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func_instance is a internal point entity available in all Source games. It inserts an instance of another VMF file into the current one. You can translate and rotate the instance without breaking anything or creating an off-grid editing nightmare. By default, instances are drawn in Hammer with an orange tint, though this can be disabled in Instancing > View Instances.

Warning.png Warning: Self recursive instances (i.e. instances which include themselves) will crash Hammer.
Note.png Note: Instances are disabled by default in pre-Left 4 Dead 2 games (except Team Fortress 2). To enable them, add a GameData key to gameinfo.txt, pointing to the game's FGD file.
Note.png Note: VBSP will only transform entities in the FGD file it loads from the GameData key. If any custom entities are being misplaced, this is the most likely cause.
Tip.png Tip:  gameinfo.txt has an InstancePath parameter that defines where instances are stored. If you try to reference files that aren't in this folder, you will have to manually type in the filename of your instance's .vmf (file path is relative to the parent .vmf)
Bug.png Bug: Alien Swarm Nested instances with relative file names don't work correctly in Alien Swarm, because they are handled differently in Hammer and VBSP. (verify? may be because of incorrectly set up gameinfo.txt)
Bug.png Bug:  light_spot will behave unpredictably when part of an instance that alters the light's pitch. This is solved by collapsing the instance or using the light's "Entity to point at" keyvalue.
Bug.png Bug: Alien Swarm The func_instance does not work correctly in the Source 2009 Engine Branch. It is recommended you use a Prefab instead.
Bug.png Bug:  func_viscluster does not function when placed inside of an instance.
Bug.png Bug: VBSP will crash with no error if an instance pushes it over the brush limit (i.e. a situation where hiding all instances would keep the map under the brush limit). Compiling with -verbose will reveal the specific instance causing VBSP to fail.

Input through an instance

  1. Define a Fix Up Name.
  2. Define a value for the input or output you want to use (if there is one).
  3. Send an input to the targetname "fixupname-value", e.g. MyInstance-Start. Hammer's UI won't recognise the name, but don't worry.


VMF Filename (file) <string>
The VMF file to insert as an instance.
Fix Up Name (propagate_fixup) <string>
Essentially the name of the instance. All entities within it will have this string added to them based upon the fix up style. If no name is provided, InstanceAutoX or AutoInstanceX will be used, where X is a number that is incremented with each instance.
Note.png Note: Entity names that start with the @ symbol e.g. @exit_door will not be changed by the instance name fix up. To do: only confirmed for Portal 2
Entity Name Fix Up (fixup_style) <choices>
How to apply the fix up name.
  • 0: Prefix (Default)
  • 1: Postfix
  • 2: None
Replace (replace01) <instance_variable>
This is a replacement parameter. Any usage of $variable inside the instance will be replaced with value. Replace <string $variable> <string value>. Example: $color 255 0 0.
Note.png Note: There are 10 Replace key-value pairs with the keys following replace{number} for names: replace01, replace02, ..., replace10


Pitch Yaw Roll (Y Z X) (angles) <angle>
This entity's orientation in the world. Pitch is rotation around the Y axis, yaw is the rotation around the Z axis, roll is the rotation around the X axis.

See also