Prefab

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A premade fabrication, or prefab, is a separately saved object, usually consisting of multiple parts - brushes, props, or entity elements. The prefab system allows you to easily store pieces from your levels that can be used repeatedly. Examples of useful prefabs include hallways, pillars, special entity setups, etc.

Prefabs are simply small map files (.VMF) that contain only your prefab. These files are stored in a particular prefab folder, generally \sourcesdk\bin\prefabs, so that Hammer can find them and allow you to easily insert them into your levels.

Note: For orangebox games, make sure to use the \sourcesdk\bin\orangebox\bin\prefabs

Prefabs can be organized into their own hierarchy by simply adding sub-folders to the \prefabs directory. This allows you to sort prefabs based on, amongst others, the intended map or mod they belong to, thus possibly easing their navigation.

Creating prefabs

Prefabs can be created in the Hammer editor with these steps:

  1. If this prefab is intended to interact with named objects inside itself, add the "_&i" token at the end of each object's name. See Prefab tokens below.
  2. Select the objects you wish to include in your prefab (using Ctrl-click).
  3. If you plan on inserting the prefab using the Entity Tool, the origin (0,0,0) of your map will be used as a reference point to where you insert the prefab, so it is advisable to drag the selected objects to this origin and centering the prefab on it.
  4. Either click the Create Prefab button in the Object bar, or select the Create Prefab command from the Tools menu. (Shortcut key: Ctrl+R)
  5. A Save As... dialog will open, displaying the Hammer prefabs directory. Type in the filename to save your prefab as and click the Save button.
    Note:While the .vmf extension should be automatically added to the filename, some users have experienced this not being the case. To be on the safe side, add .vmf to the filename to ensure that the prefab will show up. You can also add it later by browsing to the prefabs folder.
    Bug:
    After saving the very first prefab, Hammer might crash.
  6. The new prefab will now be available for insertion in the Object bar.

Prefab tokens

A special token "&i" can be added to the name of entities in prefab objects so the entity will have a unique name when placed in the level. When the prefab is placed, the &i token will be replaced by a unique number. The token can be included in the targetname, inputs and outputs, etc. All tokens in the prefab will be replaced with the same number. This allows entities within the prefab to reference each other, but still have a unique name so multiple prefabs won't trigger each other.

For example, a func_door entity with the name "door_sliding_&i" in the prefab would become "door_sliding_1" when placed in a level. Consecutive placements of the prefab would be called "door_sliding_2", "door_sliding_3", ...

A trigger_multiple included in the same prefab, set to trigger "door_sliding_&i" upon initial creation, would upon insertion share the same token number as the door.

Note:Other values, like specific Brush faces attached to prefab env_cubemaps, cannot be saved, and have to be reset upon each insertion.

For ways to address prefab names using this token, see search wildcards.

Tip:Using an asterisk (*) in your searches filters prefabs using a wildcard. For example, searching door_* would return door_1, door_2, door_red_7, etc.

Inserting prefabs

Hammer newobjects.jpg

Once you have prefab objects created, it is a simple task to insert a prefab into your level.

There are two ways of putting a prefab into your level: Using the Entity tool Mt-entities.png, or using the Block tool Hammer block.png.

The process is basically the same for both tools: First select the tool you wish to use, then select the prefab from the Object bar, and then insert it through one of the views.

The Entity tool Mt-entities.png should be used for most prefab placement, as it retains the exact size of the original prefab. Placement with the Block tool Hammer block.png allows for resizing of the prefab as it's placed, but is slightly more time-consuming to place correctly.

Tip:After choosing one of the prefab creation tools (either the Entity Tool or the Block Tool), then selecting a prefab library, picking the same creation tool a second time will enable the Insert original prefab button in the Object bar. You can use this button to insert the selected prefab in the center of the 2D views. After placing the prefab, it can be moved into place. Make sure Texture Locking is turned on!

Using the Entity Tool

InsertPrefabTut1.png
InsertPrefabTut2.png
InsertPrefabTut3.png

The Entity tool Mt-entities.png is used to place a prefab object that should retain its original size.

  1. Select the Entity tool Mt-entities.png from the toolbar. (Shortcut: Shift+E)
  2. In the Object bar, select a prefab library in the Categories: selection box.
  3. Select a specific prefab to insert from the library in the Objects: selection box.
  4. Click in one of the 2D views where you want the prefab to be placed. Alternatively you can instead just click in the 3D view, whereupon the prefab will be inserted automatically.
  5. Press Return or Enter to insert the prefab.

Using the Block Tool

The Block tool Hammer block.png is used if you want to insert a prefab scaled to a certain size.

To place a prefab object, scaling it to an exact size:

  1. Select the Block tool Hammer block.png from the toolbar. (Shortcut: Shift+B)
  2. In the Object bar, select a prefab library in the Categories: selection box.
  3. Select a specific prefab to insert from the library in the Objects: selection box.
  4. Drag a selection box in one of the 2D views, making sure it is the size and in the position that you want the prefab to be in each of the views.
  5. Press Return or Enter to insert the prefab. It will be scaled to fit the selection box.

Notice that any inserted prefab is automatically grouped, and therefore needs to be ungrouped before individual components can be moved.

The Skip tool texture

A prefab typically consists of many objects that you want to move or copy somewhere, and if the prefab happens to be of an odd size, you may end up with components ending up not exactly where you want them. You can prevent this by enveloping the prefab inside a skip tool texture:

  1. Set the grid size to a the maximum size that you expect to move the prefab in. (Typically you plan the skip brush to be a size of about 4x4x4 grid squares.)
  2. Create a brush enveloping all the components of the prefab.
  3. Cover every side of the brush with the skip tool texture.
  4. Select all the components of the prefab (including the skip brush) and save it.

The positions of the components inside the brush are now relative to the enveloping skip brush, and the even size of the brush makes the movements of every component on par with the Hammer editor's graph. As the brush is covered in a skip tool texture, it will not be compiled with the map.

Available prefabs

For a list of prefabs that are already available in the Source SDK, see Category:Prefabs.

See also

External links

The following sites host custom made prefabs and models: