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Instances are helpful in many ways:
- They provide a more dynamic alternative to prefabs, as any changes to the instanced map will be reflected in all instances of it.
- They provide an alternative to visgroups, as they can be used to divide a large, unwieldy map into several smaller, manageable ones (that can even be worked on by multiple authors simultaneously).
- They provide a simple way to edit portions of a map that needs to be at a non-orthogonal angle. (Build the map on-grid inside a separate map, and then instance it into another map through a func_instance rotated at the correct angle.
- They provide a way for maps to work on multiple platforms, such as Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 versions of the same map.
In Portal 2 to give input to an entity within a instance use this:
Or, alternatively, you can do this:
Workaround for any Source game
To use instances in unsupported Engine versions, Metapyziks wrote a program that merges used instances with the main VMF.
- L4D2 Level Design/VMF Instances - A Valve tutorial on how to use instances in Left 4 Dead 2.
- Working with instances - A tutorial on how to use instances in Portal 2.