What is a CFG file & how do I open a CFG file (Cal3D Model Configuration File)?

.CFG (Cal3D Model Configuration File) - File Extension

Developer: Cal3D

What is a CFG File?

A CFG file with the “.CFG” extension is a three-dimensional model configuration file used by Cal3D.

These files are created in plain text format and serve as a blueprint for defining the structure and behavior of 3D models.

CFG files contain references to various model components, such as mesh data, textures, skeletal animations, and more, effectively putting all the pieces of a 3D model together.

How to Open a CFG File

Opening a CFG file requires compatible software that can interpret the configuration data and render the associated 3D model.

Fortunately, Cal3D itself provides tools for working with CFG files. To open a CFG file, follow these steps:

  1. Install Cal3D: Start by downloading and installing Cal3D, the open-source character animation toolkit. It’s essential to have this software on your computer to work with CFG files.
  2. Launch Cal3D: After installation, launch the Cal3D application.
  3. Load CFG File: In Cal3D, go to the file menu and select “Load Configuration File.” Browse to the location of your CFG file and select it.
  4. View and Edit: Once the CFG file is loaded, you can view and edit the configuration settings for your 3D model.

How to Convert a CFG File

Converting CFG files to other formats or vice versa is not a common practice since CFG files are primarily used within the Cal3D environment.

But if you need to exchange 3D models with other software or convert them into a different format, you may face some challenges.

  1. Export from Cal3D: To convert a CFG file into another format, start by using Cal3D to export your 3D model in a more widely supported format, such as “.OBJ” or “.FBX.”
  2. Use 3D Modeling Software: After exporting, you can use 3D modeling software like Blender or Maya to further convert the model to your desired format.

It’s important to note that conversion may result in some loss of data or fidelity, as CFG files are tailored to Cal3D’s specific requirements.

Security Considerations: Are “.CFG” Files Safe?

CFG files, being plain text configuration files, are generally safe from a security standpoint. They do not contain executable code or active content that can harm your computer.

However, as with any file type, it’s essential to exercise caution when downloading CFG files from untrusted sources or opening them in unfamiliar software.

Always ensure that your software and operating system have up-to-date security measures in place to prevent potential threats.

Format Details for CFG Files

CFG files are saved in a plain text format, making them human-readable and editable using a simple text editor.

Within the file, you’ll find structured data with key-value pairs that define various aspects of a 3D model’s configuration.

These key-value pairs specify information such as material properties, animations, bone structures, and more.

Here’s a simplified example of what a CFG file might look like:

MeshFile: model.obj
TextureFile: texture.png
Animation: walk.anim

Each line in the CFG file corresponds to a specific setting or attribute of the 3D model.

Uses and Applications of CFG Files

CFG files are exclusively used in the context of Cal3D and 3D modeling. They serve several essential purposes:

  • Defining Model Components: CFG files specify how different components of a 3D model, such as meshes, textures, and animations, are structured and connected.
  • Animating Characters: CFG files play a crucial role in character animation. They define how a 3D character moves, including its skeletal animations and blend shapes.
  • Customization: CFG files allow for the customization of 3D models, making it possible to create unique characters and animations for various applications, including video games, simulations, and movies.

Associated Software Programs

Cal3D is the primary software program associated with CFG files. It is an open-source character animation toolkit designed for creating and animating 3D characters in real-time applications.

Cal3D provides a user-friendly interface for working with CFG files and is commonly used in the game development industry.

While Cal3D is the most prevalent tool for working with CFG files, it’s worth noting that CFG files are plain text files.

Therefore, you can technically open and edit them using any text editor, although this is not recommended for users without an understanding of the CFG file’s structure.

Advantages and Disadvantages of CFG Files

Like any file format, CFG files come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages:


  • Human-Readable: CFG files are plain text, making them easy for humans to read and modify.
  • Customization: CFG files provide a high degree of customization for 3D models, allowing for precise control over various parameters.
  • Compatibility: CFG files are specific to Cal3D but can be used with various 3D modeling software through conversion.


  • Limited Compatibility: CFG files are primarily used within the Cal3D environment and may require conversion for use with other 3D software.
  • Complexity: Editing CFG files directly may be challenging for users who are not familiar with the specific format and structure.
  • Potential Data Loss: Converting CFG files to other formats may result in some loss of data or fidelity.

Comparison with Other File Extensions

CFG files are unique in their purpose and usage, primarily serving the needs of Cal3D users for configuring 3D models.

While there are other file formats used for 3D models, such as “.OBJ” and “.FBX,” these formats are designed for more general 3D modeling and animation and are not as closely tied to a specific toolkit or application.

CFG files, on the other hand, offer a level of precision and customization tailored to Cal3D’s requirements but may require additional steps for broader compatibility.

Troubleshooting CFG Files

Working with CFG files can be straightforward, but issues may occasionally arise. Here are some common problems and their solutions:

  1. File Not Opening: If you can’t open a CFG file, ensure that you have Cal3D installed and that the file is located in the correct directory. Check for any file corruption or errors.
  2. Incorrect Configuration: If your 3D model doesn’t behave as expected, double-check the settings in your CFG file for any errors or inconsistencies. Pay close attention to animation paths and file references.
  3. Conversion Issues: If you encounter problems while converting CFG files to other formats, make sure you are using compatible software and that the export settings are configured correctly.

History of the CFG File Extension

The CFG file extension’s history is closely tied to the development of Cal3D. Cal3D was created by the open-source community to provide a flexible and efficient character animation toolkit for developers working on 3D applications.

CFG files were introduced as a means to configure and customize 3D models within the Cal3D framework. The file format has evolved to accommodate more advanced features and capabilities, making it a valuable resource for character animators and game developers.

Tips and Tricks for CFG Files

To make the most of CFG files and Cal3D, consider the following tips and tricks:

  • Documentation: Familiarize yourself with Cal3D’s documentation to understand the full potential of CFG files and how to use them effectively.
  • Version Control: If you’re working on a collaborative project, use version control systems like Git to track changes to CFG files and collaborate seamlessly.
  • Backups: Regularly backup your CFG files to prevent data loss in case of accidental changes or corruption.

More Information

Here are a few additional points to consider regarding CFG files:

Cross-Platform Compatibility

CFG files, being plain text configuration files, have the advantage of being relatively cross-platform compatible.

Since they are not tied to any specific operating system, you can create, edit, and work with CFG files on various platforms, including Windows, macOS, and Linux.

This flexibility can be especially useful when collaborating with a team of developers and designers who use different systems.

Version Compatibility

It’s crucial to ensure that the version of Cal3D you are using is compatible with the CFG files you are working with.

Cal3D has gone through updates and revisions over the years, and newer versions may introduce changes to the CFG file format.

Therefore, if you are sharing CFG files or collaborating with others, make sure everyone is using the same version of Cal3D to prevent compatibility issues.

CFG File Naming Conventions

Establishing a consistent naming convention for CFG files can help streamline your workflow and organization.

Consider including relevant information in the file names, such as the model name, version, or a brief description.

This can make it easier to identify and manage CFG files, especially when you have multiple models and configurations.

Documentation and Comments

Adding comments and documentation within CFG files can be immensely helpful, particularly when working on complex 3D models.

Use comments (lines that begin with a specific character, often “#”) to explain the purpose of different sections or settings within the CFG file.

This practice can make it easier for you and your team to understand and maintain the configurations over time.

Best Practices for File Management

Maintaining a well-organized file structure is essential when working with CFG files and their associated assets, such as 3D models, textures, and animations.

Consider creating dedicated directories or folders for each project and its related files. This organization can prevent file clutter and make it simpler to locate and manage CFG files when needed.


CFG files, with their “.CFG” extension, play a vital role in the world of 3D modeling and animation, particularly within the Cal3D framework.

These plain text configuration files define how 3D models are structured, animated, and customized. While CFG files offer a high level of customization and control, they are primarily used within the Cal3D environment and may require conversion for broader compatibility.

Understanding CFG files and their associated software programs is essential for those involved in 3D character animation and game development.

With the knowledge provided in this guide, you can confidently work with CFG files, troubleshoot common issues, and leverage their power to create compelling 3D characters and animations.

Software Compatible With The CFG File Type
Cal3D Model Configuration File

In this section you will find a list of the best programs compatible with the CFG file type. We've selected the best software for Windows, Mac, Android and Linux to open, edit, convert and view the contents of CFG files.

License: Free

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Microsoft Notepad
Microsoft Notepad
Included with the operating system

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Apple TextEdit
Apple TextEdit
Included with the operating system

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License: Free

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