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SMW level data format

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This article contains information about how levels are stored in Super Mario World.

Pointer tables

Address Usage Amount Bytes per level Total bytes
x2E200/$05E000 Layer 1 data 0x200 levels 3 bytes 1,536 bytes
x2E800/$05E600 Layer 2 data 0x200 levels 3* bytes 1,536 bytes
x2EE00/$05EC00 Sprite data 0x200 levels 2** bytes 1,024 bytes

*) Layer 2 BG only uses the two lower bytes. The upper byte should be FF. The backgrounds are stored in bank 0C.
**) The sprite data is located in bank 07.

Primary level header

The first five bytes of the Layer 1 data is the primary level header.

First Second Third Fourth Last
Bits Description
BBB BG palette
LLLLL Length of level (amount of screens)
CCC BG color
OOOOO Level mode
3 Layer 3 Priority
MMM Music
SSSS Sprite set
TT Time
PPP Sprite palette
FFF FG palette
II Item memory
VV Vertical scroll
ZZZZ Tile set

Secondary level header

The secondary level header consists of four bytes (These four bytes are not stored together):

  • Location of Byte 1: x2F200/$05F000 + level number
  • Location of Byte 2: x2F400/$05F200 + level number
  • Location of Byte 3: x2F600/$05F400 + level number
  • Location of Byte 4: x2F800/$05F600 + level number
Byte 1 Byte 2 Byte 3 Byte 4
Bits Description
SSSS Layer 2 scroll settings
YYYY Level entrance Y position
33 Layer 3 settings
TTT Level entrance type
XXX Level entrance X position
MMMM Level entrance midway screen
FF Level entrance FG init position
BB Level entrance BG init position
I Disable no-Yoshi intro flag
U Unknown vertical position flag
V Vertical positioning flag
EEEEE Level entrance screen number

Sprite header

The sprite header is the first byte of sprite data.

Bits Header text
S Sprite buoyancy
B Sprite buoyancy (no sprite-L2 interaction)
MMMMMM Sprite memory*

*) Values up to 0x3F are possible, but only up to 0x12 are valid according to Lunar Magic.

Layer 1

(Note that Direct Map16 is not documented, as it's a feature added by Lunar Magic)
The Layer 1 data begins with the primary level header, followed by the actual Layer 1 data. Each block is three bytes long, with the exception of the screen exit objects.

Standard objects

First Second Last
Bits Descripton
N New Screen flag
BBbbbb Object number
YYYYY Y position
XXXX X position
SSSSSSSS Settings byte

(Note: The first byte being FF marks the end of the data)

Num Descripton Settings Byte
00 (Extended Objects) Extended object number
01 Water (Blue) {Height},{Width}
02 Invisible coin blocks {Height},{Width}
03 Invisible note blocks {Height},{Width}
04 Invisible POW coins {Height},{Width}
05 Coins {Height},{Width}
06 Walk-through dirt {Height},{Width}
07 Water (Other color) {Height},{Width}
08 Note blocks {Height},{Width}
09 Turn blocks {Height},{Width}
0A Coin ? blocks {Height},{Width}
0B Throw blocks {Height},{Width}
0C Black piranha plants {Height},{Width}
0D Cement blocks {Height},{Width}
0E Brown blocks {Height},{Width}
0F Vertical pipes {Height},{Type}
10 Horizontal pipes {Type},{Width}
11 Bullet shooter {Height},{Unused}
12 Slopes {Height},{Type}
13 Ledge edges {Height},{Type}
14 Ground ledge {Height},{Width}
15 Midway/Goal point {Height},{Type}
16 Blue coins {Height},{Width}
17 Rope/Clouds {Type},{Width}
18 Water surface (ani) {Height},{Width}
19 Water surface (not ani) {Height},{Width}
1A Lava surface (ani) {Height},{Width}
1B Net top edge {Height},{Width}
1C Donut bridge {Unused},{Width}
1D Net bottom edge {Height},{Width}
1E Net vertical edge {Height},{Type}
1F Vert. Pipe/Bone/Log {Height},{Unused}
20 Horiz. Pipe/Bone/Log {Unused},{Width}
21 Long ground ledge Width
22 Special - Used by LM
23 Special - Used by LM
24 Special - Used by LM
25 Special - Used by LM
26 Special - Used by LM
27 Special - Used by LM
28 Special - Used by LM
29 Special - Reserved
2A Special - Reserved
2B Special - Reserved
2C Special - Reserved
2D Special - Used by LM
2E Tileset Specific 1
2F Tileset Specific 2
30 Tileset Specific 3
31 Tileset Specific 4
32 Tileset Specific 5
33 Tileset Specific 6
34 Tileset Specific 7
35 Tileset Specific 8
36 Tileset Specific 9
37 Tileset Specific 10
38 Tileset Specific 11
39 Tileset Specific 12
3A Tileset Specific 13
3B Tileset Specific 14
3C Tileset Specific 15
3D Tileset Specific 16
3E Tileset Specific 17
3F Tileset Specific 18

Note: Most objects separate their nibbles into upper and lower bytes with separate functions. They're specified as {Upper Nibble},{Lower Nibble} in this table.

Extended objects

(Standard object 00)

First Second Last
Bits Description
N New Screen flag
YYYYY Y position
XXXX X position
BBBBBBBB Extended object number
Num Desc
00 Special - Screen Exit
01 Special - Screen Jump
02-0F Unused?
10 Small door
11 Invisible ? block (1-UP)
12 Invisible note block
13 Top left corner edge tile 1
14 Top right corner edge tile 1
15 Small POW door
16 Invisible POW ? block
17 Green star block
18 3-UP moon
19 Invisible 1-UP #1
1A Invisible 1-UP #2
1B Invisible 1-UP #3
1C Invisible 1-UP #4
1D Red berry
1E Pink berry
1F Green berry
20 Always turning block
21 Bottom right of midway point (unused)
22 Bottom right of midway point (unused)
23 Note block (flower/feather/star)
24 ON/OFF block
25 Direction coins ? block
26 Note block
27 Note block, bounce on all sides
28 Turn block (Flower)
29 Turn block (Feather)
2A Turn block (Star)
2B Turn block (Star 2/1-UP/Vine)
2C Turn block (Multiple coins)
2D Turn block (Coin)
2E Turn block (Nothing)
2F Turn block (POW)
30 ? block (Flower)
31 ? block (Feather)
32 ? block (Star)
33 ? block (Star 2)
34 ? block (Multiple coins)
35 ? block (Key/Wings/Balloon/Shell)
36 ? block (Yoshi)
37 ? block (Shell)
38 ? block (Shell)
39 Turn block, unbreakable (Feather)
3A Top left corner edge tile 2
3B Top right corner edge tile 2
3C Top left corner edge tile 3
3D Top right corner edge tile 3
3E Top left corner edge tile 4
3F Top right corner edge tile 4
40 Transculent block
41 Yoshi Coin
42 Top left slope
43 Top right slope
44 Purple triangle, left
45 Purple triangle, right
46 Midway point rope
47 Door
48 Invisible POW door
49 Ghost house exit
4A Climbing net door
4B Conveyor end tile 1
4C Conveyor end tile 2
4D Line guide, top left 1/4 large circle
4E Line guide, top right 1/4 large circle
4F Line guide, bottom left 1/4 large circle
50 Line guide, bottom right 1/4 large circle
51 Line guide, top left 1/4 small circle
52 Line guide, top right 1/4 small circle
53 Line guide, bottom left 1/4 small circle
54 Line guide, bottom right 1/4 small circle
55 Line guide end, for horizontal line
56 Line guide end, for vertical line
57 Switch palace bottom right corner tile
58 Switch palace bottom left corner tile
59 Switch palace top right corner tile
5A Switch palace top left corner tile
5B Bit of brick background tile 1
5C Bit of brick background tile 2
5D Bit of brick background tile 3
5E Bit of brick background tile 4
5F Large background area
60 Lava/mud top right corner edge
61 Ghost house clock
62 Ghost house top left to bottom right beam 1
63 Ghost house top right to bottom left beam 1
64 Ghost house cobweb, top right
65 Ghost house cobweb, top left
66 Ghost house top right to bottom left beam 2
67 Ghost house top left to bottom right beam 2
68 Cloud fringe, bottom and right edge
69 Cloud fringe, bottom and left edge
6A Cloud fringe, bottom right
6B Cloud fringe, bottom left
6C Cloud fringe on white, bottom and right edge
6D Cloud fringe on white, bottom and left edge
6E Cloud fringe on white, bottom right
6F Cloud fringe on white, bottom left
70 Bit of canvass 1
71 Canvass 1
72 Canvass 2
73 Canvass 3
74 Canvass 4
75 Canvass tile 1
76 Canvass tile 2
77 Canvass tile 3
78 Canvass tile 4
79 Canvass tile 5
7A Canvass tile 6
7B Canvass tile 7
7C Bit of canvas 2
7D Bit of canvas 3
7E Bit of canvas 4
7F Torpedo launcher
80 Ghost house entrance
81 Water weed
82 Big bush 1
83 Big bush 2
84 Castle entrance
85 Yoshi's house
86 Arrow sign
87 ! block, green
88 Tree branch, left
89 Tree branch, right
8A Switch, green
8B Switch, yellow
8C Switch, blue
8D Switch, red
8E ! block, yellow
8F Ghost house window
90 Boss door
91 Steep left slope (vert. lev.)
92 Steep right slope (vert. lev.)
93 Normal left slope (vert. lev.)
94 Normal right slope (vert. lev.)
95 Very steep left slope (vert. lev.)
96 Very steep right slope (vert. lev.)
97 Switch palace right and bottom edge tile
98-FF Unused?

Screen exits

(Extended object 00)

First Second Third Last
000PPPPP 0000WUSH 00000000 DDDDDDDD
Bits Page number
PPPPP Example
W Water (secondary exit)
U Secondary Exit? *
S Secondary Exit
H Unused **
DDDDDDDD Lower 8 bits of destination level

Creates a screen exit. Should be placed right before the end of the level.

*) Used by a Lunar Magic ASM hack: If set, the H bit will be used
**) Used by a Lunar Magic ASM hack: High bit of destination level (only if the U bit is set)

Screen jump

(Extended object 01)

First Second Last
000PPPPP 0000???? 00000001
Bit Description
PPPPP Page to jump to
???? Unused?

The loading routine jumps to another screen.

Layer 2


Layer 2 backgrounds are compressed using a simple RLE system.

A background consists of any number of "lines". There are two types: Normal line and RLE line

Each line begins with a start byte. The highest bit decides what kind of line it is (0 = Normal, 1 = RLE). The other 7 bits are the "length" setting, which is the amount of tiles in the line minus 1.

A normal line is then followed by (length+1) bytes, each being a tile in the background. An RLE line is only followed by a single byte which is repeated (length+1) times.

The entire left half of the background is stored first, followed by the entire right half.

The line "FFFF" marks the end of the data.


Layer 2 levels are stored in exactly the same way as Layer 1. The five byte header is there as well, but doesn't seem to be used.


The first byte of the sprite data is the sprite header. Each sprite is three bytes long.

First Second Last
Bits Description
yYYYY Y position
EE Extra bits
XXXX X position
sSSSS Screen number
NNNNNNNN Enemy number

(Note: The first byte being FF marks the end of the data)

Secondary entrances

(Not yet documented.)