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Mapping Tips and Useful Links

Post useful tips about mapping, or post links to threads on this forum which feature such tips.

http://www.dpgames.co.uk/

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Valve Developer Wiki: http://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/
Invaluable site, full documentation on every entity. Be sure to read the Discussion pages as they have some pricesless info, too.

Halfwit-2.com: http://halfwit-2.com/?page=tutorials
A long time ago, Interlopers used to be the number one place for mapping tutorials, but this site has come a long way and has some really kick ass stuff. From the basics to the specific, advanced stuff.

Interlopers.net: http://www.interlopers.net/index.php?page=tutorials
Speaking of Interlopers, they are still a great site with a lot of tutorials and one of the oldest forums around.

GCFscape: http://nemesis.thewavelength.net/index.php?p=26
Awesome tool, allows you to view and extract the contents of GCF files.

VTFedit (VTFlib): http://nemesis.thewavelength.net/index.php?p=40
Another priceless tool, a GUI for creating images into VTF textures.

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HL2 Map Editing Optimization Guide: http://optimization.interlopers.net/
Everyone needs to read this from front to back atleast once. This is the most comprehensive, in-depth, and thorough explaination of how the Source engine works and how to optimize your map. Read this right now.

[Important Threads] Forum Rules | Welcome to the new Thinking With Portals
Please do not Private Message me for assistance. Post a thread if you have questions or concerns.
If you need to contact the staff privately, contact the Global Moderators via Discord.

PakRat: http://www.bagthorpe.org/bob/cofrdrbob/pakrat.html
Pakrat is a graphical replacement for the BSPZIP program, that allows you to embed external files, such as textures (vtf), material (vmt) and model (mdl) files into a HL2 bsp file. Using this, you don't have to have a lot of files spread out among many folders. It's tricky to use, but can be very effective when done well.

"Games are made out of smaller games ? turtles all the way down, until you hit the game that is so trivial and stupid it isn?t deserving of the name." --Raph Koster

Few tips you should know:

1. !Activator is the first thing that triggers something (in trigger's case the first thing in it's volume that can trigger it), !player is the player.

2. When the player touches Fizzlers in or touching hurt triggers, Portal will crash. To remedy needing to remove boxes, have a trigger_multiple with a filter so it only is triggered by physics objects. (or if needed just the box) then add an output to kill !Activator, and resend a new box.

3. You can parent objects, entities, etc. to portals by use of Prop_Portal. Have it's ID set to 0 (the portals the gun shoots) and name it. BE SURE YOU HAVE IT ACTIVE AT THE BEGINNING OF MAP LOAD! If you don't the parenting never works, or can be glitchy.

4. If you find a light produced by a texture (for example, lightrecessedcool002) is not bright enough or too bright, you can change this via how big the texture scale is - higher scales on both the X and Y axis decrease brightness, while lower scales (below 1) on the X/Y axis increase brightness. Be careful not to make it TOO small (usually below 0.05) or the light will be way too bright. Too high (5+ usually) nulls the light completely.

5. When making a prefab, be sure to set all things in the prefab with an "&i" ending. This ending allows you to place multiples of the prefabs without one activating the other, moving the other, etc. Also, be sure to place your prefab close to the map origin so that when you use it, it is not far away from where you clicked.

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Just found this awehsum page on interlopers for solving ALMOST EVERY bug in Hammer compiling. So useful I just thought it deserved a straight link to instead of having to browse their website.

http://www.interlopers.net/errors/

I hate hanging with angry people. Why live life if your not having fun ALL the time? =)
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BSPSource: http://nuclearvelocity.com/barracuda/bspsrc/about.html

A .bsp file decompiler with support for Portal 2 maps. Useful for looking into the official Valve maps, to discover how certain effects are produced etc.

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Various Programs for both bumpmap and heightmap creation:

Smartnormal: http://www.smart-page.net/smartnormal/fl10.htm

nDo http://www.philipk.net/ndo.html

Currently working on Darksiders 3.

Oh wow, smartnormal is really cool...never seen that before

I do my science from scratch.

nVidia makes a photoshop plug-in that does normal maps.