Mario Kart Wii File Format Comparison

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This page compares the file formats and file structure of Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart Wii. Fundamentally, Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart Wii are very similar in their use of files and file formats. This may indicate that some of the codebase is shared between the two games.


The courses in Mario Kart 8 are each stored as a subdirectory of the /content/course directory. In Mario Kart Wii each course is stored as a compressed U8 Archive in the /Race/Course directory. The contents of these directories/archives are quite similar.

Mario Kart 8 Mario Kart Wii Description
course_muunt.byaml course.kmp These files describe control information about courses such as enemy and item routes, checkpoints, respawn points, and objects. In Mario Kart 8, battles occur on race tracks, hence the need for two separate files, whereas battle tracks are dedicated tracks in Mario Kart Wii, so they also use course.kmp.
course.kcl course.kcl The KCL format has been updated between Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart Wii, but the purpose remains the same.
course_model.szs course_model.brres The course model in Mario Kart 8 is a YAZ0 compressed BFRES file. In Mario Kart Wii, it is a BRRES file which is not compressed as the whole course is. Mario Kart 8 does not include simplified course models for multiplayer as Mario Kart Wii does.
None vrcorn_model.brres The skybox for Mario Kart 8 is simply an object instantiated by the muunt.byaml file like any other. In Mario Kart Wii it was a special model file in the course folder. The objflow.byaml file has a flag indicating which objects are skybox models (VR) which may indicate that they are treated specially.
course_maptexture.bflim map_model.brres The minimap in Mario Kart 8 is a BFLIM image file. In Mario Kart Wii it is a 3D model. The change from a model to an image may be down to the map now being displayed on the GamePad.
This list is incomplete.


Mario Kart 8 has a global store for objects, which is a change from the Mario Kart Wii system, in which the necessary files for objects are stored in each track that requires them (leading to duplication). The objects are stored in the directory content/mapobj with one subdirectory per object. Each object may have one or more BFRES models, zero or more KCL collision model and other files such as a BARS archive.

In both Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart Wii, an objflow file exists, which describes object metadata such as simple collision properties and asset names. In Mario Kart 8 this is /content/data/objflow.byaml, which is a BYAML file. In Mario Kart Wii this is /Race/Common.szs/ObjFlow.bin and is a binary data file.

Other Files/Formats

Most of these files are simply updated versions of their Mario Kart Wii containers.

Mario Kart 8 Mario Kart Wii Description
/content/audio/stream/*.bfstm /sound/strm/*.brstm Sound files.
/content/audio/turbo_sound.bfsar /sound/revo_kart.brsar Mario Kart 8 stores some sound effects in SARC archives with the .bars extension.
/content/ui/cmn/movie/*.mp4 /thp/* For some reason, Mario Kart 8 uses standard H.264 MP4 files instead of the proprietary THP format.
This list is incomplete.