CMDL (Metroid Prime)

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This article is for the CMDL format from the Metroid Prime series. See CMDL (File Format) for the other revisions of this format.

The CMDL format is the model format used in the Metroid Prime series. The format's stayed relatively consistent throughout the trilogy, with modifications only really being made to the materials section.


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


Offset Type Count Name Notes
0x0 u32 1 Magic Always 0xDEADBABE.
0x4 u32 1 Version See hub article for a list of possible version numbers.
0x8 u32 1 Flags See below
0xC float 6 Model Axis-Aligned Bounding Box
0x24 u32 1 Data Section Count Count of data sections in the file.
0x28 u32 1 Material Set Count Count of material sets in the model. There will be one materials section per set in the file.
0x2C u32 Data Section Count Data Section Sizes
End of header; pad to 32 bytes before section data begins


Bit Hex Description
0 0x1 Indicates the model is skinned (no ingame effect)
1 0x2 Toggle short normals
2 0x4 Enable short UV array


See Materials (Metroid Prime) and Materials (Metroid Prime 3)

CMDL files can have multiple material sets; each set will get its own section. The main catch with reading materials is to mind the version number; extra values were added starting in version 3 (Echoes Demo).

The material format was completely revamped in Metroid Prime 3, but the way the format supports multiple material sets is the same.


See Geometry (Metroid Prime)

There are a couple little catches when reading the CMDL geometry format. First, the short UV array will always be completely empty (size of 0) whenever it's present; however, if the corresponding flag isn't set in the header, then the short UV section will be omitted entirely. Second, even though the header has a flag to indicate the format of the normals, the vertex format setting in the primitive data is what actually controls how the normals are read. Finally, an extra vertex attribute was added starting in version 4 that you'll need to watch out for; it precedes the position attribute.