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P2C files are used to store the definition of a Portal 2 community puzzle. The format used is similar to that of VMF files, with some small differences.


The P2C file format is a simplified representation of a level. It uses a voxel system for blocks and item positioning.

Coordinate System

Locations in P2C files are stored in X Y Z format, where X is right, Y is forward, and Z is up. All coordinates are integers, and represent voxel positions.


A level's structure is made up of voxels. Each voxel represents a 1 x 1 x 1 area in the level (where 1 is about equal to one portalable panel). Each voxel may be either solid (a wall) or empty (open space). Additionally, each voxel has 3 sides that can be defined as portalable (white surface) or non-portalable (gray surface). These are the -X, -Y and -Z sides of the voxel. They will be used as the portalable definitions for neighboring voxels (if the specified voxel is not solid and the neighbor is solid).

There is a voxel definition in the P2C file for each point in the map (+1 in each dimension to account for portalable definitions on interior sides), except in the case that the voxel is not solid, and all of its side-sharing neighbors are not solid as well (the three neighboring voxels are each at 1 unit less on one axis - (X - 1, Y, Z), (X, Y - 1, Z), and (X, Y, Z - 1)).


The .p2c source files are located in:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\portal 2\portal2\puzzles\<steamID>

Replace <steamID> with your normal Steam ID (If you're not on Win 64 bit, then remove the ' (x86' part at the beginning)

The files are named with a random number, so you will need to look in each file to see which one you need.


When a 'rebuild' is done in the editor, the .p2c file is exported to Preview.vmf in the steamapps\common\portal 2\sdk_content\maps dir.

Then the standard vvis,vrad and vbsp compilers compile it into Preview.bsp in that dir.

Preview.bsp is then copied to steamapps\common\portal 2\portal2\maps\puzzlemaker and run from there.

Compile params:

vbsp.exe: -entity_limit 1750 -game "c:/program files (x86)/steam/steamapps/common/portal 2/portal2/" "c:/program files (x86)/steam/steamapps/common/portal 2/sdk_content\maps/preview.vmf"

vvis.exe: -game "c:/program files (x86)/steam/steamapps/common/portal 2/portal2" "c:/program files (x86)/steam/steamapps/common/portal 2/sdk_content\maps/preview.bsp"

vrad.exe: -final -staticproppolys -staticproplighting -textureshadows -hdr -game "c:/program files (x86)/steam/steamapps/common/portal 2/portal2" "c:/program files (x86)/steam/steamapps/common/portal 2/sdk_content\maps/preview.bsp"

Exporting to VMF

Once loaded into the editor, in the console use the following command to export it into .vmf file format that can then be loaded into Hammer:

puzzlemaker_export <export_file_name>

Replacing '<export_file_name>' with the name that you want the export to be saved as.

The export will be located in the following dir:

steamapps\common\portal 2\sdk_content\maps


A P2C file is laid out as follows:

	// Puzzle Metadata
		// Voxel Definitions
		// Item Definitions
		// Connection Definitions

Note that each string in the file is surrounded in quotes (e.g. "Voxels").

Puzzle Metadata

The puzzle metadata block contains information about the puzzle. It looks like this:

	"AppID"		"644"
	"Version"		"14"
	"FileID"		"0x0000000000000000"
	"Timestamp_Created"		"0x000000004FAAF4AD"
	"Timestamp_Modified"		"0x000000004FAAFB4B"
	"CompileTime"		"15.000000"
	"Title"		"My level"
	"Description"		"A deceptively hard test chamber."
	"PreviewDirty"		"1"
	"ChamberSize"		"2 2 4"

The values are as follows:

Key Description
AppID Always "644" (the app ID of the publishing tool), even in mods. Unknown use.
Version The version of the editor the map was last saved in. Loading a map saved in an older editor version may cause conversions to be performed.
  • The current version number is 14.
  • At launch, the version number was 12.
  • The devtest.p2c map has a version number of 9.
FileID For published maps, the workshop item ID. Used when re-publishing to update the existing item instead of creating a new one (though this often breaks).
Timestamp_Created The time the puzzle was created, in Unix Time..
Timestamp_Modified The time the puzzle was last modified, in Unix Time..
CompileTime The duration of the last compile. Unknown use.
Title The name of the puzzle.
Description The description of the puzzle. Can include line breaks. Quotes are escaped with \"
PreviewDirty Set to 1 to indicate that the preview map is outdated, displaying the "view is not current" message.
ChamberSize The size of the test chamber, in voxels, width x depth x height (X Y Z).


Each voxel in the Voxels collection looks like:

			"Position"		"0 0 0"
			"Solid"		"1"
			"Portal0"		"1"
			"Portal1"		"1"
			"Portal2"		"1"
Key Description
Position The position of the voxel, in the format "X Y Z".
Solid Whether or not the voxel is solid ("1") or empty space ("0")
Portal0 Whether or not the -X side of the voxel is portalable ("1") or not("0").
Portal1 Whether or not the -Y side of the voxel is portalable ("1") or not("0").
Portal2 Whether or not the -Z side of the voxel is portalable ("1") or not("0").


Each item contains basic information about index, type, location and orientation, with further information depending on the item type (described below). An item looks like:

			"Index"		"0"
			"Type"		"ITEM_ENTRY_DOOR"
			"Deletable"		"0"
			"VoxelPos"		"1 0 0"
			"LocalPos"		"0 0 0"
			"Angles"		"-90 -90 0"
			"Facing"		"0 0 0"
Key Description
Index The index of the item in the puzzle.
Type The type of item.
Deletable Whether the item can be deleted ("1") or not ("2"). Doors and the observation room must not be deletable.
VoxelPos The world position of the item (the voxel the item resides in).
Angles The orientation of the item, in Z X Y order. Rotations are clockwise around the specified positive axis.
Facing The orientation of freely oriented objects (currently only the turret and the dropperless reflective cube).


Connections trigger an action on an item from another item. They have a sender and receiver (both item indices), as well as a type. They look like:

			"Sender"		"3"
			"Receiver"		"1"
Key Description
Sender The index of the item that sends the signal.
Receiver The index of the item that receives the signal.
Type The type of connection

Connection types

Type Description