Creating a Custom Vehicle

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Newer Tutorial

There is a newer and more updated tutorial here. Proper shaders can also be added to the vehicle, by importing this to the materials in CreativeStudio, and changing the textures to what they were prior. Other information on this page may still be helpful, such as using Blender instead of SketchUp, and implementing emblems.

Outdated Tutorial

This tutorial will explain how to create a custom vehicle for Mario Kart 7. Note that this is a more simple tutorial. Due to how EveryFileExplorer imports textures as a more compressed image format, smaller textures will lose some detail. This tutorial may also be applied to gliders, but a few differences might be present.

What you will need:

  • Mario Kart 7 files
    You will need the Mario Kart 7 files so you can adjust your model accurately.
  • EveryFileExplorer
    This is mostly to create the actual file for your vehicle to load in game. Other programs work better, but we will use this for the tutorial.
  • Blender
    This is the model editor we will use in the tutorial. Other programs may work, like 3DS Max and Maya, as long as they can import dae files and automatically place the model in the correct position, and export to obj files. Blender is free, so that is why it will be used for this tutorial.

How it’s done:

Part 1: Choosing the base vehicle

First you must choose the vehicle that you want your model to go over. A vehicle with the most similar wheel placement to your custom vehicle is recommended. Find the game file for the vehicle, open it with EveryFileExplorer, and export the model.

Part 2: Adjusting model

Of course you can’t just take your model and throw it in the game. We have to adjust the model for the game. In your modeling program (Blender in this case) import the game model you just exported, as well as the model you want to import. From there you can adjust the model that you want to import. Move it around and change the scale until it fits with the model well. Then delete the game model. You can also put an emblem on your model by adding the emblem dummy texture (that should have been exported) to your model and make sure the emblem_dummy material is assigned to the emblem part. You have to triangulate the model, or else the game file will not be generated correctly. An option to triangulate when exporting an obj is available in Blender. You might have to modify the model if it has too high of a tri count. Whether the game file is small enough to work in the game is also dependant on texture size, so it is difficult to name a specific maximum tri count that should be used. The author of this tutorial has used around 850 tris as the limit if the vehicle texture is 128x128, but if your texture size is smaller, the tri limit may be higher. Now export your model as obj.

Part 3: Creating the game file

Open EveryFileExplorer, and choose File > New from File > Nintendo 3DS Plugin > CTR Graphics (CGFX). In the window that appears, open the model you just exported. Put the name of the original game model (like body_race for example) in the text box that appears, and continue. It’s case sensitive! Once you have done this, the file will be created. All you have to do is save, and put the file name as the file name of the original game model.

Loading the model into the game

Now we are prepared to load the custom model into the game. Make a new folder with the same game model name and put the file in there. We can easily load the custom model in CTGP-7. Copy the folder into CTGP-7\MyStuff\Karts\Kart\Body of your 3DS SD Card and load CTGP-7. You have to change characters in the character manager, or else your vehicle won't load in the game. If you don't want to do that, also copy the folder into CTGP-7\gamefs\Kart\Body. Then it should work. If it crashes, the tri count or texture sizes may be too high, or something went wrong during importing. If it works, congratulations! You’re basically done! You can go back and make adjustments if you like.