Model Files Explained¶
Each model comprises several files on disk, such as the model file, material definition files, and texture images.
When you save a model in the Model Editor, the editor creates or re-creates some of these files, updates others, and leaves alone the rest. The result is normally exactly what you want and expect, but sometimes you may wish to hand-tune some details (such as the material definitions) without and independently of the Model Editor. In such cases, it is very helpful to understand the files that belong to a model.
This section explains the files that together form a model and how they relate to each other.
One directory per model¶
Although not a technical requirement and not enforced by the Cafu model code, it is highly recommended to save each model in a directory of its own. This
- explicitly groups all files that logically form and belong to the model, and
- makes packaging a complete model in a
my_model.ziparchive possible, so that the model can easily and safely be distributed, shipped and handled.
The name of the directory should match the file name of the model. That
is, if your model’s name is
Trinity.cmdl, it should be stored in a
directory with the same name
Trinity/ (or in a zip archive with the
same base name
Note that when you are saving a new model that does not yet have a separate directory, you can use the “New Folder” button (or right-click context menu) of the “Save” dialog to create such new directories as required.
d:\Dev\Cafu\Games\DeathMatch\Models\Players> dir Trinity ChromeBuckle_diff.png ChromeGlass_diff.png Pants_diff.png Skin_diff.png Trinity.cmat Trinity.cmdl Trinity.cmdl_bak Trinity_editor.cmat
cmdl model files¶
cmdl file is the main file of the model: It contains the
definitions for the skeleton, the meshes and the animation sequences of
The Cafu Engine and the Model Editor load
cmdl files as
Lua scripts, and as such they can be inspected
or edited in a text editor if desired.
Besides the main
cmdl file, the Model Editor also creates a
cmdl_bak backup file that contains the contents of the
before it was last saved. (If you ship your model as a
cmdl_bak file is typically redundant and can be omitted from the
archive for space efficiency.)
d:\Dev\Cafu\Games\DeathMatch\Models\Players> dir Trinity\*.cmdl* Trinity.cmdl Trinity.cmdl_bak
cmat material definition files¶
cmat files contain the material definitions for the meshes of
cmat file must have the same base name as the model
(“Trinity”), so that the full name is for example
file is for your hand-written material script code, if any, and is never
touched or overwritten by the Model Editor (with one exception, see
The Model Editor also writes a secondary
cmat file whose name ends
_editor.cmat. This file is written anew each time the model is
saved, and contains material definitions whose script code was not
hand-crafted, but who were created or edited in the Model Editor.
d:\Dev\Cafu\Games\DeathMatch\Models\Players> dir Trinity\*.cmat Trinity.cmat Trinity_editor.cmat
cmat files are linked as follows: When the Cafu model code
loads the materials of a model, it opens the main
Trinity.cmat). This file contains a statement like
in order to include and process the secondary
with the main file.
The only exception when the Model Editor touches the main
Trinity.cmat file is when the file does not yet exist, or doesn’t
dofile() reference to the editor file. In this case, the
_editor.cmat would not be loaded at all, and thus the Model Editor
dofile() line into the main
In summary, the goal of keeping two separate
cmat files that are
linked as described above is to keep your hand-crafted material script
code and the Model Editor edited material definitions cleanly separated,
without any danger of one overwriting the other.
The texture images are referenced from the material definition scripts. See the documentation about the Cafu Material System for more details.
d:\Dev\Cafu\Games\DeathMatch\Models\Players> dir Trinity\*.png Trinity\*.jpg ChromeBuckle_diff.png ChromeGlass_diff.png Pants_diff.png Skin_diff.png