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Learning To Map
#1
Here's a post suggestion by Talmara, and one I actually already had, but for anyone interested in getting back into mapping or wants to take a stab at learning how to, here's a link to some great tutorials,  http://www.tophattwaffle.com/tutorials/

One thing I will mention is - if you have trouble getting Hammer to open through the SDK - I remember someone mentioning you open it in the HL folder, just open the Source Engine of choice for the map and in the search just type Hammer and it will pull it up.

The second thing - if you get the error when compiling and running your map that the CD Key authorization for servers is invalid error, you can just compile the map or "run" as it is said in Hammer, without running the game. Then open the source engine, create a multiplayer server, set the SV_Lan 0 in the console, create a multiplayer game, then changelevel "name of map" without the quotes in console and you can run the map that way. It's a tedious and long process but until Valve decides to un-screw themselves in terms of outside development, it's what works for me.

Yup, I'm an asshole....Steam ID:BlahBlah has been banned for (40200 minutes).
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#2
1) Most people who map for Gmod use the CS:S hammer environment to do so (For the love of god make sure you have run the game to the menu screen at least once.), in order to access it go to $SteamDir/SteamApps/Common/Counter-Strike Source/bin and find Hammer.Exe ( $SteamDir is where you installed steam )

2) Once opened you should be presented with a screen that asks you to select Half-Life 2 or Counter Strike; Select Counter strike.

3) if you had to do Step 2 you probably got an error in the messages bar saying something along the lines of Invalid game "C\Tonguerogram Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\$User\CounterStrike Source\cstrike" found in VPROJECT environment variable, ignoring then you need to right click on "my computer" > click properties > Click "Advanced System Settings > Click Environment Variables > In User Variables find VProject and edit it > Change the "Variable value" to $SteamDir\SteamApps\common\Counter-Strike Source\cstrike again replace $SteamDir with the full path. restart hammer once applied.

4) Once that fix is done you are ready to learn! It is highly recommended you look at the first tutorial located <<here>> it will repeat some of the stuff I have said but it will also give you setting optimizations and a good overview of the buttons.

5) This is a warning, hammer is a finicky, dated program that has been in need of a bit of an overhaul for a while if you are not technically savvy or think you can learn by "trial and error" then map making for the source engine is probably not for you. It is very easy to cause hammer to crash and poor map making practices will make poor maps both in optimization and looks (take this from experience) I cannot emphasize how important it is that you learn from quality tutorials so I am making a list of viable places to learn from.
  • http://www.3kliksphilip.com/tutorials/sdk.html (Quality is a bit buggy since youtube changed a while ago)
  • http://www.tophattwaffle.com/tutorials/
  • http://www.halfwit-2.com/?page=tutorials&category=1 (A little bit dated but still relevant)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WibmcsEGLKo<br />A wake up call<br /><br />Always forgive your enemies - nothing annoys them so much. - Oscar Wilde
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#3
Biggest tip I learned make every brush out of a no draw texture and only texture the faces that need it. This'll help optimize the map which I had to restart so many times due no optimization. Most important thing try not to use the cropping tool if your map is using water it causes a leak in the skybox most of the time.
[img width=500 height=135]http://i.imgur.com/ybXMzBU.jpg[/img]
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