index Buffer Count Index Buffer Array

Index Buffer

Offset Type Name Notes
0x0 u32 Format 1 means unsigned short; 2 means unsigned long.
0x4 End of Index Buffer

GPU Data

The GPU section contains raw buffer data that's fed to the GPU. It's essentially just a giant blob with all the vertex and index buffers laid out next to each other. The tricky part is, all the buffer data is LZSS-compressed, and the metadata needed to decompress it is stored in the pak rather than in the files themselves; not only that, but that metadata is also the only way to distinguish the different buffers from each other.

As such, this section can't be read correctly if the model file is unpacked and completely left as-is; it needs to be either read directly from the pak, or the metadata needs to be added to the file in some way. A good unpacker should append the metadata to the end of the file; a pre-decompressed file needs the buffer sizes or offsets inserted into the file data somewhere.

PAK Metadata

The PAK metadata for the model formats contains mainly information related to the size and layout of the GPU section, and the metadata required to locate and decompress specific buffers within it.

Type Count Name Notes
u32 1 Unknown Always 4?
u32 1 GPU Section Offset
u32 1 Read Buffer Count Number of read buffers making up the GPU section.
Read Buffer Info Read Buffer Count Read Buffer Array Definitions for each read buffer.
u32 1 Vertex Buffer Count Number of vertex buffers in the model.
Buffer Info Vertex Buffer Count Vertex Buffer Info Array Array containing all data needed to decompress each vertex buffer.
u32 1 Index Buffer Count Number of index buffers in the model.
Buffer Info Index Buffer Count Index Buffer Info Array Array containing all data needed to decompress each index buffer.

Read Buffer Info

For large models, the GPU section may be split into multiple read buffers. All offsets into the GPU section will be relative to the beginning of the chosen buffer.

Offset Type Name Notes
0x0 u32 Size Size of the buffer.
0x4 u32 Offset Offset of the buffer within the GPU section.
0x8 End of Read Buffer Info

Buffer Info

This structure is used for both vertex and index buffers.

Offset Type Name Notes
0x0 u32 Read Buffer Index The read buffer that this buffer is inside of.
0x4 u32 Start Offset Starting offset of this buffer, relative to the start of the chosen read buffer.
0x8 u32 Compressed Size Size of the compressed data.
0xC u32 Decompressed Size Size of the data after being decompressed.
0x10 End of Buffer Info