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$desaturatewithbasealpha is a material shader parameter available in all Source Source games since Alien Swarm Alien Swarm for VertexLitGeneric.
Setting it to a value above 0 will enable the behavior.
If used, the $basetexture's Alpha channel will be used as a mask to de-saturate the $basetexture's Color.
The amount of desaturation is determined through the same parameter. 1.0 will result in 100%, and 0.5 in 50% desaturation.

Blank image.pngTodo: Is this available since Left 4 Dead?
Note.pngNote:Also available for use in Source 2013 Singleplayer and Source 2013 Multiplayer through LUX LUX


Icon-Bug.pngBug:This Parameter does not work with
Warning.pngWarning:Using the Basetexture's Alpha channel for other effects at the same time might result in unexpected behavior!