Swarm Mod wizard complete

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You have successfully completed the Alien Swarm mod wizard! The folder you chose to install to now has several sub-folders beneath it:

For your uncompiled VMF map files.
For your uncompiled Materials.
For your uncompiled Models.
The Alien Swarm SDK C++ source code.

Additionally, a folder with your mod's name has been created in <Steam>\steamapps\sourcemods\. This is from where files compiled from the folders above will be loaded, and is all that people playing your mod need.

Setting up the solution

  • Once it's done copying, go to the location you specified for the mod and go into the src folder.
  • Go inside the game/server folder and double click on swarm_sdk_server.vcproj. This will load the project into visual studio.
  • In the solution explorer, right click on solution and choose Add -> Existing project. Add both these projects to your solution:
    • game/client/swarm_sdk_client.vcproj
    • game/missionchooser/swarm_sdk_missionchooser.vcproj
  • Do File -> Save All and it will prompt you to save your solution somewhere, e.g. game/mymod.sln

Building and testing your mod

  • With all the projects added to your solution, you can do:
    • Build -> Configuration Manager.
    • Select Release. Then press OK.
    • Build -> Rebuild Solution. This will make it compile all 3 dlls and copy them to your C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\sourcemods\mymod\bin folder.
  • Now restart Steam and your mod should appear in your games library.

Setting up Visual Studio for debugging

To run your mod from the debugger:

  • In Visual Studio, in the Solution Explorer, right click on whichever project is set as your startup project (it will be shown in bold).
  • Select Properties.
  • Click Configuration Properties -> Debugging.
  • In the Command box, enter:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\alien swarm\swarm.exe
  • For the Command Arguments:
-sw -dev -game ../../sourcemods/<mymod>

(where "<mymod>" is replaced with your mod name)

  • For the Working Directory:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\alien swarm

If you have Steam installed in a different location than "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam" you will need to adjust the paths accordingly.

  • You can now press F5 in Visual Studio to build your mod and launch it.

Alien Swarm Documentation

Swarm C++ Code Overview
Swarm Mapping basics
Swarm Campaign Add-on Tutorial
Swarm Objectives
Swarm Overview Map
Swarm Placing Doors

Source SDK Documentation

There are many areas in modding. For a complete overview, visit the main SDK Docs page. Many of these articles were created for the Episode 1 or Orange Box SDK, but they still apply for Alien Swarm. Here are some highlights for beginners:

General advice
From Valve
From other modders
Choosing a compiler
Your First Entity
Setting up source control
Hammer documentation
Modeling & Animation
XSI Mod Tool
Exporting a model
Model Creation Overview
Art & Sound
Material Creation
Choreography creation

Getting help

Help is available from:

Good luck!