$texturegroup

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The $texturegroup QC command allows a model to have multiple skins consisting of one or more materials.

Alternate skins are typically included in props to give the level designer more variety, but may serve a gameplay purpose depending on the specific use.

Syntax

$texturegroup <name>
{
	{ "<default material>" } //Skin 0 (default)
	{ "<new material>"     } //Skin 1
 	[...]
}
name
The name of the texturegroup.
Bug: A name is required by studiomdl, but it goes entirely unused. skinfamilies is often used instead.
default material
The name of a Material (VMT) on a reference mesh.
new material
The name of a Material (VMT) that will replace the material above it.


For models with multiple materials, $texturegroup accepts multiple materials per line. When used like this, the first skin should be treated as a set of column headings in a table. Only materials present in the first skin can change in any subsequent skins.

$texturegroup <name>
{
	{ "<default material 1>" "<default material 2>" [...] } //Skin 0 (default)
	{ "<new material 1>"     "<new material 2>"     [...] } //Skin 1
	[...]
}

StudioMDL allows up to 32 unique materials to exist on a model. This limit is hard-coded, but can be raised with a hacked studiomdl. Warning: Increasing the limit beyond 32 will usually cause the engine to crash at random with "Memory could not be read" errors.

Tip:If all you want to do is have a different texture on each skin, simply clone your original VMT (e.g. skin_0.vmt), give it a unique name (e.g. skin_1.vmt), and change its $basetexture to the path of the new texture.
Bug: You must add whitespace between the braces {} and the material name. {skin_0} will not work, but { skin_0 } will.

Examples

$texturegroup rockcliff_cluster01
{
	{ rockcliff02a }
	{ rockcliff02b }
	{ rockcliff02c }
}
$cdmaterials models\bots\sniper models\effects
$texturegroup skinfamilies
{
	{ sniper_bot_red  sniper_bot_head_red  }
	{ sniper_bot_blue sniper_bot_head_blue }

	{ invulnfx_red    invulnfx_red         }
	{ invulnfx_blue   invulnfx_blue        }
}
$cdmaterials models\player\hvyweapon
$texturegroup skinfamilies
{
	{ heavy_head_red        eyeball_r      eyeball_l      hvyweapon_red               hvyweapon_red_sheen               }
	{ heavy_head_blue       eyeball_r      eyeball_l      hvyweapon_blue              hvyweapon_blue_sheen              }

	{ heavy_head_red_invun  eyeball_invun  eyeball_invun  hvyweapon_red_invun         hvyweapon_red_invun               }
	{ heavy_head_blue_invun eyeball_invun  eyeball_invun  hvyweapon_blue_invun        hvyweapon_blue_invun              }

	{ heavy_head_zombie     eyeball_zombie eyeball_zombie heavy_red_zombie_alphatest  heavy_red_zombie_alphatest_sheen  }
	{ heavy_head_zombie     eyeball_zombie eyeball_zombie heavy_blue_zombie_alphatest heavy_blue_zombie_alphatest_sheen }

	{ heavy_head_red_invun  eyeball_invun  eyeball_invun  hvyweapon_red_zombie_invun  hvyweapon_red_zombie_invun        }
	{ heavy_head_blue_invun eyeball_invun  eyeball_invun  hvyweapon_blue_zombie_invun hvyweapon_blue_zombie_invun       }
}

Multiple texture groups

Using more than one $texturegroup is allowed, but not recommended. The behavior of multiple texture groups is unintuitive at best.

Bug: The number of skins is determined only by the first texture group. As such, in order to access the other texture groups, the model's skin number must advance beyond 31 (32 in HLMV).
Bug: Instead of being represented as unique, texture groups are sectioned off into chunks of 32 skins. No more than 32 skins are used on any texture group beyond the first.
Bug: Each material that is to be changed by a texture group needs to be present in the first texture group's first skin. As a result, all texture groups must have the same number of materials in their first skin in order for materials to not get swapped around.

As a result of the above problems, despite what the syntax would imply, using multiple $texturegroup commands will not actually allow multiple states of a model's skins to be switched between, unlike $bodygroup.

If a model needs to have multiple texture states, they will have to be done by setting up skins in a fashion similar to this:

$texturegroup skinfamilies
{
	{ <state 1> <substate 1> }
	{ <state 1> <substate 2> }
	{ <state 2> <substate 1> }
	{ <state 2> <substate 2> }
	[...]
}

Replacing material with material of same name from different folder

To replace a material with a material using the same name from a different folder, add ".." to the replacement material, followed by the new foldername of the replacement material.
".." pops the directory your original material is in, allowing you to enter a new folder, similar to $popd.
Adding $cdmaterials lines for the replacement materials locations is not required in this case.
If you just want to use another material that does not have the same name, you can just use another $CDMaterials line instead.

Example from the <Left 4 Dead 2> rescue helicopter:

$CDMaterials "models\c2m5_helicopter_extraction\"
$TextureGroup "skinfamilies"
{
	{ "helicopter_news_adj"                "helicopter_news2"                } //helicopter_news2 from models\c2m5_helicopter_extraction\
	{ "..\hybridPhysx\helicopter_news_adj" "..\hybridPhysx\helicopter_news2" } //helicopter_news2 from models/hybridPhysx
	{ "..\hybridPhysx\helicopter_army"     "..\hybridPhysx\helicopter_army2" } //Could also add second $cdmaterials line and just use "helicopter_army2"
}

Further information

  • Skin options can also be used to provide $bumpmap, $surfaceprop, etc. options for the model in each VMT. For optimization, see also $lod and LOD Models.
  • All alternative VTF textures should follow the same UV map layout.
  • Even though studiomdl has a hardcoded limit of 32 unique materials, it technically supports up to 1024 total skins, so long as each skin is an arrangement of those 32 materials.
  • <Team Fortress 2> Almost every team-colored model in the game has at least two skins. Typically, the default skin is RED, and the second skin is BLU.

See also