Source SDK Files and Directory Structure

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With the latest SDK release, the default directory structure will be changed to remove the restriction of having to save your game content into the \sourcesdk directory tree. This document explains how the Source SDK directory structure is set up.

The directory structure explained

The SDK directory structure is now set up so that game content directories are separated from game sources directories.

  • Game content files are the actual files necessary to run the game — textures, maps, models, etc.
  • Game sources are the files that are used to create that game content (the "source" of the game content).

This table explains some of the different game content and game source file types in the SDK:

File type Description Location
.VMF Map source files. sourcesdk_content\<game name>\mapsrc
.TGA .TXT Texture source files. sourcesdk_content\<game name>\materialsrc
.SCN .SMD .QC Model source files. sourcesdk_content\<game name>\modelsrc
.BSP Map content files — compiled game maps. <game name>\maps
.MDL .VTX Model content files — compiled game models. <game name>\models
.VMT .VTF Texture content files — compiled model skins. <game name>\materials\models
.VMT .VTF Texture content files — compiled brush textures. <game name>\materials

The following image shows the default locations for these files and folders:

Developer-contentfolders.jpg

Steam Install Directory The location where you've installed Steam.
Game Content The game content is here, with all the files necessary to run each game under each game directory.
SDK Tools The location of the applications necessary to create and compile SDK content.
Content Sources Directories for each of the types of game content sources are here, with a set of directories for each game you want to create content for. SDK sample content is also stored here.

Examples of using this SDK directory structure

Here are some practical examples of how this structure is used:

Compiling a CS:S map

  1. Launch the Hammer map editor from the SDK Tools Directory.
  2. Save the map as a VMF into the cstrike\mapsrc directory, which is under Content Sources.
  3. Compile the map inside Hammer. The map is compiled as a BSP and automatically placed in the cstrike\maps Game Content directory.

Creating a texture for HL2:DM

  1. Create a texture in an image editor, and save it as a TGA in the hl2mp\materialsrc directory, which is under Content Sources.
  2. Compile the texture with Vtex.exe, which is in the SDK Tools Directory.
  3. The texture is compiled as a VTF file and automatically placed in the hl2mp\materials Game Content directory.
  4. Create the VMT material file with a text editor, and save it in the hl2mp\materials Game Content directory.

Creating a model for HL2

  1. Create an SCN model in Softimage|XSI EXP, and export it as an SMD in the hl2\modelsrc directory, which is under Content Sources.
  2. Create the .QC model definition file with a text editor, and save it in the hl2\modelsrc directory, which is under Content Sources.
  3. Compile the model with Studiomdl.exe, which is in the SDK Tools Directory.
  4. The model is compiled as a MDL and automatically placed in the hl2\models Game Content directory.

For in-depth descriptions of these procedures, see the appropriate section of the Source SDK Documentation.