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(only in Source 2013 Multiplayer) (also in Garry's Mod)

PPL files are lightmaps (per-pixel lighting) generated by VRAD for prop_static models that have generatelightmaps enabled. Unlike brush lightmaps, PPL files are always uncompressed RGB888 (24-bit Wikipedia icon SDR), even when the map is compiled in HDR mode.

Note.pngNote:Being always RGB888 is a VRAD limitation, not a format or engine one; a custom compiler could make DXT1, I8, or even RGBA16161616F lightmaps, and these would be properly loaded by the game.
Icon-Important.pngImportant:To account for potential discrepancies between UV maps of LoD models, PPL files contain a lightmap for each LoD model. This can greatly increase the file size of a map if a lightmapped model has several LoD models!

A PPL file can be converted to uncompressed VTF(s) using Ficool2's proptexelvtf.exe (direct download), which can then be used for $lightmap.

See also

  • VHV, the equivalent for vertex-lit props