Compiling under VS2008

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In this tutorial you will learn how to get the Source SDK to compile under Visual Studio 2008 and/or Visual C++ Express 2008. There are several things you're going to have to do to get it working. Before you begin, create your mod.

Warning: This page assumes you are compiling the latest Orange Box source code.

Tip:You do not need to install any Platform SDKs. Both VS2008 and VCE2008 come with the required libraries.
Note:You will still encounter occasional "precompiled header skipped" warnings after following this guide. Don't worry, they're harmless!

Install Visual Studio 2008

If you do not have Visual Studio 2008, you can download Visual C++ Express 2008 for free from Microsoft.

Upgrade to Service Pack 1

If you installed VS2008 before August 2008 it will probably need updating to SP1. The service pack will presumably be offered through Windows Update eventually, but for now you'll need to manually download it:

Service Pack 1 improves error reporting and fixes issues with Intellisense database corruption, alongside other improvements not directly relevant to the Source SDK.

Upgrade the project files

Visual Studio will prompt you to upgrade the project files. If you've been working on your mod in a previous version of the VS you'll probably want to have it make a backup of the project file, though this is a good time to do a backup of the entire source tree yourself anyway. Otherwise you can just do the conversion in-place.

Tip:For clarity, you may want to rename the project file from whatever_2005.sln to whatever_2008.sln.

Fix debug compilation

You don't actually need to compile in debug mode to debug your mod thanks to the PDB files Visual Studio generates in release mode. If you do want to make a debug build however:

Right-click > Properties on the Server and Client projects. Making sure that you are working on the Debug configuration (top left of properties dialogue) change Configuration Properties > Linker > Input > Ignore Specific Library to libc;libcd;libcmtd (an extra 'd' on the end).

A function also needs commenting out at line 727 (OB code) of server/memoverride.cpp:

void __cdecl _invalid_parameter_noinfo(void)

Get rid of the whole thing. Remember to launch your mod with -allowdebug!

Fix missing symbols

If you see missing symbols such as: ConVar_Register you'll need to add tier3.lib to the Link Libraries folder.

Disable /Wp64

You'll receive warnings about the Wp64 option. You can ignore them if you like, but it's a simple matter to sort them out too: right-click > Properties on both the Server and Client projects, then change Configuration Properties > C/C++ > General > Detect 64-bit Portability Issues to No.

Install the DirectX SDK (for shaders)

To create new shaders you will need the MS DirectX SDK (March 2009). Once installed, follow the below instructions below to incorporate it with your project.

  1. Go to Tools - Options: Projects and Solutions - VC++ Directories
  2. Select "Include files" and add "...\Microsoft DirectX SDK (November 2008)\Include"
  3. Select "Library files" and add "...\Microsoft DirectX SDK (November 2008)\Lib\x86"
  4. In the Solution Explorer right click 'client_hl2', and select Properties.
  5. In the client_hl2 properties window, navigate to Linker - Input
  6. Select the 'Additional Properties' row and click the '...' on the right hand side of the row
  7. If there is already an entry here, take a new line after it (a space will suffice if you cannot create a new line), and type ' user32.lib ' without the quotes.
  8. Repeat these steps for the server.

Missing vc80.pdb

You may encounter these warnings after trying to compile one of the other tool/library projects included in the SDK. You see it because your code has been compiled with VS2008 (VC9), whereas the SDK's .libs were compiled with VS2005 (VC8).

The warnings prevent the compilation of PDB files. The easiest way to fix them is to build the library, that is generating them yourself!

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