File Format

ParaEngine/NPL support several build-in file format. Some is used for 3d models, some for 3d world

3D Model file format

ParaEngine supports following built-in or standard file format.

  • ParaX format (*.x): This is our build-in file format for advanced animated characters, particles, etc. One needs to download and install ParaEngine exporter plugin for 3dsmax 9 (32bits/64bits). However, we are not supporting the latest version of 3dsmax. Please consider using FBX file format.
  • FBX format (*.fbx): FBX is the universal file format for AutoDesk product like MAYA/3dsmax. It is one of the most supported lossless file format in the industry. Click here for how to use FPX. (Please note model size and embedded texture matters)
we only support FBX version 2013 or above. Version 2014, 2015 are tested.
  • BMAX (*.bmax): This is our built-in block max file format, which is used exclusively by Paracraft application for storing static and animated blocks.
  • STL format (*.stl): This is a file format used for 3d printing.

BMax file format

BMAX is short for Block Max, it is a file format used exclusively in Paracraft for storing and exchanging block data. In paracraft, the world is made up of blocks, each block may contain x,y,z, block_id, block_data, custom_data

  • x,y,z is block position
  • block_id is type id of the block, see block_types.xml for a complete list of block ids.
  • block_data is a 32bits data of the block, it usually denotes the orientation or type of the block.
  • custom_data can be any NPL table object that stores additional data of the block. Most static blocks does not contain custom_data, however, blocks like movie block, command blocks will save animation data and commands in this place.

You can select some blocks in paracraft and save them to bmax file to examine a real bmax file, it should be self-explanatory. Following is an example bmax file(containing a button, 2 movie blocks, a repeater and a wire):



{-2,0,-2,228,[6]={{name="cmd","/t 6 /end",},{{"{timeseries={lookat_z={times={0,5348,},data={20001.56125,20004.65625,},ranges={{1,2,},},type=\"Linear\",name=\"lookat_z\",},eye_liftup={times={0,5348,},data={0.28568,0.26068,},ranges={{1,2,},},type=\"Linear\",name=\"eye_liftup\",},lookat_x={times={0,5348,},data={20000.51959,20000.58203,},ranges={{1,2,},},type=\"Linear\",name=\"lookat_x\",},eye_rot_y={times={0,5348,},data={-3.11606,-3.11668,},ranges={{1,2,},},type=\"LinearAngle\",name=\"eye_rot_y\",},is_fps={times={0,5348,},data={0,0,},ranges={{1,2,},},type=\"Discrete\",name=\"is_fps\",},lookat_y={times={0,5348,},data={-127.08333,-127.08333,},ranges={{1,2,},},type=\"Linear\",name=\"lookat_y\",},eye_dist={times={0,5348,},data={8,8,},ranges={{1,2,},},type=\"Linear\",name=\"eye_dist\",},has_collision={times={0,5348,},data={1,1,},ranges={{1,2,},},type=\"Discrete\",name=\"has_collision\",},eye_roll={times={0,5348,},data={0,0,},ranges={{1,2,},},type=\"LinearAngle\",name=\"eye_roll\",},},}",name="slot",attr={count=1,id=10061,},},{"{timeseries={time={times={},data={},ranges={},type=\"Linear\",name=\"time\",},music={times={},data={},ranges={},type=\"Discrete\",name=\"music\",},tip={times={},data={},ranges={},type=\"Discrete\",name=\"tip\",},movieblock={times={},data={},ranges={},type=\"Discrete\",name=\"movieblock\",},cmd={times={},data={},ranges={},type=\"Discrete\",name=\"cmd\",},blocks={times={},data={},ranges={},type=\"Discrete\",name=\"blocks\",},text={times={},data={},ranges={},type=\"Discrete\",name=\"text\",},},}",name="slot",attr={count=1,id=10063,},},name="inventory",{"{timeseries={blockinhand={times={},data={},ranges={},type=\"Discrete\",name=\"blockinhand\",},x={times={0,},data={20000.51959,},ranges={{1,1,},},type=\"Linear\",name=\"x\",},pitch={times={},data={},ranges={},type=\"LinearAngle\",name=\"pitch\",},y={times={0,},data={-127.08333,},ranges={{1,1,},},type=\"Linear\",name=\"y\",},parent={times={},data={},ranges={},type=\"LinearTable\",name=\"parent\",},roll={times={},data={},ranges={},type=\"LinearAngle\",name=\"roll\",},block={times={},data={},ranges={},type=\"Discrete\",name=\"block\",},scaling={times={},data={},ranges={},type=\"Linear\",name=\"scaling\",},gravity={times={},data={},ranges={},type=\"Discrete\",name=\"gravity\",},HeadUpdownAngle={times={},data={},ranges={},type=\"Linear\",name=\"HeadUpdownAngle\",},anim={times={},data={},ranges={},type=\"Discrete\",name=\"anim\",},bones={R_Forearm_rot={times={0,34,1836,},data={{0.00024,0.00175,-0.01261,0.99992,},{0.00024,0.00175,-0.01261,0.99992,},{0.00022,-0.05946,0.42959,0.90107,},},ranges={{1,3,},},type=\"Discrete\",name=\"R_Forearm_rot\",},R_UpperArm_rot={times={0,34,1836,},data={{-0.01933,-0.00286,0.03036,0.99935,},{-0.01802,-0.03834,0.32796,0.94375,},{-0.0137,-0.01077,0.14324,0.98954,},},ranges={{1,3,},},type=\"Discrete\",name=\"R_UpperArm_rot\",},isContainer=true,},speedscale={times={},data={},ranges={},type=\"Discrete\",name=\"speedscale\",},assetfile={times={0,},data={\"actor\",},ranges={{1,1,},},type=\"Discrete\",name=\"assetfile\",},skin={times={},data={},ranges={},type=\"Discrete\",name=\"skin\",},z={times={0,},data={20001.56125,},ranges={{1,1,},},type=\"Linear\",name=\"z\",},facing={times={},data={},ranges={},type=\"LinearAngle\",name=\"facing\",},HeadTurningAngle={times={},data={},ranges={},type=\"Linear\",name=\"HeadTurningAngle\",},name={times={0,},data={\"actor3\",},ranges={{1,1,},},type=\"Discrete\",name=\"name\",},opacity={times={},data={},ranges={},type=\"Linear\",name=\"opacity\",},},tooltip=\"actor3\",}",name="slot",attr={count=1,id=10062,},},},name="entity",attr={bz=19201,bx=19200,class="EntityMovieClip",item_id=228,by=5,},},},

{-2,0,1,228,[6]={{name="cmd","/t 30 /end",},{name="inventory",{name="slot",attr={count=1,id=10061,},},},name="entity",attr={bz=19204,bx=19200,class="EntityMovieClip",item_id=228,by=5,},},},}


For user manual of using movie blocks, please see the courses in


ParaX File format

ParaX is binary file format used exclusively in NPL Runtime for animated 3D character asset.ParaX is like a concise version of FBX file (FBX is like BMAX file used by autodesk 3dsmax/maya, ...) NPL Runtime also support reading FBX file and load as ParaXModel object in C++, for user guide see FBX

  • BMAX to ParaX converter in C++ (Lacking support for animation data in movie block):
  • ParaX models:

BMAX movie blocks to ParaX File format Conversion Details

  • locate all movie blocks in BMAX file and ignore all other blocks. Movie blocks needs to be in the same order of 3D space (as repeater and wires indicates)
  • The first movie block is always animation id 0 (idle animation)
  • The second movie block is always animation id 4 (walk animation)
  • The animation id of the third or following movie blocks can be specified in its movie block command
  • The BMAX model(s) in the first movie block is used for defining bones and mesh (vertices, etc), please see this code for how to translate blocks into bones, vertices and sub meshes. BMAX models in all other movie blocks are ignored.
  • Animation data in movie blocks are used to generate bone animations for each animation id in the final ParaXModel.

3D World File Format

ParaEngine/NPL can automatically save or load 3D scene object to or from disk files.

To create an empty world, one can use

    local worldpath = "temp/clientworld";
    ParaWorld.NewEmptyWorld(worldpath, 533.3333, 64);

3D world is tiled. Each tile is usually 512*512 meters. For historical reasons, it is 533.3333 by default. You will notice three files, after calling above function.

temp/clientworld/worldconfig.txt which is the entry file for 3d world, its content is like

-- Auto generated by ParaEngine 
type = lattice
TileSize = 533.333313
(0,0) = temp/clientworld/flat.txt
(0,1) = temp/clientworld/flat.txt

It contains a mapping from tile (x,y) to tile configuration file.

temp/clientworld/flat.txt is configuration file for a single terrain tile.

-- auto gen by ParaEngine
Heightmapfile = temp/clientworld/flat.raw
MainTextureFile = terrain/data/
CommonTextureFile = terrain/data/
Size = 533.333313
ElevScale = 1.0
Swapvertical = 1
HighResRadius = 30
DetailThreshold = 50.000000
MaxBlockSize = 64
DetailTextureMatrixSize = 64
NumOfDetailTextures = 0

Global Terrain Format

Global Terrain Format is a LOD triangle tile based terrain engine. The logical tile size is defined by 3d world configuration file, such as 533.333, however, its real dimension is always 512*512 and saved as a *.raw file.

Block World File Format

ParaEngine has a build-in block engine for rendering 3D blocky world. Block world is also tiled. The logical tile size is defined by 3d world configuration file, such as 533.333, however, its real dimension is always 512x512 and saved as a binary block region file in *.raw extension. Please note that block world region file *.raw is different from global terrain’s *.raw file. The latter is just height maps.

Currently, each block may contain x,y,z, block_id, block_data[, custom_data], currently custom_data is not supported in block region *.raw file. Block region file is encoded (compressed) using increase-by-integer algorithm, which will save lots of disk space if blocks are of the same type in the tiled region.

See BlockRegion.cpp for details


  • : see bmax model tutorial video
  • : see STLExporter
  • BMAX to ParaX converter in C++ (Lacking support for animation data in movie block):
  • ParaX models: