Pre-publication evaluation

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Note.png Note: The following items are numbered to help you keep track of where you are in this process, not as an order for a specific procedure.


  1. Confirm that the mod has been built under Release rather than Debug.
  2. Read Steam 3rd Party Mod Support.
  3. Read Customizing Options: Keyboard.
  4. Confirm that a maplist.txt file to base the shared soundcache is made and that a shared soundcache manifest is built.
  5. Delete excess files.
  6. Confirm that the files required for each map are in their places.
  7. Implementation for all functionalities desired to be in this release is completed.
  8. Do not distribute source folders and their containing files(mapsrc, materialsrc, modelsrc).

Multiplayer essentials

  1. Create a mapcycle.txt, referenced by the default value of the mapcyclefile ConVar.
  2. Design a default MOTD, or Message of the Day, for the mod in motd.txt.

Excess files

If one of the following files or directories exist, deletion would make the mod's installation tidier.

  1. demoheader.tmp
  2. stats.txt
  3. textwindow_temp.html
  4. cfg\banned_user.cfg
  5. cfg\banned_ip.cfg
  6. cfg\config.cfg
    Note.png Note: You should be shipping config_default.cfg.
  7. cfg\pet.txt
  8. scripts\kb_def.lst (See Customizing Options: Keyboard)
  9. scripts\settings.scr
    Note.png Note: This should be placed in the cfg folder.
  10. bin\client.pdb
  11. bin\server.pdb
  12. Any *.db files that may have collected from image preview resources
  13. models/.../*.xbox.vtx
  14. models/.../*.xbox.vtx
  15. SAVE directory
  16. expressions directory
  17. screenshots directory
  18. reslists directory
  19. materials/maps directory
  20. materials/temp directory

Rebuildable files

These files should not be distributed in the release but will need to be rebuilt by the client.

  1. scene.cache and modelsounds.cache
  2. maps/soundcache/*.cache
    Warning.png Warning: Do not delete the .manifests
  3. DownloadLists directory


  1. Read VGUI2 Programming Best Practices.
  2. Encrypt weapon scripts using vice.
  3. Add documentation on mod-specific console commands and console variables.
  4. Include an icon for the mod if desired in resource\game.ico.
  5. Include the FGD for third-party mod mappers.
  6. Compile your DLL's in Release Mode, also don't forget to start Optimizing DLLs for that extra speed.
  7. Encrypt bin\client.dll with UPX


See also: Releasing a Map

Final compile

  • Examine the compile log to ensure there are no compile errors, you could also use the Interlopers Compile Checker.
  • When you load the map into the game, check the console to ensure there are no errors or warnings.
  • Make sure you have compiled the map with Normal VIS and -final RAD (switch to expert compile mode and use the 'Final' preset if you don't know how to use parameters). Do not release a map compiled with Fast VIS or RAD!
  • Remember to run the buildcubemaps command in the console twice before releasing your finished product, once with HDR enabled and once without, or specular reflections will not work properly.

Distributing custom content

If you have custom models, sounds, textures, or materials, you must either:

Using Bspzip to Embed Custom Content, or

  • Add a ".res" Map Resource File to your map release to let the server know there's files that should accompany the BSP when it's downloaded.

If you don't do this, then anyone downloading the map through a server whilst playing will not get your custom content.

Game specific considerations

Counter-Strike: Source

  • Create a ".txt" file with the same name as the map. This text will be displayed to players when the map starts. Lines are wrapped.
  • Edit the bot Navigation Mesh so bots will behave more intelligently in your map.
  • Create a level overview material.
  • Run the map with only bots playing, 10 a side, and see whether either side has an outright advantage. There is no substitute for human players, but bots will typically show up the obvious design flaws in a map (poorly positioned meeting points, not enough entrances/exits in critical areas, and so on)

Day of Defeat: Source

  • Create a ".txt" file with the same name as the map. This text will be displayed to players when the map starts. Lines are wrapped.
  • Create a level overview material.

The Ship

  • Create a 1024x1024 material (resized from 1280x1024) vgui/map_backgrounds/map_background_<map>
  • Create a 256x128 material vgui/map_previews/map_preview_<map>
  • See The Ship: Creating a Deckplan

Team Fortress 2