Jump to content

Source Editing


Recommended Posts

So far I'm finding this to be a lovely 'design' community with a strong focus on Source related editing. A perfect fit for my question. Recently I preordered Counterstrike: Global Offensive and the thought occurred to me, I could try and map for this game. Now there's an extensive amount of info out there regarding the Source SDK and lots of wonderful tutorials to get you started. Which of course is great.

But I'm always more interested in first hand experiences. So any do's or don'ts , useful links, examples, articles, need to know stuff, etc?

Please share!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you. But there are tutorials enough out there. I'm talking about tips and tricks from more experienced users. What makes Hammer different (up and downsides), certain do's and don'ts in Source editing. Insight you don't get from basic tutorials. Stuff like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well it's a lot easier to give insight on more detailed questions :)


Save often.

Create incremental saves often as sometimes level files gets fucked up

Learn the displacement tool properly, it can be used for a lot of stuff that is not boring hills that looks like HL1 tri-soup terrain

Learn the hotkeys : https://developer.valvesoftware.com/wik ... _Reference

Do not create a big hollow box because 'you will think of optimization later on' - build the skeleton properly from the start.


Do not ragequit when trying to use the model browser, keep at it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


What Evert said

The displacement tool is probably the only feature I think works well, I wish more editors implemented a similar tool.

I think starting small to begin with, dont rush into large environments, learn how it works technically. How does visibility work (crap I might add). Optimisation is a lengthy process using the source engine. Static meshes do not occlude, and without proper planning and optimisation work, the BSP will do a crap job too.

Don't spend too long pissing about, get yourself reading/watching/following tutorials early on. I wish I had done this to start with.

Give yourself a task or a small level you want to make, rather than making brushes wherever.

Watch for Leaks! They're dicks! https://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/Leak

Learn console commands to help you diagnose issues, check vis ect

use dev textures, they are very helpful, if used and scaled properly. search 'dev' in the texture browser

learn how to align textures, alt-right click is very useful

Ask for help, show us your work, early on too so people can set you off in the right direction quickly


Never use the carve tool

No giant skyboxes, you will learn more about why when you start looking into optimisation/visibility, but to start with dont worry too much.

dont stretch textures. Textures scaled at values such as 0.25 (default) look sharper. Make sure you don't leave texture lock on

Dont rotate, fuck with brushes without making them func_detail. The vertex editing of brushes leaves you with errors if you mess around too much with it. Use clipping and additional brushes where you can instead.

Don't use small grids. At least early on. Small brushes that are not brush entities such as func_detail love to cut through visleafs and make a ruddy mess of everything.

Thats all I can think of for now. By the way don't go in making sure you do/don't do any of the mentioned. Make some mistakes and see what they do, and how you can avoid them.

Some good places for tuts :

http://www.tophattwaffle.com/ This guy has lots of little tips and tricks you can use, I highly recommend.

http://www.interlopers.net/ Well Duh



Link to comment
Share on other sites

What game/engine version are you mapping for? Some versions are super-duper-broken right now. Learn to use instances early (they work best in Portal 2). (doh)

Don't carve until you know why you shouldn't carve.

Be careful of reshaping a brush with vertex manipulation too many times in too many ways, even if it still ends up square. The files don't technically store vertices so they can get messed up but still look fine. You probably won't run into this though.

Biggest upside: the grids are white on black with high contrast major lines that are actually visible, something that most 3D programs can't get right (I'm looking at you Max).

---small tool things that are super useful----

My favorite tip for new users is to turn on Vertex/Object nudging in the Tools->Options->(2D Views Tab). This lets you move things with the arrow keys. Holding ctrl moves the object 1 grid unit, shift clones. Also works in 3D view.

Second is "Default to 15 degree rotations". You can still free-rotate by holding shift.

X toggles the object selection handles in the 3D view.

Customize your Autosave options in the "General" Tab. Manually saving reset the timer.

Experiment with the "Stretch arches to fit original bounding rectangle" check box and decide how you want it.

Be aware that it's possible to turn the grid off, and you shouldn't do it (sometimes is useful for placing model though).

Be aware of the two square-symbol buttons next to the tl button, having them in the state you don't want can be frustrating if you don't realize it. Sometimes they are useful. (corner-handle selection and automatic selection)

Visgroups can be nested by right-click dragging one onto the other.

Do not create a big hollow box because 'you will think of optimization later on' - build the skeleton properly from the start.

This, but it's kind of like carve. Ironically the 'map in a box' is now sort of the thing to do in many cases, so long as you handle it right. See, for example, every Valve made TF2 map in the last couple years. That may be for jumpers though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Save in manual increments every time you've done enough work so that you'll feel sad if it all disappeared.

Keep the BSP hull as simple as possible, if it doesn't block visibility it should be a func_detail.

When tracking down leaks and working on optimizations, disable the "Func_Detail" and "Props" groups in the Auto visgroups, it makes everything more manageable.

When scripting stuff, think of some naming convention, it makes things easier to keep track of.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Mapcore Supporters

    Funds go towards hosting and license costs, Discord server boosts, and more. If you'd like to donate, check out our Patreon announcement.

  • Create New...