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New HL2 developer tool


allicorn

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Hi all,

I'm looking for a couple folks who'd like to have a look at a brand new tool for HL2 developers. Specifically I'm after anyone, with either a little or a lot of HL2 development experience, who'd be willing to give the tool a try, and give me some feedback on how well it functions to help ease out any bugs that may be lurking before the tool gets publicized properly.

Currently, the tool has materials and models compilers, heightfield to normalmap conversions, texture preview with normalmapping, intelligent map merging, project backup, a neato set of team collaboration features and a whole bunch of other miscellaneous utils. It comes with a fairly thorough built-in user manual and guides, so it should be pretty easy to pick up.

If you can help me out with this, please drop me a PM and I'll get you a link to download the program.

Cheers,

Alli

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So, is this an IDE?

Oh I wouldn't say that. Its not a replacement map editor, and I think it'd have to be in order to say it was really "integrated".

Its something that I started working on as part of a small mod team. We were all fairly new to HL2 when we started work, and the tool has just kinda grown up to make life a little easier for us through various parts of the HL2 content development process.

The Materials Compiler lets you select VMT properties from an annotated list and then prompts you for their properties in a meaningful way. (eg $basetexture will prompt you for an SMD file, $envmaptint will prompt you for three floats).

The Models Compiler has a bit of an IDE-ish feel to it I guess. Its a text editor for QC's that'll show the syntax of highlighted QC commands and prompt you for appropriate values in a similar way to the Materials Compiler.

The latest bit, merging maps, came about because we were working on a single large level and wanted to dish out particular rooms/floors to different members of the team. Fusing map segments back together by hand in Hammer was a bit of a pain, so I came up with a more automated way of doing it.

I'm no HL2 expert myself (by a long way!), so I'm hoping to get a few folks to test it, some who are experts, some who are pretty new to it all (since the tool hopefully makes the whole process a bit more accessible).

If you fancy giving it a try and are happy to give some feedback, I'll PM you a link.

Alli

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It ought to load any 24bit RGB or 32bit RGBA TGA, compressed (RLE) or uncompressed. It you're having problems with a particular TGA file, that'd definitely be something I'd be interested in.

The program makes use of several image loading APIs but I couldn't find any that would fully support compressed TGAs so I had to write my own.

Alli

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well it says its loading my tga files file now when I'mnot using the preview. I tried using both the by hand method and the quick method of creating a texture. Each time it creats the file 'succesfuly' but then when I boot up hammer they presnt the texture with the lovable purplecheckers.

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Hi folks,

If you're currently testing the program, you might have run into a bug that Von found. Compiling materials under certain conditions could result in a messed up path int he VMT file - you'd get the horrible pink-checks for your texture when you load it up in Hammer.

A fixed version of the program is now up on the same website you downloaded the thing from originally. If you're having the pink-checks issue, you'll probably want to get the new version. Make sure you uninstall the old one first if you're updating.

Cheers,

Alli

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