Installing and Debugging the Source Code

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Revision as of 13:05, 12 February 2006 by Kalashnikov (talk | contribs) (Step By Step)
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The general steps to installing and debugging the source code are:

  1. Run the Create a Mod tool in the SDK to install the source code.
  2. Use Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003 to compile the source code.
  3. Setup debugging parameters.
  4. Run in the debugger.

Step By Step

Run the Create a Mod wizard

  • Run the Source SDK from Steam and choose the Create a Mod link.
  • You can normally choose any type of mod here, but for the purposes of this tutorial, choose the Modify Half-Life 2 Single Player option and click Next.
  • In the top edit control of the next dialog, enter a directory where you would like to create a mod. This tutorial will assume you entered C:\MyMod.
  • In the bottom edit control, enter any name for your mod. This will become a subdirectory under your SteamInstallPath\SteamApps\SourceMods folder. This example will assume you entered MyMod here.
  • Click the Next button and the source code will be installed on your hard drive.
  • Wait for the mod wizard to finish.

Compile the Source Code

  • Open Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003.
  • Choose Open Project from the File menu.
  • Navigate to the directory where you installed the source code. In our example, it would be C:\MyMod\Src.
  • Open the game_sdk.sln file.
  • Choose Rebuild Solution from the Build menu.
  • Wait for the source code to build. You should now have two DLLs in your C:\Steam\SteamApps\SourceMods\MyMod\bin folder (depending on where your Steam is installed and what name you entered for your mod in the Create a Mod dialog). One is called client.dll and the other is called server.dll.

Setup debugging parameters

  • In the Solution Explorer window, right-click on the current project (the one in bold) and choose Properties.
  • In the Property Pages dialog that appears, choose the Debugging item on the left-hand side.
  • On the right-hand side, in the text control next to Command, enter C:\Steam\SteamApps\Username\Half-Life 2\hl2.exe (adjusting the folder names given here to reflect your own Steam installation).
  • Next to Command Arguments, enter -dev -sw -game "C:\Steam\SteamApps\SourceMods\MyMod" (where MyMod is the name of your mod you entered in the Create a Mod dialog).
  • Next to Working Directory, enter C:\Steam\SteamApps\Username\Half-Life 2 (adjusting the folder names given here to reflect your own Steam installation).
  • Click the OK button.

Run in the debugger

  • Important: after an SDK update, you must make sure to run whatever game you're editing through Steam once (only one time is necessary) before running in the debugger. If you don't, you may get Steam errors when running through the debugger.
  • Right-click on the same project you were editing the properties for, and choose Debug->Start New Instance.
  • If you get a warning that hl2.exe has no debugging information, ignore it.
  • It should now launch Half-Life 2 and run your code. You can make modifications to the code now, rebuild, and rerun the game with your changes!

Editing other games

For a Half-Life 2 Multiplayer mod, the only difference is that you must use C:\Steam\SteamApps\YOURNAME\Half-Life 2 deathmatch\hl2.exe as the value for the Command field, and use C:\Steam\SteamApps\YOURNAME\Half-Life 2 deathmatch as the value for the Working Directory field.

If you chose Start a mod from scratch from the Create a Mod dialog, then everything works the same.


A good next step after mastering this document is to look at the My First Entity document, in which you will make changes to some of the source code.

If you plan to integrate code updates from Valve, and if you want code backups and revision history, take a look at the Using Source Control with the Source SDK document.

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